Senior Pastor Adam Utecht begins a new sermon series titled Ephesians: Reconciled by Grace. He gives an introduction to book of Ephesians and preaches on Ephesians 1:1-14.
Listen to an audio version of the sermon here:
- _______ (v. 1-2)
- God’s glorious _____ (v. 3-14)
- He _____ us (v. 4-6)
- He ______ us (v. 7-8)
- He revealed the _______ of His will (v. 9-10)
- Read Acts 19:11-41. How was the gospel advancing in Ephesus? When
the gospel advances, how does it become a threat to darkness?
- These saints (Eph. 1:1) are citizens of heaven and Ephesus. They have
dual citizenship. John Stott points out: “Many of our spiritual troubles
arise from our failure to remember that we are citizens of two kingdoms.
We tend either to pursue Christ and withdraw from the world, or to
become preoccupied with the world and forget that we are also in Christ.”
Do you withdraw from the world or do you get preoccupied with it?
Read Matthew 5:13-16 and Romans 12:1-2. What should we do?
- Read Revelation 2:1-7. How does Jesus commend the church at
Ephesus 30 years after the writing of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians? What
does Jesus have against them? How does this apply to your life?
- Read about God’s adoption in Gal. 4:1-7 and Rom. 8:14-17. What do
we receive by virtue of adoption?
- To go deeper on the topic of predestination and election, read Romans
8:29-30 and Romans 9. What do these passages say about election?
- Robert Godfrey discusses free will v. predestination:
Early in his career, Augustine wrote a treatise called The Freedom Of The
Will, and he never retracted that despite his strong teaching on
predestination. When he talked about the freedom of the will, what he
really meant was that you have a genuine will that operates according to
the way you want it to operate. In that sense, you could call that will
free. It’s a real, choosing will that has the freedom to do what it wants.
The Reformed doctrine of total depravity is not that we don’t have a
functioning will but that we have a will that always acts in accordance
with our fallen, depraved nature. We always freely will against God until
we are regenerated. Nonetheless, that’s not what most people mean
when they talk about the freedom of the will. Instead, they mean that
one is perfectly free to choose for God or against God. In that sense, it
conflicts with the doctrine of predestination.
- The doctrine of predestination, in response to that notion of the freedom of the will, says: “You don’t have the freedom to choose for God because your will is in rebellion against God. It’s only when God heals your rebellion—when He regenerates your heart and sovereignly turns you back to Himself—that you can know Him and pursue Him.”
- John Stott is helpful when considering election (predestination):
- The doctrine of election is a divine revelation, not a human speculation.
- The doctrine of elections is an incentive to holiness, not an excuse for sin.
- The doctrine of election is a stimulus to humility, not a ground for boasting.
- Read about redemption in Romans 6:15-23. What did Christ do for us according to these verses?
- Read Hebrews 9:22. How are we forgiven?
- Read Colossians 1:27. What is the mystery?
- Read Ephesians 1:11-12. Why do we receive an inheritance according to these verses
- Have you ever praised God for giving you with His Holy Spirit? Take time to thank Him right now.
- John Stott says: “Such Christian talk [of praising God’s glorious grace] come into violent collision with the man-centeredness and self-centeredness of the world. Fallen man, imprisoned in his own little ego, has an almost boundless confidence in the power of his own will, and an almost insatiable appetite for the praise of his own glory.” How have you seen this in your own life? What will you do to praise God this week?