Ephesians 1:1-23

Ephesians 1:1-6


This is a short book, but if this was the only book of the Bible you had in your possession you would find it contains almost everything you need to know about serving God. This book contains the power of God, how to be saved, and how to serve the Lord.

Chapter 1 is more or less concerning God's viewpoint of salvation.

Chapter 2 is more or less concerning man's viewpoint of salvation.

Chapter 3 discusses the mystery of the local church

Chapter 4 talks about Christian unity.

Chapter 5 speaks about holy living.

Chapter 6 discusses domestic duties.

Verse 1, Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

These verses tell us Paul wrote this book, and he is an apostle of Jesus Christ. God called Paul, he didn't call himself. There is a purpose of Paul living.

To the saints at Ephesus - this speaks to the members to the local church at Ephesus, explaining to them the things they need.

There are others who are going to read this letter. We are a part of those people who will read this letter.

What is a saint? A saint is a child of God. A person that is born again, his sins washed in the blood of Christ.

Verse 2, Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace comes from God, and Christ. Peace also comes from the same source. We have everything we need for now and all eternity.

Verse 3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

We need to give glory to God, for it is through Jesus Christ that we have received all heavenly and earthly blessings. We ought to worship (bless) God, and understand that He has given us everything.

Verse 4,5, According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: {5} Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

To really understand what the Bible is talking about, we must put out of our minds every thought we have about this subject. Those thoughts we have fixed in our minds will cause us to have a biased viewpoint of this subject, and not consider all the Bible has to say.

The Bible means exactly what it says, doesn't it? God chose us, the saints and faithful in Christ Jesus, from before the foundation of the world. We are looking at salvation, from God's viewpoint, not the way men look at it. When God looks at salvation, He looks at those he has chosen from before the foundation of the world. But when men look at it they see those that have trusted Christ, and have believed on Him now. Both of those viewpoints are true. They don't contradict each other. Some folks believe in Sovereign Grace and that is true. I also know some folks who believe in man coming to Christ, and trusting Him that they might be saved. That is also the truth. The problem comes when men try to believe either Sovereign grace or responsibility of men.

Some people try to make God totally responsibility for salvation, not giving men any responsibility at all. Others try to make man totally responsibility for salvation, leaving God entirely out of the picture. Those are extremes. On one side are people that say God saves regardless of what men think, and on the other side are those people who say men can trust God regardless of what God thinks. Both are extreme viewpoints, and both are wrong. Why can't we believe both God's sovereignty and the responsibility of man.

This verse says God chose us before the foundation of the world. I can believe that because the Bible says that. Notice Verse 13, which states that men trusted in Christ. I can also believe that because the Bible says so. The Bible also says there is none good, no not one. Nobody will come. God is absolutely sovereign in who he calls and who He predestines to salvation. I don't know who the saved are going to be. I don't know who the called are. I don't know who the predestined are. That's really none of my business. That's God's plan, God's work. My part of it is to preach the gospel to every creature. To take the Word of God and talk to anybody that will listen. Then God will bless His Word, and God will draw sinners to Him. Verse 13 states that people had to hear, trust God, and then God sealed them with His holy spirit of promise.

Verse 5, Jesus Christ is the one that predestine the believers to come. He did this that they might come to himself. That they might belong to him.

Why did Jesus predestine sinners? For the good pleasure of his will. Because he wanted to, therefore he did with his own creation what he wanted to do. He owns the creation, therefore he can do with it what He wants. Nobody has any complaint coming because of these actions of God.

Verse 6, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Why? So we will be able to praise him more and more as we learn more and more about Him.

Ephesians 1:6-9

A warning concerning predestination and election.

First, predestination and election is the truth. They're in the Bible. The Bible also says that predestination and election are scriptural terms. Some people begin to think weird thoughts when the terms predestination and election are mentioned. They are afraid of these words, because they have been misused. We don't want to misuse any word, but we do want to use words correctly. Some people call themselves "Calvinists". Others object to the use of the word "Calvinists". Personally, I am not a "Calvinist". I am not a "baby baptizer", nor do I persecute believers. I do not hold that Catholic baptism as scriptural, as John Calvin did. We do want to understand that predestination and election is one side of the issue. The other side of the issue is that sinners are obligated to come to Jesus Christ as lost, hell bound sinners, trusting Christ to forgive them of their sinfulness, and give them eternal life.

There are some people that believe so strong in God's sovereignty, predestination and election that they don't think it is necessary to preach the gospel to sinners, or they don't invite sinners to come to Christ. That is complete error. On the other hand, there are those people that believe in human responsibility so strong they forget God is a sovereign God. That is error. So we don't want to go with those people who believe so strongly in God's election, they forget human responsibility or with those people that believe so strongly in human responsibility they forget who God is. We want to believe exactly what the Bible teaches. The Bible does teach predestination and election, for God is God. He is the king. He is the Lord. On the other hand, I want to be careful to preach the gospel to every creature, rich or poor, famous or not. All need to hear the gospel. We are not afraid to proclaim the gospel to a lost and dying world.

Verse 6, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

The reason we are saved. To give glory to God because of His grace. Grace is unmerited favor. Grace is receiving what I didn't deserve. I was a complete sinner with a blackened heart. I didn't seek God until He first sought me. I am saved that I might glorify the grace of God as I live. Eph. 2:8,9 - Saved by grace through faith. I belong to Jesus. He is mine.

Verse 7, In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Redemption means I have been purchased. I have been bought with a price. The price of my soul was not millions of dollars, silver or gold. The forgiveness of my sins didn't cost Jesus anything material, it cost him his sinless, pure blood that he shed for me on the cross of Calvary. Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit of God. He didn't have an earthly father, but a heavenly one. He has pure sinless blood that cannot sin. There is not a blood line on this earth that is able to give salvation, except the perfect blood line of God, through Jesus Christ. The blood line of families cannot save because all that blood is filled with utmost sin and wickedness, dooming to eternal destruction.

My sins have been forgiven just like all other saints on this earth. My wickedness was much, but Christ has forgiven me of my sins and my sinfulness.

Verse 8, Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

Verse 9, Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

God didn't leave us in ignorance concerning our salvation. We can know whether are saved or now. I know I'm saved because the spirit of God bears witness with my spirit that I am the child of God. He has made known to us the mystery of his will.

I can know the mystery of his will! That is a marvelous statement. I can know I am saved. I can know how to serve God in his church. I can know I am eternally saved. I can know holy doctrines. I can know how to conduct myself in this present evil world.

Some folks believe they won't know whether they are saved or lost until after they're dead. But that will be too late. The Bible says that after death, then the judgment of God. It's too late then. God has made known to us the mystery of His will.

Ephesians 1:9,10

Verse 9, Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

The mystery of his will. God's children are not in the dark concerning what they need to do. Eph. 5:17 - Be not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. What is God's will for your life? If you don't know, it's not God's fault. If you don't know God’s will, you can not follow God's plan for your life. We are not talking bad about anybody, but we are saying that God says He has made known to his children his plan.

God’s eternal purpose is to gather together all things in Christ, whether they are on this earth, or in heaven. Paul also states this point in Ephesians 2:20-21 and 3:9,10. God’s eternal purpose is that all believers will understand the workings of the church, and how all are to worship God in that church. The present situation in this world where there is a great diversity of churches, that teach a great diversity of doctrines, is not the will of God. The will of God is that all believers would understand the church and worship God in that church. The Bible “norm” is (1) salvation, (2) scriptural baptism and (3) continuing to worship and teach the “all things”: of the word of God through the church Jesus organized during his personal ministry. God knows nothing about the universal church, whether that church is visible or invisible. God knows nothing about saved people not joining a church. God knows nothing about saved people being unfaithful to the church of which they are a member. God knows faithfulness, wholesomeness, completion, and truthfulness in salvation, and service.

Some things God intends his children to do.

1. Be saved.

2. Be scripturally baptized by a local new testament Baptist church, that has the authority of God upon it. They ought to worship God in that local assembly.

a. A lot of people believe they can worship God at home just as well as in an assembly of people. If you don't worship at home, you won't worship at church. There is a difference in worshipping alone at home and worshipping at church in an assembly of believers.

b. The old, old story is told of a man who had dropped out of church, and was visited by the pastor. The man invited the pastor to sit by the fire and talk. The pastor wanted to speak frankly to the man about his missing church and how he would grow colder and colder toward God and His Word, but knowing the man was very sensitive and easily offended, he didn't know how to bring the subject up. Finally, he took the poker and pulled a red hot coal of fire out of the midst of the fire, placing it on the brick hearth. Slowly, the red hot coal began cooling off, and soon it was black and warm to the touch. The man then said, I understand, pastor, I'll be back in church.

3. Be a reader of the Bible. That's very plain and simple, but very true. How many of you read the Bible? You would read the T. V. Guide, and a lot of other magazines and books. There isn't anything wrong with reading a lot of other material, but don't forsake Bible reading.

4. Be a doer of what we read in the Bible. It's one thing to read the Bible, but another thing to do what it says.

5. This is the will of God.

The result of doing these things. The "hidden" will of God will be revealed to you when you do those things you know to do.

God has done all this for us that we might glorify Him and Him alone.

Verse 10, That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

There is going to be an end to time. Revelation says that time shall be no more. God has given a limited life to this earth. He did that because of sin. God originally created the universe to last eternally because there was no sin at that time. But because of sin, God has given a limit to the earth's existence. I don't know when the end of the world will come, but frankly, I believe it will come very soon. The immorality, increase of sin, and men saying that good is evil and evil is good lead me to this conclusion. People don't take the word of God and obey it, but say "I don't care what the Bible says, I'm going to do what I want to do." So men are turning from God, but many people haven't turned from God. What about you?

All things shall be gathered together in Christ. All the details of this isn't in these verses. All saved Jews that have died are with the Lord. All saved people that died before Abraham are with the Lord. All saved people that have died during the church age are with the Lord. We that are saved and alive now, will one day be gathered together to be with the Lord. There will be saved people on the earth when Jesus returns.

Another point is that as far as God is concerned, all his children, all his elect are already with him. In the mind of God, all the elect are already saved, because he has paid the price for their redemption. There is no such thing as a goat turning into a sheep at salvation, just as there is no such thing as a sheep turning into a goat because of sin and losing their salvation.

Verse 11, In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

We have obtained an inheritance. This speaks of rewards a person gained because of another's efforts. A death is implied. The death is Jesus who died for our salvation and our inheritance. The inheritance we have obtained is because of Christ, not because of anything we have done. An inheritance in this world normally goes from parent to child at the death of the parent. The inheritance is because of the work of the parent, not because of the work of the child. The child has done nothing to gain the inheritance, except being born into the family. It should also be remembered that the child did no choose to be born into the family. The conception of the child is because of the actions of the parents. The child has absolutely nothing to do with his conception.

Ephesians 1:11,12

Verse 11, In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Our inheritance in Christ Jesus.

1. The inheritance is not salvation, but salvation is a part of that inheritance. We don't receive the full inheritance now, but we receive salvation in this life. If you die without salvation you go to an eternal hell. You receive salvation in this life and an assurance of that eternal life, but we receive the inheritance in eternity.

2. Colossians 3:23 - The inheritance is a reward based on the Christian life, not on salvation. We life this life based on what the Lord says, not what I think I ought to do.

3. I Peter 1:3,4 - Verse 3 is salvation, which we receive in this life. Verse 4 declares that we receive salvation unto an inheritance that is in eternity. Salvation is one thing, but the inheritance is something else again. We receive salvation in this life and we are begotten again unto a lively hope because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, but the inheritance we receive in eternity is a reward that Jesus gives us for living the way He wants us to life.

a. Incorruptible inheritance - not incorruptible. There is a difference in the words. incorruptible means that it is good at the present time, but incorruptible means it is impossible for anything to ever be wrong with it. It never loses is luster.

b. It fadeth not away. It never loses its "new car smell". Our inheritance will always have a "newness" about it.

c. It is reserved in heaven for you. It has my name on it. Jesus put my name on it because He has predestinated me to it.

4. Romans 8:16 - The difference between salvation and the inheritance. Verse 17 we are heirs and joint heirs with Christ. What Jesus receives, I receive. Not because I am good, but because Jesus is good to me. God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son for my salvation, and by giving me salvation awarding me even more that I didn't deserve. I didn't deserve salvation, or the rewards I shall receive in eternity. I did obey God by serving Him to receive the rewards, but that doesn't entitle me to an inheritance or rewards. Rom. 12:1 - I ought to present my body as a living sacrifice unto God, which is my reasonable service. So of all the work I do for the Lord, I have done nothing extra. So when I receive a reward for obedience, I have received an inheritance.

5. Rev. 4:10,11 - The crowns that are received will be cast at the feet of Jesus saying He is worthy to receive glory, honor and praise. We do receive rewards, but because Jesus has predestinated them for us. Back to Eph. 1:11.

6. Men do in a symbol those things Jesus has already done. Have you ever heard of a will? It is a legal document a person makes previous to their death designating certain of their possessions to be given to others after their death. This is what Jesus has done. Jesus has predestinated certain of his possessions to go to those he desires. Those people that will receive possessions through a will are probably a part of the family. This is what Romans says, if children, then heirs. All of this God has predestinated, because they belong to him.

Verse 12, That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

Why am I saved? It does keep me out of hell, but that is not the primary motive. I am saved so I can boast of Christ. I don't deserve to be saved, but Jesus has saved me, therefore, I praise His name. Eph. 2:8,9 - We are saved by grace through faith, and all boasting of self is removed. All things I do in Christ, I do because He gives me the grace to do those things. He gives me the strength to breath His air, and move.

Ephesians 1:13

Verse 13, In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

I. Trust is the necessity of the unbelievers as they come before God, realizing they are totally without merit, but looking to Jesus Christ to forgive their sinfulness. For trust - tell the story of the fellow who walked across Niagara Falls on a tight rope. Everybody liked that, but when he invited somebody to climb into a wheelbarrow he would push across, nobody wanted to come. A lot of people believe in Christ like that.

II. Romans 10:10, 13-15 - Before a lost person can trust Christ, he must first hear the gospel

III. The gospel - I Corinthians 15:1-4.

IV. Sealed. Like the seal on our electric meter, or the seal on the semi-trailer door. Nobody has the authority to break that seal except the authority that placed that seal there.

God the Father does the sealing, God the Son is the sphere in which the sealing is done. God the Holy Ghost is the instrument of the seal.

Sealing speaks of:

1. Security.

a. Matt. 27:66 - When Christ was crucified, the Roman government put a seal on the tomb. This certifies that the Roman government says the body of Jesus belongs to them.

b. Eph. 4:30 - Grieve not the Holy Spirit whereby we are sealed unto the day of redemption.

2. Authenticity and approval of God upon that individual.

a. John 6:27 - A fruit of being sealed is the individual approves the meat of God. We are approved unto heaven, and there is nothing that can stop that.

3. Genuineness. John 3:33. This speaks of being the real thing. When the Roman government put its seal on Christ’s tomb, they were declaring that it was Jesus body in the tomb.

4. Certification of ownership. This seal declares that Jesus owns us. Rev. 7 - There are 144,000 Jews sealed during the tribulation period. This declares they are Christ’s. Don't you bother them!

When does a person receive this seal? - At the point of salvation.

1. John 14:17 - The Holy Spirit of God dwells in us at the point of believing.

2. Romans 8:9 - The spirit of God dwells in the heart of the believers. If any man doesn't have the spirit of God, he doesn't belong to Christ. He is lost.

3. Eph. 1:13 - The sealing takes place after we have believed. It is "after" even though it is just a split second later.

4. I Cor. 3:16 - If you are saved, your body becomes the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you.

Gal. 5:22,23 - The fruit of the spirit.

1. This is what the Spirit makes people do.

2. The Holy Spirit of God comes at the point of salvation and not after. It is not when a person speaks in tongues. See the above scriptures. Many people are saved who have not spoken in tongues. The overwhelming majority haven't spoken in tongues. When the apostles died, the gifts of tongues died with them. But today, we still have the sealing of the Holy Spirit unto salvation.

{14} Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

The earnest is a partial down payment on the whole purchase. It assures that the purchased possession belongs to the purchaser.

1. Notice that the earnest of our inheritance is a small part of the whole. We have now the Holy Spirit, but haven't seen Jesus, or his Father, or heaven in all its splendor. We have the promises of God, which we walk by faith to see. One of these days, we will see God in all His Holy, righteous splendor, heaven, the new heaven and new earth in all its purity. We won't need faith in that day, for we will see with our eyes the promises fulfilled. Now we have a two fold nature, that of good and that of evil. In that day, we will have a one fold nature, that of exceedingly good.

2. II Cor. 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

3. II Cor. 5:5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing [is] God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.

4. Notice that we are a purchased possession. It is not that Jesus will purchase us if our works are good enough. He has already purchased us and given us the earnest of our inheritance to prove to us that He has purchased us.

5. To the praise of his glory. Everything works to the praise of His glory, not to our glory. God has created everything in this world for Himself, and holds everything together, therefore deserves all the wondrous praise and worship possible.

{15} Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

Notice what Paul didn't hear.

1. He didn't hear that they were the fastest growing church in Asia.

2. He didn't hear that they had developed several innovative programs for "older citizens", or "married couples", or "divorced singles", or "young married", or "newly single", or "young people" or "businessmen", or "housewives", or "working wives", or any other group.

Notice what Paul heard about this church.

1. Their faith in the Lord Jesus. This is the very first and most important quality to be found in any saint of God. Without faith in the Lord Jesus, there will be no love for the saints. Notice they have faith in the Lord Jesus, not just Jesus. The word "Lord" means master. Jesus is their master, they are his servants. They obey Him, nobody else. Jesus is not with them physically, for He has died and gone to heaven. But He has left His Word (John 1:1-5) for them to follow. He has also left His Holy Spirit (the earnest of our inheritance) so they will have the power to follow Jesus.

2. Their love for all the saints. When these people love to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, the next step logically follows: they love other saints.

a. Matt. 22:36-40 - the greatest commandment in the law is to love the Lord Jesus Christ first, and the second is like unto it, to love the saints.

b. I John 2:9-11 - We are in darkness if we don't love the brethren.

c. I John 3:14 - If we don't love brethren, we don't have the love of Jesus.

d. I John 3:16,17 - Since we know that Christ died for us, we have a love for the brethren.

{16} Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

Paul thanked God for the faithfulness of these people, he didn't thank them for their faithfulness. Faith is a gift of God, and to live by faith is also a gift of God. No person has the ability to live for God without the grace of God upon them.

Notice there are some things we gain after salvation. I know we receive all the Holy Spirit at salvation, and all of salvation, but there are some things we must gain as we live for Christ. A summary of these things are recorded in verses 17-23.

{17} That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

All of us need more wisdom.

The only place we can really get wisdom is from God.

James 1:5 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Solomon asked God for wisdom, and he received it - we will to.

True wisdom comes from the Word of God, which reveals the knowledge of God to us. Some good books to read for wisdom is Proverbs and Eccl.

{18} The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

It is necessary that we understand what has happened to us in salvation. If we don't understand what happened at salvation, we won't have a place to begin our every day service to God. When we learn what we really were given at salvation, we will be totally amazed.

We have a heavenly hope. This hope is not just a fleshly hope, it is a sure hope because we already have all those things through Jesus Christ.

We serve a God that owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He is also able to control who has those riches and what they do with them. I am not saying that God will give us those riches simply because we could live comfortably with that money. I am saying that God will never let us go without what we need when we serve Him. It is absolutely no problem to God to so move in various circumstances to supply us with whatever we need. We need to trust God, not riches, or circumstances.

{19} And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

God is so great toward us that we simply can't understand how great He is. There is absolutely nothing He cannot or will not do, especially when those things show how great and mighty He is. Most of the time, we don't see the greatness of God because we don't step out on faith, believing His promises. We wait to see His power, then step out on "faith". (That is really not walking by faith, but walking by sight.) Therefore, we don't see the exceedingly greatness of His power.

{20} Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

God raised Christ from the dead - See Thompson Bible # 2414.

This is where our hope is - in the resurrected Saviour.

What will you do with the resurrected Saviour? In Acts 17:32 when Paul preached on Mars Hill, and spoke of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, some wanted to hear more before they made up their minds, and some followed Paul. What will you do?

Our hope is not in:

1. Heseod - Searched for a "Golden Age", but finally declared it was past and couldn't be recovered.

2. Plato - Searched and longed for "Utopia", which is an ideal state of perfect peace and harmony. He said, "It will never come."

3. Virgil was a song writer who longed for and wrote about a perfect society, but never saw it come to pass.

4. Some United States Presidents:

a. Roosevelt with his "New Deal".

b. Lyndon B. Johnson with his "Great Society".

5. Some cults:

a. Budda - He is dead, you can visit his grave.

b. Mohamadad is also dead, you can visit his grace.

c. You can look at those "gods" and say, "Here is my god, he is dead, and buried right here.

6. "New Age". This is the same old religion of the cults dressed up in 20th century language. Generally, this "religion" speaks about self improvement (becoming gods) through a series of lives (being born, living, dying and being born again to another life, (reincarnation). This happens over and over again. The catch is that they must be made aware of their past lives by another agent (some kind of mystic or other medium). This agent is Satan or one of his workers.

Our hope is in Christ who is set at the right hand of the Father.

1. Phil 2:9-11 - Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: {10} That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth; {11} And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father. God has elevated Christ to a position greater than another position because He is the only one is all creation to deserve it. I know those words don't adequately describe what God has done for Christ, but they are the only words I know. I refer the reader to Revelation 5:1-6.

2. Mark 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. Jesus went into heaven and sat on the right side of God the Father after He had instructed His church.

3. Luke 22:66-69, And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying, {67} Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: {68} And if I also ask [you], ye will not answer me, nor let [me] go. {69} Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. Here are religious people that are trained in the Old Testament. They are trained in the traditions of the Jews, but they don't know who Jesus is. They have missed the most important point of all religion - to know Christ.

4. Acts 2:25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Peter was preaching on the Day of Pentecost and declared the majesty of Christ from King David's point of view. He knew the Jews accepted David, and very reasonably approached the subject of Christ in this manner so the Jews would be more inclined to accept Him. No doubt this passage also speaks prophetically about Christ being on the right hand of God. This passage also declares that Jesus was at David's right hand, helping him every day in every way.

5. Acts 5:31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand [to be] a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. Peter and John have been called before the council of Jews to give account concerning the impotent man who was healed. He declares that Jesus has been exalted to be a Prince and Saviour to Israel, but they have rejected Him.

6. Acts 7:56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. When Stephen was being stoned, Jesus was so interested, He was standing (instead of sitting) at the right hand of God the Father. Of course, the Jews had rejected the doctrine of Christ's exaltation, therefore rejected what Stephen saw.

{21} Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

It is God that is exalted, not man, or ministers, or churches, or programs those churches have, or procedures developed to bring people to Christ.

1. John 3:30, He must increase, but I [must] decrease. John the Baptist was praised by Jesus Christ, and was the first that had the authority to scripturally baptize, preparing the material Christ used to organize His Church, but see what John said: John the Baptist was a staunch believer in Christ, and didn't mind glorifying Christ, or pointing people to Christ, even to the point of point people away from himself. This is as we should be.

2. I Cor. 3:4-7, For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I [am] of Apollos; are ye not carnal? {5} Who then is Paul, and who [is] Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? {6} I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. {7} So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Paul, Peter, and Apollos were very important preachers, but notice what Paul said about themselves: When people began to glorify the ministers who led them to Christ, Paul reproved them, declaring that men were nothing, even if they did lead people to Christ. Christ is the one who should receive all glorify, honor and praise.

3. Heb. 3:3, For this [man] was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. Moses was a great leader of Israel, but not as great at Jesus. Paul declares that Jesus is more exalted than Moses. Moses is a man whom the Jews almost worship. There is no man worthy of the praise Christ deserves.

4. Dan. 4:34-37, And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom [is] from generation to generation: {35} And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? {36} At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counselors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. {37} Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works [are] truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. Nebuchadnezzar was a great king of Babylon, but he came to understand that Jesus was the real king, the king of all the earth, and universe; the king that gives lesser kings their kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar is another man who must learn that God is greater than he. Nebuchadnezzar was a very great king who ruled much of the known world during his rule. He wouldn't admit this until he spent seven years in the field like an animal, but when that time was over, and God opened his eyes, he had no trouble giving glory to God for who He is and what He does.

5. I Tim. 6:13-16, I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and [before] Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; {14} That thou keep [this] commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: {15} Which in his times he shall shew, [who is] the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; {16} Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom [be] honour and power everlasting. Amen. There is coming a day when Jesus Christ will reveal Himself to the world for who He really is. Up to this point, He hasn't, but He will. I talked to a man the other day who didn't believe in hell. He didn't believe hell would be cast into the Lake of Fire. His reason: The smoke from their burning would be against the environmental laws! He didn't believe the end of the world was coming or that man had any obligation to be moral. That's okay, the man can believe what he wants to believe. But one of these days, Christ will be revealed as the only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

1. Luke 4:5-8, And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. {6} And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. {7} If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. {8} And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. These verses serve well to show that Satan has been given a kingdom by God. He gives the authority and power and right to reign to whomsoever he will. Jesus didn't rebuke Satan for this statement, so we know it wasn't a lie.

2. Rev. 13:1-9, And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. {2} And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. {3} And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. {4} And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? {5} And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. {6} And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. {7} And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. {8} And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. {9} If any man have an ear, let him hear. These verses make it very clear that men will worship Satan, and the one to whom he gives his world power.

3. II Thess. 2:1-4, Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, {2} That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. {3} Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; {4} Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. These verses continue to illustrate that Satan will rule in the temple of God, declaring to the world that he is God. The very first initiative of Satan was to sit in the sides of the North, Isaiah 14. He won't be allowed to sit in the heavenly throne of God, but will be allowed to sit in the earthly throne of God at Jerusalem.

6. Rev. 4:10-11, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, {11} Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. These 24 elders represent the saved of all ages, who will worship Christ, declaring there is none other to worship.

7. Rev. 17:14, These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him [are] called, and chosen, and faithful. They shall not succeed. There is a political, economic, and religious movement in the world today that shall seek to establish their own power, forcing God off His throne.

{22} And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

The first part of this verse continues the thought of the previous verses. There is no doubt that God has given all authority to His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Christ will retain that authority until the fulfillment of I Corinthians 15:24-28, Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. {25} For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. {26} The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. {27} For he hath put all things under his feet. but when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. {27} And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

There is no doubt that Christ is the head of the church. The question that faces us today is, "What is the church?"


I. Who is the book of Ephesians (this letter) written to? Eph. 1:1.

A. The church at Ephesus.

1. Paul wants this assembly of people to understand that Christ is the head of their church, that they are the body of Christ on this earth.

2. He is pressing them to understand the power of Christ in their assembly.

3. If we believe that all the saved of all the ages is the church of Christ (universal church), then we miss the fact of God's power which can work in us, in the local assembly.

B. To those churches who read the letter.

1. Eph. 1:1 - the letter is written to the church of Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus.

2. So the things in the letter to the church at Ephesus is also good for true churches today.

C. One thing we must remember is that in the days when the New Testament was written, there were no denominations, only churches.

1. Denominations came into being as time passed because of differences of doctrinal belief.

2. Some churches followed the Bible, and some varied from the Bible.

II. In order to really understand what a church is, we need to understand the difference between (1) an assembly, (2) a "religious" assembly, (3) and a church.


I. Definition of "assembly":

1. A gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place.

2. An assembly of people convened at a public place for the purpose of deliberating.

3. Any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance, tumultuously. This could be called a "mob".

4. An example of the Greek word "Ekklesia" translated into the English word "assembly" is found in Acts chapter 19. (Part II.)

II. Talk about the word assembly in Acts when the inhabitants of Ephesus met in an unlawful assembly to persecute Paul. This unlawful assembly wasn't called a church, yet the Greek word "Ekklesia" is used to describe them.

1. Acts 19:32 - The assembly was confused. Acts 19:32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together. The Bible states that God is not the author of confusion, I Cor. 14:33.

2. Acts 19:39 - But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly. This people were assembled together without the authority to do so.

3. Acts 19:41 - And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.


I. A gathering of religious people: (I call them religious, because they are. But their religion, as far as God is concerned, is wrong.)

1. Our society erroneously defines a church as any company of people who assemble together, observing their own religious rites, holding their own religious meetings, and managing their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order's sake.

2. The whole difference between a church and an assembly boils down to who is in charge. If anybody but Christ is the head of the assembly, (has given authority to exist) it is not a church in the eyes of God. A group of people may be assembled for a religious purpose, but if Christ has not given the authority to them, has not taken control of their hearts, minds, and activities, it is not a church.

3. Some examples of religious assemblies (who are in error) is given in Part II.

II. There are many times in the Bible that people are assembled together for religious purposes that are not a church.

A. (RELIGION IN A NEGATIVE SENSE) The enemies of Christ were assembled together in a "religious fashion" so agreement could be reached on how to go about killing Him.

1. Matt. 26:1-5 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, {2} Ye know that after two days is [the feast of] the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified. {3} Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, {4} And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill [him]. {5} But they said, Not on the feast [day], lest there be an uproar among the people.

2. Matt. 26:57, And they that had laid hold on Jesus led [him] away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.

3. Matt 28:12-15, And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, {13} Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him [away] while we slept. {14} And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. {15} So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

4. Mark 14:53 And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes.

III. (RELIGION IN A POSITIVE SENSE) Can People Work for Christ and not be a member of a local church?

A. It can also be noted that during the time God was dealing with the world through the Jews, that there were people who were not Jews that God used.

1. For example, Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, was used to bring Jerusalem into captivity, and was called the servant of God!

2. When Daniel was in Babylonian captivity, God used the eunuch to play a part in Daniel not defiling himself with the king's meat.

3. Rahab the harlot was a believer in God yet was outside the nation of Israel for a while.

B. Mark 9:36-40, And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, {37} Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me. {38} And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. {39} But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. {40} For he that is not against us is on our part.

1. We should give very serious consideration to those people who are working for Christ outside any local church.

2. This category would include interdenominational preachers, pastors, missionaries, and any other person who doesn't subscribe to any particular denomination or church.

3. Many people don't want to say these workers are not doing God's work, and in truth, we probably shouldn't.

4. It is very possible for people who do not belong to any local church, or our local church to do a work for God.

5. The disciples told Christ about some people who were casting out demons in the name of Christ, yet they followed not Christ. The disciples had rebuked them for doing this. Christ replied that the disciples should do nothing, and say nothing to or about these people. He said, they can't hurt us who are able to do such things. Nothing more is ever heard about these people, so we can assume they continued doing what they were doing outside the local church established by Christ. We can also assume that Christ has a use for people such as this, and allows them to continue in ignorance concerning his local church.

C. Phil. 1:12-18, But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things [which happened] unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; {13} So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other [places]; {14} And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. {15} Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: {16} The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: {17} But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. {18} What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

1. Here, Paul very emphatically states that he doesn't care how the gospel is preached, just that it is preached.

2. This is how we ought to be.

3. The spread of the gospel is very important.

IV. My conclusion is that there are people who are doing a work for God outside the local church. We are not supposed to be worrying about them or condemning them because they don't understand the doctrine of the local church. If we will simply take care of our own business, we won't have time to worry about them.


I. A definition of "church":

1. An assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting.

2. Examples are given in Part II.

II. What is a church? - a local assembly only - use the word church as it appears in the beginning of each book of the New Testament to prove this.

A. The Greek word Ekklesia has been translated "church" or "churches" a total of 112 times in the New Testament, and isn't found at all in the Old Testament, because there isn't a church in the Old Testament.

1. The nation of Israel is in the Old Testament, and the church is in the New Testament.

2. A very good way to study what a church is, is to study who the books of the New Testament were written to.

B. The word "assembly", translated from the Greek word "Ekklesia" is found 3 times in the New Testament.

C. Revelation 1-3 - Jesus used the word "church" to refer to individual churches, and the word "churches" to refer to several churches. This shows us that a church is a single local assembly, while churches is a group of local churches.

There is a difference between the family, kingdom and church. Different words are used to describe different things.

How can you tell which church is the true church? Go by the doctrines they teach. A true church will always glorify God more than anything else.

{23} Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.