SCION OF ZION INTERNET BIBLE STUDY - #1
Saturday - 5 May 2001
EPHESIANS CHAPTER 1, VERSES 1-3 KJV
By Dr. Ken Matto
Sometimes believers think that God has somehow abandoned us, or forgot about us, and I
guess sometimes we feel like Moses being on the backside of the desert. But God had never
forgotten even one of His children. He may allow us to be put on a shelf for a while to
either discipline us or to teach us; and as He did with Moses, to prepare us for
something. But the Book of Ephesians is going to teach us some very, very strong Truth.
And its going to refute a lot of pet Christian sayings that we have. For
example, one saying that is prevalent in Christianity [is] that you have a lot of people
running around a lot of Christians running aroundsaying something to the
effect of: "Well, Im just a sinner saved by grace." NO, youre NOT.
Youre MORE than a sinner saved by grace! And were going to see what the word
"saint" means and how that applies to the believer.
So just a little background on the Book of Ephesians or on the actual town of
Ephesus: The word "Ephesus" the town named "Ephesus" means
"desirable." And Ephesus is a place where Paul almost got stoned because he went
against those who were making the idols. If you recall, Ephesus was where the temple of
Diana stood. The temple of Diana was basically called "the cult of the virgin."
Now if we were going to look for a cult today that speaks of a virgin, we would see that
the base of such a belief has left Ephesus and has gone to Rome, teaching that Mary is a
"perpetual virgin" when the Bible in Mark Chapter 6, verses 1-4, speaks of Mary
having other children after the Lord Jesus Christ. So theres no possible way that
she remained a virgin. And when the apostle Paul went into Ephesus, what he did was he
went against the cult there, and they tried to have him killed.
And of course, if you read the account in Acts Chapter 19, you will see the
consternation that Paul caused. You see, whenever the Truth of God is preached, its
going to cause trouble. Always keep that in mind. If youre going through any type of
adversity because of bringing the Truth, thats part of the course; its going
to happen. In 1 Peter 4:1, God tells us to arm ourselves with the same mindset -- the same
mindset that the Lord Jesus Christ had when He was on this earth. He knew who He was [and]
He knew the message He was bringing. He had an authoritative message. And that
authoritative message has been handed down to us through the Bible. And we have the same
authority that the Lord Jesus Christ had in preaching the True Gospel, because when we
preach His Words, were going to be in the same boat. Theyre going to say to
us, "Who is this that has such authority?" and "Who preaches this that has
such authority?" Because when you hold up the Word of God and you say, "Thus
saith the LORD," the Word of God will confound and confront any false teaching that
is out there. And they will not be able to mount a case against the Word of God. So what
is going to happen is youll be on the outs. And thats what happens
to a lot of us.
Lets open our Bibles to Ephesians, Chapter 1, verse 1, and were going to
begin to look at some principles right at the outset of this book that I think is very
important to us. This book, Ephesians, teaches the Sovereignty of God in the entire life
of the believer, not just salvation. God rules in the affairs of men, and I believe it was
Benjamin Franklin who said that. I believe he said that the longer hes alive, the
more he sees that God rules in the affairs of men. He does. God rules in the affairs of
men, and He rules in this world even though the world doesnt seem to be going the
way we think it should. Yet it does. Yet the world is going just as God has planned it. So
we dont have to worry that something is going to happen that God is not aware of. We
just continue on trusting the LORD that all things will work out according to His Will and
according to His plan.
Now, lets take a look at Ephesians Chapter 1, verse 1. Now I did not type out
these verses for the simple fact that Im going to turn my Bible with you all, so
Im not ahead of you
So were kind of in concert, except I do have tabs on
the edge of my Bible and that kind of gives me a little bit of an advantage here
thats because you have to flip pages quickly like when youre listening to Dr.
Otero, you have to keep flipping, so you need those.
So in Ephesians 1:1, lets take a look at what the Bible teaches here: "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:" Now theres few
words in there we need to look at. First of all, we want to look at the word,
"will." Paul became an apostle not because he said, "Well, Im going
to go to seminary and Im going to take over a church, and hopefully someday,
Ill become a bishop and do what I want." No, Paul became an apostle -- "apostolon" or "one who is sent." And well know, of course, that Paul was
definitely sent by the will of God. So turn with me to John Chapter 1, verses 12 and
13. These passages are familiar, but as we go through these studies, Im going to be
using these different verses which are familiar to us, because people will sometimes be
coming in and out of this room.
And so we never know at what spiritual level anybody is at, just like when you preach to
a congregation. There may be some who are there for thirty years, very strong in the
faith; there may be some there who just got saved the day before. So we have to kind of
hit both ends, and we cannot take for granted whos mature and who isnt. What
we want to do is we want to include everybody and let the Holy Spirit begin to start
teaching the younger believers, and the Holy Spirit will reinforce the older believers
what weve already come to know. Of course the Bible --being absolutely unfathomable
(and we cant search the mind of an infinite God)-- will always render something to
us and give us something new whenever we ask the LORD to open our hearts and minds, as He
did the disciples on the road to Emmaus.
Now, in John Chapter 1, verse 12 and 13, we read: "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to
become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of
blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. " You see, Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.
People become saved by the will of God. Somebody doesnt wake up in the morning and
say something to the effect of: "Well, I think I want to become saved today." As
a matter of fact, if you look at this world, nobody in their right mind will want to
become saved, because it goes opposite of the world. I can almost guarantee that [for]
everyone whos listening here, that your troubles didnt begin in this world
until you became a Christian, because Gods Truth has gone against the grain of the
sinful world. And as believers, we always look up and say, "Is it me? Am I doing
something wrong, or is it the world?" And when we begin to look at the Scriptures, we
realize that because we are in concert with God, because we are in concert with His
teachings, we are able to realize that its because Im saved. That is why
Im running into problems in the world. So we see that the will of God is responsible
for making Paul an apostle. The will of God is responsible for making believers --true
Now, we see here the word "will." Now the word "will" may also be
translated "purpose" or "determination." You see that if you read it
this way: "Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ by the purpose or
determination of God." And of course, the purpose of God is for the believer to
send forth the Gospel on this earth. That is part of our responsibility: To send forth the
Gospel. Also, to disciple those who have come into the Kingdom, as the Lord said, "Lazarus, come forth," [John 11:43 KJV], He
did the actual resurrection. What He did was He raised Lazarus from the dead and He told
the people to take off the grave clothes "Loose him, and let him go" (John 11:44 KJV). And thats what we have
to do. You see, when a new believer comes into the church, they have those wrappings of
death all over them. And it is our responsibility by taking the Bible and taking the
teachings that God has given us, to strip that death cloth away, little by little. So we
see that Christ resurrects them, and its our responsibility to teach them, to remove
the death clothes, little by little, so they are no longer bound. They are free, as the
apostle Paul said, that the Word of God would have free recourse.
Now, he goes on to the second part of that verse. He says here: "
to the saints which are at Ephesus and
to the faithful in Christ Jesus." Of course the
word "saints" come from the Greek word "hagios", which also means
"holy, set apart." And of course, he also deals with sanctification. So those
three words are important because we are set apart holy unto the LORD, and we are saints.
Do you know that Satans people can also be holy unto Satan? set apart unto
Satan? --because the world is his people. But God set us apart with a true holiness.
Now, he says here: "
saints which are at Ephesus." Look at the last
part of the verse: "
the faithful in Christ Jesus." Now its quite
interesting that he breaks it up it almost seems to be a dichotomy here. He says, "
to the saints which are at Ephesus and
to the faithful
" Well, wouldnt we take
it that the saints are faithful? Well, hold on
maybe not. Its quite
interesting, and as I was going over this verse, I was thinking of something that had
happened in my life that I learned of, which brought this verse to light. It says here: "
to the saints
and to the
" Now, I remember some years ago: I
dont know if any of you are familiar with a place called Americas Keswick. I
used to be on the corporation board there, and they were going to build an activity center
for the Men of the Colony of Mercy. Its where people would go for a 90-day program
(they upped it to a 120-day now) to be free of any addiction. Back then it was
primarily alcohol, but now, it is addictions for drugs, sex, anything. And it was free to
the men. So they had asked us to look for volunteers to help raise money for the place.
And as I made over 100 phone calls, I ran up a $118 bill. And Im talking local calls
too. I received all kinds of excuses why these people couldnt help. You see, one guy
even said to me, "My time is too complicated." If I wasnt working for
Keswick, I was gritting my teeth and I wanted to say: "Who gave you the time? You
know, it is God who gives you the time.
So you see, here was a perfect example of a person being a saint, but not being
faithful. You see, 10 percent of the people do 90 percent of the work. I mean, you can be
a saint and not be faithful in the cause of Christ, because you may not be involved to the
extent others are --and may NOT want to be involved to the extent. Now I remember another
episode, a friend of mine was visiting a large church out in Lancaster County, PA. And
they were having a mission service in the evening. And they took up a collection for these
missionaries. Now there were approximately 200 people in attendance that evening. And they
took up a collection, and they collected $167
$167 for missions! You see, these are
the saints, but they were not faithful.
Im going to give you an example of faithfulness. This also comes from the Congo,
from a missionary I had supported for quite sometime. Theyre back home in the United
States, in fact, living in Warren, Ohio. And the fellows name is Gene Thomas
Gene and Sandy Thomas. They were working for United World Mission in the Congo. Now
sometimes we ask the question, "Why does God allow these things to come into our
life?" Let me give you the quick story on that. They had four boxes of tracts. They
were going to take it downstream to four different villages. These tracts came from a
place called World Missionary Press (Paris, Indiana). And what they did was, they sent out
these boxes of tracts in the language of these people. As they were going down this river,
the canoe tipped over and the boxes of tracts went 18 feet down in the river. And
were talking about an African river with snakes and crocodiles present. What were
they to do? Well, they got out of the water and Gene Thomas, the missionary, said,
"Well, I tell you what, we have to go down to the bottom and get those tracts."
So what the guide said, "Well, I tell you what, if you dive in, Ill dive in
after you." So Gene dove in. And he went down 18 feet. Now, were talking about
a man whos got a heart condition here. He went down 18 feet, got those four boxes of
tracts, brought them out to the surface, sun dried them, went on their way; and as a
result, that village got the Gospel that day. Now, here was an example of a faithful
saint. How many of us wouldve gone down 18 feet in the water and retrieved those
tracts? He was concerned, and he loved the African people so much that he wanted to be
buried in Africa. But circumstances unfortunately led to him having to come home he
and his wifeand right now theyre doing good itinerant ministry for evangelism
and missions. And thats very important.
But you see, the key in this verse here: "
to the saints
which are at Ephesus and to the faithful in Christ Jesus." The key is that you CANNOT be faithful, UNLESS you are committed or sold out to
the Lord Jesus Christ. And you have to be committed. With any type of ministry that you
are going to get involved in, you have to be sold out.
Lets go on to Ephesians Chapter 1, verse 2. And the Bible says there: "Grace be to you, and peace, from God our
Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."
"Grace" is the bestowing of something completely undeserved, such as salvation,
and stemming from that grace is the peace that surpasses all understanding. Peace in the
middle of turmoil. Peace in the middle of tragedy. When things are going wrong in our
lives, and we have that sense of peace knowing God is in absolute control. We can rest
back in that peace, the peace that comes from Calvary. As a result, we continue on in our
Christian walk without setback. People will look at this and theyll say something to
the effect of: "Well, how do you do it? How can you remain so peaceful in such a time
of turmoil in your life, in such a time of tragedy?"
One of the fellows that comes on Reformed Watchmen (a Christian list/chat group) --Mike
Krall-- gave us an update of this fellow, Lucas Owen, who passed away, I believe from the
cancer that he had. And he [Mike] was wondering how to minister to the parents. And the
parents of course were putting their faith in holy water, in saints, in Saint Jude, and
all of these things. And I told Mike, defer the conversation to a later time because
emotions will be running high. There will be no peace in that family until the Lord saves
one of them, and then there can be good conversation. "Peace" comes from the
Greek word "eirene", which means a "cessation of hostilities." We have
in Romans 5:1, a beautiful passage, which teaches us what peace is: "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ:" It is through the
Lord Jesus Christ that we can approach God the Father because we have the peace, that
"eirene," that binding peace that binds us together with the Lord Jesus Christ.
And thats the peace that passes all understanding. How could a holy, just God take
someone from the slime pits of sin and say, "Im going to have peace with
you." And thats peace right in the middle of hell. And He brings us out of that
hell pit. And He sets us on Higher Ground.
Now some time ago, back in the 1930s and 40s, there was a theological
discipline, called "irenic
theology." Now irenic theology (of course the
word "irenic" comes from the Greek word, "eirene") --or
"peace" theology-- attempted to bring harmony among Christianity and to do away
with all the factions. Of course, this theological thought was the forerunner of
todays ecumenical movement. But this irenic theology (pacifist theology) wanted to
do away with all kinds of doctrinal dogma --things that separate us-- and instead bring us
to harmony. Well, if they really want to do that, it can be accomplished. Its very
simple: Do away with all the charismatic stuff, do away with all the free-willism, do away
with all the other amenities, the creeds and traditions, and go right back to the
Scriptures, and teach whats in the Scriptures, and you will have harmony among the
church. That means no matter what church you walk into, youll hear the True Gospel.
But that will never happen. Because one way a church holds to their people is to create
some type of plan and some kind of "dos and donts" they have to
adhere to, so this way, they believe they have pleased God. Well, unfortunately,
theres a lot of stuff out there that makes you happy, but its against the Word
Another part of that passage where it says: "Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father." As a matter of fact, it has been said that Paul is using the word,
"grace" addressing the Gentile Christians and "peace" addressing the
Jewish believers who had come into the church. Thats fine, I guess thats
acceptable. Then he goes on to say:
"Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father." Now, "our Father." Notice how he says "our Father" --NOT
"the Father of the world." God is the Father of the world in the arena of
creation, but Hes not the Father of all in terms of salvation. One cannot have the
Father, unless they have the Son. Turn with me to 1 John 2:23. Well look at this
verse and another verse. In 1 John 2:23, we read this: "Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father:
(but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also." Many claim that the Jews are Gods chosen people. But they are not because
they reject the Son. If you reject the Son, you dont have the Father. You have to
come to the Father through the Son. Thats why the Islamics cannot have salvation,
because theyre not going through the Son to the Father. They see the Son as a
prophet, as nothing more than a preacher. And you must acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ
as the Son of God, as eternal God, as the only way in which a person can become saved. In
1 John 5:12, let us look at this. Its another passage that straightly teaches that
you have to come to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. You see, you have to come through
the Cross. You cant go around the Cross, you cant divert from the Cross to try
to do a work in place of the Cross. All youre doing is spitting in the face of God
and spitting in the face of the slain Lamb. He says, 1 John 5:12: "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that
hath not the Son of God hath not life." Now
theres millions of people on this earth that have life, but they dont have the
Son. What hes talking about here is he that hath the Son hath ETERNAL life, and he
that hath not the Son of God hath NOT ETERNAL life. You must come through the Son to the
Father, that you may have eternal life.
Okay, lets go back to Ephesians Chapter 1. And now we begin to get into a section
of Scripture which is one my favorite string of verses here, because Paul begins to show
us in the next ten verses what God has done for us, of what Christ has attained for us
with the salvation He has given us. I really feel sorry for believers --and whether they
be in churches around the world or wherever-- who really do not know what God has done for
us, how Christ has won salvation for us, and it doesnt stop there. There are so many
tenets of salvation that are found in the Bible, and we really need to dissect these and
go and look at what God has done for us.
In Ephesians 1:3, we read here: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in
Christ:" Now, the word "places" is not
in the original, but it fits in concert with it in the heavenlies, in the "heavenly
places." It does add to the understanding. Now, the word "bless" in this
particular verse, it means "praise" it means "to give praise."
And its the word "eulogeo". And that word "eulogeo," it means
"to extol" or "to speak well of." Have you ever gone to a funeral and
somebody did a eulogy? Whether the person deserved that eulogy or not, you always hear,
"Yeah, he got a nice send off." Well, whatever that means. But that means that
the preacher just got up there and for 50 bucks, he told the family what they wanted to
hear: "Oh, he was a nice guy
" I remember years ago in Perth Amboy, a
friend of mine was telling me that he worked with someone who had a friend that had died
and my friend asked him, "Well, was your friend saved?" And he said, "Nah,
I dont know if he was saved or not, but all I know was
" And he crossed
his fingers and said, "
he was like this with Father Kerr." Father Kerr was
one of the local priests down in Perth Amboy. So he tried to believe that because he was
friends with a priest, that was going to guarantee him salvation. Of course my friend
showed him the better way. I dont know whatever happened to that person, to this day
I dont know. But anyway
So it ["bless"] is a word "to praise." And we praise God and we
speak well of God. We extol Him, we speak joyfully of Him, happily of Him --because He is
our Heavenly Father. We never walk around with a long face and say, "Oh my, oh
yeah, God, Hes a judge, Hes mean
" NO, we never walk around
like that, and we never put God down especially towards His children. Towards the
unbeliever, Hes the judge, and Hes going to be the worse [judge] the
unbeliever has ever faced. But to His children, Hes an eternal, loving, blessed God.
And He has the Fathers heart, because He knows what sin does to His children. He
knows when we get mixed up in the middle of sin that Hes right there to throw those
big fatherly arms around us, to guide us, and to hold us, and to love us.
Now, it says here: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in
Christ:" Now the word "hath blessed"
it can be translated, "having blessed." Its the Aorist tense, and
it means that it has a beginning, but it never speaks whether something is going to be
complete, or does not reveal duration. So its speaking here of a specific action,
"hath blessed us." Basically, this tense is ongoing action in contrast to the
perfect tense which is the tense of completion. The Aorist tense continues on. And that
means that God is continuing to bless us. Even though hes having blessed us already
--He named us before the foundations of the world.
In Ephesians 2:10, we see that Hes already prepared works for us to do. Hes
already blessed us with so many things, and each day as we go on, we discover these
blessings, little by little by little. So we want to think of the Aorist action here as
the blessing, as the tense of ongoing action. Its a blessing of ongoing action. And
this is something beautiful that comes into your life and into mine: That Gods
blessings continue each day. And I think that its wonderful that God puts these
things in the Bible for us to see. Unfortunately, sometimes what we do is that we skip
right over these beautiful Truths, and we allow ourselves to walk around in dust and ashes
in sackclothwhen we dont have to. Hes going to give us the joys,
the happiness, the holiness, the joy of holiness!
Now the next word he says, hes "blessed us with all spiritual
blessings." Now, if you notice this word, "spiritual." The word
"spiritual" tells us that its not physical, because simply, the
believers realm is in the heavenlies. You see, our blessings are going to come when
we are going to be in Heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ. Look at Ephesians 2:6, "And hath raised us up together, and made us
sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:"
Whenever we look and expect physical blessings, such as health, wealth, and prosperity,
were looking in the wrong realm. Remember what the Lord Jesus said: "
My Kingdom is not of this world." [John 18:36a KJV]. Our rewards, our blessings are not of this
world. Oh, yes, God can send a new car our way, or God can bless when somebody may become
sick, and God may bless us and allow us to be healed or something like that. And we may
plan an outing, and God may give us a beautiful day for it. And yes, those are definite
blessings, and I wouldnt take that away. But the blessings that He has for the
believer, we dont know what they are. We cant comprehend it, because we cannot
comprehend eternity. God gives us a little insight into these things like Revelation 21,
something to the effect of a crystal sea made of glass, or of gold. How do we know what
these things are? Even in those particular terms, were befuddled. So He says here
Now its not wrong to pray for daily substance, or for anything we might think we
need, but it has to be in concert with the will of God, and we must accept His answer no
matter what it is. Turn with me to James 4:3,4. And I think we get a little insight here
as to why we pray and unfortunately, our prayers seem not to be answered. But Im
going to give you "4 Ds" of answered prayer. See, God answers prayer
--always, 100 percent. He never allows a prayer to go past Him. In James, Chapter 4,
verses 3 and 4, it says this: "Ye
ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." Then He says: "Ye
adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with
God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."
You know, youve got a lot of these charismatic churches. Everybodys praying
for wealth and prosperity and all of this. Why? They always say, "Well, Im
going to help my friends." No, the first thing youre going to do is go on a big
vacation, youre going to go and buy yourself a Lamborghini, youre going to go
and quit your job and so you have absolutely nothing to do. These are the things that
youre going to do with the money. I got a kick out of just a couple of weeks ago
when IWON.COM handed a guy 10 million dollars in Atlanta, Georgia. I love to read the
"woe is me" comments that some people have. They were so mad that this guy won
and they said "Oh, it should be people that need it" and things like this. And
well, of course we know that money doesnt go to people that need it. Money goes to
people that dont need it. Thats obvious. Thats part of the world. But
everybody was just "woe is me" because they didnt win. You see, they were
looking for blessings in all the wrong places. They were looking for blessings on this
earth. They were looking for money, thinking that money is going to satisfy. Some of the
most miserable people on earth are the wealthy.
And God tells us in James Chapter 4 that you can ask, but the only reason youre
not receiving it is because youre asking amiss, just so you can consume it upon your
lust --just because you want to take the blessings I give you, and use it for what you
want. And this is why God goes on in verse 4 to say "adulterers and
adulteresses." You know, every time we go out of the revealed will of God, even as
believers, we become an adulterer and adulteress. This is basically spiritual adultery.
And God tells us thats friendship with the world. Of course, if Im praying for
a million dollars, thats friendship with the world, because what if God granted you
that million dollars? You know how many temptations youre going to have? A lot of
temptations. Thats why God blesses His children in the spiritual realm, because it
gives us strength, it prepares us for each day. And the spiritual blessings never, never
Now, I want to give you "4 Ds" of answered prayer. Theres a lot of
people out there who say, "Well, I prayed, but God didnt answer my
prayer." Well, God answers prayer. First of all, the first way that God answers it is
Direct a direct answer. You may be praying for something and you get a direct
answer. The second way that God answers prayer is that He Delays the answer. And that time
of delay is to help you have faith and trust in Him, and to wait upon the LORD.
"They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength
" [Isaiah 40:31 KJV]. Isnt that something? We think waiting on
the LORD doesnt do anything for us. But God says you wait upon me, youre
strength will be renewed. Thats because when you wait upon the LORD, you wait and
know Who our God is. Waiting is an investment. Then the next "D" of answered
prayer is Disguised a disguised answer to prayer. How many times you pray for
something or for someone, and someone shows up in your life and theyre the worse
person to work out something in your life. You never know. And then of course, the fourth
"D" is Denied. God knows what we need when He denies an answer to prayer. So
sometimes we dont like to accept that, but the bottom line is God answers prayer.
Well, its 8:43PM here in beautiful New Jersey. What Im going to do is
Im going to stop here, because we get into Ephesians Chapter 1, verse 4 next week.
And I want to get into that a little bit, about Abrahams seed, and I want to go into
"before the foundations of the world" and really start getting into the meat of
these passages. Hopefully, well get through about three or four verses next week.
All right, until then, may the LORD richly bless you. As Dr. Cook would say: "Walk
with the King today and be a blessing!"