"What God Has
Done For Us"
[A transcript of a
sermon given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia,
Ephesians 1:1-14, "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.
Grace be to you, and peace,
from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings
in heavenly places (or "things") in Christ: According
as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the
world, that we should be holy and without blame before him
Having predestinated us unto the adoption
of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the
good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of
his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
In whom we have [the] redemption through
his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches
of his grace; wherein he hath abounded toward us in all
wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery
of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath
purposed in himself: 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
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. That we should be to the praise of his glory,
who first trusted in Christ.
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 the Holy Spirit of promise, which is
the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the
purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." Six chapters, I hope
that you read through it during the week, the book of Ephesians. Familiarize yourself with it. It divides very easily. First three chapters are in regards to what
God the Father, Christ and the Holy Spirit have done for
us. The last three chapters, chapters 4 through
6 are in regards to our response to that.
First three chapters, doctrinal, last three chapters, practical. First three chapters about
the wealth that we have in Christ, the last three chapters,
about our walk in Christ.
Watchman Nee did an old commentary called "Sit,
Walk, Stand", because in the first three chapters we're
sitting in heavenly places in Christ. Chapter 4 begins 'Walk therein,
worthy of the vocation God has called you to.'
And the last chapter, of course, 'Stand' in regards
to the warfare that we have.
But the point is, we can't continue sometimes in
our walk if we don't know where we stand. We can't move forward without struggle if we're
not assured of where we stand in Christ.
Now we find ourselves easily condemned, easily sometimes
wanting to just throw up our hands and give up because of
our failings. And
I think it's as we grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ,
as we realize what is finished as far as God is concerned,
that then we're encouraged to get up again, to confess our
sins, to know he's faithful and just to forgive us and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and to continue, and
to go onward. You remember that Paul came to Ephesus in Acts chapter
19, and when he arrived there, there were a number of disciples. He noticed there was something different about
them and he asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit,
and they said, 'We haven't even heard that there is such
a thing as the Holy
Spirit.' He said, 'Unto what baptism were you baptized
then?' They said,
'Into John's baptism [John the Baptist's].'
And he explained to them the way of Christ more perfectly,
they were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, he laid
hands on them, they received the Spirit, and then Paul labors
there. We know he's
there at one point for three years.
You remember, so touched was the community that the
local craftsmen that made little statues of Diana of the
Ephesians, started an uproar because he was shutting down
the trades. The temple
to Diana was there, it was one of the seven wonders of the
world, it was the banking center of that part of Asia Minor,
and Paul so touched Ephesus and the outlying districts that
sales dropped off for these little idols of Diana because
people were believing in the true and living God, that it
started a riot, and Alexander the coppersmith was the man
there that started all of this trouble. But Paul as he writes now to the Ephesians,
it's a letter to a church that's not filled with correction
like the Galatian letter or the Corinthians.
This is a letter where Paul breathes out some of
the most remarkable things about Christ and his love, and
about their walk before the unsaved world and their testimony.
But it's important for us to take note of these first
three chapters, because this is about 64AD, it's about 5
years after Acts chapter 20, and within 25 years to 30 years,
John will be on the Isle of Patmos.
And Jesus there will dictate these letters to the
7 Churches which are in Asia. And the first one will be to the church at Ephesus. And the Lord will say there, 'I've observed
your works, you're filled with good works, you're
doing everything that a church should do.
You're trying those who call themselves apostles
that are not, you're filled with good works.
But, you have left your first love, what should be
driving and moving everything in the church has waned.
Not lost your first love, left your first love.
He says, "Remember therefore from where thou
art fallen", because Paul takes us up into the heights,
'Repent, do the first works, come back to your first love.'
That will be the call to this church, which is a
remarkable church. Within
25 years Jesus Christ has to say to the church, 'You've
got all the machinery moving, but there's no
more gas in the tank, there's no more fuel.
What should drive you is no longer there.'
I think it's important for us, because we are this
June at 20 years, since we started a Bible study with 24,
25 of us [ http://www.ccphilly.org
], 20 years have
gone by. And I think
it's always a great challenge to us, is: "Have we cooled? Have we taken things for granted?" Do we (are we saying to ourselves) 'Oh yeah,
we're in this chapter, Oh yeah, I heard that chapter before.' Do we realize that in churches across America, teaching
through the [entire] Scripture is not the rule, it's the
we appreciate the freedom that we have to come and sing
simple choruses and bring our heart before Jesus Christ
and ask him to speak to us and to open his Word? Do we appreciate the freedom that we have in
Christ? Or have we
grown up in it? We've been raised in the church, been around
(it) our whole life, and somehow we don't appreciate it
until we get out and get in trouble, the doctor says 'You
have cancer', till some trauma comes, and all of a sudden
we wake up, 'This is all the most
important thing in my life.
I have forgotten that, I have taken it for granted.'
Well so easily that can take place.
And that's why it's so important, these first three
chapters, to see the things that God has done for us.
Before we worry about what we need to do, it is essential
that we know what the Lord has done for us, so that our
heart may continue to be stirred. 'We love him because he first loved us', that's
what the Scripture says.
And certainly, Paul tries to develop that and hold
those things before us as we begin and as we look into these
first three chapters.
He begins, 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."
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
by the will of God. Important to know where you are and who you
are by the will of God.
You can cross out Paul and cross out apostle and
fill that in "yourself", by the will of God.
Where are you? You know, sometimes we have this foolish struggle
that one thing is more sacred than another. I mean, John, a carpenter by the will of God.
That's the way Jesus spent the first 30 years of
his life, he only had a public ministry for three and a
half years. Was one
more sacred than another?
When he came to be baptized in the River Jordan the
voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son in
whom I am already well pleased." Hadn't
preached a sermon, hadn't done a miracle. But he had fellowshipped with his Father, day
in and day out in the carpenter shop.
Suzie, a grandmother, by the will of God--who knows who's behind those
little freckles, whether it's a Whitfield or a Deborah or
a Ruth, and what influence you're going to be in their lives? A mom, can that possibly be by the will of God
when you see the pile of wash every day?
You know, it isn't the pile of wash, how big it is,
it's years long.
It just doesn't go away, it's endless, it
replenishes itself. [And you know, guys, it's not a bad thing to
help out your wonderful wife with some of those chores,
or even to share them with her, as much as is possible.
Check out the two "Love For
A Lifetime" transcripts in the Christian Growth
section of this site for a couple wonderful sermons on marriage.]
And it's decades sometimes before you see or hear the fruit of
your labor. "Thank
you, bye." Your
God is now my God. Long labor, sometimes. 'Paul, an apostle by the will
of God.' How
important it was for him to stand in those things, how important
for him as he, in Acts 20, his meeting with the elders from
Ephesus, on the beach at
Miletus, headed to Jerusalem, knowing that bonds and afflictions
await him. Saying,
'None of those things move me, that I might finish my course
with joy. I haven't ceased to warn you over a period of
two or three years that after my departure grievous wolves
will come in from the outside, not sparing the flock.
Men are going to come out of your own midst and draw
disciples after themselves instead of after the Lord.'
Then it says 'Commending them to the grace of God.'
Something that was certain in his
"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 that's to us, also.
'To the saints that are at Ephesus, to the faithful--well
you might say, 'That's not to me, I ain't faithful--no it's
not faithful in that sense.
It's to the believing, to the trusting--those who
believe or trust Christ. "To the saints at Ephesus"--you know, we've done a disservice
to this whole idea of "saints", Gr. Hagion, hagios, [Strong's # 40, Hagios:
sacred, (phys. Pure, morally blameless or religious, cer.
Consecrated): (most) holy, saint.] "to
be holy, to be a saint, to be set aside."
And we think that if you're a saint, you're on somebody's
dashboard or on somebody's front lawn.
The Bible says that you are saints. All those at Ephesus were saints. Look next to you, the person next to you is
a saint, you're a saint.
Your life has been set aside by God for his purposes,
holy. We're going
to see how that he's going to talk about that in these first
three chapters. "The
saints at Ephesus in Christ'--two
three chapters are written to those in Christ, the last
three are written to those at Ephesus. We have two addresses, you and I. In Christ and in Philly, and our problem is
in Philly, not in Christ, if you've noticed.
We have two addresses, we live in two realms. We're in Christ, and that's something that's
settled by the work of Jesus.
As far as God is concerned that's signed, sealed,
and delivered, we're in Philly, in Christ.
In traffic, around people, would be nice if there
was nobody on the planet but you, Huh? You'd never have any temptations or trials or
lose your temper.."behavior that is becoming saints
and worthy of our vocation", and that's the second
half. "To those
saints which are at Ephesus,
and to the believing in Christ"--that's us,
it includes us in this letter without any question. The greeting, verse 2, Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father and from the Lord
Jesus Christ"--always the order, grace then peace,
we'll never have peace without grace.
Grace, [ Strong's 5485, Greek: Charis.the divine
influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life.]
[You might say by this central part of the definition,
that the Grace of God is the cleansing influence of his
Holy Spirit acting on our lives, cleaning out the sin, giving
us the power to overcome sins we'd not be able to on our
own, and replacing that with God's nature, the fruits of
the Spirit described in Galatians 5:21-22. So grace, the grace of God comes first, and
then as a result of that, a great inner peace is the end
result.] the typical Greek greeting,
and then from the Jewish tradition, which was Shalom, but
here in the Greek, peace, [Strong's 1515, Eirene; peace;
prosperity:--one, peace, quietness, rest + set at one again.]
the peace, which means 'to put together' when something is
disjointed or something is disconnected, there's no peace. You know how that is. It means to bring together. Of course it's the believer in God, but peace.
'Grace, peace be to you
from the Lord Jesus Christ.'
Now the Lord, Kurios, [Strong's # 2962, Greek: Kurios,
kuros; supreme authority, i.e. controller.God, Lord, master,
title. He is the
Lord. Jesus is his
name. When you first
get saved, you think "The Lord Jesus Christ" is
like "Smokey the Bear", you think it's all his name. The "Lord" is who he is, Kurios,
he's Lord, not just Savior, he's Lord.
Jesus, Joshua, [Yeshua in modern
Hebrew, for the Messianics reading this], his name.
Jesus or Yeshua of Nazareth. [For example Judas Iscariot is really in Hebrew
"Judas Ish Keriot", which = "Judas, man of
Keriot", Jesus of Nazareth
would be in Hebrew Yeshua Ish Nazareth, or Jesus
man of Nazareth.] Christ is his mission,
Christ is the Greek for Messiah.
It's "The Lord" Yeshua Meschiach, the Lord
Jesus the Messiah. He's the one who has been prophecied, of the
line of David, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Judah,
the Jewish Messiah, according to the Hebrew prophets, born
of a virgin [Isa. 7:14]. [To see this awesome chain of fulfilled prophecies
of who Jesus is, the authenticity of his Messiahship, log onto http://www.UNITYINCHRIST.COM/prophecies/1stcoming.htm .]
is the One, the Lord, Kurios, Jesus the Christ.
"Grace be to you and peace, from God"--notice--"our
Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."