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  • Ephesians

    Please read the following passage in Ephesians and pray about it. Then we will study the great promises that The Lord gives us in it.

    Ephesians 1 (NIV)


    1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

    To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:

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

    Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ


    3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

    11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

    Ephesians 1 Living Bible (TLB)


    1 Dear Christian friends at Ephesus, ever loyal to the Lord: This is Paul writing to you, chosen by God to be Jesus Christ’s messenger. 2 May his blessings and peace be yours, sent to you from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

    3 How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every blessing in heaven because we belong to Christ.

    4 Long ago, even before he made the world, God chose us to be his very own through what Christ would do for us; he decided then to make us holy in his eyes, without a single fault—we who stand before him covered with his love. 5 His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to!

    6 Now all praise to God for his wonderful kindness to us and his favor that he has poured out upon us because we belong to his dearly loved Son. 7 So overflowing is his kindness toward us that he took away all our sins through the blood of his Son, by whom we are saved; 8 and he has showered down upon us the richness of his grace—for how well he understands us and knows what is best for us at all times.

    9 God has told us his secret reason for sending Christ, a plan he decided on in mercy long ago; 10 and this was his purpose: that when the time is ripe he will gather us all together from wherever we are—in heaven or on earth—to be with him in Christ forever. 11 Moreover, because of what Christ has done, we have become gifts to God that he delights in, for as part of God’s sovereign plan we were chosen from the beginning to be his, and all things happen just as he decided long ago. 12 God’s purpose in this was that we should praise God and give glory to him for doing these mighty things for us, who were the first to trust in Christ.

    13 And because of what Christ did, all you others too, who heard the Good News about how to be saved, and trusted Christ, were marked as belonging to Christ by the Holy Spirit, who long ago had been promised to all of us Christians. 14 His presence within us is God’s guarantee that he really will give us all that he promised; and the Spirit’s seal upon us means that God has already purchased us and that he guarantees to bring us to himself. This is just one more reason for us to praise our glorious God.

  • #2
    4Long ago, even before he made the world, God chose us to be his very own through what Christ would do for us; he decided then to make us holy in his eyes, without a single fault—we who stand before him covered with his love. 5 His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to!
    To listen to a lot of teachers one might think that God created man in perfection, and when Adam sinned, He had to go to plan B and send His Son to pay for our sins. (Now Adam was created innocent of any sin, and had the ability to choose to sin, or not to sin.)

    That is far from the truth. We see instead in the above passage that Long ago, even before He made the world, God chose us to be His very own. So we did not chose Him, but He chose us, even before He created the world.

    He chose us BEFORE He created the world. So that would mean that we existed before the world was created. If one reads Genesis 1 with care, and does not assume the popular interpretations in it, then we see that God does NOT say when He created the spirit of man, but instead says when He breathed the spirit into man.

    If we were chose BEFORE God made the world, then we had to exist for God to chose who would be His.

    Also it means we were chosen before we had done anything good or bad. Of course God can see the future as well as the present and the past.

    Can this be true ? Well let us look at John the baptist:

    Luke 1: 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid,Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink,and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.
    So before John had done anything good, or bad, God filled him with His Holy Spirit. If one reads the chapter with care they will see that both of John parents were also filled with The Holy Spirit.

    Now we also see this in the Ephesians 1:

    13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
    We see that The Holy Spirit is God's seal and guarantee that we are saved and are His.

    So John was saved and was God's own before he was born. - Now this is not the popular belief of the church and certainly not the world.

    The world says that a baby is nothing but a lump of cells, that is not really a person before birth, and so it can be killed.

    But this truth reveals that abortion is a far more serious sin that even most Christians are aware of.

    Think of how serious of a sin it would have been if John's parents would have aborted him.

    This nation has murdered millions of babies and some were chosen by God to be His very own.

    Is it any wonder that we have had the disaster in Texas and another one headed for our nation.
    Last edited by Lou Newton; September 7th, 2017, 08:10 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      The idea that God chose us IN CHRIST before He created the world need not imply humans in any state or form existed before their physical birth on earth. It is usually understood that what was known about individuals was a result of the foreknowledge of God.

      My understanding is that God chose the “WORD” before the creation as part of the plan of redemption. God did not choose every individual but God knew His own plan and predestined whoever would become IN CHRIST. Just as verse 9-10 reads: “he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment— to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

      What is foreknown and predestined and elected happens IN CHRIST rather than in unborn “souls” in eternity past.

      John the Baptist is an Old Covenant example. The New Covenant does commence during the life of John. God’s plan of redemption has at times equipped selected men to usher the plan forward. King Saul being another example of being one who ushered the plan forward. It is hard to make a case that King Saul was saved.

      Any Old Testament example of the divine act of the filling of the Holy Spirit does not necessarily equate with salvation. To the contrary, the most notable examples seem to be to equip the individual to usher the plan forward. This would be the case for the parents of John and the Lord Jesus. Not the entire remnant of Judah received the Holy Spirit when the parents of John did. We know that the 12 apostles did not receive the Holy Spirit even while John was preaching. Even Mary had to come to believe.

      As I understand the scripture the filling of the Holy Spirit was not available to all people until the Day of Pentecost. Part of the story in the Book of Acts is the process of the Church coming to understand the role and availability of the Holy Spirit.

      Even today, we seem to observe some individuals who are in a specific plan of God from their birth. These are not to be considered normative expectations for the rest of us.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by glen smith View Post
        The idea that God chose us IN CHRIST before He created the world need not imply humans in any state or form existed before their physical birth on earth. It is usually understood that what was known about individuals was a result of the foreknowledge of God.

        My understanding is that God chose the “WORD” before the creation as part of the plan of redemption. God did not choose every individual but God knew His own plan and predestined whoever would become IN CHRIST. Just as verse 9-10 reads: “he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment— to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

        What is foreknown and predestined and elected happens IN CHRIST rather than in unborn “souls” in eternity past.

        John the Baptist is an Old Covenant example. The New Covenant does commence during the life of John. God’s plan of redemption has at times equipped selected men to usher the plan forward. King Saul being another example of being one who ushered the plan forward. It is hard to make a case that King Saul was saved.

        Any Old Testament example of the divine act of the filling of the Holy Spirit does not necessarily equate with salvation. To the contrary, the most notable examples seem to be to equip the individual to usher the plan forward. This would be the case for the parents of John and the Lord Jesus. Not the entire remnant of Judah received the Holy Spirit when the parents of John did. We know that the 12 apostles did not receive the Holy Spirit even while John was preaching. Even Mary had to come to believe.

        As I understand the scripture the filling of the Holy Spirit was not available to all people until the Day of Pentecost. Part of the story in the Book of Acts is the process of the Church coming to understand the role and availability of the Holy Spirit.

        Even today, we seem to observe some individuals who are in a specific plan of God from their birth. These are not to be considered normative expectations for the rest of us.
        Glen wrote:
        As I understand the scripture the filling of the Holy Spirit was not available to all people until the Day of Pentecost. Part of the story in the Book of Acts is the process of the Church coming to understand the role and availability of the Holy Spirit.

        I do not see how this is possible to be true.

        John 20

        21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

        When The Lord said let there be light, there was light. Certainly when The Lord said “Receive the Holy Spirit, they received The Holy Spirit. This is on the day Jesus rose from the dead.

        Luke 1
        The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold


        5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

        8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

        11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid,Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink,and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

        .................................
        Mary Visits Elizabeth


        39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

        67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:

        Abraham is called the father of our faith in the Holy Scriptures. What faith are we. We are Christians. How do we become Christians, By being born again of the spirit. How are we born again of the spirit, but the infilling of His Holy Spirit.

        No one can be a Christian without being filled with His Holy Spirit. How could Abraham be The Father of our faith without being born again ? How could he be born again with being filled with The Holy Spirit ?

        Comment


        • #5
          These are the issues correctly presented just as you see them.
          Part of the explanation is in how the chronology of the gospels are understood
          and part is in how saving grace is applied before and after the ascension
          and when the Old Testament saints were resurrected.

          Originally the gospels were stand alone texts and not part of a New Testament.
          Each recorder apparently attempted to record what seemed necessary rather than a strict chronology.
          The intended audience, it would be assumed, would not have the Book of Acts etc.
          Therefore, what was necessary form the Book of Acts had to be worked into the gospel.
          There is not an explanation which satisfies everyone's human reason.
          Each person's determination is made to comply with their theology.

          All the examples you present for the filling of the Holy Spirit must be assessed as normative for the remnant or are they just those selected to usher the plan forward. It depends upon if one assume that the filling of the Holy Spirit has the same inferences to salvation before and after the ascension. You do, but I don't. I doubt very much if our curiosity will be answered in heaven, or that we will even desire to know since the glory overshadows everything.

          The issue with which seems unbiblical to me is that humans existed before the creation.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by glen smith View Post
            These are the issues correctly presented just as you see them.
            Part of the explanation is in how the chronology of the gospels are understood
            and part is in how saving grace is applied before and after the ascension
            and when the Old Testament saints were resurrected.

            Originally the gospels were stand alone texts and not part of a New Testament.
            Each recorder apparently attempted to record what seemed necessary rather than a strict chronology.
            The intended audience, it would be assumed, would not have the Book of Acts etc.
            Therefore, what was necessary form the Book of Acts had to be worked into the gospel.
            There is not an explanation which satisfies everyone's human reason.
            Each person's determination is made to comply with their theology.

            All the examples you present for the filling of the Holy Spirit must be assessed as normative for the remnant or are they just those selected to usher the plan forward. It depends upon if one assume that the filling of the Holy Spirit has the same inferences to salvation before and after the ascension. You do, but I don't. I doubt very much if our curiosity will be answered in heaven, or that we will even desire to know since the glory overshadows everything.

            The issue with which seems unbiblical to me is that humans existed before the creation.
            Hi Glen, I have certainly never once said that humans existed before the creation. I do not know where you get that idea.

            Also the time in which the gospels were written has nothing to do with the fact they are either true or not. The gospels record the very words of our dear Lord. The Lord Jesus definitely said this to His disciples:

            21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

            So if one simply believes the simple words of our dear Lord instead of church dogma, which was passed down from the Popes, we have no choice but to believe that The Lord Jesus filled His disciples with His Holy Spirit the very day He rose from the grave.

            Also no one believes that John the Baptist was born after Jesus died on the cross. The gospels simply tell us that he was born before Jesus was born of a woman. So the gospels again simply tell us that "he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born." We have the choice of believing church dogma, or believing what is plainly written in The Holy Scriptures.

            There is no place in the Holy Scriptures that says the men that followed God in the OT did not have the Holy Spirit. This is simply a tradition of men as far I can see.

            To think that the prophets of old wrote The Old Testament without being filled with The Holy Spirit , would bring the validity of it into question. Is the OT the words of God, or of men? If it is the very words of God, then how did those words get into the minds of these men who wrote it down?

            Peter, who was filled with The Holy Spirit, tells us how they wrote those words:

            2 Peter 1
            Prophecy of Scripture


            12 So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body,14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.

            16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

            19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable,and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.20Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

            Peter is simply pointing out that him and the disciples are writing the words of the NT the same way the prophets wrote down the OT when he says they ALSO have the prophetic message.

            All the prophets of the OT wrote the same way the prophets of the NT. They were all filled with His Holy Spirit.

            Why would we follow a man who does not have the knowledge or wisdom the be saved Himself. Why would we follow men that are not even saved. Without The Holy Spirit men are fools. With The Holy Spirit men become wise. Is there some other way to see wisdom ?

            There is one and only one way to be saved. That is to trust God to save you. God has never changed. When a man humbles himself and confesses his sin and then gives his life to God, and makes God His King, God saves that man by a new birth by His Holy Spirit.

            The OT declares many men of old to be righteous. There is one and only one way to be righteous. That is to trust God to make you righteous by covering you with His blood and filling you with His Holy Spirit. If the blood of Jesus could not reach back in time to the OT prophets, then how can it reach forward in time to us ?

            There is but one way to salvation and The Holy Scriptures declare what that way is from the first page until the last.
            Last edited by Lou Newton; November 17th, 2017, 10:38 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by glen smith View Post
              The idea that God chose us IN CHRIST before He created the world need not imply humans in any state or form existed before their physical birth on earth. It is usually understood that what was known about individuals was a result of the foreknowledge of God.

              My understanding is that God chose the “WORD” before the creation as part of the plan of redemption. God did not choose every individual but God knew His own plan and predestined whoever would become IN CHRIST. Just as verse 9-10 reads: “he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment— to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

              What is foreknown and predestined and elected happens IN CHRIST rather than in unborn “souls” in eternity past.

              John the Baptist is an Old Covenant example. The New Covenant does commence during the life of John. God’s plan of redemption has at times equipped selected men to usher the plan forward. King Saul being another example of being one who ushered the plan forward. It is hard to make a case that King Saul was saved.

              Any Old Testament example of the divine act of the filling of the Holy Spirit does not necessarily equate with salvation. To the contrary, the most notable examples seem to be to equip the individual to usher the plan forward. This would be the case for the parents of John and the Lord Jesus. Not the entire remnant of Judah received the Holy Spirit when the parents of John did. We know that the 12 apostles did not receive the Holy Spirit even while John was preaching. Even Mary had to come to believe.

              As I understand the scripture the filling of the Holy Spirit was not available to all people until the Day of Pentecost. Part of the story in the Book of Acts is the process of the Church coming to understand the role and availability of the Holy Spirit.

              Even today, we seem to observe some individuals who are in a specific plan of God from their birth. These are not to be considered normative expectations for the rest of us.
              Besides the pleasures of the world/flesh, the worst trap that humanity has is religion. It's easy to see for someone who's not bound to as much as most. To me, this is what I hate in the church, and will rejoice when it falls. Whether we existed or not, God is saying he saw it and chose us to be his. The argument is the same as it always is; Abraham was a Christ follower just like people today are. The old testament and new testament are the same in the way that they both talk about Jesus, one before the cross, and one after the cross. Religion is the mighty trap that blinds people's eyes and ears from seeing the truth.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Lou Newton View Post
                Hi Glen, I have certainly never once said that humans existed before the creation. I do not know where you get that idea.

                He chose us BEFORE He created the world. So that would mean that we existed before the world was created. If one reads Genesis 1 with care, and does not assume the popular interpretations in it, then we see that God does NOT say when He created the spirit of man, but instead says when He breathed the spirit into man.

                If we were chose BEFORE God made the world, then we had to exist for God to chose who would be His.
                ----------------------

                I guess I do not understand what you mean when you wrote the following.

                He chose us BEFORE He created the world. So that would mean that we existed before the world was created.
                and
                If we were chose BEFORE God made the world, then we had to exist for God to chose who would be His.
                Last edited by glen smith; November 18th, 2017, 12:05 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Maybe we existed in His thoughts as part of His plan, yet to be carried out but in the conceptual phase?
                  He would still know us as having the blueprints for each of us, could He not choose those to be His and those to be rejected prior to the actual physical existence of each of us?
                  Isn't this all His idea and plan? Didn't He design all of it down to the minutest details? Even the ones we are unfamiliar with?
                  So then what if anything can't He do?
                  And who is qualified to even answer that question?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by glen smith View Post

                    ----------------------

                    I guess I do not understand what you mean when you wrote the following.

                    He chose us BEFORE He created the world. So that would mean that we existed before the world was created.
                    and
                    If we were chose BEFORE God made the world, then we had to exist for God to chose who would be His.
                    Hi Glen. We exist in the dimension of space-time. God exists outside of that dimension.

                    We exist somewhere on a time line and that is our present time. We can remember back to the past, and we can see the present, but we know nothing of the future unless God tells us of it.

                    God exists "above" this timeline and can look down upon it and see the past, present, and future all at once. He can give a person free will and still know what that person is going to do because he can see that persons future.

                    So God could look and see our future before He created us. He is not limited by time in the least. This is why God could say the following with total truth:

                    Rev 13
                    8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

                    God Almighty could look down upon the earth and see the Lamb being slain even before men were created. So He could count it as done and apply the blood of Jesus to men in our past and men in our present, and men in our future. Because God can see the past, present and future.

                    Comment

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