“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
The Gracious Revelation Of The Truth To The Saints: Ephesians 1:15-23
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;…
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:…
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,…
And what [is] the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead,…
and set [him] at his own right hand in the heavenly [places], 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:And hath put all [things] under his feet,…
and gave him [to be] the head over all [things] to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Paul now shares with the church at Ephesus the content of his prayers on their behalf. By doing this Paul is declaring his motivation for his great love, concern, and desire for their spiritual welfare and receipt of various blessings of God. Please keep in mind, all of these blessings would be given to the believers at Ephesus only through the gracious intervention of the Lord. They did not deserve these wonderful blessings nor could they earn them in any way.
A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I. Paul’s motivation for desiring and praying for gracious blessings on behalf of the church – 15-16
II. The gracious blessing of a knowledge of the person and work of the Lord – 17
III. The gracious blessing of a understanding of their eternal blessings that await them – 18
IV. The gracious blessing of awareness of the Lord’s power exhibited in in all aspects of salvation – 19-20a
V. The gracious blessing of a comprehension of the exaltation of Christ – 20b-22a
VI. The gracious blessing of the exaltation/Lordship of Christ – 22b-23
In this morning’s devotional, Paul continues to explain the Lord’s person and work…
(Ephesians 1:22b-23) and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
In this text the Lord’ relationship to the local assembly is brought into view.
and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
God the Father handed to Christ the authority, and great responsibility, to be the “head” of His local assemblies.
What does it mean to be the “head” of His assembly? He is the “Leader”, “Guide”, “Instructor”, “Protector” and “Supreme Authority” over every aspect of the church’s ministry.
(Just a quick note… if the Lord is speaking of local assemblies, why does He say “church” instead of “churches”. The idea of “church” here is used in a generic sense. What is being spoken of applies to every church. For example if I say “The giraffe has a long neck”. I am using the term “giraffe” generically, what I am actually saying is “any and all giraffes have a long neck”. This is how the term “church” is used in this context. Christ is the head of any and all local assemblies of the Lord.)
For more information on how we can know that the term “church” always speaks of a local assembly and never of an invisible universal body please see my 5 part series entitled “The Church: Local, Universal, Or Both”. You can find part one here: http://wp.me/pU88A-32l
Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Each and every local assembly is an individual body with Christ as its head and each of its members making up the different parts of the body. (1 Corinthians 12:12-27)
The “fullness” (the completeness of His person and attributes) fills each and every local assembly in a very special way. Some examples of these attributes include His love, mercy, grace, wisdom, justice, knowledge, strength, the list goes on and on. Each and every one of these attributes Christ is displayed in the midst of the local assembly of believers in the form of His teachings and His workings in their individual lives and in the assembly proper. Truly, His fullness is on display throughout the assembly, as we watch the Head of the assembly at work on behalf of His local church for His glory.
This is the very principle presented John’s vision of Christ and His attributes displayed in the midst of His local assemblies….
“ I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send [it] unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks [one] like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and [his] hairs [were] white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes [were] as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance [was] as the sun shineth in his strength.
And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I [am] he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” (Revelation 1:9-20)
“I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.” (Psalms 22:22)
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him [be] glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Folks, do we take membership in a local assembly seriously? If we are negligent in serving in a church we are missing many great blessings and displays of Christ and His glory. There is nothing like coming together with the people of God who are unified to honor the Lord and serve Him with their whole hearts.
May we all seek out one of the Lord’s assemblies which are characterized by the truth being taught, Christ being followed, and the spirit of love for the Lord and our fellow man being displayed.
May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!
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