The Church: Predestined and Powerful

Ephesians 1:3-23


  1. The theme for the book of Ephesians is “the church of Christ.”

    1. This letter describes the place the Lord’s church has in His eyes and its very nature.

    2. It begins with the planning of the church in Chapter 1.

    3. It goes on to discuss the entrance into that church in Chapter 2.

    4. Chapter 3 talks of God’s wisdom manifested in the church.

    5. Chapter 4 and the first part of 5 talks of our conduct within that one church.

    6. The rest of Chapter 5 and the beginning of 6 is about conduct within the family.

    7. The rest of Chapter 6 is about withstanding the devil.

  2. The church is great and magnificent with all spiritual blessings found therein.

    1. We are all connected through a spiritual thread that connects us in the blood of Christ and His church.
    2. This links us to all Christians around the world.
  3. This first chapter is so rich, we can only talk about a few things given our time.

    1. Vs. 3-14 talks of the predestination of the church.

    2. Vs. 15-22 talks of the power of its Head.


  1. The Church Predestined (Time, Location, Means, Reward).

    1. Time – the church was predestined before time began (3-6).

      1. God had this all planned out long before He said, “Let there be light!” (Gen. 1:3).

      2. This shows the great wisdom of God (8).

      3. It all happened as He intended, “in the dispensation of the fullness of the times” (10; 3:9-11).

      4. We are predestined to be adopted as sons (Greek includes women, too).

      5. This means we are all brothers and sisters…. in Christ.

    2. Location – we are predestined “in the heavenly places in Christ” (3, 4, 6, 7, 9-13).

      1. The phrase “in Christ” is used throughout Ephesians.

      2. We are predestined only insofar as we are in Christ.

      3. We are not talking of individual predestination where God calls some to salvation and not others.

      4. For example, say we are part of a band.

        1. In my senior year of high school, our marching band went to Disney World.

        2. Everyone who was in the marching band was going.

        3. Let’s say, however, that someone quit the band just before the trip.

        4. What if he were kicked out for misconduct?

        5. Would that person still be going to Disney? No!

      5. It’s like that with those in Christ.

        1. Everyone in Christ is going to heaven—predestined even.

        2. But what if you find yourself not in Christ?

        3. Perhaps one day you just quit, or you are in sin not repented of? Or you were never in Christ to begin with….

        4. Would you still be going to heaven if you are no longer in Christ?

    3. Means – through the blood of Christ (7-14).

      1. This is also according to the riches of His grace.

      2. To be in Christ means He has shown us grace and we are partakers of His blood.

      3. It also shows that we have trusted in Him (13).

      4. Trust is just another way of saying we have faith in Him.

      5. We have heard the gospel, and we have believed the gospel.

      6. We cannot forget that we are saved by grace through faith (2:8).

      7. Salvation is a two-way street—it is not earned by good works, but it is through our faith, through the faith.

      8. So it is only through the “one faith” that we can be “in Christ” who is the “one Lord” by means of “one baptism” (4:5).

    4. Reward – all spiritual blessings and a heavenly inheritance (3, 11).

      1. All spiritual blessings can only be located in Christ.

      2. This includes the heavenly inheritance we have inherited in Christ.

      3. We have a guarantee of our inheritance (14), that is the Holy Spirit’s promise in the written word.

      4. Peter calls this inheritance “incorruptible, undefiled, does not fade away, reserved in heaven” (1 Pet. 1:4).

      5. I look forward to that day, don’t you?

      6. We will only see it if we are in Christ!

      7. Who is this Christ anyway …. ?

  2. The Christ’s Power (Enlightening, Transcendent).

    1. Enlightening – be thankful for it (15-18).

      1. There is a song in our books (888) “Thank You, Lord.”

      2. The third verse says “Please reveal your will for me so I can serve You for eternity.”

      3. In truth, He has already revealed His will for us so we can serve Him for eternity!

      4. Might I suggest crossing out the word “Please” and replacing it with “You’ve” whenever you sing it to make it more accurate.

      5. Because we know “what is the hope of His calling” and the “riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” (18)

      6. That is that which is “incorruptible, undefiled, does not fade, and reserved in heaven.”

    2. Transcendent – far above every name that is named (19-23).

      1. His power is so great—He is able to save our souls.

      2. He was raised to sit at the right hand of God.

      3. No power in heaven or on earth can touch His, save that of the Father.

      4. He was given the power and the authority that supersedes all others.

      5. We don’t follow popes or patriarchs, priests or presidents (only insofar as they are the civil authorities).

      6. These things divide—Christ unites.

      7. We see that the Father placed all things under His feet.

      8. He also placed Him as head of the church.

      9. This is described as His body, and in Eph. 4:4 we know there is but one body.

      10. To be in Christ and to receive all spiritual blessings is to be in His body, the church of Christ.

      11. Not in a denomination that divides, but in the one body of which Christ is truly head.


  1. We are a blessed people, are we not?

    1. All spiritual blessings are found right here, in the church, among the people of God.

    2. We have the privilege of being called children of God readily expecting our heavenly inheritance.

  2. Would you like to be a child of God? Would you like to have your share of His inheritance?

    1. There is plenty to go around!

    2. We must be in Christ, in His body, in His church, the church of Christ.

    3. We have talked about the means by which we can enter into Christ.

    4. We can only enter through His blood by His grace, when we have heard and believe.

    5. When we are baptized, Paul says we are baptized into Christ, baptized into His death, and raised with Him to walk in newness of life as a new creature (Rom. 6:3-6).

    6. It is that one baptism Paul writes about later in Eph. 4:5.

    7. This is how we get into Christ and granted access to His redeeming blood, having our sins forgiven.

  3. If you are a child of God, do you appreciate the position you have as a member of the Lord’s body?

    1. We are connected through these rich and wonderful blessings.

    2. Let us never take the church of our Lord for granted.

    3. Let us never take our part in His church for granted, either.