God's Plan for Believers

Part 1
Ephesians 1:3-8

by Cooper Abrams

Introduction:   It is possible to know about someone and really not truly know them. This applies also to God. I believe many people think they know a great deal about God, but in truth really do not know Him. For example people say they believe in God, but live their lives as if He does not exist.

           Yet, there are those who do know the Lord and the evidence of that is that Jesus Christ is the center point of their lives.

           Proverbs 9:10 says, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding."

           When we try to comprehend who God is we will always fall short. God is too vast, too deep, too powerful, too wonderful in His being for us to take in. At best we can only see a very small part of who is our God and Creator.

           But when a person hears of our glorious and wonderful Savior and accepts that truth.....it is a life changing experience.

           This world is not here by chance, nor are you and I. God is our Creator and before the universe was made had a plan.

           Sinful and unbelieving men have tried to explain our existence by telling us the universe and life is the result of random chance. The Universe they say has always existed. That may sound reasonable to some people who do not wish to involve God in their lives, but not to those who use their minds and think about what that means.

           We live in time do we not? We mark time by segments of time. Man tries to date everything even the Universe, but they seem to ignore an important truth. If we are in time....time had to have a beginning. Time marks the beginning and end of things does it not. If the Universe exists in time there had to be a time when it did not exit.

           For the Christian, the believer in God this is no problem. Genesis 1:1 says that in the beginning God created the heavens (the universe) and the earth. So we know the beginning and our Maker. John 1:3 says "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." (John 1:3) Of course it is referring to Jesus Christ. Revelation 4:11, Hebrew 1:2, and Colossians 1:16 all state the same truth. Jesus Christ is our Savior, God and Creator.

           God had a plan and He put His plan into action. He created the universe and you and I. Whether we accept it of not...it is true. To ignore or reject this truth is to knowingly live a lie. To believe and accept this clear and unmistaken truth is to be truly blessed and to live the life we were put here by God to live.

           God's plan covers the most important thing in our lives and that is our salvation and what salvation would bring to those who believe in Jesus Christ and by faith are saved and become the children of God.

           Sadly, some false teachers have used the passage to teach Calvinism which says that God chose to give grace to some and the rest He decreed not to allow them to be saved and these are stand condemned by God. These false teachers profess they know about God, but in fact know nothing of Him.

           In the strongest term I can use I tell you that is a lie! I will not spend our time dealing with this false teaching, but simply say....our God and Creator is a just God of love. It would be against His nature and impossible for Him to not show His love in offering salvation to all men.

           John 3:16 plainly states that God so loved the WORLD, that he gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." That verse totally refutes Calvinism. 1 John 2:2 says that Jesus Christ was the propitiation for our sins, meaning the saved, but adds, "not ours only, but the sins of the world." For those who believe God...and truly know Him.....the matter is settled.

I. God has blessed us with spiritual blessings.

    A. Verse 3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

      1. The word "blessed" is the word "eulogetos" (yoo log ay tos) which is an adjective and means blessed or praised. It is applied only to God. Paul begins by praising God the Father for giving us the Lord Jesus Christ.

      2. It is truly a wonderful truth that our Maker and Creator is a God of love and compassion. He gave us life and to those who believe in Him and accept His grace...they are also greatly blessed.

    B. There are three forms of the word "bless" used in this verse.

      1. First God is blessed, is an adjective that describes God‘s greatness that He is praised.

      2. The second blessed states that believers are blessed. The word here is the verb, "eulogeo" (yoo log he o) which means to speak well of or acknowledge God's goodness. In other words, believers are blessed. This acknowledges the great benefit one finds in salvation in Jesus Christ.

      3. The third use of the word is the noun, "eulogia" (yoo log ee eh). It is used of God and Christ and means a benefit which is bestowed. The word blessing is identified as a "spiritual blessing." It means a supernatural blessing that comes from God.

    C. Thus this is a pronunciation of praise to God in thanksgiving, who has declared us to be blessed, and given us the most wonderful benefit possible for God to give...that is our salvation and heaven in Jesus Christ.

    D. J. Vernon McGee used this illustration to illustrate what it means to be blessed.

    ILLUS: He said he clipped out an article in the paper that said that Chicago's skid row was being searched for a man named Stanley William McKenna, who was an Oxford University graduate and heir to 8,000,000 dollars. They thought he might be in the skid row district of the city, among the down and outers who were sleeping off drunken binges, in cheap motels, on the streets and gutters. What a tragedy this was. A man who had great riches was living in such terrible circumstances.

              It too is a tragedy that mankind is God's creation and God has made a plan whereby they can overcome sin and death and become the children of God which all its blessing....but instead they waste their lives, live a miserable existence, choosing rather to live in the skid row of this world.

II. God States His plan. Verse 4.

    A. God says He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world.

      1. The importance of this verse is that doing a proper a detailed minute examination of the words and explain this important truth. This passage is saying that these blessings pertaining to heaven were bestowed upon Christians in accordance with an eternal purpose. God's plan was not an after thought, but a carefully made plan that applies to the believer in this life and into all eternity.

      2. God has chosen us. The word rendered here "hath chosen" exelexato (ek-leg'-om-ahee) is from a word meaning "to lay out together." It absolutely does not mean God has chose some for salvation and others for damnation as the Calvinist teach.

      3. The words "in Him" mean that God's plan was that He would save those "in Jesus Christ" before the foundation of the world. It was not to chose some number who would be saved, but rather that all who would believe would receive salvation "in Him" meaning through Christ. The selection is in the plan...not an particular individual.

      The word "us" makes it personal. This is God's plan for the individual believer. The "chosen" are those that by faith receive Jesus Christ and thereby receive the benefits of God's plan. Those that willingly reject God's plan are outside and separated from its blessings.

    B. God has chose believers, before the foundation of the world to by holy, without blame before Him in love.

      1. The object of God's plan was that believers would be made holy in Jesus Christ. God wants His children to overcome sin and its destructive influences and results in our lives. To be holy means to be separated. Being holy means being separated from sin.

      2. In His word God repeatedly repeats this truth. This is a good example. God says His plan is that believers be (1) holy and (2) without blame before Him in love.

      3. To "walk before Him" proclaims the truth that believers are in Christ's presence always. To be "before" someone is to be in their presence. It puts us in mind that our lives can reflect God's love and show it to others. Of course the opposite is truth also. He are always in the mind of God and under His watchful care.

      4. "In love" means points to the truth that Christians serve and obey the Lord out of conviction and a love of God and His truth. We are to shun sin because it dishonors God and truth.

                Believers are setting an example continually whether they want to or not. You are setting an example of Christ before your family, wife, husband, children, grandchildren, neighbors and everyone you work with and meet.

      "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)

                 The natural result of loving God is to love our neighbors. God's love when truly received will change the life of a believer. He will reflect that marvelous love God has shown to Him.

                John says, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death" (1 John 3:14).

III. God's Predestinated Plan. Eph.. 1:5-6

    A. Note there is a colon at the end of verse 4. Verse 5 continues the thought being explained.

      1. The verse plainly state that God "predestined" us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto Himself. Nothing in this verse or any other verse says that God predestined what individuals would be saved or that God would decree to withhold His grace from anyone.

      2. Almighty God who is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresence, whose power has no limits, who created the universe by simply speaking and it came into being. . . our all powerful Creator before the universe existed made a plan whereby we could be His children.

                Believers would become the children of God with all the wonderful blessing that brings.

      ILLUS: When I was boy my family was not well of financially. My dad was a mechanic and provided for us...all our basic needs, but there was not much extra. I remember I wanted a pair of tennis shoes to play basket ball, but we could not afford them. There were others like me too. But there were the rich folks in town and their children always had the best. I would have been happy with a cheap pair the black tennis shoes, but they had expensive white ones. They went to ball games, their parents brought them new cars. In my Junior year several of my class mates got brand new cars for their birthday. I was very envious of them. I used to think what a great thing it would be to be the son of a rich man. Since I have learned the truth...riches can be a plague and to some it was...it ruined them. But the point is that we all can be the children of God and in eternity have all the wonderful things that God has planned for us.

                God says believers are joint heirs with Christ. "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8:16-17)

                Jesus Christ is God's son and those who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior become joint heirs with Christ. We have what He has in all its glory.

                Paul continues in Romans 8:18-19 saying "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." (Romans 8:18-19)

    B. The verse says we are the "adopted" sons of God. Some falsely teach that all men on earth are God's children. That is not true. Jesus speaking to the Jews who were rejecting Him as their God and Savior said, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." (John 8:44)

      1. Folks we are all born sinners and that means we are not God's children until we accept Him as our Lord and Savior.

      2. The unsaved serve the devil whether they realize it or not. The devil is a liar and the father of liars, murders, thieves and all sinners. It is a stark reality that few lost people want to admit or accept. But it is God who establishes the truth and the truth is one is either an adopted son or daughter of God, or they are their father the devil.

      3. But God's plan is that believers become His adopted sons and daughters. You cannot be adopted by your own father. If we were all God's children we would not need to be adopted. We need to be adopted because we are not His children.

    C. The verse says it was God's good pleasure. I am often amazed at how some people twist God's words to say the opposite of what God truly says. Some say this speaks of God's sovernignity in predestinating some to heaven and rest to hell. That is totally false and this verse says nothing of the sort.

      1. The verse says it is according to God's GOOD pleasure to of His will "to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved."

                It would be totally contrary to the meaning of the words God uses here to say...it was His "good" will to condemn most of world to hell without any chance to be saved and receive His grace.

      2. It was because of God's wonderful mercy and grace that made us acceptable in the beloved. The beloved means in Him...in His benevolence, to receive His wonderful gift of salvation and being receive into the family of God.

IV. God's Plan in redeeming men. Eph. 1:7