Letters from Prison - Ephesians 1:1-14
You will move into a life of significance as all of your ambition and plans move toward these THREE things:
A greater glory in the Father (who works out everything in His will).
A deeper love in the Son (who self-sacrifices for those he loves).
A lasting joy in the Spirit (who transforms our hearts and our fears and brings us contentment)
You have items in your spiritual bank account, deposited there by the Trinity. Ephesians 1:1-14 tell us how much God was willing to give in order to win you back and restore you and all of creation.
The first thing Paul wants to talk about is the selection of the Father. Then he’s gonna talk about the sacrifice of the Son. He will conclude this section with the sealing of the Spirit. At the end of each section he’s going to tell you why God has done this.
So again, this section of Ephesians is the open vault of… the selection of the Father (1:4–6), the sacrifice of the Son (1:7–12), and the seal of the Holy Spirit (1:13–14). There are key words in each of these sections and we'll look at some of those.
We all are on a search for significance – to make and leave a mark on the world, to do something important. And sometimes we can reject how God made us and criticize his creation.
What do men need, especially to feel significant? Everything a man craves is found in Jesus Christ.
1. A Battle to Fight. (Christ took on the powers of Darkness) 6:13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground… 5:11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. There’s an encroaching enemy and you have to fend them off. Is this why boys love “Call of Duty” so much? There’s a reason why Gladiator, Brave Heart, and Patriot keeps getting watched. There’s a time to stand. You don’t have to be in the military, but you’re surrounded by battle. A man longs to hear “You were incredible in the battle.”
2. A Job to Do. (Christ makes God known) 5:28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Men need a project, a mission, a goal. It keeps them focused and moving things forward. Distracted and fragmented lives make less of a difference. Most friendships among men happen around activities. A man longs to hear “You did an incredible job on that I’d like to acknowledge that in front of your peers.”
3. A Woman to Love. (Christ loved the Church) 5:25 Husbands, love your wives… 5:33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself… Men love the idea of rescuing the beauty and enjoying life with her. That’s what Jesus did for the church! Standing between the beauty and all that would threaten or harm her in any way. Men need a beauty to fight for, to armor up for, to protect, to come home to. And dads presence in the home is a game-changer. A man longs to hear “You love me and lead in our family so well.”
4. A Will to Obey. (Christ submitted to the Father) 5:17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Life is more than just a job or work to do. Life is more than pleasing or rescuing your beauty. Life is about finding and doing God's will. When I say that, I don't mean to imply that God's will is some mysterious dot that we have to find, and if we don't, we've forever missed out on His plan for our lives. I'm really talking about an attitude of submission to whatever and wherever His plan takes you. A man longs to hear “You’re mine and I’m well pleased.”
5. A God to Glorify. (Mission accomplished) 1:12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. Paul was imprisoned, flogged, exposed to death, in danger, sleepless nights, hungry days, cold and under-clothed. And cranky church folks who wanted to glorify themselves. Live for the greater glory, a deeper love, a lasting joy. A man longs to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.”