Ephesians 1: The Perfect Plan

What qualified the apostle Paul to be a special messenger to the Ephesians?

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Acts 9:15–17 “Go anyway,” the Lord said, “for I have chosen him to speak in my name to kings, to both Jews and Gentiles. I will reveal to him the great suffering he must endure for my sake.” So Ananias obeyed, entered the house, and placed his hands on him, saying, “The Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the way here, has sent me that you might be filled with the Holy Spirit and receive your sight.”
Acts 13:2 While the church leaders were fasting and praying and worshiping the Lord, the Holy Spirit said, “It’s now time for Barnabas and Saul to begin the work I have called them to.”
Acts 22:3 “I am a Jew born in Tarsus in Cilicia, brought up under the teaching of Gamaliel, taught in the perfect ways of the Law received from our fathers. I had a zeal for God such as you have expressed today.”
Acts 26:5 Those who know my history will testify that I was a member of the most strict religious sect, the Pharisees.
Ephesians 1:1 Paul, a special messenger of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to his faithful followers in Ephesus:
King James
Acts 9:15–17 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
Acts 22:3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.
Acts 26:5 Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

In wishing peace and contentment, why do you think Paul mentions God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, but not the Holy Spirit?

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Ephesians 1:2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ favor you with peace and contentment.
King James
Ephesians 1:2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Why might a reminder of God’s blessings be important to the Christian community?

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Ephesians 1:3 Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who showers us with spiritual blessings in Christ from Heaven.
King James
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

While we were sinners, God knew our hearts but still loved us. Why is it difficult to love or trust someone we don’t know?

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Romans 5:8 The immense greatness of God’s love is proven by the fact that we were undeserving sinners when Christ died for us.
Ephesians 1:4 Even before the creation of Earth and people who sinned, God loved us and had the perfect plan in Christ Jesus for us to become like him, wholly without fault in his eyes.
King James
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Why would God want to adopt people who had been alienated from him?

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Ephesians 1:5 In seeing us alienated from him, through his good pleasure in Jesus Christ he sought to adopt us into his family.
King James
Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Are we children of God by faith, something yet to be obtained, or is this relationship something we have now, which is not dependent on our faith? Why?

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Ephesians 1:6 Praise God for his unmerited favor—that he has made us acceptable as his own beloved children.
King James
Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

How much more abundance do you think God might have for us in this life? What would hinder our receiving it?

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Ephesians 1:7–8 He purchased our freedom, forgiving us, delivering us from sin, choosing to die so we might receive his undeserved gift of abundant life. Through him, we abound in all wisdom and understanding of the truth.
King James
Ephesians 1:7–8 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

Under what circumstances would God not want to reveal his plan?

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Ephesians 1:9 To his great delight, he has revealed to us the mysterious secrets of his plan.
King James
Ephesians 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

When do you think the time will be right for God to bring all things under Christ’s authority?

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Matthew 24:36 “No one knows the exact date and time, not even the angels in Heaven. Only the Father knows.”
Ephesians 1:10 When the time is right, all things in Heaven and Earth will be brought under the authority of Christ.
King James
Matthew 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
Ephesians 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

Why would God have a plan from the beginning to restore our relationship with him, when he knew we would reject him?

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John 1:10–11 Although the Word made the world, people in the world did not recognize him when he came. He lived among his own people. Despite his unfailing love and faithfulness, most people did not accept him.
Ephesians 1:11 From the beginning, God planned for us to share an inheritance with Christ.
Revelation 13:8 Earth’s inhabitants, whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain since the founding of the world, will worship the beast.
King James
John 1:10–11 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

When people first find hope in Christ, why are they so often eager to share their experience?

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Ephesians 1:12–13 We who first found hope in Christ spread his message, bringing honor and praise to the one in whom you also trusted after hearing the word of truth. When you believed the good news of salvation, the promised Holy Spirit made you one of his own,
King James
Ephesians 1:12–13 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Why is believing essential for salvation?

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Ephesians 1:12–13 We who first found hope in Christ spread his message, bringing honor and praise to the one in whom you also trusted after hearing the word of truth. When you believed the good news of salvation, the promised Holy Spirit made you one of his own,
King James
Ephesians 1:12–13 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

If Jesus paid the price, why won’t everyone be saved?

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Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the small gate. For many take the wide gate and broad road that lead to destruction.”
Ephesians 1:14 proof that Christ deserves honor and praise for paying the price that makes our inheritance possible.
King James
Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Ephesians 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Without the existence of cell phones or the U.S. Postal Service, by what means would Paul have heard what was happening in Ephesus?

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Ephesians 1:15 After hearing about your great trust in the Lord Jesus and love for his followers,
King James
Ephesians 1:15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

How does good or bad news affect the nature of our prayers?

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Ephesians 1:16 I continually give thanks for you, keeping you in my prayers.
King James
Ephesians 1:16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

What might the Ephesians need to do to receive God’s gift of spiritual insight?

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Ephesians 1:17 that God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, give you spiritual insights that cause you to grow in wisdom and knowledge of him.
King James
Ephesians 1:17 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:

How much do we need to know about God’s plan for our lives?

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Ephesians 1:18 I pray for your clear vision of the service God has called you to do and the reward for doing it. What an abundantly rich inheritance he has for those who surrender their lives to him.
King James
Ephesians 1:18 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,

By what means can we have the same power that Jesus exercised?

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John 5:21–22 “Just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, the Son gives life where he chooses. The Father does not judge anyone, but has given the Son authority to judge so people will honor the Son as much as the Father.”
John 14:12 “I guarantee, those who believe in me will do the work I have been doing. They will do even greater work because I go to the Father.”
Romans 8:11 If the Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, is dwelling in us, then our fleshly bodies will experience abundant life in the Spirit.
Ephesians 1:19–20 We get to experience the same mighty power that Jesus had when he walked on Earth, 20 the same power that raised him from the dead and took him to the highest place of honor in the heavens.
King James
John 5:21–22 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Ephesians 1:19–20 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

Why does the name of Jesus stand above every other name?

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Ephesians 1:21 In all domains he now stands far above every ruler, authority, and power, his name carrying more weight than anyone in the present age and in all times yet to come.
Philippians 2:8–10 As an ordinary human being, he subjected himself to death on the cross. Therefore, God has promoted Christ to the highest of all positions and has made the name Jesus greater than any other name. So everyone in Heaven and on Earth must respect and bow to his position and authority,
King James
Ephesians 1:21 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:
Philippians 2:8–10 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

What makes Jesus’ authority absolute?

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Romans 14:11 It is as the prophet Isaiah said, As surely as I live, the Lord says, every knee will bow before me. Everyone will confess that I am God.
Ephesians 1:22–23 God has given to Jesus Christ absolute authority over everything, making him the chief executive above every member of his body of believers, who live in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 13:17 Yield to the authority of your leaders, doing what they say, for they are responsible for your spiritual wellbeing and are accountable to God. Make their work a pleasure, not a pain with no benefit to you.
King James
Romans 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
Ephesians 1:22–23 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.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.