In studying Ephesians 1:4-12 in which Paul is thanking God for the “spiritual riches” we enjoy because of and through abiding in Messiah Yeshua, we have seen that these blessings involve both the Father and the Son…The identified with the Father include our being: “Chosen by God”, to be holy and without blame before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4). Just as Israel was chosen by God and commissioned to serve Him so too are we.
At the appointed time set by the God and Father of Israel sent His Son to be appointed for the in-gathering of the Nations and through Him: Psalm 2
Now I want to consider what God has done through His Spirit. God’s Spirit is that unseen presence of God that works in the world and has effectively worked in us moving us to respond to His Promised Messiah. It was God’s Spirit that guided Israel through the wilderness, It is God’s Spirit that was the driving influence in leading Moses and the prophets to compose God’s word. And in the second half of Ephesians 1:8 we learn that it is through the Spirit of God: (Ephesians 1:8b-10).
God has a plan for the universe. History is moving toward a goal. We do not have to guess at either the plan or the goal. It has been made known to us. Ephesians 1: 9 says that “He made known to us the mystery of His will.” In the Bible a mystery is not something mysterious and difficult to understand. Rather, it is a truth that has been locked up in God’s plan for ages until He was ready to reveal it to man. When the time came, He unlocked the truth and opened it up to man. A mystery is a truth revealed by God that had never before been known. Throughout the days of the Tenach, God spoke to our fathers through the prophets, but He did not tell them all that would come to pass. 1 Peter 1:10-12 explains this truth:
As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Messiah within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Messiah and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven —things into which angels long to look.
They were missing a key element of the puzzle. But that has changed for us. The key element has been revealed, later in this letter we learn that the key element is the Church.
Paul in his letter to the Corinthians describes this mystery further in 1 Corinthians 2:7-8 – No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. That is a reference to the both the secular rulers and to the spiritual rulers of that day. But it also applies to the secular and spiritual rulers today.
Paul goes on further in 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 – For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. If we are going to be a congregation that can be used by The Lord we need to be filled and empowered by the Spirit of God. This is true as a congregation and it is true in our lives individually.
God’s wisdom is revealed only by God’s Spirit. Note three points.
1. Only God’s Spirit knows the wisdom and things of God. Human reason can never discover God and the things of God. Again referring to 1 Corinthians 2:9 we read:
No person knows what is really going on within a man except the man’s own spirit. So it is with God. No man really knows God and the things of God except the Spirit of God. Therefore, the world does not know God nor the things of God, for they must be revealed. They cannot be seen, heard, or conceived by the heart of man . They are only revealed by God’s Spirit.
2. The second point is that God’s wisdom (God and the things of God) is revealed to believers. This is the very reason God has given His Spirit to believers: that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Only the Holy Spirit knows the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:11). For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Only a person who comes to faith in Israel’s Messiah receives the Spirit of God. This is the point of our passage this morning. Only the believer who is filled and yielded to the Holy Spirit can understand the mature, deep things of God. As we learn in Romans 8:5-6
3. The third point is that God’s wisdom is the message taught by the Holy Spirit. God’s wisdom and gospel is the message of God’s Spirit Himself. It is the Spirit of God that moved our Fathers to compose the Scriptures. It was through the Tenach that our fathers were told that there was a promise of a perfect Redeemer who would come. They were told by the prophet Isaiah, Jeremiah, Malachi and the other prophets that when the Messiah would come He would provide a perfect Temple where a perfect sacrifice would be offered. They were given God’s covenant promises. And they were told of God’s kingdom.
But they did not know exactly how it would all work itself out in the plan of God as Peter writes in 1 Peter 1:11-12. But what we learn in Ephesians 1 and through other things revealed in the New Covenant we understand so much more. We will learn as we continue our study of this letter to the Ephesians that these things which were a mystery to God’s people in the Older Covenant are revealed to us now in the New Covenant. In the Older Covenant God dealt with his bride Israel, but through the Word given to Jeremiah Israel was told that God was going to make a New Covenant with Israel through Yeshua the Messiah. This New Covenant now includes both Jews and Gentiles people He has called to be a part of His bride the church.
He is the perfect seed of the woman. His death overthrew the devil and his angels. Through His blood we have entered into a greater and more perfect covenant. He is the Prophet, Priest and King promised to our Fathers. And we have entered into His kingdom and are a part of His called out ones through faith. We have the whole story. We have the beginning of the story in the Tenach. We have the unfolding story in the writings and the prophets. We have the middle of the story in the coming of Messiah Yeshua and in His death and His burial and His resurrection. And we even have the end of the story; for as we see the Jewish people being regathered in Israel we know that His return is near, at the door. All this is revealed to us through His Word by His Spirit.
And going back to Ephesians 1:10, we learn that it will be at that time – the fullness of the times – that we shall experience the summing up of all things in Messiah. When Yeshua returns, the entire universe – things in the heavens and things on the earth – shall be brought into conformity and into submission to Him. This is the New Halakah, the New Covenant that God spoke of and which is now revealed in His Word to us. What should be our response to this teaching? Well if we want to experience His Kingdom we need to involve ourselves in conformity to His will which is revealed in His Word through His Church and it must be done through and in His Spirit. The Church has not replaced Israel but is God’s tool to prepare the people of Israel for their true calling, to serve the Nations. And in the church God has now brought in the Nations to work together with them. We have been called today to be both conformed and transformed into the image of Yeshua the Messiah, and one of the key ways that He does this is through the assembly of His people, and the proclamation and study of His Word.
Moreover we are told in our passage this morning that the Spirit of God has caused God’s people who have put their faith in Messiah to obtain an inheritance that was determined from eternity. Paul says: In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Messiah would be to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:10b-12). We have an inheritance. Notice the use of the present tense. We are not merely heirs of a future inheritance. It has begun the moment we received the gift of everlasting life offered to us through Messiah. It is an inheritance that has been awaiting us for a very long time…. before we came to faith. Before we were even born. We saw back in verses 4-5 that God predestined us “before the foundation of the world.”
But there came a time when we heard the message of the “besora” or Good News of salvation and we believed that message and something special happened. At that time, we entered into a covenant relationship with God, the new covenant. It is through this New Covenant that we have been, purchased to be the property of God through the atoning blood of Messiah Yeshua. It was on the the anniversary of Passover when all Israel was remembering how God purchased Israel through the blood of the Passover Lamb that God provided the Lamb that Passover foreshadowed.
Also Paul tells us in Eph 1:13-14 that we have been Sealed with the Spirit. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation — having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14a).
We don’t use seals much today. But they were commonplace throughout the ancient world. A seal would be a stamp which would be pressed into a soft surface like wax in order to leave an indelible impression. Seals served a variety of purposes. They were used on invoices to authenticate them and establish them as genuine. A seal Indicated ownership. It ratified a covenant or contract. It served as a guarantee. It was designed to preserve and protect (Governor’s Seal placed on the tomb of Jesus). The Holy Spirit accomplishes each of these functions. The Holy Spirit seals us and identifies us as genuine members of God’s kingdom. He reminds and assures us that we are the prized possession of God. He is the evidence that we are partakers of the New Covenant. He is the pledge to guarantee all that we have in Messiah. It is the Holy Spirit of God Who preserves and protects us from the god of this world, Satan
Finally, I want you us to see that though the work of Jesus through the Holy Spirit we have been Delivered to God as His own possession. Look at Ephesians 1:13-14:
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation —having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. This is the same kind of language God used to describe the work He accomplished through His Spirit when He spoke through Moshe Rabbenu in Deuteronomy 7:6:
When by God’s grace we came to faith in Jesus we were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13b-14). We like Israel of old are described as God’s own special possession. We are God’s, not only because He created us in the first place, but especially because He purchased us.
So to sum up our study this morning: We have been made partakers of a New Covenant God has given to His people a New Halakah. It came from the Father mediated or brought to us through His Son and now are in-dwelt by His blessed Holy Spirit. The Spirit reveals to us the mysteries of God, He Seals us so that we can be assured that we will forever remain the property of God, and it is the Spirit that assures us that our relationship with God is secure.