TO THE SAINTS…

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:

2  Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

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:

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:

5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

6  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

7  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

8  Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

9  Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

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:

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:

12  That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

13  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,

14  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

15  Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

16  Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

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:

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,

19  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,

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:

22  And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

23  Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

WHAT NAME???

Several years ago I heard a pastor in a Christian church end the prayer he was praying with these words… “in his name” we pray. It irked me to hear that generic term used. It was at a funeral service and there were different “faiths” in attendance.

Recently I attended a graduation and the person praying prayed as any Christian would pray until the prayer ended with… “in his name” we pray. There were also different “faiths” in attendance at this graduation.

I find this very disturbing. If we as believers can’t say “in Jesus name we pray” then we should give the microphone to someone else. We fear to offend any and all, but why don’t we fear to offend Jesus. Jesus who shed his blood, and suffered such shame and pain, for us. Brethren, by God’s grace be bold, and be not ashamed of the name above all names, Jesus the Christ.

Luke 1:31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

John 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Acts 4:10-12 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Philippians 2:9-11 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; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Hebrews 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

1 John 4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

2 Timothy 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

WHOM HAVE I…

Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.

Maclaren:

The true essence of our religion is that we recognise God as our only good, and that in Him we find absolute rest and perfect sufficiency.

do we live as if we believed that the man that had everything minus God is a pauper;

and the other who has God minus everything is ‘rich to all the intents of bliss’?

Let us shape our desires, aspirations, efforts, according to that certain truth.

Gill:

The whole world, and all things in it, are nothing in comparison of God;

if a man was possessed of the whole of it, and had not interest in the Lord, he would be miserable;

and if he has an interest in him, he has enough without it;

for all things are his, God is all in all;

wherefore he is willing to leave all, and be with him for ever.

Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

Benson:

My flesh and my heart faileth —

I find, by sad experience, my own weakness and inability to encounter such temptations, and bear, with becoming patience and resignation, such troubles, as I frequently meet with;

yea, I find myself a frail, dying creature, that shall shortly return to the dust. Both my flesh and heart, my body and soul may, and, unless supported by God, will soon fail.

But God is the strength of my heart — I have found him so; I do find him so, and hope I ever shall. As if he had said, Though I have no strength in myself, I have it in God, my never-failing refuge, to whom I will trust as long as I live.

Barnes:

And my portion for ever – The source of my happiness.

Not wealth, then;

not honor;

not earthly friends;

not fame – will be my reliance and the ground of my hope;

but that which I shall regard as most valuable – my supreme joy and rejoicing – will be the fact that God is my friend and portion.

ONE THING…

Psalm 27:4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.

Spurgeon:

“One thing.”

Divided aims tend to distraction, weakness, disappointment.

The man of one book is eminent, the man of one pursuit is successful.

Let all our affection be bound up in one affection, and that affection set upon heavenly things.

“Have I desired”

– what we cannot at once attain, it is well to desire.

God judges us very much by the desire of our hearts.

He who rides a lame horse is not blamed by his master for want of speed, if he makes all the haste he can, and would make more if he could;

God takes the will for the deed with his children.

“Of the Lord.”

This is the right target for desires,

this is the well into which to dip our buckets,

this is the door to knock at,

the bank to draw upon;

desire of men, and lie on the dunghill with Lazarus:

desire of the Lord, and be carried of angels into Abraham’s bosom.

Our desires of the Lord should be sanctified, humble, constant, submissive, fervent, and it is well if, as with the Psalmist, they are all molten into one mass.

Under David’s painful circumstances we might have expected him to desire repose, safety, and a thousand other good things, but no, he has set his heart on the pearl, and leaves the rest.

“That will I seek after.”

Holy desires must lead to resolute action.

The old proverb says, “Wishers and woulders are never good housekeepers,” and “wishing never fills a sack.” Desires are seeds which must be sown in the good soil of activity for they will yield no harvest.

We shall find our desires to be like clouds without rain, unless followed up by practical endeavours.

“That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.”

For the sake of communion with the King, David longed to dwell always in the palace;

so far from being wearied with the services of the Tabernacle, he longed to be constantly engaged in them, as his lifelong pleasure.

He desired above all things to be one of the household of God, a home-born child, living at home with his Father.

This is our dearest wish, only we extend it to those days of our immortal life which have not yet dawned.

We pine for our Father’s house above, the home of our souls;

if we may but dwell there for ever, we care but little for the goods or ills of this poor life.

“Jerusalem the golden” is the one and only goal of our heart’s longings.

“To behold the beauty of the Lord.”

An exercise both for earthly and heavenly worshippers.

We must not enter the assemblies of the saints in order to see and be seen, or merely to hear the minister;

we must repair to the gatherings of the righteous, intent upon the gracious object of learning…

more of the loving Father,

more of the glorified Jesus,

more of the mysterious Spirit, in order that we may the

more lovingly admire, and the

more reverently adore our glorious God.

What a word is that, “the beauty of the Lord!”

Think of it, dear reader!

Better far – behold it by faith!

What a sight will that be when every faithful follower of Jesus shall behold “the King in his beauty!”

Oh, for that infinitely blessed vision!

“And to enquire in his temple.”

We should make our visits to the Lord’s house enquirers’ meetings.

Not seeking sinners alone, but assured saints should be enquirers.

We must enquire as to the will of God and how we may do it;

as to our interest in the heavenly city, and how we may be more assured of it.

We shall not need to make enquiries in heaven, for there we shall know even as we are known;

but meanwhile we should sit at Jesus’ feet, and awaken all our faculties to learn of him.

WHAT MANNER OF MAN IS THIS?

Matthew 8:27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

Barnes:

The men marveled –

Wondered, or were amazed.

What manner of man – What kind of a personage.

How unlike other men!

What a vast display of power!

and how far exalted above mortals must he be!

Jesus spake to the winds; rebuked their raging, and the sea was suddenly calm. The storm subsided; the ship glided smoothly; danger fled; and in amazement they stood in the presence of him who controlled the tempests that God had raised; and they felt that “he” must be God himself, for none but God could calm the heaving billows and scatter the tempest.

No scene could have been more grand than this display of the power of Jesus.

The darkness;

the dashing waves;

the howling winds;

the heaving and tossing ship;

the fears and cries of the seamen,

all by a single word hushed into calm repose,

present an image of power and divinity irresistibly grand and awful.