Ephesians: Prescript (1:1-2) – Paul the apostle; God alone chooses our path.
length: 81:50 - taught on Aug, 19 2018
Sunday August 19, 2018
Title: Ephesians: Prescript (1:1-2) - Paul the apostle; God alone chooses our path.
The prescript (1:1-2)
EPH 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:
EPH 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul the apostle of Christ by the will of God. He makes it clear that he didn’t apply for the job.
Paul makes it clear that he didn’t apply for the job. If he did he would expect payment as if he and God made a contract. But only God made the contract.
1CO 9:16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.
1CO 9:17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.
1CO 9:18 What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
Paul then moves forward in his idea and states that he will not make full use of his right. His right is to be supported, which the Corinthians did not do. He did not demand support. He offered the gospel without charge.
He was called by God in a miraculous way. How could he show the world that though he was so uniquely called, that such a call did not force him to preach the gospel? The best way to do that was to never ask for support and preach it freely, meaning without cost and by his own desire.
This completely removes the idea that we serve God in expectation of payment. We do receive reward, but that is the life of Christ itself.
We do not get to choose the plan or ministry that is given to us by God. We don’t get different positions to apply for. However, the one calling we do have is not forced upon us. We are compelled for one path, but we must choose the path.
It is quite like discerning good and evil, which we call ethics or morality. Do we get to choose what is good and what is evil?
1PE 3:8 To sum up, let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;
1PE 3:9 not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.
"Let him who means to love life and see good days
Refrain his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile.
1PE 3:11 "And let him turn away from evil and do good;
Let him seek peace and pursue it.
1PE 3:12 "For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous,
And His ears attend to their prayer,
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."
Just as we cannot choose the correct path for our life, we cannot choose what is righteous and unrighteous.
I do not at all mean that we cannot choose things like our breakfast, our shirt, or even our profession or our life-long mate. We have to choose these, but what we cannot choose is the body of wisdom that makes them good choices.
A person may choose to eat too much or too little and hurt himself or he may choose to wear clothes for the sole purpose of attracting attention from others in a way that is selfish and lustful. These are bad choices because the man has discerned his own good, or what he thinks is good for him.
Greater choices still are at stake when choosing a husband or wife or a career. They don’t actually have to turn out to be nothing but sunshine in your life. It would be impossible to choose a mate that didn’t give you any problems or challenges and the same is true of a profession. People aren’t robots who always perform what is expected or wanted. It is precisely the unpredictability that makes us human, meaning that we freely choose from self-determination. And that gets right to the heart of the matter. Our choices are not set. We may choose for the Creator and His way or we may reject His way and attempt to establish our own.
If we choose our own way and reject the Lord’s way, then the choices that we do get to make will more often than not be bad ones.
There are also parts of our lives that are completely out of our control. The body we are put in, our parents, time and place of birth were all chosen for us. Also, the ministry and gifts that God bestows upon us spiritually are sovereignly chosen by Him. In other words, the works that I am to do, regardless of what job I have, who I’m married to, and where and in what century I live, are all determined by God. I may do those works, or reject them or not seek for them, and attempt my own.
EPH 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Works are independent of circumstances or status or location. The fruit of the Spirit grows where the Spirit is given latitude to work.