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Ephesians; 1:5 – Christ is the first fruits of the sons of God, therefore we are to be like Him.

EPHESIANS-1-190430
length: 64:47 - taught on Apr, 30 2019
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Class Outline:

Tuesday March 30, 2019

 

Christ is the first fruits and all believers are His harvest.

 

Jesus Christ represents us and so we are to be like Him. He presented Himself to God as righteous and perfectly suited for heaven, and because He also paid our debt, propitiating the Father for us, justifying us, the body of Christ, believers in Christ, have truly become His crop.

 

1CO 15:20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.

 

1CO 15:21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.

 

1CO 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.

 

1CO 15:45 So also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

 

1CO 15:46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.

 

1CO 15:47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.

 

1CO 15:48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.

 

1CO 15:49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

 

Being sons of God, like Christ, we have a purpose in this life under the will of the Father.

 

We noted on Sunday that the sons of God are peacemakers, meaning that they do not quarrel with God and see the reconciliation of men.

 

Also, the sons of God are extraordinary in that they love even their enemies, are exceedingly gracious, do not judge, but forgive.

 

The sons of God do the will of their Father.

 

MAT 21:28 "But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go work today in the vineyard.'

 

MAT 21:29 "And he answered and said, 'I will, sir'; and he did not go.

 

So, it turns out that the electronic version of my NASB on my computer has vv. 29 and 30 switched; the son who says he will go first and the other second. In my written Bible the first son mentioned is the one who at first refuses to go. I apologize if this resulted in any confusion.

 

MAT 21:30 "And he came to the second and said the same thing. But he answered and said, 'I will not'; yet he afterward regretted it and went.

 

What causes the regret [metamelomai - literally “to change what you care for or repent] is not stated.

 

What is important is that he later sought that which was good. The leaders in Israel in the days of Christ for the most part told the publicans and harlots that there was no hope for them. Likely in the hearts of this lower class, the thought was, let’s eat and drink for tomorrow we perish. But from Christ they learned that there was forgiveness and a holy and righteous life for them and many of them then repented and eagerly sought God.

 

MAT 21:31 "Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The latter." Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you that the tax-gatherers and harlots will get into the kingdom of God before you.

 

They answered correctly. They held in their minds principles which, had they been applied to their own conduct, would have made them very different men.

 

This is a very interesting phenomenon and a reproach that never passes from the world: all of us know more than we practice. Thoroughly intelligent, well-instructed people act like careless, shameful, and unprincipled men.

 

MAT 21:32 "For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax-gatherers and harlots did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him.

 

This parable is too plain spoken to be evaded. They cannot deny that the satisfactory son is not the one who professes great respect for His father’s authority, while he does only what pleases himself, but the one who does his father’s bidding, even though he has at first disowned his authority.

 

We are reminded that there is not one Christian who possesses consistent, uniform obedience, but there are those who regret disobedience and desire nothing more than to serve their Father.

 

It would be better to be perfect, but consistent perfection is not on the table that sits this side of heaven. One smart man said, “Apology, however sincere, is at all times a very poor substitute for conduct that needs none.” True enough, but all of us do quite a bit of repenting to our Father in the Christian life. The real question for us then is not whether we require repentance or confession to God for sin but whether we do God’s will after we repent and acknowledge our wrongdoing.

 

There are always landmines, even in the right decisions we make because we have sin natures and we’re in a fallen world. We might regret saying no to God and then simply congratulate ourselves for our fine humility, but still we don’t go into the field and work.

 

It is an interesting thing to consider, humility tainted with pride. How could two things so opposite coexist at the same time in our minds?

 

After all, there are those who are like the other son, blatantly saying no to God and having no regret, and so the humble/prideful men think themselves better by comparison, and congratulate themselves in their confession of dereliction, while thinking their work is done.

 

It may be confidently said that our knowledge is in excess of our action.

 

What is an adopted son of God? Being a son is more than professing it.

 

MAT 15:8 'This people honors Me with their lips,

But their heart is far away from Me.

 

MAT 15:9 'But in vain do they worship Me,

Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.' "

 

The question which this parable suggests is not what you know, but what are you doing? We can profess all day that we are to love the Lord with all our heart and love our neighbor as ourselves, but have we done it?

 

The publicans and harlots were told that there was no room for them to do good in the community, and then Christ came along and offered them the good of the kingdom of heaven. Anyone can come to Christ and anyone can love purity and love and unselfishness.

 

All of us face duties for which we have no love, or not much. We think of these as a lifetime of serving with compulsion at every step. But this will not be the case.

 

Do the duty, and the spirit will come. Don’t wait for the spirit of eagerness before you take God’s field.

 

Sometimes we have to do the work and then afterwards we will understand the spirit of it. We don’t have to love everything we do, but we will eventually come to love it all as our eyes open to what it means to be a son of God, and when we see that, we will marvel that the Father has actually made us into them. You will eventually love the duties that you used to find most distasteful.

 

The longer we wait to be faithful to God in service the longer it will be until we see what a son of God really is.

 

God educates us to the ease and naturalness of all duty. Yet only when we are willing to go.

 

Before He spoke this parable, the chief priests and elders asked Jesus by what authority He did the things He did. He cleaned out the Temple and received worship from children. Jesus in turn asked them about John the Baptist. Did John do what he did from his own aspiration or did God send him? They did not know. Well, then neither would Jesus tell them.

 

And why did He need not tell them? They heard all He said and say all He did, and it was more than obvious that He was sent from God. And as the son of Mary and (stepfather) Joseph, He was in the line of David. And born in Bethlehem at the proper time He fulfilled this prophecy and many others. Healing a man born blind, healing a Jewish leper, telling men their sins were forgiven, raising the dead, casting out demons, etc., etc., what difference would it have made at this time, just a few days before His death, that His authority came from the Father.

 

JOH 8:28 Jesus therefore said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.

 

JOH 8:29 "And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him." 

 

JOH 8:30 As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him.

 

JOH 10:30 "I and the Father are one."

 

JOH 10:31 The Jews took up stones again to stone Him.

 

JOH 10:32 Jesus answered them, "I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?" 

 

JOH 10:33 The Jews answered Him, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God."

 

JOH 10:34 Jesus answered them, "Has it not been written in your Law, 'I said, you are gods'?

 

JOH 10:35 "If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),

 

JOH 10:36 do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world,' You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?

 

Jesus quotes Psa 82, in which these “gods” were actually unjust judges whom God sentenced to death. Whether they were angels, as some argue, or men is not the point. The point is that God called unjust judges “god” or elohim in acknowledgment of their position as leaders, and since that is true, would it be blasphemous or even odd that the coming Messiah would be called the Son of God?

 

It must be remembered that the concept of the Messiah was not in any way lost to the Jews in Jesus’ time. They fully believed that their King was coming, and so Jesus’ point is that if bad judges were called gods by the God (also Elohim) then why would it be blasphemy if the Messiah called Himself the Son of God?

 

If He’s not the Messiah, then yeah, he is a false prophet and should be stoned, but calling Himself this, coupled together with all of His works and teachings and fulfillment of prophecy - it’s unmistakable.  

 

JOH 10:37 "If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me;

 

JOH 10:38 but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father. " 

 

JOH 10:39 Therefore they were seeking again to seize Him, and He eluded their grasp.

 

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