Ephesians 1:3-14

In the desire to relate to the contemporary world
some churches have adjusted their music. The transition away from
hymns often results in a “worship war.” In the search for relevant
music the church must not lose the opportunity to communicate truth
through music. Content is more important than style, assuming the style
is understandable.

Music is a great vehicle for theology; Ephesians
1:3-14 is an example. This scripture is a hymn of praise consisting
of three stanzas, each followed by the refrain “to the praise of His
glory.” The hymn praises God for what He has done for us, how these
blessings are bestowed and why they are given. Praise God for His

Praise God for the preparation of our salvation (vv.3-6)

“He chose us . . . predestined us to adoption as
sons” are phrases from the deep mine of God’s eternal plan. They
describe God’s initiative in our salvation; in eternity He chose a
way and set a boundary for all that would come to eternal life.

New Testament Theologian Frank Stagg said of this
passage, “One is strangely insensitive to the throb and pulse of the
whole New Testament if he thinks that each man’s fate is determined
in advance. This is not a “rigged” television show. God is not
playing with toys or manipulating gadgets; He is seeking men who stand
in an awesome freedom where they may accept or reject the salvation
which God alone can offer.” Praise God for the preparation of our

Praise God for the presentation of our salvation (vv. 3-8, 13)

How is this gracious gift accomplished? God
presents His grace in the gift of Jesus Christ. “In Christ” is found
ten times in eleven verses. The blessings of salvation have been
designed for those who are in fellowship with Christ. Christ died for
our sins and all who come to Him in repentance and faith are presented
the gift of abundant life. Can it be said of you, “In Him you also
trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your
salvation, in whom also having believed, you were sealed with the
Holy Spirit of promise” (v.13). God’s gift of gracious love has been
presented. Take the gift of grace!

The landscape of church history bears witness to
division and acrimonious debate over the paradox of God’s sovereignty
and humanity’s free will. “Who has known the mind of the Lord?” (Rom.
11:34). All attempts at explanation fall short of the mystery. Praise
and witness glorify Him the most.

Praise God for the privileges of our salvation (vv. 3-14)

We have a new relationship; we are adopted as
sons. In the context of his day Paul may have in mind a slave
redeemed from bondage and made a son. By this adoption through the
new birth we receive the privileges, blessings and responsibilities
of a natural born son (Gal. 4:4-6). We develop a new character, “holy
and blameless before Him” (v.4).

It is a cop-out for anyone to plea, “I’m as good a
Christian as he is.” The standard is Christ and we will one day stand
accountable to Him. Our lives are to reflect the character of Christ,
to the praise of His glory, until in glory we receive the final

An anonymous writer penned the fifth verse to John Newton’s superb hymn, Amazing Grace.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.

Sing praise to God’s glory!

Sermon brief provided
by: Bill Whittaker, President, Clear Creek Baptist Bible College,
Pineville, KY

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