Ephesians 1 Eternal Plan of God

Ephesians 1  Eternal Plan of God

Psalm 145:1-21 God Fulfills the Desires of Those Who Fear Him
Ps 145:1 Of David “I will exalt you, my God, the King. I will bless your name forever and ever. 2 Every day I will bless you. I will praise your name forever and ever. 3 Great is Yahweh, and greatly to be praised! His greatness is unsearchable. 4 One generation will commend your works to another, and will declare your mighty acts. 5 Of the glorious majesty of your honour, of your wondrous works, I will meditate. 6 Men will speak of the might of your awesome acts. I will declare your greatness. 7 They will utter the memory of your great goodness, and will sing of your righteousness. 8 Yahweh is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and of great hesed/loyal covenantal love. 9 Yahweh is good to all. His tender mercies are over all his works.
10 All your works will give thanks to you, Yahweh. Your saints will bless you. 11 They will speak of the glory of your kingdom, and talk about your power; 12 to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, the glory of the majesty of his kingdom. 13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. Your dominion endures throughout all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. 14 Yahweh upholds all who fall, and raises up all those who are bowed down. 15 The eyes of all wait for you. You give them their food in due season. 16 You open your hand, and satisfy the desire of every living thing. 17 Yahweh is righteous in all his ways, and gracious in all his works. 18 Yahweh is near to all those who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 19 He will fulfil the desire of those who fear him. He also will hear their cry, and will save them. 20 Yahweh preserves all those who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. 21 My mouth will speak the praise of Yahweh. Let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever."

Observations: 145:1-9 This is perhaps my favorite psalm (and not just because it is an acrostic psalm, with each verse starting with a consecutive letter of the Hebrew alphabet). David's blessing of the God who blesses us, is born out of his intimate relationship with Him. The first half focuses a little more on praise, the second on thanksgiving. Although the two activities overlap, praise is concerned a little more with the character of God, which He reveals in His revelation (e.g., Exodus 34) and acts. Contemplating what He has done leads to an understanding of who He is. Praise is not mindless mouthing of words, but arises from understanding the person of God. The mighty acts in the OT would encompass everything from deliverance from Egypt and enemies, to peace and prosperity under His ruler/dominion/kingdom in the promised land, to His guaranteed promises in the future. The purpose of praise is to exalt God in the eyes of others, so they too can know Him, and thus praise Him. Each generation has the responsibility to experience God as He truly is, and pass on that relationship to the next generation so they can trust and praise Him. If you have no memories of God to pass on, you'd better start making some.
145:10-21 Those who know God, talk of His ways, because they walk in them. They thank God for how He hears their cry and answers them, saving them not just form their own sins, but from those of others and the difficulties of being human in a fallen world. But the most incredible thing is that God cares about our desires, and has a plan to fulfill them! After all, He created us with desires and knows how best to satisfy them, because He wants us to trust Him, and then thank and praise Him when He delivers. Satan tries to deceive us into desiring the wrong things, but the corrective is to hold all desires with an open hand. We just need to fear God, pray (according to His will), letting Him know that we know He knows our needs and desires, then be in a position for Him to bless us, and finally wait until God gives what's best, when it's best. When He answers, bless His name, with thanksgiving and praise (even if the answer is no, because God just spared you from something that is not good, which you would live to regret if you had it).
Application: Remember to hold every desire with an open hand, God can't give you what's best when You're clutching onto second or third best. In fact a good God won't give you what's bad for you. Only you can ruin your life.
Prayer: Holy God, I trust in Your infinite wisdom and goodness; thanks that You have in Your hand anything I could desire, and You will give it to me if it's best, and when it's best; otherwise I don't want it, and am totally satisfied with You, and You alone. Thanks for being so good. Amen.

TMS Romans 6:23 Consequence of Sin is Death
Rom 6:23 “(22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life/dominion of the Age.

23 For the wages of sin is death, (loss of dominion)
but the gift (gracething) of God is eternal life (dominion of the Age)
in (union with) Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Observations: Rom 6:23 This verse is the second stop on the “Roman Road” to salvation (after 3:23, along with 5:8 and 10:9-10, and some toss in 5:1 or 8:1 at no extra charge). The principles are valid (depending on how they're presented) but not necessarily in context. Most of the verses (except for 3:23) are not talking about justification/forgiveness of sin. See observations in posts on the corresponding chapters in Romans for the full context. Our verse (6:23) above is in the sanctification section of Romans, but does make a good point that sin (independence from God) leads to loss (death). Death is sometimes called separation from God, which isn't a bad concept evangelistically, but exegetically, it is a loss of the glory and dominion Christ wants to share with them in His kingdom. So it is something to cure and avoid.
Application: All independence from God (sin) results in loss, either temporal or eternal, so why would anyone chose to be a loser?
Prayer: God, thanks for Your grace, and that You set me free from sin so I can profitably serve You; may I do so completely. Amen.

Ephesians 1 The epistle to the Ephesians, the best taught church in the NT, is a blueprint for believers to develop the unity that glorifies God. The first chapter provides a sweeping overview of God's plan in creation, and our role in it, consisting of a hymn of praise and a prayer. Like a psalm, he exhorts his audience to bless God because He has blessed us. Then Paul elaborates, showing how the Trinity worked together in a unified manner in securing our salvation: the Father selected us, the Son saved us, and the Spirit seals us. The purpose is for the praise of the glory of His grace, the repeated refrain. The prayer draws out the implications of God's plan, and the rest of the book elaborates on the three main requests of Paul's prayer (in chiastic order), and the book ends how the Body stands in unity against the schemes of Satan who seeks to disrupt that unity and derail the display of God's glory in the NT temple, the church. Throughout the book the Holy Spirit builds the unity which Satan attempts to destroy. As believers respond to God's Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, and live in love, God's purposes will be furthered. This chapter is so important to understand that it's the only one in this post. There is a topical survey of our inheritance under Digging Deeper that you really should grasp if you hope to receive all the blessings God has in store for you. There is a blow up chart at the end of the post.

Ephesians 1 Eternal Plan of God
1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ;
4 even as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him in love
5 having pre-determined us for/with a view to (eis) adoption/sonship through Jesus Christ to himself,
according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 to the praise of the glory of his grace,
by which he highly favored us in the Beloved,
7 in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
8 which he made to abound toward us in/by all wisdom and prudence,
9 making known to us the mystery of his will,
according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him
10 with a view to the dispensation/administration of the fulness of the times,
to sum up all things in Christ,
the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, in him;
11 in whom also we have an inheritance,
having been pre-determined according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his will;
12 to the end that we should be to the praise of his glory, we who had first hoped in Christ:
13 in whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the Good News of your salvation
in whom, having also believed,
you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
14 who is a pledge/downpayment of our inheritance,
until the redemption of God’s own possession,
to the praise of his glory.
15 For this cause I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which is among you,
and the love which you have toward all the saints,
16 don’t cease 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 to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in/by the experiential knowledge of him;
18 having the eyes of your hearts having been enlightened,
that you may know what is the hope of his calling,
and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
19 and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe,
according to that working of the strength of his might
20 which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead,
and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come,
22 And He put all things in subjection under his feet,
and gave him to be head over all things for the assembly,
23 which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all.

Observations: 1:1-2 Paul addresses the believers at Ephesus who he describes as “saints” (holy ones) and faithful in Christ. He wishes them the covenantal blessings of grace and peace, and writes the letter so they can reap them.
1:3-6 Believers should bless (praise) God for His blessings of us (just like the Psalms). Paul gives us a general proposition in verse 3, that in union with Christ, we have every spiritual blessing in the “heavenlies” (better translated heavenly realms), and then give the particulars according to the outline in the introduction above.
The Father chose us, in union with Christ, to be holy and blameless in love. This is the concept of “election” but it is corporate (the emphasis of the book) not individual, and to sanctification and heirship/glorification, not forgiveness/justification. The plan of God, before He created the world, was to have a family of sons/daughters, in union with Christ, whom He could bless. We're not told exactly why until Paul's prayer in 3:10. Some modern translations put “In love” with the following verse (which could be legitimate since there are no verse divisions in the original) but this placement of love misses the mark on five counts. First, the modifiers always follow, not precede what they modify in the hymn (just like this phrase does); second, if you know how to do an exegetical outline, (see sidebar) the manner or motive of the verb in verse 5 is “according to the pleasure of His will” not “in love” (it's redundant, and definitely not Paul's style, to use a “nuance” (manner/motive) twice, unless it's in a sequential list); third, throughout the rest of the book, “in love” refers to human love, not God's; fourth, the theme of the book is for believers to live in love, obeying Jesus' new commandment, that they love one another (and Paul will structure the letter to help them do that), fifth, when Christ evaluates the church in Revelation 2:4 He will rebuke them for disobeying His command and leaving their first love, which is the basis of their testimony (which they are about to lose -see comments there). God's plan is to have a group of choice believers display His unity and love to the world, by living in unity and love with each other. Thus His purpose in choosing them is to be holy and blameless with respect to love for each other.
In choosing us God pre-determined (determined/mark out boundaries, ahead of time) that we should be heirs (adopted as sons -Gal 4; Rom 8) through Christ, in accord with the pleasure of His will (He wanted to). God did this so the glory/display of His grace/power would be praised, with which He highly favored us (only used in Lk 1:28) in Christ.
1:7-9 In union with Christ we have (present possession) redemption by means of His blood, the forgiveness of sins (this is the usual justification aspect of salvation that pays our debt so we don't have to). Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins (Heb 9:22; sin results in death; life is in the blood; Christ's blood is shed instead of ours). This redemption is unmerited favor or grace (this is one of the few usages of grace in that sense – see Survey of Grace on Truthbase.net), which will be explained more in chapter 2. God caused this grace to come to us according to His wise plan, described next. God made known to the apostles (and those who heard them) the mystery (previously unrevealed truth), explained more in 3:3-7, that the Jews and Gentiles are co-heirs in the Messiah's kingdom.
1:10-12 This revelation of the mystery is according to God's pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, with a view to the administration or management (dispensation) of the fullness times (culmination of the times). The governing rubric of the period toward which all previous times have been building is the summing up of all things under one Head (that's what anakephalaiomai means), that is Christ. This summation encompasses things in heaven (angels) and earth. This hasn't happened yet, but is the purpose of the Father selecting people/us for adoption/heirship, and the son saving people/us.
As a result of God's plan to have Christ be head over an administration/kingdom of all things, believers in union with Christ have an inheritance. The basis of our inheritance is that we've been pre-determined to be part of God's purpose, who works everything together as part of His plan so that we, those who have receive His inheritance, should be to the praise of His glory. Paul further clarifies the heirs as those who hope (literally “who have hoped ahead of time”) in Christ.
1:13-14 In union with Christ, those who heard the word of truth, the good news/gospel of their salvation (in all its aspects), and believed it, were sealed (see on 2Cor 1:22; Eph 4:30) with the Holy Spirit which God and Christ had promised. Note the progression: hear, believe, sealed. No mention of anything else (like repentance, baptism, circumcision, etc). The Holy Spirit is the first installment or down payment of our inheritance. Which has two direct implications: first, there is more to come; and second, our inheritance will consist of more of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Glory and Power (restoration to glory -see on 2Corinthians 5, especially under Digging Deeper). This down payment is what we receive until the redemption of God's inheritance (glorification of our bodies - see note on Romans 8:23). Just like Israel was called His inheritance in the OT (like in Ps 78:62 above), so too NT believers are His treasured possession. God gives those who hear the truth, and believe in Him, His Holy Spirit to seal and protect them, let them know that there is more to come, their inheritance. All this is to the praise of His glory (manifestation of Himself, His purpose, power, and grace -Ex 34). A correct understanding of our inheritance is crucial in order to gain it, so spend time going though the outline under Digging Deeper, which is a topical study on our inheritance as believers. Paul will talk more about it later in this epistle.
1:15-18a Because God has a plan to give an inheritance to (reward/glorify) believers Paul prays that God would give them some insight into the dynamics. Paul heard of the faith which the Ephesians had in the Lord Jesus, and of the love which they had toward all the saints. So what he will say in the letter is not to have them believe that Jesus died for their sins, but has something to do to the above, getting their planned inheritance. God is glorified when He can pour out His glory upon His faithful saints, for it shows just how much glory He has. So Paul prays that God, the Father of the Lord Jesus the Messiah, would give them a spirit of wisdom (choosing the right objectives and the right means of attaining them) and revelation (insight according to the Scriptures of what those objective and means should be) by means of the experiential knowledge of God. The purpose of this knowledge is not to know God better (cx NIV) but so that we'd know the three items in 1:18-19. The normal word for knowledge is gnosis, but here Paul uses epignosis, experiential knowledge. You might have gnosis about how to ride a bicycle (sit on seat, feet on pedals, move feet-bike go, steer with hands), but unless you've actually ridden one, you don't have epignosis. Unless you've experienced the results of trusting and obeying God, you don't have epignosis of Him.
The reason God can give believers a spirit of wisdom and revelation (cf Isaiah 11:2) is because the eyes of their heart have already been enlightened (perfect passive participle, referring to their regeneration). The light had dawned upon them, and they had turned to it, and received it (Jn 1:4-12).
1:18b-19 The three things Paul prays the believers would know as a result of gaining revelation (which he is going to give them in the rest of the book) are:
the hope which accompanies their calling (which he'll describe beginning in chapter 4);
the riches of the glory of the inheritance among the saints (which he elaborates on in chapter 3);
the greatness of the power/grace, according to the working of His might, which is available to those who believe (which he begins to elaborate upon next, and in chapter 2). Chiastic structure!
1:20-23 God first demonstrates His power in Christ (and chapter 2 will show how he demonstrates it in believers), in four ways , by
  1. raising Christ from the dead;
  2. seating Christ in the heavenly realms at His right hand (the place of honor for the guy who was going to rule the conquered territory), far above all angelic and demonic powers (see chapter 6) and every name/power in this age and also in the Age to come (the Messianic Age);
  3. putting all things in subjection under the feet of Christ, as in 1Corinthians 15:24-28 (in a victory triumph the last stage was to bring all the captured kings and leaders and have them acknowledge the supremacy of the conqueror by putting (or being forced to put) their neck under the Victor's feet (who could either destroy them or let them live as a vassal);
  4. giving Christ as head over all things for the Church.
Wait a minute! If all things are already in subjection to Christ, why would special mention have to be made about the church? Paul's prayer in Ephesians 1 was the very first passage on which I did an exegetical outline. It took me over a hundred hours (and I still didn't know what I was doing; I just knew I was less wrong than anything I read). Eventually I found out what one of Paul's traveling buddies had said about the subject in 
Hebrews 2:5 “For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels....8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet." For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.” 
We don't yet see Jesus ruling in His glory. It's like He won the election, but has not yet begun to exercise His office as Messiah of the world to come. The world doesn't yet see the victory and glory and rule of the Lord Jesus, the Messiah. So how is God's glory manifested to the world?
God gave Jesus as head over the church, which is His body in this world. Most translations indicate the church is the fulness of Him who fills all in all (whatever that means). If you understand that fulness means control (as in be filled with the Spirit in 5:18) then it's more likely that Paul is describing the process of God filling or controlling the Body of believers, much like His glory filled the temple in the OT. As God's glory dwelt in the midst of an obedient Israel in the OT, so now God's glory dwells in the midst of the unified Body of believers (cf 2:21-22; 3:20-21). That unity is only possible when believers live under the control of God's power/grace. This is the theme that Paul will teach in the rest of the Book.
Application: Believers need to live in light of the future God has planned for them so His glory can be seen and praised.
Prayer: Gracious God, I praise You for all You've done in selecting, saving, and sealing me; may I know You and how You want me to live to fulfill Your purposes for my life. Amen.

Digging Deeper

Inheritance: God reveals His goodness by blessing the faithful

I. Our Inheritance is equated with:

A. OT Rest in the promised land, won through faithfully driving out the giants Heb 4:1 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.
B. 1. It is the purpose of being born again 1Pt 1:4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation to be revealed in the last time
2. An aspect of salvation Heb 1:14 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?
3. Distinguished from forgiveness Ac 26:18 receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them who are sanctified by faith...
C. Reward for service Col 3:24...you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward (the reward of the inheritance)
D. Kingdom Matt 25:34...'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. Jas 2:5 ...heirs of the kingdom which He has promised to them that love him?
E. Our uncertain destiny 2Cor 5:4 but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as an downpayment.
F. Hope Rm 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19...we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies 24 For in this hope we were saved. Col 1:5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel
G. Secret wisdom I Cor 2:7 we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began...9 "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him"
H. OT Promises Heb 6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.


II. Our Inheritance consists of:

A. Our share in Christ's regaining what Adam Lost (Ps 8); reinstatement of pre-fall glory; the coin of the realm of heaven; glory, additional bestowments of the Spirit/grace; eternal power, pleasure, possessions; honor; ruling with Christ in the kingdom (over the less faithful); seeing His face; serving in the presence of God; return on our investment/multiplied reimbursement of anything lost or given for the sake of Christ; perfect justice; OT promises (HS, preeminence, etc.); dominion in the Messianic Age Mt 19:29 and shall inherit everlasting life.(Lu 10:25);
B. Being with Christ as a consequence of following and serving Him Jn 12:26 If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be: if any man serve Me, him will [my] Father honor.
The pleasure of seeing the face of God Mt 5:8 Blessed...pure in heart: for they shall see God. Re 22:4 And they shall see His face;
C. Receiving a glorified body like Christ's Php 3:21 Who shall change our lowly body, that it may be fashioned like his glorious body... 1Jo 3:2 sons of God...not yet appear what we shall be...when he shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as..
D. Judging and ruling with Christ 1Co 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? Re 5:10 And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them...they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
E. Part of our inheritance consists of those whom we've made Christlike Phil 4:1 Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends! 1Th 2:19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?

III. Our Inheritance requires or is the result of:

1. Pre-qualification by new birth Col 1:12...who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
2. Pleasing Christ 2Cor 5:9-10...goal to please Him...10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
3. Believing God is who He said He is and will do what He said He'll do Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
4. Faith 1Pe 1:4 to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you...
5. Faith and patience Heb 6:12 not...lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
6. Continuing in faith Col 1:22 But now he has reconciled you...to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation_23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.
7. Faithfully, patiently, sacrificially, joyfully doing the will of God Heb 10:34-39 v35...

Isa 40:10 See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. Isa 62:11 The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: "Say to the Daughter of Zion, 'See, your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.'"
1. Serving God with a pure conscience Heb 9:14...cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new...that...they who are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
2. Works Mt 16:27 Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father...then He shall reward every man according to his works. Re 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward [is] with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be.
3. Laboring in the Lord's work 1Co 15:58...give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord because...labor in the Lord is not in vain.
4. Serving unselfishly Lu 14:14...for they cannot recompense Thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
5. Being built by the word Ac 20:32..word of his grace...build you up, and give you an inheritance among them who are sanctified
6. Wise building I Cor 3:8...each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 14 If any man's work...built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire.
7. Christlike behavior 1Pt 3:9 Do not repay evil with evil...but with blessing, because...called so that you may inherit a blessing.
confidence, has great recompense of reward.
8. Investing Mt 19:21...sell what you have, & give to the poor, & you shall have treasure in heaven: and come follow me Mt 6:20...lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust does corrupt, and where thieves do not break..

1. Seeking it Lu 12:31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added to you. 32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell what ye have, & give alms; provide yourselves bags which become not old, a treasure in the heavens that fails not
2. Disciplined running to win 1Co 9:24...all run, but one gets the prize? So run, that you may win. 25 And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they [do it] to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
3. Persistent seeking and doing good Rm 2:5... when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God "will give to each person according to what he has done." 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life...10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
4. Being an overcomer Rev 21:7 He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.
5. Fearing God Rev 11:18 The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding...those who reverence your name...
6. Loving jerks Lu 6:35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and you shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind to the unthankful and [to] the evil.
7. Successfully enduring temptation to give up in trials Jas 1:12 Blessed [is] the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him.
8. Faithfulness to the point of death Re 2:10...be thou faithful to death, and I will give you a crown of life.
9. An eternal eyeset 2Cor 4:17 our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
10. Pressing on without regression Phil 3:14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
11. Fighting, finishing, keeping and loving I Tim 4:7 not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 6:12
12. Endurance, separation, and work II Tim 2:3-13 Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

1. Suffering 2Ti 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign: if we deny, he also will deny us: Rom 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.
2. Maturity reaped from suffering 2:10 In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.
3. Losing your life Mat 16:24 Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.
4. Being persecuted Lk 6:23...leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how...treated the prophets.
II Sam 22:21; Ps 19:11; 58:11; Pv 11:18; 13:13; 22:4 The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life.


IV. Our Inheritance is not automatic and can be lost or forfeited through:

A. Failing to watch 2Jn 8 Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.
B. Failing to maintain righteousness 1Cor 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
C. Being gullible Col 2:18 Let no man defraud/beguile you of your reward
D. Living for this world Eph 5:5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person - such a man is an idolater - has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
E. Feeding the flesh/desire for the temporal Gal 5:19 works of the flesh: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 10 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousy, wrath, contention, seditions, heresies, 21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like...as I have also told [you] in time past, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
F. Looking for man's approval Mt 6:1 Take heed...before men, to be seen by them: otherwise you have no reward from the Father
F. Failure to value it Heb 12:17 when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance...
G. Lack of encouragement/holding Heb 3:12-14 ...share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first (3:6).


Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:

1. Is your inheritance something for which you bless God? Why? Why not?
2. Does the modern church have the same emphasis on gaining inheritance as did the early church?
3. Would a review of your past week find more "laying up" (#III) or "losing it" (#IV) activities?
4. What helps you do/not do the more difficult things listed above?
5. What could we at BAC do to help you gain a full inheritance?

God in a nutshell: God has a plan to glorify Himself through the blessing of believers under the Headship of Christ in the Millennial Kingdom of the Messiah. To that end, He planned that there would be a group of faithful sons/daughters to share in Christ's glory, sent Jesus to die so people could have a relationship with Him, and then sent His Spirit in their hearts as the first installment of that future glory.

Build-a-Jesus: Jesus died for our sins, so we could be redeemed/saved, and is the future ruler of the world to come. In the meantime, He exercises His rule over faithful believers who are rightly related to Him and each other as members of His Body.

Us in a nutshell: We have the requirement to be holy and blameless in love in order to share in the glory of the Lord of love, Jesus. To that end we need to know the power available to us to live as God desires, and reap the reward He has planned.

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