Ephesians 1:9

It was the high distinction of the Apostle Paul that to him, and not to any one of the twelve apostles, was committed the revelation of a great mystery. Ten times is this mystery named in his Epistles. It is called significantly "his gospel;" for which he was, indeed, an ambassador in bonds; but a gospel even more gloriously practical than it was speculative in its tendency and character. It was a revealed secret, "hid from generations" - indeed, hid "from the foundation of the world;" a matter, not indeed unknowable, but simply unknown till it came to light through the revelation of this last apostle.

I. THERE IS A TIME WHEN THE WORLD IS NOT READY FOR GOD'S MYSTERIES. The Divine purpose might be defeated by a premature disclosure to minds untrained for their reception. The presence of mysteries is a sort of moral training for man, in so far as it stimulates a sort of sober and devout inquisitiveness in minds blunted by sin, while reason needs likewise to be humbled under a sense of the necessity of illumination from on high. While we sit under the solemn shadows of Divine mysteries, we feel the need of lifting up our mantled eyeballs to the great Father of lights.

II. THE MYSTERY DOES NOT COME WITHOUT DUE PREPARATION HAVING BEEN MADE FOR IT. Not only is the New Testament contained in the Old, but the whole pre-Christian period is one long preparation for the coming of Christ. Not only the types and prophecies of the Mosaic dispensation, but the whole history of the world, with all the marvelously intricate movements of providence, had a certain Christward tendency and leaning, as if to prepare the way for him who was the end of the Law, the turning-point between the old and the new time, "the pivot on which the entire plan of God moves." Thus we find "the Incarnation to be the center of gravity to the world's great movements."

III. BUT THE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL WHICH THE APOSTLE MADE KNOWN WAS A VERY LARGE AND INCLUSIVE THING, EMBRACING JEW AND GENTILE, HEAVEN AND EARTH, IN ITS FULL AND GRADUAL DEVELOPMENT. Sometimes it appears as if it meant only Christ: "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). Sometimes it appears as if it included nothing but the reception of the Gentiles into the Christian Church upon conditions of perfect equality with the Jews: "The mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel" (Ephesians 3:4-6). It was no mystery to pre-Christian ages that the Gentiles would be afterwards included in the Christian Church - for the prophetic Scriptures are full of the subject; but it was never known till after the day of Pentecost that the theocracy itself was to be abolished, and that a new dispensation was to be established, under which the old distinction of Jew and Gentile was to be abolished. Sometimes it appears as if it meant a Divine purpose or plan, with Christ for its Center, stretching out over the whole length of the Christian dispensation, and finally re-collecting into one "things on earth" and "things in heaven" (vers. 9, 10). In fact, it means all three things; for the Divine plan for "the summing up" of all things included, as one of its earliest and most momentous facts, the inclusion of the Gentiles in the Church, and Jesus Christ as the very Center of the whole Divine dispensation, to whom shall be "the gathering of the people" in all ages of the world. This is the mystery of the gospel: not the Church, as some say, restricting the term to believers of the Christian dispensation; for it was by the Church the mystery was to be made known: "To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God" (Ephesians 3:10). Yet the Church was included in this glorious mystery of God, as the form in which there should be the final "summing up" of all things in heaven and in earth. - T.C.

Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself.

1. The gospel is called the mystery of God's will. We must not expect to be able to grasp with our reason all that is contained in it.

2. God has made known to us His will, according to the good pleasure which He purposed in Himself.

II. THE PURPOSE OF GOD IN THIS DISPENSATION — "That He might gather together in one," etc.

1. The gospel is called the dispensation of the fulness of times.

2. The apostle teaches us that one end of this dispensation was, that God might gather together in one all things in Christ.

3. The apostle farther teaches us that the gospel is intended to unite in Christ all things, both which are in heaven and which are in earth.

(1)An argument for Christian love. In heaven charity never fails.

(2)An argument for Christian candour.

III. THE OBLIGATION WHICH LIES ON SUCH AS ENJOY THIS PRIVILEGE: to live to the praise and glory of God's grace.

(J. Lathrop, D. D.)

1. God works saving wisdom to none, to whom He opens not the doctrine of wisdom, the gospel of salvation.(1) God opens this saving wisdom to us outwardly, by the preaching of His ministers. As in great schools there are inferior ushers as well as the principal master, so it is here: it pleases God by man's outward ministry to open the eyes of the mind, and bring from darkness to light.(2) Man can but speak to the outward ears; God himself applies the doctrine to the heart.

2. The doctrine of our salvation through Christ is a hidden secrecy.(1) It is a mystery absolutely, because it is a thing of itself within the will of God, which no creature by itself is able to know. If a thing within my mind be such that no creature can know it further than I make it known — none doth know the things of man but the spirit of man — how great and deep a secret is that which is within God Himself?(2) Although now partly revealed, yet still a mystery because —

(a)Only partly revealed.

(b)Only revealed to a limited number. If the king acquaint some two or three of his nearest favourites with a secret, it remains a secret still in comparison with things commonly known.(3) The wisdom of the gospel is still a mystery, when it is now divulged, in regard of those whose eyes are not opened to see it, and their ears bored to attend to it. As news so common everywhere that they are no news are still secret to those who, being deaf, have never heard them, so the gospel is to this day a hidden riddle to many Christians by outward profession.

3. The reason why God reveals the gospel to any is simply His good pleasure. Human merit absolutely excluded, so there is no ground for anyone to boast.

(Paul Bayne.)

Ephesians, Paul
Agreement, Christ, Clear, Design, Forth, God's, Hands, Harmony, Insight, Intention, Kind, Making, Merciful, Mind, Mystery, Pleasure, Purpose, Purposed, Secret, Wisdom
1. After Paul's salutation,
3. and thanksgiving for the Ephesians,
4. he treats of our election,
6. and adoption by grace;
11. which is the true and proper fountain of man's salvation.
13. And because the height of this mystery cannot be easily attained unto,
16. he prays that they may come to the full knowledge and possession thereof in Christ.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Ephesians 1:9

     4963   past, the
     5195   veil
     5918   pleasure
     8355   understanding

Ephesians 1:3-11

     9122   eternity, and God

Ephesians 1:3-14

     1513   Trinity, mission of
     5110   Paul, teaching of
     6639   election, to salvation
     6708   predestination
     6756   union with Christ, significance
     8412   decisions

Ephesians 1:4-11

     6745   sanctification, nature and basis

Ephesians 1:4-13

     7125   elect, the

Ephesians 1:5-10

     6512   salvation, necessity and basis

Ephesians 1:7-9

     8261   generosity, God's

Ephesians 1:7-10

     6717   reconciliation, world to God

Ephesians 1:9-10

     1444   revelation, NT
     2063   Christ, perfection
     2069   Christ, pre-eminence
     2303   Christ, as creator
     4915   completion
     4942   fulness
     5441   philosophy
     5700   headship
     6694   mystery
     7031   unity, God's goal

Ephesians 1:9-11

     1175   God, will of
     4945   history

Ephesians 1:9-12

     1115   God, purpose of
     1355   providence

The True Christian Life
TEXT: "My beloved is mine, and I am his."--Sol. Song 2:16. "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine."--Sol. Song 6:3. "I am my beloved's and his desire is toward me."--Sol. Song 7:10. These three texts should be read together, and the significant change found in each text as the thought unfolds should be studied carefully. They remind one of three mountain peaks one rising higher than the other until the third is lifted into the very heavens. Indeed, if one should live in the spirit of this
J. Wilbur Chapman—And Judas Iscariot

Saints and Faithful
'The saints which are at Ephesus and the faithful in Christ Jesus.'--Eph. i. 1. That is Paul's way of describing a church. There were plenty of very imperfect Christians in the community at Ephesus and in the other Asiatic churches to which this letter went. As we know, there were heretics amongst them, and many others to whom the designation of 'holy' seemed inapplicable. But Paul classes them all under one category, and describes the whole body of believing people by these two words, which must
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

The Earnest and the Inheritance
'The earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession.'--Eph. i. 14. I have dealt with a portion of this verse in conjunction with the fragment of another in this chapter. I tried to show you how much the idea of the mutual possession of God by the believing soul, and of the believing soul by God, was present to the Apostle's thoughts in this context. These two ideas are brought into close juxtaposition in the verse before us, for, as you will see if you use the Revised
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

The Hope of the Calling
'That ye may know what is the hope of His calling.'--Eph. i. 18. A man's prayers for others are a very fair thermometer of his own religious condition. What he asks for them will largely indicate what he thinks best for himself; and how he asks it will show the firmness of his own faith and the fervour of his own feeling. There is nothing colder than the intercession of a cold Christian; and, on the other hand, in no part of the fervid Apostle Paul's writings do his words come more winged and fast,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

God's Inheritance in the Saints
'That ye may know what is the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.'--Eph. i. 18. The misery of Hope is that it so often owes its materials to the strength of our desires or to the activity of our imagination. But when mere wishes or fancies spin the thread, Hope cannot weave a lasting fabric. And so one of the old prophets, in speaking of the delusive hopes of man, says that they are like 'spiders' webs,' and 'shall not become garments.' Paul, then, having been asking for these
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

'All Spiritual Blessings'
'Blessed be God ... who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.'--Eph. i. 3. It is very characteristic of Paul's impetuous fervour and exuberant faith that he begins this letter with a doxology, and plunges at once into the very heart of his theme. Colder natures reach such heights by slow degrees. He gains them at a bound, or rather, he dwells there always. Put a pen into his hand, and it is like tapping a blast furnace; and out rushes a fiery stream at white
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

'According To' --II.
'According to the riches of His grace.'--Eph. i. 7. We have seen, in a previous sermon, that a characteristic note of this letter is the frequent occurrence of that phrase 'according to.' I also then pointed out that it was employed in two different directions. One class of passages, with which I then tried to deal, used it to compare the divine purpose in our salvation with the historical process of the salvation. The type of that class of reference is found in a verse just before my text, 'according
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

God's Inheritance and Ours
'In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, ... the earnest of our inheritance.'--Eph. i. 11, 14. A dewdrop twinkles into green and gold as the sunlight falls on it. A diamond flashes many colours as its facets catch the light. So, in this context, the Apostle seems to be haunted with that thought of 'inheriting' and 'inheritance,' and he recurs to it several times, but sets it at different angles, and it flashes back different beauties of radiance. For the words, which I have wrenched from their
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

The Measure of Immeasurable Power
That ye may know ... what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ.'--Eph. i. 19, 20. 'The riches of the glory of the inheritance' will sometimes quench rather than stimulate hope. He can have little depth of religion who has not often felt that the transcendent glory of that promised future sharpens the doubt--'and can I ever hope to reach it?' Our paths are strewn with battlefields where we were defeated;
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

'According To' --I.
'According to the good pleasure of His will, ... According to the riches of His grace.'--Eph. i. 5, 7. That phrase, 'according to,' is one of the key-words of this profound epistle, which occurs over and over again, like a refrain. I reckon twelve instances of it in three chapters of the letter, and they all introduce one or other of the two thoughts which appear in the two fragments that I have taken for my text. They either point out how the great blessings of Christ's mission have underlying
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Twenty-Fifth Day. Holy and Blameless.
Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe.--The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, to the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His holy ones.'--1 Thess. ii. 10, iii. 12, 13. 'He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before Him
Andrew Murray—Holy in Christ

A Sight of the Crowned Christ
(Revelation, Chapter i.) "Since mine eyes were fixed on Jesus, I've lost sight of all beside, So enchained my spirit's vision, Looking at the Crucified." "The Lord Christ passed my humble cot: I knew him, yet I knew him not; But as I oft had done before, I hurried through my narrow door To touch His garment's hem. "He drew me to a place apart From curious crowd and noisy mart; And as I sat there at His feet I caught the thrill of His heart-beat Beyond His garment's hem. "Rare was the bread He broke
by S. D. Gordon—Quiet Talks on the Crowned Christ of Revelation

Redemption through Blood, the Gracious Forgiveness of Sins
READ THE CHAPTER, and carefully note how the apostle goes to the back of everything, and commences with those primeval blessings which were ours before time began. He dwells on the divine love of old, and the predestination which came out of it; and all that blessed purpose of making us holy and without blame before him in love, which was comprehended in the covenant of grace. It does us good to get back to these antiquities--to these eternal things. You shake off something of the dust of time, as
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 37: 1891

Blessing for Blessing
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ: 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."--Ephesians 1:3, 4. God blesses us; let us bless him. I pray that every heart here may take its own part in this service of praise. "O thou, my soul, bless God the Lord, And all that in me is, Be stirred up his holy name To magnify
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 38: 1892

The Treasure of Grace
There are no ministers who contend so fully and so unflinchingly for free, sovereign, unconditional grace, as those who before their conversion have revelled in gross and outrageous sin. Your gentleman preachers who have been piously brought up, and sent from their cradle to school, from school to college, and from college to the pulpit, without encountering much temptation, or being rescued from the haunts of profanity--they know comparatively little, and speak with little emphasis of free grace.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 6: 1860

Wisdom and Revelation.
"Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 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: 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, and what is the exceeding greatness
W. H. Griffith Thomas—The Prayers of St. Paul

Of Predestination
Rom. ix. 22.--"What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction." Eph. i. 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." We are now upon a high subject; high indeed for an eminent apostle, much more above our reach. The very consideration of God's infinite wisdom might alone suffice to restrain
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

The Instruction Given Us, However, is not that Every Individual in Particular is to Call...
The instruction given us, however, is not that every individual in particular is to call him Father, but rather that we are all in common to call him Our Father. By this we are reminded how strong the feeling of brotherly love between us ought to be, since we are all alike, by the same mercy and free kindness, the children of such a Father. For if He from whom we all obtain whatever is good is our common Father (Matth. 23:9), everything which has been distributed to us we should be prepared to communicate
John Calvin—Of Prayer--A Perpetual Exercise of Faith

The Work of God in Our Work.
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ."--1 Thess. v. 23. The difference between sanctification and good works should be well understood. Many confound the two, and believe that sanctification means to lead an honorable and virtuous life; and, since this is equal to good works, sanctification, without which no man shall see God, is made to consist in the earnest and diligent
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

Concerning God's Purpose
1. God's purpose is the cause of salvation. THE third and last thing in the text, which I shall but briefly glance at, is the ground and origin of our effectual calling, in these words, "according to his purpose" (Eph. i. 11). Anselm renders it, According to his good will. Peter Martyr reads it, According to His decree. This purpose, or decree of God, is the fountainhead of our spiritual blessings. It is the impulsive cause of our vocation, justification, glorification. It is the highest link in
Thomas Watson—A Divine Cordial

Brought Nigh
"Riches of His grace."--Eph. i. 7. "Riches of His glory."--Eph. iii. 16. W. R. tr., Emma Frances Bevan, 1899 Rich, our God, art Thou in mercy, Dead in sins were we, When Thy great love rested on us, Sinners, dear to Thee. Blessed path of grace that led us From the depths of death To the fair eternal mansions Quickened by Thy breath. Riches of Thy grace have brought us There, in Christ, to Thee; Riches of Thy glory make us Thy delight to be. Not alone the stream that cleansed us Flowed from Jesus
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen and Others (Second Series)

Prolegomena. Section i. --The Life.
S. Gregory Nazianzen, called by the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus "The Great," and universally known as "The Theologian" or "The Divine," a title which he shares with S. John the Evangelist alone among the Fathers of the Church, was, like the great Basil of Cæsarea and his brother Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, by birth a Cappadocian. He was born at Arianzus, a country estate belonging to his father, in the neighbourhood of Nazianzus. This latter, sometimes called Nazianzum, is a place quite unknown
St. Cyril of Jerusalem—Lectures of S. Cyril of Jerusalem

Introductory Notice.
[From Vol. VII., p. 515 of the Ante-Nicene Fathers.] The first certain reference which is made by any early writer to this so-called Epistle of Clement is found in these words of Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., iii. 38): "We must know that there is also a second Epistle of Clement. But we do not regard it as being equally notable with the former, since we know of none of the ancients that have made use of it." Several critics in modern times have endeavoured to vindicate the authenticity of this epistle.
Rev. John Keith, D.D.—The Epistles of Clement

"From Heaven He came and sought her To be His Holy Bride, With His own Blood He bought her, And for her life He died." "The Kingdom of Heaven," what is it? It is the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ. It is that Kingdom which was prophetically set forth by our Lord in His parables; that Kingdom, the subjects of which were described in His teaching, and redeemed by His Blood to be His own "purchased possession" (Eph. i. 14); that Kingdom which was founded through the coming of the Holy
Edward Burbidge—The Kingdom of Heaven; What is it?

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