Teaching Notes are Bible studies we taught before GraceLife Ministries began publishing articles online in 1995. Some were presented as sermons, others as group studies.
Our hope is that these older studies will be a blessing to you in your life and ministry. Please use them in any way God leads you.
These teaching notes are from a study in Ephesians.
[These notes are from a study taught more than 40 years ago. The notes are in outline form.]
I. Turn to Ephesians 1:3 (read)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”
What does it mean to be blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ?
There are two Greek words translated “blessed” in the New Testament. One (makarios) means happy and prosperous. This is the word used by Jesus in His message to the disciples in Matthew 5. The word translated “blessed” in Ephesians 1:3 (eulogetos) means “to speak well of.”
Now look at the words “spiritual blessings.” What do they really mean? The word “spiritual” (pneumatikos) always implies the working of the Holy Spirit. It has nothing to do with the spiritual as opposed to the physical. The blessings or benefits of God proceed from the Holy Spirit. All spiritual blessings covers all the good that comes to us by the marvelous grace of God. We have been blessed by God in every possible way.
Look at the words “in heavenly places.” The word “place” does not show up in the original text. The translators added it to help in the understanding of the English reader. A more correct translation would be “in the heavenlies.” The blessings that come to us from the Holy Spirit have their origin in the heavenlies that God gives us here on earth.
These spiritual blessings have their origin in the heavenlies and their seat of existence is “in Christ.” All blessings from God have their ground and reason in Christ, so that apart from Christ it could have no relation to us.
One great man of God put it this way: “In Christ lay the cause that God blessed us with every spiritual blessing, since His act of redemption is the meritorious cause of this divine bestowal of blessing.” (F.B Meyer, Commentary on Ephesians)
II. I have read and studied the Book of Ephesians on numerous occasions trying to understand the reason for the writing of it. As I read it just recently in my quiet time, I was struck with a statement that we have all been supremely blessed by God with all spiritual blessings. Then, Paul spends the rest of the letter going into great details to explain the various ways we have been blessed.
Turn with me to Psalm 68. Here King David lists many of the blessings that God bestowed upon Israel, then in verse 19 he says: “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.” Sounds similar to Paul’s beginning to the Book of Ephesians doesn’t it?
As I began making a list of the blessings in Ephesians, I found they fit into two categories. The first was “Absolute” blessings and the second was “Potential” blessings.
A. “Absolute blessings” are those blessings proceeding from the Spirit of God which are non-variable. They are sure (certain) for every believer.
- 1:4 (chosen in Christ) We are chosen by God for Himself before He threw the worlds down (creation).
- 1:5 (predestinated us to be sons) God marked us out to be placed as adult sons and daughters through the intermediate agency of Jesus Christ for Himself according to that which seemed good to Him.
- 1:7 (we are redeemed and forgiven) God bought us through the shed blood of Jesus Christ and has forgiven us of all sin according to the wealth of His grace.
- 1:13 (we were sealed with the Holy Spirit) God has completed His transaction through Christ of purchasing us and now owns us and has sealed us against tampering with the Holy Spirit who is a guarantee that God will complete the process of eternal salvation.
- 1:22,23 (we are His body) We have been given the privilege of being part of God.
- 2:8-9 (we are saved by grace through faith) God saved us in such a way as to bring entire credit to Himself.
B. “Potential blessings” are those blessings proceeding from the Spirit of God which are variable. They are not sure (certain) for every believer.
- 3:16 (the potential for an inner strength to please Christ)
- 4:1-5 (the potential for experiencing unity within the Church)
- 4:11-16 (the potential for an exciting, serving, growing local church)
- 4:17-5:17 (the potential for change)
- 5:18-6:4 (the potential for a successful home)
- 6:5-9 (the potential for good relationships outside of the local church and home)
- 6:10-20 (the potential for victory over Satan on the battlefield of the self-life)
- 6:21-22 (the potential for modeling the Spirit-filled life and the blessings of God to others in the Body of Christ.)
- We are a blessed people.
- We are secure in our salvation and can enjoy all that Christ has given us.
- We can also enjoy outstanding relationships with others in the local body here as we experience the blessing of unity.
- We (each of us) can have a ministry that is fulfilling to us and uplifting to others.
- We can change in areas where God is displeased.
- We can be filled with the Spirit of God and have successful homes.
- We can be successful in our relationships with non-Christians.
- We can have real victory over the self-life.
Once we reach this point of maturity in our lives, we will truly be models of true faith.
The challenge to all of us today is to see that we are a blessed people, a special people, a privileged people; and in seeing that to respond to these absolute blessings with hearts full of gratitude to our great God and to respond to these potential blessings with hearts that are obedient to His will and desirous to please Him.
We, of all people in this world, have the privilege of knowing God in an intimate and personal way and the potential of living an abundant life.
(Close with quotation of Ephesians 1:3)
[Thank you for reading these teaching notes from more than 40 years ago. My prayer is they will be a blessing to you and your ministry.]