#2 The Family of God: Are You In or Out? Pt. 1

The Family of God: Are You In or Out?

Ephesians Chapter 1: Part 1


Before the ages of human history or the pages of His word, God planned 
a harvest of humanity from this earth. The communication from the beginning 
in Genesis speaks of seed and harvest. The seeds of the herbs and the trees 
had built within them the directive to replicate after their own kind.

God expects a harvest when seed is planted into the soil; and the concept 
of seed and harvest extend past the thought of vegetation even to the animal 
kingdom, but much more specifically the essence of God’s purpose is found in 
the seed and harvest of humanity. Pervasive throughout the scriptures is the 
promise of the coming seed from Abraham, who would be Messiah, the anointed 
one to save the world, and through Him, the New Testament teaches that He 
would be planted as a seed in the ground, through the cross, resulting 
in a great harvest of souls (John 12:24). But the genesis or beginning of that 
promised seed is introduced to us as the seed of the woman, and within the context 
of this introduction is great turmoil strife and disarray for the seed God 
planted in the garden, a man named Adam has rebelled, and now a predestinated 
plan written before in the mind of God is set into motion; in this plan, 
there would be war between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman, 
which is Jesus; and at just the right time, Jesus, the obedient one would crush 
the serpent's head.

Not only is seedtime and harvest a pervasive theme upon the pages of Scripture, 
but the family of God is repeatedly brought to the attention of the Bible reader's
mind; for the seed was the Son, the Son had a Father, and in the Son children are 
born into the family of God.

But not only are they children; they are also the bride given in marriage to the 
bridegroom, who is the eternal Son, even the eternal lamb of God who consummated 
the contractual portion of this marriage through the shedding of his blood on the 
cross, and once again, children are born from this act of love called Calvary's cross. 

I believe the theme of this first chapter of Ephesians is exactly that: language 
concerning the contractual agreement God has arranged with humanity: God has been 
for thousands of years creating: The Eternal Family of God and the question that 
must be asked is: are you in or are you out?

Eph. 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which 
are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, 
from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.


Paul, there is a lot of history behind the fact that his name is no longer Saul. We probably shouldn't spend too much time here but name changes in the Bible are always significant:
Abram – Abraham
Sarai - Sarah
Jacob – Israel
Saul – Paul
Simon – Peter
The name change always represents an identity change. One's identity is changed when they move from being a follower of the world to a follower of God, or it can denote a movement from rebellion towards obedience. The whole theme of what we are speaking of in this first chapter with reference to the eternal family of God surrounds this truth that we have been born again from the death that has plagued the human race in Adam "… into a lively hope…" in Christ. The name change represents a break from the old life to the new; the born again believer, introduced into the family of God, through his association with Jesus’ cross, burial and resurrection, becomes a new creation, and the ways of the “old man” begin to die. Saul was a murderer and a persecutor of Christians. Matt was consumed with the party and the gratification of flesh, but these days are gone, these names are changed. The past is that, it’s the past. Who was your past? Do you still see glimpses of his failing heartbeat flutter in your life? Does he still try to manipulate and control, deceive or lie in order to get his way? Does his anger still dominate your behavior when no one else is around to see? I’m not talking about while you’re at bible study, most Christians put on the hupokritos, the hypocrite’s mask, and like an actor on a stage, they play their part, saying the right words and responding the right way, but when no one’s looking, Saul of Tarsus remains alive. The seed of God’s kingdom, the Spirit of God has been planted in you, you’ve received a name change, a new identity—it’s time to start living it for real.


Also, the word apostle is rich with meaning, literally denoting an ambassador of the gospel. In common language, the word describes a representative of a sovereign state that is temporarily dispatched for the cause of their country or kingdom; they travel to a foreign land and bring their country or kingdom with them. While none of us in this room would entitle ourselves an apostle, we should understand that God has certainly called us to be ambassadors of His kingdom; we are asked by Him to embark upon this journey of life as a representative of the kingdom of God, a herald or public crier of the gospel of Jesus Christ. How did God save you? What did He save you from? What’s your story? People out there are dying and in need of you to represent God’s kingdom, to represent the family of God, so that they too can be born anew.
Eph. 1:2. Grace be to you, and peace… The definition of peace: quietness and rest.
How different are the majority of people's lives in the midst of the world today? To be truthful, in many cases, the world and believers alike, find themselves overwhelmed in chaos. There is turmoil everywhere they turn: relationship strife, the kids don't act right, drama at work…
We won't be separated from the effects of this fallen Earth until Jesus takes us out of here, whether we go by way of the air (rapture) or through the grave, there is hope on the horizon, but there's also hope right now because where there is grace there is peace.
I don't think it's an accident that Paul nearly always starts his epistles with, grace and peace unto you. It must be understood that where there is no grace, there is no peace, and where grace abides, there is peace.
So how does one have access to Grace?
Romans 5:1-2 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Whether we know it or not, the peace our souls are craving is peace with God. We may think in our minds, I just wish I wouldn't have all these relationship problems in my life, but if your relationship in the earthly realm is contrary to God, it opens a door for chaos and confusion for your relationship with god in the heavenly realm. It opens a door for the enemy to gain a foothold in your life.
Why are my kids crazy? Well, hold on a second to some extent… No let's be real, a big part of a child's behavior is learned in their environment.
I don't understand why I have all the strife in my life… What are you talking about? You've been living a life of witchcraft! You're engaging in New Testament pharmakeia: pain pills, alcohol, and drugs that manipulate your neurotransmitters…


In this sense, we’re letting Saul stay alive instead of letting the new man Paul be resurrected.

Where there is Grace, there is peace. Romans 5:1,2 teaches us that justification – a declaration by God that we are righteous, made possible because of Jesus' payment for the penalty of our sin, puts us in a place where we're at peace with God. Once we’re in a position of peace, we have access to grace; when grace is flowing in our lives, there is peace in our surrounding atmosphere.
In this place of right standing (justified), we have access to Grace. Grace is more than just forgiveness. Grace is power from God, and where there is grace, there is peace. So when I'm justified, I'm at peace with God; and when I'm at peace with God, I have access to grace.
Access – the act of bringing to.
It's like the scenario of a locked door. On the other side is grace and peace. I need grace and peace, but I can't get there because the door is locked, and I have no access. Jesus is the key! Our sinful state, born in Adam, is the lock preventing access, but Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, and our resulting faith, allows the door to the presence of God to be open, allowing access to Grace, allowing peace in our lives to flourish; however, it must also be understood that we have to choose to live in this place on a daily basis.
What place? The place where daily faith in the forgiving work of Jesus on the cross gives me continued access to grace where I'm empowered by God to stand, and where there is grace, there is peace.
But you can't be double minded (James 1:8, 4:8) and think you will remain in the place of grace. You can't talk like a Christian, live like the world, and expect grace and peace from God.
Eph. 1:3–6 A Family has a Home, and Grace has a place.
3a. "all spiritual blessings…"
While we have a tendency to consider our daily lives as physical and practical, the truth is: we need spiritual blessings from God. The word blessings right here speaks of a spoken word. In other words, the Holy Spirit wants to speak blessings over the life of the new man, who has been born into the family of God. He wants to speak hope, marital healing, obedience to children, and freedom from addiction, manipulation, control, anger, financial woes….
Okay, if you want peace in the physical, you need a spiritual blessing. You need the Holy Spirit to minister to your marriage; you need the Holy Spirit to minister to your children, and you need the Holy Spirit to minister to you, so you will be a better parent, helping you to make better decisions on how to raise and discipline your children. You need the Holy Spirit to give you grace at work, so you can do a great job, be productive, and be in a place where God can bless you.
"I need help with my finances." I can use myself as an example here: what I needed was a spiritual blessing from God to break the power of sin in my life that was driving me to overspend my money on frivolous stupidity. Once that happened, stress and crying over not having enough started to stop.
3b. "… Blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ…"
The place of Grace is in Christ! We must constantly be reminded of these basic biblical truths that are needed to renew our minds and transform our thinking:


(1) the Holy Spirit is the person of God on earth dispensing grace and spiritual blessings from God to man.
(2). The Holy Spirit is able to dispense grace and spiritual blessings to man based upon the place where "man lives."
(3). The man or woman that receives grace and spiritual blessings from the Holy Spirit can receive that blessing because they live in a place called "in Christ."
(4). A man or woman in Christ that receives spiritual blessings from the Holy Spirit received their new home "in Christ" when faith was placed in Jesus Christ and him crucified.
(5). When faith was placed in Jesus Christ and him crucified, a translation occurred, where the old man was baptized and placed "in Christ," where the old man died, and the new man was resurrected to newness of life.
(6). If the new man wants to abide in grace, where spiritual blessings flow, he will have to abide in Christ where the branch receives strength from the vine; simply because, the connection point between sinful man and holy God resides in one place alone, "in Christ," where the righteous one removed our guilt and sin.
(4) a. "… As he has chosen us in him…"
Before we move forward with this portion of scripture, let's note the fact that some form of the prepositional phrase,… In Christ… is used six times in these first 12 verses of Ephesians chapter 1.
(1) v 1… To the faithful in Christ…
(2) v3… Spiritual blessings in Christ…
(3) v4… Chosen us in him…
(4) v6… accepted in the beloved
(5) v10 gathered together in one all things in Christ
(6) v10... which are on earth, even in him
The title I gave to part 1 of Ephesians chapter 1 is: Just as the family has a home, Grace has a place.
These prepositional phrases: "in Christ," "in him," "in the beloved," speak of both the home (when I use the word home, I speak metaphorically, as in, "we've been translated from darkness into light, and this is the new place where we are to live"), so these phrases speak of the home where the family of God lives and the place where grace abides. This place is known as "in Christ."
We (believers) are the chosen of God. It should be noted that the word chosen here is very similar to the word Elect in first Peter 1:2. Both of these words have the Greek preposition "Ek" as a prefix connected to two different Greek words that are from the root of chosen, so the idea for both "chosen and "elect" is that these verses are speaking about the "chosen out" ones of God. Are you chosen out? Are you in or out of the family of God?
How did God choose?
1 Peter 1:2-4
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.

Ephesians 1:4
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:
1 Peter 1:18-20
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

God has chosen in advance the people through the plan. That group of people who would be willing to believe God according to his plan of righteousness would be chosen in Christ and found without blame in him.
The terminology without blame speaks of no blemish. Just as in the idea of the Old Testament sacrifice, which had to be inspected thoroughly inside and out for faults or blemish before it could be offered, the believer in Christ is found without fault because he's been placed in the faultless one.
Salvation provides the believer with a white robe of righteousness because he's been robed with the righteousness of Christ (Revelation 3:18; Galatians 3:27). Righteousness is a gift given by God to sinful man (Romans 5:17).
All gifts are free to the recipient, but were purchased by someone else; and while the gift of righteousness is free to man, it was purchased by God for man through the act of love known as Calvary's cross.
4b. … That we should be holy and without blame before him in love.
Two thoughts that should be emphasize from this part of verse 4:
(1) holy
(2) without blame.
The word holy is the same word often used for sanctified, meaning to separate or consecrate; whereas, blameless, once again denotes the thought of without blemish. God has commanded that His people be separated and blameless in His eyes. While at first glance, these words may cause the Christian to slump in his chair, posturing defeat, he should instead sit up straight, nay, rather he should stand on the truth that he has been given holiness and blamelessness through Christ; but it doesn't end there, because the separating out in Christ provides access to the power of God, which enables man to not only be positioned in the righteous one but also emulate His behavior through the power of the Holy Spirit.
5a. "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, ..."
This scripture specifically describes God producing the eternal family that I spoke of through the title of Ephesians chapter 1:
The Eternal Family of God: are you in or out?
Here, the terminology adoption is used. In 1 Peter 1:2-4, the word begotten, which describes the process of giving birth is used.
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.


The essence of both of these ideas is that God has been redeeming (purchasing back) and creating an eternal family for himself throughout the ages of human history. He has given man a free will to make a choice. The choices are:
(1) obedience to his word resulting in eternal life and

(2) disobedience to God and an embracing of deception resulting in eternal damnation.
The two trees in the garden preach the gospel of God. One tree looks good, tastes good, and seems good when first taken into the mouth; however, its finality is disastrous. The other tree is life! The other tree is Christ, which is God's way of eternal life, and for thousands of years millions of souls have made daily decisions regarding which fruit they will eat – will they meet God at Abel's altar – the cross, or will man build his own altar like Cain and obstinately choose another way for himself whatever way that may be?
Just as a matter of clarity, according to the first Peter 1:3 passage, God is giving birth to this family through the sprinkling of Jesus' blood  v2 and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead  v3. In this sense, I can envision the old man dying at the cross with Christ, and like a newborn baby released from its mother's womb, the new creation in Christ springs forth from the tomb with Him (in Christ) filled with his resurrection power.
I don't want to spend a lot of time on this part of the passage "Having predestinated us…, but I think it should be mentioned. The word predestinated has caused a lot of controversy since the Reformation.
The meaning of the word itself describes something prearranged or preordained. From this, came two sides of a contentious debate. John Calvin and Jacob Arminian saw predestination completely different.
Calvin focused on the sovereignty of God, and in its extreme, this thought produced a belief that it is the believer who is predestined or chosen beforehand. In other words, it's as though God went through the crowd picking certain ones He wanted on His team beforehand and the others would never make it anyway.
Arminian, on the other hand, concluded that a position such as this completely nullifies the free will of man.
To be truthful, the Bible contains a healthy flow of God's sovereignty working within the free will of man. God will never transgress the free will of an individual; yet, like only God can do, He still accomplishes His sovereign plan, even when the free will of man rebels. The most important concept we should understand about this word is that it's not the individual that is chosen or predestined; instead, it’s the plan of God that was chosen before hand and predestined.
We are predestined and chosen in him. In other words, the chosen one's are those who respond through faith to God's plan, are translated from darkness to light, and find themselves in Christ. Yes, God is omniscient and through His foreknowledge sees those who will and won't choose him; nevertheless, he allows man to make that choice.
5b. "… According to the good pleasure of his will."
It was the pleasure of God's will that there would be a remnant of people "harvested" from this earth. God's plan, as communicated in the title of this teaching, is to create an eternal family.
He has accomplished this through the adoption of the saints in Christ. The idea of adoption is the placing of a son. We are placed in Christ, through salvation, which places upon us His righteousness, allowing us to be the children of God, and all this is "… According to the good pleasure of his will." In other words, all these words, and all these years of salvation history have commenced so you could be in the family of God!
6. "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved."
What a beautiful plan God has created in Christ! When we only stop to think about how far away we had traveled, how contrary to the will of God we had lived, yet, even then, His mercy provided a plan of grace, producing a place, where humanity could be saved.
In this place called Christ, we are "accepted in the beloved."
The word accepted here is a variant of the word Grace, but it describes honor being bestowed upon someone. I don't know how far away from God's will you have traveled. There is a good possibility that you feel as though, in a spiritual sense, you're wearing clothes that are tattered and torn. You may feel that your disobedience has brought you so far away from God that you could never be accepted by him.
This passage says otherwise child of God. This verse says that the plan of God, in Christ, has clothed us as a gracious honor in the beloved one. You're in him, you're clothed in him, and it's your position in Him that makes you acceptable to God. So rest in your acceptance and enjoy the life-changing power of God's grace.
"… In the beloved."
This word beloved is from the Greek word for God's kind of love agape. Essentially, the verse is telling us that Jesus is the manifestation of God's love, and our acceptance of Jesus and his sacrifice through faith has clothed us in the agape of God, which is Jesus, who is the beloved of God and never failed.
I don't know what that thought does for you, but it makes me want to stop and cry from a thankful heart when I think that Jesus persevered for my restoration, and it brought him joy
Hebrews 12:2
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

There are three specific times that a form of agape is used as a name of Jesus in the New Testament.
Colossians 1:13
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Matthew 3:17
And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Matthew 17:5
While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them:and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.


The world and self-righteous religion will never tolerate a statement like this, but outside of Jesus the "beloved" God's not pleased with man. Man left to himself, standing outside of Christ, clothed in his own righteous rags is offensive to God, but in Christ, you’ve become a vessel of honor, clothed in the righteousness of the beloved, clothed in a swathe of the love of God known as Jesus.

Here's a video of my father-in-law playing an old medley of songs he used to play at Twin City Gospel Temple back in the day for us at  #Agnoeo! "Saints Go Marching In / I'll Fly Away / Jesus on The Mainline Medley"