By Semi-Retired Pastor Jeremy Stopford

19 “and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might 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 under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

Ephesians 1:19-23

Colossians 3:4 says, “When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

A number of years ago we bought a new (to us!) car from a local dealership. About a week after our purchase, we received in the mail a check! A check from that same local dealership! We couldn’t believe it! And we could not believe that the check was real. After all, why would the dealership to which we gave money return money to us? They explained that the national organization honored the sale of each vehicle that month with a substantial bonus in return. The check was REAL!

Christ is our life! Yet in the same manner as we inquired about the validity of that check, Jesus invites us to “prove it”, to prove that He really IS our life! Do you remember Matthew 11:28? That is where Jesus says, “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.” But we often forget to add verse 29: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” In essence, our Savior is saying, “come to Me. And when you come, FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF that I am worthy of your trust, your eternal AND your daily trust.” Why, because He is our life!

In Ephesians 1:19-23, Paul is showing the Ephesian church – and us – some of the lessons we will learn when we “come unto Me…and learn from Me.”

The FIRST lesson Paul teaches is that “Jesus is SEATED” (see verse 20 above). It is important to note that He did more than just rise from the dead – which in itself IS important, isn’t it? Why YES! He overcame death. But the verse goes on to say that after His Son’s resurrection, the Father seated Jesus at His right hand! This implies that He has something to do!

I remember the call! I had been laid off from my previous job, the one where I had worked for 7 years but due to lack of sales was laid off each Christmas time the last 4 years I worked there. I needed a full-time, year around job! My family needed for me to have a full-time job. I applied to one place, interviewed with them, and then a full year went by. And then I got the call (have YOU received a call from a new employer?). My new boss-to-be said, “we would like to hire you. Do you want the job? (“Yes!”). Then come in this afternoon and we will give you an orientation. You’ll start full-time on Monday. I got the call! I’ve got a job! I told everyone I knew “I’VE GOT A JOB!”. I’ve got security, benefits, vacations, regular pay, year around work, not much chance for layoff! Then someone asked me, “Well, what will you be doing?” “DOING?” It is one thing to HAVE a job; it is another thing to DO a job!

The fact that the Savior was seated implied that He is doing something! Let’s get a taste of what Jesus is doing NOW for you and me who love Him as Savior:

* He is preparing a place. In John 14:1-6, Jesus says that after His resurrection He will be going to heaven. And then? “I go to prepare a place for you.”

* He is praying for us. In Hebrews 7:25 we learn, “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

* He is caring for His servants, even in death! Take a reading of the martyrdom of Stephen as recorded in Acts 7:51-60. As he is being stoned to death, Stephen proclaims, “’Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’” Even at the time of his death, Stephen knew – he KNEW – that Jesus cared for him!

And the Savior is currently doing so much more for His children of faith! As we read the Scriptures, we should make a list of all the verses like the above ones which show that the Savior is doing something NOW for us!

Verse 21 is LOADED with truth about our Savior, and SECOND, it tells us that “Jesus is SOVEREIGN”. (Are you catching the alliteration?!!!). Someone wisely observed that all wars, ALL wars, are designed for one nation or one person to be SOVEREIGN over the entire world, or at least his part of the world. We can readily see that with the war that is going on in Russia’s aggression over the Ukraine. But the bottom line is this: WHO really has the right to be SUPREME ruler? For us believers, that should be an easy question: the Lord Jesus! And that settles it! His ascension proves He is Sovereign! He is Sovereign over principality (rule), power (authority), might (strength), dominion (extremes of area), and every name (all titles that can be conferred on humans). He is Sovereign in government (see Romans 13:1-4 in which such Sovereignty should cause us to pray for those He has wisely put in authority over us. He is Sovereign over the future. Do you remember Jesus’ conversation with Pilate before that unjust king turned Jesus over for crucifixion? Jesus said to Pilate, “hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Matthew 26:64b). Pilate would soon learn who really IS Sovereign. And Phil. 2:5-11 includes the truth that one day “every knee shall bow” before the Lord Jesus, confessing Him as Lord! He is Sovereign!

But an important question for me today is, “Is He Sovereign in my heart?”. Colossians 3:1 lovingly says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Is He sovereign in my heart, and is that Sovereignty on display by my daily seeking those things which are above? OR am I settling for earthly things? Tough questions!

The THIRD lesson the Apostle Paul teaches comes from verses 22-23 where we learn that the Savior is SECURE in His work today! His program today is the CHURCH – not Israel, not the PTA, not social groups, but the CHURCH! Another question for each of us, “Is the CHURCH our priority, too? Or do THINGS and other STUFF take its place?”. The church is His priority – in that we can be secure.

Not only that, the Lord Jesus is building His UNIVERSAL CHURCH!

Now by denomination some fundamentalists are Baptists. There is a story about the man who died and went to Heaven. Saint Peter (somehow Peter gets in all of these jokes, er stories, doesn’t he?) showed this new entrant around Heaven. As they were walking around the wonders of Glory, the new resident inquired, “I see a closed door down that aisle. What is behind that door?”. To that question Peter replied, “Shhhh! Behind there are the Baptists! They think they are the only ones up here!”

Don’t laugh too hard!

Even today, the Savior wants each believer to have an awareness of the universal church, and how He has been working in that fundamental church for all generations, in all decades of time, drawing a people unto Himself.

And we are His FULLNESS. Verse 23 reads in part, [the church is] “the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” In theological terms, “fullness” means, “the full measure of Him Who makes everything complete, Who fills everything everywhere with Himself.” Wow! This is amazing!

He is seated – doing a work

He is Sovereign – Head over all

He provides security – He is building His church!

All that is an invitation to for each of us to ask a simple question: “Since God’s program today is centered around the local church, is that MY priority?”

He alone is worthy of our eternal and our daily trust, walk, and hope.

Are we learning of Him today?