Ephesians 1:1  "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: 

The letters that the Apostle Paul wrote are arranged much like a letter that would be written by most people today.  They begin with who is writing and by what authority they are writing.  Next, they tell us whom the letter is addressing.  Subsequently you have the body of the letter.  Finally, you have the close of the letter.

Paul is the one that wrote the letter to the Church at Rome.  It is important that we know who wrote the letter for by knowing the person who wrote the letter we can relate to his background and experience.  The name, Paul, was his Roman name and meant "small."  His Hebrew name was Saul, which meant "great."  At first, he was known as Saul and was considered great in the eyes of the Jews religious leaders.  However, after God struck him down on the road to Damascus, he become known as Paul and he thus became "small" in his own eyes.  Similarly, we should not seek greatness for ourselves, but be content to be small in order that we might magnify our great God.  

Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ.  The word, "apostle," means chosen and sent of God.  Based on Paul's Damascus road experience, we know that it was Christ who chose Paul and not Paul who chose Christ.  We also read in that experience that Christ had a labor for Paul and sent him to that labor: The Lord told Ananias concerning Paul, "Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake."  Paul was not one of the original twelve apostles, but in Paul's words, "And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.  For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God."  Paul, also, called himself "the apostle of the Gentiles." 

Again, we reiterate, Paul did not seek to be an apostle, but God chose him to be an apostle, thus his apostleship was by the "will of God."  This is true of all the true God-called gospel ministry.  They do not seek to be preachers of the gospel, but God calls them to be preachers of the gospel.

Paul addresses this epistle to the "saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus."  All of Paul's epistles are addressed to Spirit-born children of God.  He does not address any of his epistles to someone who is not born of the Spirit of God.  The word, "saint," comes from the Greek word, "hagios," meaning holy or set apart.  The saints are set apart by God's election of a people before the foundation of the world.  In addition, they are set apart by the new or Spiritual birth.  Thus, a saint is a born-again child of God. 

Now Paul did not address this epistle to those who "have faith in Christ Jesus," but to the "faithful in Christ Jesus."  While it is true that the faithful do have faith in Christ Jesus, yet the thought here is the position of the faithful.  The faithful are in Christ Jesus.  Thus, Paul is not trying to get them in Christ Jesus for they are already in Christ Jesus. 

While this epistle is not addressed to us, it is for us.  "All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."  Thus, while not all scripture is addressed to us, all scripture is for us. 

Ephesians 1:2   "Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." 

There are two great themes in the epistles of Paul: grace and peace.  In the opening of every epistle, Paul makes a statement similar to the one above.  Further, in the closing of every epistle, Paul mentions once again the grace of God.  Thus, it can be said that Paul opens and closes every epistle with the mention of God's grace. 

Grace means the unmerited favor of God bestowed upon undeserving creatures.  It is by the grace of God that God works the following things for us and in us:

    1.  Salvation from sin (2 Tim. 1:8 "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.")

    2.  The Spiritual birth (Eph. 2:1 "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)"

    3.  Our belief (Acts 18:27 "And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:")

    4.  Obedience to the faith (Rom 1:5 "By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name.")

    5.  Justification (Rom 3:24 "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:")

    6.  Eternal life (Rom 5:21 "That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.")

    7.  God's election of a people (Rom 11:5 "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.")

    8.  Spiritual gifts (Rom 12:6 "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;")

    9.  Gospel minister (Rom. 15:15 "Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, 16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.")

    10. Spiritual fruits and characteristics (2 Cor. 8:6 "Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. 7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.")

    11. The ability to preach (Eph 3:8 "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;")

    12. Prayer and help in time of need (Heb 4:16 "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.") 

Similarly, peace is another great theme in the scriptures and comes to us from God.  Some examples of peace that is brought to us from God are as follows:

                   1.  Peace from turmoil even in the elements ((Mark 4:39 "And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.")

                   2.  Peace in a troubled heart (John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.")

                   3.  Peace with God (Rom 5:1 "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:")

                   4.  Peace from conflict in the church (1 Cor 14:33 "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.")

                   5.  Peace in worship between Jews and Gentiles (Eph 2:14 "For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.")

                   6.  Peace with God (Eph. 2:16 "And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.")

                   7.  Peace in a heart condemned by sin (Eph 2:17 "And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.") 

It is important that we remember the source of this grace and peace.  It is from God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Thus to God be all praise and glory. 

Ephesians 1:3    "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ."

The first "blessed" in the above verse is translated from the Greek word, "eulogetos," and means adorable or praise-worthy.  The second "blessed" in the above comes from the Greek word, "eulogeo," and means prospered.  The verse literally means "worthy of praise is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who had prospered us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ."

The construction of this sentence leads us to a remarkable conclusion.  The key to our understanding is found in the phrase, "in Christ."  The phrase, "in Christ," is positional.  It tells us that all spiritual blessings are positioned "in Christ."  To illustrate the importance of this lesson, we use a similar type phrase, "in the house."  If I tell you all the furniture is in the house, then you know that none of the furniture is outside the house.  All of the furniture is in the house so none of the furniture can be outside of the house.

Likewise, if I were to tell you that all the money in the world is in the bank, you would know that there is no money outside the bank.  If I then told you that all the money in the bank is yours if you go in the bank and claim it.  However, there is a one cent entry fee into the bank.  Could you go in the bank and claim the money?The answer is no, for all the money is in the bank and you would not have a cent to pay an entry fee for every last cent is in the bank.

Based on this principle, we are told that all spiritual blessings are in heavenly places in Christ.  If all spiritual blessings are in Christ (and they are), then can you get in Christ through the entry fee of a spiritual blessing?  In other words, if it takes faith to get in Christ and faith is a spiritual blessing, then can you be outside of Christ and get in Christ?  The answer is obviously no.  If it takes prayer to get in Christ and prayer is a spiritual blessing can you get in Christ?  Again, the answer is no.  If it takes godly living to get in Christ and godly living is a spiritual blessing can you get in Christ.  Once again, the answer is no.  If it takes hearing the gospel to get in Christ and the gospel is a spiritual blessing can you get in Christ?  The answer still is no. 

The fact that all spiritual blessings are in Christ means that you must already be in Christ in order to receive spiritual blessings.  There are no spiritual blessings outside of Christ.  Furthermore, no one outside of Christ can receive a spiritual blessing.  Only those that are already in Christ can receive a spiritual blessing.

In the first three chapters of the book of Ephesians, the phrase "in Christ" or a similar phrase is mentioned repeatedly.  This phrase teaches us of many of the spiritual blessings that are in Christ. 

Finally, our verse above teaches us from whence all of our spiritual blessings come: from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Spiritual blessings do not come from any other source.