I. Introduction

It is important to know the themes of a book. How can Ephesians be applied by a Christian or a counselor? Why are these things important?

We are looking at doctrine through chapter one of Ephesians. Doctrine is,

"The body of teachings of the Christian faith concerning its central beliefs.    Doctrine is grounded in Scripture and aims to maintain the integrity of     Christianity by distinguishing it from non-Christian beliefs. Doctrine is of central importance in Christian preaching and teaching in that it equips the people of God for effective and faithful service in his world" (Logos Bible Software

In short it is the way that we digest and apply Christian truth for Christian living. We either, take historic doctrinal statements and apply them to our lives or we develop our own doctrinal understanding of these biblical truths. Either way we chose to live by some set of doctrines.

Ephesians contains many teachings that fortify biblical doctrines. Biblical doctrine rightly applied is practical theology, which is a technical way to say, we live by these ideas. Ephesians provides a platform for understanding this interplay. Paulison writes,"Ephesians is not just about practical theology, it is practical theology. The distinction between 'biblical truth' and 'practical application' is artificial" (David Paulison, The Journal of Biblical Counseling, Volume 17, Number 2, Winter 1999). Truth must be applied in the life of a Christian. Knowing truth for the sake of knowledge does not please God. Knowing truth must also involve relationship with God.

II. Helpful counseling themes

A) Praise: 1:6, 1:12, 1:14

Our relationship with God should prompt praise. We praise Him for all His mighty works. As we begin to apply the theological concepts that Paul describes, we should practice doxology (praise). As we learn about our salvation and what God has done for us through Christ we should move toward praise. I need reminders of these things to my heart to praises Him. All Christians should praise Him because of what He has done for us. When we allow ourselves to focus on our needs or our problems we loose sight of the blessings we have in Christ. Praise must be part of our lives in order to rightly understand and acknowledge God.

B) Sovereignty:  1:4, 1:5, 1:9, 1:11, 1:19, 1:22-23

God is in control of all things, including our current circumstances. He is working toward His purposes in the universe and His purposes for us. When we experience blessings or face adversity, it is God's plan. His sovereignty moves the universe in the direction He has preordained in major and minor ways. He is at work in every aspect of our lives. To believe less, denies facets of God's nature.

C) Eternity: Past, Present, Future

Paul unveils for the Ephesians the importance of God's presence and control in eternity, past, present, and future. This aspect of God's sovereignty provides both security and comfort for those who follow Christ. Knowing that God has all things under His control, no matter where or even when that thing exists, provides confidence in the future.

D) Spiritual blessing: 1:3, 1:4, 1:5, 1:7, 1:9, 1:11, 1:13-14

God has given to His people all that He has. We are given "every" spiritual blessing. If we need something to navigate the course He has plotted for us, we have it. He provides all we need before we need it. Simply put, there are no excuses for not being holy and righteous, because we have the power and wisdom to obey God fully. This does not mean that we obey perfectly, but we do have the resources to obey perfectly.

E) What we need for growing in Christ: 1:3, 1:17-19

Paul prays for several things for the Ephesian Christians to help with their growth and continued love for the saints. He asks that they may have the wisdom and the knowledge of God. He also asks that their eyes may be opened to understand the Hope of God, the glory of the inheritance of God, and the power of God on our behalf.

F) Election: 1:4-5, 1:8-10, 1:13b-14

The doctrine that repeatedly presents itself in this chapter is election. Although he refers to is in different ways, the overall thrust is that God saves us. Paul has woven election through the entire chapter. Christians are chosen, predestined, receive an inheritance, and receive kind intentions all by the choice and working of our gracious God from before the beginning of the world.

G) Hope: 1:12, 1:18, 1:22-23

Hope is a construct of the future. While that sounds mechanical, it actually means that our hope lays in God's plan for the ultimate consummation of the universe under Christ's rule. We have hope because God, who exists everywhere and in every time, has a predetermined plan for the outcome of history. Christ is glorified by the Father and given headship over all things. His headship secures our future, so we can look toward eternity with Christ as a source for hope.

For the Christian, when facing a trial or hardship, we can look to a time when all things will be perfected under Christ. We will be reunited with loved ones who have passed before us, peace will reign, and sin will no longer have mastery over us. We will live righteously before God as His people. These facts provide hope to those who struggle in this life. We understand the what happens here is a momentary struggle when measured against the perfect blessings of eternity.

H) Nature of biblical counseling (we are redeemed, we are in Him): 1:7-8

Finally in this chapter we can see the nature of counseling. Paul writes that we have redemption through His blood, we are to focus on the hope we have in Christ, we learn of our inheritance which we were predestined to have from God, and we are in Christ. The nature of biblical counseling is learning to live in Christ as a result of our receiving redemption through His blood. Only those who know Christ can truly receive and benefit from counseling. Biblical counseling helps the believer adapt to living for Christ in this world. If one does not know Christ, they are not counseled, they receive treatment by those who try to live in this life without God.

III. Summation

Each chapter of Ephesians will give light and truth for application to our lives. Chapter one gives us some deep basic theology, which will continue in chapter two. The theological insights Paul gives us should move us toward worship and a deeper understanding of Who God is. Chapter two will continue this trajectory.