Throughout his second and third missionary journey during 60 and 61 AD, the Apostle Paul regularly preached to believers in Ephesus. At this time, Paul was taken into custody and thrown into prison by the Romans, for teaching the gospel message. At this time, he wrote his epistle letter to Ephesus. One of the most formal of Paul's letters, Ephesians centers on the discussion of topics at the very core of what it means to be a Christian, whether that be in faith and in practice. Today we start a very short, two part series on the Book of Ephesians and the important lessons all believers can learn from a study of it.
1:1 – "This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus."
Whatever we are doing, we must be convinced in our hearts that we are doing it by the will of God. Not just doing things to get God to try to do what we want and make it work. Your will be done, not mine.
Question: Are you in the will of God? How much time do you spend seeking the will of God?
1:2 – "May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace."
Paul often greeted people with “May grace and peace be unto you through our Lord Jesus Christ” (which we can witness in the Bible several times). Paul knew the importance of words and he specifically says, “Grace and Peace” not “Peace and Grace” because you can’t have and enjoy peace until you know and understand God’s grace.
Question: Are you enjoying a life of peace?
1:3 – "All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ."
The phrase “in Christ” is found throughout the epistles and it is a very significant phrase because there is a difference between who I am on my own and who I am in Christ who saved me. Being in Christ means we get what He paid for and deserved, that we are joint inheritors with Him (Romans 8:17), and this sounds so unfair but this comes with grace and believing. All who believe in Him and accept Him as their savior are in Christ (Romans 6:8; Ephesians 2:6). In Christ, we are given a lot of things to believe and in God’s economy we believe before we see. Our key to the promises of God is belief, and this is not dependent on what we see or how we feel. Even in our belief, we do not know the timing of God. He will never fail us, no matter how long it takes. The Holy Spirit is sent to help us to work our believing to the outside of us so others can see it.
Question: God has blessed us with all we need but are we blessing our blessings?
1:6 – "So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son."
So many people now are looking for acceptance for who they are and God offers that completely. He has adopted us as His own because it pleases Him (Ephesians 1:4-5).
1:7-8 – "He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding."
In Christ, we are given wisdom and understanding.
1:9 – "God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan."
We understand things that the saints of old longed to understand but never did. The New Testament talks about many mysteries others could only guess at.
Question: How much do you think you know about who you are in Christ?
1:13-14 – "And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him."
The sensing we have of the Holy Spirit is only a down payment of what we will have to come. Imagine what the other 90% will be like. God has marked us (sealed us) for Him and set us apart from non-believers. The enemy sees this seal (Property of Jesus; Guaranteed) on you and he cannot touch you. What you have now is not what you are going to have, God is going to keep doing more and more in you.
1:17 – "asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God."
Paul prayed that we would know God.
1:18 – "I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance."
Paul prayed that we know who we are in Him (what He called us to do or be).
1:19 – "I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms."
Paul prayed that we might know that power available to us who believe. We have power as believers! It is dwelling inside you! It starts with believing, not feeling!
1:21-23 – "Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself."
In Christ, we are above all the World’s Rule (fleshly, demonic rule). In Christ, all things are under the authority of us, just as they are for Christ. We are the Body of Christ, with different portions and movements and gifts (together we make up the body of Christ).
** Chapter 2 through 6 will reveal the Christian's past, present, and future**