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 are going to complete our short series on the Book of Ephesians and the important lessons all believers can learn from a study of it.
2:1-3 – "Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else."
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 we have an enemy, Satan, who comes to kill steal and destroy [John 10:10] and there is a battle going on and the mind is the battlefield.
Question: Do you remember when you did what you wanted and what you felt like and didn’t care a bit about if you should or shouldn’t?
2:3-4 – "All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much..."
BUT GOD. God interrupted our misery and chose us because He loves us! The only reason people don’t want a relationship with God because they are afraid that then they will not be able to do what they want to do. BUT GOD does not want to take good things away from us.
Question: What situation do you have in your life that God needs to interrupt?
2:5-6 – "that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus."
We start out “you were” but in Him we are given “you are” and “you have”!
2:7 – "So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus."
God will go to any extreme to redeem His children.
2:8-9 – "God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it."
Salvation is a free gift that cannot be earned. We cannot work for it, we just need to believe. We need to live by faith and receive God’s grace. You cannot straighten out without God, so God will take you as you are. We can’t save ourselves, so God gets ALL the credit.
Question: Have you ever felt you have done something wrong and withdrawn from God until you can get better?
Isn’t that silly?! God didn’t move, you moved!
2:10 – "For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."
Quit saying you don’t like yourself! You were carefully and intricately made! You are gifted to be God’s body of Christ. You have a good life planned by God to do good works for Him. Anytime you are struggling with behavior, go back to relationship.
2:11-12 – "Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope."
Everyday we are changing and we will see the result, if we don’t lose sight of God. Even if we make mistakes.
2:13-16 – "But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.
For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death."
You were these things, but NOW you are different and have been brought near to God. We need to hold tight to what God teaches us! This is why we have the Holy Spirit, to remind us of who we are and what we know.
6:10 – "A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power."
We have jumped to chapter 6 here, but only to make this important point: you aren’t going to do any of this if you are not strong in the Lord. It is foolish to think you can get out of bed and be good on your own. You need a boatload of help from God everyday!! Let Him into every room of your life!
3:16 – "I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit."
You can’t do it without God’s strength! You have to be able to fight the good fight of faith!
4:26 – "And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry..."
This is just plain and simple and we all need to hear it since it will help us stay in the will of God: don’t go to bed mad!
**Now, about the Armor of God...**
6:13 – "Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm."
Put on is an action word. You don’t have to feel like doing it, you do it on purpose. Clothes do not jump on your body, you have to do the work. (Revelation 16:15 – talking about spiritual clothing as mentioned in Ephesians 6).
6:14 – "Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness."
Tighten the belt of truth? When you are going through a trial, you need to hold on to the Truth of God.
Breastplate of righteousness (also see Job 29:14; Judges 6:34)? The breastplate covers your heart. This is talking about your conscious and how you feel about yourself. God knew what you were going to do wrong before you got into a relationship with Him and He still loves us.
Question: Do you know who you are in Christ!? If you do, even when you have flesh days, Satan’s condemnation can’t get to you.
6:15 – "For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared."
Shoes of Peace? This means we walk in peace and stay in peace (John 14:27). Be stable in your peace, don’t let your problems be the main focus of your life.
6:16 – "In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil."
Lift up the shield of faith! Sometimes it might seem really heavy but you can lift it up and protect yourself against the evil one! See Psalm 27:13.
6:17 – "Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
There is so much power in the Word! See Hebrews 4:12. The Word operates on us, sometimes it is really painful, but it is important! Speak it out all day everyday Jeremiah 23:28. Joshua 1:8. Wield that two-edged sword!
6:18 – "Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere."
Last, but certainly not least: pray about everything! EVERYTHING!!!!