ground ZERO for IDENTITY
Unlike several of the other letters Paul wrote, Ephesians does not address any particular error or heresy. Paul wrote to expand the horizons of his readers, so that they might understand better the dimensions of God’s eternal purpose and grace given to us, all of us, ALL OF US
This letter is broken down into 6 chapters however the book clearly has two halves
1st half is the gospel – its the story of US… His creation and our multi-ethnic community of followers, it reminds us of the greater story… our togetherness
Chapter 4-6: how this should be lived out
The bible was not written to you, the Bible was written for you. This is a letter written from Paul to a community of believers that he knew.
Outline of this LETTER
A BEAUTIFUL JEWISH STYLE POEM (1:3–14)
The Divine Purpose: The Glory and Headship of Christ – Praise God for what He has done IN CHRIST / See GENESIS 12:1-3 – When Paul writes about family this is what he means – blessed to be a blessing. + Acts 2
That Christians May Realize God’s Purpose and PowerPauls Prayer
BEING ALIVE IN HIS PURPOSE (chs. 2–3)
Steps Toward the Fulfillment of God’s Purpose Salvation of Individuals by Grace (2:1–10)
Reconciliation of Jew and Gentile through the Cross. Its a NEW MULTI-CULTURAL FAMILY. Its a group project now (2:11–18)
Uniting of Jew and Gentile in One Household (2:19–22)
Revelation of God’s Wisdom through the Church (3:1–13)
Prayer for Deeper Experience of God’s Fullness (3:14–21)
PRACTICAL WAYS TO FULFILL GOD’S PURPOSE IN THE CHURCH (4:1-5:20)
Maturity (4:7–16) + Gifts that Christ gave us
Renewal of Personal Life (4:17—5:20)
A CHANGE OF PACE – RELATIONSHIPS WITH EACH OTHER (5:21-6:9)
Husbands and wives (5:22–33)
Children and parents (6:1–4)
Slaves and masters (6:5–9)
SPIRITUAL WARFARE AND PRAYER (6:10-21)
Strength in the Spiritual Conflict (6:10–20)
CONCLUSION AND FINAL GREETINGS (6:21–24)
Start with reading the scriptures out loud together? 3:12-21
12 Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. 13 So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. I am suffering for you, so you should feel honored.
14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.
The first part; is the insight – its the knowledge – its the wisdom – its talking about Gods power – about where YOU fit in to HIS STORY – you are His child – that you can come alive IN christ – Gods plan for humanity to restore it…. And a big part of that plan is you and me, its the church, its our unity, its our love for each other… that is not secondary in the Kingdom of God… His kingdom Unity and Love is at he forefront… not play church, not peace under the service, and shallow, not liking or putting up with one another – actual care and love for one another, listening… at the moment we just can’t even take it someone posts something on Facebook that we don’t ‘like’ a little… we hear one sentence about a movement or political thing and we lose our collective. LOVE, HUMBLE AND GENTLE… PATIENT – EVERY effort to keep yourselves united… not just gossiping about what you heard third hand. WE HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO FRIENDS.
14 – why knees… Knees in scripture is a sign of submission. When Paul thinks of ALL these things he is in Submission with Christ as it is overwhelming. The only thing he can do in prison and through this letter is prayer is submit back to Christ.
John, the beloved friend of Jesus reminds us later about the power of submission and love.
John would go on record saying you can measure your living by the way you love people and by the way you love by the way you live. That you love for Christ. Read 1 John again, I have preached on it many times.
Some of The main writers of the gospel were people who you would not expect to be followers of this Jesus…
John, Luke and Paul … one a fisherman and his dad was his boss, one went around killing followers of Jesus, one as a doctor that followed them around taking detailed accounts, another was also a fisherman and the shift manager it seems under John and James’ dad.
Remember Paul – he knew what the other side of life tasted like.. he knew life without Christ…
Just cause you know it doesn’t mean that you are living it.
We know the long journey it takes between our heads and our hearts.
15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good.
You may have the head knowledge but are you willing and working to actually do something about it… church is not JUST about coming together to hear a word and then going home and continuing on as you were. To follow Christ is to be in a continual mindset of becoming more like Jesus. How do you pursue becoming more like something? YOU SET YOU MIND ON IT and then DO that.
3 times in the book of Luke does Jesus talk about its not in the hearing… BUT IN THE OBEYING… a better way to describe it or interpret is… when you hear it will you practice it?
LUKE 6:46 8:21 11:28
YES its faith not by works… but faith without movement, without action is no faith at all.
When Chapter 4 starts…. Paul goes straight to humility, gentleness and how to treat others… Its like Paul knew that spiritual growth and spiritual formation as so much to do with DOING and with others.
Half of the letter is made of Prayer, You understanding where you belong, more Prayer, to continue to be Alive and awake, and we are united together because of What Christ did NEVER BY WHAT WE DO, and how we are members of one body.
Why did Paul in these letters repeat himself over and over again?
It’s because Repetition is the mother of all learning. What do I need to keep hearing about God, again and again and again. – Spiritual formation is the slowest of all growth.
Community is necessary. Spiritual formation without friendship is impossible. – Dr. Chris Hall