Published on May 25th, 2012 | by 12views5
You’re sat in jail, given the opportunity to send a letter to Christians you have met on your journey (many who attend churches you planted with people you saw come to Christ), what do you write? The answer for Paul in this letter is in-depth teaching about how to nuture and maintain the unity of the church. Is it a coincidence that this key message from Paul is something that we still struggle with nearly two thousand years later? Grab a Bible, a cuppa, have a read, and let us know your thoughts by commenting below.
[learn_more caption="Read the Passage"] [esv scripture='Ephesians 1'][/learn_more]
In chapter 1 of Ephesians we read that Christians are chosen by the Father (verses 3-6), redeemed by the Son (verses 7-12), and sealed by the Holy Spirit (verses 13-14). This chapter splits into three sections. Verse 1-3 is a short greeting to the readers/listeners. Verses 3-14 is a passage of praise to God for what he has done for us looking at how Christ has reconciled creation and united the church in himself. In verses 15-23 Pauls thanks and prayers for Christians. In the original Greek verses 3-14 and 15-23 were single sentences which were incredibly crafted.
The fact the phrase “in Ephesus” is not included in some early manuscripts indicates that this was likely to be a circular letter. There are no particular problems or local situations mentioned and no personal greetings, instead the letter looks at in-depth teaching about how to nuture and maintain the unity of the church.
Look at the way Paul greets the readers/listeners – I would love to be called known as a “faithful follow of Christ” or a “Saint”! What labels do we have and what do we deserve for the characterisitics we show and the way we live out our faith?
Grace = undeserved favor
EVERY blessings, not some blessings, or part of a blessing. We have been chosen by God, and given the full measure of His blessings through what Jesus has done. These blessings last forever (they are eternal), they are spiritual blessings, not material ones. We don’t need to ask for them, but accept them and apply them to our lives.
God chose us – our salvation depends on Him, not us. We haven’t and can’y influence God to save us. In Roman times adopted Children had the same rights and privalegages, even if they had once been slaves – this gives us an idea of just how much God loves us. He has chosen us to be Holy – that is set apart, or precious for God for his praise.
The phrase “redemption” used here is like paying a ransom to get back someone from captivity or a slave. We have been slaves to sin and guilt, but our freedom has been paid for through the blood of Jesus.
Grace – it can’t be earned, we cannot save ourselves. Lavished – given abundantly, in great amounts (or as I like to say poured rather than dribbled!)
It didn’t make sense until Jesus came along, died, and rose again. This revealed and made sense of God’s plan that had always been there. Jesus has united all things, a recurring theme of the letter.
Repeating the fact that we receive a portion and that this is part of God’s plan from the start. God hasn’t changed and won’t change, this has always been in the works and leads to God’s praise.
The Holy Spirit is God’s seal/guarantee (or “down-payment” like on a mortgage) that we are His, and that He will keep his promises to us. The Holy Spirit is not only a sign that we are God’s children it also works in us, giving us a chance to see what eternity will be like.
Do we spend time thanking and praising God for other believers or are we too ready to snipe and look down? Think of those that you can pray verses Ephesians 1:17-21 for, how can we make sure we “never cease” in these prayers.
We need to get to know Christ better because we want to try and model him (Christian literally means “Little-Christs”!), the better we can know and follow, the more our lives will be changed.
What is the most powerful thing you can think of? A nuclear explosion? An Earthquake? A volcanic eruption? How about the power that raised Jesus from the dead – a power that is available to us through the Holy Spirit? Sometimes things that are going on in our lives can seem insurmountable, but if we walk around with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead – surely anything is possible….
Jesus has won. There is no injury time, or extra time to play – the victory is His. He is the head of the church. Jesus will reign as ruler over everthing forever! The church is Jesus’ body (there are links here to Adam and Eve “bone of bones, flesh of flesh (Genesis 2:23) and Man and Wife as one flesh.
Something to Chew on…
- What does it mean to you to be adopted and chosen as a child of God?
- Count your blessings – how do we identify the things that God has done for us?
- Do we see the same power that raised Christ from the death in our lives?
- What is being under the authority of Christ? How does this relate to us working together?