Sunday, November 13, 2016

Paul's Epistles - Ephesians - Part 14: Conclusion of Ephesians

Paul's Epistles - Ephesians - Part 14:
Conclusion of Ephesians
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

In Paul’s 35 years of ministry, since his conversion in Damascus, we have recorded in the Holy Bible many of his epistles, or letters.

Paul’s first journey took place from 33AD (the year of his conversion), through 46AD, leaving Damascus in 38AD.

Paul’s 2nd journey began in 50AD, four years later; during this time he wrote 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, and Galatians, with his second journey ending in 54AD.

Paul’s 3rd journey began in 55AD and lasted until 58AD where he found himself imprisoned in Judea from 58-60AD. During his 3rd journey Paul wrote 1st and 2nd Corinthians, and Romans. We have no record of writings from Paul during his prison time between 58-60AD in Judea.

After his release from Judea, Paul traveled on his voyage to Rome from 60-61AD, writing Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon, and finding himself in a Roman prison in 63AD.

Released soon after his incarceration, Paul then writes the epistles Hebrews, 1st Timothy, Titus and his final letter before his death 2 Timothy, which was written from a Roman prison he was placed in during 66-68AD.

Though the bible does not tell us when or how Paul died, it is believed by scholars that he was beheaded in 68AD in May or June.

21 Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. 22 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.
23 Peace to the brothers and sisters,[c] and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.24 Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

Paul closes his letter to the Ephesian church

The message of this epistle to the church is “The Church, The Body of Christ”.

a. Paul first opens with the greetings, blessings and prayer
                                                                                                 i. Greetings
1. “In Christ Jesus”

2. The implication here is that the Body of Believer’s is joined to the “head”, which is Christ

3. This IS the key phrase of this epistle

4. “IN” Him we are all, and have all

                                                                                              ii. Blessings
1. These blessings reveal the eternal counsel and purposes of God the Father

2. With all wisdom and understanding, he[d]made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.” Ephesians 1:10

3. 9 times the word “all” is used in the first chapter…showing God’s plan was/is all inclusive!

                                                                                           iii. Prayer
1. Paul gives 2 prayers in this epistle.

2. Ephesians 3:14-21 is the first

3. He prays they may have “light to know” – enlightened through the Holy Spirit, which can ONLY come through Salvation

4. In his second prayer in this epistle he prays they may have “strength to know” – strength to submit to the Holy Spirit instead of following their own will.

b. Christ the Head of His Body, The Church
                                                                                                 i. As mentioned by Paul in the opening of this letter, “In Christ Jesus

                                                                                              ii. Jesus is to be the Head of a new order

                                                                                           iii. Head of a new Body, The Church

                                                                                            iv. This concept is more fully developed in Colossians

                                                                                               v. This epistle focuses more on The Church being the Body rather than Christ being the Head

c. How we are fitted to be members of His Body
                                                                                                 i. God’s work is forming the Body

                                                                                              ii. The Holy Spirit gives Spiritual Gifts as He sees fit

                                                                                           iii. The “members” of the Body were dead in sins, but had been forgiven, and now seated with Christ

1. Remember, sin separates us from God

2. God had forsaken Christ on the Cross when He took the sins, He will also forsake you if you chose to live in sin

d. How we (His Body) are to have a “close” & “blessed” association in membership of His Body
                                                                                                 i. Ephesians 2:18-22 “For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

                                                                                              ii. 1 Peter 2:1-3Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

e. Gentiles (in other words, everyone) has a portion and place in His Body
                                                                                                 i. This teaching of Gentiles, revealed to Paul by the Lord, shows the cause of his inspiration and to us that ALL people are called by the Lord to belong to Him.

1. Matthew 22:14 “for many are called, but few chosen.”

2. This includes the whole world, past, present and future, being called to God

3. Few, however, respond appropriately to the call.

                                                                                              ii. However, it is God’s will that all are saved.

1. 1 Timothy 2:3-4 “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

a. The unity of His Body

                                                                                                 i. The members of His body must not only abstain from anything that would break that unity (backbiting, strife, bitterness, Unforgiveness, hatred, gossip, etc.), but do ALL they can to foster and strengthen it!

1. Ephesians 4:1-2I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” 

b. The unifying powers of His Body
                                                                                                 i. Christ, being “above all”, “through all”, and “in you all”

                                                                                              ii. When we belong to The Body of Christ, we are ONE!

                                                                                           iii. If we turn against the Body, (i.e. other members) we become a sickness in the Church, a Cancer!

c. The edifying of His Body
                                                                                                 i. Various gifts have been given each of us to edify the Body through the Holy Spirit.
1. “Spiritual Gifts”

                                                                                              ii. Determined by the Holy Spirit, for what is needed in each, for each and by each part of the whole

                                                                                           iii. The word “perfecting” means “repairing”, “making good the damage”

                                                                                            iv. In other words, Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

d. The duties of His Body
                                                                                                 i. Our WALK
1. Ephesians 4:17 – 5:20
                                                                                              ii. Our HOME LIFE
1. Ephesians 5:21 – 6:4
                                                                                           iii. Our EPMLOYMENT
1. Ephesians 6:5-9
                                                                                            iv. Our WARFARE
1. Ephesians 6:10-24

a. What “is” the church?
                                                                                                 i. The Lord calls ALL to Him, those who respond correctly are “chosen” to be members of the Body of Christ, of which Christ is the Head.

b. How am I a member?
                                                                                                 i. By confessing and repenting of your sins, and making Jesus your Lord by serving Him.
                                                                                              ii. When you do this, you will receive the Holy Spirit and “gifts” to be used in building, strengthening and lifting up the Body of Christ.

c. What am I supposed to be doing?
                                                                                                 i. Ephesians 4:17-6:24 explains our behavior, home life, employment and warfare.

CONCLUSION – being equipped to serve in god’s army

First we must have the “Belt of Truth”, to hold all other pieces in place. Jesus Christ is that Truth, and a requirement before going any further.

Once we have a relationship with Christ, we have the “Breastplate of Righteousness”, not our righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ, which will protect our hearts and vital organs from attack, whether a frontal assault or sneak attack from the rear.

Our feet will then be covered with the “Readiness” that comes from the Gospel of Peace. We can now set forth into the world in the name of Jesus.

In addition to this (because we are ready to set forth, but need more armor!” we take up the “Shield of Faith” with which we can extinguish the wiles of the devil and his flaming arrow attacks, wiles set forth to destroy you (sun, sickness, poverty, pain, envy, Unforgiveness) and the flaming arrows which harm you and spread to others, (backbiting, strife, bitterness, hatred, gossip).

Also we put on the “Helmet of Salvation” to protect our minds with the knowledge that Christ has already won the battle, and we who belong to Him have everlasting peace awaiting us in heaven.

This helmet will protect our minds, thinking, and mental attacks, as we cast down wild imaginations and thoughts which exalt themselves (or make themselves to appear as more important or better instruction, than the Word of God or Christ Himself)

And finally, once we have done all that, we are ready to take up the “Sword of the Spirit” of God, which is the Word of God.

With the Spirit of God, we can defend ourselves against any false teaching, and also offensively use the sword to correct false teaching or lack of understanding or God’s Word in others.

And we are to pray in the Spirit on all occasions!

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!

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