Ephesians (Eph)

Book 10 of the NT, having 6 chapters. Written by Paul about AD 60 to the church in Ephesus, which is in present day Turkey. Time to read: 20 mins.

Key people: Ephesian believers, Paul.

Outline. Paul had spent three years at Ephesus grounding these believers in the faith (Act 19:1-20). So, unlike several of Paul’s other writings, this book was not written to confront error or problems in the emerging congregation but to encourage and strengthen them in their Christian faith, and among other things to explain the nature and function of the church, together with family and work relationships. This shows the value of consistent hands-on discipling or mentoring to establish new believers in the faith. Am I receiving input into my life as well as instructing newer or less mature Christians in the faith?

Main lesson. Paul explains the character of the church – one body of born again people working together under Christ’s control, living in unity and harmony with other believers (Eph 4:4). Does this accurately describe my involvement within the local church?

Key verses and thoughts: * The spiritual blessings in Christ include being chosen before the creation of the earth to be pure and blameless; predestined to be adopted as sons, forgiven of our sins and marked with the Holy Spirit as a seal guaranteeing our inheritance. These are the result of ‘the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with His will for the praise of His glory’ (Eph 1:3-14). Paul prays, that “God may give you the Spirit of wisdom and power so that you may know Him better, becoming aware of the hope, riches and His power for us who believe” (Eph 1:17-23).  This should be our goal also, to come into a fuller understanding of our position in Christ and live in it.

* “For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no-one may boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works…” (Eph 2:8-10, 4:12). We can’t work or earn our way to heaven but we are to work on the way there! Our faith is built on Christ and as fellow believers we are being knit together to become a group of mature believers living as Christ desires, speaking the truth in love as each fulfills their purpose (Eph 2:19-22, 4:12-16). All who believe are heirs, sharing in the promises of God (Eph 3:6).

* God’s means for touching this world is the church (Eph 3:10). The corporate church, the ‘body of Christ’, is comprised of diverse, individual believers throughout the world who are committed and co-operating for the common cause of making Christ known, not individualistic kingdom building.  No one person, church community or denomination has the full picture. Yes, individuals are used but they should be accountable to others and their ministry should outlive them.  It is essential to pass on the baton or mantle to others, hence the responsibility to mentor or disciple others just as Jesus did so the Kingdom of God will expand. Am I part of a local church and contributing in whatever ways I can to make it an effective witness for Christ, eradicating all destructive personal attitudes, words and actions that would give the devil a foothold to bring personal failure or corporate disunity (Eph 4:27)?

We are called to live a life worthy of our calling, putting off the old self, being made new in the attitude of our minds and putting on a new self, living a life of love (Eph 4:1,22-24, 5:1).

* The analogy is made between the relationship of husbands and wives and that of Christ and the church (Eph 5:22-30).  Submission and love are the basis of a good relationship. How do I view myself within the context of God’s chosen means of making Christ known to a lost world?

* “Be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Eph 6:10-18). The opposition we encounter in life is from Satan and his evil forces that assault, trying to turn us away from Christ and back to sin. Although victory is assured, we must engage in the battle until Christ returns, because Satan is continually attacking those on Christ’s side. To be able to withstand these spiritual attacks we need to depend on God’s strength and use the ‘armour’ or resources made available to us. Each piece of this imaginary armour must be continually in place to be able to effectively stand against the very real attacks in the spiritual realm.

See also: armour (spiritual), disciple/discipleship, good works, grace, Paul, salvation.