Jun 6, 2021 // By:Dave // No Comment
For a short time at the end of his second missionary journey, and then for more than two years on his third missionary journey, Paul ministered to the church at Ephesus (Acts 18:18–21; 19:1–41). visits Galatia around 53 AD to followup on his epistle
then Around 54-57 AD. he is in Ephesus
During his time in this city that housed the famous temple to the Greek goddess Artemis, Paul saw many converted to faith in Jesus Christ and many others who opposed his preaching in the synagogues and homes.
It is in Ephesus that
- he meets Priscilla and Aquila (Roman believers),
- meets Apollos, after Priscilla and Aquila complete his training regarding Jesus (his “christian” knowledge only took him up to John’s preaching about repentance)
- sees even more conversions after the seven sons of Sceva try to abuse to name and power of Jesus to cast out demons without being granted the authority of true sonship.
Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians sometime in AD 60–61, around the same time he wrote Colossians and Philemon, as he sent all three letters by the hand of Tychicus, accompanied by Onesimus (Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7–9; Philemon 1:10–12). It was during this time that Paul sat in Rome undergoing his first Roman imprisonment (Ephesians 3:1; 4:1), making Ephesians one of the four epistles commonly known as the Prison Epistles. The others are Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.
Why write it ?
Letters such as 2 Corinthians and Galatians abound with personal touches from Paul, either about his own life or that of the recipients, Ephesians, on the other hand, stands at the opposite end of the spectrum as one of Paul’s most formal letters.
Galatians offers instructions particularly important for those churches overrun with legalism,
Ephesians deals with topics at the very core of what it means to be a Christian—both in faith and in practice—regardless of any particular problem in the community.
What is the point ?
Paul divided his letter to the Ephesians into two clear segments
- the truths of the first (are the foundation of)
- the actions and lifestyle of the second.
Paul spent the first three chapters of the letter discussing
- God’s creation of a holy community by His gift of grace in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- The members of this community have been chosen by God through the work of Christ, adopted as sons and daughters of God, and brought near to the Father through faith in His Son.
- All people with this faith—Jews and Gentiles alike—were dead in their transgressions and sins but have been made alive because of the person and work of Jesus Christ.
then, after laying out profound theological truths in the first half of the book, Paul made his purpose clear: he expected that this community of faith would walk in accordance with its heavenly calling (Ephesians 4:1). As a result of the theological realities Christians accept by their faith in God, several practices should follow in their relationships within
- the church
- the home
- and in the world.
The book of Ephesians hits on a wide range of moral and ethical behaviors, designed to ensure believers are living up to our heavenly calling. As we continue in our faith from day to day, month to month, and year to year, the temptation to get comfortable will always exist. However, Paul presented the gift of God in Christ and the benefits we receive so clearly that we cannot help but ask ourselves if our lives reflect that reality as they should.
How have you grown in your Christian life since you came to faith in Jesus Christ? The latter half of Ephesians makes clear that spiritual growth occurs primarily in community with others, iron sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17).
Your Christian “walk” (in other words, your daily life) is to be characterized by unity, holiness, love, wisdom, and perseverance in spiritual warfare.
Maturity yields benefits in believers’ moral lives, but it extends far beyond that as well. Increased maturity benefits the community at large, leading us as Christians to present a more consistent witness to the working of God in our lives as well as protecting us from the harmful divisions and quarrels that have plagued so many communities throughout history
His greeting (verses 1-2)
a typical greeting back in the day ( 1rst century AD) consisted commonly of three elements:
- identifying the author of the letter
- identifying the recipient of the letter
- a greeting or salutation
Eph. 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
Eph. 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
He uses his Roman name (as a minister to the gentiles) rather than his hebrew name, Saul
Saul means “dedicated to God”
Paul means “little”
Acts 13:9 “Saul, who was also called Paul”
Phil 3:5 “Circumcised on the eighth day, of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrew parentage, in observance of the law a Pharisee.” So zealous and devout was he that persecuting Christians was the natural way for him to show his devotion. He chose to use his Hebrew name, Saul
Romans 11:13 he calls himself the apostle to the gentiles
1 Cor 9:19-23
19 For hthough I am free from all, iI have made myself a servant to all, that I might jwin more of them. 20 kTo the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To lthose outside the law I became mas one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but nunder the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 oTo the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. pI have become all things to all people, that qby all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, rthat I may share with them in its blessings.
even his change of names reflects his willingness to abandon all the value of his Jewish heritage just for the sake of sharing the gospel.
“an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God”
continuation of the identification
ἀπόστολος = apostle, is used in classical greek primarily in reference to ships being sent out with cargo or on military expeditions (infrequently used to refer to an envoy or an emissary)
emphasis is on what the vessel is carrying and who commissioned it to do the carrying (rather than on the nature of the actual vessel)
in this case, Paul indicates that the vessel has been commissioned by the will of God to “carry Christ” to others.
We become familiar with the phrase “apostle Paul” but forget that he was not one of the original 12
(he was informed that he was chosen later , by the Lord, as he walked to Damascus to persecute christians, and became of the most influential christians to ever walk the face of the earth)
which brings us to an important point, “He knew he was chosen and knew what he was chosen for
(what he was to be and to do)
having the confidence that we are in the middle of His will when all hell breaks loose
is usually the only thing that gets us through to the other side of the trial or attack
(otherwise we lose heart and quit with sayings like “it wasn’t meant to be”
Do we know what we have been called for (to be and to do) ?
(if not, you could be spinning your wheels on the wrong road)
To the saints who are at Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
ἁγίοις hagios = saints, = set apart (ceremonially acceptable to God)
no halos required, no dead for 5 years, verified miracles performed , no meeting of cardinals to deliberate your sainthood
God calls you and seals you with His Spirit. You are set apart by Him and for Him
(a saint by biblical definition)
The same persons being referred to by both designations, as the Greek proves:
“to those who are saints, and faithful in Christ Jesus.”
The sanctification by God is here put in front of man’s faith.
The twofold aspect of salvation is thus presented,
- God’s grace in the first instance sanctifying us, (that is, setting us apart in His eternal purposes as holy unto Himself);
- and our faith, by God’s gift, laying hold of salvation
verses 3-14, in the greek, is one sentence.
it has been said, by more than one scholar, that reading Paul’s letters such as the letter to the Ephesians, is like watching an eagle soar.
(seems to go in circles, but rising higher and higher with each pass)
Verse 3 refers to all spiritual blessings
Which matches the new convenant
Old covenant was physical and came with physical blessings
(land, fruitfulness, health, multiplication of physical wealth, the promised land was characterized by “flowing with milk and honey”)
New one is spiritual and comes with spiritual blessings (which Paul outlines in chapters 1-3)
different convenants means different promises and benefits
31 Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,
32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD.
33 “For this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD: “I will put My law within them and write it on their heart; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
20 “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and yet you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one must worship.”
21 Jesus *said to her, “Believe Me, woman, that a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
22 “You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews.
23 “But a time is coming, and even now has arrived, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Paul writes this letter to accomplish two things in two stages:
- instruct the saints as to the nature of their new being in Christ
- instruct the saints as to the nature of their lives together in Christ
if you don’t know who you are, you cannot live the life you were meant to live