Intro. The book falls into three natural divisions. Ruth Paxon sees it as the wealth of the believer. Chapters 1-3. The walk of the believer chapter 4::1 to 6:9. And the warfare of the believer. 6:10 to end. Watchman Nee saw it as the position of the believer, seated together in Christ Chapter 1-3; our walk 4:1-6:9 and our stand 6:10 to end.
I. "PAUL AN APOSTLE OF JESUS CHRIST BY THE WILL OF GOD."
A. The scripture tells us to make our calling and election sure.
1. Paul was called to be an apostle. In his letters both to the Romans, and the Corinthians, he said, "Paul called to be an apostle."
2. That leads to the question, what has God called you to be?
a. If you do not know, you should go no further until you do know.
b. God has a plan for each of our lives, it is important that we know God's plan for us.
B. Paul's calling was by the will of God.
1. It is not only important that you know what you are, but that you are what you are by the will of God.
2. One of the most difficult and frustrating experiences is to try to be something that God has not called you to be.
3. For years I tried to be something other than what God called me to be. Chuck the evangelist by the will of the denomination that I served.
a. The primary emphasis was evangelization, over and over they declared, "The primary purpose of the church is the evangelization of the world."
b. As an evangelist I was a total failure.
c. I sought to be Chuck the exhorter, I tried to exhort people to serve the Lord, to commit their lives to serving Jesus Christ.
d. I had heard many inspiring speakers, men who when they were through with their challenge, you were ready to go save the whole world. We would be so emotionally excited we could hardly wait for the meeting to be over so that we might go out and win the lost.
1. Many times I have been invited to speak at large conventions for various groups, I used to respond to the invitations, but then I was embarrassed because I realize that they thought I was going to inspire the people by bringing them into an emotional frenzy. I have had the inviting committees call me into special emergency sessions letting me know they were really looking for something else.
2. They assumed that I must be a great inspirational speaker because I pastored such a large church.
3. I will get their over the long haul, I keep plodding along, but I am not good at the sprint. I am sort of like the tortoise racing the rabbit. In time I will get there, while I often pass many burned out rabbits along the way.
4. For this reason, I do not accept the outside invitations any longer.
4. I realize that I am Chuck the pastor teacher by the will of God.
C. If you were writing this epistle, how would you begin it? Your name an by the will of God? Fill in the blanks.
II. TO THE SAINTS WHICH ARE AT EPHESUS.
A. Again in both his epistle to the Romans, and the Corinthians, he declares that they are called to be saints.
1. It is tragic that the church has chosen certain special people to confer sainthood upon them.
2. As far as the church is concerned, I could never make their classification of saint.
3. As far as God is concerned, I am a saint. Saint Charles, has a certain special ring.
a. As far as God is concerned, you are a saint.
b. God sees you in your perfected state in His Son.
4. So many people are always putting themselves down, God has elevated you to sainthood.
B. Ephesus was one of the commercial centers of the ancient world. It claimed as its proud title, "The first and the greatest metropolis of Asia." A Roman writer called it "Lumen Asiae" or the light of Asia.
1. Paul's first recorded visit to Ephesus was in Acts 18
, when he came to Ephesus accompanied by Priscilla and Aquilla, whom he left there, while he journeyed on to Jerusalem for the upcoming feast.
a. Paul had gone into the synagog to reason with the Jews who asked him to stay longer, but he declared his desire to go to Jerusalem for the feast.
2. After Paul had left Ephesus, a certain Jew named Apollos, who was very eloquent and versed in the scriptures came to Ephesus and began to preach in the synagog. He was fervent in Spirit, and taught diligently concerning the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.
a. Paul's friends Priscilla and Aquilla, took him aside and expounded to him the way of God more completely.
b. A group of believers was established there as the result of the ministry of Apollos.
3. When Paul returned from Jerusalem he found the group of believers, however there seemed to be something lacking in their walk with Christ, so Paul asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit when they believed.
a. When they said they had never heard of the Holy Spirit, Paul taught them concerning the Holy Spirit and then laid hands on them that they might receive.
b. Paul remained with them for two to three years teaching them in home bible studies as well as publicly until a strong body of believers was established.
c. It was here that they took the sweat bands of Paul to lay them on the sick.
d. It was here that they had the big bon fire as they brought their books on magic and sorcery to burn.
e. It is here that Demetrius the silver smith stirred up the others of his craft telling them of the menace that Paul had become to their trade of making silver trinkets of the goddess Diana.
f. The people were gathered into the great theater there and began almost to riot.
g. Here Paul fought with the beasts.
4. Paul's last recorded visit with them was a memorial recorded in Acts 20
. He was again on his way to Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost, he did not come to the city but requested the elders of the church to meet him on the coast at the city of Miletus. There Paul gave to them his impassioned plea for them to watch over the flock.
C. Paul's letter to the Ephesians was written from Rome in about 64 A.D. About 30 years later Jesus wrote a letter to the Ephesians. By the time Jesus wrote His letter, in Revelation 2
, the church of Ephesus had left their first love, and were just going on with the motions of Christianity, but lacking the vital emotion.
III. PAUL ADDRESSES HIS LETTER TO THE SAINTS, WHICH ARE AT EPHESUS AND TO THE FAITHFUL IN CHRIST JESUS.
A. In the term "In Christ Jesus" you have the heart of the message. All that God has done for us and to us is wrapped up in Christ.
1. Vs. 3 in Christ.
2. Vs. 4 chosen us in Him.
3. vs. 5 by Jesus Christ.
4. vs. 6 accepted us in the beloved.
5. vs. 7 in whom we have redemption.
6. vs. 10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one, all things in Christ.
7. vs 11 In whom we have obtained an inheritance.
8. vs. 13 In whom you also trusted.
9. vs. 13 In whom you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.
10. 2:6 Made us to sit together with Him in heavenly places in Christ.
11. 2:7 Through Christ Jesus.
12. 2:10 Created in Christ Jesus.
13. 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off have been brought nigh.
14. 2:15 To make in Himself of two, one new man.
15. 2:18 For through Him, we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
16. 2:21 In whom all the building is fitly joined together.
17. 2:22 In whom you also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.