We have looked at the book of Colossians (the Supremacy of Christ) we have looked at Hebrews (the Superiority of Christ) tonight we start a look at Ephesians and the sufficiency of Christ.
1 It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples.
(Slide) In the time of Paul’s 3rd missionary journey in an area previously preached by Apollos Paul comes to Ephesus
They were unfamiliar with the Holy Spirit and that was the first thing Paul had to deal with along with many other issues too
2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.”
John’s baptism was for remission of sin’s but not into the possession of Jesus since he had not died and ascended as of the time of John.
4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
In the name of the Lord, into the possession of the Lord
6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. 7 There were in all about twelve men.
(Slide) Why the empowering separate from the indwelling here, you might be wondering? - The empowering by the Apostles was to prove what they said and what they did was true and from God.
(Slide) The book of Ephesians deals with two major themes:
(Slide) The sufficiency of Christ to you (Eph1-3)
(Slide) The sufficiency of Christ in the Church (Eph4-6)
(Slide) Roman Province located in Asia Minor (Modern day Turkey) - a population an excess of 250,000 people. This is a place where it was known that East meets West. Known for place of many philosophers and philosophies.
(Slide) Home of one of the seven wonders of Ancient world - this wonder is the temple of Artemis (aka: Diana) in which this temple also served as the bank of Asia Minor, one of the few places money could be safely deposited and secured.
(Slide) This is during the time of the Pax Romana - Pax Romana is a time of peacefulness in Roman empire that stretched from 27BC-180 AD - Roman made major improvements for travel and trade
(Slide) It was a religiously pluralistic environment - From Artemis (Diana) the goddess of he hunt, daughter of Zeus
(Slide) Practice of spiritual magic and the occult were very common to Zeus, Athena, Aphrodite, Apollos and many more. Jehovah God to the Jews and Paul established the church there during his time.
In Act19 we can see much of the atmosphere too, after the Good news was preached many brought their books of magic to be burned -
18 Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. 19 And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.
God had a plan and it was prevailing -
20 So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.
This led to much opposition and an uprising -
24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, was bringing no little business to the craftsmen;
Demetrius tried to get the people of the area to rise up against those who came from Macedonia and it was working -
28 When they heard this and were filled with rage, they began crying out, saying, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 The city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed with one accord into the theater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia.
It was causing confusion, even like today people are confused about the Truth and is there such thing as truth -
32 So then, some were shouting one thing and some another, for the assembly was in confusion and the majority did not know for what reason they had come together.
(Slide) Did not the church that was born on Pentecost have one purpose? -This leads us to the reason for the letter
Some five years or so after Paul established the church and was run out of town for his own safety Paul is imprisoned and has his journey to Rome and penned this letter as well as the letter to the Colossians
(Slide) The Date of writing is about 61-62AD
(Slide) Know imprisoned due to Paul’s own claim (3:1; 4:1 and 6:20)
1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—
1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
(Slide) Reason/Reason’s for the letter
(Slide) To remind the church who they are in Christ - you will see in chapters 1 - 3 clearly the writing is for the people individually to know who they are in Christ, the sufficiency in Christ
(Slide) To bring unity between the previous Jews and Gentiles - There is division within the church, or at least tension between the Jews and the Gentiles and Paul shows the sufficiency of Christ in dealing with that in 2:11ff
(Slide) To remind and encourage the church to be all they are to be - chapters 4-6 are some of the most unifying, encouraging and edifying chapters you can find in the Bible, to help us to know and to be all that God created us to be “the CHURCH”
The author is Paul according to his own words -
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:
That was readily accepted in the early days, but then some come to believe it was not written by Paul because of
(Slide) Style and vocabulary - the claim is that the style is different and uses some 70 different words not used in other letters - though there are 73 parallel verses in Colossians from Ephesians
(Slide) Letter is impersonal - If it were Paul who Spent 3 years there teaching why no reference to friends he made there? - this is overcome by the fact this could be a circular letter to be read in other places too. Like in Colossians they were to read the letter from the Laodiciean’s (Col4:16)
(Slide) Historical consideration - about the tension between Jew/Gentile - yes there was tension in some areas causing a disunity which paul deals with in Eph2 as previously mentioned.
Then there is “in Ephesus” that does not appear in some of the early manuscripts - this can be overcome by the fact of how letters were delivered at the time, in this case by Tychicus who also delivered the letter to the church at Colossi, he would know who it is to be delivered to. It is believed in about AD90 when all the letters were being gathered that someone at that time added “in Ephesus.”
(Slide) A Key thought before moving on: Ephesians is the gathering together of all things in Jesus Christ - Man is divided against man; class from class, nation from nation; idology from ideology and Gentile from Jew - much of these same types of things we see today in our world, the book of Ephesians is about bringing the unity (gathering) of all things, the sum of all things is found only in Christ and then we can be the Church in which Christ created. We are to be His hands, His feet, His mouthpiece to accomplish His mission, but it starts with knowing who we are in Christ (chpt. 1-3) and who we are as the church (chpts. 4-6)
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
(Slide) Paul identifies himself and his position - Though the recipients themselves do not know Paul, they know of Paul. Paul reminds them who he is and what his calling is
(Slide) Paul gives his authority - He does not claim the authority from Jesus, but identifies his authority comes from the will of God
(Slide) Paul gives the recipients - to the saints who are faithful in Christ Jesus, so with “in Ephesus” or not we see it is written to Christians.
(Slide) Grace and peace to you - grace describes a gift, something we cannot do or earn for ourselves - peace, this is the peace that Jesus speaks of Jn14:27 not just the absence of conflict but peace that transcends all comprehension (understanding) (Phi4:7) - it is bringing man to mans greatest good in Christ Jesus.
(Slide) From God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ -Paul draws on the Father several times in the epistle as you will see. At least once in each chapter
Invitation - (Slide) From God the Father to our Lord Jesus Christ to us!