Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is really a letter of encouragement written to remind believers of their immeasurable blessings in Jesus Christ, and not only to be thankful for these blessings but to live in a manner worthy of them.

Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus known as Ephesians was written while he was imprisoned in Rome approximately 30 years after Jesus Christ walked this earth. It is known as one of Paul’s prison epistles, along with Philippians, Colossians and Philemon. Ephesus was a very wealthy city located on the east side of the Aegean Sea. It was perhaps best known for its magnificent Temple of Diana, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Diana was the goddess of the hunt, and Paul almost lost his life when he was preaching in the theatre of Ephesus, against idol worship. And just outside the walls, the local silversmiths made a healthy living by selling silver idols of the goddess Diana. Diana worship is mentioned in the 19th chapter of Acts. In Princess Diana’s eulogy, her brother drew a correlation to his sister and the goddess Diana of the hunt. He said that his sister Diana was the most hunted woman in the modern age. Ephesus was also an important political, educational and commercial center. Paul pastored the church in Ephesus for about three years and after him, Timothy. The church later became plagued with fables and false teachers - teachings such as the forbidding of marriage and abstaining from certain foods. Paul’s letter is really a letter of encouragement written to remind believers of their immeasurable blessings in Jesus Christ, and not only to be thankful for these blessings but to live in a manner worthy of them. Despite Paul’s words, self satisfaction and complacency set in and the church soon forgot what was most important. Thirty years after Paul’s letter, Christ gave the Apostle John a letter for this church indicating its people had left their first love behind, their love for Jesus Christ for Him (Revelation 2:1-7)

Ephesians chapter 1, verses 3-14:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to son ship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of His glory.

A wealthy landowner was seated on his front porch one afternoon, when two young men came walking by. He asked them if they would be willing to chop wood for him at the rate of $15.00 per hour. He explained that he was throwing a big party for everyone at his job, and they needed extra firewood.

Neither of the young men had ever chopped wood before, but since they were both in college and could use the money, they said they would. After the wealthy man got them started, his telephone rang. It was one of his co-workers. The co-worker informed him that the entertainment they had scheduled for the party had cancelled, leaving them with no entertainment at all.

After he finished the call, he looked out the window to see one of the men doing cartwheels, and even doing double flips in his back yard. He ran out the back door and asked if they would be willing to do that at the party that night for an additional $100.00.

The man said he didn’t know, and yelled to the other one, “Hey, Earl! Would you be willing to cut off another toe for $100.00?

In David Jeremiah’s book entitled “Signs of Life”, he writes; “You’ve probably seen Andy Warhol’s prints of Campbell’s soup cans or celebrities like Marilyn Monroe or Elvis Presley. America’s best known pop artist was born in Pittsburg in 1928 and he moved to New York City in 1949 to pursue a career as an illustrator for magazines and advertisements. He built a reputation as a major figure in the pop art movement and was catapulted to fame in 1968 when a women entered his studio and shot him. I was thinking that it’s Interesting that we remember 1968 as a year when Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were assassinated; however, many of us were unaware of this incident. Andy Warhol was shot 3 days prior to Robert Kennedy, and the bullet passed through his left lung, spleen, stomach, liver, esophagus, and right lung. Though Warhol survived the attack, he never fully recovered. You’d think that such an experience would have turned Warhol’s thoughts toward God, but the artist’s entire world revolved around the popular culture with its shallowness, fleeting pleasures and “fifteen minutes of fame” as he famously put it. He once summed up himself like this: “I am a deeply superficial person…..If you want to know all about Andy Warhol” he said, “just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, there I am. There’s nothing behind it.”

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