Summary: First in the Ephesians Series dealing with the blessing of God.
Ephesians Series #1
“Bless the Lord”
INTRODUCTION TO THE SERIES
Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus is an essential foundation of the New Testament and warrants frequent visits for deeper understanding. Any portion of the Bible has basic truths that never change but the applications and the particular emphasis always changes with time and circumstance.
The Message of Ephesians (Overview)
Ephesians is a sister letter to the letter to Colossians; two-thirds of the content of Paul’s letter to the Colossians can be found in some way paralleled in Ephesians. The message of Ephesians is a universal message to all the followers of Jesus outlining the identity and responsibility of the Church of Jesus Christ in a dark world. Many have spoken of the greatness of this letter.
Luther called it “the gospel in its purest expression”. Others see Ephesians as a “panoramic view of this wondrous and glorious work of God in Jesus Christ Our Lord.” It is a most vital message to the church today. As is all Scripture, the book is profitable for teaching doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness that the child of God may become mature, perfectly trained for every good work.
It is my hope that as we encounter the truths of this portion of the Bible and mine some of its numerous precious jewels, we will find ourselves filled with overflowing praise to God a even more transformed into the image of Christ than before we began.
If I were to single out a particular theme for Ephesians that would best express the intent of the letter it might be:
The identity and responsibility of the Church
Ephesians is one of many epistles or letters written to specific churches or individuals.
Some of these letters were intended to be shared and passed between the churches in various cities. The bulk of the letters were written by the Apostle Paul. A letter is a personal communication to a specific audience with a particular purpose. They were often triggered by issues related to a particular church. These letters, by reason of such personal nature, were not intended to be a theology class although they contain significant theological concepts.
The first part of the letter provides sufficient background information. In this case both the author and the intended recipients are clearly identified.
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: Ephesians 1:1
It is clear from the introduction, content and the style of this letter that it is a letter of Paul.
Paul used a similar style and vocabulary in all of his writings. Paul identifies himself as “an apostle”. "Apostle" means "one sent out". It is used 10 times in the Gospels, 28 in Acts, 38 in the letters and 3 times in Revelation. It is used in a general sense of anyone sent as a special messenger as well as a technical reference to the original 11 apostles plus Paul as "one untimely born". Here Paul affirms Jesus Christ as his sending agent by the will and authority of God the Father. He thus establishes the authoritative nature of his letter. He spoke on God’s behalf. The content was inspired and authorized by God Himself.