Summary: An Overview of Ephesians. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Chapter 1 verse 1-3.
• In many ways the Apostle Paul was a spiritual warrior,
• If you glance at his New Testament letters,
• One of the conclusions you naturally come to;
• Is that he spent most of his time fighting one thing or another,
• Exposing heresies,
• Challenging the enemies of the faith,
• Expelling ignorance,
• And shaking Christians from apathy and laziness.
• For example, in his Corinthian letters,
• He confronted quarrels that were tearing apart the church.
• In Galatians, he battled legalists,
• Who were trying to imprison the believers with rules & regulations.
• In 2 Thessalonians he also fought confusion and fear,
• In 1 and 2 timothy - lack of confidence,
• In Colossians it was false doctrine.
• It seems as though Paul was always battling something.
• What would the apostle have written if he hadn’t had any heresies to correct,
• Any fights to referee,
• Or any false teachers to expose?
The answer is Ephesians.
In this letter:
• Paul exchanged his sword for a paintbrush.
• He stepped out of his military combat gear, and away from conflicts,
• To paint a magnificent portrait of Christ and His people.
(A). Background of the letter:
(1). The City
• Ephesus was one the great cities of Asia Minor:
• Whenever you come across the word Asia in the New Testament,
• It is not referring to the continent but to this region, which is also called Asia Minor.
• Today it is modern day Turkey.
(b). Ephesus was a Roman capital,
• It was a sea port,
• A wealthy commercial center that experienced world trade.
(c). Ephesus was renowned for its paganism:
• The temple of the Greek goddess Artemis stood as its crown jewel.
• In Roman mythology, Artemis was known as Diana.
The temple was one of the seven wonders of the world.
• It was 420 feet square.
• One of its features was its pillars, it contained one hundred and twenty-seven pillars,
• Every one of them the gift of a king.
• All were made of marble, and some were studded with jewels and overlaid with gold.
• This temple cast a long shadow over the city:
• And was a key focal point, that highly infuenced the people.
• And worship of this goddess was jealously guarded,
• As Paul found out the hard way in Acts chapter 19 verse 23).
(b). The Church
(a). Paul’s fist contact with Ephesus:
• Was around A.D. 52.when on his second missionary journey
• He made a brief visit to a Jewish synagogue (Acts chapter 18 verse 19),
(b). Then a few years later on his third missionary journey:
• He returned to Ephesus and found a group of Christians,
• Probably members of the Church founded by Priscilla and Aquila (Acts chapters 18-19)
• Paul baptized the converts and then spent three years,
• Teaching the people of that area (Acts chapter 19),
(c). The correspondence (Letter).
• Shortly after Paul left Ephesus and returned to Jerusalem, he was arrested,
• And to cut a long story short he was sent to Rome:
• Imprisoned in Rome, Paul wrote this letter,
• He was under house arrest, and refers to this in chapter 3 verse 1, chapter 4 verse 1.
• While a prisoner in his own house, Paul was free to receive visitors,
• And it was at this time that he wrote Ephesians.
• The letter was carried, and probably hand delivered to the Church,
• By Tychicus (chapter 6 verse 21)
(b). Some commentators think this was a general letter, a “cyclical” letter:
• That was passed from Church to Church.
• Others believe it was written primarily to the Ephesian Church.
The Structure of the Letter
(1). Purpose - Paul had two main purposes in writing:
(1st). Chapters 1-3: Paul wants the Ephesians to know their resources in Christ.
A Red Indian (Native American) walked into his bank,
• Looked the bank manager in the eye and said:
• “Sheep ill, grass gone, waterhole dry”.
• Without speaking the manger of the bank took him into the back room,
• The room where the safety deposit boxes are kept.
• He opened a box belonging to the Indian;
• It was full of golden nuggets that he had panned in the river.
• Once again he looked the bank manager in the eye and said:
• “Sheep good, grass green, plenty of water”.
• Now his circumstances had not changed,
• But he realized that he had more than enough resources to cope.
That is exactly what Paul is trying to tell these Ephesian Christians:
• The times you live in might be hard and dangerous,