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Summary: The goal of this message is not to tell you how to ’get’ rich but to show that in Christ you are already rich. (Ephesians - pt 1)

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"HEY!, YOU’RE RICH!"

TEXT: EPHESIANS CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

MONEY, WE ALL NEED IT -- AND MOST OF US WOULD LIKE TO HAVE MORE OF IT.... I DON’T THINK THAT MANY HERE WOULD REFUSE TO HAVE A FEW EXTRA DOLLARS ADDED TO THEIR WALLET OR BANK ACCOUNT.

PEOPLE INVEST, START THEIR OWN BUSINESSES, PLAY THE LOTTERY AND SEND IN THOSE LETTERS TO PUBLISHERS CLEARING HOUSE, ALL IN AN EFFORT TO GET MORE MONEY, TO BE RICH....

AGAIN MOST HERE, MYSELF INCLUDED WOULDN’T MIND BEING A LITTLE OR A LOT, RICHER....

TODAY, WE ARE GOING TO BEGIN OUR STUDY OF THE BOOK OF EPHESIANS -- AND WHAT I WANT TO TEACH YOU TODAY IS NOT HOW TO GET RICH, BUT RATHER THAT "IN CHRIST" YOU ALREADY ARE RICH.... MY GOAL IS FOR EVERY CHRISTIAN TO LEAVE HERE TODAY WITH THESE WORDS ON THEIR LIPS... "HEY, I’M RICH!"

BUT BEFORE WE GET INTO OUR TEXT TODAY WE NEED TO DO SOME BACKGROUND WORK...

AS PAUL PENS THIS LETTER TO THE EPHESIANS HE IS IN JAIL... IN A ROMAN PRISON... AND A COUPLE OF BROTHERS FROM NEAR EPHESUS WERE IN ROME VISITING PAUL... THEREFORE PAUL FIGURED IT WOULD BE A GOOD TIME TO WRITE SOME LETTERS SINCE HE NOW HAD SOMEONE WHO COULD DELIVER THEM.. AND WHILE THERE, HE NOT ONLY WROTE A LETTER TO EPHESIANS BUT ALSO TO THE PHILIPPIANS, THE COLOSSIANS AND TO A WEALTHY MAN NAMED PHILEMON...

AND AS PAUL LEANED AGAINST THE COLD DAMP WALLS OF HIS PRISON CELL, AS HE PENNED THE LETTER TO THE EPHESIANS, HE NO DOUBT MUST HAVE REFLECTED ON HIS OWN RELATIONSHIP WITH HE CHURCH THERE...

PAUL FIRST WENT TO EPHESUS DURING HIS SECOND MISSIONARY JOURNEY, BUT HE DIDN’T STAY TOO LONG...

EPHESUS WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT CITY IN THE ROMAN PROVINCE OF ASIA, IT HAD A POPULATION OF OVER 300,000 -- A LARGE OUTDOOR THEATER THAT SEATED 25,000 PEOPLE... IT WAS LOCATED ON THE EDGE OF A GREAT HARBOR AND IT WAS HOME OF THE GODDESS ARTEMIS (DAUGHTER OF ZEUS/SISTER OF APOLLO).

THE TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS TOOK 220 YEARS TO BUILD, IT WAS THE LARGEST BUILDING OF THE GREEK WORLD, AND WAS 1 OF THE 7 WONDERS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD.

NOT ONLY WAS THIS TEMPLE A CENTER FOR IDOLATROUS WORSHIP BUT IT ALSO WAS A DEPOSITORY OF GREAT WEALTH. THE BEST PAINTINGS AND STATUES WERE KEPT THERE. THE TEMPLE OWNED LANDS AND CONTROLLED THE FISHERIES.... IT’S PRIESTS WERE THE BANKERS OF IT’S ENORMOUS REVENUES... AND BECAUSE OF THESE ENORMOUS REVENUES PEOPLE THROUGHOUT ASIA STORED THEIR AT THE TEMPLE MONEY FOR SAFE KEEPING. EPHESUS WAS CONSIDERED THE BANKING CENTER OF ASIA AND THE TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS WAS TO THE ANCIENT WORLD WHAT THE FEDERAL RESERVE IS TO THE U.S. TODAY... ONE WRITER SAID THAT EPHESUS WAS RELIGIOUSLY LIKE ROME AND COMMERCIALLY LIKE NEW YORK CITY.

DURING HIS 3RD MISSIONARY JOURNEY THAT PAUL ONCE AGAIN CAME INTO EPHESUS, THIS TIME STAYING FOR 2-3 YEARS.

AND HE HAD A SUCCESSFUL MINISTRY THERE...

IF YOU WOULD PLEASE TURN IN YOUR BIBLES TO

ACTS CHAPTER 19

AND WE WILL QUICKLY HIGHLIGHT THAT MINISTRY.

ACTS 19:11-20 -- READ

ACTS 19:23FF -- IN THESE VERSE WE SEE A RIOT STARTING BECAUSE OF THE EFFECT THAT PAUL’S MINISTRY IN EPHESUS AND IN ALL OF ASIA WAS HAVING ON ONE OF THE LOCAL TRADES IN EPHESUS. A TRADE THAT MADE REPLICAS OF THE GREAT TEMPLE OF ATREMIS FOR HER LOYAL FOLLOWERS TO TAKE HOME WITH THEM AND OUT ON THEIR COFFEE TABLE... YOU SEE, PAUL WAS TELLING THE EPHESIANS THAT MAN-MADE GOD’S ARE NO GOD’S AT ALL... CAUSING MANY PEOPLE TO STOP BUYING THE IDOLS. AFFECTING PEOPLE’S POCKET BOOKS.


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