The book of Ephesians was not written with the intention of being a book. It was a letter.
A. There are some people who question who wrote it and who it was written too.
B. Some people say that Paul didn’t write it, and I don’t believe that, but there might be some question as to whether it was written only the to the Ephesians.
C. Some of the oldest manuscripts don’t have the line that is in verse one where it says to the saints in Ephesus.
D. There are some people who believe that the letter to the Ephesians might have been written to several of the churches in Asia Minor, and that Tychicus who delivered the letter was to insert the name of whatever church he was at when he read it.
E. Whether that was the way it was or not what we can know is that God intended it for us.
1. It is a part of the instruction that God gave to us, and a part of what He intends for us to use to determine what it means to be a Christian.
2. So our main concern is not who wrote it or what city it went to but how does it apply to us, today, here an now.
(Eph 1:1 -14 NIV) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 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 to be adopted as his sons 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. And 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 will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even 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 hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having 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.
F. Right off the bat we are faced with a theological problem in Ephesians. It is a word that has been debated for generations. Predestination.
1. The fact that Paul uses the word predestination is not debatable, but what he intended it to mean is.
2. What does he mean when he says that we are predestined?
3. Well the fact is that nothing in the bible ever tries to define what that means directly, so we have to determine what it means by looking at the what the whole message of the bible is.
G. Let me start by saying that it does not mean that God decided before time that some would be chosen to go to heaven and some would be chosen to go to Hell.
1. The bible says point blank that God is a God of love it even says that God is love.
(1 John 4:8 NIV) Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
(1 John 4:16 NIV) And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
2. The bible also says that God is just.
(Deu 32:4 NIV) He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.
(2 Th 1:6 NIV) God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you
3. God is just, and God is love, and there is nothing loving or just about creating people for the purpose of suffering damnation in Hell.
4. So from what the bible says about who God is it would be impossible for God to predetermine who would go to heaven and who would go to hell without completely stepping out of His character which is something that God would not do.