Summary: The introductory lesson of a study through the book of Ephesians that is centered on discovering the truth of who we are "in Christ" - this sermon gives us 5 truths from the introduction that will guide us through the study.
Ephesians – “Focusing on Truth”
Lesson One: Eph. 1:1-2 “Living in the Truth”
I want to talk today about Truth. We are beginning a new series in the book of Ephesians called “Focusing on Truth.” Truth is a word that we hear a lot about, but which unfortunately too many people don’t apply.
What are some famous sayings that deal with “truth”?
“Truth is elusive.”
“Truth is stranger than fiction.”
“You want the Truth! You can’t handle the truth!”
Here are some quotes about truth from some famous people throughout time:
• All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. Galileo
• Children say that people are hung sometimes for speaking the truth. Joan of Arc
• (ON SHEETS) Always tell the truth. That way, you don’t have to remember what you said. Mark Twain
• The truth is always exciting. Speak it, then. Life is dull without it. Pearl S. Buck
In one of the most profound statements made by Jesus Christ during His ministry, Jesus addressed the concept of “truth.” (John 8:31-32): "You are truly my disciples if you keep obeying my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
As I think about this statement, I am drawn to the fact that Jesus declares with authority the fact that true freedom is found in knowing the truth. In these two verses alone, Jesus defines the truth as His “teachings.” In essence, Jesus said, “If I say it, and you obey it (or apply it), you will find freedom.
Later on, Jesus would actually label Himself as “The Truth” in John 14:6 (I am the way, the truth, and the life). The label He gave Himself wasn’t “I am truth” or “I am truthful” – no, it was “I am THE truth.” In other words, it’s not that Jesus Christ is just true in what He says, but in relation to everything and anything else, HE IS THE TRUTH.
The Apostle John, who recorded these words of Jesus, made a statement in one of his later writing: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4
Truth is ESSENTIAL. Jesus Christ is the Truth, and the truth will set us free. Because of this, in my messages this year, while I always desire to speak truth, I want to especially emphasize the importance and power of TRUTH in our lives and in the life of our church. 2006 is the year of Truth here at The Journey – hearing it from the pulpit as a church, discovering it in the Bible personally, and walking in it together. It has been my prayer and will continue to be that you will know the truth, and that the Truth will set you free.
In looking at how truth impacts our lives, I want to begin a study today in the book of Ephesians. Ephesians is a book that focuses on truth. Whenever I counsel with Christians who are struggling, or when I counsel with Christians who need to know exactly what God has done for them, I always direct them to Ephesians. While all of the Bible is truth, Ephesians is specifically dedicated to the bold declaration of the truth about who God is, what He has done for us, and who we are in Christ.
Actually, declaration is one of three main focuses of the book of Ephesians:
1) Prayer. Two large different sections of this book are prayers by Paul on behalf of the church – 1:15-23 and 3:14-21.
2) Declaration. In every other book Paul writes, he is correcting wrongs actions or doctrine. This is not the case with Ephesians. He declares who Christ is and who we are “in Christ.” If you read Ephesians 1, the first fourteen verses mention the name of Jesus Christ or refer to Him 15 times. Furthermore, the words “in Christ” or “in Him” occurs 11 times (The Message of Ephesians, John RW Stott, p. 34). The clear, dominating central theme of Ephesians is Jesus Christ.
3) Evangelism (sharing the Good News). Over and over, Paul reiterates how God’s grace saves us and the impact that it has on all who receive it.
Of these three, I love the bold declaration of Ephesians. This book declares that the church along with anyone who is a Christian is incredibly blessed, and can have victory and peace. Blessing, victory, peace - there will be our focus through Ephesians, so if you desire these or lack them in your life, stay with us, As we look at this book, we will view how the truth will bring us blessing, victory, and peace to our church and to our lives.
Today we lay the groundwork that will guide us through Ephesians. We will cover the introduction to this letter today, but from it, I want to give you 5 foundational truths about Ephesians that will guide us the whole way through. Before I give you the first truth, let’s read the first two verses of Ephesians 1 together (on screen verses 1-2).