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NEW TESTAMENT - EPHESIANS Chapters 1 -3

EPHESIANS – Part 1

Ephesians is the perfect balance between doctrine and duty. The first three chapters deal with doctrine, the believers' spiritual blessings in Christ. The last three chapters focus on the church's responsibility to live in unity, variety, maturity, purity, and victory. We learn from Paul's balanced perspective the need for both orthodoxy (right belief) and orthopraxy (right living). 

Ephesians 1:1

Paul wrote this letter to believers to give them in-depth teaching about how to nurture and maintain the unity of the church. He wanted to put this important information in written form because he was under house arrest in Rome for preaching the Good News and could not visit the churches himself. Because he mentions no particular problems or local situations and he offers no personal greetings, this was very likely a circular letter. It was first sent to Ephesus and then circulated to neighboring local churches.

Ephesians 1:2-4  

In verse 4, God "chose us" emphasizes that salvation depends totally on God. We are not saved because we deserve it but because God is gracious and freely gives salvation. We did not influence God's decision to save us. He saved us according to His plan. When we belong to Him through Jesus Christ, God looks at us each day as if we had never sinned.

Ephesians 1:5

God has adopted us—people who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior--as his own children. Through Jesus' sacrifice, He brought us into his family and made us heirs along with Jesus. In Roman law, adopted children had the same rights and privileges as biological children, even if they had been slaves. This term shows how strong our relationship to God is. Non-Christians are not God’s children although the news media and some TV preachers may say “we’re all God’s children.”

Ephesians 1:6-8

“We have” means we possess it now. It’s not a future prospect.” Redemption is deliverance from bondage by means of a price paid. The One He loves, Christ, liberated sinners from the slavery of self, sin and Satan, literally bought out of the slave market. Satan wants to enslave people in sin.

Ephesians 1:9-13

The Holy Spirit is Himself the seal. In the symbolism of Scripture, a seal signifies: (1) A finished transaction; (2) Ownership; and (3) Security.

Ephesians 1:14  

Christ purchased freedom from sin. The deposit is a partial down payment in the first installment and a pledge guaranteeing a complete transaction and payment of the total obligation to place us in Heaven forever.

The entire letter was written within a framework of prayer. In Ephesians 1:17-23, Paul made four requests for them: (1) to know and experience God; (2) to know the hope of His calling; (3) to know of His glorious inheritance; and (4) to know of His great power.

Ephesians 1:17-19

The heart refers to the whole inner person. The soul has eyes that need to be and can be enlightened or flooded with divine light. The Holy Spirit opens the eyes and hearts so the believer may see the great truths.

The purpose of spiritual illumination and spiritual perception is that believers may know and experience God’s calling, inheritance, and power. The call is from Him and a summons to Him. It is a call to new life in Christ, through Christ, for Christ, and with Christ. It involves perfect deliverance and perfect fellowship.

Ephesians 1:20-23

The relationship between Christ and His church is similar to that between the head and the body of a human organism. The church is a living organism, not a dead organization.

The head directs the body’s activities. The church is a living expression of Christ. It is the means by which He accomplishes His plan and purpose. It is the agent through which He accomplishes His work. Believers are not only members of His body, they are members one of another in that body.

Ephesians 2:1-5

God's purpose for believers is spelled out in Ephesians 2:7-10. He has restored us, "expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus." The revelation of the grace of God, His unmerited love, is declared to be the specific object of redemption.

Ephesians 2:6-9

The nature of God is to give freely because of His own love. God does not deal with people on the level of human achievement but on the level of their deepest needs. Grace is what God does for man, not what man does for God or for himself. The Greek perfect tense denotes the certainty of this God-given salvation; we have been saved in the past, and are just as thoroughly saved in the present. We have a perfect salvation. God gives by grace. Man receives by faith. Salvation is not based on or produced by the works of man.

Ephesians 2:10

As His workman-ship, we are God’s poem, His masterpiece. We are saved to live a totally different life "to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Works never produce salvation, but salvation always produces good works. A man is not justified by works, but a justified man works. Works are the consequences, not the causes of salvation. They are the fruit, not the root of salvation

Ephesians 2:13-20

Many barriers can divide us from other Christians: age, appearance, intelligence, political persuasion, economic status, race, theological perspective. One of the best ways to stifle Christ's love is to be friendly with only those people that we like. Fortunately, Christ has knocked down the barriers and has unified all believers in one family. His cross should be the focus of our unity. The Holy Spirit helps us look beyond the barriers to the unity we are called to enjoy. Because of Christ's death, we are all one (Ephesians 2:14); our hostility against each other has been put to death (Ephesians 2:16); we can all have access to the Father by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:18); we are no longer strangers or foreigners to God (2:19); and we are all being built into a holy temple with Christ as our chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20).

Ephesians 2:21-22

The Greek word for a family and a house is the same, so Paul changes the figure of speech from a family to a spiritual temple in setting forth the unifying character of the church. He is not only the Chief Corner Stone, He is also the foundation. In Old Testament times, God dwelt with His people; in New Testament times, God dwells in His people.

Ephesians 3:4-6

Ephesians 3:14-19

These verses are Paul's prayer addressed to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is also in Him our Father. He offers only one petition, that his readers might be strengthened by the Holy Spirit in the inner being, that Christ might dwell in their hearts by faith. They would be confirmed in love, and thus enabled to understand the infinite love of Christ. 

Christ should be enthroned; He must have first place. It is God’s purpose that He dwell in our hearts personally, permanently, and powerfully. Christ is not a guest or an occasional visitor; He is the rightful owner and lives here. Being rooted is like a tree growing strong and massive.

Ephesians 3:20-21 are a doxology, a prayer of praise to God.

This ends part 1 of Ephesians. In the first section, Paul described the timeless role of the church. In part 2 (chapters 4-6), he will explain how church members should live in order to bring about the unity God wants.

 

THE INVITATION

You can't depend on your own goodness to get to Heaven. We've all sinned  (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for your sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection (John 3:16).

To be forgiven and be guaranteed a place in Heaven, you need to repent of sin, confess that you are a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (Acts 2:21).

You can use the following prayer or your own words, but you must actually believe in your heart that your prayer is real:

         Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed.

      Please forgive all my wrongdoing and let me live in relationship with You from now on.

      I receive You as my Savior and recognize that the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross was done on my behalf.

      Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You.

                     In Your name I pray, Amen.