Epistle to the Ephesians – Identity, Intimacy and Influence – Ephesians 1:4-10 – Week 2 – Rob Covell

Epistle to the Ephesians Identity, Intimacy, and Influence

Ephesians 1:4-10

Week 2

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we will continue our study in Ephesians 1, and explore verses 4-10. We are exegeting Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians at slow pace because we will be looking at deep theological thoughts that reveal God’s deep love, grace and mercy towards His children. We want to take our time so that we will not miss the glories and goodness of God in Jesus Christ. It could be said that Ephesians chapter 1, contains some of the highest thoughts of God regarding His emotions, His intentions towards people, and the clearest presentations, that the will of God for us, flows intense goodness and loving-kindness.

In this Session, we will also look at one of the most difficult theological constructs in Christianity. The doctrine of predestination and election and how they relate to salvation and the freewill of humanity.

Since our introduction to the Epistle to the Ephesians was lengthy and detailed, we will jump right into the text and begin in verse 4.

Ephesians 1:4

a) Verse 4 introduces us to the theology of election and predestination. To properly understand the doctrine of predestination we need to consider the whole counsel of Scripture so that we would understand the doctrine of election/predestination in its proper understanding. Let’s look at the Greek word for “chose” so that we can understand the context. Greek – Chose – eklegomai – to pick out, choose, to pick or choose out for one’s self, choosing one out of many, i.e. Jesus choosing his disciples, choosing one for an office. 2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

b) When we consider predestination/election, we are deciding between 2 theological positions. 1 – Does God choose some to be saved, and some to go to eternal condemnation? 2 – Or does God choose everyone to be saved, i.e. make a provision for all to be saved by Christ through the Atonement, with God knowing through His Omniscience and Transcendence, all who would receive Christ, by their free will choice, and knowing through His Omniscience/Omnipresence all who would reject God’s offer of salvation, by their own free will decision? I believe the key to understanding this doctrine is found in verse 4, “before the foundation of the world”. The “before the foundation of the world” language points our attention to the Preexistence, Transcendence and Omniscience of God and helps us understand that God knows who receives Him and who rejects His offer of salvation to humanity, because of the very nature of His Person, being Preexistent, Transcendent and Omniscient.

c) Ephesians 1:4, tells us that our primary calling in God is to be holy and
blameless. When we consider what this means to the believer, we should not equate these words with perfection. The concept of being holy in God, means we are set apart for His purposes, and live accordingly. The concept of being blameless is taken from the Greek word in the text, which means “as a sacrifice without spot or blemish, morally: without blemish, faultless, unblameable. One can only become holy and blameless before God, because of the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross that paid for our “un-holiness and blame” for the offense of sin. This is explained in more fully Ephesians 1:7.

d) In love – Scripture teaches us that the primary motivation of God, in all He does is in love. This is the most dominant theme woven throughout the Scriptures, the theme of God being motivated by love in all His works. Greek – Agape

Ephesians 1:5

a) Our salvation is pre-determined because the Atonement was pre-determined within the Godhead. Revelation 13:8 says that Jesus was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. In this sense, the salvation of humanity in Jesus Christ was predetermined, and God’s love for humanity overshadowed the Fall, sin, death, and pain, so that He moved forward with creation with the full knowledge and agreement of the eternal Son, being slain on the cross.

b) He all have positionally been granted “sonship” to God through Jesus Christ. The footnote in the NIV translation is very good here because it brings our attention that the word in the original Greek text is the word that means “one who is adopted and has full legal rights as an heir in Roman culture.”

c) The rights of sons: inheritance, love, provision and care from the father, protection, honor of the family name, social status, identity, access to intimate knowledge and friendship, redemptive discipline, and many other parallels that communicate God as a loving Father. d) God is happy to give us adoption as His children, salvation from our sins, and access to His heart. God willed these things because they make Him happy. Greek – eudokia – good will, kindly intent, benevolence, delight, pleasure, satisfaction. God is a happy Being and always in a good mood (perfect emotions)!

Ephesians 1:6

a) Verse teaches us that the grace of God, the unmerited goodness of God towards us, is freely given to us by God. We can never earn His grace, otherwise it is no longer grace, but becomes the wages of works. Romans 4:3-4 – What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation.

b) The One He loves – Jesus is the object of the love described in Ephesians 1:6; With the same love, the Father has towards the Son, is the same love the Father has towards us, because we are “in Christ”. John 16:27 – No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.

c) The love God has for us, should be a motivator for us to love Him back and relinquish every area of our lives to Him, so that He can Father us. It is sad to
say that many of us live as orphans not realizing our true identities in Christ, or that many of us live as spoiled children, taking the grace of God for granted, and producing no eternal fruit in our lives.

Ephesians 1:7-8

a) The blood of Jesus Christ is what makes us forgiven by God and accepted by Him. Verse 8 says that the Father lavished grace on us, and it was wisdom to Him and understanding by Him to redeem humanity by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. We are treading on some of the most holy and sacred thoughts about God, when we ponder the Atonement. God is so rich in grace that He withheld nothing from us, so that we might know Him, be loved by Him and love Him back.

Ephesians 1:9-10

a) To properly understand verses 9-10, we need to beware of the cultural significance of these verses. 1 – The mystery (something hidden) of Christ that Paul is referencing in the text, is the Incarnation of Jesus, the Atonement, and the New Covenant. We must keep in mind that the Temple in Jerusalem was still standing when Paul wrote this Epistle to the Ephesians, and Christianity was teaching that Jesus fulfilled all the Old Covenant requirements of the Law, fulfilled all the symbolism of the Old Testament Scriptures, and fulfilled all the prophecies that prophesied a Messiah, and therefore the “times” have reached their fulfillment because Jesus came, died on a cross, and resurrected. 2 – Because the fulfillment of the times has come, one no longer needs the Temple, because Christ fulfilled and accomplished the purposes of the Temple through His ministry, death, resurrection and ascension to heaven.

b) Paul is reminding the Ephesians and us, that the New Covenant age is the last age, and then all things will be “summed up” in Christ at the end of the New Covenant age. Ephesians 1:10 – NASB – with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.

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Epistle to the Ephesians, Identity, Intimacy, and Influence – Week 1 – Introduction – Rob Covell

Epistle to the Ephesians Identity, Intimacy, and Influence

Introduction to Ephesians Week 1

Rob Covell

Introduction – As we begin our in-depth study of Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians, it is important to consider the history, the culture, and the target audience that this epistle is written to. Theologians call this approach to interpreting Scripture as “hermeneutics”. Which means; the methodology that one uses to interpret Scripture. All of us read Scripture through the lens of preconceived ideas about God, our common culture, and our likes and dislikes. The best way to interpret Scripture is to recognize the “who, what, why and when” regarding Scripture before we begin to interpret and make applications to our lives from it.

Let’s look at some background information about the city of Ephesus and the culture that the Ephesian Church was birthed in by the Apostle Paul.

a) Ephesus – A major port city in the Roman Province of Asia and was known for the Temple of Artemis/Diana which was one of the 7 wonders of the world. Ephesus was prosperous city was a large population (220 K). Ephesus means “permitted” and was the seat of Roman government for that region.

b) Artemis/Diana – The Temple of Artemis was famous throughout the ancient world was completed around 550BC. Greek Mythology held that the image of Artemis fell from Jupiter and landed in Ephesus. Artemis is depicted as a female goddess covered in breasts. Artemis was connected to a fertility cult, and like Corinth, her demonic worship was connected to female temple prostitution. The whole Ephesian economy revolved around temple tourism, idolatrous worship, the merchant trade from the Ephesian port, and buying and selling in the Roman Agora.

c) Ephesus began as Greek city state in the 10th Century BC, and fell into Roman rule in 129BC. Ephesus had a huge amphitheater that seated 25,000 people, and had a huge clay cylinders that were filled with water so that the sound would bounce around the amphitheater so the people could hear. We could summarize the culture of Ephesus as being distinctly Hellenistic (Greek), prosperous and important, immoral, and antichrist. By today’s American standards of morality Ephesus was probably worse than Las Vegas. Paul directly deals with the immorality of Ephesus in Ephesians chapter 5.

Now that we have a basic sketch of the Ephesian culture that the Ephesian Church was birthed in, let’s look at the history, characteristics and revival culture of the Ephesian Church.

a) Paul visited Ephesus briefly in September 52AD (Acts 18:19-21) and left Priscilla and Aquila in Ephesus, and then returned to Ephesus in September 53AD and stayed until approximately 55AD. The account of the Ephesian revival is found in
Acts 19.

b) Hallmarks of the Ephesian Revival – Paul has at the height of his ministry and was walking in the highest amount of anointing as he ministered in Ephesus. Let’s turn to Acts 19 and look at a generalized account of the Ephesian revival, which is the only church in the Apostolic Era that manifested explosive power, widespread evangelism, impacted the economy, government and founded a church that lasted until the Middle Ages.

c) Acts 19:1-7 – Priscilla, Aquilla and Apollos produced very little fruit and founded a church of approximately 12 people. The catalyst for the Ephesian revival was the filling of the Holy Spirit.

d) Acts 19:8-10 – Paul equipped and released the Ephesian church so that they evangelized the whole Roman Province of Asia.

e) Acts 19:11-12 – Paul was working with Priscilla and Aquilla in their tent making business to support their ministry in Ephesus. During this season of Paul’s apostolic ministry, the Lord increased Paul’s ability move in extraordinary signs and wonders. Signs and wonders have historically accompanied the great revivals in Church history.

f) Acts 19:13-16 – The 7 Sons of Sceva were misusing the Name of Jesus in their deliverance ministry and the narrative of their defeat by demons teaches us that true, safe and legal spiritual power in manifested by those who have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

g) Acts 19:17-20 – The Ephesian Church repents from their witchcraft and compromise and their revival increases to the point where the church so effectively evangelizes, that every area of society is impacted. The account of the Ephesian riot that began in the Agora and peaked at the Amphitheater was a demonic reaction to the effective evangelism of the Ephesian Church (Acts 19:23-41).

h) Additionally, Church History teaches us that the Ephesian church became an important apostolic center that was familiar with Peter and John. John eventually settled in Ephesus, and wrote the gospel of John there, as well as his Epistles. Mary, Jesus’ mother lived the rest of her life in Ephesus and was buried in Ephesus. John lived and died in Ephesus. The Ephesian church was the first church to receive the book of Revelation, and the Ephesian church was led by Timothy. Another hallmark of revival and reformation is apostolic attraction where apostles and prophets converge to continue caring for and building for what the Lord started. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians from Ephesus.

i) Revelation 2:1-7 was written to the Ephesian church as a warning to return to their first love, Jesus Christ. The Ephesian church had lost their passion in the midst of ministry, became solidified in the works of religion, that resulted in their being in danger of losing their church community.

Paul wrote the Epistle to the Ephesians during his first Roman imprisonment, from Rome in approximately AD60-62, see Acts 28:30-31 and Ephesians 6:19-20. Tychicus delivered this letter to the Ephesian church for Paul and gave them a report about his well-being in Rome.

Ephesians 1:1

a) Paul addresses the Ephesian Church with his formal title. By this time most of the Ephesian church would have not personally known or met Paul as the letter to the Ephesians was written 12 years after his ministry there. Paul’s use of the title of Apostle reminds them of his spiritual authority to encourage, teach and correct the Ephesian church. Paul’s apostolic ministry is by the will of God and therefore Paul speaks as one who is appointed and charged with communicating God’s will to the Church. This one of the reasons Christians hold the Apostolic Letters of the New Testament as authoritative Scripture that is the Word of God. See 2 Peter 1:20-21 and 2 Peter 3:15-16.

b) Not only does Paul remind the Ephesians of his apostleship from the Lord Jesus, Paul reminds the Ephesian church of their identities in Christ continually throughout this Epistle. “Holy people” – Greek – hagios – the most holy thing, people set apart for the purposes of God, saints. c) Paul qualifies that those who are God’s holy people are “faithful” – pistos – trusty, faithful, of persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official duties, one who can be relied upon, one who is convinced that Jesus has been raised from the dead, one who has become convinced that Jesus is the Messiah and author of salvation.

Ephesians 1:2

a) We can only experience grace and peace with God through our relationship with Jesus. Greek – Grace – charis – that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech, good will, loving-kindness, favor, of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues, the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace.

b) Greek – Peace – eirēnē – exemption from the rage and havoc of war, peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord, security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous), of the Messiah’s peace: the way that leads to peace (salvation), of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is, the blessed state of devout and upright people after death.

Ephesians 1:3

a) Verse 3 teaches us that in Jesus Christ every believer has been blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing. Spiritual blessings would include every benefit that flows from the Atonement of Jesus Christ that was accomplished at the cross. I.E. salvation, reconciliation, healing, deliverance, favor, grace, spiritual dominion and authority, friendship with God, removal of curses from sin, access to God’s heart, spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, inclusion in the Covenants of the fathers, eternal life, access to the promises of God, and any other thing we can imagine that flows from our experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Raising Up Deliverers – Judges 16:17-30 – Week 15 – Rob Covell

Raising Up Deliverers

Judges 16:17-30

Week 15

Rob Covell

Introduction: In this Session, we will complete Raising Up Deliverers, as we end the narrative of Samson. If we were to summarize the book of Judges, we would see the cyclical narrative of Israel living a reoccurring pattern of losing their identity as the Covenant people of God, compromising with sin/idolatry, reaping the Deuteronomy 27-28 curses for disobedience, returning to God, and God delivering them through a judge, only to repeat the cycle all over again. Judges shows us that living as a Covenant partner with God, requires relationship, trust and experiential knowledge of the LORD. As contrasted to the frustration of living in the Law.

Romans 3:20 – Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

Galatians 3:24 – Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

The time of the Judges in Israel’s history is interesting, in that the Israelites had so easily forgotten the LORD after so recently being delivered from Egypt and experiencing God’s grace, mercy and goodness through Joshua’s conquest of the land. This teaches us that every generation is responsible to seek the LORD, and that the previous generation needs to invest in their children and grandchildren.

Ending our study with Samson is appropriate because in Samson, we see a person with great prophetic potential and destiny who ends up squandering their calling in the LORD because of the accumulative effect of compromises with sin. In Samson, we see that every individual plays a part in co-laboring with God for His manifest glory in our lives. Prophetic destinies are limited by our ability to agree with God.

Judges 16:17

a) Samson’s compromises with sin have finally reached a crescendo. Delilah (feeble) has finally defeated Samson (like the sun), the strongest man, through deception, constant pursuit and promising Samson love, without ever demonstrating it.

b) Delilah is an allegory of the devil/demons that are assigned to wage spiritual warfare against the soul. They are weak/feeble compared to the authority of the child of God, they are deceptive, they can only prevail by agreement, they possess no love, promise happiness only to deliver pain and defeat, and ultimately manifest death in all who continue to pursue their path.

c) As Samson told Delilah everything, he sold out his identity as a Nazirite and this became the point of no return for him. Matthew 7:6 – “Do not give what is holy to
dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Judges 16:18-19

a) Delilah receives her 29 pounds of silver from the Philistine rulers. Money motivates those who betray people.

b) “Putting him to sleep”, Samson’s awareness of the danger he was in was lost because of his compromises. It is tactic of the enemy to cause us to slumber regarding the things of God. Romans 13:11- Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.

c) Notice the 7-symbolism in the text. Samson’s hair represented fullness of his Nazirite call, and the head represents leadership and authority. With Delilah having a man come and shave his 7 braids off his head, we see “the enemy completely conquering Samson’s identity and authority as the result of resting in the enemy”. Hebrew – subdue him – `anah – afflict, torment, to be oppressed, to be humbled, to be depressed, to be mishandled.

Judges 16:20

a) Samson took the grace of God and the anointing on his life for granted. It is interesting to consider that Samson was so familiar with his state of compromise that he could not detect the difference between the flesh and the Spirit.

Judges 16:21-22

a) The Philistines put out Samson’s eyes, symbolizes the spiritual blindness that he was walking in. He had turned to the path of darkness and had lost the light of God in His life. Each one of us walks a life path, or walks in a way. Psalm 25:10 – All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and truth, To those who keep His covenant and His testimonies. Proverbs 5:21 – For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He watches all his paths.

b) The fullness of Samson’s compromise was loss of revelation/sight, shackles/chains, and slavery to the will of his enemies.

c) Samson’s hair began to grow – Verse 22 implies that Samson began to seek the LORD in the lowest place, and that God did not abandon him, but was with Samson and strengthened him day by day.

Judges 16:23-25

a) The Philistines were celebrating Samson’s defeat and blaspheming the Name of God by declaring that Dagon was more powerful. Dagon – “Fish” – represented as a fish idol, with the face and hands of a man, and the body of a fish, worshipped by the Philistines.

b) Notice that Gaza (the strong), was the beginning of Samson’s descent to destruction (Judges 16:1-3), and Gaza becomes the place of his imprisonment. c) Bring out Samson to entertain us – Hebrew – sachaq – to laugh, play, mock, to make sport of, to jest. The Philistines pride and mocking of Yahweh and Samson, bring judgment on their lives. Proverbs 19:29 -Penalties are prepared for
mockers, and beatings for the backs of fools.

Judges 16:26-30

a) Notice that Samson prays. Previously we do not see Samson seeking God in the text, but in his humbled state, he sought the LORD.

b) The Hebrew text says that a boy was guarding Samson. This is an indicator that Samson’s great strength was truly a supernatural grace gift from God.

c) Samson’s death is ironic in the sense that his greatest victory over his enemies cost his life. Samson is a picture of the believer who is in compromise with sin. God used him, but the LORD did not benefit from his life. Samson’s life is tragic because his great prophetic destiny as deliverer for God was shadowed by the accumulative effects of his disobedience.

d) Samson’s life was suicide – We should note that suicide is sin. However, it is not the unforgivable sin. Those who commit suicide are tormented by the lies and deceptions of the devil/demons who come to steal, kill, and destroy.

Summary –

1 – Samson was restored by repenting and seeking God in the lowest place.

2 – Samson shows the danger of underestimating the enemy and our agreement with him by pursuing a path of sin.

3 – Samson did not respond to God’s kindness when the LORD delivered him and anointed Samson with strength.

4 – Samson highlights the dangers of walking alone and isolated.

5 – Samson shows us that prophetic destinies are determined by our ability to respond to the LORD and obey His voice.