The Epistle to the Ephesians – Identity, Intimacy, and Influence – Ephesians 2:11-22, Week 6 – Rob Covell

Epistle to the Ephesians

Identity, Intimacy, and Influence

Ephesians 2:11-22

Week 6

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we will complete Ephesians chapter 2 and explore verses 11-22. In these verses Paul deals with the one of the most damaging divisions in the Early Church, which revolved around the identity of Gentile believers in Jesus as compared to Jewish believers in Jesus. We have the New Testament books of Galatians, Romans, Hebrews and Acts which are written to address the objections that Gentiles could be the people of God.

Ephesians 2:11

a) In verse 11, Paul begins to deal with the first division in the early Apostolic Church era, which was a division that revolved around Messianic Jews seeing Messianic Gentiles as a separate people, or as “saved” but inferior believers in Messiah, which created a type of spiritual elitism in the Acts Era Church. The Epistles of Galatians, Ephesians, Romans, and the Acts narrative all dealt with this deep division that caused Messianic Jews to even question the status of Gentile salvation and acceptance to God.

b) Paul mentions “circumcision” in verse 11 because circumcision was the sign of being in Covenant with God. Paul’s mention of circumcision really highlights the accusation of the spirit of religion that was operating in the early church era. One of the attacks from the spirit of religion is that there are spiritually elite people who God favors more than others because of who they are. In this case, Jews were considering themselves as spiritually elite compared to Gentiles who were believers in Jesus. This movement known as the Judaizers eventually ended up as the what church historians call the Ebionite heresy.

c) Let’s look at some Scriptures that give us more understanding: 1 Cor. 12:13 – For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Galatians 2:12 – For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. Romans 2:29 – No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.

d) Paul is addressing the division in the Early Church between Jews and Gentiles and emphasizing the supremacy of the New Covenant over the Old Covenant and contrasting the grace of the blood of Christ over the written Law of the Old Covenant. The summary of the division revolves around: who are the Covenant people of God?

Ephesians 2:12

a) Paul is encouraging the Gentile believers to be thankful and grateful for God’s
plan in choosing Israel as the people from which the Messiah would come. See Revelation 12:5.

b) By implication in verse 12, Paul clearly includes Gentiles that have received Jesus as Messiah that they are indeed part of Israel and are accepted into the Covenant promises of God.

c) Without the knowledge of Jesus as Lord and Savior, all people are separated from a relationship with God. God could never leave a humanity that was made in His image, without the promise of Savior. See John 3:16-17 and Romans 1:2123.

d) When we have no hope in Jesus, we have no light, no peace, no spiritual blessings, no covering, and no access to relationship with God.

Ephesians 12:13

a) In the context of the culture, verse 13 is play on words. Paul being a classically trained Rabbi in his former life as a Pharisee who was a spiritual son of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), was using the idiom for a Rabbi making a convert. The common term for making a convert to Judaism was, “to bring near”. Greek – en-gü’s – near, of place and position, those who are near access to God, The Rabbis used the term “to make nigh” as equivalent to “to make a proselyte” – #G1451.

b) Paul is unequivocally saying that it is not a Gentile’s Jewish conversion to the Old Covenant which makes a person near to God, or gives one access to God, but it is the blood of Jesus, and faith in Him which makes one near to God in the New Covenant. John 14:6 – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Ephesians 12:14-18

a) In verses 14-22, Paul begins to draw on the symbolism of Temple in Jerusalem, and shows the Ephesians that the symbolism in the Temple points to a greater spiritual reality in Jesus Christ. We should consider that at the time Paul is writing this Epistle to the Ephesian Church, the Temple in Jerusalem is still standing. This helps us see just how controversial and radical the message of Jesus Christ was in that time of redemption history, as God phased out the Old Covenant and exalted the New Covenant. Whatever we see in the Old Covenant, we see the fullness of those things in New Covenant revelation.

b) Paul mentions the barrier/dividing wall in verse 14. The barrier or the dividing wall is a reference to the court of the Gentiles/Nations that physically separated the two groups. Citizens of Israel, or Covenant Sons, could come closer to the Lord than Gentiles in the Temple of Jerusalem.

c) Paul presents Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Covenant. Matthew 5:17-18 – “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” Jesus, the Living Word/Torah was a perfect Law-Keeper, and that made Jesus the acceptable perfect sacrifice for the sins of humanity.

d) Jesus gives us peace. Paul draws on the Jewish understanding of peace/shalom,
which is understood as holistic peace that encompasses every area of our lives, beginning with peace with God, peace within ourselves, peace in our relationships with others, peace in our nation.

e) Notice that the Scripture says, “one new humanity” Greek – kī-no’s ä’n-thrō-pos – new/unprecedented humanity, including male and female. It is important for us to understand that the people of God are those who have believed and received the truth about the promise of Messiah, His sacrifice on a cross and resurrection form the dead, and are in the experiential knowledge God through the agency of the Holy Spirit.

f) Notice the Trinitarian concepts woven throughout these verses. The Father is separated from humanity because of sin, the Son does the work of salvation by His death on a cross, the Spirit opens the access to experience the relationship with the Father/Godhead.

Ephesians 2:19

a) Paul continues to build Christ-esteem in the hearts of the people in the Ephesian Church by encouraging them in the truth that all believers in Messiah are the people of God. Paul uses Jewish descriptive language and applies it directly to the Church, I.E. “citizens, members of his household”.

Ephesians 2:20

a) The foundation of Christianity is built on the whole foundation of the redemptive history of God. The reference in the text to the prophets is a reference to the Old Testament prophets and the Word of God which came through them.

b) The reference to the Apostles are two-fold. 1 – Paul is referencing the Apostles like himself, Peter, James, John and others who were writing New Covenant Scripture under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. 2 – Paul is referencing the original 11 faithful Apostles Philip, Andrew, etc. who were preaching the gospel that they received from Jesus. See 2 Peter 1:21 and 2 Peter 3:16.

c) We should clearly understand that the foundation of the Church has already been built and that there is no more authoritative Scripture being written and no new revelation that would change the essential orthodoxy of the Church. d

) There are Apostles and Prophets today, however they do not hold the same authority as the eyewitnesses of Jesus Christ, and the New Testament Scripture writers like Paul, Peter, and John. The Apostles and Prophets today are Apostles and Prophets in terms of function.

e) Notice Jesus is the center, the chief cornerstone. This is a cultural play on words drawing from the construction of authoritative buildings in the First Century. Buildings like these would have a capstone inscribed with the name of ruling king on them. In ancient Greek architecture, the capstone was thought of as more important than the foundation.

Ephesians 2:21-22

a) Paul continues to present the New Covenant revelation that the Temple in Jerusalem was prophetic foreshadow of the greater reality in Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:16 – Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 1 Peter 2:5 – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

b) In the Church, we see the following spiritual realities; The Church is honored because it is the temple of God, the Church of Jesus should be reverenced because God dwells in it, the Church should be unmovable because Jesus is its foundation, the Church is beautiful because it is graced with living stones of every era, who are creatives, scientists, educators, families, ministers, business leaders, and government officials. The Church is enormous and glorious because it inhabits the globe, the Church is alive because it lives by the Holy Spirit.

Summary – The theological debate that we wrestle with today in Evangelical Christianity is the question; Does God have two distinct people of God (the Jews) or 1 distinct people of God (believers in Jesus/Church? I would propose that God only has 1 distinct people of God, the collective Church based on Ephesians 2, and many other New Testament Scriptures.

1 – Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant, and all previous Covenants either prophesied Jesus or were fulfilled in Jesus. See Matthew 5:17-18, and 2 Corinthians 1:20 – For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

2 – All of the promises of God were conditional to Israel, and God did indeed fulfill all of His Words to Israel. 1 Kings 8:56 – “Praise be to the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses. Joshua 21:45 – Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. Joshua 23:14 – “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.

3 – The prophets prophesied a New Covenant that would supersede the Old Covenant. Jeremiah 31:31 – “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.

 

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The Epistle to the Ephesians – Identity, Intimacy, and Influence – Ephesians 2:1-10 – Week 5 – Rob Covell

Epistle to the Ephesians

Identity, Intimacy, and Influence

Ephesians 2:1-10

Week 5

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we begin Ephesians 2, Paul continues to build up the Ephesian Church in their identity in Christ. In Ephesians 2, the Goodness of God is revealed in its fullness, as Paul plainly describes the fallen condition of humanity and contrasts our brokenness to the mercy, grace, love and kindness of God that He gave humanity in the gift of Messiah, Jesus Christ.

We could say that Ephesians 2, is the declaration of freedom from the effects of sin, the death of the soul and judgment of God for the crime of sin. Ephesians 2, displays the restorative justice heart of God towards humanity and invites us to come to Him through the merciful sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our sins.

Ephesians 2:1

a) Before any of us were in relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we were spiritually dead. Now that we are in Christ, we have been made spiritually alive, and have been promised eternal life and a resurrection body at the end of this age. See 1 Corinthians 15.

b) Greek – Transgressions – paraptōma – falling away, a lapse or deviation from truth. Greek – Sins – hamartia – to be without a share in, to miss the mark, to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honor, to do or go wrong, to wander from the law of God, violate God’s law, sin, collectively, the complex or aggregate of sins committed either by a single person or by many.

c) All sin leads to death in our lives. Divorce is the death of a relationship, crimes are the death of morality and ethics, wars are the death of diplomacy, poverty is the death of opportunity, lies are the death of truth and injustice is the death of wisdom and righteousness. The death that Adam gave humanity in Genesis 3, began in the hearts of people and culminates in the death of our bodies. When we speak of humanity being spiritually dead, we are not implying that unregenerate humanity is not capable of ethical behavior, because ethics being present in all cultures proves God as Creator. We are defining spiritual death as being apart from a relationship with the God through the atonement that Jesus worked on the cross, that brings us eternal life.

Ephesians 2:2

a) In which you used to live – The way that we live proves which ruler we have chosen as the authority of our lives. As we choose Christ and align our hearts with His desires and His ways, then we produce fruit in our lives that reveals which authority we live under. If we live in the ways of the world, then we are aligned with the wrong authority. The word “kingdom” is not used here in the original language. The NASB is more correct using: “the prince of the power/authority (exousia) of the air”. Satan is no king, and he is an illegitimate authority that stole the dominion of the world from Adam/humanity in the Fall.

b) Verse 2 teaches us that satan is the “energeō”, operating force in authority over people who do not know Jesus Christ. This should break our hearts, give us humility and thankfulness to God and give us more grace for all people.

Ephesians 2:3

a) As we look at Ephesians 1:2-3, we see the multi-dimensional, complex nature of spiritual warfare as it operates in the world. Paul presents 3 dimensions of operation when we consider the rebellion and collective sin that is present in humanity. 1 – The spirit of disobedience (satan/demons), 2 – The world, or the way of living apart from God, 3 – the flesh (sarx) that is inherited from the Fall. The first two operate as influencers on the flesh, so that the flesh responds in a way that aligns with the operating system of the devil, the malevolent spirit behind all that is fallen. b) Before we pass judgement on anyone, Scripture teaches us that all of us have followed that path at one time. Notice that the text says that the flesh has desires and thoughts that are contrary to God. See Galatians 5:19-21.

c) The text teaches us that all of us were deserving of the judgment of God for the crime of sin, and the alignment of our hearts with the spirit of disobedience. None of us stand before the Lord as innocent. We stand before the Lord in need of forgiveness and acceptance.

Ephesians 2:4-5

a) God understanding the condition of human soul and knowing His good and kind intentions towards His creation sees humanity through the lens of a loving Father first and Judge second. Notice that God neither lacks in love or mercy as He relates people.

b) Because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, life to the world is extended and the restoration of Eden begins and finds its fullness in the return of Jesus at the end of the age.

c) Notice that grace is the motivation for the salvation that God offers us in Jesus Christ. Not because we are good, or can make ourselves acceptable to God, but because He is good and desires to forgive the sins of humanity.

Ephesians 2:6

a) Paul tells the Ephesians and all Christians that we are positionally seated with Christ in the heavenly realms, because we are in Christ. This means that we have access to the same spiritual authority as Christ, the victory of Christ over sin and death, and we have access to His throne. Every Christian has access to the ruling and reigning power of Jesus in their lives. Whatever need we have, can always be met in Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:7

a) We should note that the gospel is eternal and will testify eternally the grace of God in Jesus Christ. See Revelation 5.

Ephesians 2:8-9

a) It is by grace – Greek – charis – the goodwill, loving-kindness and unmerited favor of God towards people.

b) Saved – Greek – sōzō – to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction, to save a suffering one (from perishing), i.e. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health, to save from Messianic judgment on the world for sin.

c) Through faith – believing something to be true. d) It is not from ourselves – This thought should keep us from any pride regarding religious rituals or works that we think make us more acceptable to God in terms of saving grace.

e) The difference between grace and favor is that grace is eternal and extended to all. Favor is the result of consistent godly living that brings us the benefit of the blessing of God on our lives.

f) Salvation is God’s gift or as the Greek word describes this as a present from God. Like all presents, one needs to see the value in them before one can enjoy the benefit of them.

Ephesians 2:10

a) As we have received God’s offer of grace for salvation from sin, through our faith in the sacrifice of Jesus, God can now begin to write a new story. The Greek word for “workmanship” is actually poiēma. The thought here is that we are God’s poem, or beautiful work of art.

b) Created in Christ – This speaks of the New Creation or the New Nature which we have received in Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:10 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

c) The purpose of the New Creation life we live is to live in a way that re-images Jesus to the world around us. Works do not give us salvation, but good works are the fruit of our salvation. See James 2:17 – In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. Greek – works – ergon – business, employment, that which any one is occupied, that which one undertakes to do, enterprise, undertaking, any product whatever, anything accomplished by hand, art, industry, or mind.

d) Notice that God prepared specific things for each one of us to do. The Greek words in the text for “prepared in advance for us to do” – could be translated “to make ready opportunities by which we would be occupied by as we go along”. This brings tremendous value to our lives in terms of kingdom living because the whole course of our lives as a New Creation is a sacred opportunity to glorify God.

The Epistle to the Ephesians-Identity, Intimacy and Influence – Ephesians 1:15-23 – Week 4 – Rob Covell

Epistle to the Ephesians

Identity, Intimacy, and Influence

Ephesians 1:15-23 Week 4 Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we will conclude our verse by verse study through Ephesians chapter 1. We will explore some of the most beautiful theological thoughts concerning Christ and His Church. The last portion of Ephesians chapter 1, introduces us to one of two apostolic prayers that Paul prays for the Ephesian Christian community. Paul prays 12 times in his Epistles for the Church.

These apostolic prayers are found in: Ephesians 1:16-23, Ephesians 3:16-19, Philippians 1:9-11, Colossians 1:9-12, Romans 15:5-7, Romans 15:13, 1 Thes. 3:9-13, 1 Thes. 5:23-24, 2 Thes. 1:11-12, 2 Thes. 3:1-5, Colossians 4:2-4, 1 Cor. 1:4-8.

What makes the apostolic prayers of Paul significant, is that they are prayed in apostolic authority. Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Cor. 12:28 teaches us that apostles are the highest spiritual authority in the governance of the Church. So, Paul’s prayers for the Church carry the spiritual authority and declarative power to accomplish those prayers. Secondly, Paul’s apostolic prayers are New Testament Scripture. Not only do they carry apostolic authority, they are God’s Word, and they carry the creative force of God to accomplish them when joined by faith in God’s Word.

Praying Scripture in faith can activate the power of God and bring us the breakthrough of answered prayer.

Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in Ephesians 1:16-23 has contains 6 movements.

1 – Thankfulness – Ephesians 1:16

2 – Prayer for wisdom and revelation – Ephesians 1:17

3 – Prayer for the knowledge of God – Ephesians 1:17

4 – Prayer to know the power of God – Ephesians 1:18

5 – Prayer to know the authority of Jesus Christ – Ephesians 1:19

6 – A declaration and explanation of the authoritative rule of Jesus through His Church – Ephesians 1:20-23

Ephesians 1:15-16

a) Paul is writing this Epistle approximately 12 years after he ended his ministry in Ephesus. Paul, who was their apostolic father, and the founder of their community, would have been overjoyed that the apostolic sending center that he established in Ephesus was still in the faith and manifesting spiritual fruit for the kingdom of God.

b) Notice the progression in verse Ephesians 1:15. Paul mentions faith in Jesus and then mentions love for God’s people. One cannot love Jesus and not love people. 1 John 4:20 – Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. John 13:35 – By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. Faith in Jesus, empowers us to love because we have experienced the purest, most accepting, most innocent love when we commune with Jesus Christ in prayer.

c) Greek – Love – agapē – affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love, a love that contends for the highest amount of benevolence/goodness for another person. Romans 12:10 – Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. The expression of true Spirit-led Christian love has no room for dishonorable treatment of people, and divisions in the Church.

d) As Paul is sitting under house arrest in Rome, would have been truly grateful for the good report concerning the Ephesian Church from Tychicus (tü-khē-ko’s), who was from Ephesus (see Ephesians 6:21, Acts 20:4, Colossians 4:7, 2 Timothy 4:12, Titus 3:12). In Ephesians 1:16, Paul tells the Ephesian Church that they are a prayer target when he prays. Ephesians 1:16-23 introduces us to one of the most beautiful apostolic prayers found in Scripture.

Ephesians 1:17 a) The first thing we should note in this powerful apostolic prayer, is the Trinitarian theme in verse 17. We see a synergy of each of the Persons of the Godhead interacting with the faithful in Christ in a way that displays the fullness of the grace found in Jesus Christ.

b) Paul begins his prayer for the Ephesians by asking the Father that He would give them access to the Holy Spirit so that they would be able to know God better. Let’s look at some the Greek words in this verse so that we would understand the glory of what Paul is praying for.

c) Wisdom – Greek – sophia – wisdom, broad and full of intelligence; used of the knowledge of very diverse matters, the act of interpreting dreams and always giving the sagest advice, the intelligence evinced in discovering the meaning of some mysterious number or vision, the knowledge and practice of the requisites for godly and upright living, the wisdom of God as evinced in forming and executing counsels in the formation and government of the world and the scriptures.

d) Revelation – Greek – apokalypsis – laying bare, making naked, a disclosure of truth, instruction, concerning things before unknown, used of events by which things or states or persons hitherto withdrawn from view are made visible to all, manifestation, appearance.

e) The reason Paul would desire us to have more interaction with the Holy Spirit, who gives us wisdom and revelation is so that we would possess the experiential knowledge of God. The text implies that wisdom and revelation are joined and are not mutually exclusive, and are necessary for growing in the knowledge of God.

Ephesians 1:18

a) Notice the spiritual reality in which Paul is praying for concerning God’s people. The knowledge of God does not proceed from the natural mind, but from the supernatural mind, that is inspired by the Holy Spirit.

b) “the eyes of your heart” – In Scripture, the heart (kardia) is the center of one’s
personality and the fountain of thoughts, passions, desires, will and character. When our thought life is illuminated by God thoughts, then we have a hope for a life that is built through our identity in Christ and the anticipation of the goodness of God in our lives.

c) Verse 18 tells us that God’s people are part of His inheritance. Paul is following a similar thought found in Deuteronomy 32:8-9 – When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided all mankind, he set up boundaries for the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel. For the LORD’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted inheritance.

Ephesians 1:19-21

a) Paul continues praying for the Ephesians, that they would be full of spiritual illumination by the Holy Spirit, know their portion in participating in the inheritance of God in salvation and know the power of God in their lives. Charles Haddon Spurgeon – “The very same power which raised Christ is waiting to raise the drunkard from his drunkenness, to raise the thief from his dishonesty, to raise the Pharisee from his self-righteousness, to raise the Sadducee from his unbelief.”

b) We have access to power that is described as “incomparably great power” and it is the same power that God exerted when Jesus was raised from the dead. This is the power that can overcome anything that opposes God’s purpose for our lives, His purposes in the spirit realm, and His purposes in the world.

c) Jesus, being “seated at the right hand on heavenly realms” is symbolic language that communicates to us that Jesus has accomplished the totality of the work of salvation, and is in the highest place of authority. The heavenly realms are a reference to both holy angels and malevolent satanic demonic spirits. In Christ, we do not war in the spirit realm from a place of defeat, but from the place of victory in Christ in His triumph over death.

d) There is no reason Christians should ever believe they would not prosper, or that the Church would not prosper and make the kingdoms of the earth Christ’s possession through the Word and the re-imaging of Jesus Christ to the world through the Church. Any narrative that does not promote the victory of Christ in His people or Christ’s victory in the world, is a narrative that falls short in light of the Scriptures. We should note that Paul maintains this truth even as he sits under Roman arrest in chains. See Ephesians 3:10.

Ephesians 1:22-23

a) Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, meaning that He is the highest authority in His Church. Jesus is Head over the Church when local bodies (ekklēsia) of believers put a priority on the presence of Jesus and submit to His direction by the leading of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is Head over the Church in the universal sense, meaning that His plans and purposes for the world are “expanded and enforced” through His Church.

b) The Church being called His Body, teaches us that God’s thoughts towards people, His message of redemption, His desire to be glorified in the nations of earth, and whatever else is His desire, is accomplished by His people. Jesus leads, we follow and execute His will corporately and individually.

The Epistle to the Ephesians – Identity, Intimacy, and Influence – Ephesians 1:11-14 – Week 3 Rob Covell

Epistle to the Ephesians

Identity, Intimacy, and Influence

Ephesians 1:11-14

Week 3

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we will continue our study in Ephesians 1, and explore verses 11-14. As we continue in Ephesians chapter 1, we come to a portion of New Testament Scripture that reveals some of the deepest thoughts of God’s heart towards those who are loved by the Him through their relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:11-14 describes God’s good intentions towards us who believe; and the whole of Ephesians chapter 1 describes in detail, our true new creation identities in Christ.

As I mentioned in the last Session, we will take our time as we travel through Ephesians together and exegete this wonderful Epistle in the context of the culture and look at some of the definitions of the original Greek words so that we might come to a greater understanding of this amazing letter from an Apostolic Father to his spiritual children. It is important for us to realize that Paul is writing to a real Christian community in the First Century, to a church that he planted 12 years prior to this Epistle. Paul writes the Ephesian church while he was under house arrest during his first Roman imprisonment (Acts 28:30-31). We do not see any hint of discouragement, defeat, bitterness or worry in his words to the Ephesians. This speaks of the deep relationship and trust that Paul enjoyed with the Lord. Seeing these things in Paul, activates our faith to believe them for ourselves and experience the same close relationship with God that the spiritual fathers of our faith knew so well. Our time stamp in Church History is approximately AD60-62.

Ephesians 1:11

a) In Him – All of the spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3) that we enjoy come through our relationship with Jesus Christ. The NASB reads – “have obtained an inheritance” – The NIV translation reads, “we were also chosen” – The Greek word “klēroō” means “to assign a privilege to, or obtain an inheritance”. What type of inheritance do we receive as sons and daughters of God? Luke 12:32 – “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” When we consider ourselves inheriting the kingdom, we are inheriting the rights of sons/daughters, we are inheriting spiritual authority, we are inheriting eternal life, we are inheriting the promises of God in His Word, we are inheriting access to commune with God, we are inheriting the love that the Father and Jesus shared.

b) Having been predestined – In our last Session we looked at the doctrine of predestination/election and defined this doctrine as follows: God chooses 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. We must not present a doctrine where God would choose some to go to eternal condemnation and others to eternal life, therefore stripping humanity of its freewill decision to love God or reject God. Ephesians 1:13 teaches us that all people need to choose to believe the message of the grace of God in Christ. When Paul mentions, “having been predestined”, he is emphasizing the extreme goodness of God towards each one of us who have believed.

c) Purpose of His will – Ephesians 1:11 teaches us that we can trust God in everything concerning our lives. When we consider the Ephesian church of the First Century, they experienced a glorious revival, endured tremendous persecutions from the Jews, and the tradesmen who made idols for the temple of Artemis. See Acts 19. In addition to these hardships, the Epistles of 1 John, and 2 John were written to combat the gnostic heresy from a man named Cerinthus in Ephesus. In Revelation 2, we see that the Ephesian church had endured so much doctrinal attack that they became cold in their passion for Jesus and were commanded by Jesus to return to their “first love”. Paul was exhorting them to come to the realization of their value in Christ, so that they would trust Christ in everything.

Ephesians 1:12

a) In verse 12, Paul is referencing the first to believe in Jesus were the remnant of Israel that received Jesus as Messiah. It is important for us to realize that the early church was distinctly Jewish with Gentiles being added to it. Having been 2000+ years from the birth of the Church in Jerusalem, we have a skewed understanding that not many Jews believed the message of the Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Acts 2-7 teaches us that thousands believed in Jesus. 2 Kings 19:31 – ‘For out of Jerusalem will go forth a remnant, and out of Mount Zion survivors. The zeal of the LORD will perform this. The Acts narrative shows us that Jews all over the Roman Empire received Jesus as Messiah through the Apostles teaching and preaching, and these first fruits people proved that God did not fail in His promise of salvation to Israel.

Ephesians 1:13

a) Paul is emphasizing that Gentile believers in Jesus share the same relationship with God as Jewish believers in Christ. Today we take this for granted. However, in the First Century, the thought of Gentiles possessing the same Covenant rights as Jewish believers was a major controversy. We have the books of Romans, Galatians and the account of the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, were written to address this controversy. Romans 2:28-29 – For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. Ephesians 2:19 – Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, Galatians 3:2829 – There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

b) Marked in Him with a seal – Greek – sphragizō – to set a seal upon, mark with a seal, to seal, to set a mark upon by the impress of a seal or a stamp. “When we believed”, implies that we made a freewill choice to believe the truth about Jesus Christ. Paul uses this amazing metaphor that causes us to imagine that in some way, the Holy Spirit imprints God’s love and lordship on our lives.

c) The Holy Spirit is promised to all who believe in Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit we receive gifts, wisdom, revelation, illumination, empowerment, eternal security, and grace to live out our faith.

Ephesians 1:14

a) Who is a deposit – Greek – arrabōn – money which in purchases is given as a pledge or down payment that the full amount will subsequently be paid. The Holy Spirit given to us is the confirmation that we are God’s own possession. Romans 8:15 – The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

b) If we are God’s own possession, then we are responsible to the blood payment that Jesus gave for us. 1 Corinthians 6:19 – Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; Matthew 16:24-25 – Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”