Introduction to Ephesians:
The letters to the Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians and the letter to Philemon are often called the Prison Epistles, because they were all written in Paul first imprisonment in Rome. Ephesians is written to one of the most prominent churches founded about 60 A.D. This church was of course located in the city of Ephesus…it is on the coast of present day Turkey. It’s archeological ruins are some of the most spectacular in the world….it was the most important city of western Asia Minor at the time. Major trade routes intersected there to make it a commerical, political and religous center. And Paul made the crossroads of Ephesus the center of his evanglisem for about 3 years. Later the Apostle John would live there too. Although written from jail, this letter is Paul’s arguably the most encouraging and optomistic letter of Paul’s. Paul desribes the advantages that a believer has whose faith is in Jesus. Paul wrote to help his readers better understand God’s etenral purpose and appreciate the high goals God has for His church. The church described by Paul is not a building, but it is made up of those who believe in Jesus as one body. While this letter was written to the Ephesus church, it is widely believed it was circulated all around the provinces. Ephesians lays the foundation for the church today! The letter begins from eternity past and brings us to eternity future. It is directed to the church and we are the church. So when you think of Ephesians think church. Ephesians = Church, Church = Ephesians…for biblical understanding =)
Vs. 3, “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.” Blessings…Blessings….& more Blessings! Spiritual Blessings that are ours because of Jesus! God has blessed us and the result is…we are accepted, chosen & adopted (vs. 5)! We then read how Jesus has blessed us by redeeming us, forgiving us and giving us an inheritance far beyond our imagnination! And we also read of the blessings from the Holy Spirit that has sealed us (meaning nothing can seperate it)! Paul’s prayer is that we would know of these rich blessings & pour out our thanksgivings because of it. Question: How are you responding to God’s blessings?
Regarding application…Being Adopted. Vs. 5, “…he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” While I know the word “predestination” takes a much more prominent role in this verse…the fact that we are “adopted” holds a pretty special place in my heart. In some ways…adoption connotates a negative aspect, as if you are a second-class son or daughter. Brothers & sisters in Christ, we are ALL adopted children of the Lord Most High! What we must remember, our true Parent is not our earthly parents, but it is our Father in Heaven! It is He who we aspire to please!