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Church of Christ Sermons and Lessons from Ephesians

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Bobby Stafford Introduction to Ephesians  

Ephesians: An Introduction

Opening Remarks:

As we embark on this study of a marvelous portion of God’s Word, it is both good and necessary to look at who wrote it, to whom it was written and the circumstances under which it was written.

Background:

A. The Author The first word of the letter identifies Paul. Ephesians was written by inspiration. This letter is very similar to the one he wrote to the church at Colosse. He uses many of the same type of phrases and wording. Many writers who lived back in the early years of the Christian age quote from this book and attest to Paul’s authorship. There is no doubt that Paul wrote this great New Testament book.

B. When Written Paul wrote Ephesians during his imprisonment in Rome probably AD 60 +/- two years. Other letters written during this time include Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.

C. To Whom Written It was written to the saints in Ephesus, the church of Christ which was meeting in Ephesus. The church there was probably established as Paul returned from his second missionary trip, which was about ten years before this letter was written. (Acts 18:18-21) Apollos, along with Aquila and Priscilla, did much work getting the church going there. (Acts 18:24-28) Then on Paul’s third missionary journey, he stayed in Ephesus more than two years. (Acts 19:8-10,20-31) The city of Ephesus in the first century served as the capital of the Roman province of Asia. It was located on the sea and surrounded by mountains on the other three sides. It was the political and religious center for the region. [Population: 200,000-250,000] The main religion involved the worship of Diana [Artemis]. The city boasted a great temple dedicated to her. It is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Quite a prosperous good trade existed in the city from selling images of Diana to worshippers and tourists.

D. Theme of the Book It emphasizes the supremacy of the Lord’s church with Christ as the head. Every spiritual blessing is in Christ, His body, the church of Christ.

Introduction:

Read Ephesians 1:1-2.

Verse 1 An “apostle of Jesus Christ” is one sent [as on a mission]; one of those specially selected men who were empowered to act as ambassadors. (II Corinthians 5:20) There are, of course, no living apostles on earth today. “by the will of God” This sending out on a mission was at the direction of God. He was called to be the apostle to the Gentiles. His power and authority came from God Himself. “saints at Ephesus” Saints are the holy ones who are separated from the life of sin and are consecrated [dedicated] to God. They are set apart for God’s service. Members of the church are called saints more than by any other descriptive name! When one is immersed for forgiveness of sins, he is set apart, sanctified, made holy because his sins are washed away. (I Corinthians 6:11) “faithful in Christ Jesus” The recipients of the letter were also called this. A true Christian is both holy and faithful. Note their location – “in Christ Jesus.” There are no saints [Christians] outside Christ. God’s Word informs us that there is only one way [thing] that puts us “into” Christ. (Galatians 3:27)

Verse 2 Grace and peace were a usual greeting in the first century. Paul desired that these saints in Ephesus would continue to receive grace and peace from God. “Lord Jesus Christ” Lord: He is the one with authority. (Matthew 28:18) This authority included the power to forgive sins, state terms for that pardon, and to decide the eternal destiny of all people according to what he has done whether good of bad. (II Corinthians 5:10) Jesus means “Savior.” He came to offer forgiveness to the world. (Matthew 1:21) “And she will bring forth a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Christ means “Anointed one.” This corresponds with the Old Testament concept of “Messiah.” He was anointed by God to deliver mankind from the bondage of sin. (I Peter 1:18-21, I Peter 2:21-25)

Invitation:

He can become your Lord, your Savior, and your deliverer this very day. Will you come to Him as He desires and submit to Him? Are you ready to be baptized “into” Christ and become part of that body of Christ?

Bobby Stafford

March 23, 201

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