Introducing the Book of Ephesians.

The church in Ephesus wasn’t having issues or spiritual concerns that Paul needed to address. Paul wrote the letter of Ephesians under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to a church that is similar to ours. Today we'll do an overview of the book and see its theme of how the Church declares the glory of God.

Chapter 1: God Changed Us into What We Are

Ephesians 1:4 says that God chose those who would believe before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless. We must understand that everything in this section is describing believers, not just the group of believers in the city of Ephesus, but through all time. Ephesians 1:5 and 11 say that God predestined us to be sons and daughters for His purposes. In Ephesians 1:14, God makes it clear that He chose us and changed us into His elect. We are God’s holy people. In Ephesians 1:22-23, the Church is named as His Body. We are changed. If you are in Christ, you are also changed.

Chapter 2: God Changed Us from What We Used to Be

What did God change us from? In Ephesians 2:1, we read that in our sin, we were dead spiritually. We were strangers and foreigners (Ephesians 2:17-18). God through Christ has taken us and made us into a people. He changed us into something from nothing.

Chapter 3: God Arranged Us According to His Plan

In Ephesians 3:1, God made known the mystery of His plan. What is the plan? The plan is to bring Jews and Gentiles together. In the Church we are not divided into a certain nationality. Ephesians 3:6 describes us now as fellow heirs in the body, the Church.

Ephesians 3:17-23 says,

“so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”

This plan was far beyond what the listeners could even ask or think. God has changed us from what we used to be to what He has for us. He has arranged us as His children, according to His plan.

Chapters 4-6: God Is Maturing Us into What We Ought to Be

In Ephesians 4:1, we are urged to walk in a manner with which we have been called. This includes bearing with one another and being diligent to keep unity of the Spirit with the bond of peace.

What does maturity look like? We are to be mature in our unity. This looks like changes in our speech (Ephesians 4:26-29, 5:4) and how we live (Ephesians 4:26-28, 5:1, and 15-17). We mature in our relationships in Ephesians 5:18-28 and 6:1-8. We should be mature in personal holiness (Ephesians 6:10).

Maturity is the byproduct of the change we’ve talked about.

The book of Ephesians has several other themes, such as like the working of the Holy Spirit, the inner working of the Trinity, and prayer (Ephesians 1:15, 3:14-19 and 6:18). We will see that prayer is a part of God’s plan for maturing the saints for the spreading of the gospel.

Application Points

  • Some things have changed at Grace Church this year. There are different people preaching, for one, and it may feel very different even though the building and congregation are the same. You can let your heart be settled because the Bible is always the same, and it is still the focus. It will always be the focus of this church.
  • When we hear God’s Word preached, let’s appreciate God's feeding a lot of people at one time. Sometimes we feel fed personally from the sermon, and sometimes we feel like we haven’t gotten much. But as a Church we have to remember that there are many different people receiving God’s Word. When we don’t get it, we can rejoice that there are others who are getting exactly what they needed.
  • Listening to God’s Word is not simply about exposure and growing head knowledge. God has called us to know His Word so we can worship Him, apply it, grow more like Christ, and make disciples! Hearing the Word for 45 minutes during a morning service is not intended by God to be your only sustenance for doctrine and application. Paul tells us that we have the Holy Spirit to walk us into maturity to instruct and disciple others, as well as the resources offered by the church. Don’t just sit and become very strong and healthy all by yourself; that is not God’s end goal for you.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore:
  • Psalm 19:1