The Book of Ephesians, Introduction Pt 2 ~ Outline, Opening Salutation & Paul’s Apostolic Authority ~ Chapter 1:1 & 2

 

Vol. 14 No. 21

Our need for Gods Help

Introduction:

IV.  Missionary Journeys of Paul.

Christianity probably came first to Ephesus with Aquila and Priscilla when Paul made a brief stop there on his 2nd missionary journey, Acts 18:18-19.

On his 3rd missionary journey Paul stayed in the city for about three years, and the gospel spread throughout all of Asia Minor, Acts 19:10

After Paul, Timothy was placed by Paul as their Pastor/Teacher for a time, 1 Tim 1:3, primarily to counter the false teaching of a few influential men, such as Hymenaeus and Alexander, who were probably elders in the congregation there, 1Tim 1:3, 20. Because of those men, the church was plagued by “myths and endless genealogies,” 1 Tim 1:4 and by such ascetic and unscriptural ideas as the forbidding of marriage and abstaining from certain foods, 1 Tim 4:3. Those false teachers propounded their ungodly interpretations with confidence, 1 Tim 1:7, which produced harmful “speculation rather than… the administration of God which is by faith,” 1 Tim 1:4.

Later the apostle John made the city his headquarters, and about thirty years after Paul, John wrote a letter to this church indicating its people had left their first love for Him, Rev 2:1-7.

Missionary Journey 1Missionary Journey 2

 

 

Missionary Journey 3

Missionary Journey 4Missionary Journey 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

V.  Content of the Letter.

The theme of this letter is God’s eternal purpose to establish and complete His body, the church of Christ who is its head. Three main doctrines of truth comprise this theme:

  • The believer’s exalted position in Christ through grace.
  • The truth concerning the body of Christ.
  • The believers walk in accordance with that position.

In developing this, Paul discusses several themes:

  • Predestination, Eph 1:3-14.
  • Christ’s headship over the body, Eph 1:22-23; 4:15-16.
  • The Church as the building and temple of God, Eph 2:21-22.
  • The mystery of Christ, Eph 3:1-21.
  • Spiritual gifts, Eph 4:7-16.
  • The church as the bride of Christ, Eph 5:22-32.
  • Putting on the Armor of God, Eph 6:10-18.

In this letter Paul uses powerful poetic language from early Jewish and Christian hymns based on Scripture, to celebrate the universality of the Church. According to God’s eternal plan, Christ’s death brought together both Jews and Gentiles into a new, unified community called the “Body of Christ.” The Jewish law, which previously divided Jew from Gentile, was rendered irrelevant by the Cross, and Christ thus reconciled both groups into one unto God, Eph 2:14-16.

Paul also writes about the malevolent influence of demonic beings inside the Angelic Conflict and how the power of Christ has overcome them. Through God’s grace the believer is freed from their immoral and deceitful influences as well as his own personal Old Sin Nature. Thus the new life of believers is one of knowledge and spiritual power, as contrasted to the old life, Eph 2:1-6, 11-13, 19; 4:22-24; 5:8.

Another prominent theme is Paul’s role as revealer of God’s previously hidden plan for the salvation of humankind, Eph 3:1-12.

Though no specific purpose is stated for writing this letter and no particular problem or heresy is addressed in this book, Paul sets forth two great purposes that emerge in this letter that broadens the believer’s understanding of the limitless “wealth of his blessings in Christ as co-members of the body of Christ and blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ, Eph 1:3; 2:11–22:

  • How and through the limitless wealth of blessings in Christ the eternal purposes of God are summed up in the person of Christ, both the things in heaven and on earth, Eph 1:3–12, 22-23.
  • The believer’s responsibility to know, grasp and walk in a manner that is fitting with his heavenly position and calling in Christ, Eph 1:18–23; 3:14–21; 4:1.

In this book we will understand the principle that: “You do not have to be perfect, but you do have to be good.”

In other words, through Christ’s atoning work on the Cross and your non-meritorious faith in Him, you are placed in Union with Jesus Christ and are made perfect in the eyes of God. Even though you have been made perfect before God, you still have an Old Sin Nature. Therefore, because you are already perfect before God you do not have to strive to achieve perfection, which is an impossible task anyway. All you need to do is be good by overcoming the influences of your Old Sin Nature. That is achieved by the power of God working inside of you by means of your faith in Him. When you have the Filling of God the Holy Spirit along with the application of Bible doctrine in your soul, (i.e., the balance of residency), you are walking in the “goodness” of God, (a.k.a the Holiness of God).

God desires us to walk in the perfection He has created in us, called Experiential Sanctification. To do so we must be obedient to God’s will and word. When we do, we are walking in the holiness and goodness of God, being empowered to do so by His Word and His Spirit. Therefore, we do not have to try to be perfect because we already are, having been born again and having received a regenerated human spirit, along with the imputation of God’s Divine righteousness. Now we just have to be good, by walking under the filling of God the Holy Spirit, Eph 5:18, and applying His Word daily.

As stated above, Paul did not write this letter to be remedial or to correct any specific errors, instead he wrote this letter as a preventative against problems that so often occur because of a lack of spiritual maturity or a failure in grasping and applying what believers have in Christ. Associated to this is Eph 6:10–18 regarding the believer’s warfare with the onslaughts of Satan, inside the Angelic Conflict. Thus, Paul writes about the believer’s “wealth, walk and warfare.”

Having written the book of Colossians prior to Ephesian, it is said that Ephesians bears much the same relation to Colossians that Romans does to Galatians. As such, the same Gnostic heresies refuted in Colossians are also challenge here, but with this difference. In Colossians the emphasis is on the Dignity of Christ as the Head of the Church, while in Ephesians the main emphasis is on the Dignity of the Church as the Body of Christ who is its Head.

In addition, there is a close spiritual affinity between Ephesians and the book of Joshua as the “spiritual blessings in the heavenlies” spoken of in Ephesians tells of the Christian’s position in Christ, as “Canaan” does to Israel’s experience. In both there is conflict, failure, but also victory, rest and possession, cf. Joshua 21:43-45; Eph 1:3; 3:14-19; 6:16, 23.

VI.  Outline of Ephesians

Having noted the major themes of this book above:

  • Predestination, Eph 1:3-14.
  • Christ’s headship over the body, Eph 1:22-23; 4:15-16.
  • The Church as the building and temple of God, Eph 2:21-22.
  • The mystery of Christ, Eph 3:1-21.
  • Spiritual gifts, Eph 4:7-16.
  • The church as the bride of Christ, Eph 5:22-32.
  • The believer’s warfare, putting on the Armor of God, Eph 6:10-18.

The first 3 chapters are theological, emphasizing NT mystery doctrine for the Church Age, whereas the last 3 chapters are practical and focus on the Church Age believer’s behavior

Theological:

  • Chapter 1, God’s Plan for Salvation, Eph 1:1-23.
  • Chapter 2, God’s Way of Salvation, Eph 2:1-22.
  • Chapter 3, Paul’s Revelation of God’s Plan, Eph 3:1-21.

The Believer’s Walk:

  • Chapter 4, The High Calling of Believers, Eph 4:1-16.
  • Chapter 5, The Suitable Behavior of Believers, Eph 4:17-6:9.
  • Chapter 6, The Warfare of Believers, Eph 6:10-24.

Throughout Paul’s epistles we have phrases like “in Christ, through Christ or with Christ,” yet in Ephesians they appear about 35 times, more than in any other. By this, we will note the “wealth” that believers have through their position in the Savior.

We are:

  • In Christ, Eph 1:1.
  • Blessed with every blessing in Christ, Eph 1:3.
  • Chosen in Him, Eph 1:4.
  • Adopted through Christ, Eph 1:5.
  • In the Beloved, Eph 1:6.
  • Redeemed in Him, Eph 1:7.
  • Given an inheritance in Him, Eph 1:11.
  • Have a hope that is to the praise of His glory in Christ, Eph 1:12.
  • Sealed with the Spirit through Him as a solemn installment of our inheritance, Eph 1:13–14.
  • Made alive, raised, and seated with Him in the heavenlies, Eph 2:5–6.
  • Created in Christ for good works, Eph 2:10.
  • Partakers of the promise in Christ, Eph 3:6.
  • Given access to God through faith in Christ, Eph 3:12.

Therefore, we see a major truth emphasized in this book: that the Church, as Christ’s present spiritual earthly body, is a distinct and previously unrevealed truth about God’s people. This tells us that the Church is not an organization, but a living organism composed of mutually related and interdependent parts. Christ is the Head of the body, which is made up of the Church, and the Holy Spirit is its lifeblood. Christ’s body functions through the faithful use of its members’ various spiritual gifts that are sovereignly and uniquely bestowed upon them by the Holy Spirit.

Other major themes in this book include the “wealth” of the believer called “riches” and “fullness of blessings.” The word “riches” is used 5 times in this letter; “grace” is used 12 times; “glory” 9 times; “fullness” or “filled” 6 times; and the key phrase “in Christ,” or “in Him” about 11 times.

Therefore, Paul writes of:

  • “The riches of His, God’s, grace,” Eph 1:7.
  • “The unfathomable riches of Christ,” Eph 3:8.
  • “The riches of His glory,” Eph 3:16.

As such, Paul also admonishes believers to:

  • “Be filled up to all the fullness of God,” Eph 3:19.
  • “Attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ,” Eph 4:13.
  • “Be filled with the Spirit,” Eph 5:18.

He also reminds us that our riches in Christ are based on:

  • His grace, Eph 1:2, 6, 7; 2:7.
  • His peace, Eph 1:2.
  • His will, Eph 1:5.
  • His pleasure and purpose, Eph 1:9.
  • His glory, Eph 1:12, 14.
  • His calling and inheritance, Eph 1:18.
  • His power and strength, Eph 1:19; 6:10.
  • His love, Eph 2:4.
  • His workmanship, Eph 2:10.
  • His Holy Spirit, Eph 3:16.
  • His offering and sacrifice, Eph 5:2.
  • His armor, Eph 6:11, 13.

I.  Opening Salutation / Greeting, Eph 1:1-2.

Vs. 1 – 2

Eph 1:1-2, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: 2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

As noted above, this is one of Paul’s “Prison Epistles” written around 61 A.D. Like the letter to the Galatians which we have previously studied, in this letter Paul established his apostolic authority by saying, “an apostle of Christ Jesus,” ἀπόστολος APOSTOLOS, Χριστός CHRISTOS, Ἰησοῦς IESOUS.

APOSTOLOS is an Attic Greek word that was already 500 years old when used in the New Testament. It was originally used for a high‑ranking admiral or general officer chosen by a counsel to command either an army or an Athenian fleet on a military expedition, generally against the Spartans. Therefore, it was an admiral or supreme commander, one who has the highest rank. Its other meaning was used less extensively for a group or band sent out in the military or as colonists. HO APOSTOLOS was used for whoever was in command of a band of Greek colonists when they would leave Athens and go elsewhere to establish a Greek colony. The governor of the founded colony was called an APOSTOLOS.

APOSTOLOS is a noun from the verb APOSTELLOO, which is a compound word from APO, a preposition and primary particle meaning,  “from or away from” and STELLOO a primary verb meaning,  “to arrange, prepare or gather up.” Therefore, APOSTELLOO comes to mean, “to send or send away.” Likewise, APOSTOLOS comes to mean, “a messenger, he that is sent or one sent on a mission.” It is transliterated and used for an apostle, a delegate, specifically an ambassador of the Gospel and officially a commissioner of Christ with miraculous powers. It was specifically applied to the twelve apostles of Christ and in a broader sense applied to other eminent Christian teachers like Barnabas, Timothy and Silvanus. Therefore, Paul was one sent out by Jesus Christ as his messenger or spokesperson.

The Doctrine of Apostleship

  • Apostleship is the highest spiritual gift ever to exist in the church. It is sovereignly bestowed by the Holy Spirit to certain individuals, 1 Cor 12:11, 28; Eph 4:11.
  • Apostleship was a temporary gift designed to carry the church until the canon of Scripture was completed. It had the highest rank of authority and such an authority did not exist until the completion of the New Testament. Now the absolute authority is the New Testament. The gift carried absolute authority in both written and verbal communication of doctrine.
  • The Time of Appointment. The apostles for the Church Age were appointed after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Eph 4:8, 11. Hence, they must be distinguished from the apostles to Israel in Mat 10:2ff.
  • The Extent of the Gift. This spiritual gift exercised authority over all the local churches. Once the canon was completed the gift was removed. Today all local churches are autonomous with authority vested in the canon and the local Pastor-Teacher.
  • The Qualification of Apostles. Apostles had to be eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Christ. This qualified the eleven and Paul was qualified on the Damascus road,Acts 1:22; 1 Cor 9:1; 15:8-9.Paul saw the resurrected Christ on the Damascus road according to Acts 9:3‑6; 22:6‑11; 26:13‑18.  Then he appeared to Paul again in Arabia. Then he appeared to Paul in the Temple, Acts 9:26‑30; 22:17‑21. Finally, he appeared to Paul in prison, Acts 23:11.  So Paul saw the resurrected Christ on four different occasions.
  • The authority of the apostles was established by the possession of certain temporary gifts which went with it. Every apostle also had the gift of miracles, healing, and tongues. These were spectacular type gifts which he had to use to establish his authority when he went to certain places,Acts 5:15; 16:16-18; 28:8-9. These gifts do not exist today. Once the apostle’s authority was established in an area, he did not use these gifts anymore and eventually when the apostles’ authority were all established,these gifts were removed.
  • The Roster of Apostles. We have the eleven minus Judas Iscariot. Matthias was elected, Acts 1:26, but he was not an apostle. Man cannot superimpose his will on God’s will ever. The twelfth apostle is Paul, 1 Cor 15:7-10. He is the one whom God appointed to replace Judas Iscariot.
  • There were others who had delegated authority from the apostles and therefore in a sense exercised from apostolic authority when they were sent on apostolic missions. They include Barnabas, Acts 14:14; Gal 2:9; James, the Lord’s half-brother, 1 Cor 15:7; Gal 1:19; Apollos, 1 Cor 4:6, 9; Sylvanus and Timothy, 1 Thes 1:1; 2:6, etc..

In addition, Paul notes that his apostolic authority is from the Sovereign “will of God,” θέλημα THELMA, θεός THEOS, and has nothing to do with his own merits. This was the “Directive Will” of God the Father to send Paul to the Gentile nations to establish the early Church. It also conveys that it was part of God’s Plan from eternity past as part of His “Divine Purpose” inside His Divine Decree and therefore also becomes His desire.

Therefore, Paul became an apostle as a result of the sovereign decision of Jesus Christ according to Eph 4:11.  Paul was given the spiritual gift by the Holy Spirit according to 1 Cor 12:11. Paul did not become an Apostle, go on his missionary journeys or write his epistles on his own accord, but by the leading and guiding ministry of God from eternity past. As an apostle Paul was commissioned and sent by God with the gospel message. Thus he had God’s authority behind him and this letter. Cf. 1 Tim 1:12-14.

Background of Paul, PAULOS

The name “Paul” comes from the Latin and means, “small or little.” Paul was first known for many years as Saul of Tarsus, Acts 9:11; 21:39; 22:3. Saul means, “asked for.” He was born to Jewish parents in the city of Tarsus the capital of Cilicia, a Roman province in the south-east of Asia Minor. He was the son of a Pharisee and became a Pharisee himself, Acts 23:6. In the book of Philippians, he states that he “was a Hebrew of Hebrews,” and from the tribe of Benjamin, Phil 3:4-5. Scripture also tells us of his sister and his sister’s son, Acts 23:16, and of other relatives he had, Rom 16:7, 11-12.

At a young age, he went to Jerusalem, and studied at one of the great seminaries of his day and was taught by the well-known rabbi Gamaliel, a noted teacher in the School of Hillel, Acts 22:3. In his studies, he advanced in the religion of the Jews beyond many of his fellows, being one who was “extremely zealous for his ancestral traditions,” Gal 1:14.

It appears that by Paul’s acquaintance with Greek culture and their thinking, being familiar with many of the sayings of classical and contemporary writers, he was also a Greek by culture, having evidently received a Greek education, cf. Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12. Paul had also been taught the trade of tent-making as a youth, Acts 18:3, which he used to support himself during his missionary journeys. Finally, Paul was a Roman citizen, being Roman born, Acts 16:37-39; 22:25-29.

His zeal as a religious Jew led him to zealously persecute the early church. As a young Pharisee, he was present and in agreement when Stephen was stoned and murdered, Acts 7:58-8:3; Gal 1:13. In his persecution against Christians, both men and women, he traveled with letters of arrest from the high priest from city to city to destroy the church of Jesus Christ, Acts 26:10–11.

It was on one of these missions that Saul was converted to true faith while on the road to Damascus, Acts 9:1f; 22:6f; 26:12-18. The Lord knew that he was uniquely qualified to be the one chosen to carry the message of the gospel to the Gentiles, as Paul could easily say, “I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some,” 1 Cor 9:22.

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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson #’s:

15-055 , 15-056, & 15-057

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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU

If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!

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