Big Idea: The theme of Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians is the nature of the true Church, the Body of Christ.
Scripture: Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, Ephesians 1:1-3 ESV
Introduction: This letter was most likely a circular letter that was copied for several churches around Ephesus.
Ephesus, at the time of this letter being written, was the Capital of the Roman province of Asia. It was also the headquarters of the Cult of Dianna (Artemis), one of the “Seven wonders of the Ancient World”
It was a large commercial seaport at the Aegean Sea called the “Gateway to Asia”. There was a large Jewish settlement there.
The Apostle Paul had spent more time teaching in this city than in any other. The Church was established in 53 AD, but at the time of writing, Paul was in Prison in 60-61 AD. Acts 18 and 19 give some history about the Apostle’s relationship with the Ephesian Church. In this short letter, we have a breathtaking overview of the Church, which is the called Metaphorically, the Body of Christ. We learn about who we are, our relationship with our Head, Jesus Christ, how life works and our purpose while on earth.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
The source of all Blessings is God the Father. Our problem is often that we begin by looking at ourselves rather than at God. The only way to view and understand truth is by starting with God. It’s the difference between “natural thinking”, which is myopic and limited, and “spiritual thinking” which is God-centered, expansive and eternal.
The key to receiving God’s blessings. The expression, “In Christ” is the key to understanding its overall message. Other letters, such as Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians and Galatians develop the theme of “Christ in us”, but the letter expands the concept to explain how we, the Church are “In Christ”. We are personally and vitally united in Christ.
The illustrations of the “vine and branches”, or the “members of our bodies” help us understand the concept.
The place of all blessings is in the Heavenly places. The heavenly places are the invisible realm of reality from where all physical reality flows. As Christians, we are citizens of two Kingdoms — the kingdom of God, in the Invisible Heavenly places, and also of the nation where we reside.