Intro to Ephesians
Pastor Marchitell introduces The Book of Ephesians. We look at the major themes and ideas because for the next few months, we'll be going through the entire book verse by verse.
Sunday Dec. 20th
Before the announcements, I want to let everyone know that today’s message is going to be shorter than normal.
Last week I hit 45 minutes
And I figured that instead of bringing a paintball gun to wake people up---- I'll just shorten it up a little bit.
It’s going to be a bit shorter, because we are going to be preaching verse by verse, through an entire book of the Bible
So today I am going to outline and introduce the book of Ephesians.
This Thursday is Christmas Eve, and we will be having our Christmas Eve Service at 730pm
So stop down for some worship, a presentation from the Sunday school kids, and to hear a 4hr dissertation about the supernatural reality of the eternal God taking on human flesh.
My goal is to preach straight through till Christmas
Also, starting in Mid-January we will be having a virtual Bible Study through Zoom.
I'm not sure if it’s going to work out and everything, but were going to give it a shot.
As the time gets closer i'll make sure to fil you all in about how to join, and what the topic will be, we’ll have worksheets to follow along with, etc etc
With that, the kids are dismissed
Today’s Message, is going to be a little bit different than normal.
It’s like that, because we are going to do a verse by verse study of the book of Ephesians.
Before we get into why we're doing that, and all the major themes that we can learn about in this book, let's open our Message with the same words that Paul used to open his letter to the Ephesians.
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
( → → Opening Prayer ← ← )
So, before we get into why we’ll be doing this, or what it is we’ll be talking about----a little background---
This book is what is known as one of Paul’s “Prison Epistles” - along with Colossians, Philemon, and Philippians
It was written while Paul was imprisoned in Rome---- around 60ad
It was written to the Church in the Roman city of Ephesus---- which was the capital city of the Roman Province of Asia Minor, which is present day Turkey.
These 4 letters, were probably all written right in order---- and even delivered by the same handful of couriers
The common consensus is that this Letter was to be delivered to the Church in Ephesus, and then they would circulate it to all the other Churches in Asia Minor.
There are two big differences however, when it comes to this book.
The first being, that this book was written to correct any problem.
Other letters of Paul were written because the Churches had this big glaring issues that they need help and advice and correction and warnings----
The Galatian Church had been invaded by false teachings about how we can be saved ----
The corinthian Church had been invaded by false teachings about love and sexuality ----
The letter to the Ephesians, does not contain any correction that they need to apply.
The 2nd big difference, is that other letters of his, were teaching letters.
Like in Romans we see some deep and lofty Theology (the study of God) and then he explains and explains and explains it---
He even writes out mock arguments and objections to the teachings, and then he replies back to the objection
So Ephesians, is neither a teaching letter or a correcting letter.
This is probably true, because according to ACTS 20:31 Paul taught and preached in Ephesus for 3 years.
For 3 years, this Church was led by and taught by an Apostle directly appointed by Jesus Christ.
In fact, Christianity exploded in this region like crazy---
Ephesus became the most well known Christian region in the Roman Empire, only after Jerusalem and Antioch
Christianity grew so much and so fast------ that the jewelers and craftsmen who made their living from making idols for the pagan temple in the city----- went out of business.
So when Paul writes them a letter ------- he isn't correcting them or teaching them------ but he is
Emphasizing a few important truths:
That the Church is the body, and Christ is the head.
That we have a position in Christ that far outweighs and outshines everything else
And that because of that position we are called to live in accordance to that high calling
If there was an easily digestible outline for the book of Ephesians, it would be:
We are seated with Christ
We are called to walk with Him
And we are to stand against everything else
Sitting --- Walking --- Standing ------- These are the generalized themes of the book.
Ephesians is a book that can be broken up into 2 sections, each one being three chapters.
The first section - The believers position in Christ
Who are we as Christians?
Where do we fit in?
Why do we fit in?
How did we get that way?
And once we answer these, it will help us understand God all the better.
When we understand that we as Christians, are that way for a very specific and profound reason, it will help us see that we aren't just some random people who happen to be floating along through life next to some other random people who happen to be floating through life------
But that there is a plan and a destiny for all us---
That God has woven reality in such a way that he leaves nothing up to chance---
That we each were made in a specific way to do specific things and be a specific part of the body ------ contributing and helping and growing and learning and loving one another----
We as believers fit in to God’s Church----- we are members of His body, and we all serve a unified and divine purpose-----
All of us here on Sunday morning, if in fact the Holy Spirit is living intertwined with your soul------do in fact fit in.
We belong in the Church----
That is who we as believers are----
We are all different members of the body of Christ---
He is our head
And the Holy spirit is the lifeblood flowing through us
We are the body of God, and all of us fit in ------- and Ephesians will show us this truth.
Ephesians will also show us the primary and profound distinction between reality and all the fake religions of this world
To give us a little preview: of what I like to call “the heart of Christianity”:
All religions of the world, teach that humans need to act and behave and live in a certain way, so that they can GO UP to heaven.
Pray this many times, do these kinds of things, give this much money, say these words, let your good deeds outweigh your bad ones, etc etc etc etc
All of these pretend religions teach people what they must do to GO UP ---- and all of them are false
Conjured up from demons and selfishness
Allah is pretend
Buddha isn't real
Nirvana is fake
Mormonism is a cult
Jehovah's witnesses are a cult
Judaism is a false religion
Every cow worshipping---
Incense lighting--- Self-inflating ---- religion is all the same
And then we read in Ephesians 2:8-9 which says:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Our salvation is not of works-----
There is nothing we can do in and of ourselves to be saved----
It comes from beyond us---
Outside of us---
All other religions teach what humans must do to GO UP----
And Ephesians will teach us that Christianity says humans can never do enough good to GO UP-----so God----in His love-----CAME DOWN
In this first section we're going to talk about some big, deep, tough, weighty issues.
Were going to cover some profound theological truths, and stretch our brains and stretch our hearts to their limit.
When we go through this section:
Were going to talk about what it means to be redeemed----
What it means to be “sealed by the Holy Spirit” -----
Were going to talk about grace----
About being a member of a Church
About how we matter and how God made us to fit into His church---- matters
And were going to talk about predestination ----
Then we’ll move on to section 2 of the book - Chapters 4,5,& 6
Here we’ll be toning down a bit on the deep theological stuff---
And looking at how were supposed to live out our life-----now that we understand all the stuff we covered in section 1
Here is where we will talk about actually being the Church of the God of all reality----
Not just people who happen to sit in pews next to each other once a week----
But actually living out the reality that the God who spoke galaxies into existence, says that we are His body-----
We’ll talk about unity---
And how they work together---
We’ll talk about how we aren't supposed to live like the world lives---
And then----probably in the Springtime----
Ephesians begins to teach about Marriage and Parenting
But not only Marriage and Parenting ----but sexuality----and sex ---- and gender
And because of the sensitivity surrounding those topics,
I'm going to make sure to announce these Messages ahead of time, and give everyone enough notice to either avoid God that day, or prepare their hearts for what He has to say about those topics.
And I know that I said that Ephesians is broken up into 2 sections, but there's a conclusion that fits into the 2nd section, as well.
And this Conclusion show us that once we realize who we are in Christ----
Once we realize how and why and where we fit into our Church
Once we begin living these truths out---
We are going to have an opponent---
We have an opponent that lives in the shadows who works against us and against our God----
But God has given us armor and weapons to fight him off
We’ll look at each of those pieces of armor
Why Paul used the armor analogy
How to use the weapons he mentions
So------- why are we doing this?
Why preach----- verse by verse through a book of the Bible?
Well---i'm glad you asked.
In a world filled with uncertainty---- we know that we can find peace in Christ.
We know that through a relationship with Jesus Christ, that we can have the stability and structure and peace and guidance and love and compassion and allllll those things that are meaningful and important to our lives-----
And when we keep His word at the center of our lives------all those things become clearer.
Were going to be preaching and learning and growing ------ verse by verse ----- through the very Word of God----
He breathed life into these words ---- and what He has to say ---- matters
The Holy Spirit coupled with the consciousness of Saint Paul, a man that He created ---- and used His pen to write these words
God preserved His word through thousands of years of wars and troubles----
Going through a book of the Bible, is us saying that right here and right now ----- we want to hear from God----- not the preacher.
Our country is going crazy
My family is hurting
The news is terrifying
The world is on fire and we need structure and guidance
So verse by verse----- we will get it
Were also doing this ------
Because God’s word can stand on its own, free from anything else that is going on in the world.
Will there be striking similarities in what we read as we go on this journey, and then something in our life or the lives of others, that seem to ----- out of the blue ------ coincidently line up with the verses we will be looking at?
But there will be times where it seems like what we are reading has nothing to do with anything else that's going on in our current life------and that's ok, because the Bible is about God not us. Does it impact us? Yes, does it have anything to do with us? Sometimes, yes. But all the time? No.
Going through a Book of the Bible verse by verse------
Allows all of you----to soak yourself in the Word of God, in the same Chapter and verses that your Pastor will be speaking on.
Spend your quiet time with God, reading through the exact same words your Pastor has spent time in.
And then come to church and hear them proclaimed from the Pulpit.
Do you want to be involved with what's going on?
Do you want to wonder and think and stretch your spirit----- and then here those verses that caused you to wonder and think and stretch----- explained?
Do you want to read ahead and explore what's coming up next?
That is why we are doing this.
To encourage all of you----
To support all of you---
To give you all a crystal clear reading plan and outline for what it is we will be talking about every single Sunday for the next 5 months----
So go home----
Hit your knees in prayer----
Tenderize your heart ----
And start with Ephesians 1:1 ------- because that is where your Pastor will be starting next week.
( → → Closing Prayer ← ← )