March 10, 2013: "Introduction to the Epistle to the Ephesians"
Of Paul’s 13 Epistles in the New Testament, two are commonly called "masterpieces" by biblical scholars. All recognize Romans as a masterful presentation of salvation by faith. In Ephesians by contrast, the Apostle provides a magnificent description of the riches God has provided for His people of faith by His mighty power, and to His own glory and honor. The Christians in Ephesus lived in a city built around the supposed power and to the glory of the goddess Artemis. It was an extremely wealthy city because of revenue generated by her temple. Believers in the Lord Jesus needed to understand that they had received far greater riches in Christ than they could ever have in the worship of Artemis. In today’s message, learn more about the great themes found in this small epistle.
March 17, 2013: "Ephesus – The Great City!"
In the first century, Ephesus was the second largest city in the Roman Empire, and by many estimations, the second most important and influential. In addition to being the world center for the worship of Artemis, it was also a great commercial and governmental center, a great educational center, and a melting pot of many cultures, languages, races, religions and philosophies. If the Gospel of Christ was going to truly reach the world, it had to be effective in large cities like Ephesus! Today’s lesson introduces us to a city not very different than many great cities in our world today.
March 24, 2013: "Paul’s Mission: To Preach to the Gentiles"
The Apostle Paul’s work in Ephesus was the last work of his we have recorded. It consumed most of what we call his Third Missionary Journey, and covered some three years – the longest period he spent working in any city during his journeys. It seems as if all he did before was in preparation for this time. And what a time it was! These three years were marked by large numbers of conversions, numerous miracles, and riots. Join us today as we review the work of Paul in Ephesus.
March 31, 2013: "The Power of the Resurrection"
As detailed in Lesson Two on "Ephesus – The Great City," riches, glory and power were proudly on display in Ephesus. Much of the success and splendor of the city was credited by the residents to the goddess Artemis. However, the Apostle Paul wanted the Ephesian believers to know that the power at work in the gospel and in their lives was vastly superior to that claimed for Artemis. Today we want to see that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the power at work in their (and our) lives!
April 7, 2013: "His Power For Us Who Believe"
Not only was God’s power demonstrated in His creation and in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, it is also displayed in what He has and is doing for all those who believe. In Ephesians 1:17-19 Paul prayed that the Christians would know (Greek: oida) "His incomparably great power for us who believe." Oida meant "to perceive, know about, realize, recognize." Today’s message looks at the five ways Paul says God’s power is at work for us.
April 14, 2013: "Riches Beyond Measure"
We saw last week that Paul wanted the believers in Ephesus to know God’s power at work for and in them. In that same passage, Ephesians 1:17-19, he also prayed that they would know "the riches of His glorious inheritance." Today’s message reflects the core theme of this study series — "Riches Beyond Measure!" As we listen to Paul tell of the many ways God has made his treasure and wealth available to us, we recognize how rich we truly are in Christ.
April 21, 2013: "To the Praise of His Glory"
As we have listened to Paul speak of the surpassing power of God for us who believe, and of His lavishing of His riches upon us, we must ask what is His motivation in doing such things for those who are merely His creatures? In Ephesians 1:6, we read that this is all "to the praise of His glory and grace." Today we are going to examine what the "glory" of God is. The doxa, or glory, of God means his excellence, magnificence, worthy of honor."
April 28, 2013: "The Purpose and Plan of God"
Today we begin our study of the actual text of Ephesians. The first section, covering 1:3-14, presents Paul’s premise for the entire book. Here we discover that our salvation is the culmination of the purpose and plan of God. Nothing was by chance with Him; all had been been foreseen and provided for. And it was all for our us!
May 5, 2013: "Praying That Our Eyes Be Opened"
Having presented God’s purpose and plan to bless us beyond measure, Paul now prays (1:15-23) that our eyes be opened to see what God has and is doing on our behalf! Otherwise, we have riches beyond measure, but will continue think and live like paupers. Today we will also learn just how great Jesus is, and our vital connection to Him as His "body" on earth.
May 12, 2013: "A Salvation That’s By Grace"
In Ephesians 2:1-10, Paul reminds us that we were in desperate straits before God by His grace saved us through the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus Christ. "For by grace have you been saved through faith" is the amazing hymn of every believer!
May 19, 2013: "Making Two One: Reconciliation"
Ephesians 2:11-22 now reveals the great mystery that God had kept hidden even from the Jewish people as He foretold the coming of their Savior. In Greek thinking and language, a "mystery" was a "divine secret," something that only a divine being could reveal. And this secret of God was that the riches of His salvation through Christ was not only the forgiveness of sins, but the making of two completely different peoples – Jews and Gentiles – one new people shaped into a holy temple where God is worshiped.
May 26, 2013: "God’s Secret Revealed"
It was important that the Ephesians (and us along with them) understand exactly what Paul’s ministry was about. He was entrusted with preaching God’s mystery. This secret is that in Christ all become one people in Christ. According to Ephesians 3:10, God’s "intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known," not just to all mankind, but even to all those in the heavenly realms (spiritual world).
June 2, 2013: "More Than We Can Imagine, Part I"
In Ephesians 3:16-19 Paul prays that the Ephesians would experience even more of the "glorious riches" of the Father. He prayed that they would be strengthened, that Christ would permanently dwell within them, and that they would be able to fully grasp how great God’s love for them was.
June 16, 2013: "More Than We Can Imagine, Part II"
God’s immeasurable riches which we have already experienced in Christ are not the limit of what God will do for us. He is able to do "exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask or think!" And it is His desire, and ours, that He is praised, honored, worshiped and glorified through the church and Christ for ever and ever!
June 23, 2013: "Living Worthy of Our Calling"
God’s purpose and plan from before the beginning of time is that the church, both as individuals and as a body, be to His glory (honor and praise) through out all generations. That can only happen if every one of us lives worthy of the calling we have received.
June 30, 2013: "The Unity the Spirit, Part I"
In order for us as the church to continually bring glory to God generation after generation, we must be united. Remember that His purpose was that all be one in Christ. According to Paul, the beginning point for this unity is love for one another.
July 7, 2013: "The Unity of the Spirit, Part II"
Last week we heard Paul say that real unity in Christ’s church begins with love and right relationships. Today we see the second requirement for real unity in the church: unity in doctrine and belief. Paul makes it clear the right fundamental beliefs are essential. This passage is unique in the New Testament as it speaks of the "Ones" of Christian doctrine. We must believe in: one body (place for all the saved in Christ), one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God. Several of these have been abandoned in part or whole by many "Christian" religious groups.
July 14, 2013: "Growing Up Into Him" – Ephesians 4:7-16
July 21, 2013: "No Longer Gentiles" – Ephesians 4:17-19
July 28, 2013: "You Were Taught" – Ephesians 4:20-24
August 4, 2013: "Be Imitators of God" – Ephesians 4:24-5:2
August 11, 2013: "Live As Children of Light" – Ephesians 5:3-20
August 18, 2013: "Our Homes… for God’s Glory, Part I" – Ephesians 5:21-33
August 25, 2013: "Our Homes… for God’s Glory, Part II" – Ephesians 6:1-9
September 1, 2013: "Finally, Brothers" – Ephesians 6:10-24