Each week we LIVESTREAM the Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, Lord's Day morning public worship at 11a, and Lord's Day p.m. singing (3p) and sermon (3:45), and the Midweek Sermon and Prayer Meeting at 6:30p on Wednesday

Thursday, March 05, 2020

2020.03.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ephesians 1:1–2

Questions from the Scripture text: Who wrote this letter (Ephesians 1:1)? What is his title? Of Whom is he an apostle? How did this come about? To whom is he writing—what title does he give them? What else does he call them? In Whom are they faithful? What two-part blessing/greeting does the apostle pronounce upon them (Ephesians 1:2)? From what two Persons does the apostle pronounce these?
Immediately, in the opening of Ephesians, we know that this is going to be a glorious book about Jesus Christ!

This letter has been particularly precious to the church throughout the ages.

  • For its unfolding of the eternally loving and powerful plan of God to save His elect. Unto His glory in Christ. (Ephesians 1:1-23)
  • And for its exposition of justification by grace alone through faith alone. Only in Christ. (Ephesians 2:1–10)
  • And for its teaching about reconciliation of believers to God and to one another. Both in Jesus. (Ephesians 2:11–22)
  • And the gathering in of the reconciled into one church. In, and accomplished by, Jesus. (Ephesians 3:1-21)
  • And the gift to the church by the ascended Jesus of the officers of Jesus who train the members of the body of Jesus in the Word of Jesus so that they can all minister to one another. (Ephesians 4:1–16)
  • And the transformation of believers into their new characters. Conforming them to Jesus. (Ephesians 4:17–5:4)
  • And the great war that is waged—primarily in the ordinary spheres of life. Between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of Jesus. (Ephesians 5:5–6:9)
  • Only by the power of Jesus and the armor of Jesus. (Ephesians 6:10–22)

Do you recognize the pattern? What is the theme of this wonderful book about salvation, justification, reconciliation, evangelism, the church, Christian living, and Christian warfare? That all of these things are only for Jesus’s glory, only by Jesus’s power, only through Jesus’s method, only by faith in Jesus and fellowship with Jesus!

So, it is no surprise at all that Jesus is central to the blessing at the end of the book (Ephesians 6:23–24). And here in Ephesians 1:1–2, even in the “customary” greeting, Paul tells us.

  • That he is an apostle. “Of Jesus Christ.” 
  • And he is writing to those who are saints and faithful. “In Christ Jesus.”
  • And greeting them with grace and peace. “From… our Lord Jesus Christ.”

He’s setting us up for the entire letter. That our salvation (and his apostleship) is “by the will of God.” That our being set apart in the church and grown in godliness is “in Christ Jesus.” And that both the grace by which we wage the warfare and the peace in which we are reconciled to God as not only His allies but His children come from “God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

And of course, at the very heart of all of this. Is Jesus!
In what parts of what Ephesians teaches do you most need to grow? How does it connect to Jesus?
Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH265 “In Christ Alone”

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