The book of Ephesians is fairly small but packs a barrage of uplifting, encouraging challenges for the Believer. Reading a few verses of Ephesians in the morning is like drinking a spiritual RedBull. Paul starts in the first chapter by talking about how we Gentiles are sinners redeemed and adopted by God, given lavish blessings through Christ, predestined as His chosen people. Ahhh, what a rush!
In the second chapter he talks about how we were dead and hopeless and how God graciously breathed life into us by His grace as opposed to our works. We were estranged and he united us with His people, making us citizens of Heaven and a holy temple to Him. That’s right. He said US. Made holy! There’s a surge of confidence.
In the third chapter he explains how the good news comes to us and how we have unmerited favor and access to the throne of God. Then Paul prays for the Gentile believers:
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
So Paul finishes building them up in maybe the most dramatic act of encouragement of their entire lives. I mean, at this point in this letter, these dudes are walking on sunshine. THE Paul just told them that they could be filled to the measure of ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD! Think about all of the fullness of God for a second…
Then what does Paul do in chapter 4? He charges them to stop living like kids and start treating each other as equals united together as the Body. He then INSISTS that they stop living as the Gentiles in futile thinking and darkened understanding. He charges them to be mature. Paul reminds them, “God has made you all these great high and mighty things” and then he basically says, “Now start living like it.”
Ephesus was a Greek city on the highway to Rome and called The Gateway of Asia. Ephesus was a melting pot of all sorts of ethnicities and classes (who we know don’t always get along together – think of the retired ski bums and the young punks in your shred town) with tons of wealth and luxury but also rooted in idol worship. In the ESV Study Bible Introduction, it says:
There are two main themes of Ephesians:
(1) Christ has reconciled all creation to himself and to God, and
(2) Christ has united people from all nations to himself and to one another in his church.
Paul emphasizes the richness of the Supreme Glory of the Church of Jesus Christ and then calls them ALL to gather together in unity…despite their clear differences.
So, when we gather together as part of the SFC family AND as the diverse family of God, let’s charge one another to get first things first. How can we know what to do before we know who we are? We are noble children of the Most Famous One. Let’s be clear on our identity first, THEN we can be clear on our purpose.
As Paul continues through “how you ought to act” he says:
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light…
You have been made light even though you didn’t deserve it—the very light of the All-Powerful, Living God. Now, go act like it and be the light He made you to be.
Who are we according to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians? Do we always think of ourselves in this way?
How should this realization of who He has made us change the way we live our daily lives in the shred culture? How should this affect the way we treat our fellow Jesus loving shred kids? The old people in our local churches? The shred kids who don’t yet know the Creator?
For more background on Ephesians, go here: http://esvstudybible.org/wp-content/uploads/excerpt-ephesians-intro.pdf
By Joshua Stock | Dillon, CO