Ephesians

Ephesians

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians community was dated around A.D. 60 when he was in prison in Rome. Paul had spent over three years with the Ephesians church during his third missionary trip, preaching and teaching with great effectiveness (Acts 19:1-20). As a result, he was very close with them and on one occasion, Paul met with the elders of the Ephesians church at Miletus (Acts 20:17-38) – a meeting that was filled with great sadness because he was leaving them for what he thought would be the last time. Because this letter contains no specific references to people or problems in the Ephesians church and because the words “in Ephesus” (1:1) are not present in some early manuscripts, Paul may have intended this to be a circular letter to be read to all the churches in the area.

“For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)

Paul was in prison when this letter was written and was then visited by countless messengers from various churches, which one of it was Tychicus of Ephesus. Paul wrote this letter to the church and sent it together with Tychicus, and this letter is not written to counteract heresy or to confront any specific problem, but the letter of Epehsians is more of a letter of encouragement to the people there. In it, Paul describes the nature and appearance of the church, and he challenge believers to function as the living body of Christ in earth. Paul also mentions in his letter about there is no longer a distinction between Jews and Gentiles; racism and cultural superiority is banished forever (2:11-18). We are all part of the same ‘temple’ (2:19-22), and God has given the church gifted people to help maintain the unity of the Spirit (4:1-16).

Question to ponder: As we are part of the Body of Christ and seeing Him as the Head, how then do we relate with the other people that we work with (CF, Group Assignment, Projects, etc)?

Some TIPS on How to read the book of Ephesians

1. Read through the whole letter in one sitting and in your preferred version of the Bible. Then read through again but read it in a different version to see it in a more rich form, eg The Message Version, NLT, etc.

2. Then, choose a week which you are comfortable for you to do some digging into God’s Words. Start each day with a prayer to open your heart and mind as you read and investigate His Words.

Day 1 Ephesians 1:1-23 To God be the glory
Day 2 Ephesians 2:1-22 No more separation from God
Day 3 Ephesians 3:1-21 The secret is revealed
Day 4 Ephesians 4:1-5:21 We are bonded in Christ
Day 5 Ephesians 4:17-5:21 Being imitators of God
Day 6 Ephesians 5:22-6:9 Christ as the center of your life
Day 7 Ephesians 6:10-24 Stand firm in the Lord

3. Journal your thoughts/insights, questions and prayers as you read through each day.

4. Do make use of any Bible commentaries or handbooks after you made your discover first. It will help to enrich your discoveries that you made.

Happy Reading and Digging!

Reflections

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of his world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air... All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts… But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”

(Ephesians 2:1-5)

I can’t help but feel that the words from this passage resonate so strongly within me as I reflect upon what Paul wrote. It tells of the life that we were in before – dead in our transgressions, and the life after that – made alive in Christ by God’s grace.

Paul puts it in 2:2 that “We used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil who is the commander of the powers in the unseen world and he is also the spirit that is at works in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God”.

Somehow I wonder when did I obey the devil? I mean, I do not recall of taking another person’s life or harming another person? Nothing so serious to that extent! I mean surely I did not follow in the devil’s ways of causing harm to the people around me.

But as I read 2:3, I somehow realize I was trying to justify my own ways of what is right or what is wrong because, “All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very own nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.”

Failing to realize that as long this sinful nature still lives in my body, I can never save myself nor justify myself but just doing the right things or saying the right things. And this all is the caused of my death; dead in my own transgressions and sins.

Is there really no way out? Is there no solution to this? No matter how much I try or do, I can never be set free from this bondage of sinful nature. But in 2:4-5, Paul states the truth of the God of the Universe; the Creator of Heaven and Earth, “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”

It is not because of the good things that I had done before nor anything I did that I deserve such a gift from Him, but simple because of His unlimited love and unending grace that I am now alive again. Just as simple as that.

At times, I wonder how we too may have forgotten this truth of God’s love and grace in our lives? As we go about in our daily day to day activities, have we been too consume in what we do and want in life that we try to justify it by doing some other good things so that we feel a little less guilty?

A song came to mind as I look at this truth again from His Words. May this song brings us to our knees as we humbly remember of that Amazing Grace we have been given with LOVE.

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Saviour has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace