Ephesians 1:3-14 The Plan

SS 20 Ephesians- Verses 3-14 “The Plan”

Let’s review:

  • Ephesus was/is a port city and was very worldly.
  • Home of Artemis, the goddess of fertility
  • Paul spent three month in the synagogue and then split off and formed a church.
  • Ephesians has six chapters, three doctrinal and three of application. 
  • The letter to the Ephesians was probably a circular letter.

 

Chances are the churches had heard everything written in Ephesians firsthand from Paul. The problem is that we only retain a small portion of what we hear. We do much better when we hear the same thing several weeks in a row, when we read something over and over again, and when we commit something to memory. We do best when we teach it because we have to explain it as well as present it. So, let’s start learning so that we can eventually teach it to others.

 

There is one stipulation. Read 1 Corinthians 2:12-14, 15b. These things are spiritually discerned. We must submit our minds and wills to the Father and commit ourselves to following these truths in order to be able and open to receiving what He has for us. Even as we discuss the material, the Father/Jesus/Holy Spirit is speaking truth to your spirit. Cool, huh?

 

The Gospel: The Good News of Jesus Christ–unto salvation

Our Passage: The background and details of the Gospel

 

Read Ephesians 1:3-6, 7-10, 11-14

Verse 3 is an expression of praise.

  1. To the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ
  2. He blessed us in the heavenly realms–what’s that about? (see chapter 2)
  3. With every spiritual blessing in Christ. Let’s name some spiritual blessings:

 

Verse 4 is a humdinger of a statement!

  1. The Timing-Before He created anything, He chose us.
  2. The Blessing (v5)-To be holy and without fault in His eyes and to adopt us into His own family.
  3. The Gift of Grace (v6)-”freely bestowed on all who believe”

 

  1. The Plan (v7)-Through Jesus Christ
  1. Redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins
  2. Lavished and showered (v8) with ALL wisdom and understanding
  3. Mystery of His will (v9-10): To bring everything together under the authority of Christ
  4. Our inheritance (v11)-Heaven, a throne, all the saints (see verse 18), eternal life. Read Colossians 1:9-13 (one of my favorite passages) 
  5. The Purpose (v12)-To Trust in Christ
  1. The Good News that God saves you
  2. Included in Christ (v13), Identified as His own when we heard the message of truth, the gospel of our salvation, and responded to it. “When we believed” is huge. It indicates that we have a choice in the matter, and we chose Christ.
  3. The Mark: (v14) The Holy Spirit, God’s Guarantee and Seal
    1. Promised- Ezekiel 36:26-27
    2. Purchased- 1 Peter 1:18-19, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
    3. Praise- Back to verse 3!

 

Next week: THE PRAYER

 

Questions around the table:

  1. Is it important that we understand God’s timing on everything? What IS important?
  2. How might reading these verses help us to better understand God’s plan for us?
  3. Would you commit to reading verses 15-23 each day for next week’s lesson?
  4. Read verse 18-19a and discuss its meaning.

Ephesians Intro 1:1-2

SS 9-13-20 Ephesians- An Overview

History- Ephesus was a port city on the west coast of Turkey. It was founded in the 10th century B.C. and was the home of the temple to Artemis, the goddess of, among other things, fertility, which allowed–and even called for– all kinds of sexual immorality as part of their feasts and rituals. It was certainly an evil place by Christian standards.

Paul spent three months striving with the Jews at the local synagogue, then he split off and began the church to which he writes this letter. We must note that the letter is rather informal and has the earmarks of a circular letter, meaning that it was circulated among the churches in the area. We can consider our church as one of these.

The letter itself has six chapters. The first three are doctrinal teaching, meaning that they explain what God was up to and how our salvation happened, and the second three are applications of what we learn in the first three.

 

Chapter 1 explains God’s overall plan for us from an eternal perspective.

Chapter 2 describes who we were before Christ and who we are in Christ from an eternal perspective. It also goes into detail about God’s plan to create one new man out of two: Jews and Gentiles.

Chapter 3 expands the plan for the Gentiles and includes Paul’s powerful prayer for his readers.

 

Chapters 4, 5 and 6 are chocked full of descriptors for the Christian life based upon who we are in Christ according to the first three chapters.

 

Chapter 4 includes our call to be humble and patient (v2), our oneness in Christ (v4-6), the equipping of the saints (v11-16), the put-off/put-on passage (v20-24), and how we should interact with others (v25-32).

Chapter 5 includes following Christ’s example (1-2) with no hint of immorality (v3-7), how to please the Lord as children of light (v8-17), being filled with the Spirit (v18-20), and submission to one another (v21-33).

Chapter 6 includes commands for children, fathers, slaves, and masters (v1-9), the battle and the armor of God (v10-20), and a final greeting (v21-24).

 

We begin with verses 1 and 2:

Read Ephesians 1:1.

  1. Paul is the Paul of Acts. He is an apostle of Christ Jesus because of his Damascus Road experience. He revealed something neat in Acts 26:16-18. Let’s read it. Anyone have the NLT?
  2. By the will of God- What was God’s will for Paul according to what we just read?
  3. Saints- Christians, holy ones.
  4. “In Ephesus” is not in the most ancient texts, which gives weight to the idea that it was/is a circular letter. 
  5. The faithful in Jesus Christ- “in Christ” is used over 10 times in the first 13 verses and over 130 times throughout the epistle (in Him, in the Beloved, etc). Most of the time, we think of Christ being in us (Col. 1:27). What do you think it means to be “in Christ?”

Read Ephesians 1:2.

  1. Grace-unmerited favor (does someone have an Amplified Version?)
  2. Peace of God- Jesus gives us His peace (John 14:27)
  3. Our Father- That’s BIG.
  4. The LORD Jesus Christ- “The LORD” or “Adonai” is the OT reference to God. Paul is calling Jesus “God.” Any self-respecting Jew would get this reference. Gentiles, on the other hand, might think of slave owners as “lord.” Still, if they sat under Paul’s teaching any at all, they would come to understand very quickly that Jesus is God (see Phil. 2:5-11).

 

Next week, we will be studying verses 3-14. Want to know what God was up to before the creation of the world? Come next week and we’ll talk about it!

 

Around the tables:

  1. Why study the Bible?
  2. What would understanding God’s plan mean to you?
  3. Is there a “best” version from which to read?
  4. Would you commit to reading at least the first 14 verses of Ephesians this week? Every day?

 

Ephesians Is Coming!

This Sunday in Sunday’s Cool (Sunday School), we will be starting the study of the book of Ephesians. It is a MUST-READ for every Christian!

I invite you to be a part of the study in one of three ways:

  1. Attend! We meet in the Fellowship Hall and have plenty of room for social distancing. We are 2nd Sunday School, so we meet right after the service.
  2. Facebook Live. Go to Kelly Anderson’s Facebook page and join us for the class or whenever you are available. It’s recorded.
  3. I will be posting the class through Remind for easy access and will include the notes that we follow.

Please commit with me to read Ephesians. It’s six chapters that are chocked full of doctrine (what we believe) and application (how we live it out).

Looking forward to Sunday!