Ephesians / Ephesians 1:1–14
• Ephesians is effusive. As Paul begins talking about Christ in the opening verses, he can’t contain himself. We will look at that today. He cannot contain himself.
• We find in Christ whenever we try to value Christ He is always above. He is always more so.
• Ephesus, where Paul writes this letter to, was a very pluralistic city. Gods were everywhere and every step determined a choice of who to worship and when. There was no better choice, just many choices.
• Paul is communicating that Christ is not an option amongst many gods but the best choice.
• Read Ephesians 1:1-4 together. As you read it what do you notice about the passage? What observations can you make?
We are invited in to experience the best that Christ has to offer. This is a Vision of Christian Hope.
• The phrase in Him occurs 7 times in this passage
God’s victory is bigger than the cosmos
Ephesians 1:3 ESV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
• As the letter opens, Paul is effusive. He is overflowing in praise. He just can’t tell the story fast enough. This whole section is really just one run on sentence. We have added punctuation in the english translation, but not Paul. He just raced to get all the words out.
• Cosmology is how you understand the cosmos. How you understand the beginning and development of the universe.
• Paul saw the God as the center and definition of the cosmos.
• What other cosmological worldviews can you think of? It’s important to understand belief and how other people believe to be able to articulate ours.
• But no matter what influences or what creates, Paul is communicating that God is bigger than all of that. There is none in the cosmos that reigns higher than God.
• What do you think principalities and powers looks like in our world? Where do you see them in day to day life?
• This is called pluralism. Where do you see people talk about Christ like He is just one option out of many?
God’s Victory is longer than time itself
Ephesians 1:4 ESV
even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
• Ephesians is a book where Paul is stretching our understanding of God.
• It’s important for us to know that Christ is active before the foundation of the world. That means the way in which we are formed, our activity, our identity, the way in which we define ourselves goes back that far.
• How do we sometimes define our identity in places that are not found in the foundation of the world? How are those areas not as strong as finding our identity in Christ?
Ephesians 1:10 ESV
as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
• The biggest issue facing our culture is that we think we have to create everything. Meaning, direction. All of our culture is the negative reaction toward something previously trusted. So we have built a culture that is suspicious of everything and in so doing believe that the only one we can trust is ourselves.
• Now that sounds nice until you get lost without a GPS.
• in the middle all those tensions and scrapes cause us to forget that we are in a story with a foundation and an end. We just think we are bouncing from tension to tension.
• We are not left to our own to figure everything out. We can look forward to Him.
• Read Acts 7:54-60. This is where Stephen is killed. While this is not prescriptive of how everyone experiences death it still shows what happens when we bump up at the edge of the fulness of all things. How does Stephen respond to his captors and his end?
We can find our lives within that victory
Ephesians 1:12–14 ESV
so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Paul wants us to know as we begin Ephesians that in Christ we are never outside looking in.
• We never have to live at the margins
Ephesians 1:7–8 ESV
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight
– We are Given Wisdom and Insight
• We hear this refrain, to the praise of His glory.
• We get to be part of what the One who holds the foundations of the earth and the fullness of all things together.
• Ephesians will constantly invite us into that story, never to be outside looking in again.
• What do you think it means to live as “the praise of His glory?” Close in prayer for each other that your group would be to the praise of His glory.
Books used or referenced in message
The Drama of Ephesians:
The Dialectic of Enlightenment: