The Bride & Body of Christ

01 - Introduction: The Bride Body of Christ

February 5, 2023 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • Ephesians 1:1

The Book of Ephesians is written to Christians who have incredible spiritual riches available to them to survive and thrive but they fail to take advantage of it. They are in danger of suffering from spiritual malnutrition because they do not take advantage of the great storehouse of spiritual nourishment and resources that is at their disposal. Over the centuries, the Book of Ephesians has been given such titles as the “believer’s bank,” or the “Christian’s checkbook,” or the “treasure house of the Bible.” And that’s because it’s a letter, written by the apostle Paul, that informs Christians of their spiritual wealth; their great riches and their vast inheritance that is theirs in Christ. 

02 - Predestined in Christ

February 12, 2023 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • Ephesians 1:1–6

Many people have a strong hostility to the doctrine of predestination. However, predestination is a biblical doctrine that must be understood biblically. It teaches that God predetermined in eternity past that certain individuals would be conformed to the likeness of His Son, be called, justified, and glorified. These individuals are referred to elsewhere in the Bible—in both the Old Testament and New Testament—as “the chosen” or “the elect.” Predestination, then, is the biblical doctrine that God in His sovereignty chooses certain individuals to be saved while leaving others to the eternal consequences they deserve.

03 - Redeemed in Christ

February 19, 2023 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • Ephesians 1:7–10

“Redeeming love” is the theme of the Old Testament Book of Ruth, which tells the story of Ruth and her kinsman-redeemer, Boaz. It is also the theme of Ephesians 1:7-10. As if to reemphasize the greatness of all the spiritual blessings that he’s been expounding upon in Ephesians 1:1-6, not the least of which is that Christians have been predestined and called, the apostle Paul turns his attention to the theology of redemption and forgiveness, pointing to the blessing and work of the greatest Kinsman-Redeemer there is, Jesus Christ. The Lord is the greater Boaz who, by his law-keeping and sacrificial love, paid the price to redeem us; both Jews (such as Naomi) and Gentiles (like Ruth)—all who come to him for redemption.

04 - Sealed in Christ

February 26, 2023 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • Ephesians 1:11–14

God is a promise-keeper. At the completion of Ephesians 1:1-14, in which Paul pours out his heart in praise to God for His immeasurable grace, the apostle introduces to use the Father’s guarantee of His divine promise to believers. We, as God’s children, are certain to receive the full, undiminished inheritance of Jesus Christ. Just as we have been “blessed with every spiritual blessing” in Christ, to include but not limited to being called, predestined, redeemed and forgiven, so we have also obtained a promised inheritance to come as coheirs with Christ.

05 - Resources in Christ

March 5, 2023 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • Ephesians 1:15–23

Paul prays in Ephesians 1:15-23 for God to give the Ephesians a special disposition of wisdom and revelation, that is, godly knowledge and understanding of who they are in Christ and what they already possess in Christ. They were not to seek more spiritual resources and more spiritual blessings but to understand and use that which was already theirs when they received Christ. His prayer was for God to give them faculty and understanding concerning God's provision, prize, power, and prominence.

06 - Alive in Christ

March 19, 2023 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • Ephesians 2:1–10

What does it mean to be "dead in sin and trespasses" and how, if at all, can a dead sinner be saved? To those questions the apostle Paul gives an emphatic answer: Salvation is solely by grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Jesus Christ alone, not by human effort or works righteousness, for those whom God by His sovereign grace makes "alive in Christ." 

07 - United in Christ

March 26, 2023 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • Ephesians 2:11–22

Human nature being what is, we tend to feel most comfortable with those who are most like us. The world in general expresses its racial intolerance and bigotry in conflicts at every level, from silent discrimination to outright war and apartheid. But God, in Christ, has torn down the racial wall that once divided us. The days of racial inequality are over. God showed Peter through this vision in Acts 10 and the conversion of Cornelius that He now accepted believing Gentiles into His fold just as much as He did believing Jews. There is no longer any distinction between Jew and Gentile. God’s people have one thing in common between them: they are related to one another through faith in Christ regardless of country, creed, culture, or color. 

08 - Mystery in Christ

April 2, 2023 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • Ephesians 3:1–6

In Ephesians 3:1-6, Paul picks up his theme (first mentioned in 1:9-12 and in 2:11-22) concerning Gentiles and Jews being one flesh in the Church. That is, God, in Christ, has torn down the racial wall that once divided Jew and Gentile. The days of restriction were over. The days of separation were gone. The days of racial inequality had come to an end. And the days of Jew vs. Gentile had was a thing of the past. There is no longer any distinction of races in Christ’s kingdom. The mystery in Christ, which Paul reveals, is that God’s people have one thing in common between them: they are related to one another through faith in Christ regardless of country, creed, culture, or color.

09 - Wisdom in Christ

April 16, 2023 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • Ephesians 3:7–13

Paul’s single responsibility—even beyond being an apostle—was to be a faithful servant of God and a servant to the people of God, in general, and to the Ephesians, in particular. Included in his responsibilities as a minister was the distinct privilege of disclosing a series of mysteries to the early church, all of which had been kept hidden by God (even from the angels in heaven) until the New Testament age. In Ephesians 3:7-13 Paul continues to unpack the first mystery—namely, that in God's kingdom there is no racial distinctions between Jew and Gentile—at that this awesome truth reveals the manifold wisdom of God to creation (men and angels alike).

10 - Riches in Christ

April 23, 2023 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • Ephesians 3:14–21

Paul closes out the doctrinal portion of Ephesians (chapters 1-3) with another prayer—his second thus far in the letter. In his first prayer (see Ephesians 1:15-23), the apostle had prayed at length that the believers in Ephesus would know the spiritual power that was already theirs in Christ. Now, in Ephesians 3:14-21, he prays that the Ephesians would not just know the power that is theirs in Christ but that they would also take advantage of it and apply it to their lives. After all, in the same way that a person can know all that there is to know about their car and never use it to their advantage so a person can know all the facts about the Bible but never use the power 

11 - Walking in Christ

April 30, 2023 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • Ephesians 4:1–6

The humiliation (or humility) of Moses in the Old Testament is not unlike the humiliation (or humility) of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, although to a much lesser extent. This topic of humility and gentleness, along with patience and love, is important because it’s the focus of Paul’s words in Ephesians 4:1-3. He is rather direct in telling his readers that to walk with Jesus in a manner that is worthy of one's calling is to walk in Moses-like humility and gentleness (although he doesn’t mention the prophet by name). Coupled with that, the one's Moses-like humility and gentleness ought to be complemented with a Moses-like patience and forbearance, sprinkled with brotherly love.

12 - Gifted in Christ

May 7, 2023 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • Ephesians 4:7–11

Every Christian has been given a spiritual gift upon conversion, the purpose of which is to build up the Body of Christ. A spiritual gift is the divine ability given by the Holy Spirit to a believer to accomplish God’s purposes within the Body of Christ and for the Body of Christ. Stated differently, it’s a spiritual talent given by and operated in the power of the Holy Spirit who works in us and through us in such a way that it produces spiritual fruit in the corporate Church. And among the 24 spiritual gifts listed throughout the New Testament are five that stand out in Ephesians 4:7-13. They are the gifts of (1) apostleship; (2) prophecy (or preaching); (3) evangelism; (4) pastoring (shepherding); and (5) teaching.

13 - Built-up in Christ

May 14, 2023 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • Ephesians 4:12–16

If The Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30 teaches us anything it’s that the Master of the household (God) expects His servants (believers) to invest wisely that which He has endowed to them. This includes our spiritual gifts that He graciously gives by way of the Holy Spirit. God doesn’t expect His servants to bury what they have received. Rather, He expects that an investment in His kingdom will be made. Thus, if we want to grow in Christ—that is, "attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ"—then we must begin with identifying and living out your spiritual gifts for the building of the Body of Christ (the Church). 

14 - Clothed in Christ

May 21, 2023 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • Ephesians 4:17–24

Believers are not to live as unbelievers live. The new creation in Christ that we now are should bear no resemblance to the old self in Adam we once were. There should be, indeed there must be, a difference in conduct between redeemed and reprobate. Outside of Christ, we’re still in Adam, clothed with Adam, and still ruled by the sin of Adam. But those in Christ have been re-clothed in the robes of Christ’s righteousness. Paul commands us, therefore, to take off our Adam clothes—with all its corrupt and deceitful desires—and instead put on Christ’s robes that we might walk in true righteousness and holiness, in keeping with our new, redeemed natures. 

15 - Pure in Christ (Part 1)

May 28, 2023 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • Ephesians 4:25–32

The Bible uses some descriptive words when it talks about our tongues. It’s described as wicked, deceitful, perverse, filthy, corrupt, flattering, slanderous, gossiping, blasphemous, foolish, boasting, complaining, cursing, contentious, sensual, and vile. The tongue is a tattletale that tells on the heart and discloses who we really are in our fallen flesh. In other words, what you are, will inevitably be revealed by what you say. Our speech, and what comes out of our mouths, is a good barometer by which we can measure our spiritual condition. Just as we are given a sanctified tongue when we are born-again by the Spirit, so we are still responsible for what we do with it.