Listen to Ephesians
In week one of our Ephesians series, Matt Williams challenged the church to read or listen to Ephesians in its entirety at least once per week. As we round the halfway point in the teaching, we have produced an audio recording of Ephesians as a resource to help you finish this series strong and stay saturated in the Word.
A Beautiful Eulogy
February 13, 2016
One of the great questions of the Bible is how God will bring all things back under His authority and direction without destroying everyone and everything. In the book of Ephesians, Paul will bring some light to this great question in the writing of his letter to faithful followers of Christ Jesus. Paul’s letter starts off by making the point that God is the Father of Jesus Christ and that it is through Christ we are blessed by God. Paul then describes the profound blessing from God that He chose us before the world was ever created. God adopted us as His own children and redeemed us through the precious, priceless blood of Christ. God does this not for our glory but for His own; nothing man can do can ever outdo what God has already done for His creation.
God's Ultimate Purpose
February 20, 2016
God loved you, chose you, created you, adopted you, purchased you, redeemed you, forgave you, and sealed you. You are His. There is nothing you did to earn these spiritual blessings. They are solely rooted in His character, desire, and good pleasure. Therefore, the stability of your relationship with God is not dependent upon you or your performance. Amidst the truth of God’s immeasurable love for you, there is an even greater story at play. God displayed His plan by uniting Jews and Gentiles as one under Christ, and is in the process of bringing everything in the universe under His authority. Unlike humans who crave control, and when given it, come up short, God has the vision, the plan, and the power to unite “everything in heaven and on earth.”
A Powerful Prayer
February 27, 2016
Paul praises God for the faithfulness that marked Christ followers in the city of Ephesus. He prays that the church will gain deep insight into the Lord’s powerful working and rich gifts in Christ. The foundational request of Paul’s prayer is that God send His spirit to Christ followers to personally engage in life with them and guide them with spiritual wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. Paul understands a need for our hearts to be flooded with a godly light, that our eyes are opened to the glorious hope, inheritance, and power of our heavenly Father.
March 5, 2016
For us to have access to Jesus, we have to declare that we are in a state of emergency. Things are worse than what we can handle and we don’t have the resources to handle it. We need help. While this is true, like Adam and Eve before us, we still try to fix what is wrong with us. Something deep within us wants to boast and take credit for our part in the solution. We must understand the full Gospel. Our works destroyed us. Jesus’ work saved us. We are now His workmanship to go do the good works He prepared for us in advance. So, in essence, salvation is about works…it’s just not my work.
One New Humanity
March 13, 2016
Belonging is rooting for something, while at the same time, excluding something else. This plays out in society today with an “us and them” attitude that even carries into our Christian lives; we believe we have the ability to decide who and what is included or excluded from our world. In Ephesians 2, Paul distinguishes Gentiles from Jews in that Gentiles must remember what they never had. Gentiles must recognize—much like we must recognize today— the separation, alienation, desperation, and desolation that lies in the past in order to understand the unlimited blessing there is in Jesus Christ. We must also note that, like the Jews, our self-righteousness serves as a barrier to experiencing God’s embrace. Thankfully, due to Jesus’ death on the cross, the “wall of hostility” has been destroyed and everyone in Christ—both Jew and Gentile—has complete access to God.
One New Humanity
March 13, 2016
The Mystery Revealed
March 19, 2016
Whether you are the athlete, professor, artist, or engineer, if you are identified with Christ, you are now united as a family—brother and sister—in one body, the Church. Within this new family, your previous heritage is now gone—biological heritage, national citizenship, race, or caste. There are no dividing walls but rather you are now one in Christ. As Paul once said, “We have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:16-17)
April 3, 2016
As limited and finite beings, we are helpless and in desperate need of God’s love. Like oxygen provides life to the blood, so also experiencing the love of God provides vitality to the soul. While we may know this to be true cognitively, practically we are easily deceived and try to find our fulfillment with worldly opportunity. Unfortunately, this pathway leads us into redefining Biblical love that is more about our performance than Christ’s finished work on the cross. Paul’s prayer is an encouragement to us and our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ—that our top priority is to strengthen our soul and experience the love of God. We must remind ourselves that our unlimited capacity to need is superseded by God’s unlimited capacity to provide. As we let Him take care of our internal needs, our external concerns will also be taken care of. Why? Because God is able to do all we ask Him to do. He is even able to do all that we dare not ask but merely imagine. He can do more than this. Far more. Infinitely far more.
A Call to Unity
April 10, 2016
The book of Ephesians can be divided into two parts, chapters one through three—the cause—followed by chapters four through six—the calling. The first part details all of the things that God has done for us and creates the basis of the Christian cause. Starting in Ephesians four, Paul explains that because Christ demonstrated eternal love by dying for our sins, we have a calling to share God’s love. We do this by being humble, gentle, and patient. We come from many different backgrounds and circumstances, but unity among believers is vital as we attempt to function together as one body. Paul explains that we must have humility and live in peace with others in order to live out God’s calling for our lives.
Gifted for Growth
April 16, 2016
We all identify with something, and often it is something that is insignificant. We have been given the unique opportunity to build the body of Christ, to be a part of something truly meaningful. The world experiences Christ through the spiritual gifts lived out through believers. Spiritual gifts are bestowed on us at the moment of salvation, however, many believers are either unaware of their gifts or are underserving in their area of giftedness. Spiritual gifts are for the edification of the church, not for self-service.
The New Self
April 24, 2016
In Christ a new humanity is formed. Those who live in the new humanity do not live disoriented, futile lives but instead have hope in Christ. God has the power to bring us from darkness into the light; however, we must make a willful decision to choose the light and to avoid living separate from God. A transformation of the heart takes place when our lives are given to Christ; living outside of Christ can cause hearts to harden and become calloused. It is our responsibility as Christians to choose to find our hope and happiness in God or we will seek pleasure in empty places.