This is Episode #343 and today we’ll read Ephesians chapters 1-3 together. He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will…
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Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #343 and today we’ll read Ephesians chapters 1-3 together. He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will…
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I'm your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me - from the beginning - simply reading God's word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
Intro to Ephesians
Welcome to Ephesians! I so hope you're listening to the podcast because we are really getting some practical teaching from Paul, the Apostle. Ephesians is the letter that Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, which was the capital in the Roman province of Asia or what we today call Turkey. He wrote this letter from prison in Rome sometime between AD 60-62.
You probably remember reading in Acts 18 about Aquila and Priscilla, the Christian couple who brought the Gospel to Ephesus. And that's where they met and re-directed Apollos too.
Most everyone splits this letter the same way. The first three chapters are theological and emphasize New Testament doctrine. The last three chapters are very practical and focus on Christian behavior. This was another book that surprised me by reading it out loud to you. I found it extremely powerful. So much so, that I had to stop and pray that God would help me read it well and with proper emphasis so that you would benefit. I can tell you, I benefitted as well. (I don't know what it is about reading Scripture out loud...) You may want to read each chapter a couple of times, or listen again as you drive, just to absorb it.
This is an encouraging letter, wherein Paul reminds believers of their incredible blessings in Christ. But it also admonishes us to not only be grateful for those blessings, but that we endeavor to live in a manner worthy of them.
The book ends by describing the full spiritual armor of God. Finally, don't miss his discussion of the mystery. He explains so much of how the Jews are indeed the chosen of God, but the mystery revealed in Christ is that Gentiles are, as chapter 3, verse 6 tells us, coheirs, members of the same body, and partners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
So, at that revelation, let's get going!
Ephesians Chapter 1:
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will:
To the faithful saints in Christ Jesus at Ephesus.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
God’s Rich Blessings
Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ. For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him. He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he richly poured out on us with all wisdom and understanding. He made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he purposed in Christ as a plan for the right time — to bring everything together in Christ, both things in heaven and things on earth in him.
In him we have also received an inheritance, because we were predestined according to the plan of the one who works out everything in agreement with the purpose of his will, so that we who had already put our hope in Christ might bring praise to his glory.
In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed. The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory.
Prayer for Spiritual Insight
This is why, since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I never stop giving thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the mighty working of his strength.
God’s Power in Christ
He exercised this power in Christ by raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens — far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he subjected everything under his feet and appointed him as head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.
Ephesians Chapter 2:
From Death to Life
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might display the immeasurable riches of his grace through his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift — not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.
Unity in Christ
So, then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh — called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcised,” which is done in the flesh by human hands. At that time you were without Christ, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In his flesh, he made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that he might create in himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace. He did this so that he might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross by which he put the hostility to death. He came and proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So, then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole building, being put together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you are also being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.
Ephesians Chapter 3:
Paul’s Ministry to the Gentiles
For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles — assuming you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that he gave me for you. The mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have briefly written above. By reading this you are able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ. This was not made known to people in other generations as it is now revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: The Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and partners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I was made a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the working of his power.
This grace was given to me — the least of all the saints — to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of Christ, and to shed light for all about the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things. This is so that God’s multi-faceted wisdom may now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavens. This is according to his eternal purpose accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him we have boldness and confident access through faith in him. So, then, I ask you not to be discouraged over my afflictions on your behalf, for they are your glory.
Prayer for Spiritual Power
For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us — to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Paul wrote this letter to the gentile believers in Ephesus on the coast of what is now the country of Turkey. He shared with them the good news that Jews and Gentiles had been brought together into one body, with Jesus at the head.
From the beginning, the Jews had been set apart by God as His chosen people. They were to live according to the Law of Moses. They were to dress according to the Law of Moses. And they were to worship God according to the Law of Moses.
Jesus was the fulfilment of the Law. As it says in Eph 2:8-9, For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift – not from works, so no one can boast. The Law cannot save you; salvation comes only through Jesus Christ.
Furthermore, this salvation is available not just to the Jews but to the Gentiles as well. Paul says in Eph 2:19 – So, then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household. And again, in Eph 3:6 – The Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and partners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Let’s pray. Lord, thank You for loving us enough to free us from the yoke of the Law through Your free gift of grace in Your Son Jesus Christ. Thank you that we do not have to live according to rules that we can never completely obey. Keep us from thinking, for even a moment, that we can ever do anything to earn or deserve Your favor. Amen.
Are you grateful that you do not have to follow the Law? Share your thoughts with me at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray that by spending time in His Word every day, you will be changed. Visit me at Lifting Her Voice.com with your comments and questions. And don’t forget to visit the Blog page while you’re there. If you like the podcast, it would be great if you’d give it a five-star review and share it with everyone you know. Don't forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you tomorrow!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.