In this letter to the people in Ephesus, and to us today, Paul gives us insights into the meaning of Church. It is a living, expanding organism that our heavenly Father planned from the very beginning. This letter speaks to the soul’s longing for purpose within the family of God. The apostle John made it clear; that God came down to earth in the Body of Christ. The apostle Paul shares with divine clarity that God predestined a Body of believers to become His church. The Church is the Body of Christ and it is made up of all people, from all nations.
Acts 15:17-20 restates the words of the prophet Amos 9:11 – That God would rebuild the fallen tent, His Church, and that God would restore it, and that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the “Gentiles who bear My name.” The importance emphasized is that the whole Assembly of God, His Church, will welcome the Gentile and make it easy for them to be adopted into God’s family. Spirit rested equally on the Jew and the Gentile at Pentecost, which was God’s plan, His design. “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will – to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.” (1:4)
History is recorded in Acts 10 about the conversion of a Gentile named Cornelius who was a Italian centurion. His baptism is followed by the baptism of a female Gentile named Lydia who lived in the Roman colony in Philippi. (Acts 16) The entire Gentile families of both Cornelius and Lydia were baptized. Paul spoke words to initiate healing and unity among the Jews and the Gentiles in Ephesus.
With excitement Paul points out that God chose us as a part of His divine plan. That we are all marked with God’s seal, the Holy Spirit as soon as we first ‘hear’ the word of truth and accept Jesus as Lord; “Having believed you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of His glory.
Paul pours into listening hearts the love he has for all the saints. He reminds them that he continually prays for them and he calls them to unify by surrendering to God’s grace. Today we can be assured by the following Scripture that the Spirit prays for us. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” (2) The prince of the airwaves is Satan, and he enters the mind as we listen to what the world broadcasts over multiple airwaves. The evil one is determined to win your soul over to the dark side.
Paul was the preacher to the Gentiles and in his short but power packed letter to the Ephesians he reminds us all; “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no person can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (2:8) Paul talks about God’s intent to unravel the mystery what it is to be a soldier of Christ. As His Church Body, and by His grace, that we serve as soldiers in His army. That we use our weapon, the Word of God to make known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, the prince of the air, that we stand united in victory. That victory is a promise according to our Father’s eternal purpose, which God accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord on the cross.
Paul speaks forcefully that we hear what the Spirit is warning! There is a war for our souls. “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from who His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” (3:14-21) Paul calls the Church to unify in chapter 4 and to live as children of the light. “put off you old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds’ and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness an holiness.” (4:22)
Paul exhorts us to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power as we put on the full armor of God so that we can take our stand against the devil’s scheme to take us down to his infernal hell. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.” (6:10)
Copyright © 2019 by Barbara Alley Hoyle.
All rights reserved.
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“It is finished.” 4/20/19