July 15 | Waking with The Word | Ephesians 1 : 1-3
Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: :2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
We took a short break in our daily emails for the birth of our sixth child, Ezekiel Caleb. We're back and I've spent these couple of weeks prayerfully considering where to start our studies at again. I've concluded that we should move to the book of Ephesians. I want to carry on with the same idea of Conquering our Canaan, only that now our studies won't be types and shadows and illustrations like they were throughout the book of Joshua, rather this will be a study of our inheritance "In Christ." The Book of Joshua was about how Israel was to come into their inheritance, how they were to fight for it, how they were to inherit it and inhabit it. They had a vast inheritance they they had to first fight for, then once it was theirs they had to discover it. They traveled the flat lands, the dessert, the mountains and all the other terrains that they may know the breadth, and length, and depth and height of the inheritance they had. That is the purpose of the book of Ephesians to make us aware of the inheritance that we have "In Christ." Our inheritance is not a earthly one that can be discovered by surveys of land but a spiritual one that can only be discovered by surveys of the scripture. Think of this epistle as the title deed to our spiritual inheritance. As one would refer to a land deed to know the boundaries of their earthly plot, we can refer to the writings of Paul in Ephesians to know the breadth, and length, and depth and height of the inheritance we have in Christ.
Today we will deal with Just the opening statement of the book. The opening of the book serves a few different purposes, firstly it tells us who is writing the book,Paul. Secondly it tells us the authority that He has to address the church. Paul was writing this letter to the church at Ephesus but not under his own authority but on the authority of the one who called Him. Not by his own will but by the will of God. Now I believe that the office of the Apostle has been done away with, we no longer have apostles. The apostles were the leaders of the early church and given special revelation and authority because God's final revelation and authority was not yet completed (The Bible). We know who wrote it(Paul) and under what authority He wrote it(His Apostleship). It is important to note that our authority now rest in the scripture and not in any other means of revelation.
Then He tells us who it is He is addressing. The saints at Ephesus and to the faithful in Christ Jesus. This was a letter delivered to the church at Ephesus but also this letter is written to "The faithful in Christ Jesus." That is the phrase that interest me most. Notice this letter is written to those that are already in Christ. Which is extremely important to keep in mind while reading and interpreting these scriptures. Not only to those that are in Christ but to the faithful in Christ. This epistle is especially for the faithful in Christ. Not for the nominal Christian who has no desire for the deeper things of God and not for the babe but for the faithful, the ones who have tasted of the sincere milk of the word and want to move to meat.
Paul wrote to the church at Corinth with these words:
1 Corinthians 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. :2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. :3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
The book of Ephesians can be compared to the meat Paul was talking about here. In Corinthians he is addressing carnal Christians about sinful burdens but in the book of Ephesians he is addressing faithful Christians about spiritual blessings. The same can be said of the epistles in our lives today. If your a carnal christian this book of Ephesians may not be as comforting to you because the blessings written within are spiritual and eternal and not physical and temporal. The delight of this epistle is reserved for the faithful in Christ. Much like the promise land was only for the faithful generation that would trust God and live in the land and not for the unfaithful generation that would live their life in disobedience and faithlessness. This inheritance in Christ is for every person in Christ but can only be experimentally enjoyed by the faithful. The Corinthians were believers just like the Ephesians but one is being admonished for sin and the other growing in the knowledge of their inheritance. If Paul was to write a letter to you today would it be a 1 Corinthians or Ephesians? Would it contain admonishment or encouragement? Would it be milk or meat?
He then reminds them of the grace and peace that has been extended to them from God the Father through Jesus. We to need to be reminded often that God has, through His Son, offered us grace and peace. The grace we experience is from God and the peace that we have with God is from God and it is through His grace the we have peace. Grace and peace, is there anymore we could ask for? Peace with God, Grace from God, in these two blessings are contained countless others but these two are just the beginning of the inheritance Paul is fixing to reveal to us through the leading of The Spirit.
In this study of the book of Ephesians I encourage you to read the scripture for your self and not just the portion at the top of the page. Make yourself familiar with this epistle and if you're not a faithful Christian I hope that the riches found in this book will encourage and prod you to move from the milk of The Word to the meat.
According to the Riches of His Grace!!