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No book of the Bible exalts Christ and His church to the great extent that Ephesians does. God's eternal purpose is unveiled in this rich epistle of six vibrant chapters. If there is one verse that truly blends all of the thoughts together it is Eph 3:21 --
"Unto God be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end, Amen."
The book of Ephesians has six great chapters sharing with us vital information on the church. Notice this simple outline of the contents:
Chapter 1 The church as the fulness of Christ
Chapter 2 Reconciled to God in the church
Chapter 3 Glorifying God through the church
Chapter 4 The Oneness of the church
Chapter 5 The Bride of Christ
Chapter 6 The Army of the Lord!
CHAPTER 1 of Ephesians tells us that all spiritual blessings are in Christ. We learn that sinners are redeemed through the blood of Jesus (Eph 1:3; 1:7). In Eph. 1:20-23 we learn of the necessity of the church. Christ is head over all things to the church (this eliminates the Pope, latter day "prophets" and all hierarchy). Many sectarian notions and denominational doctrines are ruined by clear-cut statements found in chapter one of Ephesians. Since Christ purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28) it is essential for us to be in that which the blood bought.
CHAPTER 2 tells us of the tragic position those outside of the Lord find themselves in. Notice these points in chapter 2:
The church of the Lord is a spiritual relationship with the Redeemer that transcends geography. Being rooted in Christ means that we are part of the pillar and ground of Truth.
CHAPTER 3 tells us of the glorious nature of Christ's church. This spiritual body of the Savior holds a high and lofty place in God's eternal purpose because of its relationship to Jesus. He is the:
CHAPTER 4 of this fascinating book sets forth seven points in heaven's platform for unity. The book is written in the decade of the 60's when animosity between Jews and Gentiles is building up greatly [resulting in the Roman-Jewish war AD 67-70], and what a struggle it must have been to keep down racial friction in the church and so in this chapter Paul stresses the UNITY of ALL the disciples in Christ! There was:
In the next section -- vs. 7-16-- careful Bible students learn of the purpose of miracles in the first century. Not only did such phenomena "confirm the word" (Mark 16;20; Heb. 2:1-4) the miraculous also caused the church to become full-grown when the solid unity of truth ("unity of the faith") was revealed. Every wind of doctrine could be challenged properly when the Scriptures were completed as the Spirit revealed to the apostles "all truth" (John 16:13; 17:17).
CHAPTER 5 Redemption becomes a key word tieing together the rich challenge of the first part of the book with the pulsating closing thoughts. Here is one point for each chapter:
The last section of chapter 5 tells the message of submission. It is a story of Christ and the church illustrated by the husband-wife relationship in marriage.
CHAPTER 6 deals with a valuable, and yet, often overlooked lesson. Children must obey their parents if God's plan for the home is effectively followed. The rampant rise of rebellion around the world can be traced to parents who allowed their offspring to disregard proper respect for authority.
The major lesson of the final stanza of Ephesians has to do with the militant nature of Christ's church-- His army! Our spiritual warfare against the hosts of sin is powerful. The one weapon to be used is the sword of the Spirit-- the Word of God! We battle against Satan and Sin. There is no furlough or week-end pass. Soldiers of Christ are always on guard and on duty against emissaries of evil. The panoply of the Christian as a soldier of Jesus includes, truth, righteousness, peace, faith, prayer and the proper use of the Scriptures, our sword.
Paul, an ambassador in bonds bids the Ephesians farewell in his familiar benediction of peace, grace and love.
The book is a rare gem of deep vibrant passages exalting Christ and His Church in the eternal purpose of God!
1. Notice the passage in the context of the book. UNITY is the key word of Ephesians; how that the Jews and Gentiles are ONE in Christ.
2. Remember the historical background of the decade in which Ephesians was written. There was a growing animosity between the Jews and Gentiles world-wide. It must have been a gigantic task in keep this friction out of the church.
3. Therefore this book stands to remind both Jews and Gentiles that we are ONE in Christ and that there is:
1. The Baptism of Moses -- 1 Cor. 10:1-2
2. The Baptism of John -- Mark 1:1-5
. . . . Apollos and disciples in Acts 18:24-24 ; Acts 19:1-5
3. The Baptism of Suffering -- Matthew 20:20-23
. . . . Figurative of an overwhelming in suffering and pain.
4. The Baptism of "Fire and the Holy Spirit" -- Matt. 3:10-12
. . a. Many fail to understand these are NOT the same thing.
. . b. Notice the context of "baptism with fire" Matt 3:11-12
. . . . 1) Baptism with "Fire" was a "threat" John 15:6; Heb.6:8
. . . . 2) Baptism with the "Holy Ghost" a promise (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-8; 2:33).
5. NONE of these was the ONE BAPTISM--
. . a. One Baptism for ALL BELIEVERS still in force when Paul wrote Ephesians in AD 62 was that baptism Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16.
II. "ONE BAPTISM"
1. What was the significance to the Jews and the Gentiles who received this letter? They were ALL baptized:
CONCLUSION: Is there "One Faith" today?