Ephesians

Ephesians Overview for tomorrow

This is not a typical Paul letter, it will not have your typical greeting, nor does it deal with a particular problem inside or outside the church.  It reads more like a sermon than a letter, focussing on the character of the church.  Yesterday we read about Jesus as the Head of the Church (Colossians), well in Ephesians we will read about the Body of the Church (Believers).

Paul will state that there is oneness between all believers, even Jews, and Gentiles.  By no means does Jesus intend there to be a separate church for Judaism or Christianity.  We are fully intended to be one Church.  The word Church in Greek is Ecclesia, meaning the assembly of the called-out ones.  In other words, the body of believers.

The city of Ephesus was a RICH port to the Mediterranean Sea.  This huge city contained an enormous theater (holding 25,000 at a time), a town square, a marketplace, public baths, libraries, and several enormous temples (mostly to the fertility goddess, Diana also called Artemis).

Ephesus

This book is about “actions”.  You will hear cool verses like “learn what pleases the Lord” and you will read action words that we are to do as Christians like “put off…and put on”.  Not things that we ask the Lord to change in us, but things we are to do ourselves FOR the Lord.   Anyway, this might just be your new favorite book!

Here are some pictures of Ephesus of the Temple in Ephesus.  It held 25,000 people.  Yes, that is a lot and the sound is incredible (I hear).

If you want to recall Paul’s trip to Ephesus and how he planted the church, click here to go back to Acts 19.

 

Philemon

The book of Philemon

Click here to listen

A large portion of the letter addresses the Roman practice of slavery, specifically in the life of a man named Onesimus. This man was a runaway slave of Philemon, a church leader in Colossae.

Paul’s letter to Philemon includes five main parts:

  1. An introduction (1:1–3),
  2. encouragement to Philemon (1:4–7),
  3. a request regarding the runaway slave Onesimus (1:8–16),
  4. a pledge to Philemon from Paul (1:17–22),
  5. and a brief conclusion (1:23–25).

(I listened to the book, I loved it when Paul said “Get my room ready…I am coming to visit)

When you think about the purpose of the letter don’t think of the people but think of God’s character.   What is the purpose of this book?

  • Respect
  • Love
  • Forgiveness
  • Care
  • Protection

 

 

Colossians

The book of Colossians

If you missed the “Overview” from last night, it would help to read it.  It helps to know why some of these topics are being addressed.  Because Paul is about to teach about false philosophies in Colossae, he begins with the reminder that Jesus is Supreme above all.  So even if you let some of that false teaching “in” and believe in superstitions, reading cards, horoscopes, the ‘elements’ like fire and water, remember: Jesus is Supreme and lords over all of it.

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.


Chapter 2…here we go: (this will make sense of you read the overview)

  • I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. (he knows they are)
  • See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ
  • .He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.
  • 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 
  • do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.
  • 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

Chapter 3. What is the solution to the dilemma?

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 

Set your HEART and your Mind on Christ.

Watch how the list of sins starts from the “outside” and works its way to the “core”, and then reverses.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature

  • sexual immorality, 
  • impurity, lust,
  • evil desires
  • and greed, 

which is idolatry.

Next:

But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these:

  • anger,
  • rage,
  • malice,
  • slander,
  •  and filthy language

AFTER that has been riddened (is that a word?) THEN you replace it with, Christ will replace it with the fruits of the Spirit.  (You have to pull the weeds from the garden if you want the flowers to grow) 

clothe yourselves with

  • compassion,
  • kindness,
  • humility, 
  • gentleness
  • and patience.

13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Ok, if I started cutting and pasting scripture we will be here all day….such GEMS in this book!!  I would love for you to tell me which one you loved (or several!).


I read the final greeting.  Such LOVE.   It is hard to imagine that this was the guy that asked for permission to go have people in Damascus arrested just so he can bring them to Jerusalem to stone them….for following Jesus!!


He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.

 

That is our segway scripture to the next book….Philemon.