WEBVTT 00:00:02.800 --> 00:00:05.220 Paul's letter to the Ephesians. 00:00:05.220 --> 00:00:08.514 The story of how Paul came to the city of Ephesus is really interesting. 00:00:08.520 --> 00:00:11.220 You can go read about it in Acts chapter 19. 00:00:11.220 --> 00:00:12.896 Ephesus was a huge city. 00:00:12.900 --> 00:00:16.240 It was the epicenter of worship for most of the Greek and Roman gods. 00:00:16.240 --> 00:00:20.340 For over two years, Paul had a really effective missionary presence there. 00:00:20.340 --> 00:00:22.640 Lots of people became followers of Jesus. 00:00:22.640 --> 00:00:27.640 Years later, after being imprisoned by the Romans, Paul wrote this letter. 00:00:27.640 --> 00:00:31.580 The movement of thought in the letter divides into two really clear halves. 00:00:31.580 --> 00:00:34.940 In the first half, Paul is exploring the story of the gospel, 00:00:34.940 --> 00:00:38.660 how all history came to its climax, and Jesus, 00:00:38.660 --> 00:00:42.380 and in his creation of this multi-ethnic community of his followers. 00:00:42.380 --> 00:00:45.960 The second half of the letter is linked to the first by the word "therefore". 00:00:45.960 --> 00:00:49.980 Here Paul explores how the gospel story should affect how we live 00:00:49.980 --> 00:00:55.840 every part of our life story, personally, in our neighborhoods and communities and in our families. 00:00:55.840 --> 00:00:58.700 So let's dive in and we can see how Paul develops all of this. 00:00:58.700 --> 00:01:04.420 Chapter 1 opens with a beautiful Jewish style poem where Paul praises God the Father 00:01:04.420 --> 00:01:08.560 for the amazing things that he has done in Christ Jesus. 00:01:08.570 --> 00:01:14.600 From eternity past, the father has purposed to choose and bless a covenant people. 00:01:14.600 --> 00:01:16.759 Think here the family of Abraham 00:01:16.760 --> 00:01:19.260 and Genesis chapter 12 verses 1-3. 00:01:19.260 --> 00:01:23.000 Through Jesus now, anyone can be adopted into that family. 00:01:23.000 --> 00:01:26.900 Jesus's death covers our worst sins, our worse failures. 00:01:26.900 --> 00:01:29.760 In Jesus, we find God's grace. 00:01:29.760 --> 00:01:36.799 In fact, Paul says that grace has opened up a whole new way for us to understand every part of our lives. 00:01:36.800 --> 00:01:44.500 He says, in chapter 1 verse 10, that God's purpose was to unify all things in heaven and on earth under Christ 00:01:44.500 --> 00:01:46.500 which is a title that means Messiah. 00:01:46.500 --> 00:01:52.980 God's plan was always to have a huge family of restored human beings who are unified in Jesus the Messiah. 00:01:52.980 --> 00:01:59.080 This divine purpose became clear, Paul says, when we were first made into that family. 00:01:59.180 --> 00:02:02.275 Here he is referring to ethnic Jews in the family of Abraham. 00:02:02.280 --> 00:02:06.020 But then Paul talks about how you, and here he means non-Jews, 00:02:06.020 --> 00:02:09.220 you all heard about Jesus and the salvation through him. 00:02:09.220 --> 00:02:13.720 and you were also brought into this family by the work of the Holy Spirit. 00:02:13.720 --> 00:02:18.530 Here he is referring to the events told in the stories of Acts about how God's Spirit 00:02:18.530 --> 00:02:23.200 brought together Jew and non-Jew into one family in Jesus. 00:02:23.200 --> 00:02:25.939 It is just like God promised to Abraham long ago. 00:02:25.940 --> 00:02:30.580 Notice how in this poem Paul begins by talking about God the Father 00:02:30.580 --> 00:02:34.500 but then about Jesus the Son and then, here the end, about the Spirit. 00:02:34.500 --> 00:02:36.260 All three work together. 00:02:36.260 --> 00:02:39.340 As Paul tells the story of the gospel. It is really cool. 00:02:39.340 --> 00:02:41.880 After the poem, Paul responds with a prayer. 00:02:41.881 --> 00:02:49.099 He prays that these followers of Jesus would not just know about, but personally experience, the power of the gospel, 00:02:49.100 --> 00:02:52.860 that they would be energized by the same power that raised Jesus from the dead 00:02:52.860 --> 00:02:56.180 and placed him as the exalted head of the whole world. 00:02:56.182 --> 00:03:01.700 In chapter 2, Paul goes back and elaborates on some key ideas from the poem in chapter one, 00:03:01.700 --> 00:03:05.860 especially God's grace and this new multi-ethnic family of Jesus 00:03:05.860 --> 00:03:10.360 He begins by retelling the story of how these non-Jewish Christians came to know Jesus. 00:03:10.360 --> 00:03:15.340 Before hearing about Jesus they were physically alive but they were spiritually dead. 00:03:15.340 --> 00:03:19.200 They were trapped in a purposeless life of selfishness and sin. 00:03:19.200 --> 00:03:22.660 They were deceived by dark, spiritual forces of evil. 00:03:22.660 --> 00:03:26.726 But, amazingly, God in his great love and mercy, he saved them. 00:03:26.726 --> 00:03:32.449 He forgave all of their sins and he joined their lives to Jesus' resurrection life. 00:03:32.449 --> 00:03:34.500 He brought them back to life, too. 00:03:34.500 --> 00:03:38.820 So now, having been created as new human beings through Jesus, 00:03:38.820 --> 00:03:45.320 they have the joy of discovering all of the new calling and purposes and tasks that God has set before them. 00:03:45.320 --> 00:03:50.420 Not only have they been shown God's grace, they have also been invited into a new family. 00:03:50.420 --> 00:03:54.703 Before hearing about Jesus, these non-Jewish people were not just cut off from God, 00:03:54.703 --> 00:04:00.000 they were cut off from his covenant people, the family of Abraham, and for a really practical reason. 00:04:00.000 --> 00:04:04.660 The commands of the Sinai covenant formed like a boundary line around the family. 00:04:04.660 --> 00:04:08.300 They were like a barrier that kept most non-Jewish people away. 00:04:08.307 --> 00:04:13.747 But in Jesus, the laws of the Torah have been fulfilled and the barrier is removed. 00:04:13.760 --> 00:04:20.555 The two ethnic groups have become, as Paul puts it, "A new unified humanity that can live together in peace." 00:04:20.560 --> 00:04:25.480 Paul goes on in chapter 3 to marvel at the unique role that he got to have 00:04:25.480 --> 00:04:28.220 in spreading this good news to non-Jewish people. 00:04:28.220 --> 00:04:34.740 Even though he is in prison, he is thanking God for the chance he has had to see this covenant family grow so huge. 00:04:34.740 --> 00:04:37.820 So Paul closes the first half of the letter with another prayer. 00:04:37.820 --> 00:04:45.270 This time he prays that Jesus' followers would be strengthened by God's Spirit to simply grasp and comprehend 00:04:45.270 --> 00:04:48.140 the love that Christ has for his people. 00:04:48.140 --> 00:04:51.420 The second half of the letter begins with Paul shifting gears. 00:04:51.420 --> 00:04:57.720 He starts challenging the reader to respond to the Gospel story by how they live their own life story. 00:04:57.720 --> 00:05:01.300 He starts in chapter 4 with just the everyday life of the church. 00:05:01.300 --> 00:05:04.920 The church is a big family with lots of different kinds of people. 00:05:04.920 --> 00:05:07.740 But he emphasizes that they are one. 00:05:07.740 --> 00:05:09.660 One is a key word in this chapter. 00:05:09.660 --> 00:05:12.600 They are one body that is unified by one Spirit. 00:05:12.600 --> 00:05:14.780 They have one Lord with one faith. 00:05:14.780 --> 00:05:17.640 They have one baptism. They believe in one God. 00:05:17.640 --> 00:05:19.660 It is a lot of unity. 00:05:19.660 --> 00:05:24.220 However, Paul says unity is not the same thing as uniformity. 00:05:24.220 --> 00:05:30.360 He goes on to explore how Jesus' new family consists of lots of very different kinds of people 00:05:30.360 --> 00:05:36.380 but they are all empowered by the one Holy Spirit, each using their unique talents and passions to serve 00:05:36.380 --> 00:05:39.700 and to love each other, and to build up the church. 00:05:39.700 --> 00:05:41.880 Here he uses two really cool metaphors. 00:05:41.880 --> 00:05:45.080 One is building up the church as a new temple. 00:05:45.080 --> 00:05:50.420 The second is that they are all becoming a new humanity with Jesus as the head. 00:05:50.420 --> 00:05:54.540 This new humanity is a metaphor he is then going to run with for the next couple chapters. 00:05:54.540 --> 00:05:59.780 Paul challenges every Christian to take off their old humanity like a set of old clothes 00:05:59.780 --> 00:06:04.620 and to put on their new humanity in which the image of God is being restored. 00:06:04.620 --> 00:06:09.520 He then goes on into this long section where he compares this new and old humanity. 00:06:09.520 --> 00:06:13.620 Instead of lying, new humans speak truth. 00:06:13.620 --> 00:06:17.540 Instead of harboring, anger they peacefully resolve their conflicts. 00:06:17.540 --> 00:06:20.780 Instead of stealing, new humans are generous. 00:06:20.780 --> 00:06:24.220 Instead of gossiping, they encourage people with their words. 00:06:24.220 --> 00:06:27.500 Instead of getting revenge, new humans forgive. 00:06:27.500 --> 00:06:34.680 Instead of gratifying every sexual impulse new humans cultivate self control of their bodily desires. 00:06:34.680 --> 00:06:40.020 Instead of getting drunk, new humans come under the influence of God's Spirit. 00:06:40.020 --> 00:06:43.900 He spells out what that influence looks like in four different ways. 00:06:43.900 --> 00:06:45.700 The first two have to do with singing. 00:06:45.700 --> 00:06:48.220 Singing together but also singing alone. 00:06:48.220 --> 00:06:51.227 This is really interesting that the first thing that Paul thinks of 00:06:51.227 --> 00:06:56.440 about how the Spirit works in the lives of Jesus' people is singing and music. 00:06:56.440 --> 00:07:00.460 The third sign of the Spirit's influence is being thankful for everything. 00:07:00.460 --> 00:07:03.580 And the fourth is that the Spirit will compel Jesus' followers 00:07:03.580 --> 00:07:10.940 to put themselves underneath others and to elevate others as more important than themselves. 00:07:10.940 --> 00:07:17.200 Paul actually expands on this fourth point by showing how it works in Christian marriage. 00:07:17.200 --> 00:07:21.760 You have a wife who follows Jesus. She is called to respect and allow 00:07:21.760 --> 00:07:24.160 her husband to become responsible for her. 00:07:24.160 --> 00:07:31.900 The husband is called to love his wife and to use his responsibility to lay down his selfish agenda 00:07:31.900 --> 00:07:34.959 to prioritize his wife's well-being above his own. 00:07:34.960 --> 00:07:40.500 Paul says it is this kind of marriage that is actually reenacting the gospel story. 00:07:40.500 --> 00:07:45.020 The husband's actions mimic Jesus and his love and self-sacrifice. 00:07:45.020 --> 00:07:50.400 The wise actions mimic the church which allows Jesus to love her and to make her new. 00:07:50.400 --> 00:07:56.020 Paul then applies the same idea to children and parents as well as slaves and masters. 00:07:56.020 --> 00:08:01.880 Paul closes out the letter by reminding these Christians of the reality of spiritual evil. 00:08:01.880 --> 00:08:06.940 These are beings and forces that will try to undermine the unity of Jesus' people 00:08:06.940 --> 00:08:09.400 and to compromise their new humanity. 00:08:09.400 --> 00:08:14.860 So Paul challenges them to stand firm and to put on this metaphorical set of body armor 00:08:14.860 --> 00:08:17.410 which he describes in detail. 00:08:17.410 --> 00:08:21.560 Paul has drawn all of these pieces of body armor from the book of Isaiah 00:08:21.560 --> 00:08:24.220 and how Isaiah depicted the messianic king. 00:08:24.220 --> 00:08:29.480 Now, as the Messiah's followers, we need to make the Messiah's attributes our own, 00:08:29.540 --> 00:08:31.420 since we make up Jesus' body. 00:08:31.420 --> 00:08:35.980 Practically I think Paul means for Christians to begin to form habits, 00:08:35.980 --> 00:08:40.240 proactively using prayer, the Scriptures and our relationships with each other 00:08:40.240 --> 00:08:43.460 to help us grow and mature as followers of Jesus. 00:08:43.466 --> 00:08:46.244 That is the letter to the Ephesians 00:08:46.244 --> 00:08:47.320 Very powerful. 00:08:47.320 --> 00:08:54.220 It is where Paul summarizes the whole gospel story and how it should reshape every part of our life story.