I. Introduction. A. The object of the letter was to confirm the Ephesian disciples in the one faith by affirming the universal nature of the one church. 1. The book has two parts: a. The doctrinal part (1:1 to 3:21). b. The practical part (4:1 to 6:24). B. Salutation and greeting (1:1-2). 1. Written by Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ to the saints at Ephesus and the faithful in Jesus (1:1). 2. Paul wishes for them grace and peace (1:2). II. Doctrinal Part of the Letter. A. The blessings of salvation--every spiritual blessing is in Christ (1:3-14). 1. Holiness, signifying a separation to God (1:4). 2. Adoption as sons to the praise of God's gift (1:5-6). a. Paul says the saved are foreordained to adoption as sons. b. If this means individuals are predetermined to be sons by an arbitrary appointment, it would amount to divine prejudice and contradict Acts 10:34-35. c. The only other possibility is that God predestined the conditions upon which sinners could be born of water and spirit into the spiritual family of God, making them adopted sons "according to the good pleasure of his will." d. This sonship comes by birth, but not natural birth. It is adoption and, in this case, God has a choice and so does the sinner. In courts of law a mature child gives his consent to be adopted, but the adoptive father must also be willing to accept the child. e. We praise God for the radiant show of his goodness, by which he has favored us, because of his Son. 3. Redemption through the blood of Jesus (1:7). a. The slave of sin is redeemed (bought back). b. The cost of redemption is the blood of the Son of God (1 Cor. 6:19-20). 4. Forgiveness of trespasses--every false step and blunder is dismissed, released, and remitted, according to the fullness of his favor or boundless gift (1:7). 5. The sum of God's blessings (1:8-12). a. God's great gift of salvation overflows in keeping with his practical understanding and knowledge in the management of affairs (1:8). b. The purpose of God in Christ is to completely forgive all sin, according to his good pleasure--this was concealed (a mystery) in the Old Testament but is now revealed (the terms and conditions of such forgiveness are disclosed) in the New Testament (1:9). c. The plan of God for accomplishing the salvation of all obedient believers, both Jews and Gentiles, by bringing them into one body, church, or society under the rule of Jesus is now unveiled (1:10). d. We have received the blessing promised to Abraham that in him and his seed all the nations of the earth may be sanctified--the offer of salvation to every creature in all the earth was the predetermined purpose of God (1:11). e. The Jews hoped in the Christ because they were given the promise of his coming, and should praise God for boasting of his intention to bless all the nations of the earth (1:12). 6. Gentiles received the hope of salvation through Jews (1:13- 14). a. The gospel of salvation sounded forth from Jerusalem (1:13). b. The Gentiles heard the word of the gospel and believed it (1:13). c. Gentiles were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise as a result of believing the gospel (1:13). The seal was hearing and believing the word of the gospel. "The firm foundation of God standeth, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his: and, Let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness" (2 Tim. 2:19). The seal is accepting the authority of the living God by conforming to the requirements of his revealed will--the gospel is God's power to save (Rom. 1:16); it makes us complete (2 Tim. 3:16-17); it is able to save our souls (James 1:21); and it is able to build us up and give us an inheritance among all the sanctified (Acts 20:32) (1:13). d. The seal of the Holy Spirit of promise is the earnest of our inheritance (1:14). The seal is hearing, believing, and obeying the gospel. This makes us a new creature in Christ Jesus and gives us peace, joy, and hope. The contentment of discipleship is a foretaste of future bliss--the seal of the Spirit and the earnest of our inheritance (1:14). B. Paul's prayer for the saints (1:15-23) 1. The apostle, having heard of their faith and love, gave thanks and prayed for them (1:15-16). 2. Paul prayed they might have a full understanding of the plan of salvation and have the wisdom to know something of what is in store for the Christian (1:17-18). 3. He also prayed the saints would understand the power of God as he works in the believer through his saving word (1:19). a. It is the same power that brought Jesus out of the tomb in a mighty resurrection and glorious ascension (1:20). 4. Jehovah gave Jesus rule and dominion (1:21). 5. Jehovah put all things in subjection under the feet of Jesus, and gave him to be head over all things to the church (1:22). 6. The church is the body of Jesus and the fullness of him who fills all his members with spiritual favors, according to the position in his body (the church) assigned to them (1:23). C. Paul reviews blessings already received (2:1-10). 1. They were dead in sin and servants of Satan. Walking in the lusts of the flesh, they were rebellious children, deserving wrath and punishment (2:1-3). 2. God, in his goodness and rich mercy, made them alive together with Christ (2:4). a. In the water of baptism the contrite believer dies with Christ and is raised to live with Christ (2:5, Rom. 6:8). b. The resurrected believer is to walk in newness of life, accounting himself to be dead to sin and alive to God in Christ (2:6-7, Rom. 6:4,11). c. All future generations may have forgiveness and the hope of eternal life (2:8). 3. Salvation is by grace through faith (2:8-9). a. Grace is the favor of God. It is God's unspeakable gift of his own Son, that whosoever believes on him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16). b. Faith is man's acceptance of God's free gift and includes obedience to God's commands. Faith is a work of God that man must do (John 6:28-29). c. Salvation is not of works. Man cannot keep the moral law of God perfectly. All sin and fall short of God's glory. No mortal can live in sinless perfection, and therefore, has nothing to boast about. He sins and must receive pardon by God's mercy, love, and grace (2:9). 4. As new creatures in Christ, the saved are to display good works, according to the appointment of God (2:10). a. In Christ, we are new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17). b. Men are to see the goods works of the saved and glorify God (Matt. 5:16). D. The law of Moses is taken away so Jew and Gentile could be one new man in Christ (2:11-22). 1. The Gentiles, in times past, were without God, strangers from the covenants of the promise, and without hope (2:11-12). 2. In Christ, Gentiles are made close by the blood of Christ (2:13). 3. Christ is our peace and has removed the partition (2:14). 4. Jesus abolished the partition--law of Moses--so he might bring both Jew and Gentile together, making peace (2:15). 5. Jesus' cross removed the enmity--the law of Moses that had been a barrier between Jew and Gentile--and reconciled both Jew and Gentile in the one body unto God (2:16). 6. Jesus preached peace to Jew and Gentile (2:17). 7. Through Jesus, both Jews and Gentiles have access to God through the Spirit (2:18). a. Rapprochement to God is by the word of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-19). The word of reconciliation is revealed, confirmed, and protected by the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:13). Therefore, we have access to God through the Spirit, or through the word revealed by the Spirit. 8. Gentiles may now be reconciled to God and members of his household (2:20-22). a. They are built upon the foundation of the teaching of apostles and prophets about Christ, who is the chief corner stone (2:20). b. In Christ each saved person grows into a holy temple in the Lord (2:21). c. The holy temple made of living stones is the dwelling place of God in the Spirit, or by means of the teaching of the Spirit (2:22). E. Gentiles are partakers of the gospel (3:1-13). 1. Paul was given the work of teaching Gentiles (3:1-2). 2. It was revealed to Paul that God's offer of forgiveness is for all nations (3:3-4). a. He has previously mentioned that which was once concealed, but is now revealed--the mystery of the Old Testament (3:3). b. By reading Paul's words, they could know his understanding in the mystery of Christ (3:4). 3. Previously this was not made known, but is now revealed to the apostles of Jesus and the prophets by the Spirit (3:5). 4. The New Covenant is for all nations, and believing Gentiles are acceptable to God (3:6). 5. Paul was appointed to preach to the Gentiles the gospel of salvation--the unsearchable riches of Christ (3:7-8). 6. Paul was given the task of making all men see what had been previously concealed (3:9). 7. Through the church--the one body--angels are taught the multiplied and diverse wisdom of God in reconciling men to himself by the blood of his Son (3:10). 8. It has always been the intention of God to make salvation worldwide (3:11). 9. Confidence of acceptance is the effect of faith, and all believers can boldly approach God in prayer (3:12-13). a. Paul suffered because he taught that Gentiles had a right to salvation in Christ, but he did not want them to be dejected. His affliction was for their triumph (3:13). F. Paul's earnest wish and prayer is that they might understand the glory of the plan of salvation and be partakers in the divine nature (3:14-19). G. Praise to God for his goodness (3:20-21). III. The Practical Part of the Letter. A. An exhortation to unity (4:1-16). 1. Believers are to walk worthily of their high calling (4:1). 2. They are to be lowly, meek, longsuffering, bearing with each other in love (4:2). They are to be indulgent of each other. 3. They are to maintain unity and peace (4:3). 4. There is to be a oneness of body (church), hope, faith, and baptism, because there is one Spirit, one Lord, and one God (Eph. 4:4-6). 5. Jesus, who came from heaven to earth and has now returned to an exalted station in heaven, has given gifts to men (4:7-10). 6. Jesus put various offices in the church (4:11). 7. The purpose of evangelists, apostles, prophets, elders, and teachers (4:12-16). a. Perfect and edify the saints (4:12). b. Attain to unity of faith in the knowledge of the son of God (4:13). c. Believers may grow up into the fullness of Christ (4:13). d. May be stable and deeply rooted in the truth and not be mislead and deceived by cunning and smooth talking false teachers (4:14). e. Speak the truth in love (4:15). f. Every member of the church works in close harmony and accord with every other member to build up and strengthen the body, which is the church (4:16). B. The saved are to be holy and not ungodly (4:17-31). 1. They must not live as do Gentiles (heathens) in foolishness of mind, darkened in understanding, unable to tell truth from error, strangers to the life commanded by God, without restraint, indecent, wanton, in all uncleanness and greed (4:17-24). a. They had not so learned Christ (4:20). b. They were to put on the new man in righteous and holiness of truth (4:23-24). 2. They are to put away lying, anger, theft, corrupt conversation, grieving the Holy Spirit, bitterness, evil- speakings, and malice (4:25-32). a. They were to be kind and tenderhearted (4:32). b. Having received mercy, they were to be merciful (4:32). C. Various admonitions (5:1-21). 1. Imitate the heavenly fathers as beloved children; walk in love in gratitude for the sweet-smelling sacrifice Jesus made for us (5:1-2). a. Avoid fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, jesting that is not befitting, and idolatry (5:3-5). b. Watch for and do not be deceived by false prophets (5:6- 7). 2. Walk as children of light (5:8-14). a. Follow after goodness and righteousness and truth (5:8). b. Have nothing to do with the unfruitful works of darkness (5:11). c. Reprove evil and every false teaching (5:12). 3. Be careful, walk as wise and not unwise, buy back the opportunities, because the days are evil. Understand the will of the Lord (5:15-17). 4. Stay away from strong drink and riot (wastefulness) (5:18). 5. Be filled with the Spirit by letting the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom (5:19; Col. 3:16-17). 6. Delight yourself in worship of God, singing to each other spiritual songs (5:19). 7. Be thankful to God and respectful of each other (5:21). D. Domestic duties (5:22-6:9) 1. Relationship between husbands and wives (5:22-33). a. Wives must be in subjection to their own husbands (5:22- 23). b. Husbands must love their own wives, seeking for the wife's happiness and being considerate of her (5:24-33). 2. Parents and children (6:1-4). 3. Servants and masters (6:5-9). E. Final exhortations (6:10-20). 1. Be strong in the Lord and put on the whole armor of God (6:10-20). F. Conclusion and blessing (6:21-23).
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