First century Ephesus was a commercial, religious, and cultural power. Being the fifth largest city in the Roman Empire, it boasted some of the largest markets, temples, and theaters in the ancient world. But its man-centered nature made it a place of great exploitation, idolatry, and debauchery.
Yet, within this pagan city God was building His church: a church established, united, and transformed by Christ. God is still building his church in the midst of unbelief, and we will study His word to see how all who look to Him in faith may stand and serve triumphantly through the grace of our triumphant Savior.
Among the arsenal of spiritual weapons at our disposal through the blood of Christ, Paul saves the most powerful for last: prayer to our Father in heaven. With clarity and simplicity, he shows us how to pray, how to ask for prayer, and how to follow-up on prayer requests in a way that strengthens the Church and brings glory to our Savior.
The onslaught of our spiritual battle is fierce and never-ending. Attacks come from many directions and the fog of war often leaves us disoriented and seemingly alone. But God has provided us with impenetrable spiritual armor through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. In our Savior, we may resist every evil attack and stand firm through the strength of the One who first stood firm for us.
The end of Ephesians tells us we’re in the fight of our lives; a fight so fierce that no unaided Christian can prevail. But God has provided a sure defense through the shielding blood of Christ. Against such divine armor no attack can succeed. We take our battle stations by faith, resting in the strength of the One who forever triumphed on the cross.
How can you serve the Lord in a miserable situation? Whether in bondage to a slave master, an overbearing boss, or a difficult home circumstance, we find true freedom only in the One who forsook His freedom for us. Becoming Christ’s slave is actually the most liberating thing there is as we discover the hope, purpose, and power of serving the Master who set us free.
Parents and children have experienced tension since the very first parents and children! Sin disrupts all of our relationships, especially among those with whom we share close quarters. Thankfully, our perfectly wise Father is in the process of redeeming family relations through the grace of His perfectly obedient Son, Jesus Christ.
Most marital advice to men tends to either be dominated by guilt or diluted by man-centered tips and tactics. But God provides a better way in Ephesians 5. Believing husbands may reflect the grace of the selfless Savior to whom they have been joined by faith. Indeed, all Christians may find grace to serve others though the ultimate Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.
For many people, the command for wives to submit to their husbands as to the Lord seems highly problematic. Many wives view it as demeaning. Many husbands view it as excuse to be demeaning. Many single people view it as irrelevant to them. Many others are unsure of what it looks like in practice or why it’s so important. But God shows us in His word how all of our earthly relationships offer an excellent opportunity to reflect the glory of our selfless Savior as we grow together in His grace. In addition to offering practical teaching on marriage, Ephesians 5 gives us deeper insight into the love of Christ for His Church.
Life is a minefield of bad decisions waiting to happen. Even staying where we are offers no protection but only a different set of dangers. Our only hope for life and godliness is to follow the Savior who has gone before us in perfect wisdom and who guides our steps as we look to Him for grace.
Paul didn’t hide the hard truth that we don’t merely live in a darkened world, or do darkened things, but that we are darkened people due to the curse of the fall. Our hearts are blackened as a result of Adam’s sin. The good news is that Jesus, the light of the world, can not only rescue us from our former life of darkness, but enable us to live as His radiant disciples in a world desperately in need of His grace.
Every believer has been fully cleansed from the penalty of sin through the blood of Christ, but purification from its residual effects is an ongoing process. How can a Christian grow in purity in the midst of an impure world? God’s word provides the answer though the grace of our immaculate Savior.