Introduction: This week we continue our study of Paul’s letter to the
Ephesians. (We will also see if I can quit writing “Ephesus” when I
mean “Ephesians!”) Paul’s introduction in his letter to the saints
reveals some themes for his entire letter and reveals some secrets
for saints today. To explore these secrets, let’s dive into our
- Grace and Peace
- What greeting do you normally give to others? (I normally
say, “How are you doing?” or “Hi.”)
- How many “How are you doing” people are there in the
- If that is your greeting, do you expect people
to give you a meaningful answer? (Generally, I
do not. On occasion people will act like I’m
asking a real question, but that is rare.
Normally, when someone greets me with “How are
you doing?” I respond with my own “How are you
doing?” Sometimes I respond with “fine,”
regardless of how I feel at the moment.)
- Read Ephesians 1:1-2. Paul greets the Ephesians (and us)
with the phrase “grace and peace.” This is a common way
for him to greet his readers. See, e.g. Galatians 1:3. Do
you think he means anything substantive by his greeting?
Or, is this just his way of saying “How are you doing?”
- On whose behalf is Paul greeting us? (God the Father
and Lord Jesus! I think this, more than anything
else, shows us that Paul has meaning in his
- On what basis can Paul claim to be speaking for
God? (Notice that Ephesians 1:1 says that he is
an apostle of Jesus “by the will of God.” That
means that Paul asserts God chose him to be His
- Can we take Paul’s word for this? He was not one of
the twelve disciples. If someone comes to you and
says, “I speak for God,” how would you react? (Read 2
Peter 3:15-16. Peter, who was one of the twelve
apostles, refers to Paul’s writings as “Scripture!”
Paul is speaking for God.)
- Now that we know Paul has meaning in his greeting, what
does he wish for us when he says “Grace and peace?”
- Is there a connection between what Paul wishes for us
and the fact that he is speaking for the Father and
- Read Ephesians 2:13-15. How has Jesus given us peace?
(This shows us the deep meaning in Paul’s greeting:
“grace and peace.” He is summarizing the plan of
salvation. God the Father shows grace to us because
of what Jesus has done on our behalf. What Jesus has
done gives us peace with God the Father. Jesus has
“destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of
hostility” between us and the Father which was
created by our sins.)
- Spiritual Blessings
- Read Ephesians 1:3. Most Christians that I know are
looking for blessings here on earth. What does Paul mean
when he writes that God the Father has “blessed us in the
heavenly realms?” (The “heavenly realms” does not refer to
the sky, but rather refers to the place where God lives.
We are given riches where God lives.)
- How is it that we are blessed? (We have spiritual
blessings through Jesus.)
- How many blessings do we have? (All.)
- We have spoken in the past about our spiritual
gifts. Does this mean that every spiritual gift
can be ours?
- If not, what spiritual blessings, what
spiritual wealth is ours?
- Read Ephesians 1:7. What spiritual blessing do
we find here? (Forgiveness of our sins, our
- Read Ephesians 1:18-20. What blessing do we find
here? (Great power.)
- Read Ephesians 1:9. What blessing do we find
here? (Knowing God’s mystery, His will for
- Has there been a shift in God’s promises to His people?
In Deuteronomy 28 He promised material blessings to those
who obeyed Him. Read Philippians 4:19. Has God now shifted
the focus of His blessings to the spiritual realm?
- Should we care?
- Does it say something about our spiritual walk if we
do care? (Yes. This is an important issue for us to
contemplate. However, if you look at the context of
Philippians 4:19 you will see that Paul is thanking
the church for sending him material help. God wants
to shift our focus to the more important spiritual
realm, but He does not neglect the matter of material
- Unity in Jesus
- Let’s go back and read Ephesians 1:9 to find out more
about this secret God wants to share with us. What about
God’s will is a mystery?
- Read 1 Corinthians 2:6-8. This gives us more insight
into this mystery, this secret wisdom. What wisdom
from God do we have that has been hidden in the past?
(The gospel: our great God would humiliate Himself
and die to save us. If the rulers of the earth
understood this, they would not have taken part in
- Why are the “rulers of this age” coming to
nothing? (Because they have just the opposite
view of life. They take power from others. The
Jewish leaders wanted Jesus dead because He was
a challenge to their authority. They would help
to put to death this “one man” ( John 11:50) to
save their authority. Jesus, the “one man,”
voluntarily gave up His authority to give us
- Read Ephesians 1:9-10. Putting in place this mysterious
plan, brings unity between heaven and earth. Tell me how
this happens? (It restores God’s authority on earth (John
16:11), which was lost when Adam and Eve sinned. It gives
us a representative, a mediator in heaven ( Hebrews 8:1-6).
It opens to us the gates of heaven.)
- How does Jesus become the “head” of heaven (Ephesians
1:10)? (Read John 5:22-23. God the Father has given
the judgment over the world to Jesus.)
- Read Ephesians 3:3-6. What other aspect of this mystery
that brings heaven and earth together do we find here?
Not only are heaven and earth unified, but what else is
unified? (The gospel of Jesus is not just for the Jews, it
is for the entire world. Everyone is eligible to learn the
mystery of Jesus dying for our sins. Everyone is eligible
to take advantage of this great spiritual blessing – the
forgiveness of sins and eternal life.)
- Friend, how about you? God offers to let you in on His
mystery. God offers to share His spiritual riches with
you. Will you accept and follow Him?
- Next week: What God Has Done.