Ephesians 1-6

As I have often said this year, one blog entry won’t scratch the surface of what’s contained in Ephesians.   I think I’ll just make some notes as I read.  Maybe if I ever look back at this again, I’ll be able to remember what caught my attention that day.Read Ephesians
1:4-5  It gave God great pleasure to make us, and we know that God loves us….so I don’ t think this passage is saying that God created some people simply to destroy them.   When Paul says “he chose us” I think that means he chose “all of us”, or maybe he’s referring to the Jews.   At the very least, Paul is referring to “all who believe”  (1:19)
1:14   The Holy Spirit is God’s “engagement ring”
2:1-3   you either serve the devil, or Christ.  There are no other options
2:8-10  Salvation is free to us, but cost God a high price.   The only thing necessary for salvation is to believe in God.  However, those who believe will begin to do good works that God prepared in advance for us.    This short passage sums up much larger discussions on the same topic found in other parts of the New Testament.
2:14-17   Christ’s sacrifice breaks down all barriers between people groups.  There should be no rivalry or war between Christians regardless of where we live or what nation we come from.   Becoming a follower of Jesus supersedes all other pledges and allegiances.
2:19-21  The idea that we are all the body together is a hard concept to teach.   We tend to look around our church and think that we are the body.   In truth, all believers everywhere are part of the same body.   People who don’t speak my language or practice my customs are part of the body, just as I am.  We should probably not refer to the local church as the “body of Christ” because it’s much larger than that.
3:10 says that God’s purpose in receiving Jews and Gentiles, and in the whole plan of salvation…including the original Law, the prophets and everything that happened along the way, up to and including Christ was God’s way of  demonstrating His wisdom to beings that live in the spiritual realm.   That may be holy and evil authorities alike.   The holy ones would praise God and marvel (as we do) and the evil ones would curse and squirm in anger and hate.
3:14-19  “Lord, since it is your plan to do all these wonderful things through the church, your body….please pour out your resources upon us to equip us for the task.”
4:1-4     Live worthy of the calling.  Be humble, gentle, patient and united.     That doesn’t mention “accomplish much” as being worthy.   I wonder if sometimes we forget that being worthy is being humble and patient, and not being a person who “gets things done”?
4:13  Paul clearly believes that we can eventually “measure up” if we dedicate ourselves to spiritual growth.   I think that we have talked most people out of the idea that we can measure up to the full and complete standard.   We’ve convinced them that they will never measure up, so they have quit trying, and have quit growing, and in some cases they quit growing so soon that they don’t have enough roots to survive….let alone thrive.
5:3  I’m always amazed at the list of things that come to Paul’s mind as he warns the people to live differently.   I wonder if the list would be different depending on what group he was talking to.   Maybe these were specific sins in Ephesus.   If so, our community is a lot like Ephesus.
5:5  Greedy people are idolaters.  Hmmm
5:15-20    Reach your highest potential in Christ.  Being drunk will make you fall short, so will a short temper or acting without thinking.    I’m fairly vocal in my disapproval of drinking, but I doubt that I preach as much on thinking before you act….
5:21 is the key verse in the next section.   Paul mentioned this in yesterdays reading as well.    Submit to one another.    Wives submit to husbands by doing what they ask (provided that it isn’t in violation of Scripture).  Husbands are to give themselves up for their wives, following the pattern of Christ who gave himself up for the church.   As a husband, I have no problem submitting to Jesus and doing what he asks.   That same rule of submission, coupled with wisdom and humility applies to all of us.
 6:1-9   The same concept of submission holds true for children and slaves.   I would suggest that it’s also true for employees, church attendees and community members as they elect and follow leaders.
The armor of God is oft talked about passage.  Today I keep noticing the word “stand” and not the word “fight”.  My job isn’t to run into battle (in this passage).  Here, Paul is telling us that we have to have the right equipment to withstand the onslaught of the enemy.    You could use a root system and an arid climate to teach the same thing.     It’s the Holy Spirit, and all the gifts that come to us through Him that make us able to stand.