Ephesians

Ephesians is the Gospel of the Church. We are not living out an individual or privatised faith but rather a faith in community, we are the people of God together. So what does it mean to be people of God? What does it mean to live a life shaped after the life of Christ? Through studying this book together we will discover that a life held in Christ and moulded by him is one that brings life in place of death, unity and reconciliation in place of division and alienation, righteousness in place of sinfulness, love and peace in place of hatred and strife. The vision Paul paints of the church here is one that stands out in bright relief against the sombre background of the old world, for together we truly are God’s very good workmanship created, founded, held and sent in Christ Jesus.

1. Chosen in Christ

 Ephesians 1:1-14

Naomi Black - 22 Aug 2021

The opening of this letter repeats again and again the phrase ‘in him’, Paul is beginning as he means to go on. Everything we are and have and will be is found in Christ. What does it mean to be chosen in Christ? Does it mean that only some are and other aren’t? Or is it bigger than that? Paul begins this letter with a birds-eye-view, unfettered declaration of praise of who Jesus is, as we come to understand our chosen-ness we should begin from this perspective, from the spectacular view of who Jesus is and what he has done. It is from that place that our identity as chosen, as being ‘in Christ’, as being those caught up in this glorious inheritance, is found.

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2. Knowledge of Christ

 Ephesians 1:15-23

James Cant - 29 Aug 2021

Paul’s thanksgiving and praise spills over into a prayer, a prayer of deep thanks for all that he sees growing in this young church. His prayer is that they would continue to grow in their knowledge of God; that they would know him better. He prays that they would know the hope they have, the inheritance they have and the power that lives in them because of Christ. What difference would such a prayer make to our own lives? How can we strive to grow in our knowledge of God, how can we be those who pray to know him better?

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3. Alive in Christ

 Ephesians 2:1-10

Andy Harding - 5 Sep 2021

Being alive in Christ is a whole new way of being, through no effort of our own we are lifted up by the incomparable grace and kindness of God displayed through Jesus. This is the life we can have now, one in sync, in tune, in rhythm, infused with the grace of God. Paul begins by reminding the young church, and us, that at one point we were not alive in this way, at one point we followed a different road, a road that led not to life, but to death. To know our full alive-ness in Christ we must remember how far we’ve come, how far the grace of God has brought us.

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4. One in Christ

 Ephesians 2:11-22

Eddie Backler - 12 Sep 2021

The reconciliation between Jew and Gentile in Christ that Paul is expounding on here is a reconciliation more radical than we can really understand. It is not that one group is merged into the other with no trace of where they came from, or that they are simply an amalgamation of the two strands, rather it is that one new family with a brand new identity has been created in Christ and through Christ. Why does this matter to us? We’re no longer dealing with this dichotomy between Jew and Gentile. It’s important for us to know that our faith was born out of a place of reconciliation, of healing a divide and that in Christ, new creation in place of division is truly possible. As Paul continues we see that the result of this ‘one-ness’ is that a new household is being built, and that we are included. God has made a way for us to live in deep connection with him, no longer foreigners and strangers but as those built up in him.

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5. The Mystery of Christ

 Ephesians 3:1-13

Zak Robb - 19 Sep 2021

The mystery of Christ here is that through the gospel, those on the outside, those previously excluded are welcomed in, able to fully share in the promise of Jesus. Paul describes this as a mystery that was kept hidden and is now revealed, a mystery that we can know. There is mystery in our faith, we know everything about God that he wants us to know, but we don’t know everything about God! What does it mean to live in the light of what we know and also to embrace the mystery held in Christ?

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