Ephesians 6:10-12 Know Your Enemy

A deeper look at Satan's Fall, Schemes, and Future as we study the spiritual warfare of Ephesians 6

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
— Ephesians 6:10-12

Ephesians 5:21-31 Humble Submission to Jesus

Tim and Deanna Rees of Hampton Roads Church share a incisive look into the Ephesian's marriage passage.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.
— Ephesians 5:21-31

Ephesians 5:15-20 It's Nine O'Clock Somewhere

The promises for the power and effectiveness of the church throughout the book of Ephesians astound us. And God equips us to see them fulfilled thought the Holy Spirit. Get your fleshly inhibitions out of the way and be amazed at the life that awaits. Just like the Spirit-filled disciples in Acts 2 who were accused of drunkenness at 9 o'clock in the morning, so we can experience vibrant life to the full as we trust in the promptings of the Spirit. This may be scary/awkward/unkown/tiring but I don't care … It's Nine O' Clock Somewhere!

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
— Ephesians 5:15-2-

Ephesians 5:1-14 His Grace or DysGrace?

Jesus' intervention for us provided a pleasing sacrifice to God, making us pleasing to God as dearly loved child. Such a gift, such grace, would be understood in Ephesus to generate a proportional, reciprocal response of gratitude and service. Thus, grace initiates an intimate relationship between its patron and recipient that grows stronger with each turn in a beautiful dance. The patronage or benefaction systems of Ephesian society would have expected such joyful and obligatory responses. However, if thanksgiving is instead replaced with entitlement or rejection, the unraveling of the relationship becomes a disgrace or a dysgrace. And the consequences are dire.  

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’
— Ephesians 5:1-14

Ephesians 4:25-5:2 A Church Built on Angry, Forgiving Love

As Paul continues to guide the Church in Ephesus toward growth in Christ, he commands them to "Be angry - but do not sin." How can anger build a church? When linked to forgiveness and love, Paul shows that anger can be a very potent tool in church building. 

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
— Ephesians 4:25-5:2

Ephesians 4:17-24 No Longer!

During our calling, we were taught with regard to Christ to put off our old self and put on our new self - created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness! We will do well to remember…

  1. Remember What You Were Taught
  2. Remember What Was Removed
  3. Remember That You Are New

Ephesians 4:7-16 Sunday Sermon

Paul uses two vivid pictures to describe the difference between an immature and a mature church or Body of Christ. Immaturity is seen as "Tossed Toddlers Targeted by Tricksters" while a mature church looks more like a "Coordinated Crew Completed in Christ." 

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:7–16, NIV)

Ephesians 4:7-16 Midweek Lesson

The Hampton Roads Church gets practical about "equipping the saints for works of ministry" and about "each part doing its work."

“But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”  —Ephesians 4:7–16, NIV

Ephesians 4:2-6

Paul has now turned a corner in this epistle to begin issuing imperatives. Chief among his charges: unity! Unity requires humility, patience, gentleness, and the desire to bear with one another — even when difficult. 

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:2–6, NIV)

 

Acts 20:17-38 Paul's Charge to Ephesians

This midweek lessons focuses on Paul's aim to testify the Gospel of Grace, the same charge energizes the call to all Christians. 

From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents. You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.
— Acts 20:17-38

Ephesians 4:1 Grit vs. Grace

After overflowing affirmations throughout chapters 1-3, Paul now turns to the imperative of the Christian, that is, "live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called." How does one accomplish such a high calling? Many try it through grit, but the real answer lies in grace.

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
— Ephesians 4:1


Ephesians 3:14-19 Rooted in Love

Paul's prayer for the Ephesians focuses on their deep, wide, long, and high appreciation of Jesus' love for them. 

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
— Ephesians 3:14-19