This letter is addressed to those defined as ‘The Saints’. This scripture assumes a faith in Christ as Lord. Throughout this letter The Holy Spirit uses Paul to communicate to His Church in Ephesus and His Church Universal, a number of key truths. These truths shape our Biblical Culture here at Midtown Church. Here is a relatively comprehensive overview of this letter’s ‘Big Ideas’ for us as individuals and as Christ’s Body:
- We don’t in any way deserve to be rescued from eternal separation from God, what we call HELL. But in His amazing love the Triune God of Scripture predestined those who surrender their lives to the Biblical Jesus Christ to an eternity WITH HIM, based on HIS grace alone.
- We are all rescued by the same God, by means of the same sacrifice and resurrection, indwelt by the same Spirit and given the same eternal destiny based on the same Word of God that has been understood by HIS people the same way since MOSES!!!
- We have been illuminated by God’s sovereign agency to saving faith, moving us from a state of spiritual darkness to one of Spiritual enlightenment.
- Being ‘enlightened’ by Christ informs and governs all of our conduct and relationships, aligning our standards and values with scripture.
- We are no longer separate ethnicities but are together one people’ in Christ.
- We have been birthed into His body so we can grow and mature in Christ-likeness.
- We actively, not theoretically, devote our lives & lifestyles to the Biblical Jesus Christ.
- As members of Christ’s Body we are part of a supernatural war, so we must rely on His power to hold our own in the battle between Good & Evil.
This letter is chocked full of Gospel Truth but the truth that each of us must personally embrace before any of this letter matters is what Jesus The Christ said:
Then Jesus said to his disciples,“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”
~ Jesus Christ @ Matthew 16:24-26 NLT
You can do it today: cry out to God, repent of your sin and lay down your life. To quote Jim Elliot: “”He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
OUR TEXT TODAY:
The last party of chapter 6, verses 10-24, is the conclusion to this letter. We want to view this text together with the passage last week, as examples of lifestyle, disciplines and habits that move us towards the relational and conduct standards for Christ’s follower. As His Body it is how we live in honor of HIM! In other words this is some of how we fashion a Biblical lifestyle that God will use to make us more like Christ Jesus and bring His presence to our world.
The beginning of this final passage sets the tone for how we lead this lifestyle we have been called to (Ephesians 4:1)
6:10 So in all things, be continuously invigorated by our Lord and His all surpassing power.
…be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. ~ The Passion Translation
…draw your strength and might from God. ~ The Voice Translation
…be strong—not in yourselves but in the Lord, in the power of his boundless resource. ~ The JB Phillips Translation
This is the call to be in intimate relationship with God the Father, because of what Jesus the Son did, connected by the Spirit He places in us. Keeping that in our sights, let us look at the end of Ephesians:
18 And at all times, use all methods of prayer, always communicating with God thru His Spirit. To make this happen remain attentive, fully dedicated to always seeking God’s favor for all of His people.
- This is not the idea of saying prayers…this is constantly connection with God
- ‘All’ 4 times in the sentence is not bad grammar…repetition always has a point
- God’s Spirit in us is the connectivity
- One of our key purposes in pray is to seek God’s favor for other believers
19 And pray for me that when I speak God will speak through me and I will be without fear to declare the mystery that is the Gospel message.
- We are to ask other members of Christ’s body to pray for us
- We should remember those on the front lines and uphold them in prayer
- Every month I send a donation for the church to D.R., for me & Barbie to Israel
- The focus is on God using people to declare HIS message
- In this case Paul is asking that that the Ephesians pray for him to be fearless
20 Being an ambassador of that message has landed me in prison. Ask God that I keep declaring the message faithfully when given the opportunity to speak.
- Paul sets for us an example of going wherever God leads
- Paul understands his role and that he needs God to empower him to fulfill it
- Behind every person sent to do God’s will there are always people praying
- Ultimately the focus is not on Paul’s wellbeing but on getting the message out
21 To get you up to speed on what my situation is and how I am holding up, Tychicus, a dear brother and servant leader of the Lord is going to share all the details with you. 22 I sent him to let you know what has transpired, and to bless your hearts.
- Part of what hold people together in Christ is knowing about the other people
- Communication of information regarding ministry and what God is doing
- Those who pray need to know what is going on so they will be encouraged
- The body is blessed through prayer and the sharing of information and feelings
23 God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ gives peace, generous love and faith to the members of His body. His grace is with all who truly and devotedly love our Lord Jesus Christ.
- A promise from God to give His people what they truly need
- A statement of fact about God’s grace being upon those devoted to Christ
Members of Christ’s Body are meant to have a different orientation towards prayer. It should be marked with constancy, creativity, Spirit-connectivity, and a focus on asking God to bless other members of ‘His Body’.
We are called to pray for those God has raised up to declare the Gospel in hostile and dangerous places. Our prayers spiritually and emotionally sustain kingdom work on ‘The Front Lines’.
Our prayers for those on the front lines should always be more concerned with the message getting out rather than the circumstances of the Ambassador we are praying for.
Staying in touch and having accurate information regarding kingdom work and the kingdom workers strengthens the relational bonds that keep the body together. The blessings of intertwined care flow both ways.
All members of Christ’s Body are ultimately sustained by His gifts of peace, love and faith, we access those gift through prayer. Our loving surrender of our lives to Christ releases all of these gifts to us ‘In Christ’!
How much have you intentionally developed your prayer life? What are the methods of prayer you need to grow in?
Intercessory / Worship / Listening / Imaginative / Scripture / Presence / Prayer Lists Thanksgiving / Non-verbal H.S. / Consecration / Corporate / Confession / Tongues
Increase or begin cultivating relationships to prayerfully support Kingdom Workers in hostile territory! (Carlos & Manuel in The D.R.)
In the Body God has placed you in currently, how can you play a more active and informed role in prayer concerning that Body?
Then Jesus said to his disciples,“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” ~ Jesus Christ @ Matthew 16:24-26 NLT