The apostle Paul wrote this letter during his first period of imprisonment in Rome which was between circa AD60-62. He wrote it to church based in Ephesus, a Hellenised and wealthy city and was the capital of the Roman province of Asia.
It was a busy port city and the centre of significant Roman world trade. The temple of the Greek goddess Artemis, or Roman Diana, was there; one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was a place of pilgrimage for people across the whole region and there was a significant trade for silversmiths who made and sold models of the temple and similar artefacts. However, Paul’s Gospel message affected their trade as people turned away from paganism to God, causing confusion and trouble in the city, leading to riots as recorded in Acts 19:23-41.
Paul wrote the letter to encourage the personal faith of the Christians in Ephesus. It provides teaching, exhortation, prayers and offers praise to God. Paul’s focus is to make it clear that Jesus is the head of the church. He will work out his purposes in and through the church.
The letter is in two parts. Firstly, it teaches on God’s perpetual plan for the world. It is about the gathering together of all things to Jesus Christ as the head. God created humankind to be in communion with him but due to sin and apostasy they had become his enemies.
There can be no true unity in a world without Christ. One person is against another person; nations are at war; Jews and Gentiles are culturally opposed. There is a continuing spiritual battle even though God’s true enemy Satan is defeated, yet he fights on to disrupt God’s plans for his creation.
Paul shows concern that most people in the world still do not know Christ; the primary reason for all that is wrong. However, this is not God’s purpose for creation. There can be unity only when all things come together with Christ as sovereign Lord, and unity must first be seen inside his church. Then it can be made available for all people, everywhere. The aim is for all people to come back to God, creating peaceful unity for the entire world and for all ages. This is what Paul teaches in the first three chapters.
God’s plan is to restore the unity that is spoiled due to man’s sinful nature. The last three chapters teach about how God will use followers of Jesus to implement his plan. Paul teaches that the church is like the body of Christ. Christians must be like Christ’s hands to do Christ’s work. Christians must be like his mouth to speak for him. They must be like his feet to take his Gospel to all the people in the world. God wants to deal with all the things that divide people. God will do this in and through his church. Paul writes of the different ways in which his message can be applied. Change will come through the appropriate lifestyle choices of God’s people, both in the home and in the world.
|Introduction||Watch||17 April 14|
|Chapter One||Watch||20 April 14|
|Chapter Two||Watch||22 April 14|
|Chapter Three||Watch||25 April 14|
|Chapter Four||Watch||27 April 14|
|Chapter Five||Watch||01 May 14|
|Chapter Six||Watch||03 May 14|
|Summary||Watch||03 May 14|