This sermon series on the book of Ephesians was preached by Jeff Miller at Trinity Bible Church in 2013. Click on an individual sermon for an abstract of the message and to access both audio and video of the message.
Ephesians (part 1)
Ephesians could have been written yesterday. It is loaded with instructions that are just as relevant for us as they were for its original readers. This letter addresses the concept of salvation from God’s perspective and ours, roles within the Trinity, God’s will for our lives, moral guidelines, the unity of the church, how to love one another, how to be reconciled to God and others, a blueprint for marriage, how to wage spiritual warfare, and much, much more. In short, Ephesians communicates a sense of definition and direction for God’s people. Welcome to a life-changing study of Ephesians.
Ephesians (part 2)
Ephesians chapter one describes salvation from God’s perspective; chapter two describes salvation from our perspective. In the longest single sentence we have from him, Paul discloses the spiritual blessings that God has showered on all followers of Christ. Many are not aware of the spiritual reality that exists alongside our physical reality, and we often discount these invisible, superior spiritual blessings when we count our physical, temporal blessings. By remembering the gifts God has clothed us with in Christ—our election, adoption, forgiveness, and sealing Holy Spirit, among others—we’re left speechless before God’s astonishing grace. We lack nothing.
Ephesians (part three)
What has God called you to do for Him? Paul answers that question for us in a prayer recorded in Ephesians chapter one. Paul not only prayed for Christians, he also shared the contents of his prayers with them. This conveyed what he was trusting God to accomplish in their lives; it also revealed Paul’s expectations for believers. For the Ephesian Christians, Paul prayed that they would grow in their knowledge of God, that they would experience and exhibit Christ’s resurrection power, and that they would surrender every area of their lives to the Lordship of Jesus. These qualities compose God’s common calling on the lives of every believer, including those who make up the twenty-first century church.
Ephesians (part four)
Ephesians 2:1-10 may be one of the best descriptions of our salvation ever recorded. Paul begins by describing how bad off we were while we were separated from Christ. We were spiritually dead, slaves to sin, sons of disobedience, subject to the devil, and destined for God’s wrath. But then God’s mercy, love, and grace intervened and we were saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. In the same way the Father raised Jesus from the dead physically, He raised us from the dead spiritually. “By grace you are saved through faith!” The Work of Christ—not our works—saved us. Although we were not saved by good works, we were saved for good works. Does your life reflect your gratitude for all that God has done for you in Christ Jesus?
Ephesians (part five)
Ephesians 2:1-10 emphasizes vertical reconciliation between God and people; Ephesians 2:11-22 emphasizes horizontal reconciliation among people. Because of the blood of Christ shed on the cross, deprived and undeserving sinners are joined together in unity. The peace that Jesus establishes between formerly alienated souls allows us to live in harmony and satisfies our deep desire to belong to a group—even a group that might have little else in common. Our primary identity is redefined in Christ, and together we experience hope and ready access to God. This new breed of humanity—the Church—continues to grow and mature as the holy habitation of God’s Spirit.
Ephesians (part six)
The mystery is that now all people—Jews and Gentiles alike—have equal access to the Father through Jesus Christ.When the mystery was revealed to Paul, it changed his life. When Paul disclosed it to others, it changed their lives. The mystery has been revealed; the secret is out. But is it? Yes and no. Millions of people around the world have yet to learn the mystery of the Gospel. In the same way that Jesus commissioned Paul on the road to Damascus, He commissioned all believers to share this Good News with a lost and dying world. Have you kept the secret?
Ephesians (part seven)
We serve an amazing and resourceful God. He offers to respond with power when we pray to Him. He also strengthens us from the inside with His indwelling Holy Spirit. This is all made possible because of the powerful love of Christ which is beyond our ability to understand. Paul responds to these realities by ascribing glory to God the Father. He assumes a kneeling posture of vulnerability before Him, reflecting Paul’s ever-increasing humility. He prays that the believers in Ephesus might come to understand these powerful truths.
Ephesians (part eight)
This most moving passage serves as a fulcrum in the book of Ephesians, bridging our prescribed beliefs with our prescribed behaviors. Obedience begins by living worthy of our high calling and maintaining our costly unity. Paul writes about the “unity of the Spirit” as a statement of fact, a foregone conclusion. Believers from diverse backgrounds—even first-century Jews and Gentiles—have been united by the Holy Spirit. That means that our job is not to create unity in the church, but to maintain it. In this installment, we learn the basis for this unity along with instructions for preserving it.
Ephesians (part nine)
If I were to ask the ministers in your church to stand up during a worship service—how many people would leave their seats? Sadly, the minister-layperson distinction persists in churches that ought to know better. Although God does make a distinction between leaders in the church who equip and members in the church who receive training, the leaders and the members alike are meant to share in the work of the ministry. Ministry—a fancy word for “Christian service”—is our shared responsibility. Have you found a place in your local church to serve as well as to be served? Are you employing your gifts and abilities to meet the needs of others while your needs are being met? You are a minister; it’s time to leave your seat.
Ephesians (part ten)
Hardness of heart strangles our growth in the Lord. Truth transforms. As strange as it may seem, our conduct reflects what we truly believe. Understanding leads to obedience; ignorance leads to conformity with culture. When we trust Christ as Savior, our minds are renewed and we put on the new man. Righteousness and holiness should result, and we should begin to depart from our culture’s standards. Are you a life-long learner? Are you growing in Christlikeness through progress in your learning?
Ephesians (part eleven)
Truth enters through the gates of our teachable hearts, transforms our minds, and improves our conduct. Having explained the central role that truth plays in the life of the Christian, Paul now itemizes the transformation that should result. He rightly expects a sweeping departure from our culture and former way of living. We're not only instructed to stop harmful, unholy practices, but we're also commanded to replace them with edifying, holy ones. And in true Pauline fashion, he supplies the reasons for this shift in our speech and conduct. Our Father demands radical love and holiness from His children who are called to imitate Him.
Ephesians (part twelve)
Christians should not grow in our sin, but we should grow in our awareness of our sin. The closer we draw to the light of God's holiness the more our impurities are revealed. Paul suggests that our sins of darkness-immorality, impurity, and greed-reflect our quest for self-indulgence. Instead, he instructs Christians in speech and conduct that is distinct from our culture. Our walk in light should look different than their shameful walk in darkness, even exposing it. Our goal, after all, is to "learn what is pleasing to the Lord."
Ephesians (part thirteen)
Paul instructs the Ephesian believers to live carefully, intentionally, and wisely. That includes a perspective about time that recognizes its brevity. Time, like money, must be invested or it will certainly be wasted. Wise living is living intentionally for God. Paul also instructs the Ephesian believers that they should be controlled and empowered by God's Spirit. The course of our lives is ill-advised if we are controlled by anything else. Do you respond to life's challenges in a natural, fleshly manner? Or do you respond supernaturally by the power of the Holy Spirit? If you are filled by the Spirit, the Bible calls you wise.
Ephesians (part fourteen)
Men and women are equally created in the image and after the likeness of God. Although they share equality, they are obviously not the same. God has assigned different roles to husbands and wives in the marriage relationship, and God has supplied our motivation in the Gospel. Paul describes these roles in Ephesians 5, with emphasis on the husband's responsibility. When both spouses are filled by the Holy Spirit and strive to live these roles consistently, the marriage relationship will reflect that between Christ and the church.
Ephesians (part fifteen)
Paul teaches that our surrender to Christ's Lordship will lead to faithful conduct for children and parents, for slaves and masters. A Christian child's disobedience is not justified just because their parents are imperfect, and a Christian parent's neglect or mistreatment of their child is not justified just because the child is rebellious. A believing employee's irresponsibility is not justified just because they have an incompetent supervisor, and a believing employer's mistreatment is not justified just because their employee lacks productivity. Submitting to the Lordship of Jesus will cause us to obey even when our role proves difficult.
Ephesians (part sixteen)
I've never fought in a physical war. I'm told that those who serve together on the front lines against a common enemy forge a lasting bond in a very short period of time. Trust and mutual allegiance is essential when you stand side-by-side in the crosshairs of your attacking enemy. The Apostle Paul describes Christians engaged in spiritual combat, standing together in the crosshairs of Satan. This has been true since the day we took Christ to be our Savior and became a child of the God that Satan hates. The devil knows he cannot injure God, and so he goes after the one vulnerable thing that God cherishes most: His children. Our charge is to stand firm against the enemy together while clothed in the armor of God, knowing that the ultimate victory is ours in Christ.
Ephesians (part seventeen)
Paul's relationship with churches was one of mutual prayer support. In Ephesians chapter one he wrote that he does not cease to pray for them and give thanks; in Ephesians chapter six he urges them to pray at all times. He also invites them to pray for his own boldness in ministry. Such interdependence should characterize our lives as we rely on others to rely on the Lord for us. Does your prayer ministry include offers to pray for others as well as asking that they pray for you?