God's secret plan

Eph. 1:1-4      Paul greets the believers in Ephesus. He thanks God that, through their union with Jesus Christ, the believers are blessed with “every spiritual blessing” (Ephesians 1:3).

Eph. 1:5-8      He praises God for making all believers his ‘children’, for “In Christ we are set free by the blood of his death, and so we have forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1:7).

Eph. 1:9-12    Paul reveals God’s ‘secret plan’ – “that all things in heaven and on earth would be joined together in Christ as the head” (Ephesians 1:10).

Eph. 1:13-14  God has given the Holy Spirit to the believers as a guarantee that they will receive everything that God has promised.

Eph. 1:15-23  For this reason, Paul continues to ask God to give the believers the Holy Spirit “so that you will know him better” (Ephesians 1:17). “That power is the same as the great strength God used to raise Christ from the dead and put him at his right side in the heavenly world” (Ephesians 1:19-20).


Saved by God’s grace

Eph. 2:1-10    Paul reminds the Gentile believers of Ephesus that, in the past, their lives were ruled by “the ruler of the evil powers that are above the earth … working in those who refuse to obey God.” (Ephesians 2:2).

But they have been saved from the powers of sin and death by God’s undeserved love. “I mean that you have been saved by grace through believing. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God” (Ephesians 2:8-9).


Roman houses in Ephesus

Roman houses in Ephesus


One family in Christ

Eph. 2:11-18  As Gentiles, the believers were strangers to God’s covenants; but now, in union with Jesus Christ, they are part of God’s covenant people. “The Jewish law had many commands and rules, but Christ ended that law. His purpose was to make the two groups of people become one new people in him and in this way make peace” (Ephesians 2:15).

Eph. 2:19-22  Christ holds the family of God together – based on the foundations of the prophets, he is like a corner-stone holding together a building which has become a sacred temple to God.

Eph. 3:1-13    Although a prisoner, Paul continues to pray for the Gentiles – because God’s ‘secret plan’ is that the Gentiles – as well as the Jews – might have a full share of God’s blessings.

Eph. 3:14-21  So Paul continues to pray that “Christ will live in your hearts by faith” (Ephesians 3:17). He prays that they “will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ’s love – how wide and how long and how high and how deep that love is” (Ephesians 3:18).

Eph. 4:1-6      Paul urges the believers to be tolerant and patient: “You are joined together with peace through the Spirit, so do all you can to continue together in this way” (Ephesians 4:3).

Eph. 4:7-16    Paul explains the special gifts that each believer receives by God’s grace. These gifts are given to build up the ‘body of Christ’ – the body of believers with Christ as the head.


The Body of Christ

In his Letter to the Ephesians, Paul describes the special gifts that each believer is given in order to build up the ‘body of Christ’ – the Christian church.

Paul explains that some believers are appointed to be apostles. Like Paul himself, the apostles were early leaders of the church who had a personal experience of the risen Lord Jesus. The apostles included Peter, James (the brother of Jesus) and John (the author of John’s Gospel). Paul says that others in the church are appointed to be prophets – to speak out the word of God and to proclaim God’s message to their own generation.

Others in the church are to be evangelists – spreading the Good News about Jesus, while others serve as pastors – caring for Christ’s flock, and as teachers – expounding and explaining the Scriptures. Paul concludes that God has prepared all of God’s people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the ‘body of Christ’, the followers of Jesus.

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