Friday, February 26, 2010

Eagerly Expositing Ephesians

I've been exploring the beginnings of writing a study of the epistle to the Ephesians for the past couple of months. I have always been fascinated by this letter, as it is both a supremely doctrinal epistle as well as intensely practical. (Not that I'm making a distinction between doctrine and practice, mind you. Orthodoxy is necessary for orthopraxy. But I digress.) Since Paul wasn't writing the letter to correct any issues in the Ephesian church, he was free, as inspired by the Spirit, to explain the mystery of the church and many key doctrines surrounding the nature of the church. And the letter also makes the "so that" connection between the doctrines and the impacts those truths have on the way we as believers in Jesus Christ and members of His church must then walk.

As I've explored writing this study, I keep seeing more and more need for this wide-ranging doctrinal and practical epistle that has something to say to every believer at whatever stage of maturity of life they’re at. And I seem to keep getting further confirmation in this from God as I read and pray. The letter seems to speak to so many areas that I am passionate about, including the doctrine of the church, the Christian’s identity and position, the glory and grace of God, and the doctrines of grace. So far I’ve developed an outline for the study, which is detailed below. I'm titling the study Ephesians – The Church Revealed.

  1. Background and Salutations (1:1-2)
  2. The Blessings of the Church – Chosen by the Father (1:3-6)
  3. The Blessings of the Church – Redeemed by the Son (1:7-10)
  4. The Blessings of the Church – Sealed in the Spirit (1:11-14)
  5. A Prayer for the Church (1:15-23)
  6. The Position of the Church – Reconciled to God (2:1-10)
  7. The Position of the Church – Unified in Christ (2:11-22)
  8. The Mystery of the Church Revealed (3:1-13)
  9. The Strength of the Church (3:14-21)
  10. The Walk of the Church – Unity (4:1-16)
  11. The Walk of the Church – Renewed Minds (4:17-24)
  12. The Walk of the Church – Truth and Purity (4:25-5:14)
  13. The Walk of the Church – Spirit-filled (5:15-21)
  14. The Walk of the Church – Submissive (5:22-6:9)
  15. The Battle of the Church (6:10-20)
  16. Closing and Summary (6:21-24)

In starting to work on this study, my problem is that I can't seem to get past the richness and majesty of chapter 1, where Paul, in one long breathless sentence expresses a string of truths regarding the blessings and identity of the Christian and the church. So pray for me, that I would be able to capture and communicate the depth of God's revelation in this powerful letter, without getting lost in the depths. I plan on sharing some of my exposition of Ephesians here at The Den as I work through this, so stay tuned.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ... - Ephesians 1:3

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