Ephesians 1:1-2

To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus

Sermon Transcript:

I invite you to take your Bibles this morning to the book of Ephesians, or if you’re using your Ephesians journal, which is what I brought up this morning, you can turn. It’ll be easier to turn than that, baby. we’re going to show a video that we showed last week. It was put together by Pastor Jared and the young people.

it basically it is taking you through. the outline of the book of Ephesians by using, hand motions. If you have a journal, and if you don’t have one, you can, you can get one this morning out in the lobby. But inside the cover, there is the outline of the book of Ephesians, and you can sort of follow along as they are going through the various parts of the book of Ephesians, trying to help us remember our way through the book.

By these, hand motions

Salutations a unique christian greeting for both jews and gentiles Adoration praising god for our spiritual blessings in christ Intercession prayer to understand the blessings we have received salvation by grace through faith not by our own doing reconciliation To god in between jews and gentiles proclamation of the mystery revealed that jews and gentiles are co heirs in christ Intercession Love and power through Christ Jesus walking in unity, walking in holiness, walking in love, walking in the light, walking in wisdom, walking in family, walking in the workplace, standing in the victory, final greetings of grace and peace.

They did a great job. I’m going to have you turn in your Bible this morning to the book of Ephesians, and I’m going to read the first two verses. I’m going to do something a little different this morning. I’m going to actually do a two parter this morning. Basically, what I’m going to do is I’m going to first try to present what I think are ten facts you need to know.

in your reading in the book of Ephesians. As we launch into this series, what are 10 facts you should know that are in your sermon outline, in the back of the journal, or somewhere else. If you want to write them down, these would be things to refer to because they are things that are always going to be true as you read the book of Ephesians.

And then I’m going to look at verses 1 and 2 of Ephesians, chapter 1, but I’d like to read those verses this morning. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let’s pray.

Lord, we’ve gathered today. Because we want to know you. We want to worship you. We want to do what some of the songs talked about that we’ve already sung. Lord, we want to surrender to you. And Lord, there’s people here in Collingswood and Mount Laurel at each of our campuses. Some watching online. There’s all different life circumstances.

There’s all different relationships with you represented in those individuals. Lord, it’s my prayer that you, who know the heart of every person, that your spirit would draw each person to a deeper knowledge and awareness of God in Christ. So Lord, teach us today, in Jesus name, Amen. Alright, ten facts you need to know in reading the book of Ephesians.

Number one, you need to know it’s a major city. This was a major metropolitan center. One of the major cities of the Roman Empire, and it was located strategically as a port city in the province of Asia. And it is right there to the right. You can see it. It was actually At the end of what was known as the Silk Road, which was the trade route that went all the way to the, to China.

all of the trade that came from Eastern part of the empire came through Ephesus and then was sent on to Rome or other parts of the city. This was a major metropolitan area. Marin and I, a number of years ago, had the chance to go to the ruins of Ephesus. If, if you ever get the chance, I mean, I, I was just telling Marianne this week, I would love to go back.

I was reading it again, they’ve done some new things, it, it’s just a phenomenal, ruin, but they’ve, they’ve uncovered so much of the city, you really can understand the city layout. It was a city of 250, 000 people, and When a visitor arrived at Ephesus via ship, he walked, as we can pull up that slide, he walked on a half mile, a quarter mile road.

As he came in, the water is in the distance, that’s where the port was, and as you came in, if we could go to the next slide please,

or not, nope, that’s not, nevermind, can you go back to that one? Where? Oh, there’s the water. I couldn’t find the water. Here’s the water right here. That’s the water. That’s the harbor This is a beautiful harbor that came four miles in from the Mediterranean Sea. And as you came, you, you entered in, and even today you see all these columns as you walk this quarter mile in.

So here’s the picture as you enter the city, you come to this, this gigantic city, you’ve come down the river, you’re looking at it, and here’s this, this majestic city that’s all built. At the base and on the sides of a mountain, a significant mountain, the city went all around. Actually, the temple of Artemis was in the back side of the mountain.

But as you came in, you’re looking and you walk down this quarter mile, what was called the Harbor Road. And on every side of you are columns. And statutes and it was one of the only Only streets in the entire empire that was lit up every night. It had a beautiful. hundreds of beautiful ornate lanterns It was just and what you saw at the end of the road as you looked at the road You saw there was the mountain but carved into it was a, a, a theater with 25, 000 seats that was carved in and you’re walking in and it just, it was a, a, a humbling scene as you came into this majestic city of a quarter million.

People there. It was a city that had five universities, which were basically graduate schools. There was a medical school, a school of theater, a school of philosophy, a school of rhetoric and a school of architecture. The city had an outdoor forum like Ben Hur. You know, the horseshoe, the racist. They had those chariot races here in emphasis.

There was an outdoor mall called an Agora. As you went into the city from the harbor immediately to your right was this giant many, many acre A marketplace of 2, 000 stores, 2, 000 shops. Houses that were downtown were three stories tall. They all had running water. They had, of course, then a, a, an effective septic system.

And they also had in their walls heated water because the, the, climate would get below 40 degrees in winter season. Sometimes below freezing. And they had a heated system in their walls. It was a cosmopolitan, commercial center, a thriving, affluent, urban center. Second characteristic is the word Artemis.

Artemis was the goddess of the city. She was called, Diana by the Romans. The temple, Fort Artemis, actually was built four centuries before this, but it had been burned by fire. Just tell you a quick story about it, because I, if you like history, you’ll like this one. If you don’t like history, you might even like this one.

Alexander the Great came to the city around 340, 350 BC, and he was mocking the people in the town, because their, their goddess’s temple had been burned down. And he said, and it actually was an arson that came. It was a wooden structure at the time and burned the city. And he, and he said, what kind of a goddess is this that she can’t even protect her own temple?

And they said to him, actually, she was away on the day that it happened, attending to a, a special birth in another part of the empire, the day that the, that the temple was burned in. And in in in Ephesus, Alexander himself had been born. So these guys sucked up Alexander brilliantly said, well, the goddess left just for one day because this this heroic figure, he was so taken by it.

And in typical egotistical dictator status and response, he provided the funds to rebuild the temple. And from 386, well, about 340 on, they built this majestic temple. This temple, that is artist’s rendering of what it looked like. Those columns, of which there were 120. 66 feet tall to put that in perspective if you’ve ever been in our gym look up into the highest peak It’s 32 feet high double that and throw on a few extra spare feet.

That’s how high all those columns. It was a Humbling structure. It was a structure. That was the the centerpiece of worship throughout that entire Part of the world, it was considered, it was one of the seven ancient wonders of the ancient world. It was located on a plain on the back side of the mountain.

And every April, when they had the annual feast festival to Artemis, over a million people came to Ephesus to be a part of the celebration. It was also a city whose religion, this is still on number two, practiced magic and sorcery. There’s a passage in Acts chapter 19, verse 19. Were people that had responded to the message of the apostle paul brought brought there It says their magic books and their incantation their books of spells And when they when they turned away from paganism and demonic worship and to christianity They actually burned their books and in contemporary currency Acts 19.

19 says that they burned six million dollars worth of magic spell books. And this was a prominent thing in this city. Number three, it was filled with idolatry. Idols always take the form of something that brings people something they want. In this particular city, their idolatry was centered on On Artemis or Diana to the Romans, but basically their idols were power and sex and money.

Power was a big part of the letter to the Ephesians. Paul will continually talk about the power that God has. This is something that was highly esteemed and admired by the Ephesians. We’ll talk about why and what that meant. Possessions, the city’s commerce was directly influenced by the trade and business that the temple of Artemis erected.

It wasn’t just that she’s our girl, if you will, she’s our God. It was all that it brought to the city. As a matter of fact, in Acts chapter 20, when Paul, excuse me, Acts chapter 19, when Paul again is seeing all these people turn to Christ, they’re turning away from the worship of Artemis. It’s the, it’s the guys that run the business that come after him, the idol makers, of which they made 50, they sold 50, 000 a year, by reports of the, of those days.

And they were the ones that brought them into that large 25, 000 stadium to bring accusations against. It was, it was. It was focused on the loss of income and the the serving of money Pleasure in sex when you go through the city There’s a fascinating thing as you’re going again around this giant mountain you come around the side on the marble stones, which are huge pieces of stone which form the the roads There’s one that has carving in it and the carving actually is the picture of a foot And it’s pointing a certain direction And at the top of the foot is a picture of a woman.

It’s all carved, actually, into the marble. And it was in, in, in ancient Near East, it’s known as the first, example of public advertising that anyone has ever found in archaeological studies. And basically, it was advertising. The brothel, a brothel that was seated that was seated at the corner of the two main streets.

It was directly across the street from the mall of 2, 000 stores. And this multi story brothel was the place that was, publicly affirmed without the availability of internet driven porn, sexual promiscuity in Ephesus. Was richly available in the large brothels publicly accepted and promoted number four This was a church with deeply taught believers as you

sorry As you I think I messed you guys up because I think I brought one of your papers It was a city that Paul arrived here and he had come here originally in 1853 and when he had come he had begun to preach he actually stayed there over three years Over twice as long as any city he had ever gone to.

In this book, in the book of Ephesians, there are lofty theological concepts, but they’re never really developed in this book like they are in the book of Romans. Concepts, he uses the word justification, election, predestination, redemption, God’s mysteries. And there’s no explanation. It’s obvious that he felt people knew what he was talking about in this church.

It’s a church where he has deeply trained them. Ephesians is not really a theological treatise. It is a practical application of that theological truth. And we’ll talk about that truth, because we don’t all understand those things the way that they did. But this was a deeply taught group of people in Ephesus.

Number five, the biggest who’s who of Christian heroes is found in Ephesus. Along with Paul, who spent more time there than any other cities he ministered in. Apollos, who is a great, they call him Golden Tongue, a great teacher was there. Timothy, the, the, the associate of the Apostle Paul, came there, and as a matter of fact, when Paul wrote to Timothy, his two letters on how to structure a church and how to have the leadership and oversight of the church, 1st and 2nd Timothy, both of them are sent to Timothy while he’s serving in Ephesus.

Later on, the Apostle John will settle in Ephesus, and tradition has it when you visit Ephesus, there’s actually a lot of church history, support. that actually John, who we know was given the care of Mary, the mother of Jesus, they went and lived in Ephesus. And they actually have a stone house there that’s a sacred space so you can go and see.

John from, at Ephesus wrote 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John. He’s addressing, churches around them. But John was there, Paul was there, Apollos was there, Timothy was there, Mary the mother of Jesus was there. There’s a who’s who history of this city. Number six, it was the center for Christian mission. It is the center of Paul’s ministry.

He spent more time there than any other church by far, but he also kept swinging back to it, doing visits. He wrote other letters, at least one we’re certain of. Most people believe there were two others by things Paul infers, but the one that made it to the scriptures is the one that we have known as the letter to the Ephesians.

But Paul here had, on his, on his missionary journeys, on both the second missionary journey and the third had come here. This particular map is talking about when Paul, when, when John was on the island of Patmos, which is to the left of that red up there, it’s a little island, that red area, Is the area where the seven churches that are addressed in Revelation 2 and 3 happen.

They were churches that had been started out of the church in Ephesus. And now John is writing to them. This was the center of the spiritual growth and the spiritual sending forth of mission in the early church. Ephesus became the epicenter of church mission in the latter part of the first century.

Number seven, Ephesus is the reason Paul is in jail, as he writes. If you remember in Acts chapter 20, Paul visited the Ephesian elders on his way when he was going to Jerusalem. And he’s going to Jerusalem, he’s taking, he had this group, this entourage of eight buddies. And they were actually individuals from all of the churches, the main churches that Paul had started throughout the empire.

And as he had, he’s got one from Corinth, he’s got a couple from Thessalonica, he’s got one from Philippi, he’s got one from Ephesus, he’s got, he’s got a group, and they’re all gathered together because they’re bringing a financial gift to the believers in Jerusalem. And as they go there, As they’re on their way, Paul stops at Ephesus, or a city called Miletus, near Ephesus.

The ship harbors there for a day, he’s able to meet with these elders, pray with them, cry with them. And then he goes to Jerusalem. And he gets to Jerusalem, and he’s got this entourage of eight people. One of whom is from Ephesus, a guy named Trophimus, who’s a Gentile. And Paul is with them in the city.

And they are observed by Jews from Jerusalem that know Trophimus and had seen Paul. And when they see Paul go into the, the, the holy place in the temple in Jerusalem, which only Jews can go to, they assume that he has taken Trophimus there. And they may, if you remember when we went through the book of Acts, there’s a tremendous riot that takes place.

They’re trying to kill Paul, literally, the Roman soldiers rescue him. From that moment on, Paul is imprisoned. For the next five years, Paul is imprisoned in Jerusalem, then he’s sent up to Caesarea, then he’s finally sent all the way to Rome. He’s now in Roman jail. He’s not gotten out. It was just a couple of weeks.

Before he had started his imprisonment, he was with the Ephesian elders. And it’s actually because of their guy, and it’s actually because of their people, the Ephesian Jews in Jerusalem, Paul is in prison. And so you’ll notice as we go through the book, he keeps referring to the fact that I’m a prisoner of God, but it’s, it’s by purpose, God’s got a plan for this.

Don’t feel bad. God’s at work, even in the midst of this. The sixth, seventh thing is that one. And the eighth is a circular letter. This is addressed to the church at Ephesus. But it is clearly a letter that is broader than the church of Ephesus. There’s an interesting thing. he does not address any specific people in Ephesus.

Very unusual. He doesn’t, most of his letters he talks to people. Say hello to so and so, you know. Remember me to so and so. In the Philippian church he says tell these two ladies, Jodis and Syntyche. Which some people, because they had a conflict, I heard one preacher call them odious and soon touchy.

But the idea is, he’s writing to people in those churches, not in Ephesus. He doesn’t, it’s clear, he doesn’t have any specific situations in this church that he addresses. No doctrinal concerns, no concern, you know, do this, a little more of this. He is clearly writing a letter that is not just specific to the Ephesian believers.

He is writing a letter that is more of a Circular letter to be read in the other churches. Colossi even talks about read the letter that’s from the church of Laodicea, which a lot of people think was this, this letter as well. Number nine template for the Christian life. This letter. This letter is not just written to the people in Ephesus and their particular situation.

It is more than any other of Paul’s letter, a template for the Christian life for people. In chapters 1 through 3, he talks about what you need to know about who you are in Christ and what you have in Christ. In chapters 4 through 6, he talks about how to live the life, how to, how to, how to live out the practical realities of the Christian experience.

It is a template for the Christian life. And the last thing I’ll mention, it is the fullest teaching in the New Testament on a host of subjects. Marriage, spiritual warfare, our personal identity in Christ, unity, personal relationships, purity are just some of the doctrines that are most fully, and issues that are most fully discussed here.

Okay, those are just some things. Now, I want to come to the, the first couple of verses because here he’s, he’s introducing us to the people that he’s addressing in Ephesus and it’s striking the way he addresses them. He actually says to them this statement, to the saints who are in Ephesus. And are faithful in Christ Jesus in verses one and two.

Paul sets the table for the next six chapters in the way he identifies these Christians. First of all, he identifies them as saints, and I would argue he is alluding to the reality of what he’s going to talk about in chapters one through three, the wealth, the riches that they have as believers in Christ and like just highlight a few of the things he’s going to say.

But first of all, what is a saint? Well, in New Testament, all believers in Jesus Christ are identified as saints. It technically means holy ones. It is those that are, the same word holy is put in a noun form here, and they are the holy ones. The word holy means to set something apart for a specific purpose.

These are the ones that have been set apart to God. They are the ones that are set apart from the world. They are special. They are set to God and from. The world’s influence. It is talking about all believers and in Ephesians 4 12. Actually, the word Saints is used a number of times in Ephesus. It says this statement, pastors are responsible to quote, equip the Saints to do the work of the ministry.

All the Saints. This is not just a special class that this is all believers that he’s talking about. So what is true of Saints? Well, this is what I’m going to talk about in Chapter one through three. And again, I’m just trying to get a I want to give you a snapshot here. What is true of saints? What is the wealth that these called out ones, these holy ones, if you will, set apart to God?

What is it that they have been given? What’s true of them? And there are three things I’d like to highlight. First of all, they are people who were pursued by the commu commu community of God. In chapters 1, chapter 1, verse 3 to 14, one of the most powerful passages in the New Testament is presented about the unique role of Father, Son, and Spirit.

It is a passage that talks about God’s pursuit, His pursuit of those that are the called out ones, that are the set apart ones, that all three members of the Godhead are involved and are being connected with God. We’ll see that in the next couple of studies as we look in chapters chapter 1 verse 3 through 14 the role of the Father, the role of the Son, the role of the Spirit in calling out his people to be his own.

There is an incredible picture in the scriptures that God is one being but is manifested in three persons. Now, we don’t know how three persons can be one essence, but we’re not God either, so we don’t have to figure it all out, but we do have to bow the knee before the truth and the reality. But there are some incredibly practical.

Things to learn because in the creation, there is a different role that the father plays that the son plays that the spirit plays in salvation. There’s a different role that the father plays and the son plays and the spirit plays in the Christian life. There are different roles that the father plays and the son plays and the spirit place.

And one of the beauties of Christian growth is to come to know God in his triune nature. And one of the beauties of Christian growth is to come to know God in his triune nature. My mother in law lives in an apartment with us. She’s 95 years old. I didn’t ask her permission to share that part, but I did ask permission to share the rest.

My mother in law is a believer of many years in Christ, and she regularly spent, and I’m not exaggerating in this, hours, reading her Bible, studying it. She’s got books open, and, I went in recently, and I was talking with her. And mom was emotional, just talking about her time with the Lord. And she said, you know, I’m trying so hard to understand the Father and the Son and the Spirit.

And she said, she said, and I’m finding as I pray, that I actually get kind of mixed up. Because I’m talking to, to each one. And, and I’m, I’m not sure what I should say to the one. But, but, but, and she’s describing, it’s so emotional. What she was describing was extremely meaningful to me. I said, Mom, you’re describing the fact that you have not only been brought into a relationship with God you have been brought into a Community that the community of the Godhead.

It’s what theologians and I’ve said this before to you have have often described as the dance of God, this sense that the father and the son and the spirit have lived eternally together, completely joyful in each other’s presence, but that he desired to expand the community and include humans that he made that you are invited in the gospel to join the dance.

I remember the story, well I saw this, I was at a wedding a number of years ago, and it was, people were dancing, and it was, I remember one scene, there was a, a man and his wife, that were dancing together, they were older, and it was a relaxed dance, and their adult daughter came over, and, She kind of moved your way in.

And all of a sudden, the three of them are dancing together. And it wasn’t real vibrant, but it was beautiful. This beautiful acceptance. They’re laughing and you can just see the love. They have, they’re vibrating together in this dance together. This is God eternally. And he, and, and, and the Godhead says.

Let’s make man, humans, in our image. Let’s let them join in the communion that is ours. The book of Ephesians portrays this picture, in chapter 1 in particular, of the triune God, all of them, coming after you, to say, we’re going to call out some to be ours, to join the dance. This is the picture of the called out ones.

The first characteristic of the called out ones will be this. They are people who were pursued by the community of God. I was praying a while back. And something really heavy was on my heart. I was really, I really needed God’s leading in it. And I found myself just praying to each member of the Godhead.

In light of what I theologically know is their role. Asking for their help in particular ways and again, I know God is one but I got done It was a very meaningful prayer time for me And I talked to Marianne and I said I just I just came away from the presence of God and just talking to him intimately father son, would you spirit would you and and her response was Yeah, well, I understand.

You’re looking for all the help you can get. Well, that’s sort of how I felt. You know, I’ll take everybody! Guys! Not guys. That’s probably disrespectful, but anyway. You get the feel. This is it. You’ve been invited to the dance. If you’re a called out one, if you’re a set apart one, if you’re a saint, a believer in Jesus.

You’ve been invited to the dance that will last eternally because God wanted you the second thing That’s true is there are people who have passed from separation to connection With God in chapter 2 verses 1 through 10. He’s going to talk about you were dead dead dead not sick Not sort of sore throat spiritually.

You’re dead. It’s lifeless

I’ve used this illustration. Death in the scripture is always the picture of separation. We actually use it the same way. Physical death is your immaterial part is separate from your material part. If I drop dead right now, what it means is my material part would still be here, but the me, the immaterial, the soul spirit would be separated.

We talk about giving up the ghost that the spirit has left his soul has departed That’s all pictures of this of what spiritual death is Spiritual death which is what Paul is talking about in Ephesians 2 is the vertical dimension We have two parts to our immaterial. We have a soul sukkahs. We get psychology from it.

It’s how we relate On the horizontal level with others and also how we relate to ourselves. The study of psychology is to try to figure that stuff out. You know, what’s going on? Why are you agitated? Why can’t you get along? But there is also a dimension that is vitally significant. There is the vertical relationship.

Animals are said in the scripture to have a soul. They are never said to have a spirit. They do not have the vertical dimension. Spiritual death is that our vertical dimension has been separated. We have been, it’s been disconnected. It’s what the fall of sin into sin did to humanity. We have been severed and we now have to have reconnection.

In Ephesians two, he’s going to talk about how these individuals that that have been set apart to God have been reconnected through what Jesus Christ did on the cross through salvation is basically reconnecting you with God, which was lost because of sin. The third thing, they are people who form a new community in the world.

There’s a mystery in chapter 2, 11, all the way to the end of chapter three, he’s going to talk about it. He said, and he says twice, he says, there’s a mystery. Nobody saw this baby coming. Nobody saw this one. The Jews and Gentiles would be brought together on the same footing as a way of approaching God.

And it would be done through the Jewish Messiah, Christ. Nobody saw it, but he says, Here’s what’s happening. He’s going to use these visuals like there’s a wall of partition. It’s just fabulous pictures that are there that are going to be taken away. And there’s this oneness that takes place so that You can go anywhere in the world, and you can immediately sense a relationship with people as you get to know them and find out that they, too, are a believer in Jesus Christ.

It doesn’t matter their gender, their ethnicity, their background, their social class, anything. Because you have been brought into this community

about a year after the, maybe six months after the Eagles won the Super Bowl. I was over in Western PA at a hotel, and I, I got on the elevator. It was a pretty good sized elevator, and the room probably had, the elevator probably had eight, fairly exuberant, enthusiastic African American women that were there on a, on a, some outing.

I don’t know what it was. And I noticed that they were talking a little bit. About the Eagles. Now, I have two jackets. I have an Eagles jacket, which I wear all the time. I just, we were in Florida this past week. I wore it there. I also have a jacket that was given to me when the Phillies won the World Series, and it’s a fabulous jacket.

It’s the most comfortable jacket I own, but I honestly don’t feel worthy to wear it. I’m just not a giant baseball fan. And I feel awkward when people come up and say, Oh, Philly, you know what, I’m like, Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go, Phil, you know, but I don’t root for anybody else. But, but I love the Eagles, and so I wear my jacket is comfortable, too.

But, well, so, of course, what? You know what happened in this elevator? So. So, I immediately feel this bond with these women and I did something that’s quite honestly outside of my comfort zone. This is more of a Pastor Jared type of thing. But I was so excited with these ladies that all of a sudden I started doing the Eagles fight song.

Fly Eagles. And the whole elevator is singing. I mean by the time we hit the floor, you know, You know, what happened there? There’s a community. These are my people. There’s something. I don’t know him and I oh, what we even got better was at the end They’re saying they’re saying Oh bless you bless number.

Oh and Christians, too This is awesome.

If you’re a saint if you’re set apart to God You’re also set apart to a community of people all over the world

And it’s all because of the work of the Godhead in your life But he says something else here. He says this. He says to the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus. He says you’ll know them because they’re the faithful ones. And this is really what he’s going to talk about in the last three chapters of the book.

Their walk. I there, this is how chapter 4 begins, verse 1. I therefore, prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called. Their walk, we will find in the book of Ephesians, is a whole life thing. There’s no option given to compartmentalize your life.

He’s going to talk about, these are just topics that he’s going to talk about when he says, Live worthily. He’s just basically saying, man, be who you are. Be what you’ve been made to be in Christ. He’s going to talk about our money. He’s going to talk about our eating. This is all in here. He’s going to talk about our marriages, our jobs, our way of talking with people, our way of treating people, our calling to forgive people.

He’s going to talk about our emotional lives. He’s going to talk about our sexual purity. Matter of fact, he’s going to make this statement. Among you, there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality. Well, I’ve told you about the brothels that were at every major street corner. Hundreds of people available to you.

They had their own form of

promiscuity, just like our culture does. Our culture maybe is scarier, because it can be done in total anonymity behind a screen. But he says, if you’re one of these that has been set apart to God, Here’s what he says again in chapter four and five. Among you there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality.

The followers of Jesus must have an entirely different standard of sexual purity than the culture in which we live. Their walk, our walk, is not compartmentalized. The walk is a whole life thing. The old theologians had an expression, it’s a Latin term, It’s Coram Deo. Deo means God. Coram means in the presence of.

Coram Deo was what they called believers to live. And it literally meant to be continually conscious of God’s presence. To see God’s involvement and live for God’s glory in all parts of our lives. This is Coram Deo. That our lives are not compartmentalized. Yeah, this is, this is God’s part. But, I’m not ready to have him over here.

Sylvia Fraser, well known novelist, wrote a book, My Father’s House. It tells of the tributes paid at her father’s funeral. He was a man of proper and regular habits. A Christian man, who didn’t smoke or drink, who helped people with their grocery shopping, who never took the Lord’s name in vain. A polite and neighborly man, Mr.

Frazier, and these are quotes, kept his snow shoveled, his leaves raked, and his bills paid. He also sexually molested his daughter Sylvia from age 4 to 12, threatening her first with the loss of her toys, he’d throw them in the furnace. Then with killing her cat, then with sending her away to an orphanage if she were to disclose their secret.

Mr. Fraser was able to live by compartmentalizing his life. He could seal off one part of his personhood from another just like an ocean liner can sometimes keep afloat, even when damaged, if the crew seals off the flooded compartments. Mr. Fraser is an extreme case of our ability to compartmentalize. But the Bible’s repeated admonition to be wholehearted and to be undivided in our pursuit of God reminds us of the challenge to Coram Deo through compartmentalize in each one of our lives.

When Paul wrote Ephesians, he’s saying, guys, It’s a whole life thing I’m talking about. It speaks to every part. The second thing is, their walk is foundationally an internal thing, ultimately. The focus of chapter 4 through 6 is practical Christianity, but it isn’t just behavioral. It’s heart driven.

Motives, underlying pride, envy, selfish ambition, bitterness, is actually influencing our best actions. As we grow in Christ, and I do believe we need to change habits when we come to Jesus, we need to be continually letting the Lord, redirect us and change our behavior, our responses, whether it’s emotional, whether it’s our relationship, of course He’s changing us all the time.

But what you find out, and those of you that have walked with the Lord for a number of years know exactly what I’m going to say. When I say it, you will. You begin to understand That your own capacity to grow in Christ is limited by your own self deception. That we want to hide what is ugly, and shameful, and embarrassing to us, even to ourselves.

But God is determined to free us from that part of ourselves. He is determined to turn us into transparent, vulnerable people that say, I’m really struggling with fear. I’m really struggling with lust. I’m real. I need I need brothers and sisters to come alongside of me. I’ve got issues, some of which I’m deceiving myself to the reality of it.

I’m reading a book that I just love the book. It’s by Rebecca Pippard. It’s called Hope has his reasons with the subtitle. Our search to satisfy our deepest longings. She tells the story of being in a Bible study that she had really enjoyed and I’ll read it to you. There was a delightful woman in the group, someone who taught me a great deal about living for God.

However, she was of the school, though she may not have realized it, that it is a sin to admit one is a sinner. She would, of course, say she believed in the doctrine of sin, but she never spoke of anything but victory. One day, the leader of the study asked us, What do you think controls you that shouldn’t?

Insightful question, actually. We knew one another well by then, so there was enough trust to really be able to speak openly. But the victorious woman spoke up at once. The besetting sin of my life, she said, is that I just don’t write as many letters as I should. There was a long silence. Not surprisingly, no one shared after that.

The lid on the discussion had been clamped shut. Mind you, I did say and believe she was a delightful woman. Yet I wanted to ask her though. I didn’t is that why Christ died because we didn’t write enough letters That seems like a stiff price to pay just because we lacked enough stamps What happens as you grow in Jesus?

You’re able to say I see the seed of every known sin in my own heart I see how much fear has influenced my life. I see how how What I thought was was just strong getting it doing it the right way has so much pride in it I see so many areas that I just deceive myself and God just keeps taking back another layer of the onion and So you grow in the Christian life?

And if you’re really growing the Christian life sometimes you say, you know I think I’m a worse person than when I started this thing You’re not. I mean, I don’t think you are. No, you’re not. You’re just being allowed to see more that Jesus died for, and more that Jesus wants to say, Let me in there. Let me in there!

And watch what I’ll do through my spirit. Paul is saying their work is an internal thing, and last, their war is a real thing. In Ephesians, Paul knew of shopkeepers, town officials, tradesmen, and slaves who had experienced this new life in Christ. In his mind’s eye, he saw them throughout the city and the countryside, the saints in Ephesus.

In the X Men series, X Men series, Charles Francis Xavier, also known as Professor X, is the one that has this, this thing called Cerebro. It’s a database, but it’s connected when you put this, like, helmet like thing for X Men fans. I apologize right now. but This thing enables him to see in the whole world, and it shows up on like a planetarium ceiling all over the world where there are mutants, people that have these special powers that are a little different from humans, and, but it’d be very dangerous if people, if, if people from the evil side, evil mutants, evil humans, were able to see where these people were.

He’s able to see them because he wants to help them, invest in them, some of them get into his school.

We’re like that as believers. We’re scattered. We’re those lights that are all over the world.

The frightening thing is our enemy does know where we are. He can identify all the lights

and his hatred of God is tangible and it’s real and there’s not a lot he can do against God. So he goes to his next option, which is the people that God has set apart for himself. In the book of Ephesians, Paul isn’t going to mince words on the fact that there’s a war going on. There’s an enemy that in this life that Jesus gives us, which is the whole theme of this series, there is opposition.

There is adversary. There will be suffering. You will suffer in ways you would not suffer if you didn’t know Christ.

Paul writes this letter to help us live out the life Jesus gives us. Those doing so live as faithful saints. As those who see the uniqueness of their position in Christ separated to God and from the world as those who are seeking to align their lives under Christ, to glorify him in every part of their lives.

They’re, they’re, they’re trying to live out as faithful, set apart ones. This is the life that Jesus gives us. Lord,

thank you for setting the table in these first couple of verses. They give us a, an intro to all the richness that’s ahead in this book.

Father, I worship you for authoring it all.

I worship you, Lord Jesus, that you accomplished it all. You’re the Redeemer, you’re the Rescuer, you’re the one who took on flesh to become one of us,

and God the Spirit, I worship you as the Applier of it all. That you’re the one that enables us to live out the Gospel today, to face our sin, to be vulnerably telling other people, I don’t have it together. I’m more screwed up than any of you really know. And our prayers become different for each other because we pray with what’s real.

Father, Son, and Spirit, thanks for inviting us to be a part of the community of the Godhead. To be a part of the dance.

Lord, we love you. We love to do life with you. We love living in this life that Jesus gives us. We praise you for it, in Jesus name. Amen.