Devotional Reading: Psalm 33:8-12
Lesson Scripture: Ephesians 1:3-14
Lesson Aims: To recognize the purpose of our salvation; to understand the importance of choice; and to live every day to bring glory to Him.
Background: The New Testament epistles of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon are Paul’s prison letters. Most scholars agree that they were written while he was under house arrest for two years in Rome. Addressed to the saints (called out) in Ephesus, more than likely, the letter was a circular that wasn’t correcting any error or heresy. The aims of the book are threefold: to expand the listeners’ horizon, to get them to understand God’s purposes and to help them appreciate God’s goals for them (church). Since Damascus, the apostle has always acknowledged “Jesus as Lord” (winter’s theme) everywhere he traveled. The harbor city of Ephesus is located in Asia Minor (Turkey). A major trade route and commercial center, the temple of Artemis (Diana) was there. A part of it served as the bank for the region. Paul visited the city during his second journey (Acts 15:39-19). While there, he informed them about the Holy Spirit. Some two years later, he penned this letter.
Lesson: The essence of this epistle is rooted in the concept of the church as a living organism not an institution, a building or an association. There is unity in the church with Jesus being the head. The church’s rapid growth makes it necessary for them to think differently. Faith in Jesus is not shown by the size of the building, its congregation or its hierarchy. The new perspective begins with the understanding that people are God’s greatest treasure! After the greeting, Paul gives the “eulogy on Salvation” (The New Interpreter’s Bible volume 9). Eulogy simply means fine speaking in praise of something. Paul, therefore is about to give a fine speech in praise of God. When believers analyze what God has done for them, praise is the only appropriate response. The lesson can be divided into three sections: verses 3-6; 7-12; and 13-14. Paul points out that God chose humanity before creation. Humanity doesn’t deserve nor can they earn the blessing. It’s God’s gift! Praises to Him are in order. God not only chose people but sent His Son to redeem them. This says volumes about how seriously God takes sin. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, sins are forgiven. In the fullness of time, everything in Christ (in heaven and on earth) will come together. Harmony will reign because of God’s timing. The Holy Spirit seals it! This seal is the sign that believers belong to God! Praising Him is what we do.
Application: Some say; “If you feed a person long enough, they begin to look like you!” Go a step further – when we are in close relationship with God, shouldn’t we resemble Him? The more believers walk by His standards, the more glory (worthiness) He receives. After all, our Salvation isn’t just for personal benefit only; it leads others to accept God as well. The manner in which we live is the clarion call for His glory. We are to praise and glorify the Omnipresent, Omniscient, and Omnipotent God.