NTB-10-GEPC-2 - Ephesians: The Church
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Introduction by narrator accompanied by a cappella singing:
THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST. Spreading the soul-saving message of Jesus. And now,
“Unto God be glory in the church,” Ephesians 3:21
Ephesians and Colossians complement each other, because Colossians exalts
and holds up the Christ of the church. “He is the preeminent one.” Colossians 1:18.
Ephesians complements that idea in that, Ephesians exalts the church of the Christ. So
Colossians, the Christ of the church, Ephesians, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. In
fact, in every chapter the writer will note, the Holy Spirit will give us a unique picture of
the church in different ways showing us the power of God through the church. For
example, in chapter 1, it is where the body is. Christ is head of the church, the body.
Chapter 2, it's the family of God, Ephesians 2:16-18. Chapter 3, the church is the
eternal purpose of God, chapter 3:10:11. The church in chapter 4, it is singular, there is
but one body. Chapter 5, it's predicted or showed as, the body of Christ that beautiful
bride in the body of Christ, Ephesians 5:21-31. In chapter 6, it is the army of the Lord,
As you think about the book of Ephesians, there are some key ideas that will
help one to understand this book better. For example, the key word in the book of
Ephesians, really a phrase is, in Christ, that phrase is used about 20 times in the book
of Ephesians. It shows that the relationship, the closeness, and it shows the need to be
in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:3 might be one example of that, “All spiritual blessings are
ours, the Christians, in Christ Jesus.” It’s location, but is more than just location, it
shows that the deep relationship that we have by the blood of Jesus and through His
sacrifice. In Christ, we asked the question, ‘How does one get into Christ?’ Galatians
3:27 tells us that, “We’re all baptized into our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
When we think about the book of Ephesians, one of the key ideas is that the
church is to bring glory to God. Ephesians 3:21, “Unto God be glory in the church.”
What's the church all about? It has the responsibility to proclaim the message of God to
all people, Ephesians 3:10-11 and the church, just like the Christian, is to honor and
glorify God in everything it says and does.
What is the church of the Lord Jesus Christ? When we talk about the church
what are we talking about? Are we talking about a building? Are we talking about
stained-glass, pews, and a baptistery? That’s not what the church is. Church is not a
pulpit or a baptistery or a place with pews in it. We’re not talking about the building. How
do we know that? Acts 7:48-50 the Bible clearly teaches, “God does not dwell in
temples made with hands.” God's not composed to or locked into a building. We're not
talking about someplace or some social club or some feel good party. That’s not what
we are talking about. What is the church? It's Christians gathering together to worship
God. It's the body of Christ, Romans 12:5 and 1 Corinthians 12:25-27, Paul says to
Christians, “You are the body of Christ and members individually one of another.” When
think about the church, we’re talking about the body of Christ; we’re talking about the
members of Christ body, those who are in Christ, Christians.
Let's look at each chapter in the book of Ephesians and notice how this theme
of the church does bring honor and glory to God. What do we know about the church?
From chapter 1, we learn that the church is the body of our Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ. Notice Ephesians 1:22-23 the Scripture says, “And He, God, put all things under
his, under Jesus feet and gave him, gave Jesus, to be head over all things to the
church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” What do I know about
the Lord's church? First, I know that Jesus is the head of the church. ‘He gave him to be
head over all things,’ not some, not a few, ‘all things to the body.’ What does it mean
that Jesus is head of the church? It means that He has all authority. He makes the final
decision. The body acts, we’re the hands, feet, legs, ears, and eyes, all those things.
According to 1 Corinthians 12, the individual members are those, but Jesus is still the
head of the church. He's the one who has all authority. Matthew 28:18 Jesus said, “All
authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth,” Then he said to the body, “Go
and make disciples of all nations.” “We're not to add to or take away from the word of
God,” Revelation 22:18-19. “We’re to do everything in the name of or by the authority of
Christ,” Colossians 3:17.
Here's a very practical application, the Lord's church today is not decapitated, it
does not need a human head; it is not found in Rome, Italy, and the Pope is not the
head of the Lord's church. Jesus is still reigning as head of the church at the very right
hand of God today, Hebrews 1:4.
As you think about, Christ being head of the church, the church being the body, I
want you to notice also from chapter 1, that as part of Christ body, I have access to and
you have access to all spiritual blessings in Christ. I want you to notice the words of
Ephesians 1:3, the Scripture records, “Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, who is blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”
When I think about how all spiritual blessings we have access to in Christ, in His body,
in the church, just think about what some of those are. For example I have the spiritual
blessing of prayer. I can look up into Heaven, as a child of God and say, as Jesus
taught, “Our father who art in heaven,” Matthew 6:9. Prayer has powerful results, James
5:16. I can ‘pray without ceasing,’ 1 Thessalonians 5:17 and following. Another spiritual
blessing and we’ll just mention a few. There’s a host more than these. Another
wonderful spiritual blessing I have in Christ is forgiveness. Remember the words of
Matthew 26:28, Jesus said as he instituted the Lord's Supper at the Passover, “This is
my blood of the new covenant that was shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Acts
2:38, the very first time the gospel message is preached Peter proclaimed, “Repent and
be baptized,” here it is, “for the forgiveness or remission of sins.” As a child of God, I get
a second chance, 2 Corinthians 5:17, I don't have to carry around the burden of sin. I've
been redeemed. As a child of God, one of the great spiritual blessings I also have is
fellowship with God and with Christians. “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we
have fellowship one with another and the blood of his son Jesus Christ cleanses us
from all sin.” We have fellowship with God and with other Christians. What a wonderful
privilege it is to be a child of God, to be in the body of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Let's now turn our attention to Ephesians 2, where we learn that reconciliation
occurs in the body, which is the family of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches that
as God's people, we can be and we have been, redeemed by the blood of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ. Notice Ephesians 2:14 and following, the Scripture records these
words, “For he himself is our peace, who is made both one and is broken down the
middle wall of separation, having abolished in his fleshly the enmity that is the law of
commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in himself, one new man from
the two, thus making peace,” now notice, “that he might reconcile them both to God in
one body through the cross, thereby putting the death the enmity.” Here under
discussion, is Jew and Gentile. The Jews were that chosen nation. The Gentiles, they
felt like they were not a part of that. They didn't have those privileges. So the gospel, it
goes out all people and both Jew and Gentile, “through the cross, where the old law
died in the middle wall was broken down, can now be reconciled to God,” listen, “in one
body.” You see, it's because of God's saving grace that all men everywhere can have
access to the blood of Christ. “The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to
all men,” Titus 2:11. Paul will say in Ephesians 2:8, “By grace are you saved through
faith and that not of yourselves.” It's the gift of God. What do we mean by grace? “You
know, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, though he was rich yet for your sakes he
became poor that we through his poverty might be made rich.” “It's by this grace that we
can stand strong,” 2 Timothy 2:1, and be faithful unto the Lord.
It's also because of the blood of Christ that this reconciliation is possible. You
see, Christ made reconciliation in His body, that’s His physical body. It represents the
church as well, but through His death, through His sacrifice, He made it possible for all
men to be redeemed from ungodliness, not with the blood of bulls and goats, but with
the precious blood of Christ. “As a lamb without spot or blemish, he was foreordained in
these last days and manifest for you,” 1 Peter 1:19. “He himself, Jesus himself, bore our
sins in his own body,” 1 Peter 2:24. Remember the words of Hebrews 9:22, “without the
shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.” Look at what Jesus did to reconcile
us to himself and to God. Reconciliation carries with it the implication that something
had been broken, something had been divided, and that was our relationship with God.
A schism had occurred in man's relationship with God because of sin. All have sinned,
Romans 3:23. “That sin separates us from God,” Isaiah 59:1-2, and yet Jesus through
his death, by his blood, in his body is making reconciliation. How do I know it occurs
through the blood of Jesus? Listen to Acts 22:16, Saul is told by Ananias,”Arise and be
baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord Jesus.” When I think
about Romans 6:1-4, we contact the death of Jesus at baptism. Paul was cleansed of
sin at baptism. All that goes hand-in-hand to show that's where the blood of Christ
becomes effective for men and women today.
As we think about the book of Ephesians, let's also realize that the wall of
separation, it came down when people began to be reconciled through the one body.
That wall of separation, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, Ephesians
2:14-15, and Colossians 2:14-15. That's representative of the barrier between Jew and
Gentile, which was the old law. Realize at the cross that when reconciliation took place,
the Old Testament, it was nailed to the cross, and it is no longer a valid living law all for
men and women today. How do we know that? Hebrews 8:12-13, the Bible says of the
Old Testament, “but that which is growing old and becoming obsolete, is ready to vanish
away.” In the first century, the old covenant was already old and obsolete. If by that time
it was, how much more for Christians today? I cannot be saved by, nor do I worship by,
nor do I live by the Old Testament. It's not for us. It was for Israel. Am I saying it's a bad
law? Please don't misunderstand me; the Old Testament was given by God. It indeed
was a good law, for a good purpose, to bring men and women to Christ, Galatians
3:22-27. But that law fulfilled its purpose, Matthew 5:16-18. Jesus did complete it, Luke
24:44-47, and it's no longer a law that we're living under today.
Let's turn our attention to Ephesians 3, which contains the paramount idea of
the church being God's eternal purpose and with the goal and the purpose of bringing
glory to God. Chapter 1, the church is indeed the body of Christ. Chapter 2, the church
is where reconciliation takes place. Ephesians 3, the church is God's eternal purpose.
Did you know that there are many who claim today that the church was an afterthought?
It was kind of an accident; there was a Band-Aid on the mistake of God. Is that really
what the church is? Some will claim that God intended to set up his kingdom, that the
Jews, with the help of the Romans, afforded that plan, and that one day God's going to
come back and set it up. There's no need for that. Why? The church is God's eternal
purpose. It is God's eternal kingdom. Look at Ephesians 3, and I want you notice verses
10-11. Notice these words, the Bible says, “To the intent now that the manifold wisdom
of God,” watch this now, “might be made known by the church to the principalities and
powers in the heavenly places,” don't miss this, “according to the eternal purpose which
he accomplished in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Was the church an afterthought? Not
according to Paul. Not according to the Holy Spirit here. The church, spreading the
gospel, Jesus died for men and women, reconciling them in the body of Christ was not
an afterthought. Listen to this; it was part of God's eternal purpose. Why? Because the
church is the kingdom and the kingdom is the church. How do we know that? Do you
remember Matthew 16:18-19? Jesus said, after Peter made that great statement,
‘You’re the Christ the son the living God.’ Jesus said, “I say to you that you’re Peter, and
on this rock, on this statement, I am the Christ the son of the living God I will build my
church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Now don't miss these next
verse, and he said unto Peter, “and I say unto you that your Peter, not only that will
build my church, but he said and I want to give do you the keys of the kingdom.” Right
after saying ‘build my church,’ he then said, ‘I give you the keys of the kingdom,
whatever you bind on earth will already be bound in heaven whatever you loose on
earth will already be loosed in heaven.’ The church and the kingdom are the same. In
fact Mark 9:1, Jesus prophesied to his disciples, “I say that there some of you standing
here today who will not taste death until you see the kingdom present with power.”
When did that happen? Acts 2:47, “the Lord added to the church daily those who are
being saved.” Revelation 11:14-15, “The things that were befalling Rome and her
ungodly rulers are because they brought harm to God's eternal kingdom which will last
Friend we’re not looking for another kingdom. Paul said in Colossians 1:13 that
some in the first century were, ‘transferred into the kingdom of God.’ Acts 28, right at the
end of the chapter, Paul was presently preaching the kingdom as a reality, verses 28
through 30. Thus, the church is God's eternal purpose. Let's also notice our job in the
church, is to glorify God. “To God be glory in the church,” Ephesians 3:20-21.
Look now to Ephesians chapter 4, and there is a very powerful point you don't
want to miss, the church is singular. How does the church bring honor to God and glory
to God? By being that singular body God intended for to be. Remember Ephesians
1:22-23, “God made Christ be head over all things, to the body which is the church.”
Now here's what I know, the body is the church; in the church is the body. Let's learn
something from Ephesians 4:4, notice what the text says, “There is one body and one
spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one
baptism, one God, and father of all, who is above all and through all and in you all.”
Notice, the church is the body; Ephesians 4:4, there's one body. How many churches
are there? If the church is the body, and there's only one body, and realize those things
are singular as well. One God, one father, and there's not more than that, those are
singular also. If the church is the body and there's only one body, my friends there is
only one church. Did you know the Bible says that on multiple occasions? Colossians
3:15 tells us to be, “thankful that we were called into the one body.” Romans 12:4-5,
“Many members yet but one body.” When you turn your Bible to 1 Corinthians 12:13,
“By one spirit were we all baptized into one body.” God's plan is not division or
denominationalism. God wants unity. Jesus prayed for unity, John 17:20-21, “Behold,
how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity,” Psalm 133:1. All the
division with men's names and men's doctrines, and all the religious denominations that
exist today, that was never God's plan. One church, built by Jesus, belonging to Jesus
glorifying God, and worshiping the way he wants. That's the plan of God.
Now we direct our attention to the fifth chapter in the book of Ephesians, in which
the church is glorified as the bride of Christ. Ephesians 5:21-31 teaches that and he's
using this as an illustration. He uses marriage as an illustration that the husband is the
head of the home, that the wife is to be submissive that the husband, is to love the
church and to take care of her and that that that she should be holy and without
blemish. And then he says at the end that chapter, that although he uses marriage as
an illustration, he was really talking about Christ and the church. What does that mean?
What implications and lessons do we learn from that? The church, if the husband, and
Christ is the husband, the church is the bride, if the husband is to be head of the home
and the bride is be submissive, that means Christ is the head of the church and the
church is to be submissive to Him. I don't ask, ‘what do I want?’ my question is, “Is there
any word from the Lord?” Jeremiah 37:17. I don't ask, ‘what would make me feel good?’
We ask, “How will this honor God?” Matthew 5:16, what will this do to bring glory and
honor to his name? If Christ is the head, then we also realize in this chapter the
unimaginable, unfathomable love Jesus had for the church. Husbands are to love their
wives, as Christ loved the church. How much did Jesus love the church? Acts 20:27-28,
“He purchased the church with his own blood.” Jesus loved the church so much; he was
willing to lay down his life for it. Church is not an afterthought. Church is not a mistake
or a Band-Aid. Friend, the church should be important to every child of God and every
person who's trying to please the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now let's turn our attention to the sixth and final chapter, the militant aggressive
nature of the church is clearly seen and that the church is the Army of the Lord Jesus
Christ. Ephesians chapter 6, I want you notice verses 10 through 13 with me. The Bible
says in this context, about the church, “Finally brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the
power of his might, put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand
against the wiles of the devil, for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against
principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against
spiritual host of wickedness in the heavenly places, therefore take up a whole armor of
God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day having done all to stand.”
Friend, realize today that you're in a battle for your eternal soul. We do not
wrestle against flesh and blood, that's a spiritual battle. We’re in a battle to make sure, 1
Timothy 6:12, we have to fight the good fight. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, “it's not a carnal
battle, temporal battle, not a battle over land, rather over spiritual things.” The enemy,
the opponent, is the devil. “Like a roaring lion,” 1 Peter 5:8. “Like a Dragon that's been
let loose,” Revelation chapter 12. Like that old serpent, crafty serpent in Genesis 3. He
is the opponent.
Here's the good news, if we stay faithful to the Lord in the body, you and me, we
will be victorious. How? Victory has already been granted. Hebrews 2:14, “Jesus
through death overcame him and the power of death and released those who all their
lifetime were subject to bondage.” Jesus defeated the devil on the cross, and I can
defeat him. Revelation 12:11, “Christians overcame the devil by the blood of the Lamb
by the word of their testimony and they did not love their lives unto the death.”
We ask you today, are you in the one body of Christ? Are you a member of the
Lord's church? Are you winning the battle against Satan? If you've never obeyed the
Gospel, we want you to know that God loves you, we love you, and we want to see you
become a child of God. Are you willing to hear the word? Romans 10:17. Believe in
Jesus as the son of God? John 8:24. Make that good confession, ‘He is the Christ the
son the living God?’ Acts 8:37. Repent of sin? Luke 13:3. And would you be immersed
in water. For the forgiveness of your sins? Acts 2:38. If you've never obeyed the gospel,
we encourage you to do that.
Study Questions for: “Ephesians”
1. According to Ephesians 1:3, all spiritual blessings are ours in whom?
2. In Galatians 3:27, how does it tell us we get into Christ?
3. According to Romans 12:5 and 1 Corinthians 12:25-27, what is the church?
4. According to Ephesians 1:22-23, who is the head of the church?
5. How does1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray ?
6. How many churches are there, according to Ephesians 4:4?
7. How did Christ purchase the church according to Acts 20:28?
8. According to Hebrews 2:14, how did Christ overcome the devil?
9. In Ephesians 5:21-31, how is the church like a bride?
10.In John 17:20-21, what did Jesus pray for?