Living a New Life

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Living a New Life | Ephesians 4:17-32

In our ninth week exploring the book of Ephesians, Matt concludes a three-part turning point in the flow of the letter. The first half of Ephesians spoke mainly of Who Jesus is and how his accomplishment on the cross changes who we are, but with the words in this passage, Paul begins speaking with directives, teaching the new believers of Ephesus what exactly it means in a practical sense to have your whole identity changed completely. This passage, along with the rest of the letter, can be misinterpreted as more rules to fill out a moral checklist. What Paul is really doing, however, is much more helpful and gets to the very hearts of his audience: he is filling out in great detail a picture of the New Life given to us in Christ.

Maintain Unity

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Maintain Unity | Ephesians 4: 1-16

In the eighth part of our exploration through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, Matt introduces the central argument towards which Paul has been building and from which Paul will be building for the rest of the letter: that we may live our daily lives in light of Jesus’ death and resurrection. To Paul, it isn’t enough to simply acknowledge Jesus’ ministry and leave it at that. Jesus came and died for a grander purpose than lip-service alone; He did not come to simply build the Church. Rather, Jesus built the Church to bless the world. This passage is filled with practical wisdom for our daily lives as Paul dives even deeper into what that looks like, and how it is that the Church is supposed to accomplish such a task.

Empowered

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Empowered | Ephesians 3:14-21

In the seventh installment of our journey through the letter to the Ephesian Church, Matt takes a longer look at what it is that connects the first half of this letter to the second: Power. Paul is building a case for us to not only believe in the claim of Jesus’ reign on Earth but also understand that belief in this reign makes you a citizen of his kingdom a walking proponent of the Law of the Land—that is, the laws of His lands, no matter where on Earth you may find yourself. It’s a incredible claim to make that Paul believes we cannot complete with any success without the transforming power of God within us. And that is exactly what God gives us: His Power.

The Mystery and Clarity of Christ

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The Mystery and Clarity of Christ | Ephesians 3:1-13

This is the sixth installment of our journey through the book of Ephesians, in which Matt speaks about a transitional pause in Paul's letter to the church in Ephesus. While the first part of this letter was spent describing the new identity Christ's work on Earth gives his followers, the last part focuses on how that new identity should immediately impact a follower's daily life. In order for that logical bridge to be crossed, then, Paul must talk briefly on what exactly gives him the authority to say what he is saying, what his claims about Christ actually are, and how it is that those reading can know with certainty that his claims are true. It is only in fully believing Paul's words that anyone can then move forward into what this new identity should look like.

He Creates Unity

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He Creates Unity | Ephesians 2:11-22

This is the fifth installment of our journey through the book of Ephesians, in which Matt speaks on Paul’s instructions to the church of Ephesus concerning race. Nothing was more brutal at that time, or even today, than the racism and hatred towards “outsiders”, and nothing is more opposite from the inclusive love of God either. Enjoy this powerful reminder of how Jesus’ death and resurrection impacted how we relate to people different from us!

Prayer

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Prayer | Ephesians 1:15-23

In our third week exploring the letter to the Ephesians, Paul tells the church in Ephesus what he prays for when he thinks of them. It’s such a powerful prayer that even Paul had trouble summarizing it, so he wrote one sentence that spans the whole passage! It’s best in that case to simply repeat it: “…that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe…”