The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians

by Oliver B. Greene

Copyright @ 1963

The Gospel Hour, Inc., Greenville, South Carolina

This book is used with permission and this book may be
obtained from The Gospel Hour, Inc., PO Box 2024, Greenville, South
Carolina 29602
: www.TheGospelHour.org.

Please note: Below is the Introductory material of the book, however,if you wish to continue reading this fine book [and I truly hope you do!] download the chapters from the document file (which is absolutely free). You will have the option to either simply open it or to save it as your own possession. GOD bless you from the Baptist Bible Believers website!

Please tell all of your friends and Church about this website, pray for this ministry - and that will be payment enough!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 TitleSize (Kb)
01. OUR STANDING AS BELIEVERS - Chapter 1:1-215.56
02. THE BELIEVER'S POSITION IN THE GRACE OF GOD - Chapter 1:320.07
03. THE TRINITY - THE PART OF EACH MEMBER OF THE GODHEAD IN OUR CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE - Chapter 1:4-633.45
04. THE SON'S PART IN OUR REDEMPTION - Chapter 1:7-1221.47
05. THE HOLY SPIRIT'S PART IN OUR REDEMPTION - Chapter 1:13-1417.92
06. PAUL PRAYS FOR THE BELIEVER - Chapter 1:15-2321.88
07. THE METHOD OF GENTILE SALVATION - Chapter 2:1-330.83
08. THREE GREAT WORDS DESCRIBE GOD'S MATCHLESS REMEDY - Chapter 2:4-519.32
09. THE RESULTS OF GOD'S MERCY, LOVE AND GRACE - Chapter 2:6-1022.32
10. THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST BREAKS DOWN RACIAL BARRIERS - Chapter 2:11-1317.64
11. IN CHRIST WE HAVE PEACE - Chapter 2:14-1825.10
12. THE CHURCH (THE BUILDING OF GOD) IS INHABITED BY GOD THROUGH THE SPIRIT - Chapter 2:19-2213.01
13. THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH IS REVEALED - Chapter 3:1-827.07
14. FOR WHOM ARE THE UNSEARCHABLE RICHES OF CHRIST? - Chapter 3:9-1215.55
15. PAUL'S PRAYER FOR THE EPHESIANS THAT THEY MAY EXPERIENCE THE FULNESS OF THE SPIRIT AND KNOWLEDGE - Ch. 3:13-2128.18
16. THE WALK AND SERVICE OF THE BELIEVER - Chapter 4:1-619.43
17. MINISTRY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH - Chapter 4:7-1120.02
18. THE PURPOSE OF THE MINISTRY OF THE APPOINTED SERVANTS - Chapter 4:12-1622.39
19. BELIEVERS ARE NEW CREATIONS IN CHRIST - WE ARE TO WALK AS A NEW MAN - Chapter 4:17-3226.74
20. AS GOD'S CHILD WE SHOULD FOLLOW GOD IN THE SAME FASHION AS OUR CHILDREN FOLLOW US - Chapter 5:1-716.63
21. WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF LIGHT - Chapter 5:8-1714.74
22. ANOTHER COMMANDMENT TO BELIEVERS - Chapter 5:18-2114.66
23. A CLEAR ILLUSTRATION OF WHAT THE CHURCH IS - Chapter 5:22-3323.73
24. SPIRIT FILLED BELIEVERS THEIR CHILDREN - THEIR SERVANTS - Chapter 6:1-929.77
25. SPIRIT FILLED BELIEVERS FACE WARFARE - Chapter 6:10-1830.47
26. PREACHERS AND PRAYER - CHURCHES AND PRAYER - Chapter 6:18-2418.46

INTRODUCTION

To me, Ephesians is the holy of holies of the Epistles. I feel in some small way as Moses must have felt when he was instructed to remove the shoes from his feet because the ground upon which he stood was holy ground. As I approach the study of the Epistle to the Ephesians, I feel that I, too, should remove the shoes from my feet because of the loftier levels of revealed spiritual truth in this jewel of the Epistles.

The Apostle Paul is the writer of the Epistle to the Ephesians. The date of this Epistle was A. D. 64 and it was written in Rome. Ephesians is the first of the Prison Letters of the Apostle Paul.

This letter, along with the Epistle to the Colossians and the Epistle to Philemon, was sent to the respective groups by Tychicus and is the most impersonal of all of Paul's letters to the churches. Bible authorities do not agree as to whether or not the words "to the Ephesians" appear in the manuscripts. There is a division of Bible scholars concerning this matter, but whether or not this letter was directed to the Ephesians is not important in our study.

In Colossians 4:16 we read concerning the Epistle to the Laodiceans. Some Bible scholars suggest that this letter we are about to study was really directed to the Laodiceans. Other Bible authorities suggest that it was directed to both the Laodicean church and the church at Ephesus. Some suggest that the words "to the faithful in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 1:1b) indicate that the letter was not addressed to any particular assembly.

All Scripture is given by inspiration, and is profitable to us. The tremendous spiritual truth revealed in this Epistle is yours and mine to accept if we are members of the Body of CHRIST through the miracle of the New Birth. The Prophets of GOD delivered "oracles" to the people; but the Apostles of JESUS CHRIST wrote letters to the brethren in CHRIST - letters that were directed to specific assemblies but carried a message to each and every individual who had become a member of the Body of CHRIST through the new birth . . . and also a message to you and me who are nineteen hundred years this side of the penning down of these great truths. All Scripture up to the crucifixion of the Lord JESUS looks forward to the Cross of CHRIST, and has the nation Israel primarily in view, and the blessings GOD promised to Abraham . . . earthly blessings in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

But in the Epistles we read of the revealing of a great mystery: "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 3:9). This mystery made known to Paul by revelation, was "hid in God" from the very beginning. The mystery referred to here was the interval of time between the crucifixion of the Lord JESUS, His resurrection, and His coming again in glory to receive His church to meet Him in the air.

In Matthew 16 Jesus prophesied concerning the church. He said to Peter, "Upon this rock I will build my church . . ." (notice it is future tense). JESUS did not say, "Upon this rock I have built," or "am building," but "WILL build" (future tense). The church was empowered on the Day of Pentecost. JESUS announced the church to the apostles, but He did not reveal its position, its relationship, nor its privileges and its duties to GOD and to man.

In the Epistles Paul reveals the doctrine of the church as the HOLY GHOST revealed it to him. In Paul's letters to the churches at Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colosse and Thessalonica, we find revealed to these churches (and to you and me) the unique place of the church in the purpose and plan of Almighty GOD.

This tremendous truth was hidden "from the beginning of the world" (Ephesians 3:9). It is through the inspired pen of the Apostle Paul that we know the church of the living God is not a local organization. The church of which JESUS was speaking in Matthew 16 is a living organism . . . the Body of CHRIST, with a heavenly calling and a definite promise that the church will be caught up into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. The church will be eternally displayed to show to all God's creations the exceeding riches of His grace (Ephesians 2:7).

It is through the inspired pen of the Apostle Paul that we know the nature, purpose and form of organization of the local churches. It is through his writings that we learn the desire of the HOLY SPIRIT concerning our conduct toward each other in the church, concerning the gathering of the offerings, and other doctrines and programs connected with the New Testament church - the Body of CHRIST.

It is through the inspired pen of Paul that we learn we shall not all die, but that some of the members of the Body of CHRIST will escape death by being caught up to meet the Lord in the air (I Thessalonians 4:13-18). It is through Paul's writings that we learn that the dead in CHRIST shall rise first, and that living saints will be changed in the twinkling of an eye (I Corinthians 15:52; I Thessalonians 4:13-18).

I know all of the Bible is GOD's Holy Word, and I know that all Scripture is given by inspiration; but I must confess that I find my greatest joy in studying the Epistles of Paul.

It was to the Apostle Paul that GOD revealed the unfolding doctrine of the Grace of GOD . . . that we are saved by GOD's grace through faith - (not by grace through faith plus Law, but by pure grace alone). We learn through the writings of Paul that our justification, our sanctification, our victory and finally the glory we will share with JESUS are all ours because of His sacrificial death on the Cross, through which He purchased redemption, sanctification, righteousness, and glory for every believer.

Paul made it clear to all to whom he spoke and wrote, that his message was neither OF man nor BY man - but was a direct revelation from Almighty GOD through JESUS CHRIST. Paul was converted through the personal ministry of the Lord JESUS CHRIST as He appeared to him on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). Paul witnessed the glorified Christ. In I Corinthians 15 he mentions the individuals and the groups who saw JESUS after His resurrection, and refers to himself in these words: "After that, He was seen of James; then of all the apostles. AND LAST OF ALL HE WAS SEEN OF ME ALSO, AS OF ONE BORN OUT OF DUE TIME" (I Corinthians 15:7-8).

Thank GOD, that day as Paul traveled the road to Damascus, with blood in his eyes and murder in his heart, with a pocket full of letters giving him authority to arrest all who were "of this way" (Acts 9:2), suddenly a light from Heaven shone round about him. Paul fell to the earth. He heard a voice which said to him, "Why persecutest thou me?" Paul answered, "Who art thou, Lord?"

The answer came back, "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks."

Upon hearing these words, Paul trembled. He was astonished. He asked, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"

In answer to that question the Lord JESUS said, "Arise and go into the city and it shall be told thee what thou must do." I am so glad, so thankful, that Paul did not argue, but obeyed the instruction received from the lips of the Lord JESUS.

This man who was trained in the school of Gamaliel, a Pharisee of the Pharisees, a member of the Sanhedrin, a doctor of the Law, could have said, "I do not need to be instructed what to do. I am very capable of doing what I feel in my heart I should do." But Paul did not say that. In the voice of the Lord JESUS he recognized a power he had never experienced. Therefore, he asked the Lord JESUS what he should do, and then without argument, he did it! Thank GOD for the obedience of Paul that day on the Damascus road.

The conversion of the Apostle Paul marked the beginning of one of the greatest individuals who ever lived. So far as I am concerned, there has never been a greater one, except the man CHRIST JESUS. Surely GOD must have respected Paul very highly. By his pen JEHOVAH GOD, through the HOLY GHOST, gave to us thirteen of the New Testament books. We can sum up the life of this apostle, this great spiritual giant, in the first words of the Epistle to the Romans: "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ!"

THE HISTORICAL SETTING OF THE EPHESIAN LETTER


For the historical background of the Ephesian letter, we must turn to the book of Acts, chapters 19 and 20. In these two chapters we learn that Paul spent three years in Ephesus - the longest time he spent in any one city or community. Ephesus was the capital of heathen worship in that day, but Paul had a great ministry there. In his Epistle, he reminds the elders in the church at Ephesus, "By the space of three years I ceased not TO WARN EVERY ONE NIGHT AND DAY WITH TEARS!" Think of it! For three years (thirty-six months) Paul preached and cried out against sin and idolatry. As a result, there was a tremendous spiritual awakening. Many brought their books of magic and curious arts and burned them. They were placed in a huge pile in the city square, and burned "BEFORE ALL." (The price of the books burned was fifty thousand pieces of silver.)

Immediately following this, the HOLY SPIRIT tells us "mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed" (Acts 19:20). The entire city of Ephesus was stirred, moved, and alarmed because the devotees and the apostles of Diana were turning to this Gospel of JESUS CHRIST. The center of the worship of Diana was in the city of Ephesus. The temple of Diana was there, with the image "which fell down from Jupiter" (Acts 19:35). (That is, of course, according to the belief of the people in that day. They thought this great image fell from Jupiter down to the city of Ephesus.)

Paul's three-year revival upset the worship of the great image of Diana. Please notice when this New Testament evangelist moved into the city of Ephesus he did not run a full-page ad in the daily paper announcing that he would preach a series of sermons on the evils of Diana. He did not attack the image as such. He preached JESUS CHRIST - crucified, buried, risen. He lifted up the Lord JESUS, the Light of the world. He pointed the idol worshippers to the one true GOD - and as a result a great revival followed.

I believe in negative preaching - but the positive must precede the negative. When people turn to the living GOD, they automatically turn from their idols (I Thessalonians 1:9). Paul pointed the Ephesian idolators to the Lamb of GOD, and when they saw the CHRIST, the great idol of Diana lost its glamour.

The temple of Diana was grand and glorious. It was magnificent beyond words. It was four hundred and twenty-five feet long, it was two hundred and twenty feet wide, and it was counted one of the wonders of the whole wide world. This magnificent temple overshadowed the whole city (and the life of everyone in the city) until the Apostle Paul arrived.

Surely Paul must have been stricken with deep grief when he saw the people fall down and worship the heathen goddess Diana. Can you not hear the people cry out, "Can you present to us a greater god, a greater temple, than our god and our temple?" and Paul's answer, "My God can certainly boast of a finer temple, and my CHRIST - living in the Heavenlies - is much greater than Diana!" Paul offered to the idolators at Ephesus the message which claimed that the followers of JESUS are "blessed... with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3).

The HOLY GHOST had revealed to the Apostle Paul that believers are members of the Body of CHRIST, the heavenly temple, certainly surpassing any and all earthly temples. The temple of GOD, the New Testament church, is glorious, a holy temple, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing (Ephesians 2:21, Ephesians 5:27).

Paul held up before the idolators at Ephesus, the Body of CHRIST, made up of born again blood washed individuals, who embrace grace by faith, purchased at the tremendous price of the Cross. The power of the Gospel preached three years night and day with tears broke down the stronghold of idolatry and brought about a revival which swept the great city of Ephesus.

Do not think, dear reader, that you can gather the hidden riches of this Epistle by simply reading the words penned down by Paul. To receive the spiritual blessings, the spiritual depth that is in this Epistle, requires the mind of the Spirit. Paul warns, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (I Corinthians 2:14).

Therefore, we must have THE SPIRIT WHICH IS OF GOD if we would KNOW THE THINGS THAT ARE FREELY GIVEN TO US OF GOD, the things which THE HOLY GHOST TEACHES, COMPARING SPIRITUAL THINGS WITH SPIRITUAL (I Corinthians 2:12-13). There is no part of holy Scripture that contains deeper spiritual truth than these short chapters we are about to study; therefore, it is necessary to make sure that you have the mind of the Spirit as you begin to read and study this Epistle.

To all believers who will approach the Epistle in the attitude of humility, wholeheartedly yielding to the Spirit, trusting in Him who is able to give wisdom and understanding, completely relying upon Him who is able to quicken the mind, open the eyes and enlighten the heart (Ephesians 1:18), to that believer Ephesians will become a gold mine of spiritual truth, and a spring of living water in the middle of a great desert. If we approach this Epistle with fear and trembling, with humility and sincerity, He who dictated these words to the Apostle Paul will enrich our lives and bless our hearts, making us vessels meet for the Master's use. May GOD use this study to enrich your life and cause you to become a stronger Christian, is my prayer.

O. B. G.


Web Counters
HTML Hit Counters

To report a broken link or for other assistance please email us at: vwbutts@att.net

 The Fundamental Top 500 The Baptist Top 1000 BibleTop100.com 

Please Note

You Need the Following to Read PDF Files. Simply click on the link below for the free download

Get Adobe Reader