Ephesians is the fourth and final letter we are diving into during our Letters series. This series is about the letters written by Paul to and for the church while he was imprisoned in Rome. If you have missed any of the messages during the series, click here to watch or listen to them on our new podcast.
To give you an idea of the context from which these letters were written, first, you need to know a little more about Paul. Paul was a talented speaker, evangelist, and announced the gospel everywhere he went resulting in the planting of many churches in various cities in the ancient world. He was a professional speaker and became a trusted advisor to many followers and local church leaders (remember the story of Philemon?). However, his public proclamation of the good news of Jesus resulted in his imprisonment, essentially ending his public speaking career. The prison Paul landed in was probably a house where he was kept under close guard at all times (likely chained to a soldier). While in prison, Paul was given a number of freedoms not offered to most prisoners. Among them was the freedom to write letters and receive visitors. This allowed Paul to continue his work of developing, encouraging and teaching churches even from his prison cell. It also gave us the opportunity to have some of Paul’s brilliant insight written down so that we too can learn about Jesus and who we are called to be.
A Challenge to the Church
This particular letter that Paul wrote was to a church in the city of Ephesus. It was a huge city that was the epicenter of worship of Roman and Greek gods. The letter to the Ephesians is broken into two clear parts. First, Paul explores the history of the gospel and how its climax is in Jesus and his multi-ethnic community of followers. One of the main points here is that anyone can be adopted into the family of Christ. Second, Paul challenges the church to live out a new humanity in which the image of God is restored. What does this look like?
For a better understanding of what Paul writes about in the letter to the Ephesians, check out this video from The Bible Project.