Over the last few months, we've been unpacking Ephesians chapter two together as a launch team, and I wanted to post some follow up thoughts for those who want more and for those who have missed those nights.
So over the course of seven or eight different posts, I'm going to post the text, some summary / unpacking thoughts, a guide for mediation and personal journaling and/or discussion with your friends family.
I pray this is a helpful tool for you to study the bible!
Ephesians might be one of my favorite books in the bible (can I say that?). Paul, writing to a church he helped start, back to them, encouraging them, praying for them, giving instruction about how to live. But mostly, we find Paul helping shape their identity in Christ.
We can really split up Ephesians, generally, into two blocks:
- Ephesians 1-4:16 - Our newfound identity in the family of God because of what Christ has done.
- Ephesians 4:17-24 - How then we should live in light of this new identity.
It's important to not leapfrog over the first half so we can get right to the second half and figure how to live. Our tendency is to do just that. Why? Because we want to fix. We want the self-help. Our lives are broken and we want to fix it, and maybe moral / right / ethical living will be the solution?
The problem is, when we skip past the foundation, and start building walls, this whole ting comes tumbling down. Right? We get misunderstanding of the gospel, we get moralism, legalism, and pharisaical actions.
The gospel of Jesus is that he did everything we could not do to restore us to a loving, gracious God so that we can live a life empower by the Holy Spirit.
Unfortunately, many of us have bought into a mindset, a false-gospel, of "if I do what is right, what is moral, God will love me and accept me."
Paul aims to crush that line of thinking, and instead implant in us an unshakable identity, rooted and grounded in the love of God, and chapter 2 is right in the middle of that aim.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2 ESV)
Here how we're going to breakdown this text to study together:
- Ephesians 2:1-3 - Hopelessness and helplessness without Christ
- Ephesians 2:4-10 - Hope in Christ
- Ephesians 2:11-13 - Jesus is bringing those who were far, near to God
- Ephesians 2:14-17 - Peace with God, peace with others
- Ephesians 2:17-18 - We have access to God, through Christ
- Ephesians 2:18-19 - Implications of Christ's peace and our identity in him
- Ephesians 2:20-22 - It's Jesus' church
Mediation / Journaling
Ephesians chapter 2 is the gospel of Jesus on display! Take some time to read through Ephesians 2 again, slowly, and as you read, jot down every thought, observation, question, discovery that you might have.
Once you're finished, pray and ask the Lord to revel himself to you through this text, and ask that the Holy Spirit would help you understand these great truths found in Ephesians chapter 2.