We’ve just finished our series preaching through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. To add a little more challenge to this series, we preached the letter in reverse. We started with chapter 6 and went to chapter 1. Here are 10 things I learned preaching through Ephesians…again.
1. People are people.
Although we’re separated from the people and culture of Ephesus by several thousand years, we have a lot in common with them. The issues addressed in Paul’s letter are the same we address every week in our own church—marriage and family, faith and culture, leadership, relationships, and how the gospel impacts every area of our lives. For all of our differences and as much things have changed in our world, people are still pretty much the same.
2. The war may be over, but the battle goes on.
True, Christ has completed His redemptive work. Our future is secure in Him. Yet, our enemy, though defeated, is still fighting. That’s why we have to be dressed in the full armor of God. Every day is a fight.
3. The good news of the gospel impacts every area of our lives.
Our marriages, our roles as spouses and parents, our roles as employers and employees, our place as believers in an unbelieving culture—everything is under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
4. All of us have spiritual gifts, but no one has all of the gifts.
God, in His wisdom, has created a process where we need each other. We are, in the unity of Spirit, more reflective of Christ together than we are individually.
5. God was working before we got here, and He’ll be working after we’re gone.
The divine purposes of God were established before the foundation of time, and His work will continue until He’s completed all that He has promised.
6. Salvation is a gift.
We can’t do anything to earn it, and we haven’t done anything to deserve it. Because it’s gift, we can only receive our salvation in gratitude and live it out faithfully.
7. Each of us was called ON purpose FOR purpose.
Paul was an apostle—by the will of God—called to proclaim the gospel to the Gentiles. Paul saw his ministry as part of his salvation experience. Yes, we’re grateful for our salvation, but it always involves a call, a mission to which we are sent. They go hand in hand.
8. We didn’t choose Jesus. He chose us.
I always find it amusing when someone tells me they “found Jesus.” I quickly remind them, “Jesus wasn’t lost.”
9. The redemptive work of Christ won’t be defeated.
His victory is “predestined.” The end is already determined, and the victory belongs to Jesus. Because we’re “in Christ,” His victory is our victory.
10. There’s always reason to praise.
Remember, Paul was in prison as he wrote this letter. His first words to the Ephesians? “Praise!” How could Paul say that? Because Paul knew regardless of the situation, God is always working things out for His glory. That’s a lesson I need to learn again and again…
So, there you go. What did you learn going through Ephesians in Reverse? Let me know!