Since September our church has studied the book of Ephesians. This week, we finished the sermon series with a summary and reflection on Paul’s letter. In particular, I argued that the gospel creates communities of faith that learn how to walk together in love. It’s this love that displays the wisdom of God to the world and that builds up the individual Christian.
To turn it the other way, Ephesians teaches us that individuals need gospel communities (i.e., local churches) to grow in grace and truth. We need one another to grow up in Christ and we need others who model for us what it means to walk in wisdom. This is what we find in Ephesians 5–6, models of godliness in various situations in life.
Still, because the ideals of Ephesians 5–6 are not always found in our homes and workplaces, we also need Christians who have faithfully applied the lines of Scripture to difficult situations. Hence, Christians are built up when they consider the lives of other saints and seek to imitate their faith (Hebrews 13:7). This is a main point in this sermon and one that unites all that we have seen in Paul’s glorious letter to the Ephesians.
You can listen to the sermon online. Information about the individuals mentioned in the sermon can be found below, as well as links to all the previous sermons in this series.
So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts.
Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.
- Over the course of studying Ephesians, what did you learn? What 1 or 2 things stood out? What would you like to study more in depth?
- What difference does it make to read Ephesians as a letter to the church and not a letter to individuals? How does this letter work to build local churches?
- How did the first half of the letter lead into the second half? Or to get at the question another way: What is the relationship between the gospel (ch. 1–2), the church (ch. 3–4), and the Christian life (ch. 5–6)?
- Why does the formation of a loving church matter so much? For the gospel? For the Christians in the church? For the evangelism of the lost?
- Read Acts 20:4; Colossians 4:7; Titus 3:12; 2 Timothy 4:12. Who is Tychicus? Why does Paul send him to local churches?
- Ephesians 4:1–16 talks about the importance of gifted saints building up the church. How does the sending of Tychicus to Ephesus do this? Why does Tychicus’s faithfulness matter to Paul and the Ephesians? What might churches learn from Paul’s sending of Tychicus? (Hint: It relates to missions).
- How does learning church history, specifically biographies help us obey and apply God’s Word? Are there any biographies that have been most helpful to you?
- Why are personal relationships in the local church so important for the Christian life? What’s one step you can take towards the local church and building relationships therein?
On Christian Biographies
- Ten Great Christian Biographies by Albert Mohler
- Brothers, Read Christian Biography by John Piper
- More Than 25 Biographies by John Piper — For years I listened to the biographies written by John Piper on men like Jonathan Edwards, David Brainerd, and C.S. Lewis. Piper introduced me to the importance of biography and I commend his “biographical sermons.”
Red Carpet Christians
Here are a list of stories of men and women I mentioned in this sermon. These Red Carpet Christians demonstrate genuine faith, hope, and love in some very difficult situations.
- Benjamin Breckenridge Warfield
- Anne Hillyard
- Rosaria Butterfield
- John Paton
- Susanna Wesley
- Caleb Kaltenbach
- In Christ > In Ephesus: Learning to find your identity in Christ (Ephesians 1:1–14)
- In Christ Alone: A Prayer for Reformation (Ephesians 1:15–23) – Rod Fillinger
- The Bible in Seven Verses: Amazing Grace (Ephesians 2:1–7) – Rod Fillinger
- By Grace, Through Faith: Getting Into God’s Grammar about Salvation (Ephesians 2:8–10)
- God’s War Memorial: The Church of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:11–22)
- God’s War Memorial (pt 2): How a Diverse Christian Community Displays Christ’s Glory (Ephesians 2:11–22)
- Grace on Display: In Paul’s Ministry and Christ’s Church (Ephesians 3:1–13)
- Prayer That Works: Praying to the Father, for the Spirit, to Fill the Church with Christ’s Manifold Love (Ephesians 3:14–21)
- Walk Worthy (pt.1 ): Growing in Unity and Maturity (Ephesians 4:1–16)
- New Creation Clothing (Ephesians 4:17–32) — Ben Purves
- Walk Worthy (pt 2): Walking in (His) Love (Ephesians 5:1–5)
- Walk Worthy (pt. 3): Walk in the Light of Christ (Ephesians 5:6–14)
- Walk Worthy (pt. 4): Walk Wisely by the Spirit of Wisdom (Ephesians 5:15–21)
- The Drama of Marriage: What Christ and the Church Teaches Husbands and Wives (Ephesians 5:22–33)
- “In the Lord”: Children, Obedience, and the Gospel (Ephesians 6:1–3)
- Parents Worthy of Their Calling (Ephesians 6:4) — Rod Fillinger
- “As Unto the Lord”: Work with Christ at the Center (Ephesians 6:5–9)
- Stand Firm (Ephesians 6:10–20) — Ben Purves
- Red Carpet Christianity (Ephesians 6:21–24)
Soli Deo Gloria, ds