“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To God’s holy people in Ephesus,[a] the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 1.1-2.
“Author: Ephesians 1:1 identifies the author of the Book of Ephesians as the apostle Paul. Date of Writing: The Book of Ephesians was very likely written between A.D. 60-63. Purpose of Writing: Paul, writing from a Roman prison, intended that all who long for Christlike maturity would receive this writing. Enclosed within the Book of Ephesians is the discipline needed to develop into true children of God. Furthermore, a study in Ephesians will help to fortify and to establish the believer so he can fulfill the purpose and calling God has given. The aim of this epistle is to confirm and to equip a maturing church. It presents a balanced view of the body of Christ and its importance in God’s economy.” (https://www.gotquestions.org/Book-of-Ephesians.html)
I’ve just finished reading the Book of Acts which captures an overview for Paul’s ministry and his four missionary journeys. Each letter to a church is one he visited and a snap shot within the work he was doing for Christ by spreading the Gospel. I’ve landed in the book of Ephesians and provided one commentators introduction to the letter above.
As Paul begins the book he does so by identifying himself as an “apostle.” The Greek word “apostolos” actually means “messenger, one sent on a mission, an apostle,” (https://biblehub.com/lexicon/ephesians/1-1.htm). Today when we refer to the Apostle Paul it’s a title of importance, honor and even fame. But I dare say Paul was using that connotation to the church in Ephesus. Paul was well known but he was not proud. He was not boasting in his own importance. He was simply saying he was a messenger of the Lord, identifying his role and purpose in writing the letter.
Paul included that he is a messenger only by the “will of God.” It was God who chose him, God who selected him, God who set him a part for his mission. And the mission is to go to “God’s holy people” — those who are also set apart (i.e. holy) in Ephesus. This indicates there were also people in Ephesus who were not “holy” or set apart. Not that they couldn’t be, but that they weren’t yet holy or had not yet chosen to follow Christ. Paul was there to give all people, men and women, young and old, saint and sinner, an opportunity to hear from Christ.
And then Paul offers his first words of greeting to the church. These are his very first words and they matter — “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul offers a welcome of grace (God’s unconditional merit and love for his people) and peace (the calming presence and reassurance of God with humanity.) Paul offers this not only on his own ability but “from God our Father” and in addition “from the Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul offers this all by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within him and met him via the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus.
Paul’s presentation to the people is truly a gift. It’s a gift he received from God that is now being passed on to believers in Ephesus. It’s a word of reassurance to them that God is with them, that they matter to the Lord, and as new believers (wasn’t everyone a relatively “new” believer) they are about to receive instruction on how best to live for Christ.
So Paul, who is God’s person to write to Ephesus, is bringing encouragement to God’s people. And how thankful we are for this wonderful book for within it’s pages we learn about how to live for Jesus today. We relate it to our own context with the purpose of becoming more like Christ, sharing Christ’s message, and bringing glory to God.
“O Lord God, you are good. Thank you for loving us and for allowing us to be your hands and feet. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your power and presence. Allow me to learn from Ephesians the ancient lessons of holiness and confirming to your image. I praise you Lord for this day, for my family, the work of ministry, and for your faithfulness. Come now, Divine Healer, and give strength to your people. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen