As mentioned in my first post, Ephesians has for some time been a personal passion of mine. But for quite awhile I did not know why. That passion for the Epistle was ignited by the monumental eight‑volume exposition of Ephesians by Dr. David Martyn Lloyd‑Jones and then fanned into a roaring blaze through countless hours of study, but the reason for my special love for the book eluded me.
Then I read the following words in a particular commentary: “In many respects Ephesians reads more a like a sermon . . . than a letter written to meet some special need in a church or group of churches. It is like a sermon on the greatest and widest theme possible for a Christian sermon—the eternal purpose of God which he is fulfilling through His Son Jesus Christ, and working out in and through the Church. It is like a sermon, but the medium is the written word and the appeal is addressed to readers.”
When I read that statement, I knew why I love Ephesians so much. Ephesians does not read like a letter; it sounds like a sermon—it preaches. There is a progression of thought in Ephesians that flows along as the spoken word. This strikes me so profoundly because it is the preaching of the Word that makes the difference in people’s lives. In a day when true biblical preaching is more and more de-emphasized and even ridiculed as old fashioned, out of date, not practical or relevant, Ephesians illustrates its need all the more.
Besides that, however, as I’ve analyzed the impact that Ephesians has made in my own life, I find at least five very specific affects that have changed my life and ministry. They can do the same for yours.
First, and I think foremost, is how it has altered my entire view and outlook on the doctrines of salvation, what are called the Doctrines of Grace. Paul’s presentation in chapter 1 concerning what God alone did in eternity past to elect us and predestinate us to His own glory is a transforming truth.
Second, Ephesians 4 has taught me much about ministry. It has shown me the office gifts given to the church and has shown me their purpose and functions.
Third, Ephesians 4 has also taught me much about personal living by detailing the characteristics of the New Man and how he is to live
Fourth, the truths in Ephesians 5 concerning marriage are the profoundest of all the Scripture. I cannot even imagine having a successful marriage—which by God’s grace I have enjoyed for 29 years—without these truths.
Fifth, Ephesians 6 has given me the tools, more precisely the armor, that is needed to fight the spiritual war in which we are engaged and has taught me how be victorious.
As we’ll see, Ephesians is about spiritual wealth. Several years ago there was a story in Los Angeles Times that reported the story of an elderly man and wife who were found dead in their apartment. While the autopsies revealed that both had died of severe malnutrition, investigators found a total of $40,000 stored in paper bags in a closet.
Another legendary story is of Henrietta “Hetty” Green, who was at her death in 1916 the wealthiest woman in the United States. After doing a little research, I discovered that after being left with an estate of $10 million acquired from the family’s shipping and trading business, she turned it into $100 million by shrewd management. But part of that management also earned her the nickname “America’s Greatest Miser.” In spite of her unimaginable wealth, she ate cold oatmeal to avoid the cost of heating the water. Her son lost his leg to amputation because of the infection that set in while she looked for a free clinic to treat his injury. As the story goes, she even contributed to her own death by bringing on a stroke while arguing that skim milk is better than whole milk because it’s cheaper.
Some Christians do the same thing—they ignore the spiritual wealth that they possess in Christ. A study of Ephesians, however, will show them just how rich they are. They’ll discover their riches, their inheritance, and their fullness in Christ. This wealth falls into two broad categories: 1. A wealth of doctrine, and 2. A wealth of practical instruction. We will see this over and over throughout our series.