Ephesians - From Rags to Riches  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  47:57
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Ephesians is a book of riches, wealth, inheritance, and fullness. The problem today and hence the need of this study, is that in our society today we find way to many Christians who are starving spiritually and living in spiritual poverty when God has provided limitless bank account.
To get the idea of the riches and fullness and inheritance, lets look at a few verses.
Ephesians 1:7 (KJV 1900)
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace
Ephesians 3:8 (KJV 1900)
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
Ephesians 3:16 (KJV 1900)
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
So you have the riches of His grace, the riches of His Son, and the riches of His glory.
In other words, grace means God’s unmerited, underserved kindness and favor.
Grace is behind all of the generosity that God pours out on us.
“Grace” is used 12 times in this letter.
“Glory” is used 8 times.
“Inheritance” 4 times.
“Riches” 5 times.
“Fullness” and “filled” is used 7 times.
And the key to everything is the phrase “in Christ” which is used 27 times.
All of this flows out of the key verse that we will look at next week.
Ephesians 1:3 (KJV 1900)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
All these blessings of fullness and riches and inheritance of the glory of His grace is ours because we are in Christ.
All of this is summed up in
Ephesians 3:19 (KJV 1900)
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Ephesians 3:20 KJV 1900
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
God has enough resources in heaven to cover your past debts, your present liabilities, and your future needs and still not diminish your account.
That is God’s plan.
Be honest! Are you living to your potential?
All of this doctrine and fullness of God leads in to chapters 4-6 with our duty.
If we have unlimited resources, then how do we redeem them?
Ephesians 4:13 (KJV 1900)
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
first of all, having the fullness of Christ, and then the fullness of the Spirit.
Ephesians 5:18 (KJV 1900)
18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Our Security and guarantee of these riches is mentioned secure 27 times “in Christ.”
Our riches are as secure as Christ is secure.
Romans 8:17 (KJV 1900)
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
1 Corinthians 6:17 (KJV 1900)
17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
We have what Christ has. We possess what Christ possesses.
If you are not in Christ, you are poor, you are destitute, you are a pauper, a beggar.
However, if you are in Christ, then you are rich beyond all imagination.
It is all based on Him. It is all His.
Ephesians 1:5 (KJV 1900)
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
Ephesians 1:6–7 (KJV 1900)
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Ephesians 1:12 (KJV 1900)
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
Ephesians 1:19 (KJV 1900)
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Ephesians 2:4 (KJV 1900)
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Ephesians 1:9 (KJV 1900)
9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
Ephesians 1:11 (KJV 1900)
11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Ephesians 1:18 (KJV 1900)
18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Ephesians 2:10 (KJV 1900)
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
It is all because of Him. It is all that we are In Christ and therefore these things become ours.
In the first 3 chapters, Paul tells us about the Riches Transmitted.
Riches Transmitted - 1-3
Redeeming our Time - 4-6
What riches you have received for placing your faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
The last 3 chapters tell you how to use those riches.
Redeeming our Time
Chapters 1-3 Theology Chapters 4-6 Practice
Chapter 1-3 Doctrine Chapters 4-6 Duty.
Now, if this is not enough, the Apostle Paul takes on a whole other dimension by sharing that this happens because we are in the church.
We are saved and are a part of a local New Testament Church. The local body of Christ.
The Book of Ephesians discusses the church.
It discusses what the church is, how the church functions, how we function in the church and it discusses the riches of the church.
The key thought is given to us in Chapter 3
In chapter 3, Paul is talking about himself as an Apostle, as one who speaks the message of Christ, and so forth and he says here is the special message I want to give you in this book of Ephesians.
Ephesians 3:3 (KJV 1900)
3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
by revelation, from Jesus Christ in verse 1
Ephesians 3:1 (KJV 1900)
1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
and God in verse 2
Ephesians 3:2 (KJV 1900)
2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
Ephesians 3:3 (KJV 1900)
3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
Ephesians is about a mystery!
It is a mystery that has been hidden for a long time.
Ephesians 3:5 (KJV 1900)
5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
but has now been revealed
Ephesians 3:6 (KJV 1900)
6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
A mystery is simply something that was hidden and is now in the New Testament revealed.
What is this mystery?
That the church would come into existence and that it would be one local body incorporating Jew and Gentile in one living organism.
That is something the Old Testament Saints never saw.
Part of the richness of the Book of Ephesians is the fact that we learn some new truths that people never knew in the past.
Now, get this
Everything that happens externally in the millennial kingdom happens internally in the present mystery form.
I’ll ask you this.
Will Christ rule and reign externally enthroned of Jerusalem in the city of David in the millennium? Yes.
Where does He reign now? In the heart of the believer, He is enthroned.
In the Kingdom will there be peace? Yes,
In the heart of the believer is there peace that passes understanding? Yes.
In the Kingdom Christ will dispense salvation. He has dispensed it in our lives now. In the Kingdom there will be joy and happiness and blessing and things will flourish and so do they in the life of an obedient believer now. You see?
So what is external in the millennium, and is internal in the mystery form. And so we are enjoying a kind of pre-fulfillment. That’s why when the church was born. That’s why, when the church was born, Peter got up and quoted the passage out of Joel and said,
Acts 2:16–17 KJV 1900
16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
“This is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel, that His Spirit would be poured out unto all flesh.” You see he said, This which is prophesied for the external Kingdom is coming to pass internally in this form. You see? It was like a pre-fulfillment, a preliminary fulfillment, a mystery form fulfillment of what ultimately will occur in the Kingdom.
So we’re living in a sacred secret. We’re living in an age the Old Testament never saw, the mystery form of the Kingdom. And the key to this mystery is the incredible truth that God would take Jew and Gentile and make them one and make them one body—one body. That’s the great secret. We are one body in Jesus Christ.
Now within this mystery Kingdom there are all kinds of other mysteries. And the New Testament is loaded with them. There is the mystery of the indwelling Christ, Colossians 1:26. The Old Testament saints never saw the reality that Christ would dwell in the hearts of His people. Why? Because they saw an external Kingdom. They didn’t see the mystery form which is internal. And so they didn’t see the indwelling Christ. You know, in Colossians 2:2 and 3 it even talks about the mystery of God in flesh. They didn’t even see the divine incarnation clearly.
The Bible talks about it in Romans 11:25, the mystery of Israel’s unbelief. They never saw that Israel would come to such full unbelief they’d be completely set aside and the Gentile church would be taking their place.
2 Thess. 2 talks about the mystery of iniquity. The Old Testament saints didn’t see where iniquity would finally end up.
Revelation 17, the mystery of Babylon, the terrible, vile, economic and religious system of the end times wasn’t seen in the Old Testament.
The mystery of the unity of believers in Ephesians.
The mystery of the Rapture, “I show you a mystery, we shall not all sleep.” The Rapture is not in the Old Testament. Because the church isn’t in the Old Testament. You see? And the Rapture is our exit.
And by the way, this whole mystery age will end according to Revelation 10:7 when Jesus returns.
Revelation 10:7 (KJV 1900)
7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
The mystery of God will be complete.
Ephesians 5 the mystery of the bride of Christ
Ephesians 3 the mystery of the Church as a body.
This is a metaphor. The church is like a body. It is an interlinking organism.
The church is not an organization, it is not something you just join, it is not a building, the church is an ORGANISM.
We are all one in Christ and through us pulses the blood of the life of God. If one believer in the body doesn’t do what he’s supposed to do, the body malfunctions at that place. When somebody else has to pick up the slack and the body limps.
The body has to be whole and complete.
Ephesians 4:13 (KJV 1900)
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
Listen, Christ should stand up in full functioning form in His body, the church, just as He did in His human body in His incarnation.
The church is the Body of Christ.
When you look at metaphors between Isreal and the church, there are several that are synonymous until you get to one metaphor. That metaphor is the body.
The body is a unique, mysterious, unrevealed, brand new, new truth for a new age.
We are a body in which God can reincarnate Himself in Christ and manifest Himself. That is why we all have to be functioning.
We function through the use of spiritual gifts, through the responsibilities of fellowship and mutual ministry. And then Christ comes to full stature in His church. And the reason the world has a hard time believing us is because of the unbelievable confusion of the church that puts forth a Christ that is really not very clear. We are a body.
Unity is the key.
We are one wife with one husband, one flock with one shepherd, one set of branches with one vine, one kingdom with one King, one family with one Father, one building with one foundation and one body with one head.
In one body, you see unity in a way you can’t see it anywhere else.
A single body and yet just amazing diversity and mutual dependence. The human body is a perfect illustration of how the church is to function.
We need to minster with coordination, together, loving and sharing, then we begin to move. And then we begin to understand the riches of our resources in Christ.
Now, we have a general idea of Ephesians, lets dive in to the first 2 verses.
As we begin, Paul illustrates that this is a book about riches, this is a book about inheritance, this is a book about fullness and being filled and having abundance and all in the church and all in Christ.

The Author:

He begins with a double source of Authority.

An Apostle

Ephesians 1:1 (KJV 1900)
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Unique call - Damascus Road, blinded with his own vision of His glory and told to go to the Gentiles.
He was a sent one, as an apostle, he received direct revelation from God and gave it to His people.

His Authority

Ephesians 1:1 (KJV 1900)
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
It would be enough to say Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ, but Paul brings in the fullness of God and Christ. He is an apostle of Jesus Christ but it is by the will of God.
The author of this book in Paul. However, he was not always Paul. At one time it was Saul. He was of the tribe of Benjamin named after the first king of Israel, Saul.
He grew up to be a great rabbi well trained in the school of Gamaliel.
He was a member of the Sanhedrin becoming the most devout anti-Christian leader in the Jewish community.
He hated Christians and tracked them down relentlessly.
As a matter of fact, he was on his way to Damascus to round up some Christians when the Lord stopped him, converted him, and made him a preacher of the gospel.
Because he was a new man, he needed a new name. Therefore, it was changed from Saul to Paul.
He went to Arabian Desert for a few years where he was taught be Jesus Christ, Himself and then went to a church in Antioch until one day the Holy Spirit came unto him, Acts 13, as said to separate Paul and Barnabas for the work which they were called.
This calling was giving on the Road to Damascus where he would take the gospel to the Gentile world.
He began the greatest missionary enterprise in the history of the church, founding churches making the gospel known world wide.
After years of ministry, on his third missionary journey somewhere around 60 AD, he sat down to write this letter back to the churches which he himself had founded.
This Paul is an Apostle. He is not another guy with another opinion. He speaks for God. He is the mouthpiece for Jesus Christ.
That is pretty good credentials to make anyone sit down and listen. “Paul an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.”
Unique Relationship - He was a bond slave of Jesus Christ. His only purpose was to live for Christ.

The Addressees

Ephesians 1:1 (KJV 1900)
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Ephesus was written while the Apostle Paul was imprisoned in Rome.

The Place

The City of Ephesus was located at the mouth of the Cayster River, on the east side of the Aegean Sea.
It was the capital city of the Roman province of Asia.
It was a wealthy city known as a political, commercial, and educational center. It was called the “The Queen City of Asia”.
A massive temple to Diana was located in Ephesus. It was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. In Paul’s day, the city boasted a population of around 300,000 people.
Yet it was a city steeped in deep paganism, immorality and wickedness.
In Acts 16:6,
Acts 16:6 KJV 1900
6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,
as Paul was about to commence his second missionary journey, he thought about going to Asia (Ephesus), but the Holy Spirit did not allow him to go there.
Sometime later, the Gospel made its way to Ephesus, probably taken there by Aquilla and Prisicilla,
Acts 18:18–19 KJV 1900
18 And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow. 19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.

The People

The Saints - Divine Definition

hagios, holy
“a most holy thing” It speaks of something that has been sanctified and set apart for God’s exclusive use.
Saints speaks of how God sees us.
Everyone who is saved by the grace of God and washed in the blood of Jesus is a “holy thing”, set apart for the glory of God and for His exclusive use in this world.
Everyone who comes to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith has been imputed the righteousness of Christ to our accounts.
We have been made righteousness by God in the righteousness of Christ.
Philippians 3:9 (KJV 1900)
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
We are Saints.

The Faithful - Human Definition

Because of what God has done in our life, we act in faith toward Christ.
Faithful describes our activities in the world. We are saved by faith and we live by faith.
We have believed in Christ and He has made us holy.

The Acknowledgment

Ephesians 1:2 (KJV 1900)
2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.


Grace is the New Testament word charis.
Translates as “good will, loving kindness, favor”.
It means kindness of God toward undeserving people.
It speaks of the Lord’s work in saving us, keeping us and changing our lives.

Typical Greeting

This was the typical greeting of Christians.
It had the idea - I wish to be gracious to you.
“I pray for you the best God can offer.”

Theological Gist

It meant something to them in their faith. It was a reminder that they were what they were by grace.
We go to somebody and we say -Hello. What does hello mean? That’s really not very fulfilling or meaningful.
Or else we say—How are you? How are I? I was because my mother and father were and then I was, that’s how I are, you know.
Or else we say—How do you feel? With my hands, what do you think? We have all these little things, you know.
How are you doing? How are you doing what? I’m not doing anything, you know. We have all these meaningless little deals.
How much more significant if when we met each other we said grace to you, grace to you? That’s great, isn’t it?
God’s loving grace to you. My graciousness to you. Grace to you. That would be a constant reminder that we are what we are by grace. This whole community of believers that constitutes a church is all built on grace. It’s all grace.
By the way, grace is the fountain of all blessings. It’s out of His grace that everything comes. And it’s just a reminder when you greet each other -try to break some habits, just after you’ve given a holy kiss, then say “Grace to you.” Be biblical.


2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
John McArthur says “Grace is the foundation and peace is the stream.”
Because I have grace from God I have peace with God.
Philippians 4:7 KJV 1900
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
When you go to somebody and instead of saying some dumb like “How are you?” say, “Grace to you and peace.”
Wouldn’t that be great?
That would actual be a witness. When we say “Grace and peace to you” eventually, I promise, someone will ask why you say that and you will be able to share that only with God’s grace can we experience true peace.
When we trust Jesus Christ as our Savior, all the riches of God become ours in HIm. We become instantly wealthy in the things of God.
2 Corinthians 8:9 KJV 1900
9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
I am praying that God will feed our souls, challenge our lives, and change our church as a result of the book of Ephesians.
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