Ephesians 1: 1-2
"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To God's holy people in Ephesus the faithful in Christ Jesus…"
Key point: How are you communicating Grace and peace to your people? Are you authentic and humble? If you are not, you are doing church wrong. Our number one job is to always point to Jesus Christ as the Lord over all. If you want to receive God's Blessings, Spiritual and whatever he has for you, you must do these things as we Praise Christ. Paul sends his blessings and gives a reminder that our purpose and reality is what Christ did for us; He is our redemption that we did not earn or deserve.
A Call to be Faithful with Grace and Peace
The city of Ephesus was a prominent city in the Roman Empire and the capital of Asia Minor. It was located near modern Istanbul, Turkey. Its ruins are still visible today. It was once a jewel of a city with a population of 250,000. Ephesus had to move many times due to the rising of the ocean levels and nearby river silts, which have since receded. Ephesus means "Cayster", the god of the river. The Apostle John may have planted this church, and Paul lived there for three years ministering to them while he wrote this Epistle. Now, it is only a small village where the ruins remain in sight (Acts 18:19-20, 26; 19:8-9, 8-38; Eph. 1:1-3, 15; 1 Tim. 1:3; rev. 2:1-7).
Paul sets up his letter with a statement of authentic, humble authority as a representative of God. This is how we are to be faithful, trustworthy and humble, as we are filled with the praise of God, and follow His purpose—we show our people that we belong to Christ!
What gets so lost in our translations with trends and fads, who is doing what, is the basics, what are we here for? What is our church for? It must be to worship and glorify Christ our Lord! This is, of course, who and what Christianity is all about. The Creator of the Universe comes into humanity as one of us. He is our Lord and Savior! He is the source of our faith, hope, and love because of Christ's substitutionary death. For us, we are declared righteous and holy in God's sight. In addition, the work of the Holy Spirit continues for empowerment in our daily lives too (John 1).
What makes Paul stand out is where his favor comes from, God. And his passion, a yearning for Christians to have the favor of God and a triumphant life that would please Him. He does not point to himself, rather to Christ (John 4:2; 14:27; 20:19; Luke 1:28; Rom. 1:1-7; Gal. 1:3; Col. 1:1-2).
What we exemplify and teach is as church leaders, we are called to give a response. We have a great victory, as we are in Christ! We are God's people. God has a plan for us and our people, even when we do not see it. So, we can press on and do as we are called to do!
What we exemplify and teach is a thirst for Christ as Lord. Paul's thrust and motivation was not just his passion and character, but his realization of the debt he owed Christ and his response of overwhelming gratitude. If we focus only upon ourselves, we will fail badly. We must be like Paul and willfully keep Christ as our head, for He already is, then our churches succeed where it counts (Acts 9:1; Rom. 1:1; Philp. 3:4-14; Col. 4:18).
What we exemplify and teach is Joy in Christ! Our call as Christian leaders is to be joyful, mature, obedient representatives with love toward others. Christianity is a journey of our faith development as we encounter more of Christ through our learning and discoveries from His Word and the Holy Spirit's empowerment that we lead others by.
© 2016 R.J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/