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Complete Ephesians Study

Complete Ephesians Study

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Published by Doug Floyd

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Published by: Doug Floyd on Jun 09, 2007
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Unveiling the Glory of Christ in theWorld through the Church
1. A church that appears too small, too weak, and too fragile to survive.
Paul writes a letter of encouragement to the churches throughout Asia Minor.The church is made up of small groups of Christians spread throughout Asia Minor worshipping in homes.Paul, one of the key leaders, is imprisoned and will soon die.The founder, Jesus Christ, was executed.The whole church appears to be a temporary movement within Judiaism.
2. A culture that appears too large, too confident and too powerful to be threatened.
Cult of Diana and Mystery Religions – The temple to Dinah (Artemis in Greek) inEphesus was considered one of the wonders of the world. It contained an image of Dianathat had fallen from the heavens. Diana was depicted as a multibreasted goddess. A bodyof eunuch priests ran the temple. There were no bloody sacrifices. She was considered themother of all living things. Large donations flooded her temple and priests every year.Each year the city of Ephesus threw a large festival in her honor. The Ephesian Diana wasworshipped more than any other deity and statues of her filled the homes of the people.Acts reveals the magical arts were practiced in relation to her.Mystery religions were popular all through Asia Minor. These cults promised power totheir adherents; power of knowing the future as well as insight into secrets. These cultswere formed around a series of initiations. To enter the cult one had to be initiated and toadvance up through the various levels required a variety of initiations. Mystery religionsviewed life as trapped by cosmic forces. Ritual was a means of escaping the bonds of thismaterial prison.Imperial Cult – Minucias Felix (2
nd
century Christian) writes about the Romans, “their  power and authority has occupied the circuit of the whole world: thus it has propagatedits empire beyond the paths of the sun, and the bounds of the oceans itself. Rome is thegreat city that rules over the kings of the earth (Rev 17:18). “The imperial cult was a“natural response on the part of provincials to the tremendous power of the emperor,which was perceived as truly god-like, and to the benefits that the rule of the emperor  brought to the provinces. The imperial cult especially focused attention on the emperor asthe patron of the world. Since his gifts matched those of the deities, it was deemed onlyfitting that the expressions of gratitude and loyalty should take on the forms used tocommunicate with the patron deities themselves.” David DeSilvaEphesians Notes, Doug Floyd, 1
 
Prior to Caesar Octavious brought peace to a Roman world that had been in constantturmoil. He was a master administrator and leader. He brought an empire racked withdivision into order. Once he achieved victory, he surrendered his power to the Senate in27 BC. In 27 B.C., the Roman Senate granted Octavian the name
Augustus
, meaning"the exalted." They also gave him the legal power to rule Rome's religious, civil andmilitary affairs, with the Senate as an advisory body, effectively making him Emperor.Eventually temples were built in his honor. Although he rejected at first, eventually herealized the power the imperial cult could have for uniting the kingdom. He agreed aslong as the deity Roma would also be honored alongside him.The people looked to Augustus as ruling regent of the gods. The imperial cult continuedto grow under other emperors up through Constantine. It was particularly powerful and popular in Asia Minor. The Christians in these areas would be surrounded by statues of the emperors. Many of the social events in the cities would revolve around emperor worship and Christians would feel intense pressure to participate. By refusing, Christianslimited their opportunity to participate socially, economically or politically.Power The cult of Diana, the mystery religions and the imperial cult all offered various forms of  power. Some of it was practical social or economic power. Other parts esoteric power living one to higher states of consciousness.
3. A power that is greater than power, preceding all things and transforming allthings in love.
Egyptians vs Hebrews (power of pyramids vs power of future)two kinds of power one is fading the other is growingone looks back the other reaches forwardone relates through status/rites the other on the basis of personal loveone sacrifices others to save itself the other lays down its life to gain itwe behold the kingdom rule of C hrist now and begin to live (embody/enflesh) the realityof that kingdom nowPaul writes a song in praise of the God of all power. He weaves prayers and songsthroughout the letter to proclaim the glory of God who expresses his power not in world power but in the power of a love that transforms people. The expression of his power islove.In the midst of a world consumed by power, Paul writes a letter to encourage theChristians through Asia Minor. In his letter he reveals the true source of power, JesusChrist. He explains how this power is revealed on earth through his chosen vessel: thechurch. This power takes the form of expressed love that unites those divided by race andEphesians Notes, Doug Floyd, 2
 
class and causes of to serve and care for one another. This power, though it appears weak and inconsequential, will ultimately overcome all other forms of power.Ephesians 1:20-2:120 All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on athrone in deep heaven, 21 in charge of running the universe, everything fromgalaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. 22 He is in charge of it all, has the final wordon everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. 23 The church,you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. Thechurch is Christ's body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everythingwith his presence.(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by EugeneH. Peterson. All rights reserved.)Christianity enters a world of chaos. The power of the gospel is moving all things fromchaos to harmony: glory to glory. Christianity moves toward the future with hope. Jesus brings the kingdom of the future into the present when he raises from the dead. Heinterrupts time.Living the kingdom, bringing back from the end of time and embodying some of it hereand now, is the process by which man, ever since Jesus, consciously participates in hisown creation.Center of all things - a person - church (not individuals) - we are working out hiskingdom - in the power of his life (spirit) - through relationships of love Notes from Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy“Future means novelty, surprise; it means outgrowing past habits and attainments. Whena job, a movement, an institution promises nothing but treadmill repetition of a givenroutine in thought and action, we say correctly, ‘There is no future in it.’”“So pagan thought almost universally pictures human life as a decline from a golden agein the past toward ultimate destruction in the future.”Christianity…has shown ‘how man can be eternal in the moment, how he can act oncefor all.’”Christian progress vs worldly progress (technological progress or temporal progress)“Bombs get better all the time. But this improvement does not determine progress.”Ephesians Notes, Doug Floyd, 3

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