Knowing Your Heritage
The Book Of Ephesian (An Expository Series)
This begins a lengthy series of sermons that will take us through the complete book of Ephesians.
Characters: Christ, God, Paul, The Saints at Ephesus
Paul was trained as a Pharisee and persecuted Christians because he considered them enemies of God. After his conversion experience, he traveled in Asia Minor and Europe preaching the gospel and planting churches. Many of the letters in the New Testament are ones that he wrote to these churches.
The book of Ephesians is actually a very long letter that Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus. Many of you are already aware that God has always had a chosen group of people. In the record of the Holy Bible, we don’t read of God’s People called by such names as Catholics, Baptists, or Pentecostals. We don’t read of them called: Charismatics, Methodists, Wesleyans, Lutherans, Calvinists, Presbyterians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Apostolic, Mormons, etc. Instead, we read in the pages of the O.T. words such as Israelites, Jews, Hebrews.
One of the most common names for the Jewish people is “Israelites” (Exodus 9:7) This title was used in the same sense that citizens of America are referred to as “Americans.” The Israelites were citizens of Israel. However, the origin of the word Israel is found in connection with Jacob, the grandson of Abraham. After wrestling all night with an angel, God changed Jacob’s name to “Israel,” meaning “one who wrestles with God.” Jacob’s descendants included 12 sons, who became the heads of the 12 tribes of Israel (Genesis 35:23-26; Exodus 1:1–4; 1 Chronicles 2:1–2).
The Twelve Sons of Jacob
Judah (Jesus would come from this son)
Naphtali, Joseph, Benjamin
Israel became a great nation under Kings David and Solomon. Today Abraham’s physical descendants are the Jewish people who live all around the world. But the most important part of God’s promise to Abraham was this: “in your Offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 22:18). So God kept His promise to Abraham. In Jesus, Abraham’s Offspring and Eve’s Offspring, we are blessed with forgiveness of sins and salvation.
The most common name in the Bible, for the Jewish people, is “Jews.” The word Jew comes from the term Judah, the leading tribe of Israel. A Jew was, literally, “one from the land of Judah,” although the word later came to be applied to any Israelite, regardless of the tribe to which he belonged.
Another common name for the Jewish people is “Hebrews.” The first mention of a “Hebrew” in the Bible is Genesis 14:13 where Abraham is called “Abram the Hebrew.”
In the N.T. God’s People (through Christ) are known by words such as Believers, Brethren, Disciples, Christians, Saints, Church of God, Children of God, Sons of God, Born Again, The Bride and Body of Christ. These titles and aliases by which God calls His people are all very plain in meaning and universal in scope. They are all intended to emphasize a great truth. God knows those who are His. For all (the Saints) who have truly been led by (obedient to) the Spirit of God, repented of their sins, exercised faith in and are followers of Christ teachings, the one who redeemed us to God because of his faithful obedience to God (John 8:26-29, 12:49-50, 14:23-24, 31, 17:8; Acts 5:32; 1Peter 1:14), are now classified as born-again (begotten) children (1Peter 1:3-4), heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).
The obedient servant (follower) of God through Christ (Tit 1:1; Jas 1:1; 2Pe 1:1; Jud 1:1) is united to God (Gal 4:7), through the redemptive work of Christ, and has access to all spiritual blessings (Eph 1:3).
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