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September 14, 2020 7:05 am
All while detained by authorities. Wrote several New Testament books.
Do you know while he is here for these two years in Rome. Paul wrote for letters come to be known as the prison epistles lead people to Christ. He met people who came to Rome and found them. Furthermore, he wrote these four letters even calls himself in Ephesians 620 and ambassador in chains. The apostle sees himself not as a victim of terrible circumstances, but as an ambassador for Christ well and ambassador in Paul wrote for New Testament letters when were looking at right now is Ephesians welcome to this Monday edition of Insight for living as Chuck Swindoll rolls out another practical book study these deliberately chosen Paul's letter to the Ephesians because the apostle clearly reinforces the magnificent power of God's grace. If ever a culture needed a taste of kindness is right now. The title of this series is becoming a people of grace and Chuck titled this opening message in the series Ephesians, a life changing. Paul wrote Ephesians around 6061 62 in the first century and if you know Nero's life. You know that he really went mad toward the end of his life and in this maddening state of affairs, the apostle found believers not only struggling and battling for survival, but scattered away from home, not knowing often where they would lay their head living in dens and caves of the earth and some time and little clusters here and there. You'll notice in this first verse of Ephesians. An interesting statement.
Paul, who was the writer calling himself an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God to the saints. So it's written by Paul to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus words at Ephesus. Some scholars inform us that there are a few of the good Greek manuscripts that don't include the words at Ephesus leading many who are serious about their study of the New Testament to believe that this letter wasn't limited. Ephesians was cyclical in nature, meaning that it made the rounds from one church to another, probably coming first to Ephesus, but not stopping there, since it is written to all the saints who are faithful in Christ Jesus to give you a little hint where the letter may have wound up turn to Colossians couple of books to the to the right little further on in your Bible. Chapter 4 Colossians 4 verse 16. When this letter is read among you haven't also read in the church of the Laodicean yet another place in western Turkey called in those days Asia so we have Ephesus and Colossae and now Laodicea have this letter written to the church of the Laodiceans and you for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea never stopped to look at that before.
It's a minor detail, but I suggest it's a hint that the letter to the Ephesians was making its cycle, making its rounds and it had perhaps been to Ephesians to the Ephesians and made its way to Laodicea and was now on its way to Colossae. Paul said read that letter that the Laodiceans are sending you from their town and from there church there gathering back to Ephesians chapter 1 there was no city quite like Ephesus, its background holds me and captures my thoughts as I walked the streets and can hear from the great theater for Tron.
It's called in acts 1929 the Fiat Tron were Paul was. He literally saw and was in the same theater that seats 24,000 built of marble blocks and tears and sections. We were there, and you never quite the same. Ephesus, unlike Corinth. Unlike Athens, unlike Philippi, Ephesus was unique in that it held the great and grand Temple of Diana, the temple being one of the seven wonders ancient wonders of the world that dates back according to several of my sources to the ancient days of 550 BC. She is called the goddess mother of everything a city of enormous superstition were so much revolved around Diana or Artemis as she is called in the Scripture, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
I tend to do that when I get excited go back from Ephesus to our Ephesians to acts chapter 18 must take a quick journey and I'm going to do something to make a few of you smiled and rolled your eyes what you find. Acts chapter 18. I want you to go to the most unused portion of your Bible.
The maps hello I can hear some of you pedantic can you get will more than that if you stay with me. Get really pedantic before this study is over. Get acts 18 before you hold your place and go back to the missionary journeys of Paul.
If you have a Bible that has no maps this week, you're going to buy a new Bible, you need a Bible with Matt.
Otherwise you're just playing at this thing called fame. Get your map open to the missionary journeys of Paul turn away from acts 18. For a moment you will see that the map has a legend that traces the journeys of Paul in various colors.
He took three journeys that were voluntary and he took one journey that was involuntary the last 20 took to Rome, but were concerned about the second and third journeys locate the legend the caller for the journey in his second journey, which actually began in Antioch for right side of your map you trace your way across Asia, which today is the country of Turkey you go as far as you can go to the West and you arrive at Truax as if you go beyond Truax. As you get wet because that's the GMC today. It's been what they call silted up so Truax as is a bit of distance from the ocean or from the sea, but in those days it was right on it traveled across Truax as an you come to the ancient country of Macedonia, Minneapolis, Philippi.
Those places are still there.
I've been there. Some of you have as well. You come down Philippi you reach Athens that's covered in acts 17 Paul goes there without much result.
No church was ever founded by Paul in Athens. You then get to Corinth. See current right there with that little narrow isthmus hold your place of the map go to acts 18.
This gets fascinating, at least to me. You can listen in on what I'm fascinated with the study of this I find it extremely interesting. Acts 18 verse one after these things, meaning Athens.
That's chapter 17.
After Athens he left and went to Corinth, he found a Jew named Tukwila, a native of ponchos having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla fascinating couple which we had longer with equipment and Priscilla but they are tentmakers because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome.
He came to them so see their scattered. This is before the days of Nero you got it.
Claudius's ruling. He's driven them from Rome their home and they have come to Corinth's commercial city. Probably a lot of tents needed there made tents together and Paul lived with them. See verse three because he was of the same trade. He stayed with them.
They were working for. They were by trade tentmakers look across the page in verse 18. He stays in Corinth about 18 months. Having remained many days longer. Took leave of the brethren were at 1818 events and we put out to sea for Syria and with him were Priscilla and Tukwila. Verse 19 they came to Ephesus. Hold your place back to the map.
This is how it works from sin Korea which is the seacoast city. The port they go back across the Aegean due East there's our city. The city of Ephesus located okay back to acts chapter 18 they came to Ephesus. Please observe something very important. He left them there whose them. Tukwila and Priscilla so literally.
Technically, this couple founded the church. They laid the first blocks of the foundation of that church. In Paul's leaving them there but observe. He didn't just scoot out of town right away. Not not Paul. He himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.
This interesting survival day's translated synagogue. It's really transliterated from the Greek Cerrado gate has in mind and assembly of June.
Their meeting there there lost to but there Jews and Paul presents himself among them, and begins to teach the teachings of Jesus Messiah in this in this Ephesians Cerrado gay and will end.
Something happens were going to read of it together. He begins teaching.
He entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews when they ask him to stay for a longer time. He didn't sent to this group seem open to his teaching, taking leave of them, not only the people in the synagogue but Tukwila and Priscilla. He said I will return to you again. If God wills, and he set sail from Ephesus go back to your map. He leaves Ephesus goes back to see goes down in this journey across the the northeastern corner of the Mediterranean back ultimately to Jerusalem Caesarea and then Jerusalem and then back up to Antioch.
See Antioch that's home base from which he begins the third journey on this third journey he goes back to Ephesus. You'll see that trace their annual read it in chapter 19 of acts, verse one. Good for you you turning back and forth or some of you are saying honey. You do all the turning I'll just pray for you while you're in the middle of the study. What all of you to journey with me through the first one chapter 19. It happened while Apollo's was a Corinth we've already been there so we know where that is. Paul pass through the upper country and came we would say came back to Ephesus and found some disciples not to be disciples to Paul and left Tukwila and Priscilla had evangelized this couple was involved in probably a home studies or studies epic at the synagogue evangelistic efforts they had begun to lead people to Christ.
Though there were no disciples and Paul came back and must've been through to see the fruit of equipment. Priscilla's labors. I watch he said to them, did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believe they said to him, no we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit. This is brand-new territory. The theology has not even been shaped in the minds of these of these people of Ephesus so will not get all of that. I know some of you would love to have answers for that we won't go there looking verse eight of chapter 19. He entered the synagogue, but he's been there before, but this is now the third journey he enters the synagogue.
He continued to speak boldly for three months while he was a guest preacher first, and they, like to, but now he stayed around for three months and they will like he spoke out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God would. Some were becoming hardened and disobedient speaking evil of the way. Notice that Christians were first in the first century called followers of the way.
Remember Jesus words in John 14 six I am the way the truth and the life that came to be known as the teaching of Jesus people who followed Jesus were people of the way and these people spoke evil of their of this faith in Jesus. They did it before the people and so he withdrew from them took away the disciples reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannosaurus that's an interesting subject, but my mind is going 30,000 miles an hour. I got more stuff that I can ever dump on you try to hold back here. The school of tar and that another seven fascinating. Must've this took place for two years, look at that to hear his chart lighten up. Preacher stay years after Paul didn't. He stayed in Ephesus longer than any other place he served at tells you something about priority doesn't tells you something about the significance of the Ephesian ministry and the letter he wrote. He stayed two years we stayed more than that because we got three months mentioned on the front and he stayed longer after this is believed he stayed about three and all, so that all who lived in Turkey all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jew, both Jews and Greeks, God was was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul remarkable story not jump to acts 28 everything in here just magnetic just begs you to stay longer and to look deeper but I still do that we want to get a handle on the letter to the Ephesian looking verse 30 acts 28, 30.
When you find that go back to your maps.
Look at the last journey. This is the involuntary journey, Paul is taken under arrest in Jerusalem at the end of the third missionary journey and they discovered that he is a citizen of Rome.
He says I I claim my rights as a Roman citizen I demanded audience before the authorities of Rome and an audience. He got so they took him across the sea across the Mediterranean withdrew shipwreck found his way all the way up. See Rome. That's where we are.
When we read acts 28, 30 and 31 were all the way to Rome. Paul's an older man.
It's now about 6080 60 look at acts 2830 this what happened to him. He stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness unhindered was that what he is under house arrest, which means a Roman soldier is stationed right beside him. KATE, the soldier can't escape. I love audiences like that. It's called a captive audience and just give him the gospel to skim the gobble. I can't leave it he's on duty, and so would lead the soldiers to Christ, and he writes to the Philippians, and he says well there's a whole group of people in Satan in an Caesar's household who have heard because of the so while there. He's taking people meeting them and he's also writing. Do you know that while he is here for these two years in Rome he wrote for letters that have come to be known as the prison epistles don't think a prisonlike bars and and keys and locks of all that his prism was his own house. He couldn't escape because it was what he was waiting for an audience before the Roman authorities but he made good use of his time. He led people to Christ.
He met people who, who came to Rome and found him. Furthermore, he wrote these four letters get them down Philemon Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, there called the prison letters Philemon Colossians Ephesians, Philippians, that explains why Paul writes, as he does in the letter to the Ephesians I the prisoner of the Lord Jesus Christ even calls himself and in Ephesians 620 an ambassador in chains. What is it mean now you know while he is chained to the Roman soldier as it were.
The apostle sees himself not as a victim of terrible circumstances, but as an ambassador for Christ and changes that wonderful, great attitude, Charles Riley writes this, knowing that they could not get a verdict of guilty. His accusers probably never showed up and therefore lost the case by default. Paul would then have been released.
Meeting released from the house arrest he would've been released and become free to engage in the ministry reflected in the pastoral epistles before being rearrested and finally martyred, but does that mean it means at the end of his house arrest. The case just wasn't heard. It was excused. He was relieved of this house arrest, and from about 62 or three until 6768 the time of his death, he lived freely and openly and finally brought back to Rome put an American member time prison where he did in fact suffer beheading under Nero before Nero's death. He took the light unsure in seeing to the death of Paul. We come quite a ways have we from the days when people honored and worshiped folks named Caesar and now we come to the place where we name our our dogs.
Caesar and our sons Paul put a change of circumstances. This great apostle while under house arrest writes the letter today known as the letter to the Ephesians. Now, enough of the maps. Now the letter what what a center of interest. There was an emphasis what an impressive edifice. What were those hundred and 27 marble columns surrounding Diana's temple, the goddess, the mother goddess. Much of the worship was obscene and profane.
There were hundreds of priests and priestesses who did nothing but lead people in the file worship of Diana, which comes out in the study of acts as you see in there was this enormous battle for who is enough already. As Paul presents Christ as the authority and the people claim Diana is the one who is come from heaven as the pagan goddess of the people quota for the ministry had not the letter. We've given you a chart. The chart is not inspired because it's written by me and so it it has all the possible mistakes that any human could make. I hope there are not mistakes but perhaps you would see the letter. Another way that I see it, but let me tell you why I chart look lovely all of you are short on time, like looking at a map while you're driving.
I think were going to take a ride from Celeste a look at the chart. Let me tell you why I gave you chart when we have moved to large cities and we weren't familiar with the cities we always follow the simple rule. We learned from a friend, longtime friend of our family. Take the time for a day or two to study the city if it's a city of freeways learn the freeway system.
If it's a city of winding roads and been turned into roads then learn those roads in the layout when we lived in Boston I made a visit for a full afternoon to the top story of the Prudential building those days it was the tallest building downtown Boston. I saw Logan airport over to the side. I can still be down almost to the Cape the end of the Cape Storrow Drive Route 128 at Cambridge. I saw down and it where MIT was in Harvard I saw Watertown and Waltham and places beyond and I got a layout of the city. Later after moving from Texas we came to Southern California in the megalopolis of Los Angeles, which is enough to frighten anybody if you don't know the system and some friend of mine gave me a big foldout freeway of Matt, he said, study the freeways and you will get lost and he was right. I study them and I learned that San Diego Freeway goes from here to there. The Santa Ana Freeway leads here. The Pasadena Freeway is here for this reason, take the Pasadena to the Santa Ana joint up at the origin into the Newport you get all the way the coast sounds like nonsense to you, but it's survival. If you live there and you learn the system by seeing the overview of the big picture and you're not intimidated to drive. That's what a chart is all about the letter to the Ephesians.
The six chapters full of great theological terms would frighten and intimidate you, unless you could see the whole letter in one sitting. That's what this chart provides: the life-changing letter look closely. It begins with the believer's position in Christ. That's threefold chapters that turn our attention heavenward. I think of it as the vertical part of the letter to the Ephesians. I've studied this letter as some of you have and every time I think of any part of chapters 1 to 2 or three I think of an arrow pointing toward heaven, and that same arrow pointing back to earth. It focuses on God what God has done for us. Chapter 1 what Christ has done in us.
Chapter 2 the whole story of the mystery of the body of Christ. Chapter 3 God's work in and among Jew and Gentile alike, bringing us together into one body, which became Paul's message to Jew and Gentile alike. Especially gentle because the Jews rejected the grand message of the mystery was the goddess of families putting together and in grace he is bringing us into this one family in Christ under God to be live for his glory, and ultimately in his eternity.
All of this background information Chuck Swindoll is giving us will help immensely as we study the book of Ephesians together and we hope you're taking advantage of the study notes posted online will help you follow along with the teachings every day can take personal notes as well.
You'll find a searching the Scriptures study notes it insight world.org/studies and then I'll draw your attention to another free resource from Insight for living ministries. Chuck is written a devotional for you every day and we have a growing list of friends around the world were taking advantage of this daily dose of biblical encouragement from Chuck to subscribe to the free daily devotional. Just follow the instructions it insight.org of these resources are made possible in part through voluntary donations from friends like you and our monthly companions. Recently a listener in Alabama wrote us and said pastor I been listening to you for almost 40 years. I'm a student of the Bible and I profited greatly from a number of the resources provided by your ministry God has blessed me so much from your methods of making the Bible practical and come alive. I'm now 69 years old and still learning more and more and want to have contributed a bid to your ministry. At times I believe it's time to make monthly contributions so that others may hear your teachings and be drawn to the Lord will monthly companions like this one from Alabama are helping provide church teaching on radio and the free resources we make available to a global audience to become a monthly companion right now or to give a one time donation colors listening in the United States dial 1-800-772-8888 that's 1-800-772-8888 or you can also give online it insight.org and thank you for your generous support insight for living ministries, nine dates my join us again tomorrow when Chuck Swindoll continues his series called becoming the people of great right here on insight for living. The preceding message.
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