On Sundays from July 15th to August 26th 2018 the sermons at both All Saints and St George’s will focus on the letter to the Ephesians. The letter is found in the New Testament, and was probably written with the intention of being read in church gatherings and for teaching. It will be good to hear the letter read in our churches over the next couple of months to listen together to what God is saying through it to our community today. This article briefly introduces some of the background to the letter, as well as its key themes.
Firstly, a note on authorship: scholars debate whether Paul was the author of this letter, despite it beginning with greetings from Paul. The letter draws heavily on material also found in the letter to Colossians; yet Ephesians has a more developed theology, for example giving considerable focus to Christ’s universal supremacy. This development in thought suggests that the letter to Ephesians was written at a later time, possibly after Paul’s death. The most likely author is thought to be a disciple of Paul, who was recognized as following in the Pauline tradition. Paul and the Pauline tradition are the authors of many of the books of the New Testament, which expand on and explain further the teachings of Jesus.
The disputes over the exact authorship of the letter do not affect its character and quality. The mood of the letter is uplifting and inspiring, displaying confidence in God, based upon the resurrection of Jesus and the experience of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It also presents a vision of a united church, drawing together both Gentiles and Jews. The church is seen as the body of Christ, growing to maturity, as it is now the place where God’s love is to be outworked. There is an expectation on believers that they will live as the church in the world, and that their relationships and conduct will reflect this as they seek to walk in the ways of God. They are to have Christ as the model for their lives, and God will strengthen them with his power to live out this vocation. Revd Heather.
Sunday 15th July 2018 sermon Ephesians 1