When they arrived he declared, “You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now
I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews.
I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes.
I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.
“And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me,
except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead.
But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.
“And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again.
I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault,
for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know.
“So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders.
I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock.
Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following.
Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you.
“And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.
“I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes.
You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me.
And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”Acts 20:18-35
Suffice to say the book of Ephesians is based on the theme stated in Ephesians 1:9-10. [See Gems 620 – 625]
In Ephesians 1:9 Paul talks about the mystery of God’s Will and then proceeds to spell it out in verses 1:9-10. [Gems 620, 653 – 655] and then with each Gems written on the specific verses related to Mystery.
I have spent a significant amount of time analyzing Ephesians 1:3-14 because it is complicated and consists of just one Greek sentence. [Gems 600 – 633]
Following that I have guided you through the book and shown you how Paul has kept the notion of everything submitted to Christ. That everything includes everything: You can find for yourself where each of these sections are because they are laid out in your Bible. You may well know them by heart and have them memorized. If not, it would be a helpful thing to do.
- Jews and Gentiles
- The Church
- You as an individual
- Husbands and Wives
- Parents and Children
- Slaves and Masters
- The spiritual forces and hierarchies that are all around us
- All are subject to Christ.
Not only does Paul’s letter to the Ephesians contain the theme word <Mystery>. But the word <submission> is a re-occurring theme, running through the book as Paul tells you in Eph 1:9-10 that God’s will is that everything ultimately be submitted to Jesus Christ.
Question: How can everything be submitted when you are not submitted? Only you can answer that question.
Islam is all about submission. An Islamic person is supposedly a submitted one. The letters [slm] in all their forms refer to submission. Arabic works in a similar way to the three radicals [letters] which form the root of any Hebrew word. By changing the vowels or the form of the word you change the nuance of the word but still on the same theme. I made the comment when looking at submission between husbands and wives that submission cannot be forced. That is especially so in marriage or in any relationship involving a man or a woman. When submission is forced it is called RAPE. The same concept is true of forced submission in terms of religion. Islam seeks to force submission if it is not given willingly. God, does not force our submission. He wants us to give Him our submission willingly. I investigated the word for submission in Gems 682 – 686.
Paul has told the Ephesians all about these things in the course of his letter to the church – the book we know as Ephesians. He spells out the notion very clearly.
I told you in Gems 595 – 597 about the similarities between the book of Ephesians and the book of Colossians. The parallels are fascinating. Then I made comment about the matter of the missing “Ephesians” in some documents. It is my opinion that what Paul taught those in Ephesian church while he was with them and then wrote in summary in the letter he sent to them was so foundational, useful and helpful that it later became a letter than circulated among other churches as well and not just the Ephesians. Just look at the book and the way it is written. It is majestic and very insightful on many foundational issues. No wonder it became a best seller. But more importantly the principles outlined in the book of Ephesians are foundational for all of us to understand.
I have posted all of the Ephesian Gems on my website for you to give you access to them at your leisure. I don’t intend for you to digress into a study of Ephesians in the middle of our look at the book of Acts. Rather I am just pointing out how foundational the Book of Ephesians is to us as believers and how it warrants a closer look. At this point I am merely directing your attention to the importance of what Paul wrote in Ephesians and why it became a letter that circulated all over Asia and Asia Minor. I will look at the connections or allusions to the letter seen in the speech in the next Gem. Then we will move on to Chapter 21.
Some of you have written to me and told me how I have given you too much to read by posting the Ephesian Gems. I don’t intend you to read through them all now. I only posted them because I knew I would refer to them in the context of dealing with Paul’s speech to Ephesian elders. And I knew with the failure of my first website that you didn’t have access to them anymore. While this new interim website is not ideal at least they have been made available to you. Eventually all I have written over the years in the Gems will be made available, indexed and searchable in far easy ways than currently.
Refusing to acknowledge what’s right in front of us won’t make it go away, rather it weaken us.Ian Vail
The necessity of the cross defies human understanding. The religious leaders didn’t get it at the time. People still struggle with the Way of the Cross today.Larry Jones
The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.Leonardo da Vinci
The drops of rain make a hole in the stone not by violence but by oft falling.Lucretius
He who asks of life nothing but the improvement of his own nature is less liable than anyone else to miss and waste life.Anon