During Fall 2017, I taught Calvary Monterey the book of Ephesians. During the series, I also wrote about Ephesians in sixty-plus short, devotionally styled posts. Each Thursday, through 2018, I will release a post. I hope you enjoy. For the entire series, please visit nateholdridge.com/united-for-unity-posts.
Before his death, Moses was compelled to sing.
Before Israel finally embarked on their journey into the Promised Land, Moses wrote and recited a song for them. He knew he would not lead them into Canaan, for that was Joshua’s calling, not his, so he wanted to give them his lyrics instead of himself. In his song, Moses spoke to them of who God is. He referred to God as the Rock, a firm and strong foundation for them as a people. He referred to God as great, the only one worthy of worship and praise. And he referred to God as their Father, the one who had made them into a nation. He sang to them of who God is.
Additionally, Moses also reminded the people of who, because of God, they were. He told them they were the children of a Father God, a special people set apart for God and His glory. He told them they were God’s creation, made and established by the God of the universe. And he told them they were a redeemed people, pulled out of slavery in Egypt, never to return. He sang to them of who they were.
After singing of and extrapolating about God, Moses ended his song. Now that he had recited his song he was almost ready to die. He said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess” (Deuteronomy 32:46-47).
The heart of Moses for Israel seems to be the heart of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.
Like Moses, Paul will remind them of who God is, what He has done, and who they are. He will then remind them to respond to all God is and has done and made them become. He will then teach them of the life lived in the light of that high calling. Paul seems to think, like Moses, that these words and promises are no empty word for us, but our very life.
We must know the truths of Ephesians, know who God is and what He has done to us, and then live out this great newness we have in Him. To Moses, Israel was a special people God had done special things for. To Paul, the church is a special people God has done special things for. Ephesians is his attempt to tell us as much. Ephesians is Paul’s way of sending us into our Promised Land. Ephesians is Paul’s song.
The letter flows from who we are to how we should respond. The first three chapters focus on what Christ has done for us and to us. The last three chapters focus on the life becoming of someone Christ has remade. The final word of chapter three is “amen,” while the first word of chapter four is “urge.” Paul will tell us what Christ has done, say “amen” to all of it, and then urge us on, as Moses did to Israel, into a life worthy of Christ’s great calling.
One verse, in particular, demonstrates this outline for Ephesians — “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). The first half of the verse represents the first half of Ephesians — “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.” In the first half of the letter, we will learn how God has, in Christ, recreated us. The second half of the verse represents the second half of Ephesians — “For good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” In the second half of the letter, we will learn of the good works Christ has prepared for us.
So consider Ephesians a song from Paul’s heart to you.
He wants you to cross over your Jordan into the deepest and richest life God has for you. He knows you will only get there if you have both halves of this book, first learning of who God is and what He has made you to be, then living it out. In the words which follow, let Ephesians teach you about who God is, what He has done for you, and who you now are in Him. Then let Paul show you how to live well for the God who did such amazing things for you. Let this song become an anthem, a celebration of the new life Christ has granted you.