A Note from Our Pastor:
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ Ephesians 1:1-2
Good Morning Dearly Beloved,
Paul, an apostle — This title Paul takes unto himself in writing to the church at Ephesus. Paul found this title to be a great honor. A messenger employed in the service of Christ, endowed with great gifts for a limited period of time. One of a few that were to serve to spread the gospel among the young church that it might take root and grow in the region.
Although Paul fully takes this title, an apostle of Jesus Christ, and applies it to himself he does not do so by his own forcefulness or intrusion. He was immediately called by Jesus Christ, though his calling came after the ascension of Christ, just as the other apostles were called. And he clarifies in this verse that it was not according to his own will or plan, but rather it was according to the “will of God” that he was made an apostle.
In fact, as I trust you are familiar, Paul was not only not seeking to be an apostle at the time of his calling, he was seeking to destroy those that were following these teachings. Paul, by his own explanation, was an enemy of the church and of the saints in the region. It certainly wasn’t by his own desires that he gave up his earthly positions and power and took on the role of apostle. It was not only “by the will of God” but also by his grace.
The audience to which this epistle is sent, Paul says are saints and faithful in Christ Jesus. No doubt though that Paul understand that they were in those positions by the same power that he was made an apostle. They were saints and faithful in Christ Jesus by the “will of God” through his grace.
Dearly beloved, nothing has changed in this regard since the time Paul wrote this letter. I pray you and I today could be called the “saints” and be described as “faithful in Christ Jesus” and if we can be called that it is by the “will of God” and through his grace. Disciples throughout time and as long as this earth remains will be and can only be faithful unto our Lord by the grace given to us through Jesus Christ.
Yes, these early churches like Ephesus made a lasting mark on this earth. What began as a few followers of Jesus Christ has grown to a worldwide religion (in various forms and varying degrees of truth) that asserts its influence in all sectors of life. We are tempted to look upon those early churches as something of myth and legend. However, the reality is, we have just as much responsibility to the service of Christ and the truth of his gospel as those early churches did. The proclamation of the truth of Jesus Christ is just as important today as it was then. And, it can be accomplished by the same power and authority which is the “will of God” and through the grace of Jesus Christ.
May we not forget in our day and time, that as Paul was made an apostle by the “will of God”, you and I are made to be disciples by this same authority. It is a blessing and honor to be such, but it comes with great responsibility as well. Let us pray that we be accompanied by grace and peace in this life.
Our prayers are with you daily,