Ephesians: Prescript (1:1-2) – Who is an apostle?

Class Outline:

Thursday August 23, 2018


The prescript (1:1-2)


EPH 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:


EPH 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


EPH 1:1 Paul, an apostle

“apostle” - a)po/stol$ (apostolos) = one sent forth with orders, a delegate, a messenger.


Last time we noted the drastic change of Saul of Tarsus to Paul. He asked the high priest, likely Caiaphas, to be an apostle for him and take his letters of introduction and arrest warrants to Damascus.


We noted the conflicts that like raged in Saul’s heart due to his contact with Jewish Christians who were truly lights of Christ to the world.


Men can change, but only God can change them by grace. The change happens supernaturally at the moment of faith in Christ by the baptism of the Holy Spirit.


From the generation after the apostles, warned by Paul not to deviate from the blueprint, there were teachers who did just that. False doctrines about man changing himself and thus being acceptable to God began to emerge. Arius taught that Jesus was not deity, but was a man who was able to imitate the ethics of God, and so we too can imitate God from our own strong will and thus be saved.


Countless teachers taught some form of works. Or, being disgusted themselves by their own sins or the sins of others, taught that salvation was manifested by a lack of sin and an abundance of works, and if these were lacking, then the person was not saved.


Paul wrote of the complete regeneration of man through faith. This would qualify him for good works, which the new man was designed for, but it was made clear that a real, spiritual, and supernatural transformation had taken place.


EPH 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),


EPH 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;


EPH 2:9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.


Paul could have easily written vs. 8 with another noun at the head of the sentence besides grace. Greek is highly inflectional. Word order is not important in the meaning of the sentence, but word order can be used for emphasis. Grace is listed first. It is written with a definite article, “For by the grace,” which is sure to refer us back to vs. 5.


“faith” does not have the definite article so as to show us that God didn’t save us due to the fact that we would have faith, or as if our faith was the ground or procuring cause of our salvation.


For by the grace He saved us and faith appropriated that salvation, “and that” (which is emphatic) is not of yourselves, the gift of God.


We would not even say that “because of” grace He saved us, since God is not under any obligation. He saved us by means of grace. God is not God because of grace. Grace is because God is God.


By this faith a profound change happens to the person. He is born-again and made a brand-new creature in Christ. He becomes God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works (2:10).


And on that truth, we note that the apostle must do the will of Him who sent him. 


JOH 13:16 "Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master; neither is one who is sent [apostolos] greater than the one who sent him.


JOH 13:17 "If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.


The One who sends the apostle could easily do the job Himself. So then the apostle is honored, and so are all believers, since each has a gift and a ministry.


1TI 1:12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service;


1TI 1:13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. And yet I was shown mercy, because I acted ignorantly in unbelief;


1TI 1:14 and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.


1TI 1:15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.


1TI 1:16 And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.


1TI 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.


God has infiltrated the world, enemy territory, with messengers.


No matter what the KOD does the messengers will keep coming. Christians are persecuted in some countries and more messengers arise within them.


ACT 5:17 But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy;


ACT 5:18 and they laid hands on the apostles, and put them in a public jail.


ACT 5:19 But an angel of the Lord during the night opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said,


ACT 5:20 "Go your way, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life."


ACT 5:21 And upon hearing this, they entered into the temple about daybreak, and began to teach. Now when the high priest and his associates had come, they called the Council together, even all the Senate of the sons of Israel, and sent orders to the prison house for them to be brought.


ACT 5:22 But the officers who came did not find them in the prison; and they returned, and reported back,


ACT 5:23 saying, "We found the prison house locked quite securely and the guards standing at the doors; but when we had opened up, we found no one inside."


ACT 5:24 Now when the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them as to what would come of this.


ACT 5:25 But someone came and reported to them, "Behold, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!"


Each believer will not complete his mission until he gives all over to His will.


Apostolos is used in a broader sense of the 70 disciples sent out to Israel to witness of the kingdom, of Barnabas, Titus and his fellow workers, Epaphroditus, Silas, and Timothy. We conclude that the term is used in these cases in its broader sense as a messenger sent on official business, but is not of the office of which there are only twelve. The only people who disagree with that are people who claim to be apostles.


Therefore, while some so-called Christians will use some of these verses as justification to call themselves apostles, we can see that they are wrong. Epaphroditus, Titus, Timothy, Silas, and Barnabas were messengers, the general usage of the term without the office, entrusted with authority through Paul, but they were not called as the Lord called the twelve and then Paul as the replacement for Judas Iscariot.


The fakers aside, what did Barnabas, Titus, Epaphroditus, Silas, and Timothy all have in common? (2TI 2:21)


They gave their lives to the cause of Christ, and so they were vessels of honor, useful to the Master.


2TI 2:19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness."


2TI 2:20 Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor.


2TI 2:21 Therefore, if a man cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.


2TI 2:22 Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.