The Flow of Ephesians

I recently finished preaching through the book of Ephesians. I’ll share some more of my observations from this incredible book in the future; for now, I thought I would just share a short synopsis of the overall flow and message of the book.

In chapters 1–3, Paul explains that God plans to reconcile and consummate all things in and through Jesus Christ, who is Lord over all (1:10). He expounds that part of how God is accomplishing that consummation is through the church walking in good works that bring honor to Christ (2:10) and demonstrate the character of Christ, thus putting the wisdom of God on display to both heaven and earth (3:10).

Then, in chapters 4–6, Paul begins to articulate what some of those good works are which we were created for, and how our lives are to reflect—to image—the character of God. So his overarching exhortation for chapters 4–6 is that we walk (live) in a manner worthy of the calling to which we’ve been called—a calling out of the old, lost humanity in Adam into a new, redeemed humanity whose head is Christ. As we walk in the imitation of Christ, Paul says that we are to walk in unity (4:1–16), walk in holiness (4:17–32), walk in love (5:1–6), walk in light (5:7–14), walk in wisdom and in the Spirit (5:15–6:9), and stand in the strength of Lord (6:10–20).

Paul then closes with a farewell expression of love and prayer (6:21–24). In the context of the grand message of Ephesians, this love for one another, demonstrated so often by our prayers for one another, is a key component in our properly displaying the character of Christ, thus fulfilling our calling to walk in a manner that glorifies God, which, as Paul has framed it in Ephesians, is the role we are to play in God’s great plan for history to reconcile all things in and through Jesus Christ, who, by his death and resurrection, has won the victory over Satan, sin, and death, and has been declared Lord of all!

Series on How to Compose a Doctrinal Statement

Below, you’ll find links to my series on how to develop and write a doctrinal statement. I’ve geared this toward churches specifically, but I hope it will be of some benefit to you personally as well. This also is my personal statement of faith (adapted for churches), so this will let you get to know me a little better as well.

Composing a Doctrinal Statement [sections 4&5 — on Angels and Mankind]

Composing a doctrinal statement (or any other essential documents) can be one of the most arduous (but crucial) projects undertaken by a church. In this series, I’m sharing my own doctrinal statement, a section (or two) at a time, in an attempt to provide a helpful example of a detailed statement that is worded positively, but articulated precisely enough to exclude certain theological positions for the protection and unity of the church.

Section 4 — Angels

We believe that God created an innumerable company of spirit-beings commonly called angels. Although they are a higher order of creation than humanity, angels were created within space and time, and are not to be worshiped themselves, but are created to serve God and to worship Him.

(Exodus 20:11; Nehemiah 9:6; Daniel 9:20–23; 10:1–14; Luke 2:9–14; Hebrews 1:6–7, 14; 2:6–7; Revelation 5:11–14; 19:10; 22:8–9)

Fallen Angels: We believe that Satan is a created angel, and the author of sin. He incurred the judgment of God by rebelling against his Creator, and introducing sin into the human race by his temptation of Eve. He is the open and declared enemy of God and mankind. He is the prince of this world, who was defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and he will be eternally punished in the lake of fire. Numerous angels (also called demons or unclean spirits) followed Satan in his original rebellion against God, and will share in his eternal judgement.

(Genesis 3:1–5; Isaiah 14:12–17; Ezekiel 28:11–19; Matthew 4:1–11; 25:41; 2 Corinthians 4:3–4; Revelation 12:1–14; 20:10)

Section 5 — Mankind

We believe that Adam and Eve were created in the image of God, unfallen, and to enjoy fellowship with their Creator. By voluntary transgression, man fell from his sinless estate. All humanity sinned in Adam. As a result, all men and women are born spiritually separated from God and share in Adam’s fallen nature. All people are sinners by nature (inherently from Adam), and by choice (by individual thought and conduct), and, therefore, are under just condemnation without defense or excuse, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition by any strength or will of his own accord.

(Genesis 1:26–28; 3:1–6, 16–24; Psalm 51:5; Romans 1:18–32; 3:10–19; 5:12, 19)