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Ephesians, Chapter Three, Lesson One

SPIRITUAL STEWARDSHIP            Page 2

Spiritual Stewardship

INVESTIGATE

V. 1 ** As the apostle begins this chapter he says, "For this reason" - he is going to do something. What do you suppose he is going to do?

He is going to pray for the Ephesians! cf. V.14

From verses 2 to 13, Paul interrupts himself with an elaborate parenthetical thought, which we will look at together today and next week as well. You can see him regain his original thought at the beginning of verse 14.

** Since Paul is going to be praying for the Ephesians, what reason is he referring to, which proves to be the motivation for his prayers?

The many unifying truths that have been bestowed upon both Jew and Gentile as blessings from God, which Paul just spoke of in chapter two.

For example:

2:15 - They both become one new man in Christ
2:16 - All believers are in one body
2:17 - Both groups share peace with God
2:19 - Equally citizens of God's kingdom
2:19 - Equally members of God's family
2:22 - Together they form the dwelling place of God in the Spirit

Paul is moved to prayer as he writes this epistle, but before he actually prays (as we will see in two weeks) he wants us to learn more about God's great mystery and how that mystery should effect us.

** Now, keeping in mind that Paul's heart is overflowing with love and compassion so as to pray for the Gentile believers - what is so unusual about that in light of his own present circumstances?

Paul was in prison because of preaching to the Gentiles, the very ones for which he is now moved to pray.

** What kind of heart attitude does this require?

A completely selfless existence! cf. Philippians 2:3-5

** Taking our time, let's try to answer the question, "By whom was Paul imprisoned?"

The nation of Rome! cf. Acts 21:31-32, 23:10, 24:1, 24:22-23, 25:10-11 (His first imprisonment, from which he wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon)

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