Think of a time when you have listened to someone speak, or have read a sentence in an article, or book. Did you ever stop and ask yourself, “I wonder why they chose the words or the tone they did?” What about the last conversation you had. Why did you use the words or the tone? You had a purpose, a message to deliver, and you wanted the other person to understand that message. You wanted the other person to hear your tones to feel what you were telling them.
The Bible is the same way. The authors were inspired by God to write what they did. There was a purpose, a message they wanted to deliver to the reader. Many books of the Bible are letters, sent to a specific city, or person, with an important purpose.
The “Book of Ephesians” is a book of the Bible, a letter in fact from Paul, to the people of the city of Ephesus.
Paul’s introduction, first line in his letter reads, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.” (Ephesians 1:1 NIV)
Why did Paul begin his letter with this sentence? Why did he introduce himself in this way? There are literally pages that could be written on Paul’s first sentence, verse 1, alone. There are words and phrases here like “apostle”, “Christ”, and “by the will of”. Let’s dive in to better understand what Paul wants to tell you, me, and the people of Ephesus. So let’s go back a in time, and look at the original Greek and Hebrew.
We start with Paul’s third word, “apostle“. Apostle in the Greek is ἀπόστολος (apostolos), which means: a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders. So Paul is a representative with a messenge to deliver. Who is he representing, and what message does he have to deliver? Our answer is next.
In the Greek, the word for Christ, comes from the Hebrew word Messiah. Messiah in Hebrew is “מָשִׁ֫יחַ” (mashiach), means: the promised deliverer. In the New Testament Greek, is translated to, “Χριστός” (Christos), meaning: anointed, or the anointed [One].
In the Greek, the word for Jesus is, “Ἰησοῦς” (Iēsous), meaning: Jesus = “Jehovah is salvation”. So Christ is the title for Jesus. That Jesus is the Messiah, the promised deliverer, the anointed One, and that Jesus is salvation. Many see Jesus as simply a nice guy, a really good teacher, and someone who lived a really good life. Before reading on, please re-read this paragraph again, and I pray that God opens your eyes to who Jesus truly is.
The Greek word for salvation is “σωτηρία” (sótéria), meaning: God’s rescue which delivers believers out of destruction and into His safety. Humanity falls into sin, back in the book of Genesis chapter 3, choosing selfishness and power, over trusting in God’s love. As time went forward, humanity falls more and more into sin, into the temptations of the devil, and everyone did as they saw fit (Judges 21:25). The people forgot the God who had saved them, and chose their own ways (Psalm 106:21; 78:11). The Bible tells us that Jesus is salvation, humanities only hope to not spend an eternity in hell with the devil in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10). Salvation is found in Jesus, in believing in Him, repenting of your sins, dying to self, and becoming a new creation. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).
So now we know that Paul is bringing the message that saves life, the message of salvation in Jesus. To me, there no more important message for people to hear.
Now let’s look at the second half, “.. by the will of..“. This phrase in the Greek is “θέλημα” (thelēma), which means: what one wishes or has determined shall be done. What does this mean?
If you look at John 4:34, ““My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” To me this means that Jesus came from God, God in the flesh (Noel – God with us), and lived to, thrived on, loved, desired, and came to deliver the message of life. This is better known as “the Gospel – God’s good news”. His desire was to do the will of the one who sent Him, to share the best news ever.
The same Greek word is used here too, “θέλημα” (thelēma). Jesus came to share and spread the Gospel, “εὐαγγέλιον” (euaggelion), which literally means: God’s good news. This is the news of salvation, God’s love, mercy compassion, to restore humanity from sin to life, and into His safety. Jesus said it very simply, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:16).
His desire was to share the God’s good news to those who would listen, and after hearing would see and desire life in Jesus, instead of the death they were living in, and headed to. Was Paul forced? No.. he lived to, thrived on, loved, desired to deliver the message of life.
The word God in the Greek is “θεός” (theos), means: the one true God. God is simply amazing, giving us His Word, Bible, for the people throughout history to read, to know His truth, to know life in Jesus, and to repent of their sin to receive the gift of salvation.
So now let’s put all of the puzzle pieces together..
So “Paul is a messenger, sent by the will of God, to deliver Gods good news of life in Jesus, to those who will hear it and repent of their sins“.
Are you a true believer? Are you a Christian? Did you know that you are a messenger as well? What message do you deliver to the people you encounter each day, or that simply see you during the day? You have heard this same message of life in Jesus, repented of your sins, and become a child of God. You have left your old life behind, now living in your born again, new life, in Jesus, in the love and forgiveness of God. There is no better purpose in life. Wherever God has you right now, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” .. “Love your neighbor as you would yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39). Go now, and continue this mission, to share the “Gospel – God’s good news” to those who have not heard it, to those who need it, so that they may come to know salvation in Jesus too. Remember, there are other Christian brothers and sisters who are doing the same. Pray for and with each other, support each other, and do it all in the love of God. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, (Colossians 3:23)