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Waking up the sleepy saints

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If movies about the past are to be trusted, this is what the newspaper boys on street corners used to shout out to incite people to buy their papers. Though that day and time is no longer with us, I can’t help but think that Paul’s little letter to the Ephesians is worthy of this kind of promotion and excitement.

In Ephesians Paul dares us to stretch our minds and overflow our hearts with “the unfathomable riches of Christ” (3:8 NASB). He has huge, spectacular truths to share that splash way outside the margins. He talks to us about being chosen in Christ “before the creation of the world” (1:4). He speaks of God’s “eternal purpose” (3:11) and how he wants us “to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” (3:19). This kind of speech is normative to the letter! And yet many people yawn and glibly wonder what all of the fuss is about while they track the latest movement of their favorite celebrity on Twitter.


The God of Ephesians is a HUGE God. What am I saying? I’m not suggesting that God isn’t presented this way in other parts of the biblical witness, but rather that in Ephesians this truth is marvelously compressed in the six chapters that form the letter. It’s a small sponge that is super absorbent so every time you squeeze it it supplies endless amounts of water. Paul connects some theological dots in Ephesians that leave in shambles the little boxes we place God in. He is so much bigger than we can imagine, His purposes are so much grander.

The dimension of time Paul wants to explore is eternity. The concepts he wants to advocate are those that surpass knowledge. The realm he wants to work in is the heavenly realms. And the goal he’s point us toward is the when God brings “unity to all things in heaven and earth under Christ” (1:10).

Ephesians will not allow us to think of ourselves as insignificant or our lives as ho-hum. As part of the body of Christ we bear witness not just on earth, but on a cosmic scale (3:10-11). As the body of Christ, God continues the reconciliation and resurrection work through us that He began with Jesus (1:19-21). As soldiers of Christ, we are involved in a daily war "against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (6:12).

Whatever it might be, Ephesians is a wake-up call for sleepy saints!

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