Home Faith About Meet St. Paul Activities Community Contact
St. Paul’s Evangelical & Reformed Church UCC

MEET ST. PAUL — PART 2


In visiting the Ephesus church I receive the impression Paul’s demeanor to the Believers in this church is more genial.  Why? Perhaps he is tired, perhaps he is feeling his age and the mistreatment he has endured at the hands of his enemies; or perhaps the Ephesus church is more grounded in their faith and Paul doesn’t have a lot of issues with the members of the church with which he must deal.  Paul spends more time reminding these young Christians, as they are called, that Jesus is the source of their salvation and the heart of Christianity’s good news.  The opening comment of the letter to his fellow Believers in Ephesus is written with a joyous voice as Paul states, “Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Ephesians 1:2, 3 (KJV)


“….I (Paul), after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him (Jesus).”   Ephesians 1:15-17 (KJV)


Paul, speaking with love and kindness in his voice but with holy authority, continued and outlined three things he was praying for the church at Ephesus.  He prayed that with “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of Jesus’ calling, and what the riches of the glory of  Jesus’ inheritance is in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of Jesus’ power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which God wrought in Christ when God raised Jesus from the dead, and set him  at God’s own right hand in heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and has put all things under Jesus’ feet, and gave Jesus to be the head over all things to the church, which is Jesus’ body, and fullness of Jesus, that fills all in all.”  Ephesians 1:18-23  (KJV)


Paul continued, saying “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in times past  ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath even as others.  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”  Ephesians 2:1-8 (KJV)


I wish I were a fly in Paul’s living quarters and could hear more of what he says about this Jesus.  I recently heard two Christians from the Ephesus church repeating an excerpt from one of Paul’s letters. “…now in Christ Jesus we who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”  (Ephesians 2:13) (KJV)


They sound so sure of their future; I feel an overwhelming emptiness when I try to imagine my own future.  I don’t want to hear more, yet, I know I will take every opportunity to soak up what Paul is sharing with everyone.  I know in my heart of hearts I want the freedom – the peace and joy these Christians have;  will I ever realize it?


The Eastern sun is beating down on a few of us stragglers as we make our way through the seaside market kiosks towards the meeting location where Paul’s latest letter is going to be read.  It is easy for me to casually join the group, I had often attended the meetings.


A group of inquisitive Gentiles are walking in tandem and talking regarding one of the letters.  I hasten my pace until I blend in with the group, not actually an integral part but squeezing in tightly enough so I can easily hear their conversation. “Paul wrote us saying, ‘For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers  of his promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.  Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ; to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by, the faith of him.’”  Ephesians 3: 1-12 (KJV)


I am amazed.  God speaks to Paul through the Holy Ghost.  I am without words.


A group of noisy tourists brake through the group and I hasten to reposition myself so I can continue listening, but the group is disbursing and going separate ways in the market.  I am left standing in the shadows of the kiosks pondering this new information I have heard.

A short time later when I sat in the meeting place, one of the Believers was reading the last of another of Paul’s letters.  


As Paul neared the end of his letter to the Ephesus church, he cautioned them about the days ahead, saying:  “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”


“Stand therefore having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel.” Ephesians 6:12-19 (KJV)


“Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.  Amen.”  Ephesians 6: 23, 24 (KJV)


Hearing the closing of Paul’s letter, I know I have to continue seeking to know Jesus personally.


In visiting the Ephesus church I receive the impression Paul’s demeanor to the Believers in this church is more genial.  Why?   Perhaps he is tired, perhaps he is feeling his age and the mistreatment he has endured at the hands of his enemies; or perhaps the Ephesus church is more grounded in their faith and Paul doesn’t have a lot of issues with the members of the church with which he must deal.  Paul spends more time reminding these young Christians, as they are called, that Jesus is the source of their salvation and the heart of Christianity’s good news.  The opening comment of the letter to his fellow Believers in Ephesus is written with a joyous voice as Paul states, “Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Ephesians 1:2, 3 (KJV)

“….I (Paul), after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him (Jesus).”   Ephesians 1:15-17 (KJV)

Paul, speaking with love and kindness in his voice but with holy authority, continued and outlined three things he was praying for the church at Ephesus.  He prayed that with “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of Jesus’ calling, and what the riches of the glory of  Jesus’ inheritance is in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of Jesus’ power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which God wrought in Christ when God raised Jesus from the dead, and set him  at God’s own right hand in heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and has put all things under Jesus’ feet, and gave Jesus to be the head over all things to the church, which is Jesus’ body, and fullness of Jesus, that fills all in all.”  Ephesians 1:18-23  (KJV)

Paul continued, saying “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in times past  ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath even as others.  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”  Ephesians 2:1-8 (KJV)

I wish I were a fly in Paul’s living quarters and could hear more of what he says about this Jesus.  I recently heard two Christians from the Ephesus church repeating an excerpt from one of Paul’s letters. “…now in Christ Jesus we who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”  (Ephesians 2:13) (KJV)

They sound so sure of their future; I feel an overwhelming emptiness when I try to imagine my own future.  I don’t want to hear more, yet, I know I will take every opportunity to soak up what Paul is sharing with everyone.  I know in my heart of hearts I want the freedom – the peace and joy these Christians have;  will I ever realize it?

The Eastern sun is beating down on a few of us stragglers as we make our way through the seaside market kiosks towards the meeting location where Paul’s latest letter is going to be read.  It is easy for me to casually join the group, I had often attended the meetings.

A group of inquisitive Gentiles are walking in tandem and talking regarding one of the letters.  I hasten my pace until I blend in with the group, not actually an integral part but squeezing in tightly enough so I can easily hear their conversation. “Paul wrote us saying, ‘For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers  of his promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.  Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ; to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by, the faith of him.’”  Ephesians 3: 1-12 (KJV)

I am amazed.  God speaks to Paul through the Holy Ghost.  I am without words.

A group of noisy tourists brake through the group and I hasten to reposition myself so I can continue listening, but the group is disbursing and going separate ways in the market.  I am left standing in the shadows of the kiosks pondering this new information I have heard.

A short time later when I sat in the meeting place, one of the Believers was reading the last of another of Paul’s letters.  

As Paul neared the end of his letter to the Ephesus church, he cautioned them about the days ahead, saying:  “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

“Stand therefore having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel.” Ephesians 6:12-19 (KJV)

“Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.  Amen.”  Ephesians 6: 23, 24 (KJV)

Hearing the closing of Paul’s letter, I know I have to continue seeking to know Jesus personally.


Continue >