Friday, December 4, 2009

The Apostle Paul - Part IX - Life in the City of Ephesus

Welcome To Ephesus!!
  • Located in what is now modern day Turkey.
  • The name "Ephesus" means desirable.
  • During Paul's time it was the largest and most important trade city in Asia.
  • It had a populations of over 300,000 people and was the largest city in Asia.
  • It enjoyed an exceptionally pleasant climate and unusually fertile soil.
  • It was politically, commercially, and religiously that most other major cities at the time.
  • Inhabitants were as a rule wealthy, prominent, and powerful.
  • The population was culturally diverse: Orientals, Greeks, Persians and Romans.
  • The Temple of Diana was known far and wide and people from all over the known world regularly made pilgrimages to worship there. The temple priests were also city businessmen and served as bankers and shopkeepers. Besides the temple there was a treasure-house, a museum, and a market place.
  • Not until A.D. 341 (almost three centuries after Paul) was Ephesus known as a Christian City. (In A.D. 341 a council of the Christian church was held there.)
Introducing Timothy:
  • Leader of the church of Ephesus.
  • One of Paul's best-loved and most trusted assistants.
  • The Apostle Paul's traveling company for many of his missionary journeys.
  • Timothy had the distinction of being raised by a devout Christian mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5).
  • Co-author with Paul of Corinthians (2 Corinthians 1:1), Philippians (1:1), Colossians (1:1), Thessalonians (I Thessalonians 1:1,2), and Philemon (1:1).
  • It was Timothy that Paul missed most at the end of his life (2 Timothy 1:3-4)
Welcome to the Church of Ephesus:
  • Jews had long lived in Ephesus (before Paul's time).
  • Paul made significant progress against the worship of Diana at the temple.
  • The church suffered from false teachers.
  • The church suffered from unfaithful people.
  • The church suffered from general cultural/political/social opposition.
  • The church suffered from ethnic tensions between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians. (Jewish Christians had the perception that Gentile Christians were inferior to or distinct from them and were not fully part of God's "new Israel".)
  • The church suffered from the heavy influence of an idolatrous society.
  • The church suffered from the confusions associated with new concepts, ideas, promises, and beliefs associated with Jesus Christ's message.
Paul's letter to the Ephesians:
  • Written while Paul was in prison in one of two places: Rome, (A.D. 60-62), OR Ephesus, (A.D. 53-56)
  • The letter's themes are: praise for God's grace, the condemned nature of human beings, the unity of the church, living like Christ, respect and love at home, and spiritual war.
Think about this:

How is your christian walk affected by:
  • False information vs. True information
  • Word of mouth information only
  • Societal pressures: what society values and what society dismisses
  • Your past bad habits/addictions/choices
  • The opinions and observations of your unbelieving family, friends, and coworkers
  • Your insecurities regarding what you feel is right and wrong
How do you think you would have done were you a member of the new Christian church at Ephesus?

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