World Conference 2023

Ephesians 1:15-23

21 May 2023

Exploring the Scripture

Ephesians was written around the same time as Matthew and Luke’s gospels, 85-90 CE. Scholars are not sure who wrote this letter. The letter is written in a style that reflects the teachings and traditions of the apostle Paul.  

One of the central themes of Ephesians is in reconciling the Jews and Gentiles in the worshiping community. This passage from the first chapter is in the form of a prayer. It begins by offering thanks for the people. The writer then prays for intercession that their faith might be increased. The prayer then expresses the nature of Christ and the church.  

Although the letter’s recipients are unknown to the author, they are commended for their faithfulness to God and one another. The author prays a blessing that they might experience a deepening relationship with God. As they grow in faith, they might increase in hope, wisdom, and knowledge of Christ. In this way, they are more fully able to live as the church—the fullness of Christ in the world.  

Christ reigns beyond the circumstances, authorities, and boundaries of the world. The fullness of Christ is expressed by the church living as a reflection of Christ. The church is called to overcome divisions, boundaries, and walls that separate, marginalize, and demean individuals and communities. Christ’s reign extends beyond this time and is for all time. The church reflects the presence of Christ in the world today even as it envisions the peaceable reign of Christ in the future. Community of Christ’s Mission Initiatives provide avenues for the church to live out its call to embody Christ more fully in the world. The Mission Initiatives help prepare the way for the reign of Christ to be made real in neighborhoods, towns, and villages.

Christ gave his life in service of God’s purposes. At the Ascension, Christ takes his place as the loving, serving head of the church. Similarly, the church is called to give itself in service to the restoring purposes of God. The church is called to live in harmony with all creation choosing reconciliation over division, unity over individualism, and community over self-interest. In this way, all are included in the peaceable Reign of Christ.  

Project Zion Podcast

Co-hosts Karin Peter and Blake Smith consider how this week's scripture connects to our lives today.


Central Ideas

  1. We grow in wisdom and understanding as we deepen our relationship with the Divine.
  2. There is great hope in living and serving as a disciple.
  3. The church is called to act and serve as the fullness of the body of Christ in the world.
  4. Christ and his mission are greater than earthly divisions, boundaries, or borders.

Questions to Consider

  1. How do you continually deepen your relationship with God?
  2. When have you experienced great hope in your life as a disciple?
  3. In what ways is the church called to overcome divisions, boundaries, and systems that lessen community?
  4. Which of your congregation’s ministries shine as the body of Christ in the world?

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