The Creation and Commission of the Church
Philippe R. Sterling
The Triune God planned and created the Church as His dwelling in this age and commissions her to walk worthy of her calling in His power to the praise of His grace and glory now and in the ages to come.
Ephesians is one of the prison epistles Paul wrote during his first Roman imprisonment circa 60 to 62 AD. In it he compares the Church to a building or temple that is built according to a divine plan for a glorious purpose in this age and in the ages to come. Believers are living stones that are joined together to form the structure of the Church with Christ being the cornerstone and the apostles and prophets the foundation. The call of the Church is to walk worthy of her calling and to stand strong in the Lord. The body of the letter can for the purpose of exposition be divided as the blueprint of the Church, the building of the Church, and the business of the Church.
Invocation: The apostle Paul writes to the faithful believers at Ephesus invoking God’s grace and peace to
I. The Blueprint of the Church: To the praise of His glory, God conceived of the Church from eternity to reign
with Christ (1:3-23).
A. Praise for the Plan: Blessed be our Triune God who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in
1. Blessings: God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ (1:3).
2. Blessings from God the Father: To the praise of His glory, God the Father planned the inheritance
of the Church before He created the world (1:4-6). The Father chose us in Christ and adopts us to
reign with Christ. Praise God!
3. Blessings from God the Son: To the praise of God’s glory, God the Son procured the inheritance
of the Church (1:7-12). The Son redeemed us and grants us an inheritance to reign with Him. Praise God!
4. Blessings from God the Holy Spirit: To the praise of God’s glory, God the Holy Spirit protects the
inheritance of the Church (1:13-14). The Holy Spirit seals those who believe and secures our
inheritance. Praise God!
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
B. Prayer for Understanding: Pray for the greater comprehension of our blessings in Christ (1:15-23).
1. Encourage other believers by your faith and love (1:15-16).
2. Being enlightened, ask God for a greater comprehension of the Father and of the Church’s hope, riches,
and power (1:17-23).
a. Pray that the Spirit would teach you about God through the revealed word (1:17).
b. Being enlightened, pray that you would comprehend the hope of His calling, the riches of the glory of
His inheritance, and the greatness of His power that is in accordance with the power that raised Christ
and made Him head of the Church (1:18-23).
Teach us Lord.
II. The Building of the Church: To the praise of His glory, God creates the Church as His dwelling in this
age (2:1 to 3:21).
A. Production of the Church: God takes spiritually dead people and transforms them into a living temple for
His dwelling (2:1-22).
1. Creation of the Living Stones: God creates the Church by making spiritually dead people alive in
a. The Old Condition: We were great sinners (2:1-3).
1) We were spiritually dead (2:1).
2) We were constitutionally depraved (2:2-3a). We lived according to the direction of the world (2a),
the dictation of the devil (2b), and the domination of the flesh (3a).
3) We were eternally doomed (3b).
b. The New Creation: God saved us by grace through faith and created us as a Church for good
1) God saved us in Christ by His grace (2:4-6).
2) God saved us in order to show the riches of His grace in a new creation (corporate Church) appointed
to accomplish pre-designed good works (2:7-10). God saved us in order to show the riches of
His grace (7). God saved us by grace through faith, not as a result of works – salvation by grace is
the gift of God received through faith (8-9). God makes and appoints the Church for good works (10).
We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works. Amazing grace!
2. Construction of the Holy Temple: God fits together Jews and Gentiles to build a holy temple for His
dwelling on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ as the cornerstone (2:11-22).
a. We were alienated from God and from each other (2:11-12).
b. Jews and Gentiles have been reconciled to God and to each other through the cross (2:13-18).
c. We are a new people built together as a living temple for God’s dwelling (2:19-22). The temple is built
on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Jesus is the cornerstone. We are living stones
(see 1 Peter 2:4-5).
B. Presentation of the Church: God unveils the mystery of the Church through the ministry of the apostles
and prophets for the demonstration of His wisdom (3:2-13). Faithful Jews and Gentiles will have
high-level administrative roles in the kingdom.
C. Prayer for Enablement: Pray for strength in the power of the Spirit (3:1, 14-21).
1. Humbly approach the Father in prayer (3:1, 14-15).
2. Appeal to the Father for inner strength from the Spirit, the enthronement of Christ in your hearts, and all
the fullness that comes from God in your lives (3:16-19).
3. Ascribe glory to the One who alone can give the things we request (3:20-21).
Fill us with all the fullness that comes from You Lord. To God be the glory!
III. The Business of the Church: To the praise of His glory, God commissions the Church to walk and war worthy of
her calling (4:1 to 6:20).
A. Walk of the Church: The Church is to walk worthy of her calling (4:1 to 6:9).
1. Walk in Unity: Live undividedly together for the growth of the Church (4:1-16).
a. Be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit (4:1-3). Cultivate three attitudes that help preserve
unity: humility, meekness, and patience. Practice two acts that help preserve unity: forbearance to
one another in love, and diligence in maintaining peace.
b. Focus on seven elements of unity centered on the three Persons of the Godhead (4:4-6). The
One Spirit gives life to one body of believers who share one hope. The One Lord is the object
of one faith which is pictured by one baptism. The One God, the Father of all, is supreme over
all, operative through all and resides in all.
c. Exercise the diversity of gifts to enable the Church to grow (4:7-16). Jesus endows the Church for
service and growth (7-11). Believers enable the Church to grow through connected service (15-16).
Use your gift to build up the Church.
2. Walk in Newness of Life: Live differently as new creations in God’s image (4:17-32).
a. We Are Not to Live in Accordance with the Pattern of the Old Self That We Have Put Off: We are not
to live according to the carnal pattern of the old life we put off (17-24). We can’t live the way we used
to live (17-19) since we are not who we used to be (20-24). Our old life was dead spiritually, dark
mentally, depraved morally, and dissipated physically.
b. We Are to Live in Accordance with the Pattern of the New Self That We Have Put On: We are to live
in accordance with the spiritual pattern of the new life that we have in Christ (25-32).
1) Having put aside the lie, we are to speak truth to one another since we are members of one
2) We are to properly manage anger so as not to enable the devil to divide us (26-27).
3) Rather than stealing, we are to work diligently that we may give to others in need (28).
4) We must not speak corruptly, but speak what edifies so as to give grace to our hearers (29).
5) We are not to grieve the Spirit because He has sealed us until the Day God redeems the
purchased possession of the Church (30). We grieve the Spirit by living as unenlightened
unbelievers live. We please the Spirit through our thoughts, words, and deeds that edify.
6) We are to forsake destructive venting, and be kind and tenderhearted by forgiving each other in
the manner that God in Christ has forgiven us (31-32).
Live as the new people we are in Christ.
3. Walk in Love: Live devotedly in love and purity so as to inherit kingdom rewards (5:1-8a).
a. Imitate the love of Christ (5:1-2). Love fellow believers in a similar way as Christ loved us and
offered Himself up for us.
b. Shun immoral conduct and conversation (5:3-4).
c. Believers who indulge in immoral conduct and conversation lose their special kingdom inheritance
having linked with unbelievers in the darkness of their former state instead of the light of their current
4. Walk as God’s Enlightened Children: Live dedicatedly in truth (5:8b-14).
a. We should live as God’s enlightened children (5:8b).
b. Bear the fruit of the light (5:9-10). Reveal the spectrum of God’s light by your character, conduct,
and conversation. Show that you approve the things that please God.
c. Expose others to the light (5:11-13). Instead of participating in the deeds of darkness, expose darkness
to your light.
d. Awake and arise from among unbelievers so that Christ will shine on you (5:14). Lethargic believers
are euphemistically asleep among spiritually dead unbelievers. Christ shines His word upon believers
who awake and arise.
Rise and shine.
5. Walk as Wise People: Live dutifully in wisdom (5:15 to 6:9).
a. Be wise by living under the influence of the Holy Spirit (5:15-21).
1) Live sensibly (5:15-17). Live carefully as prudent people (15). Make the most of your allotted
time (16). Understand what the will of the Lord is (17).
2) Live spiritually (5:18-21). Do not live under the influence of wine (don’t be drunk). Live under
the influence of the Holy Spirit.
a) Command: Be continuously filled by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit uses the word of Christ to bring
us to spiritual maturity – up to the fullness of God (5:18; see Col. 3:16; Eph. 3:14-19).
b) Consequences: Believers filled by the Holy Spirit sing to the Lord in their hearts, give thanks,
and submit to each other (5:19-21).
Be filled by the Holy Spirit.
b. Behave wisely in life’s relationships (5:22 to 6:9).
1) Live wisely at home (5:22 to 6:4). Glorify God at home.
a) Wives and Husbands: Wives submit to their husbands as part of mutual submission
(see vs. 21) and their submission to the Lord; husbands submit to their wives as part of mutual
submission by their sacrificial and sanctifying love like that of Christ for the Church (5:22-33).
b) Children and Parents: Children are in mutual submission by honoring their parents; parents are
in mutual submission by not provoking children to anger but providing training and instruction in
the word of the Lord (6:1-4).
2) Live wisely at work (6:5-9). Glorify God at work. Servants submit as part of their service to
Christ knowing that He will reward them. Masters act graciously as part of their service to
Christ knowing that He is impartial.
Honor authority at home and at work.
B. Warfare of the Church: The Church is to war against spiritual forces in the strength of the Lord (6:10-20).
1. Standing Strong in God’s Panoply: Be strong in the Lord by putting on God’s panoply so as to stand
against the devil’s strategy (6:10-13).
a. Be strong in the Lord (10).
b. Be strong in the Lord by putting on God’s panoply (11a).
c. By putting on God’s panoply you will be able to stand against the Devil’s strategy and the wicked
spiritual beings we struggle against (11b-12).
d. Put on God’s panoply so as to stand prepared for battle (13).
2. The Elements of God’s Panoply: God’s panoply includes truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation,
God’s word, and prayer (6:14-20).
a. Belt, Breastplate, Sandals: Stand firm because you have been girded with truth and righteousness
and because the gospel that makes peace has prepared you (14-15).
b. Shield: Believe God’s word which equips you to resist the devil (16).
c. Helmet and Sword: Keep in mind our by grace through faith salvation, and use the word of God (17).
d. Prayer: Put on the whole armor accompanied by prayer for all believers that includes prayer for
boldness in speaking of the provisions of the gospel (18-20).
Benediction: Paul sends Tychicus to inform the church about his circumstances and blesses them with God’s peace, love, and grace (6:21-23).
We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
Which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (2:10).