Note: Paul's letter to the Ephesians is all about the church. That's the point of this preaching series. So we've posted the full text of the letter here with every key term referring to the church highlighted, hoping this visual representation can help you track Paul's line of thought.
The kind of church God is building includes people from every family on earth—every tribe, every nation, every people group, every language, every race, every socioeconomic status, every class, every political persuasion, and everything else. Yet in preaching a gospel that could include all these kinds of people the early church faced enormous opposition and even physical violence.
Because of this, Paul recognized that it takes a miracle of God for any of us to embrace the fullness of Christ's radical love that gives rise to the church. And from prison, that's exactly what Paul prayed for in our main text from this week, Ephesians 3:14-21:
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
For context we read Acts 21:27-28:
27 When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, 28 crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and the law and this place. Moreover, he even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.”
Acts 22:17-18 and 21-22:
17 “When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw [Jesus] saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ … 21 And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”
22 Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.”
21 “For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: 23 that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”
And Genesis 12:1-3:
1 Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”