“You Are There” was a thirty-minute weekly television series that ran from 1953 through 1957. During each episode, CBS reporter Walter Cronkite hosted the reenactments of historical events. Shows included, “The Landing of the Hindenburg”, “The Salem Witchcraft Trials”, “The Gettysburg Address”, “The Fall of Troy,” “The Battle Of Alamo,” and other significant happenings. Consider what it would have been like if you had been in Ephesus when Tychicus arrived with the letter that had been written by the Apostle Paul. The epistle may have been read to you, and to other believers in Christ, by Tychicus or by one of the elders of the church. But, before we get to that reading, let’s consider the things that had been going on in that area of present-day Turkey.
Ephesus was located was on the southwest coast of the Aegean Sea, and was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation. The Gospel of John may have been written there, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, may have died there. Paul’s second and third missionary journeys led him to Ephesus. His second journey lasted from about 49-52 A.D. (Acts 15:39-18:22). His third journey lasted from about 53-59 A.D (Acts 18:23-21:16). A record of the Apostle’s time in Ephesus is shown in Acts 18:19-20:38, and included that total time frame of the two journeys. Paul wrote his first epistle to the Corinthian church from Ephesus during his third missionary journey (1 Corinthians 16:5-8, 9, 19). Some of the events of Paul’s stay in Ephesus are listed below.
Ephesus (49 A.D. – 59 A.D.) (Acts 18:19-20:38)
18:19 – Reasoned with the Jews in the synagogue.
19:1-7 – Taught disciples of John the Baptist on the Baptism of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
19:8-10 – Taught in the synagogue about the Kingdom Of God
19:11-20 – God worked miracles by the hands of Paul
19:23-41 – Taught against idolatry
20:13-38 – Bids farewell to the elders of the church in Ephesus
He encouraged them, saying the Holy Spirit had made them overseers and shepherds of the church that Jesus had purchased with His blood.
He cautioned them about conflict that would come from forces , within and without the church.
He reminded them of one of the key teachings of Jesus on benevolence,
Acts 20:35, 21st Century King James Version (KJ21)
I have shown you all things, how that by so laboring ye ought to support the weak and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
The departure of Paul from the elders was one that was tearful.
Acts 20:36-38, 21st Century King James Version (KJ21)
“And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down and prayed with them all. And they all wept sorely and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him,sorrowing most of all because of the words which he had spoken, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.”
Getting back to “You Are There,” consider the words of the letter that you are hearing, as they are being read to you. Remember that you don’t have any of today’s favorite study Bibles, or commentaries, for reference purposes. You are hearing the inspired words of the Apostle Paul that he had written specifically to you, and for you, for the first time. You will notice that that the letter is addressed to those who have been born again, and not to unbelievers. You will notice spiritual promises for you, as they intertwine with the purposes of God. You will also notice that the letter is spiritual and relational, as it relates to the true church, the body of Christ, and its spiritually ordained leaders. Read the first chapter of the Ephesian letter, one verse at a time. Consider the words of each verse before you begin reading the next one. Remember that you have never, ever, heard these words. Put aside any preconceived ideas of what you may have thought, or what anyone else may have shared with you. Don’t use any outside study helps. Pray for God’s Holy Spirit to lead you to an understanding that has never been made known to you. Keep in mind that you’re not the tail that wags the dog. Remember, “You Are There!”
Ephesians 1 21st Century King James Version (KJ21)
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace be to you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, even as
4 He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
5 having predestined us to be His own adopted children by Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will,
6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in His Beloved:
7 in Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace,
8 wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence.
9 He hath made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself,
10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in Him.
11 In Christ also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will,
12 that we, who first trusted in Christ, should be to the praise of His glory.
13 In Christ ye also trusted after ye heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation, in Whom also after ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 which is the pledge of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.
15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,
16 cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.
17 I pray 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,
18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power,
20 which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 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.
22 And God hath put all things under His feet, and hath given Him to be the head over all things to the church,
23 which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.
Now, let us worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus, as we are blessed by the 500 Member Choir of Prestonwood Baptist Church.
No More Night
Prestonwood Baptist Church
Senior Pastor Dr. Jack Graham
Southern Baptist Convention
Fort Worth, Texas, USA