In his letters to the Corinthians, he includes another believer in his “from” column. He includes Sosthenes in his first letter and then Timothy in the second letter. But Ephesians doesn’t include anyone else. It is simply from Paul. It begins, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus.” He emphasizes the fact that his apostleship is not of his own making but an appointment by Jesus Himself according to the will of God. Then, he calls his addressees “saints.” The final phrase “faithful in Christ Jesus” has been understood in several ways. The emphasis is on their behavior on the one hand and a focus on the object of their faith on the other. I take the latter view. This describes what Paul means by “saints.” He’s not talking about behavior. He’s talking about their faith. Therefore, you might say Paul is addressing all believers in Jesus in Ephesus. This of course has a practical extension for you and me as well as believers.

Las Vegas is known for gambling and the main strip of buffets and entertainment. Hollywood is the home of movie stars. Salem, Massachusetts is well known for the witch hunts of the past. Washington, D.C. is the seat of our national government. Milwaukee is the home of brewers. Detroit makes cars. And Ephesus during Paul’s day was known for Satanic Activity. Paul’s address to these believers focuses on spiritual warfare ending with instructions on how to dress for battle. When I preached through this book over 20 years ago, I divided it up into three major sections as I felt they dealt with spiritual warfare. The first three chapters deal with what I called “Basic Training” for the foot soldier of Christ. This part teaches us what a believer needs to know to be a good soldier. You must know who you are in Christ, and what you have. The second section, Chapters 4, 5, and part of 6, deal with the campaigns themselves while the final part, Ephesians 6:10 and following deal with outfitting the troops for warfare.

The first thing we need to know is that faith in Jesus makes us saints! It’s not some declaration made by some ecclesiastical authority years after your death, but it is declared here and now. Every believer in Jesus is a saint. Every commentator worth his salt has observed that the phrase “in Ephesus” is missing from several of the oldest and most reliable manuscripts of this book. The evidence has been considered so strong by some that they have left this phrase out in their translation. (check the Revised Standard Version, the Jerusalem Bible, Goodspeed’s translation, Moffatts translation, and several others.) Nonetheless, this letter was a circular letter. It was written to be sent to several, maybe many, churches in Asia. This would explain the old manuscripts with the space for the geographical location left blank. Further, one ancient collector of the books of the Bible, Marcion, called this letter the one “to the Church at Laodicea.” Now, I have to tell you about the churches in Rev 2 & 3. Seven churches are addressed. The first on the list is Ephesus the others follow the order of a traveler coming from the seaport of Miletus, traveling north; first Ephesus, then Smyrna, then Pergamum, then traveling west to Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and finally to Laodicea. In the letter to Pergamum, John says that he knows that they are sitting on the throne of Satan. Remember the town officials in Acts 19 who settled the crowds down by reminding them that all Asia worships the Goddess Artemis. Satan’s control through idolatry was experienced in all these cities. Spiritual warfare is commonplace everywhere! THE POINT IS: The most ancient texts give us a form letter from God to (a blank geographical place.) Thus for our purposes, it’s perfectly appropriate to translate the text “to the saints living in (Just fill in your city). God preserved this book for us because of its specific application to all Christians everywhere. This letter is addressed to you and me as believers and it calls us “saints.” You can call me “Saint Chuck.”