I am raising money for an Ephesians Study Guide and Ephesians Leader's Guide. Donations will go towards editing, checking for biblical sound doctrine, and the first round of printing and shipping.
Why this book?
There are many Bible Study options today on the New Testament Epistles. The question is, what makes this book different? Why would you want to commit to this study?
More than anything else, it is the approach that this book series takes that sets it apart from the many fine study resources available today. Similar to how Jesus addressed the seven Churches in the Book of Revelation, this study series will examine the Epistles and present the study as if Jesus is speaking the words to the church—to believers, today.
Jesus extended words of encouragement to the seven Churches in Revelation 2-3, but the focus of His message is more exhortation than encouragement. More than comforting, He challenges. He speaks not as the gentle shepherd in John 10, but as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and conquering King of the Book of Revelation. This will be the tone of this study series.
1 Peter 5:8 encourages believers to
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Revelation 12:12 warns believers that
“…The devi…is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”
These verses remind followers of Christ that this generation bears witness to the fulfillment of the last-days prophecies profiled in Ezekiel 37 and Matthew 24. Satan knows his time is short and is in a fury—prowling around, looking for someone to devour. Church—it’s the fourth quarter and it’s the big game. It’s time to step up, to be all in for the Lord, and to be prepared to finish well for Jesus.
Through this study I will draw on Scripture to exhort the church today. Like a coach that wants to inspire a good team to overcome setbacks and finish well, I will share truth in love, but also in boldness. A Drill Sargent is not known for being politically correct or exceptionally gentle—a Drill Sargent has a limited time to harden and equip his troops to survive the coming battle. That’s how I see my role.
Evil is on the rise, darkness is falling, governments are crumbling, economic systems are crashing. And at this critical time in history, the church seems to have lost its way. More than being known as a center for good, prayer, renewed lives, missions, sacrifice, unity, love, wisdom, truth, and miracles, the church is divided and marked by compromise, pettiness, selfishness, showiness, and infighting.
The stats are terrible:
· More than 100 evangelical churches close their doors, never to reopen, each week in America.
· Sunday School/small group attendance is down 40% in the last 20 years.
· Attendance at midweek or Sunday night prayer, worship, or study gatherings are 15% of what they were 70 years ago.
· The number of yearly baptisms in America is down more than 50% from 40 years ago.
· 85% of Americans report spending less time in church than 2 years ago.
· The projections show that in 20 years, the percentage of people attending church in America will be half of what it was in 1990.
· Islam is growing at a much faster rate than Christianity
· The fastest growing ‘religious demographic in the United States is “unaffiliated with any church, denomination, or religion.”
· Church attendance in the UK is expected to decrease by 90% between 2010 and 2040.
The Church is in crisis. Pastors do not stay at their post, congregations are divided, sin and apostasy abound, and the Scripture is not known and taken to heart.
What would Jesus say to the Church today? Would he commend our technology, online ministries, and fine buildings? Would He compliment or challenge us to improve?
Remember, we in this generation are to be the best of the best—we have more resources, more freedom, and more opportunities to learn than any generation that has gone before us. The Church of the west has been blessed beyond measure—but where is the fruit? What impact is the church having in government, media, and education sectors? What percentage of believers are active in deep study, witnessing, serving, and giving? The church today should excel in all these areas, but that is not the case.
This study book will draw from the Epistles and present Jesus’ challenge to today’s Church as a coach would talk to a good but unperforming team at half time. This is the fourth quarter. This is the big game. The stakes are high. Prophecy notes that in the last days, the Church will fall into apostasy—but there is always a remnant. There are always small but faithful bands of believers who remain true to the faith. These are the people God that garner the smile of God. It is this group who will hear the LORD say
“…Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”
This deep dive study series will…
· Give consideration to the structure and context of the text
· Explore the history and background to the text
· Provide an analysis of key Greek words in the text
· Present a review of what great commentators through the ages have noted about the text
· Profile the promises and expectations embodied in the text.
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