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One way to study Pauls letters is to assume that hes trying to strengthen areas that are weak in the church and to clarify important ideas that the people may not have clear Examining the letter with such an assumption my impression is that there were 6 weaknesses among the Ephesian Christians that Paul was trying to strengthen Three of these are associated with the words Hope Riches and Power which show up throughout the letter Paul was concerned about their lack of the feeling of anticipation of going to heaven Perhaps they were caught up in the failing economy or their jobs or their schooling to much to be looking to the next life Perhaps their struggle with hope was due to their feeling that God was not really rich or generous towards them Would He forgive all their sins Or did they have to add some of their own works to make up for their failures Are there really great riches in heaven awaiting them Was God really so generous in His love to them Perhaps because of the failing economy and the increasing persecution around them they had difficulty believing God to be so rich to them And perhaps because of these weaknesses of faith they failed to experience Gods power within them The power to understand the application of the message the power to stand against sin in their lives and in the world and the power to do Gods work It seems that they were too much caught up with their ethnic differences The earliest members of the church were Jews But slowly the Gentiles dominated the church No doubt there were ethnic conflicts and power struggles within the church The gentile Christians may have tried to ignore and even eliminate the Jewish roots of their new belief And the Jewish believers may have seen the Gentiles as second class citizens in the kingdom of God as they
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