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Ephesians 3:1-12

November 5, 2017

“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the insearchable riches of Christ; 9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: 12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.”

Ephesians 2:11-22

Paul continues, in this section of Scripture, to explain God’s plan for the Gentile race, His plan to unite in one, by Christ, all peoples through faith.

He describes his relationship with and his responsibilities to Jesus Christ.

“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles”

Look back at chapters one and two to discover what motivated Paul to absolute surrender in order to serve the Savior by sharing the good news of God’s love and Christ’s life to the Gentiles.

Paul was a self-appointed prisoner of Christ; He couldn’t help himself. (See 2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

Paul’s commitment to Christ was characterized by his service to others (“for you Gentiles”).

Real commitment to Christ will always include service to others.

“If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:”

The “grace of God” may look back to the avenue of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9), or may refer to God’s initiative to include the Gentiles through the ministry of Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, or both. In either case Paul is reminding the Ephesians a relationship with the Father is not by the works of the flesh, or by the Mosaic Law, or the ordinances of man but a gift of God to be received, not earned.

“How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.”

Paul explains God revealing to him what was before a mystery; the reconciliation of both Jew and Gentile into one “new man.”

What was previously unknown is being revealed to and through the Apostles and the prophets as the Holy Spirit enlightens their minds.

NOTE: One of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is to bring understanding to the Word of God (See: 1 Corinthians 2:1-14).

The mystery is explain in verse six: “That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.”

Those previously uninvited: “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12), are now invited to experience and enjoy a covenant relationship with God through Christ; a relationship of grace resulting in equality between the Jews and the Gentiles.

SEE: Galatians 3:28 …

“Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.”

Paul didn’t become by training, but was made a minister by the decree and power of God.

“minister” is the same word we translate “deacon” or “servant.” To be an effective minister one must be a servant (See Mark 10:45).

REMINDER: God’s doesn’t call apart from His enabling (What He asks us to do, to enables us to do). See Philippians 2:13

“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the insearchable riches of Christ; 9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.”

Paul, saw his service to the Savior, as an honor for which he was not worthy.

MAY GOD HELP US TO SEE SERVICE TO CHRIST AS THE PRIVILEGE IT IS.

“… the insearchable riches of Christ; 9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.”

There is so much more to what God has done for us through Christ than we will ever understand. Ours is not to comprehend the Gospel, in order to convince a lost world, but rather to share the Gospel, which the power of God, so that the Holy Spirit can do His work of conviction and calling.

“To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Principalities and powers in heavenly places is a reference to angels, who it seems, do not understand God’s great plan of redemption for a fallen race. This makes sense when you understand how God dealt with the angels who rebelled. The angels are watching as God’s ETERNAL BLUEPRINT is being fulfilled, as determined by God, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

“In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.”

“God’s plan of salvation purposed before the world and executed in the cross clears the path to God. Through Christ a person can enter God’s presence with freedom and confidence” (Holman Commentary).

I can freely enter the presence of God with confidence because my sin has been forgiven, and I have been washed clean by the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, the Savior.

For Further Discussion …

(1) Read Matthew 20:20-28 and discuss what it means to achieve greatness in the Kingdom of God.

(2) How does the Holy Spirit reveal God’s will?

(3) What is your responsibility to the unbelieving world?

(4) Compare verse 7 to Philippians 4:13.

(5) Why do the angels find God’s redemptive plan hard to understand?

(6) What makes access to God available to you? (Also see Hebrews 4:16).


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