Ephesians 3 Oct 22, 2012
The Mystery of the Gospel Revealed
1 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you, 3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
7 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God's grace, which was given me by the working of his power. 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realised in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.
Prayer for Spiritual Strength
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3. ESV
A mystery revealed - Ephesians 3:6
We have today in the church of Jesus Christ is something new. Now, the church is not the mystery, but it’s the relationship of the Jew and Gentile within the church that is the secret. It was not a secret in the Scriptures that the Gentiles would be saved. Now the Apostles had difficulty with this. Do you remember who had difficulty? Well, Peter had difficulty. Remember, when he had the vision, he was looking out, fell asleep, had the vision of the sheet that came down from heaven and those unclean animals within it, and he was told arise and eat; he said, not so Lord, I’ve never eaten anything unclean. All of this was to prepare him for the preaching of the Gospel to Cornelius and the Gentiles. Because they had the idea, carried over from Old Testament times, where it was a proper idea, that the person who was converted through the preaching of the Gospel, in order to be related properly to the true God, he became an Israelite. He became a part of the company of Israel.
S Lewis Johnson. Ephesians 3:1-13 The Dispensation of the Grace of God
It is important to note that the Old Testament clearly states that God will save the Gentiles through Israel, but nowhere does it state that both Jews and Gentiles will form "one new man", both in one body, the church, the body of Christ. This mystery was revealed by the Spirit to Paul and other leaders in the early church but it was a truth that was difficult for Jews to accept.
A heavenly audience - Ephesians 3:10
God’s plan seems so straightforward when we read the Old Testament. He chose a people, promised them redemption, a Saviour King, and ultimate triumph. And history moved toward this fulfilment. Then, suddenly, the Son of God appeared as the promised King, was rejected by His people, crucified, and resurrected, and we realise that all along God intended far more for humankind than was previously revealed. Don’t put God in a box, or try to squeeze Him into limiting categories. God’s plans and purposes are multifaceted, and each facet reflects His complex wisdom and love. The more we glimpse of that complexity, the more we should be moved to worship and to praise.
Larry Richards. The 365 Day Devotional Commentary. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books
Perspective on salvation - Ephesians 3:13
In chapter 3, the first root of discouragement would have to be a low view of salvation. You know, so often we talk about salvation and redemption. Christians who have been Christians for a while have lost the thrill. They have lost the excitement. When you have a low view of salvation it effects everything else that goes on in your life. Paul has been trying to dignify the salvation and show them that this salvation is absolutely the greatest blessing you could have on this earth. Now listen to what I am saying. This earth offers nothing compared to our salvation. That is what Paul is trying to get across. He could have easily given up, but folks, when he speaks in chapters 1 and 2 and 3:1-12, he speaks with such awe when he thinks about his salvation. He is overwhelmed and nothing has marred his focus. He single-mindedly is looking unto the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, when you have a low view of your salvation, you look at it as if it is something tagged on to your life. If you have not yet seen it as the very essence of every-thing you are, you will grow faint-hearted. You will grow weary. You will lose heart and give in to the evil that is around you.
Wayne Barber. Ephesians 3:13: Roots of Discouragement
Our Father - Ephesians 3:14
Because God is our heavenly Father, we do not come to Him in fear and trembling, afraid that He will rebuff us or be indifferent. We do not come to God to appease Him as the pagans do to their deities. We come to a tender, loving, concerned, compassionate, accepting Father. A loving human father always accepts the advances of his children, even when they have been disobedient or ungrateful. How much more does our heavenly Father accept His children, regardless of what they have done or not done? Paul approaches the Father with boldness and confidence, knowing that He is more willing for His children to come to Him than they ever are of going to Him. He knows that God has been waiting all the while with a Father’s heart of love and anticipation.
John MacArthur. Ephesians. Chicago: Moody Press