Eph 3:18 may be able to
comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and
height-- 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be
filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do
exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power
that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all
generations, forever and ever. Amen.
We finish up this great prayer
that Paul prayed with him bowing on his knees to God the Father and praying
that we would have inner strength because of us allowing God to be at home in
our lives through the Holy Spirit. Then
this would lead to knowing how great Christ’s love is for us. Then that would lead us to be filled so full
of God that we would live for Him and Him only.
Then he begins to close this section with a great praise to God because
He can do so much more than we ask or think and He does it because of His great
power that resides in us through the Holy Spirit and us meeting each of the
preceding conditions which are needed for this to happen. He finishes by giving God all the glory
because of what Jesus Christ does in us, the church.
Eph 3:7 of which I became a minister according to the gift
of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. 8 To me,
who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I
should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to
make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of
the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10
to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the
church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the
eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we
have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. 13 Therefore I
ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
In this section we see Paul had a task
which was given to him by God’s great power. 'Paulus' is Latin for 'little' or
'small', and tradition says he was a little man. 'I am little,' he may be saying, 'little by name,
little in stature, and morally and spiritually littler than the littlest of all
also was to explain this mystery that Jews and Gentiles would be one in the
church, with a purpose that God’s manifold (of many kinds; numerous and varied)
wisdom would be known by the church and the angels in the heavenly places would
too. That this was something planned
according to his eternal purposes and was accomplished by Jesus’ death on the
cross. He also tells them that we have
boldness and access to God and we should come to Him with confidence because we
have faith in Him. Lastly that they
would not lose heart at Paul’s trouble and the trials that he was going
3:1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles-- 2
if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was
given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery
(as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may
understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was
not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to
His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of
the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, 7 of
which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me
by the effective working of His power.
A MYSTERY ONCE HIDDEN, NOW REVEALED
1. Interrupting himself, Paul makes
mention of His Status
- How Did it Effect Paul v1,2,7
V1 Paul was a Prisoner of Christ
2Ti 1:11 to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle,
and a teacher of the Gentiles.12 For this reason I also suffer these things;
nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded
that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
Paul was a Steward of the Mystery- He was entrusted with a great task
The Mystery is that Jews and Gentiles would be joined in the Church
- How Did it Effect the Gentiles
A new relationship
Heirs of the Inheritance…sums up Eph 3:11-22
the same body
partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,
12:3 I will bless those who
bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of
the earth shall be blessed."
3:28-29 There is neither Jew
nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female;
for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to
Paul's role as a minister to the Gentiles of this
"mystery" was a gift from God (7)
a. A gift of
b. A gift
given to him by the effective working of God's power
To Live the Christian Life –
Overcome Sin, suffering and temptation to be able to walk in righteousness
2:15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments
contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two,
thus making peace, 16 and that He might
reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to
death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off
and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one
Spirit to the Father. 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and
foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of
God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus
Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building,
being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you
also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
1. Gentiles now share
access to the Father with the Jews (17-18)
Not only is Jesus Christ our
peace (v. 14), but He also preached peace. He preached the message of peace,
the gospel, through His apostles following His ascension (cf. Acts 1:1-2, to
both Gentiles and Jews (vv. 12-13).
a result of the Cross, both Jewish and Gentile believers have access to God.
Formerly access to God was through Judaism, but now it is through Christ by the
Holy Spirit. As a result of Christ's death, all believers now have direct
access to the Father (cf. 3:12; Rom. 5:2). The Holy Spirit gives Jewish and
Gentile Christians equal access to God. Note that all three members of the
Godhead appear again here.
In four ways in 2:14–18 Paul emphasized that the two (Jew and
Gentile) have been united: (1) “the two” are made “one” (v. 14), (2) “one new
man” is created “out of the two” (v. 15), (3) “in this one body … both”) are
reconciled (v. 16), and (4) “both” “have access … by one Spirit” (v. 18).
Nothing could be clearer than the fact that this new union replaces enmity.
C. THE GENTILES' CONDITION "IN"
1. They are now "fellow citizens
with the saints" (19a)
2. They are now "members of the
household of God" (19b)
3. They are now part of "a holy
temple in the Lord" (20-22)
Eph 2:20 having been built
on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the
It rests on the foundation
of the apostles and prophets. Evidently New Testament prophets are in view
since the word "prophets" follows "apostles" (cf. 3:5;
4:11). These men were the foundation of the church since it was through them
that God revealed and established the church. "In practical terms this
means that the church is built on the New Testament Scriptures.
When Paul wrote, the
cornerstone was the crucial part of the foundation of a building. It was the
stone with which the builder squared up every other stone, including the other
"In the East it was
considered to be even more important than the foundation."
Eph 2:21 in whom the whole building,
being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,
Paul pictured the church as
under construction with God adding new believers constantly (cf. 4:15-16; Matt.
16:18; 1 Pet. 2:5). The individual stones represent believers, both Jewish and Gentile.
Today God does not inhabit a physical temple somewhere on earth, as He did in
Old Testament times. He indwells His church, which is a spiritual temple spread
over all the earth. It began on the day of Pentecost, and it will continue
until the Rapture (1 Thess. 4:13-18). As physical temples glorified the gods
they represented in ancient times, so the church glorifies the true God today.
Paul may very well have used the illustration of a temple because the temple of
Artemis in Ephesus was the city's most outstanding claim to fame. It was four
times as big as the Parthenon that still stands in Athens. One hundred
twenty-seven white columns rose 60 feet high and surrounded an image of the
goddess Artemis (Diana).104 Authorities still regard this temple as one of the
seven wonders of the ancient world (cf.Acts 19:23-41).
a. Before, they were "without
God in the world"
b. But now, God dwells in them
through His Spirit!
Here he revealed that all Christians are part of one great
temple, the church
universal. "Now His presence is dispersed, not localized.
Now His presence is incarnated, instead of confined behind a veil."
"I wonder if anything
is more urgent today, for the honor of Christ and for the spread of the gospel,
than that the church should be, and should be seen to be, what by God's purpose
and Christ's achievement it already is a single new humanity, a model of human
community, a family of reconciled brothers and sisters who love their Father
and love each other, the evident dwelling place of God by his Spirit. Only then
will the world believe in Christ as Peacemaker. Only then will God receive the
glory due to his name." John Stott
II. MAKING APPLICATION OF
THIS PASSAGE TO OUR LIVES
A. UNDERSTAND WHAT ONE'S CONDITION
"OUTSIDE" CHRIST TRULY IS...
1. A person is still an "alien"
and "stranger", with no participation in covenants and promises that
God has with His people today!
2. A person has no basis for hope, and
must go through life without the blessing of God guiding them in this world!
B. UNDERSTAND WHAT HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED
1. He has brought to an end the Old Law; we should not seek to be justified by the
Law - cf. Ga 5:4
2. He has sought to unite all into one
body; we should not try to undo the work of Christ on the cross through
religious division cf. Ep 4:1-6
C. UNDERSTAND WHAT WE HAVE BECOME
1. We have become "fellow citizens
with the saints" in the wonderful kingdom of God; let's live accordingly!
- cf. Ro 14:16-19
2. We have become "members of God's
household (family)"; let's behave and treat each other as the family of
God! - cf. 1 Ti 3:15; 5:1-2
3. We have become "the temple of
God" in which God dwells through His Spirit; let's be careful not to
profane God's holy habitation! - cf. 1 Co 3:16-17; 1 Co 6:19-20
1. Though Paul may have been
speaking in "general" or "corporate" terms,
I trust that we have seen the implications
of what he has said affects each of us "personally"
a. With salvation coming to the Gentiles
through Jesus Christ, we each benefit greatly on an individual level
b. With salvation coming to the Gentiles
through Jesus Christ, we each bear an individual responsibility to live up to
our "holy calling" as God's kingdom, God's family, and as God's
2. What is YOUR condition in
regard to Jesus Christ?
a. Are you still "outside" of
b. Have you benefited from the work that was
done "through" Christ on the cross?
c. Are you living as a person should who is
now "in" Christ?
Jesus Christ is the key to