24
Apr
2014

EPHESIANS 3:18-21 THAT YOU MAY BE FILLED WITH ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD

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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.

17
Apr
2014

EPHESIANS 3:7-13 THAT NOW THE MANIFOLD WISDOM OF GOD MIGHT BE MADE KNOWN

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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 Christians.  He 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 through.

10
Apr
2014

EPHESIANS 3:1-7 THE MYSTERY REVEALED

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Eph 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.   A MYSTERY ONCE HIDDEN, NOW REVEALED (1-7)

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.

Ac 9:10-16

A.    V2 Paul was a Steward of the Mystery- He was entrusted with a great task

B.    V3-5 The Mystery is that Jews and Gentiles would be joined in the Church

  • How Did it Effect the Gentiles

A.    V6 A new relationship

1)    Fellow Heirs of the Inheritance…sums up Eph 3:11-22

2)    of the same body

3)    and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,

Gen 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."

Galatians 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 the promise.

A.    V7 New Power

Paul's role as a minister to the Gentiles of this "mystery" was a gift from God (7)

         a. A gift of God's grace

         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
Apr
2014

Ephesians 2:16-22 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

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Ephesians 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, 8) to both Gentiles and Jews (vv. 12-13).

       As 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" CHRIST (19-22)

      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 chief cornerstone,

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 foundation stones.

"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 "THROUGH" CHRIST...

      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 "IN" CHRIST...

      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

CONCLUSION

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 temple!

2. What is YOUR condition in regard to Jesus Christ?

   a. Are you still "outside" of Christ?

   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 reconciliation.