Studies in Ephesians, Part 5 Dr . Ronald C. Hill, Sr. August 1 , 2012 @ 7:30pm August 4 , 2012 @ 9:00am. I. Studies in Ephesians, Part 5. Ephesians 3:1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.
For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles
A. The phrase “For this cause” looks back to what Paul had just been saying about the place of privilege into which believing Gentiles are brought as a result of their union with Christ
1. Although Paul was in a Roman prison he did not see himself as a prisoner of Rome. Paul claimed to be a prisoner of Jesus Christ for the Gentiles.
2.Paul understood his imprisonment came about because he was doing the work of God.
We too must come to understand that we will suffer at the hands of the unbelievers when we do the true work of God.
We also must take the position that when we suffer; it is suffering with the Lord on the behalf of others.
If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward
B. Now Paul breaks his train of thought and began to talk about the dispensation of the grace of God. In this verse “dispensation” refers to a stewardship.
A steward is one who is appointed to administer the affairs of someone else.
C. Paul had not learned the mystery from anyone else, nor had he discovered it through his own intelligence.
The mystery (secret) was made known to Paul by direct revelation of the Holy Spirit. Paul knew it was a blessing to be able to comprehend the mystery.
Paul also stated that he had already briefly written about the mystery. He wrote about it in Ephesians 1:9-14 and 22, 23 and also Ephesians 2:11-22.
Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
D.What he had already written on the subject was sufficient to demonstrate to his readers that he had a God-given insight into the mystery of Christ.
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
E. People who lived in the other ages before Pentecost (the birth of the church) had a great deal of knowledge about God and His grace.
However, that knowledge was not as all-embracing as the revelation that we receive in Christ Jesus.
This truth has now been revealed by the Holy Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets of the New Testament.
That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel
F. Now we come to the central truth of the mystery, mainly, that in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, believing Gentiles are fellow heirs with the Jews and they enjoy equal title and privileges.
G. The word translated “minister” here means “servant”.
The word “minister” is misleading in the church today because when we think of a minister, we most often, than not think of a pastor or preacher. It never really meant that in the New Testament.
The basic meaning of the word minister is “servant”. Paul simply meant he served the Lord in connection with the mystery of Christ.
Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ
H. Paul was not expressing false humility when he called himself less than the least of all saints. He was truly humble because he previously had persecuted Christ’ church.
Paul also had a true self-estimate of who he was because he was filled with the Holy Spirit.
When a person sees Christ in the glory of His spirit he will realize his own sinfulness and uselessness.
1. Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles as Peter was to the Jews. Paul’s ministry was two-fold; it concerned the gospel, and it concerned the church.
2. The first function of his ministry was to preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.
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
I. The second part of Paul’s ministry was to make all see what is “the administration of the mystery”. In other words he wanted them to know how to “walk it out” here on earth.
Paul’s ministry was to enlighten all men and women and make plain to them the plan for their lives now that they have salvation.
J. One of God’s present purposes in connection with the mystery is to reveal His manifold wisdom to the angelic hosts of heaven.
From heaven the angels are compelled to admire God’s unsearchable judgments and marvel at His ways that are past finding out.
1. The angels see how God has sent heaven’s best for earth’s worst.
They see how God has redeemed His enemies at enormous cost. They see how He has blessed them with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies.
2.The angels see that through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross more glory has come to God and more blessing has come to believing Jews and Gentiles than if sin had never been allowed to enter.
God has been vindicated; Christ has been exalted; satan has been defeated; and the church has been enthroned in Christ to share in His glory.
According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord
K.Before the world was made, God knew satan would fall and man would follow him into sin. God had already prepared a counter-strategy, a master plan.
This plan has been worked out in the incarnation, death, resurrection, ascension, and glorification of Christ.
1. Now God can save ungodly Jews and Gentiles, make them members of the Body of Christ, conform them to the image of His son, and honor them in a unique way as the bride of the Lamb throughout eternity.
In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
L. Because of what Christ did for us on the cross we have the wonderful privilege of going into God’s presence at any time, in full confidence of being received and heard by God.
We also can have the confidence of receiving a wise and loving answer.
1.And it is all through faith in Him, that is, our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
M. Paul did not want them to faint or become despondent because of what he was suffering on their behalf.
Paul wanted them to glory in what he was going through because he counted it an honor to endure tribulation in carrying out his mission to the Gentiles.
1. Paul wanted them to rejoice because of the benefits they would enjoy because of his tribulations.