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"Ephesians Chapter 3" with Sergio Arguello

posted Jul 20, 2014, 3:23 PM by Media Ministry   [ updated Jul 26, 2014, 2:21 AM ]

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Video


Ephesians 3

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—

Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

1.  Paul’s Role Chosen By God
The Matter of Authority and Respect

We often ask Nicolas to take watch Nathan and Ashley (we leave him in charge: we’ve given him authority to help them-not to boss them for the sake of bossing them, they need to trust his authority since we put him in that position)

The Purpose of Authority:  To build up not tear down

2 Corinthians 10:8-9

So even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of it. I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters.

·     Authority could cause some to be frightened, but the purpose is to build up the body of Christ, the church.

·     Authority in the church often needs to be exercised in a strong fashion and Paul recognizes that, especially when the salvation of others and the integrity of God and the church is on the line.

The issue of faith / trust:

Hebrews 13:17

17 Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.

·      Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, they must give an account to God

·      Be a joy to work with

·      Having a leader is for your benefit

·      It is easy for us to distrust other’s motives or even question disciples (even Jesus) when they try to help us with Godly advice and even with scriptures, especially when it challenges us to change our hearts or our opinions or decisions or when it has to do with our children.  We don’t like authority, we question it.  It takes faith to submit to authority in the church and even God’s authority in scripture, it takes faith to seek and follow advice.  It takes faith to give advice to others in a scriptural manner, with authority.

·      In Matthew 28, Jesus reminds the disciples that all authority had been given to Him and that they were to teach others to obey.

·      In the following verses we will see Paul following the same pattern of asserting his authority.

Ephesians 3

1For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—

·      “For this reason”—referring to 2 things:

·      1.  Paul is paying the price of preaching the gospel and things outlined in chapters 1 & 2 to Gentiles and Jews alike.

·      “For this reason”—also referring to because you are now unified as God’s people:  circumcised and non-circumcised, Jew and Gentile, you should now pay attention to these things that I am going to lay out for you.

·      Paul received the special calling of being set apart for the benefit of Gentiles—only apostle of his kind.

·      Prisoner of Christ or for Christ (not just “a prisoner”, but a prisoner belonging to Christ)—meaning that even while imprisoned he is about the Lord’s business—he belongs to Christ.  Great example to us, no matter where we are at, that we should be about the Lord’s business—preaching the Gospel that brings hope to a lost world.  We are to belong to Christ, not to our own self.

·      Paul basically is saying that he is who he is because of Christ.


Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly.


·      Paul asserts his authority (as given to him to him graciously and not of his own merit by God—for the sake of the Gentiles).  He is serving as a leader to them and in that role because of God.  This authority comes from God and thus should be respected, not as a boss, but more as an older brother who cares deeply for their welfare.  Like if Dad asked him to take care of the kids.

·      Paul addresses the grace he has received from God in God’s choosing him as an apostle.  We have received a similar grace as disciples.  It is because of this grace that he has received that he takes the task so seriously—to preach the gospel at all costs.

·      God revealed the mystery, which is Christ himself, the gospel and that all people be unified through Christ as one, the people of God—“The Church”—Paul has started making this clear to the Ephesians. Christ also revealed Himself and His plan to Paul on the road to Damascus.  It is no longer a hidden from disciples of Jesus, but a mystery to those who have not received the message.

 

In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.


·      Paul expects the church to be diligent in reading the scriptures and the honor and value it is to have them available.  In reading the scriptures we gain insight and understanding into Christ, we grow in our relationship with God.  You want to grow spiritually?  Read and practice the scriptures in your relationship with others as Paul calls the Ephesian church to do.

·      The scriptures revealed God’s plan which had remained mysterious to the Jews and Gentiles—to unify people—God was the first one that fought for racial diversity in church.

·      This Jew and Gentile unity was a big deal.  Jews and Gentiles has a lot of hate and disdain for each other.

·      Now all of a sudden they were part of the same family!

·      It wasn’t like going to school together, it was family!  Everything they had belonged to each of the others as outlined in Acts, including the inheritance that awaits all of us in heaven.  They are all now heirs.

 

2. A Brother’s Suffering
Suffering Brings Glory

I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

·      Paul is a servant by God’s power, shown through his grace.

·      Paul reiterates that he is nothing—he is LESS than the least of the Lord’s people.  Humility in speaking about himself.  How humble are we when we speak?

·      Even though he is nothing, he communicates his confidence in the one that called him and chose him.  Paul decided to accept this grace and this task which was given to him—to preach to the Gentiles and everyone else, in a clear way as to not have the mystery of Christ and the gospel remain a mystery to anyone (we should reach out to others and disciple each other the same way, not undercover or beating around the bush—asking for and receiving advice and help).

·      As the church we proclaim God’s wisdom through the ages and reveal the gospel and power of God.  We put the dark spiritual forces on notice as we live out His calling.

·      Paul says, “don’t be discouraged”.  His sufferings are for the glory of the church.  Similarly when we suffer for Christ it is for the glory of the church.


3.  The Power of Love

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.


·      Paul sets and excellent example for us in humility and love for the Father by kneeling in prayer.  His posture is not just one of humility outwardly and for show, but it is his true nature.

·      From God, the Father that he prays to, all people that commit to Him are born and therefore are of the same family:  past, present and future—on earth and in heaven.  God is the Father of all who surrender their will and their all to Him.

·      In being heirs in this family, we have riches beyond our understanding. 

·      Our weak humanly nature can only truly be strengthened by His riches through the power of God’s spirit who lives in all of us who have responded to the call of faith to be Jesus’ disciples.  Paul prays for the church to remain faithful and also prays for those that have not yet responded in faith but may be present during the reading of scripture—for those that are not yet disciples.  He is laying out a bit of a challenge to them that only through Christ and His spirit will they truly be strong.  Christ could only dwell in one’s heart through the spirit received when one becomes a baptized disciple.  We don’t have the power to fight sin without God’s spirit in us.  This is the power of His love given to us through the Spirit.

·      Paul had a heart for the lost and the spiritually immature or young. 

·      Here he calls them to be rooted and grounded in love—to grow and mature in it.  By love everything is made possible, without it spiritual life and true faith are impossible. 1 Corinthians 13

·      True love from God is limitless.  Do you have people who show you that type of love?  We all want to be around them.

·      He also addresses the Jews and scholars who hunger for knowledge—he says that love (present in true relationships) surpasses knowledge—knowledge often judges or condemns or puffs up, but love is limitless.  By grasping the love of God we are made mature (filled to the measure of all the fullness of God) and our judgments can be in line with the Father because they are made in love.

·      The church, through this incredible and limitless love—which is at work within us through His spirit, brings glory to God—because it is evidenced by our actions and praised by those who see God through them.


Paul received an automobile from his brother as a Christmas present. On Christmas Eve when Paul came out of his office, a street urchin was walking around the shiny new car, admiring it. "Is this your car, Mister?" he asked. Paul nodded. "My brother gave it to me for Christmas." The boy was astounded. "You mean your brother gave it to you and it didn't cost you nothing? Boy, I wish ..." He hesitated. Of course Paul knew what he was going to wish for. He was going to wish he had a brother like that. But what the lad said jarred Paul all the way down to his heels. "I wish," the boy went on, "that I could be a brother like that." Paul looked at the boy in astonishment, then impulsively he added, "Would you like to take a ride in my automobile?" "Oh yes, I'd love that." After a short ride, the boy turned and with his eyes aglow, said, "Mister, would you mind driving in front of my house?" Paul smiled a little. He thought he knew what the lad wanted. He wanted to show his neighbors that he could ride home in a big automobile. But Paul was wrong again. "Will you stop where those two steps are?" the boy asked. He ran up the steps. Then in a little while Paul heard him coming back, but he was not coming fast. He was carrying his little crippled brother. He sat him down on the bottom step, then sort of squeezed up against him and pointed to the car. "There she is, Buddy, just like I told you upstairs. His brother gave it to him for Christmas and it didn't cost him a cent. And some day I'm gonna give you one just like it ... then you can see for yourself all the pretty things in the Christmas windows that I've been trying to tell you about." Paul got out and lifted the lad to the front seat of his car. The shining-eyed older brother climbed in beside him and the three of them began a memorable holiday ride. That Christmas Eve, Paul learned what "It is more blessed to give..." means! 

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Media Ministry,
Jul 20, 2014, 4:03 PM