Ephesians– overview of 3:1-9; The Secret of the Ages, part 34 (Overcoming sin and suffering).

Class Outline:

Sunday October 6, 2019

The mystery is that in this age we are fellow heirs, fellow members of Christ’s body, and fellow partners in Christ’s life. We are subjects of the King and His kingdom and no other life is available to us.


Being who we are in Christ, having what we have in Him, it might seem that it should be smooth sailing in a heavenly life that is easy. Even though knowing all this to be true, Christians still struggle. They have to fight the good fight, take hold of the eternal life in them, buffet their bodies and make their slave, study to show themselves approved, confess, repent, etc.


Why do we struggle?


EPH 3:4 And by referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,


EPH 3:5 which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;


EPH 3:6 to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,


EPH 3:7 of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power.


EPH 3:8 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,


EPH 3:9 and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things;


EPH 3:10 in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.


We are heirs in Christ, fellow members of His kingdom, fellow partakers in the promise of the New Covenant in His blood, recipients of the unfathomable riches of Christ, and beholding the manifold wisdom of God. Yet, we continue to have a flesh that hates these things and live in a world that scorns them, a world ruled by a fallen angel who desires only to destroy them.


We have been called to fight for them. Not to acquire them, we have them forever by the grace of God.


We fight so that their reality may flow in every aspect of our lives. The first opponent to overcome is self (flesh) - its passions and desires.


GAL 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.


GAL 5:17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.


GAL 5:24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.


GAL 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.


We have to set straight in our minds that the flesh has been condemned to death by the cross of Christ, ROM 8:3. It has been crucified, Rom 6. Yet, its passions and desires still pull at us. Don’t get caught up in philosophical questions of how a dead thing can heap its passion upon you. Just know, it’s dead so that it is no longer your life, and it is affective in hindering purity and holiness, so it must be fought and denied.


We now turn to the reality of Christian suffering and the means of overcoming it. There are two distinct kinds of suffering, 1) the suffering in the body and mind that arises from our personal sin, and 2) when we reject the flesh and our sin and suffer from the sins of others.


The first suffering we must overcome is our own self-induced kind. There isn’t a magic formula for this. We have to overcome our own patterns of weakness. But that scary thought is accompanied by an example and a power unparalleled in this world - the Person of Jesus Christ. 


There isn’t a Christian alive who doesn’t want to break free of the patterns of sin that hinder his spiritual life, these things are likely the cause of his greatest mass of suffering.


Know, first off, that this is a fight. The flesh will not go down easily. It will barter and deal and promise and beg and plead for any life.


Know this secondly, we never fight alone.


By looking at how Christ handled and overcame suffering, though none of it was by His own cause, we can discover how to overcome our self-induced suffering.


Communion 10/6


ISA 24:1 Behold, the Lord lays the earth waste, devastates it, distorts its surface, and scatters its inhabitants.


ISA 24:2 And the people will be like the priest, the servant like his master, the maid like her mistress, the buyer like the seller, the lender like the borrower, the creditor like the debtor.


ISA 24:3 The earth will be completely laid waste and completely despoiled, for the Lord has spoken this word.


ISA 24:4 The earth mourns and withers, the world fades and withers, the exalted of the people of the earth fade away.


ISA 24:5 The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws, violated statutes, broke the everlasting covenant.


ISA 24:6 Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and those who live in it are held guilty. Therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left.


This is Isaiah’s view of the end of human history when final judgment comes upon it. The reason is given as three things:


Three charges are leveled against man: they refused to hold to and live by divine revelation (transgressed laws), they created their own innovative morality (violated statutes), and annulling the covenant (all of them), in which God opened up the way of fellowship with Himself.


ISA 24:7 The new wine mourns,

The vine decays,

All the merry-hearted sigh.


ISA 24:8 The gaiety of tambourines ceases,

The noise of revelers stops,

The gaiety of the harp ceases.


ISA 24:9 They do not drink wine with song;

Strong drink is bitter to those who drink it.


ISA 24:10 The city of chaos is broken down;

Every house is shut up so that none may enter.


ISA 24:11 There is an outcry in the streets concerning the wine;

All joy turns to gloom.

The gaiety of the earth is banished.


ISA 24:12 Desolation is left in the city,

And the gate is battered to ruins.


ISA 24:13 For thus it will be in the midst of the earth among the peoples,

As the shaking [beating] of an olive tree,

As the gleanings when the grape harvest is over.


It’s horrible. It’s a meaningless and ruined city. Piles of rubble from destruction. Darkness, kills the sources of joy (7), ends the experience of joy (8-9), and banishes joy (11), while the city lies ruined and defenseless (10, 12).


The grim reaper knocks the olives off the tree like heads off of men. But then, out of nowhere - Isaiah is the master of unexpected hope.


ISA 24:14 They raise their voices, they shout for joy.

They cry out from the west concerning the majesty of the Lord.


ISA 24:15 Therefore glorify the Lord in the east,

The name of the Lord, the God of Israel

In the coastlands of the sea.


ISA 24:16 From the ends of the earth we hear songs, "Glory to the Righteous One,"


The ‘few’ of verse 6 become a worldwide ingathering, and as the song of the city fades, their song rises all over the earth singing to the righteous one. It’s like viewing a city destroyed, buildings lying in rubble throughout its streets, gray and lifeless, and then suddenly people are seen coming out from behind the piles of bricks in all directions and joining together as they sing “Glory to the Righteous One.”


In verse 15, Isaiah uses an imperative ‘give glory’, which is a device to indicate his own excitement in what his prophetic ears hear. The saints will come marching and singing out from the ruins of the earth in great joy over the Savior who gave His life to deliver them. You can’t get much more beautiful than that.


The voices are world-wide; from every peoples, Jews and Gentiles (the east and the islands). They sing of God’s splendor or grandeur [Hebrew: sebi translated ‘glory’]. Only Isaiah uses this word of the Lord. These people know that God’s righteousness has saved them - ‘Righteous One,’ meaning that they understand that God’s justice was satisfied by the blood of the Lamb, and for this they are eternally thankful and joyful.


1CO 11:23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread;


1CO 11:24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 


1CO 11:25 In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." 


1CO 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.