Ephesians– overview of 3:2-13; The Mystery revealed and the purpose of God accomplished.

Class Outline:

Sunday December 1, 2019

EPH 3:11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,


EPH 3:1-13 is full of echoes of the earlier part of the epistle. Almost every great phrase has its counterpart in the first two chapters: - the mystery made known by revelation; revealed by the Spirit to the apostles and prophets; the inheritance, the body, the promise, in which the Gentiles have their share in Christ; the grace of God, and the working of His power; the dispensation of the grace, and the mystery; the heavenly region; the purpose of eternity; the free access to God.


EPH 3:1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles — 


EPH 3:2 if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace which was given to me for you;


Many who would read or hear this letter would not have personally met Paul.


EPH 3:3 that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.


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,


“very least” - elachistoteros = less than the least. Elachistos means least. This is a comparative degree lower.


As he contemplates his commission to be Christ’s apostle to the Gentiles and the instrument of their incorporation into the “one body,” Paul is filled with wondering humility at the honor thus conferred on him of all people.


Prior to this, in 1Co, he considered himself the least of all the apostles.


Never was a man more conscious of his personal unworthiness. And yet, never did a man more fearlessly and undauntedly press his claims.


“unfathomable” - anexichniastos = lit. cannot be traced out, unsearchable, past finding out.


No one can say that he has come to know all the riches of Christ. What we know, we can smile upon and know that there is way, way more. The wealth of Christ is bottomless, and it is a wealth worth having. Since we possess Him, we can safely know that we possess His riches, His inheritance.


We must never think of ourselves as poor. We are poor in reference to the world for we own nothing here. We own nothing material. But we are richer than our wildest dreams because Christ belongs to us and we to Him. We must never have a fallen spirit within us due to any lack of success materially or occupationally in this world. You possess Jesus Christ, the King of the eternal kingdom of God, the mystery from all ages. Stand up tall and walk in His light as the child of light that you are.


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;


Paul’s ministry was to bring to light the mystery of God and the revelation of His grace, the two not being distinct from one another. This gospel was preached to the Gentiles, which was before never seen. Through Paul’s preaching, the Gentiles were brought to faith in Christ and found themselves united in church fellowship with fellow-believers of Jewish birth, which also was never seen before. The new humanity revealed itself in new things that were easily seen by the world, though the reason for those things would often be rejected.


The purpose fulfilled in the church, the new humanity under the New Covenant to both Jew and Gentile, is the purpose of creation itself.



Communion: The mystery consists in Christ.


The prophecies of the OT made up a shadow, the outline of a man. You know the man is there, but from His shadow, you can only know certain things. You cannot know the Man but you can know things about Him.


If you only have an outline of the man then you only have an outline of His purpose. The purpose was of course always determined, but the revelation of it was a mystery until the man, the King, the Savior, came into full view.


LUK 22:15 And He said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;


LUK 22:16 for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."


There isn’t a different commemorative celebration in eternity after all has been fulfilled from the one that we presently celebrate and eat of, since the purpose of God has been fulfilled in the church. Christ is not to die again.


There is much more to come, namely the tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, but the gift of a new humanity in union with Christ and in union with one another in perfect love and brotherhood has been fulfilled.  


LUK 22:17 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, "Take this and share it among yourselves;


LUK 22:18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes. " 


LUK 22:19 And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 


LUK 22:20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.


LUK 22:21 "But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Me on the table.


LUK 22:22 "For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!" 


LUK 22:23 And they began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to do this thing.


Amazingly, at this celebration of the fulfillment of all things, the betrayer would be in attendance. Jesus would even wash his feet and offer him the seat of honor along with the symbolic first morsel from the Host. It is a real-life example of the parable of the wheat and the tares. Jesus could have had Judas tied up and locked up, but rather He sent him out to do what he planned, to betray Him. It had to happen this way - some would hate the beautiful Savior.


And, the question of the disciples is like many of our own. Who are the betrayers, who are the opposers? They would not find out until it was done, and nor shall we. The Lord told us not to root up the tares but to wait until He sent the reapers at the end.