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Ephesians– overview of 3:1-9; tapping into the power of God

EPHESIANS-1-191020
length: 86:08 - taught on Oct, 20 2019
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Class Outline:

Sunday October 20, 2019
 

 

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;

 

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,

 

It had always been the plan of God that human beings without distinction should on the common ground of faith be His sons and daughters in union with the Messiah.

 

 

Sussomos (EPH 3:6) - belonging to the same body, is a word coined by Paul and only used here in the NT. A new word for a new concept.

 

Paul is the first to attach the prefix sun to the noun soma (body). Therefore, we might regard it as appropriate that a new word should be coined to express so revolutionary a concept as the inclusion of humans of every form into a community, a kingdom based on righteousness alone, that is so united that they could be viewed as a single, heavenly body.

 

The mystical truth is that Christ and the church are one.

 

By virtue of she is His body, His bride, His other self so to speak, the recipient and relaxion of the sum total of His glories and attributes - the church and Christ are one as a Head is to a body.

 

This certainly sounds exaggerated, and so we are careful and pause, but we look further and find that it is written, the church is the fullness of Him.

 

EPH 1:22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,

 

EPH 1:23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

 

COL 1:19 For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,

 

COL 1:20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

 

The church is His fullness. There is not anything divine and heavenly in our Lord which is not found in the church, though again, the church is not God or infinite or transcendent, but filled with His love and all His goodness, as well as His destiny.

 

In Eph 5 we find that Christ and the church are compared to the ideal married pair, at the end of which Paul states, “this mystery is great.” We ask, “what mystery?” And Paul replies, “I am speaking in regard to Christ and His church.”

 

By the will of God, husband and wife become one flesh. This was declared at the beginning in Gen 2. The church and Christ, abiding in a perfect marriage, have become one flesh.

 

Don’t add anything to this that is not stated in the scripture. Though it is a mystical truth, mysticism can often be taken too far through analogy and allegory not stated by God. Take it as it is and rejoice in its truth - Christ and the church are one flesh, one being, one fullness - they are one. “Why do you fear?” the Lord asked the disciples more than once, and I think in these great truths of the mystery, He is always asking us the same question.

 

GEN 2:23 The man said, "This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man."   

GEN 2:24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.    GEN 2:25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

 

The mystery is Christ, Christ in us, the perfect brotherhood of the royal family, and the marriage of Christ and His church. Paul was the steward of all this truth.

 

There is one church, and there has always been within her a tendency toward individualism or mere congregationalism, meaning individualism of congregations. The body is an organic oneness of born-again believers all over the world and in a variety of churches with a variety of names on them. We have our disagreements concerning doctrines, that will always be, but we are all one with one another and one with the Lord. I may not agree with my brother on all things, but though he may be wrong in some things and I in others, he is still my brother.

 

While it is true that some of the churches that contain members of the body are a most grievous misrepresentation of the heavenly spouse of Christ, they are none the less my predesigned family, destined to share in all the glory of Christ, for we say with confidence that the church was formed before there was one Christian, before Pentecost, before the birth of Christ, before the foundation of the world, for all were elected then. It is simply an astounding truth that each of us has to accept even though we may not know how to relate to those believers (professing or real) who don’t seem to love Christ, His word, or His way. To ignore this truth is to fall into congregationalism and individualism which has no place in the theology of the New Testament.

 

“It is easy to understand the charm, the overmastering attraction of the Church of Rome, from certain obvious points of view. Above all she stands pronouncedly for that unity which is itself so pronounced a feature of the NT presentation of true religion. But even a limited acquaintance with history tells us beyond the possibility of doubt that this church (which is, and must be, “always the same”) has been a really hideous caricature of the true Bride.” [Winterbotham, The Kingdom of Heaven (1898)]

 

The conundrum with this truth is great, since it is impossible in our age to identify the body of the church as it exists in society. So many, in order to escape from this difficulty, talk of an invisible church, but the NT never does this. Paul writes to a visible church who is a visible manifestation of Christ to the world around them. We may say that there were so few Christians at the time that this was possible to do, but is not the word of God eternally true?

 

My point here, since I cannot solve this question, is that our function as a church is not invisible. We are to be lights unto the world and that light is Christ, who is one with us.

 

Again …

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;

 

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.

 

“minister” - diakonos = deacon or servant.

 

Paul is repeating the fact of his own calling from vs. 2 and in COL 1:23, “I Paul was made a minister” of the gospel.

 

In vs. 2 the grace was given to the world by means of the gospel, and in vs. 7 this grace was given to Paul so that he could preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ.

 

In this grace from God, Paul sees the power from God that changed him from a persecutor of the church into a grateful recipient of the righteousness of God through faith in Christ Jesus for all who believe, ROM 3:22.

 

Paul found that the power of God worked mightily within him, COL 1:29.

 

COL 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body (which is the church) in filling up that which is lacking in Christ's afflictions.

 

COL 1:25 Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,

 

COL 1:26 that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations; but has now been manifested to His saints,

 

COL 1:27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

 

COL 1:28 And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ.

 

COL 1:29 And for this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

 

EPH 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,

   

EPH 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;

   

EPH 5:20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;  

 

EPH 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.  

 

EPH 5:22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.   

 

EPH 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.   

EPH 5:24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.   

 

5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 

 

Eph  5:26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

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