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nChrist
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« on: July 26, 2004, 07:43:56 PM »

Ephesians 3 - Part 1

This is a mini-study on Ephesians 3. This beautiful chapter tells a story, so I will simply provide some notes, contrasts, and comparisons at the end. You will see the "dispensation of the grace of God" mentioned, and this involves a precious truth that is a highlight in the generations of mankind. This does not imply that this is the first time that God's Grace and Love was shown to men. However, Jesus Christ and the CROSS represents an outpouring of God's Grace and Love in a magnitude never dreamed of by men. I must tell you that the ultimate GIFT of God's Grace and Love is now given to all men, not just Israel. You will also see "the mystery of Christ" mentioned, and this obviously involves the most precious and important event in the history of mankind, THE CROSS. This chapter explains why the GOOD NEWS is many times referred to as the "Gospel of the Grace of God". My notes will not involve language study, just some common sense observations that involve many beautiful portions of Scripture, including this one. I feel led to do this, and I have prayed for strength and wisdom to do this correctly. After praying about this, I don't feel led to argue or debate, but please feel welcome to post your disagreement. I'm sure that I will make some errors.

For now, please just read this slowly and enjoy it.
____________________

Ephesians 3:1  For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
Ephesians 3:2  If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
Ephesians 3:3  How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
Ephesians 3:4  Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
Ephesians 3:5  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;
Ephesians 3:6  That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
Ephesians 3:7  Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
Ephesians 3:8  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;
Ephesians 3:9  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:
Ephesians 3:10  To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
Ephesians 3:11  According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
Ephesians 3:12  In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
Ephesians 3:13  Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
Ephesians 3:14  For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Ephesians 3:15  Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
Ephesians 3:16  That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
Ephesians 3:17  That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
Ephesians 3:18  May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
Ephesians 3:19  And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Ephesians 3:20  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Ephesians 3:21  Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
____________________
See Part 2
« Last Edit: September 09, 2004, 10:45:52 PM by blackeyedpeas » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2004, 07:47:26 PM »

Ephesians 3 - Part 2

Ephesians 3:1  For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

Verse 1 Notes - The story of Paul's earlier life was one of violence and persecution of Christ and His followers. Paul had been a powerful Jew, and his purpose had been to hunt, torture, imprison, and kill the followers of Christ. Paul held the clothing of those who stoned Stephen to death. Now, Paul speaks of being a prisoner of Jesus Christ for the Gentiles. Paul was apprehended by the Grace of God and appointed into the service of preaching the Gospel of the Grace of God to the Gentiles. Paul did suffer many times to deliver the GOSPEL to a people he once considered heathen and unworthy of the ways of God. The contrast between the old Paul and the new Paul was drastic, and the change must be attributed to the Grace and Love of God, EXACTLY like the contrast between our old man and our new man born again in Christ. The most accurate way to describe Paul's captivity in Jesus Christ is as a willing servant who loved Jesus and yielded to his Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Please see:

2 Corinthians 10:1  Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:

Ephesians 4:1  I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

Ephesians 6:20  For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

2 Corinthians 11:23  Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.

Philippians 1:7  Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.

Philippians 1:13  So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;
Philippians 1:14  And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Philippians 1:15  Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
Philippians 1:16  The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:

Colossians 1:24  Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:

2 Timothy 1:8  Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

2 Timothy 1:16  The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:

2 Timothy 2:9  Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.

Philemon 1:9  Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 5:11  And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.

1 Thessalonians 2:15  Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:
1 Thessalonians 2:16  Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.
____________________
See Part 3
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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2004, 07:49:15 PM »

Ephesians 3 - Part 3

Ephesians 3:2  If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
Ephesians 3:3  How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
Ephesians 3:4  Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

Verses 2-4 Notes - The GIFT of Jesus Christ as a sacrifice on the Cross is the ultimate GRACE and LOVE of Almighty God. Many beautiful truths about Jesus Christ were hidden from men in previous generations. The CROSS is the most precious and pivotal event in human history. This is the GOOD NEWS - that Jesus Christ, the Son of God made flesh, VERY GOD, died for all of us. It is pivotal because each of us can believe in Jesus Christ, accept the GOOD NEWS, and be SAVED from eternal destruction. Jesus Christ arose from the dead as a LIVING SAVIOUR for all who will accept HIM as LORD over their lives. Our faith in HIM means that our old man was buried, and our new man is alive forever in Jesus Christ. We are forgiven, redeemed, and purchased by the precious blood of Jesus Christ that HE shed for us on the CROSS. There were many mysteries about Jesus Christ that were not understood, even by those who were closest to HIM during HIS time on earth in the form of a man. Many of these mysteries were revealed to the Apostle Paul, including the eternal CHURCH WHICH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST, a church not built with human hands. It is a beautiful reality that born again NEW MEN become part of Christ's Body, the BODY OF CHRIST. It is important to note that no man knows the full might, majesty, and GLORY of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. However, having Jesus in our hearts is joy and peace beyond imagination.  Please see:

Ephesians 1:9  Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

Ephesians 5:32  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Ephesians 6:19  And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

Colossians 1:9  For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

Colossians 2:2  That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;

Colossians 4:3  Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

1 Corinthians 2:6  Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
1 Corinthians 2:7  But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

1 Corinthians 4:1  Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

1 Timothy 3:9  Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

1 Timothy 3:16  And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
____________________
See Part 4
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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2004, 07:51:54 PM »

Ephesians 3 - Part 4

Ephesians 3:5  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;

Verse 5 Notes - So, now the TRUTH is being preached to the sons of men by one who has been enlightened by the Holy Spirit. The "sons of men" are the old men held captive by sin and death.  You will see many contrasts between the old man and the born again new man in Christ. The old man can only be set free, rescued, and saved from the captivity of sin and death by HEARING, believing, and having faith in the TRUTH. Jesus Christ is the ONLY TRUTH that will save the old man from the law of sin and death. Being born again as a new man in Christ involves the single and most important decision in a man or woman's short physical life on this earth. It is an absolute must to HEAR the WORD OF GOD and the ultimate TRUTH of JESUS CHRIST AND THE CROSS. It is important to note that the Holy Spirit continues to enlighten those who are born again. There is a beautiful comparison of those rescued from darkness and translated into the LIGHT. If the born again child yields to the Will and Purpose of God, the LIGHT becomes stronger and stronger. Each time the LIGHT grows stronger, increasing joy and peace results. The passing and corruptible things of this world become less and less important as the child of God is filled up with the LIGHT. The real and everlasting riches are not of this world, rather they are IN JESUS CHRIST, our Lord and Saviour for eternity. You will also see many contrasts between Israel, God's own, and Gentiles, the evil heathens that Jews were to avoid. Paul is a Jew, so his preaching of Christ to the Gentiles causes anger and wrath to be heaped upon himself. One must also remember that most of the Jews rejected Christ, so Paul was seen by most Jews as an enemy of God. Paul's life is seen as many dramatic contrasts. God used Paul to reveal many drastic contrasts, but one of the greatest was: (1) The Law, Israel, Circumcision versus (2) God's Grace, all of mankind, Uncircumcision. It is appropriate to say that Ephesians 3:9 involves the driving force of Paul's life. That driving force was Jesus Christ working in and through Paul, HIS willing and yielded servant. Please see:

Acts 10:28  And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

Romans 16:25  Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

2 Timothy 1:10  But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
2 Timothy 1:11  Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

Titus 1:1  Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
Titus 1:2  In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
Titus 1:3  But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;

1 Peter 1:10  Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
1 Peter 1:11  Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
1 Peter 1:12  Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

Ephesians 2:20  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

John 14:26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 16:13  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Ephesians 2:11  Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
Ephesians 2:12  That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
Ephesians 2:13  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Acts 11:18  When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

Acts 13:46  Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
Acts 13:47  For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.
Acts 13:48  And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

Galatians 2:7  But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
Galatians 2:8  (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
____________________
See Part 5
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« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2004, 04:16:37 AM »

I LOVE IT GRRRREAT Study

AAAAAAAAAAAAMEN!!!!!!

Brother Love Smiley

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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2004, 11:00:27 AM »

Brother Love,

Thanks Brother. This is a very beautiful and moving portion of Scripture. The contrasts and comparisons are much more dramatic IN TRUTH than any fiction that could have been written. Paul was a prisoner in many ways, but his apprehension and captivity by the Grace and Love of God overshadowed all.

Love In Christ,
Tom
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« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2004, 12:51:14 AM »

Ephesians 3 - Part 5

Ephesians 3:6  That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

Verse 6 Notes - He came unto HIS own, and HIS own received HIM not. Israel was and is God's chosen people, but they rejected Jesus Christ. As one result, the Gospel of the Grace of God was preached unto the Gentiles. It is hard to imagine what this meant to the peoples of the world who had been viewed as unclean and unworthy of the things of God. As an example that all can relate to, think of the word "Heir" as the promises and inheritance of a natural son. Israel represents the natural son, and the Gentiles represent adopted sons. God gave them the same promises of the Gospel and the same inheritance as children of God. Some beautiful portions of the Bible speak of the Gentiles being grafted into the natural vine, but the adoption comparison is easier to understand for most people. Most of Israel was still basking in their superior knowledge and their supposed self-righteousness, yet they rejected Jesus Christ. Regardless of their rejection of the Gospel of God's Grace, you can only imagine their pride and anger that the Gospel was being preached to the unclean heathens of the world, the Gentiles. Those who believed and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour were made into one body and became members of the BODY OF CHRIST. Please see:

Ephesians 2:13  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 2:14  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
Ephesians 2:15  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
Ephesians 2:16  And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
Ephesians 2:17  And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
Ephesians 2:18  For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Ephesians 2:19  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
Ephesians 2:20  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
Ephesians 2:21  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
Ephesians 2:22  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Romans 8:15  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
Romans 8:16  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Romans 8:17  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Galatians 3:26  For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:27  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Galatians 3:28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:29  And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 4:5  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Galatians 4:6  And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Galatians 4:7  Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Ephesians 4:15  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
Ephesians 4:16  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Ephesians 5:30  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

Romans 12:5  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

1 Corinthians 12:12  For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:27  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

Colossians 2:19  And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.

Galatians 3:14  That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
_____________________
See Part 6
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« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2004, 12:53:19 AM »

Ephesians 3 - Part 6

Ephesians 3:7  Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

Verse 7 Notes - Here, Paul is making a blunt statement that he was made a minister of the Gospel by the GIFT of Grace given to him by God and the power of God working in him. The old Paul was a self-righteous and proud Jew, but the new Paul was a humble servant being used by God. The power of God working in him involved the revelation of the most precious portions of the Gospel of God's Grace. You should easily see the character of Paul portrayed in many portions of Scripture. Paul claims to have been the chief of sinners and the least of all Saints. To avoid confusion, please note that all Christians are Saints. They are Saints only because of the Grace and Gift of God, not because of recognized earthly deeds and the selection of men. Paul gives all Glory to God, and whatever is good is of and from God. More specifically, all good is God working in him and through him. Please see:

Romans 15:16  That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

2 Corinthians 3:6  Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

2 Corinthians 4:1  Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

Colossians 1:23  If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
Colossians 1:24  Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:
Colossians 1:25  Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

Ephesians 3:8  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;

Romans 1:5  By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

1 Corinthians 15:10  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

1 Timothy 1:14  And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 1:15  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

Ephesians 3:20  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Ephesians 1:19  And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

Romans 15:18  For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,
Romans 15:19  Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:4  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

2 Corinthians 10:5  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Colossians 1:29  Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

1 Thessalonians 2:13  For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

Hebrews 13:21  Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
____________________
See Part 7
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« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2004, 12:55:08 AM »

Ephesians 3 - Part 7

Ephesians 3:8  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;

Verse 8 Notes - Paul further expounds on his blunt statement in verse 7. Paul states that he is the least of all Saints, but he was given the Grace of God to preach among the Gentiles.  One must look at the life of Paul to understand what a powerful statement this was. Paul had been the proud and self-righteous Jew who persecuted the followers of Christ, and he is now speaking of God's Grace and being allowed to preach to a people he had once thought to be vile, unworthy heathens. Now, it is Paul who feels unworthy. The old Paul would have required cleansing rituals after being in their presence, but the new Paul gives thanks for being given the Grace and opportunity to preach the Gospel to them.  Paul has experienced the riches of Christ and the riches in Christ. Paul has been given the wisdom and knowledge of God through the Holy Spirit. Paul is bluntly making the observation, who am I to be worthy of such things? He didn't confer with flesh and blood, but he knows it was VERY GOD who filled him with unimaginable riches in Christ that he was to share with others. You will hear Paul use the word "GRACE" used by Paul over and over. Paul knew that he was unworthy to receive theses riches. Paul is really saying that he deserved only punishment and death, but he received the GRACE and GIFTS of GOD, the opposite of what he had earned and deserved. Paul knew that he had been a murderer, a blasphemer, and much more, but God forgave him and blessed him with all spiritual blessings. Paul knew that God would forgive, redeem, and sanctify, EVEN him, because God had already done it. Paul had, indeed, been given the grace, love, mercy, and riches in Christ, and Paul had no doubt of MUCH MORE to come in eternity with Christ.  Many knew of the awesome Power and Majesty of Almighty God, but few knew about Jesus Christ, even though HE was manifest in the flesh and walked among them. Some had felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and had even been taught by HIM, but more of the POWER AND MAJESTY OF THE GODHEAD had been revealed to Paul. Many saw and believed Jesus Christ, but they didn't understand HIS PURPOSE. Many of these riches had been revealed ONLY  to Paul, and Paul's commission was to preach these riches and make others see, understand, and believe, especially the Majesty and Purpose of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, VERY GOD, ALMIGHTY GOD. The THREE of the GODHEAD were and are ONE.  Please see:

1 Corinthians 15:9  For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

Philippians 2:3  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

1 Timothy 1:13  Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

1 Peter 5:5  Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

1 Peter 5:6  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

Acts 5:41  And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

Romans 15:15  Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,
Romans 15:16  That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
Romans 15:17  I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.

Galatians 1:16  To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

1 Timothy 2:7  Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

Ephesians 1:7  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Ephesians 1:8  Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

Ephesians 2:7  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Romans 11:33  O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

1 Corinthians 1:30  But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

1 Corinthians 2:9  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Philippians 4:19  But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Colossians 1:27  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Colossians 2:1  For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;
Colossians 2:2  That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
Colossians 2:3  In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
____________________
See Part 8
« Last Edit: September 10, 2004, 02:31:52 PM by blackeyedpeas » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2004, 10:44:53 PM »

Brothers and Sisters,

I must apologize for dropping the ball on this Bible Study. I told myself it was health issues that slowed me down. I don't believe in coincidence, and I've prayed about why Ephesians 3:9 was the stopping place.

It was Ephesians 3:9, what I consider to be the "Exclamation Point" of Paul's ministry that points to the joys that are possible in our fellowship because of JESUS CHRIST AND THE CROSS! I did a considerable amount of work on Ephesians 3:9, but I wanted something much better than my work, something that would be pleasing to God. I look back at this now and see it was probably more than health. I honestly believe it was a stumbling-block placed there by the devil. I have prayed that God will give me the strength and words to please HIM in finishing the study of this beautiful portion of Scripture. I didn't ask for eloquence, as I'm far to plain and simple for that. I just asked for enough common sense to please God with what I share.

So, I've started over again with Ephesians 3:9, and I hope to post something soon. Thanks for your patience. In the meantime, please take a look at Ephesians 3:9 and try to understand why I consider it to be SO IMPORTANT and an EXCLAMATION POINT in the ministry of the Apostle Paul.

Love In Christ,
Tom
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« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2004, 12:31:57 AM »

That is beautiful brother, what a great Bible study.
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« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2004, 02:46:50 PM »

DreamWeaver,

Thanks Brother. This is one of my favorite portions of Scripture. It points to the CROSS and opens a new world that is possible only IN JESUS. Fellowship in and through Christ is one of the highlights of this new world, made possible only by the Love and Grace of God - the GIFT of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.

Love In Christ,
Tom
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« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2004, 04:25:15 PM »

That is beautiful brother, what a great Bible study.

DITTO Grin
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« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2004, 02:42:17 AM »

Ephesians 3 - Part Eight

Ephesians 3:9  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:

Verse 9 Notes - Rendering from ancient languages in this Scripture is very interesting, especially if you put this in context with the rest of Ephesians and the rest of Paul's writing. "To make all men see" is the goal of Paul. Paul could have said that he wished to turn the light on for the eyes of the heart . There must be enlightened men who can turn the light on for others. How many men does Paul hope become enlightened and see Jesus? The answer is "ALL". Paul clearly teaches that all ARE one in Jesus Christ, regardless of being Jew, Gentile, bond, or free. Paul's commission is to preach the Gospel of the Grace of God to the Gentiles, but Paul is a Jew and he went to considerable trouble to enlighten those who were preaching to the Jews. "See" is rendered from a word that actually means "To give light to, a shining, or illumination". Please see:

Ephesians 1:18  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

Colossians 1:26  Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

Hebrews 6:4  For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

Hebrews 10:32  But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;

1 Corinthians 4:5  Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

2 Timothy 1:10  But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
_____________________

"What is the fellowship of the mystery" addresses the core of Paul's ministry. I decided to take the time to enjoy this key Scripture, so I want to spend some time on "word for word" in the portions I think are extremely important. I'm glad that I did because there is much more here than first meets the eye. "Fellowship" is much more for Paul than what we would first consider. From Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries, "Fellowship" is: "partnership, that is, (literally) participation, or (social) intercourse, or (pecuniary) benefaction: - (to) communicate (-ation), communion, (contri-), distribution, fellowship. I like to think of "Fellowship" as what we share and how we share it. Let's first look at some other beautiful portions of Scripture that also address "fellowship" to add some beauty. Please look at these in context:

1 Corinthians 1:9  God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

2 Corinthians 6:14  Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

2 Corinthians 8:4  Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

Galatians 2:9  And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

Philippians 1:5  For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

Philippians 2:1  If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

Philippians 3:10  That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Philemon 1:6  That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 9:13  Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;

Hebrews 13:16  But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
____________________  See Part Nine
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« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2004, 02:44:48 AM »

Ephesians 3 - Part Nine

Now, to the "Mystery". Do we really know what the mystery is? First, let's look at the definition and rendering from ancient languages. From Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries: "From a derivative (to shut the mouth); a secret or “mystery” (through the idea of silence imposed by initiation into religious rites): - mystery." In context, I like to think of "Mystery" as a GREAT TRUTH hidden and kept secret from mankind. However, the definition alone is completely insufficient to describe what became the driving force of Paul's life and what he had to endure to reveal that GREAT TRUTH that had been hidden and kept secret. "The fellowship of the mystery" can also refer to a person initiated into a sacred mystery. This mystery or secret is something man could never know until God revealed it. If you are thinking that the initiation I spoke of might involve "Faith In Jesus Christ", you would be right. If you are thinking that the sacred mystery might have something to do with the Church which is the BODY OF CHRIST, you would also be right. There will be much more on this later. Here is a big question that is part of the mystery: What is the relationship between Christ and HIS Church WHICH IS HIS BODY?  Yes sir, this is a big secret, and Paul spends much of his life in trying to explain it.  This alone would be a very large and beautiful Bible study, but I will try to list a few highlights: (1) The Saints are those who believe and have faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour; (2) The Saints belong to a church not made with human hands, the CHURCH WHICH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST; (3) Christ is the head of HIS CHURCH, and the Saints ARE HIS BODY; (4) The Saints are united IN HIM, Jew and Gentile; (5) The Saints are seen IN AND THROUGH JESUS CHRIST; (6) The righteousness of the Saints are seen ONLY IN AND THROUGH JESUS, as the Saints have no righteousness of their own; (7) The Saints are FREE from the bondage of the Law of sin and death; (Cool Jesus Christ IS our REDEMPTION, SANCTIFICATION, AND JUSTIFICATION; (9) Jesus Christ IS our REST AND PEACE; (10) Jesus Christ IS our intercessor and mediator; (11) Here is a big one put very simply - We don't have to rely on a priest to serve as intercessor with the Father for us. We don't have to wait for a special day or a Holy place to fellowship with our Lord and Saviour. We have direct, personal, and immediate access to prayer and fellowship with our Lord and Saviour 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, regardless of where we are or what we are doing. We are IN HIM and HE is in us. Please see in context:

Romans 11:25  For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

1 Corinthians 4:1  Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

1 Corinthians 15:51  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

Colossians 2:2  That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;

1 Timothy 3:16  And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

1 Corinthians 2:7  But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

Ephesians 5:32  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

1 Timothy 3:9  Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
____________________ See Part Ten
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