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The Significance of Paul's Cause

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The mystery of the Church has been revealed and it's significance has been highlighted

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Ephesians 3:1 KJV 1900
For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
Ephesians 3:14 KJV 1900
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
“for this cause...” We must consider this phrase intently as we look at this chapter and turn our attention to the particular truth Paul is emphasizing.

Thesis

There is a cause of greater significance than any objective mankind could devise and it is the cause of the Church. In Ephesians chapter 3 Paul describes several aspects of this cause and why as Christians it should be of serious consideration.

Introduction

The human heart is designed for participation in a cause and without much exception it goes about fulfilling that desire in a multitude of ways.

Important “Causes” in Contemporary Society (Past & Present)

Righteous Causes
Cause for Freedom - American Revolution - Late 1700’s
Cause to abolish slavery - Late 1800’s
Cause to defeat Hitler and the Axis Powers - Mid 1900’s
Ridiculous Causes
Abortion Rights
Animal Rights
Gender Identity Rights

Important “Causes” in Biblical History

Moses -
Joshua -
David -
Nehemiah -

Declaration: There is no more significant cause for which a Christian is to be engaged in than the cause of the Church!

Preposition: Have we considered the significance of the Church?

Transition: I want us to consider four important elements of the cause we are engaged in

The Mystery of the Cause
The Manifestation of the Cause
The Might of the Cause
The Motivation for the Cause

I. The Mystery of the Church

Ephesians 3:1–4 KJV 1900
For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
Romans 16:25 KJV 1900
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,
In the Old Testament God had a covenant with Israel - they were and are his chosen people - distinct from Gentile nations
In the Old Testament God had a covenant with Israel - they were and are his chosen people - distinct from Gentile nations
This all changed when Jesus came and began to teach this revolutionary truth:
This all changed when Jesus came and began to teach this revolutionary truth:
John 1:11 KJV 1900
He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
Jn 1:11-12
John 1:11–13 KJV 1900
He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
“as many as recieved him...” “to them gave he power to become the sons of God”
“to them gave he power to become the sons of God”
Application: The Church is of utmost importance and many Christians today simply do not take it serious. Paul called it a “mystery” because it was not something that was previously understood. However, that is not the case today! We have the written Word of God and the revealed truth it contains. Christ died for the church and through his shed blood and faith in his Son we have been born again into his family. Baptism has identified us publically with that fact and we are now part of a visible body united in truth “the faith once delivered unto the saints” - . The question we must ask ourselves is… does my life and my actions reflect this truth?
Jesus died for the church and we are called to live for God and serve him through it!

II. The Manifestation of the Church

Ephesians 3:9 KJV 1900
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:

A. To the heathen world

“make all men see...”
God’s plan for reaching the world with the Gospel is still the local church
John 13:34–35 KJV 1900
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

B. To the heavenly host

- “by the church
God is using the church to instruct Angels about his wisdom
1 Peter 1:10–12 KJV 1900
Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 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. 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.
The Mystery of the Church ...... 2. The Manifestation of the Church .....

III. The Might of the Church

Ephesians 3:16 KJV 1900
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
“strengthened with might by his Spirit...”
The might of the Church simply refers to the power source!
Illustration: Losing power on Wednesday night - not getting it back until 2 or 3 AM - Our lives are pretty difficult without power, espessually in the dark!

A. The Origin of the power -

“by his spirit”
Paul wanted his readers to understand the source of this power
Isaiah 30:1–3 KJV 1900
Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, That take counsel, but not of me; And that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, That they may add sin to sin: That walk to go down into Egypt, And have not asked at my mouth; To strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, And to trust in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, And the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion.
Isaiah 31:1 KJV 1900
Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; And stay on horses, And trust in chariots, because they are many; And in horsemen, because they are very strong; But they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, Neither seek the Lord!
Question: Have we neglected the source of power in our lives? Have we quenched his power and influence?
Quote:
The continued neglect of the Holy Spirit by evangelical Christians is too evident to deny and impossible to justify....
It is not, however, the frequency of the Spirit's mention in the Bible or in other writings that matters most, but the importance attached to Him when He is mentioned. And there can be no doubt that there is a huge disparity between the place given to the Spirit in the Holy Scriptures and the place He occupies in popular evangelical Christianity. In the Scriptures the Holy Spirit is necessary. There He works powerfully, creatively; here He is little more than a poetic yearning or at most a benign influence. There He moves in majesty, with all the attributes of the Godhead; here He is a mood, a tender feeling of good will....
The only power God recognizes in His church is the power of His Spirit whereas the only power actually recognized today by the majority of evangelicals is the power of man. God does His work by the operation of the Spirit, while Christian leaders attempt to do theirs by the power of trained and devoted intellect.
A.W. Tozer - Christian Leadership

B. The Outcome of this power -

“filled with all the fullness of God”
Paul also wanted his readers to grasp the result of what this would mean for them!
The might of the church resides in the unification of a group of saints filled with the fullness of God!
Ephesians 5:18 KJV 1900
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Example: Acts Chapter 1 and 2 - the day of Pentecost!
The Mystery of the Church 2. The Manifestation of the Church 3. The Might of the Church ...... and lastly

IV. The Motivation of the Church

Ephesians 3:20–21 KJV 1900
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, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
“Unto him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ...”
The modern Christian culture has many motivations
More People -
Relevant Messages -
Social Causes -
Impressive Pop Culture style music
However successful and impressive these are in the sight of man, none of these things are appropriate substitutes for what Paul describes here as our overarching motivation ..... “Unto him be glory”!
Psalm 19:1 KJV 1900
The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Billy Graham told the story of Billy Bray, a saintly minister of another generation, who sat by the bedside of a dying friend who had been timid and reluctant to witness for Christ. The dying man said, “If I had the power I’d shout glory to God.” Whereupon Pastor Bray replied: “It’s a pity you didn’t shout glory when you had the power.”

John 9:4 KJV 1900
I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
The night will come when we can no longer give God the Glory!

Conclusion

The Mystery of the Church - it was once a mystery but now it is known “for unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required”
The Manifestation of the Church - God’s plan for reaching the world is the church! Angels are being instructed!
Luke 12:48 KJV 1900
But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
The Might of the Church - The source of power is not our intellect - but in the Spirit of God
The Motivation of the Church - Everything we do has as it’s goal to glorify God!
As we have examined this truth tonight about the Church it would be helpful for us to evaluate in our own lives, the significance of the Church!
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