(Eph 3 7-8 Made A Minister by the Grace of God (Starlight)
MADE A MINISTER BY GOD’S GRACE
Starlight B.C. Oct. 9,2005
WRITER, The apostle Paul. DATE. Probably written at Rome between 60 and 64 A.D.
PAUL'S MINISTRY AT EPHESUS:
- His first visit (Ac 18:18-21)
- On his second visit, the Holy Spirit is given to believers (Ac 19:2-7)
- His continuance of the work with remarkable success (Ac 19:9-20)
- His conflict with the silversmiths (Ac 19:23-41)
- His address to the Ephesian elders (Ac 20:17-35)
HISTORICAL OCCASION OF THE WRITING.
The converted Jews in the early churches were inclined to be exclusive, and separate themselves from their Gentile brethren. This condition of affairs in the church at Ephesus may have led to the writing of this epistle, the keynote of which is Christian Unity.
MAIN THEME, the unity of the church, especially between Jew and
Gentile believers. This is shown by:
(1) The word, "together";
gathered TOGETHER (Eph 1:10)
quickened TOGETHER (Eph 2:5)
raised up TOGETHER, sitting TOGETHER (Eph 2:6)
builded TOGETHER (Eph 2:22)
(2) The word, "one," indicating unity;
ONE new man (Eph 2:15)
ONE body (Eph 2:16)
ONE spirit (Eph 2:18)
ONE hope (Eph 4:4)
ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God and Father of all (Eph 4:5,6)
3:1 For this reason. WHAT REASON???
·1 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ
· He chose us in Him cbefore the foundation of the world, that we should dbe holy and without blame before Him in love
· 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
· 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence
· 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.
· 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to rthe purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we twho first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
· 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory
· 15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
· 2 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins
· made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus
· 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,
· 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone
3 For this reason I Paul
the prisoner of Christ Jesus. Although Paul had been a prisoner for about two years in Caesarea and two years in Rome, he did not consider himself to be a prisoner of any government or person. Rather, he knew he was under Christ’s control, and every aspect of his life was in the Lord’s hands. He suffered imprisonment for preaching to Gentiles. See 2 Cor. 4:8–15.
Paul was not only a “prisoner” because of “the mystery,” but he was also a “minister.” God gave him a “dispensation” (stewardship) that he might go to the Gentiles, not only with the Good News of salvation through Christ, but also with the message that Jews and Gentiles are now one in Christ. (NOTE: Maybe the reason Christians can’t ‘minister’ is because they have not yet become ‘prisoners’ of the Lord. Explain…ILLUST> The old Greyhound commercial……come and go Greyhound, leave the driving to us)
3:2 dispensation … given to me. . Paul did not choose the stewardship of his apostleship or ministry. God had sovereignly commissioned him with the calling, spiritual gifts, opportunities, knowledge, and authority to minister as the apostle to the Gentiles (see Acts 9:1–19; The word dispensation comes from two Greek words: oikos, meaning “house” and nomos, meaning “law.” Our English word “economy” is derived directly from the Greek oikonomia, “the law of the house,” or “a stewardship, a management.”
God made Paul a steward of “the mystery” with the responsibility of sharing it with the Gentiles.
· It was not enough simply to win them to Christ and form them into local assemblies.
· He was also to teach them their wonderful position in Christ as members of the body, sharing God’s grace equally with the Jews.
· This truth had not been revealed in the Old Testament Scriptures. It was revealed to the New Testament Apostles and prophets (see Eph. 4:11) by the Holy Spirit.
· WHY HAS GOD MADE YOU WHAT HE MADE YOU???? DO YOU KNOW?
Because Paul was a faithful steward, he was now a prisoner in Rome
Paul was a prisoner because he believed in God’s new program of uniting believing Jews and Gentiles into one body, the church. The Jews considered the Gentiles “dogs,” but some of the Christian Jews did not have a much better attitude toward the Gentiles.
Paul knew that God had called him to take the Gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15; 26:13–18), and he was not disobedient to that call.. (Some say you have to run. But Isaiah didn’t run. Neither did Paul. As a matter of fact, we are commanded by Peter to do this thing ‘willingly’ 1 Pet 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; )
(NOTE: Paul was able to stand because
· he knew who he was. He didn’t have to wonder about it.
· He was firm in his belief.
· Firm in his conversion.
· Firm in his grasp of the work God had given him.
· In other words, Paul knew for himself.)
· PAUL WASN’T TAKEN AWAY FROM HIS TASK BECAUSE OF THE ‘CONTRARY WINDS’ OF THE PEOPLE THAT DIDN’T WANT TO BELIEVE..
3:4 the mystery of Christ. Jew and Gentile brought together in one body in the Messiah. He realized that spiritual knowledge must precede practical application. What is not properly understood cannot properly be applied.
· (Hosea 4:6….My people are destroyed for the ‘lack of knowledge’.
3:7 MADE a minister. No man can make himself a minister (servant) of God, because the calling, message, work, and empowering of genuine ministry to and for God are His prerogative alone to give. See Acts 26:16; 1 Cor. 15:10; Col. 1:23, 25, 29.
· NOTE: Anything that is made was made by something/someone else. It didn’t make itself. Neither to we make ourselves ministers, preachers, pastors, etc. IF GOD DIDN’T MAKE US THAT, WE ARE NOT THAT.
made a minister; did not gradually grow up to the office, but became, at a given time and place, a minister, a servant. According to the gift of the grace of God. The office of serving Christ was a gift, most undeserved on Paul’s part, who had been a persecutor and injurious, but flowing from the free grace of God, his sovereign, unmerited mercy. Which was given me according to the working of his power. This denotes the manner of the gift; the gift itself, apostleship to the Gentiles, would have been little had it not been accompanied with Divine power.
Spiritual office without spiritual power is miserable;
- but in Paul’s case there was the power as well as the office;
- not merely the power of working miracles,
- the power of spiritual insight into the meaning of Scripture —
- power of exposition,
- power of demonstration,
- power of persuasion
- Paul gratefully acknowledged that all the power of his ministry was God’s, not his own (1 Corinthians 3:6, 7). GOD gave the increase.
3:8 the least of all the saints. In light of God’s perfect righteousness, Paul’s assessment of himself was not false humility but simple honesty. He knew his unworthiness.