Dishman Baptist Church
Eph 3:1-6 11/7/2021
      • Bible Trivia
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  • And Can It Be
  • Before The Throne
  • Crown Him With Many Crowns
      • Romans 15.8-10ESV

      • Romans 15.11-13ESV

  • Good morning and welcome to Dishman Baptist Church. What a glorious fall weekend we have been treated to - I even got the privilege of seeing snow fly yesterday as Hayden and Richard and I tromped around the Colville National Forest looking for wildlife. It is amazing to think how far gone the year is and that soon we will be talking of the hope and possibility of a New Year. As we saw last week Paul has been delivering to the Gentiles the greatest news of hope that they could ever have received - that they have indeed been included into the family of God as a part of the Gospel. That they were no longer separated from God, from Christ or from the Jews but had, through Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross been brought near. Now we turn to Ephesians 3 as Paul further explains this hope. Please turn in your Bibles with me to Ephesians 3.
    Paul should be a balm, a source of hope to anyone who has ever been diagnosed with ADD. Attention Deficit Disorder. Because he so readily exhibits this condition in his writing. He will frequently begin a thought only to diverge or digress or completely change his course of direction onto another thought. He does so in Philippians 3. The NASB captures his words best.
    Philippians 3:1 NASB95PARA
    Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.
    He says finally but then goes on for another 2 chapters - in a four chapter book - with such great truths as the sacrifice of everything in the pursuit of Christ, the citizenship of the believer, the unity that we should be pursuing in the faith, the peace of mind that can be achieved as a blessing of faith in Christ and the contentment that we should all experience as believers. Yes, he diverges but oh so gloriously so as he delivers such important teaching through his diversion.
    He also does this in 2 Corinthians writing in 2 Corinthians 2:13
    2 Corinthians 2:13 CSB
    I had no rest in my spirit because I did not find my brother Titus. Instead, I said good-bye to them and left for Macedonia.
    This is a thought that he will return to in 2 Corinthians 7:5
    2 Corinthians 7:5 CSB
    In fact, when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest. Instead, we were troubled in every way: conflicts on the outside, fears within.
    In the intervening chapters he discusses the trials and tribulations that he has faced in his ministry on behalf of the Corinthian church. He spends time teaching the Corinthians of the challenges he has endured as a result of his ministry of the Spirit and righteousness.
    Here again, this morning, Paul is going to begin one thought only to digress into a further explanation of what he has just explained in chapter 2. He is going to start a thought in verse 1, really it is the beginning of a prayer that will close out this first section of the book on the makeup of the church, and then return to the thought in verse 14. In the intervening verses he will continue to explain the nature of the church. Look with me at Ephesians 1:1-13
    Ephesians 1:1–13 CSB
    Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will: To the faithful saints in Christ Jesus at Ephesus. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ. For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him. He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he richly poured out on us with all wisdom and understanding. He made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he purposed in Christ as a plan for the right time—to bring everything together in Christ, both things in heaven and things on earth in him. In him we have also received an inheritance, because we were predestined according to the plan of the one who works out everything in agreement with the purpose of his will, so that we who had already put our hope in Christ might bring praise to his glory. In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed.
    We will be breaking this down into two sections. This morning we will be looking at verses 1-6 under the title of the explanation of a mystery - as we will see Paul further explaining and clarifying this mysterious and new entity called the church. Next week we will see the steward of the mystery - examining Paul’s role in the delivery of the mystery to the church.
    Four times in chapter 3 Paul will use the word mystery in reference to the church. This is really a clarification of what he had already written in Ephesians 1:9-10 regarding the mystery of God’s will
    Ephesians 1:9–10 CSB
    He made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he purposed in Christ as a plan for the right time—to bring everything together in Christ, both things in heaven and things on earth in him.
    What he began to discuss in chapter 1, Paul will now develop in greater detail here in chapter 3. He will develop the doctrine of the unique character of the church, building on what he has written in chapter 2 and that we have just finished our study of. We will examine this mystery under a mystery delivered, a mystery revealed and a mystery explained.

    A Mystery Delivered

    Paul begins - For this reason
    In light of all that I’ve said so far, in light of what I’ve just written in chapter 2 specifically and in the entire letter generally. Paul is drawing our minds to recall all that he has written so far. He will repeat this exact phrase when he returns to the train of thought that begins this section of the letter saying
    Ephesians 3:14–17 CSB
    For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love,
    Here in verse 1 he continues saying “I Paul,” nine times in the Pauline epistles Paul will use this phraseology in order to drive home an important point.
    2 Corinthians 10:1 CSB
    Now I, Paul, myself, appeal to you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble among you in person but bold toward you when absent.
    Galatians 5:2 CSB
    Take note! I, Paul, am telling you that if you get yourselves circumcised, Christ will not benefit you at all.
    Colossians 1:23 CSB
    if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become a servant of it.
    Twice in his letter to Philemon he uses this to drive home the appeal to Philemon’s christian love on behalf of the runaway slave Onesimus. Paul’s heart seems deeply troubled by the need to drive home the truth of what he had just taught and so he emphasizes to these readers who it is that is writing - but not in a manner that would garner him any real credibility under normal human standards.
    The prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles - this is not the way to emphasize your human authority by highlighting that you are a prisoner. But Paul knew what Thomas Aquinas put into words
    “God can direct evil to good”
    Notice the wording here
    Not of the Jews - even though they were the protagonists of his arrest. Accusing him of taking Trophimus the Ephesian into areas of the Temple in Jerusalem that were forbidden to Gentiles
    Not of Rome - even though they were the prosecutors of his arrest. He was kept in jail by Felix in the hopes that Paul would offer him a bribe for his release and then as a favor to the Jews. He was kept in prison by Festus until he could determine what to do with Paul with the help of King Agrippa.
    Not of Caesar - even though he was the proliferator of his arrest. Caesar had the human authority to mediate Paul’s case and dismiss it entirely. Paul had appealed to Caesar and was in Rome at Caesar’s tribunal.
    Paul recognized that his imprisonment was orchestrated and ordained by Christ for two purposes
    Colossians 1:24 CSB
    Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I am completing in my flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for his body, that is, the church.
    Paul was enduring the animosity of the world that could not be heaped on Christ on behalf of the church.
    Philippians 1:12–14 CSB
    Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually advanced the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard, and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is because I am in Christ. Most of the brothers have gained confidence in the Lord from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the word fearlessly.
    Paul’s imprisonment had actually led to the furthering of the Gospel - to further ministry of the Gospel even into the very house of Caesar.
    What view do you have of your current circumstances? What are you going through that you are preventing God from getting the glory in because of your point of view or your actions?
    300 Quotations for Preachers (Assurance without Regard to Circumstances)
    God sometimes marvellously raises the souls of his saints with some close and near approaches unto them—gives them a sense of his eternal love, a taste of the embraces of his Son and the inhabitation of the Spirit, without the least intervening disturbance; then this is their assurance. But this life is not a season to be always taking wages in. Our work is not yet done; we are not always to abide in this mount; we must down again into the battle—fight again, cry again, complain again. Shall the soul be thought now to have lost its assurance? Not at all. It had before assurance with joy, triumph, and exultation; it has it now, or may have, with wrestling, cries, tears, and supplications. And a man’s assurance may be as good, as true, when he lies on the earth with a sense of sin, as when he is carried up to the third heaven with a sense of love and foretaste of glory.JOHN OWEN
    The Christian life is not meant to be all rainbows and easy days - but this doesn’t mean that what is happening to you is outside of the purview of Christ. Nor is it outside of His capacity to use it for His glory and for your good. No matter what situation you are facing in your life right now, no matter what situation I may be facing in my life right now - no matter how hard it may seem - this is the question that we must all ask - are my current actions/reactions allowing the Gospel to flourish and the glory of God to be demonstrated in this situation?
    Paul does not dwell on his circumstances and we mustn’t either. He continues on.
    “Assuming you have heard” the NASB again is more helpful in understanding this phrase. Paul is not questioning whether or not his readers had heard of what had happened to him
    Ephesians 3:2 NASB95PARA
    if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you;
    What he is saying is that since I know you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace
    The word for stewardship, translated administration in the CSB, is oikonomia. It is most correctly translated stewardship.
    In the first century the role of a steward in a household was very important. They oversaw the daily running of the house, made sure the finances were taken care of, made sure that maintenance if necessary was completed. A good example of a steward in Scripture is Joseph. He wasn’t in charge of Egypt but he oversaw the administration of all daily activities on behalf of Pharoah.
    Paul was made a caretaker of God’s grace with the charge to carry this grace to the Gentiles. He wasn’t in charge of the message or the source of the message. He was required to carry the message to the people.
    Acts 9:15–16 CSB
    But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is my chosen instrument to take my name to Gentiles, kings, and Israelites. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
    Acts 26:17–18 CSB
    I will rescue you from your people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
    Notice how unlike Jonah Paul is. Jonah went to the city of Ninevah under compulsion and after preaching there - a message that had unfathomable results that would make any modern day evangelist faint - he sat on a hill sulking. He basically said “God, you’re so God. I knew you would save those people. How could You do that.”
    Paul was faithful to his calling. Paul says in 1 Corinthians that he also is under complulsion
    1 Corinthians 9:16 CSB
    For if I preach the gospel, I have no reason to boast, because I am compelled to preach—and woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!
    But he does so with joy. At no time during his ministry does Paul ever question what God has called him to do. This was a man who was at the pinnacle of his religious career as Saul. Saul, named for the first king of Israel who was chosen for his strength, bearing and stature over his peers, has become Paul which means small. He was a Pharisee charged with upholding the purity of the Jewish religion against all those who would seek to dilute it and yet here he is doing the very thing that would dilute that false religious practice the most - including the Gentiles into the body of Christ. Paul truly sacrificed everything - why?
    Because of the revelation that had been given to him. Following his conversion Paul tells us in Galatians that he spent three years in the desert receiving this revelation from Christ.
    Galatians 1:15–17 CSB
    But when God, who from my mother’s womb set me apart and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me, so that I could preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone. I did not go up to Jerusalem to those who had become apostles before me; instead I went to Arabia and came back to Damascus.
    Paul writes more about the mystery regarding the makeup of the church than anyone else among the apostles. There may be principles delivered - the importance of repentance to faith by John in 1 John 1:9, the importance of faith and works by James, but none of them elucidate the truths of the establishment of the church as Paul does here. This is not to say that it was given to him alone - he will tell us in verse 5 that this mystery had now been revealed to the holy apostles and prophets - but Paul is the most prolific writer and explainer of this great truth. This mystery revealed.

    A Mystery Revealed

    READ!
    Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.FRANCIS BACON
    Paul tells them that they can understand the truths regarding the church by reading what he had just written - also probably pointing them to the letter to Colossae. Notice though that the key word in this phrase is not read but understand. The singular problem that we have in Christianity today is that, while many Christians may read their Bibles, many don’t seek to understand what it means and how it can be applied to their lives. This book is not one meant to be read only in parts. It is not meant to read only curiously. It is meant to be chewed and digested. It is meant to be read wholly with both diligence and attention. It is meant to be understood - notice also that Paul doesn’t say that you can simply come to an understanding of the book on your own terms. Rather he says that you can understand what I have written. You can understand what I meant to convey. You can understand my insight - the revelation given to me by Christ. Paul did not write his own words but rather he wrote as superintended by the Spirit the words that God breathed out.
    2 Peter 1:20–21 CSB
    Above all, you know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from the prophet’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
    2 Peter 3:15–16 CSB
    Also, regard the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our dear brother Paul has written to you according to the wisdom given to him. He speaks about these things in all his letters. There are some things hard to understand in them. The untaught and unstable will twist them to their own destruction, as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures.
    One of the most difficult truths to grasp is that the Jews and the Gentiles have been brought under one tent. The entire Gospel message was offensive and difficult to grasp - the unification of Jews and Gentiles only made it more so. But there it was and it was a new truth not conceived or taught before.
    While there may have been hints at something for the Gentiles - the prophecies of Genesis 9 that we looked at last week, Psalm 117 and the words that all nations would worship God not withstanding - most of the Old Testament is a story of God’s dealings with one nation the people of Israel as the descendents of Abraham. But now, in the New Testament and really in the time following Christ’s ascension, there is a new institution formed that is the church - an amalgamation of both Jews and Gentiles. Paul tells us here that while the prophets longed to see this day - they did not have any understanding of what this day would mean because it had not been revealed to them. He tells us that while we may have types and shadows, a true picture of the church is not delivered to us through the Old Testament.
    It is only now, at the time of Paul’s writing, that the truth of this great doctrine - this great mystery of God - has been revealed. We must be careful to understand exactly which mystery it is that Paul has in focus here - and really rather than which mystery it is which facet of the greater mystery. The greatest mystery of all is the Gospel and how lost men and women can be saved through Christ’s shed blood. But that is not the aspect of the mystery of God that Paul has in mind here as he will say at the end of verse 6 - that the Gentiles are made a part of something through the Gospel.

    A Mystery Explained

    When we looked at the end of chapter 1 we noticed Paul’s propensity for making up words to fit his point of view and his preference for the prefix syn. He will do the same thing here as he explains the mystery regarding the Gentiles saying they have been made co-heirs, they are members of the same body and they are partners in the promise in Christ.
    This use of these three phrases all with this same prefix recall the three designations that Paul has just used in closing chapter 2 to describe the inclusion of the Gentiles as citizens with, being built together with and being built together in verses 19, 20 and 22.
    Those who once far away, excluded from the nation of Israel are now coheirs, holding the same forensic, legal standing as the nation of Israel before God. This word is synkleronomos, meaning one who receives a possession together with someone else.
    Members of one body - never in the OT is Israel ever called God’s body. This is an entirely new concept for the church alone. I don’t believe that means that only the members of the New Testament church are incorporated into Christ’s body - creating a difference in believers in the promise during the Old Testament and receptors of the promise from the New Testament on. Only that the truth is that this reference to the church being Christ’s very body is a new concept taught in the New Testament. The word is sysomos and it is only used here in the New Testament. In fact, this unusual word is only found in Christian writings. Paul is building a new concept here that all believers are now one with Christ and a part of His very body.
    Paul has delivered forensic or legal equality. He has delivered present equality making Jews and Gentiles one in the body of Christ. He now gives them eternal or future equality saying that they are partners in the promise of Christ Jesus through the Gospel. The greatest hope that anyone can have is that of eternal life with God. The word is symmetochos and it means to share in the possession of something. This is another distinctly Pauline word creation that only occurs in Ephesians in the New Testament.
    We are the benefactors of these words. We are the benefactors of Paul’s humble service as the steward of God’s gospel to the Gentiles. We are the benefactors of the writings that we have in our hands, trustworthy writings that are simple enough to explain these mysteries to us if we seek to not only read but understand. We are the benefactors of the mystery revealed to the apostles and prophets. We are coheirs, members of the same body and partners in the promise of Christ Jesus. What a beautiful way to begin and what a beautiful diversion Paul has taken us on.
    300 Quotations and Prayers for Christmas (Thanksgiving for Sending the Savior)
    Grant, Almighty God, that since you have been pleased to perform to the Jews what you promised, by sending the Savior, and have also designed, by pulling down the middle wall of partition, to make us partakers of the same invaluable blessing,O grant that we may embrace Him with true faith, and constantly abide in Him, and so know you as our Father, so that, being renewed by the Spirit of your Son, we may wholly devote ourselves to you, and consecrate ourselves to your service, until at length that which is begun in us is completed, and we are filled with that glory to which your Son, our Lord, daily invites us.Amen.JOHN CALVIN
      • Philippians 3:1ESV

      • 2 Corinthians 2:13ESV

      • 2 Corinthians 7:5ESV

      • Ephesians 1:1–13ESV

      • Ephesians 1:9–10ESV

      • Ephesians 3:14–17ESV

      • 2 Corinthians 10:1ESV

      • Galatians 5:2ESV

      • Colossians 1:23ESV

      • Colossians 1:24ESV

      • Philippians 1:12–14ESV

      • Ephesians 3:2ESV

      • Acts 9:15–16ESV

      • Acts 26:17–18ESV

      • 1 Corinthians 9:16ESV

      • Galatians 1:15–17ESV

      • 2 Peter 1:20–21ESV

      • 2 Peter 3:15–16ESV

  • The King of Love My Shepherd Is

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