Parkland First Baptist Church
August 22, 2021
      • 1 Kings 9ESV

      • 2 Chronicles 8ESV

      • Proverbs 25–26ESV

      • Proverbs 27–29ESV

      • Ecclesiastes 1–6ESV

      • Ecclesiastes 7–12ESV

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        November 29, 2020 - 10:00 AM - 10:00 AM
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        I Don't Have Faith To Be An Atheist

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        I Don't Have Faith To Be An Atheist

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      • Ephesians 3:1–13CSB

  • A Model Missionary

    We are continuing our journey through the book of Ephesians.
    In this letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul is encouraging the church to realize all they have in Christ as believers.
    In addition, he is expressing the unity we have in the church.
    A place where both Jew and Gentile are one in Christ.
    Both groups were dead in their sins, then though Jesus Christ, were redeemed and forgiven.
    Resulting in eternal life with all its riches, being a child of God, and composing a group of all believers as the church.
    So today we are in the midst of discovering what it means to be the church and experience God’s grace together.
    Have you ever been interrupted in prayer?
    Praying and suddenly something pops in your head.
    You get to thinking about a ballgame, that squeaky door that needs to be fixed, or you need to send and email to your boss at work.
    Or maybe your interrupted by the doorbell, sirens going by, the dog barking, your phone buzzing or a myriad of other distractions.
    This is what is happening in today’s passage to Paul.
    He appears to begin an intercessory prayer for the church, but then he chases a holy rabbit trail.
    This digressions is likely prompted as he reflects on his position as a prisoner of Christ on their behalf.
    Paul speaks of his sufferings, the incorporation of the Gentiles into the people of God, the cosmic nature of the church, the proclamation of the riches of Christ, believers’ access to God, and more.
    In addition to these key themes, we also find powerful personal application for our own lives.
    Let’s read the passage together.
    Paul’s life serves as an example to believers.
    Like the Ephesian church, we are also called to love the church and fulfill her mission of making Christ known to everyone.
    We should acknowledge and appreciate Paul’s unique role in redemptive history, but we should not distance ourselves from his mission.
    God gave Paul the ministry of proclaiming Christ and explaining the unfolding plan of God to people; we as believers have that same purpose.
    If we accept that this passage has such application for our lives, then it is appropriate to see this passage as a “missions text.”

    A Missionary Follows the Will of Christ Verses 1 and 13

    He begin with “For this reason”
    Look back to what reason
    The reason is the gospel he preaches bringing the Jew and Gentile into one united body, the church.
    He refers to himself as a prisoner of Christ
    It was the will of God for Paul to be in prison.
    If not, when would he have had the time to write the New Testament?
    He was there for no wrong doing, but simply following the will of Christ.
    He was so committed to Christ that he is chained to a prison guard writing this letter in a prison cell.
    Are you so committed to Christ you would go anywhere He sends you?
    Can you say to Christ, “Use Me!”
    We should not shrink back in fear when He sends us, but to go with the power of the Spirit and His presence.
    Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians to “Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ.”
    Let’s go then!
    In verse 13 we see Paul’s heart for the people.
    He’s in prison, yet he appears to want to set the people’s minds at ease.
    He tells them to not be discouraged.
    He wants them to see the bigger picture of what he is doing.
    He wants them to see that his sufferings is part of God’s plan for the end of the age.

    A Missionary Understands the Message Verses 2-6

    Paul in verse 2 speaks of the administration, or responsibility, he has to communicate the gospel of Christ.
    He wants them to understand this message is not for the world, but for them personally.
    As a missionary, which we all are whether in our neighborhood or in another country, we are called to go and carry the right message.
    That message is about Jesus being crucified, risen, reigning and returning as King.
    Paul has been given a unique role in redemptive history.
    He received insight into the mystery of Christ.
    It is his responsibility to explain God’s intent to create a special people, or a “household” of both Jews and Gentiles.
    Once bitter rivals, they now have become one in Christ.
    He’s to explain the “mystery” and the church’s role is to understand and communicate it.
    There were many “mystery cults” in Ephesus which were hidden to the outside and only known by those who were in it.
    This mystery was “hidden” or “not made known to people in other generations” (v. 5); but now, at this point in history, it can be understood.
    While the plan of God was present in the Old Testament, parts were unclear or “hidden” in a sense (v. 9).
    When Christ appeared, the mystery was clarified in the Messiah’s death, the fact that Gentiles do not have to become Jews, that Gentiles and Jews have equal access to God, and the degree of nearness one has with God in the new covenant (Arnold, Ephesians, 190).
    Today, we may not reveal something new like Paul did, but we can re-reveal that message.
    As we learn the apostolic doctrine to others, then we need to teach it to others who need to hear the gospel.
    As you learn more and more from your reading and study, then share that with others.
    Just think of all the people who faithful for you to hear about Jesus when you did.
    Be a part of that chain.

    A Missionary Is Overwhelmed by the Grace of Christ Verse 7-8

    Paul in verse 7 mentions that is a servant of the gospel by the gift of God’s grace that was given to him.
    He mentions again in the next verse the grace given to him.
    This former enemy to Christ refers to himself as the least among the saints, or the worst of sinners
    Yet he experienced God’s empowering grace for his work.
    This grace had a humbling effect on Paul as it also had an empowering effect.
    We can learn that, first, God’s grace should humble us.
    Paul understood this grace, he knew where he had come from in his life.
    If it wasn’t for God’s grace, Paul would have missed out of the blessings.
    Even as he proclaims to be the apostle to the Gentiles or the messenger, he doesn’t allow it to puff him up.
    For him, it is a privilege to serve King Jesus.
    When you begin to really look at who you were prior to Christ, you will see who you really were.
    As Paul says, the least of the saints or one of the greatest sinners.
    Our condition was bleak, dark, and condemning prior our conversion.
    Then you can fully understand the grace that was shown to you to bring you out of that state.
    Secondly, we need to realize that this grace empowers us to carry out His mission for us.
    Paul connects these two: grace and power.
    They go hand in hand.
    Think about how powerfully Paul’s encounter with Jesus changed him.
    He went from persecutor to persecuted.
    It was the mighty power of God that provided the strength for Paul to his ministry.
    That same power enables us to whatever He calls us to do or go.

    A Missionary Proclaims the Riches of Christ Verses 8-9

    As a servant of Christ through grace, that grace empowered Paul and empowers us to proclaim the incalculable riches of Christ.
    He has already enumerated some of those riches in chapters 1 and 2.
    As one who persecuted the followers of Christ, Paul is now consumed by the cross and the Messiah who was stretched across.
    He went from persecuting to promoting Christ.
    Paul’s life had been transformed so much, he knew it was only by God’s grace for him to where he is as he writes.
    As a result, Paul wanted to proclaim, share, discuss, tell others about this transforming Christ.
    Verse 8 tells us that Christ’s glories are incalculable.
    As long as we are proclaiming Christ, we will never run out of material, we should never be left without something to talk about, and we should never talk about Him without passion.
    Proclaim the riches of Christ to yourself daily, and out those riches you are blessed with, then tell others of His glory.
    In addition to proclaiming the incalculable riches, Paul also said he received grace in to explain or shed light on the “administration of the mystery.”
    It was his responsibility of helping new believers, and older believers, to understand the full message of salvation for all, God’s truth, and the mystery of the church for all people not just the Jews.
    It was God who created all things that developed this plan.
    It remained a mystery for generations until now once Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected.
    Salvation is for all peoples and tongues.
    As one blessed with the riches of Christ, we need to be sharing to all the gospel of Christ.
    We have a global God and it is our part of His plan to proclaim the King of the nations.
    It doesn’t matter where you are, just proclaim Him.
    He has believers all over the world.
    Though it’s good for us to send and go if called to other people groups, but your people group may next door.
    Just think if all 2.5 billion Christians worldwide would share the gospel with just 4 others, then the whole world population of 7.6 billion would hear the gospel!
    So let’s do our part.

    A Missionary Has A High View of the Church Verses 10-11

    One of the themes we find in this letter is a high view of the church.
    Paul prays for God to be glorified in the church.
    He speaks of the unity of the church between Jews and Gentiles and I would say today of all groups, races, and languages.
    He will explain later in the later how has gifted leaders to equip the church for ministry.
    Then in chapter 5 Paul says that Christ loved the church so much that He gave Himself up for it.
    We see that the church was part of this mystery Paul is proclaiming.
    He next moves to a point that should blow your mind.
    Paul tells us the church implications that reach throughout heaven and the entire spiritual realm.
    Now get this, the church—made up of Jews and Gentiles all peoples—is making known the manifold wisdom of God to “the rulers and authorities in the heavens.”
    Who are the rulers and authorities, they are probably both bad and good heavenly beings.
    It seems that the angels look on at grace and marvel while demonic forces look on in fear and tremble.
    The evil forces have already been defeated at the cross, and they await their final subjugation.
    The existence of the church is announcing that their rule is coming to an end once and for all.
    Apparently the angels were not in on God’s plan, but are eagerly watching it unfold; thus, give God the glory for at it unfolds.
    We are not preaching to unseen powers, but the church is revealing God plan to the powers through the existence of the church.
    In verse 11 we see that Jesus came and “accomplished” or fulfilled, or completed God’s plan.
    Christ is central to this plan.
    All things, the law, the sacrifices, the festivals, were all summed up in Him.
    He is now exalted in heaven and will soon come put all of the hostile forces under His feet.
    Think about this, everything we do as the church is a witness to the glory of Christ.
    We make know the “multi-faceted wisdom” of God not just to others but also to the heavenly realm.
    Can you imagine people from all background in Ephesus hearing this message.
    People from every walk of life, every station in life, being told they are testifying to heavenly beings.
    As part of the church, we do the same today, as we live and proclaim, the angels are watching and rejoicing and giving God glory for His plan that includes us.

    A Missionary Draws Near To God Verse 12

    Part of the mystery is that we can experience a nearness to God that no one under the old covenant could ever understand.
    In light of who’s watching, that’s comforting to know.
    We can come freely, openly, and without constraint with boldness and confidence to God.
    We can take advantage of the great privilege through prayer anytime.
    We can come near God’s throne of grace and find help in a time of need.
    We can pray to God the Father, though Jesus the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
    When we do, He hears us, He is for us, and He is with us.
    We are never alone.
    We have His Spirit with us
    And we have the church with us.
    Paul is our model for our service to Christ.
    You may not feel like Paul and think he was far more than we could ever be.
    And yet, we have the same God, the same Spirit, to empower us to share the same Christ.
    Let’s do it then.
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        I Don't Have Faith To Be An Atheist

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        I Don't Have Faith To Be An Atheist

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