20230312_Ephesians2V19-3v13

Thu, Mar 30, 2023 5:26PM 49:05

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

gentiles, church, verse, paul, god, christ, saints, gospel, prophets, revealed, building, access, cornerstone, jews, jesus, mystery, grace, fellow heirs, preach, jew

 

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I love that gospel singing. The mason Church of Christ welcomes you to another radio broadcast. We'd also like you to come be with us at 1020. This morning, we'll have a full worship service where the with red roof building on highway 87 heading out to Fredericksburg and Mason, Texas, we'd love to have you can be with us we'll we'll have a full worship service that is we'll sing our songs will say our prayers will give back to God, we will study from God's Word and we'll gather around the Lord's table as we do every first day of the week as the first century church did. So we do and we'd love to have you come be with us.

 

Last Last time we were together we were in Ephesians chapter two. And we got down to verse 18. For through him, we both have access by one spirit to the Father. And I touched on the, the the access part of that also we mentioned that, that's one of those, one of those special verses in scripture that that contains all three, all three members of the Godhead, through him, that would be God the Son, through one Spirit, that would be God, the Spirit, and then to the Father that would be God, God the Father. So three, all three members of the Godhead are, are present in verse 18. And we touched on access. Now just mentioned it again. We have access by one spirit to the Father, through Christ, we have access by one spirit to the Father.

 

Access I think I mentioned availability. When you have access, when you have access to something, something is available to you for have access to have access to a car. It's available to me, isn't it? We have access to the Father. We have access to salvation and it's only through Christ.

 

That Jesus, Jesus says I am the Way and the Truth and the Life and no man comes to the Father, except by me. We have that access. It's available to us and it's available to everyone will point out again it's it's available to all For God so loved all of the world. The whole world that he gave Jesus, Jesus died on that cross. With that perfect blood he shed that perfect blood for the whole world for everyone. Meaning everyone has access to that blood. And that's that's been the point here in chapter two. We've We've brought in Jew and Gentile here, in the in the Gentiles had been brought into the fold, and in through through one body. We can we all have access both Jew Ingenta male, male and free, are male and female, slave and free.

 

We all have access to the Father, and thus to heaven and to salvation through Jesus. It's available to all does that mean all will be in heaven someday? No. No, in fact, Jesus said most, most won't. Not because it's a difficult concept. Concept is is simple but because it's a difficult way, he said, Matthew chapter seven verse 13, and 14 It's a difficult way the the track is difficult. The road is narrow and the way is difficult. To the Broadway is where most folks will go. But that's not the way to the Father. But again, all have access to it.

 

So verse 19, we're in Ephesians, chapter two, verse 19, we all have access to the Father. So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers remember, remember our ground rules last week? We mentioned you and we, in chapter two, the you when you when you read, why do you use is Gentiles? The we would be the Jews. When you're when you're looking at those pronouns, so what he's saying here and 19 So then you the Gentiles are no longer foreigners and strangers. And we had gone through that before in a couple other verses. They were estranged, they were foreigners, and strangers because they were Gentiles because they weren't Jews. But now you are no longer that they they they are no longer strangers or foreigners. sojourners one, one version says.

 

So through the body through the church. They're first class citizens, along with the Jews, with all the rights with all the privileges, they are saints, who have been separated out of the world, they've been separated out of the world to Christ. No longer strangers, foreigners, sojourners. But in fact, fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God's household fellow citizens and members of God's household that that word saint is a called out it's a separated, one who is separated from from the world. sanctified is the is what the term means, sanctified, and st come from the same root word.

 

In fact, the same word that we get holy, you be holy, for I am holy, same root word, we are saints. Notice that, that living, living people are saints, Christians are saints. foreign, foreign to a lot of the teaching that goes on today. So they'll they'll declare somebody as a saint that's been dead for years. And they will they they announced them as saints. That's, that's foreign to Scripture. All Christians are saints, all separated. And he says they are fellow citizens, as saints, fellow citizens together Jew and Gentile together fellow citizens of the household of God. So he brings up the term household of God. Again, another, another metaphor that used to describe the church.

 

We have, we have the body of Christ, we have the Bride of Christ, we have the temple of God, the church of God. The another, another metaphor here is of a household or a family. We're a family. We're a spiritual family. We are children in the in the family of God, All Saints are and again, there's neither Jew nor Gentile, male nor female, slave nor free.

 

There's no There's no picking out of, of different groups, there's no segregation, if you will, we're, we're all as saints, members of this household members of this family, a spiritual family, brothers and sisters will be referred to and just like A note on this family is important, isn't it? And I guess it it's different with different folks. I guess they're, there's some folks that really didn't have a family and that's sad and, and kind of have been on their own and but for the most part, most of us understand family and family is important and that's who the church is.

 

The church is a family described as brothers and sisters, and in families, families are to be close. There to to meet together. Hebrews 1026 says, Don't forsake the the assembling of yourselves. Don't forsake the family reunion. We have family reunion at least once a week, don't we, on the first day of the week. And we're not to to refuse that we're not to do take that for granted and, and miss out on that. That reunion time that family time to get together. We're a spiritual family. What do you what do families do they do the they get together, they they got each other's backs, they're, they're close. They eat together. That's we're, we're, we're a family and we were together. We pray for one another. Don't Don't, don't miss this metaphor. Because it's real. It's real important.

 

And then within the context here, it's saying that Jews and Gentiles ones who used to call each other names, they they they described the other, the others as dogs and the uncircumcised or they, they didn't get along and were really ugly to one another. What this is saying here is, is through Christ now. They're a family, their brothers and sisters. And that's the way that's the way the church ought to be. That's the way we should be. In fact, you could say that, members, members of the Church, members of a church family are closer even than then blood family, then physical families. Because the tie is eternal, the physical family will all die and they'll they'll they'll be gone. Not not with the spiritual family, not with the church family. It's forever will one day all live with one another forever. So in that sense, there's, there's a stronger tie to the household of God. Then a household of, of relatives of a physical family. Make sense?

 

Verse 20, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. So here's even another metaphor brought in with the idea of a building. The church is a building. This, this household of God is a building a building that's, that's built on a foundation, foundation of the, the apostles and the prophets. The, the, the prophets were the, the New Testament prophets, the apostles, the prophets, they're their foundation in a in a secondary sense, as they they put this all together with God's word. They, they drew this all together the apostles and the prophets did on a cornerstone. Listen to the rest of the verse. Let's let's just read the whole verse built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, who, who preached it preached, preach the the salvation, preach the prayer.

 

Ah, the gospel message that, that, that put this, put this church together on a foundation with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone the cornerstone being Christ, the foundation of the apostles and the prophets with that with that cornerstone in, in, in the, in the first century. Day in time the the cornerstone was a big deal. It was a big deal in building in building a building, in building houses. Building that building there, there was a chief cornerstone that was that was set, and then everything else was built off of it. So that's the that's the idea from the first century and, and where this comes from?

 

Well, Jesus is that cornerstone in our building. He's the cornerstone everything, everything revolves and evolves around him, everything's grown out from him, he is that he is that cornerstone in the church today. And we are, we are all stones, that that hook up with that chief cornerstone. Again, with the, with the with that foundation also in a secondary sense being with the the apostles and the prophets. Their their foundation in the secondary sense as as his Jesus's the, the real or or primary foundation. First kid, First Corinthians chapter three, gives a an even better commentary on this good commentary on this. So verse 21, we're in Ephesians, chapter two, verse 21, the whole building is being fitted together in him. Once again, you can't you can't miss it, can you? It's practically every verse in Christ in him in the Lord. You can't miss the prepositional phrase, because that's, that that's what sets the whole thing up. So the whole building is being fitted together in him. The chief cornerstone, the chief cornerstone on whom the the he, he determines the, the setup of the wall and the stones that go out from him. This whole building is being fitted fitted together in him as that as that chief cornerstone, and is growing into a holy sanctuary. In the Lord. There it is again, in the Lord in Christ in him. So there's, there's one church, it's the temple of God. It's the building of God. It's composed of the apostles and the prophets, the Jews and the Gentiles. Every Christian is a stone fitted together to make this building to make this temple the temple of God in the Christian age is not a it's not a church building or a man made structure.

 

The church is the redeemed. The redeemed in Christ, that are the living stones. And again, it's made up of Jews and Gentiles. This shows the the oneness of Jews and Gentiles in Christ. These stones are all fitted together and make up the they make up the church. living stones fitted together with the chief cornerstone, Jew and Gentile apostles and prophets, all all in one. All in this one church. Verse 22, in whom there's an there's another prepositional phrase isn't there? But it means the same thing that that whom is Jesus, in whom you also are being built together? For God's dwelling in the Spirit, all Christians are living stones which constitute the the temple of God, this building in the Christian age, and God dwells in this temple through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is is among us and dwells in here again first. First Corinthians chapter three is good commentary on that also.

 

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Chapter Three. We're in Ephesians chapter three, verse one for this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus, on behalf of you Gentiles. So here's, again Ephesians is a prison epistle. The prison epistles are Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon are considered prison epistles because crap, because Paul is in prison at the time that he's writing them. He's writing this letter tied, chained to a Roman guard 24/7 under house arrest. And and he's the he's a prisoner, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, meaning that all that he did wrong was, was for Jesus. He did he did, he did nothing wrong. He he was merely preaching the gospel and, and is prisoned because of it. So he considers him a prisoner of Christ Jesus, on behalf of you Gentiles. You know, Paul is considered the, the preacher to the Gentiles. And he went first to the Jew. But when he was when he was finally turned away, he turned himself to the Gentiles, which was the which was the plan all along, he was to be the preacher to the Gentiles, the perfect, perfect. The perfect guy for that for that job.

 

Verse two, you have heard, haven't you about the administration of God's grace that He gave to me for you? So Paul, in prison, he's, again, this prisoner of Christ. He's going to digress if you will, to, to explain more fully what he meant by being the prisoner of Christ for the Gentiles. He had received a divine commission to preach the gospel of the Gentiles. And he's, he's, he's going to explain that. Better. Starting here in verse two, he said, I was made this minister, according to the administration of God, God, God made him this special he was so so in Acts chapter nine. We read that and, and is was told that to go to Saul, to go to Saul of Tarsus, for he is a chosen vessel of mine. God, God chose him specifically. He's this Chosen Vessel again, he was perfect for the job. And again, he he had to accept it, didn't he? He, he had to accept it just as we do. He had to accept the gospel, accept Christ and accept this, this job that was laid out for him, but God had specifically done this.

 

So Paul's explaining that here leave verse three. The mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have briefly written above, so Paul didn't make up his message. He received it by revelation. In Galatians, he, he said, this was not given to me by man, that I received it directly from God. Jesus revealed to him things that that, that men did not know before. Thus the mystery and mystery in the New Testament is what was once concealed has now been revealed.

 

as kind of a an ease See way to remember that little rhyming tune there? What once was concealed has now been revealed. That's the mystery here. He said, I've written to you this before. What he said here is that this he's repeating, he's the subject he's told them before. That I wrote it before I've told you before we see it in, in chapters one and two, could have been another letter that he had written that we don't have. In Hand, verse four, by reading this, you are able to understand my insight about the mystery of the Messiah.

 

So the mystery of Christ was salvation for all, all mankind, in Christ, just as we've been discussing all along, both Jew and Gentile, every everyone's included. The so this, this mystery of Christ is that, that salvation through the gospel message, in this, in this epistle, Paul emphasize the Gentiles are to be God's people, as well as the Jews in one body and in the church. As we've said before that, that is, that is the mystery here. Verse five, this was not made known to people in other generations, as it is now revealed to His Holy Apostles, and prophets by the Spirit. So, in the Old Testament, God, God had revealed to the prophets, that he would bless the Gentiles. So that was that was prophesied in the Old Testament, what these prophets, though didn't make clear was that with the coming of the Messiah, that the law of Moses would be abolished, that it would be it would be taken away taken out of the way, and that the Jews and the Gentiles would be treated as one in a new institution. So the prophets had revealed that the Gentiles would be included, but it wasn't ever told that they would be all together. So, what was once conceals, now been revealed? This is now this is now the mystery. The mystery has been revealed. It's been, it's been told, they will be a part of one institution, the church, the the Judaism is gone, the old law is gone. And now they are together as one. This has now been made known through the through the apostles. Paul was one of them. All of the apostles and prophets revealed this, that being the New Testament prophets, they all spoke the same message. First six, were Ephesians chapter three, verse six, the Gentiles are co heirs. Members of the same body. And partners have the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Again, just saying the same thing over again.

 

The Gentiles and Jews, both children of God, since they are children of God, they are fellow heirs. They, they just, I mean, just think about think about that term in the in the physical sense. Somebody a person dies and they have children. Let's say they've got four children. Well, those, those four, those four kids will be fellow heirs of the inheritance. Whatever, whatever dad left for them, those those four will be fellow heirs. That's I mean, that's all he's saying. Here they they are fellow heirs, he IRS of, of the promise, that promise of heaven. We're all together. Again, the fellow we're brothers and sisters, fellow partakers, if you will, of the promise, that promising cracks through again through the gospel The Don't, don't miss that either the gospel message, the gospel is God's power to save Romans 116 It is the it is the means by which God has left. For us to to, to have salvation, we mentioned having access earlier. We we have access to salvation through the Gospel. The Gospel reveals it.

 

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Romans 116 17 says, For I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation. To the Jew, first and also to the Greek. In it is revealed, the righteousness of God, in that gospel message is revealed the way that God makes us right. both Jew and Greek, fellow heirs, having access by using that gospel message by believing and obeying it, we believe that gospel to be God's word, and we and we obey it as such. And when we do that, we become members of this body, members of the Body of Christ, fellow heirs fellow partakers of the promise of eternal life, living with him forever.

 

All together, you see all this, see, see all this is put together had it just, it just works does that. It's it's I mentioned earlier, it's it's a simple plan. The plan is simple. The, the living it out is the difficult part. And where we're most, most folks will fall short. Verse seven, I was made a servant of this gospel, by the gift of God's grace that was given to me by the working of his power. So, verse seven is saying that, Paul, he had been commissioned to preach the gospel of Christ. In fact, he, he believed that this was the the highest honor that he could have. It was it was according to the, to the gift of the grace of God. He says here in this passage, he you know, Paul talks a lot about his, his apostolic ministry, the the ministry that he had, as being the grace of God given to him, he, he mentioned that several times in, in in those words, the grace of God has been given to me. Paul spoke of the power of God, which the power which worked in him in Colossians, 129, Paul writes, I labor also striving, according to his working, which works in me mightily. Paul taught that whatever, whatever good he did in preaching the gospel to the last, it was God's power, God's power, accomplish this not not His power. He, he understood where all the power came from. He was, he was very humble in, in, in respect to all of this, he called himself the chief of sinners, and that he wasn't worthy to, to do the things that he did, and but he counted is a blessing and, and by the grace of God, he was going to do it. But it would be God working through him. That was the that was the way that he spoke it.

 

Verse eight, he continues this, this same, this same thought this grace was given to me, the least of all the saints, that I mentioned that earlier that in this verse, He's he's saying that isn't the least of all the saints, he he considered himself to be the least of all the saints and, and the reason being is that he used to persecute the church. He he persecuted the church and until, until he knew the truth until that episode on the road to Damascus, he, he believed he believed what he was doing was right. He said, I've lived in all good car Just to this day. So even when he was persecuting the church, even even when they were laying their coats at his feet after stoning Steven, he believed that what he was doing was right. So there's this sense that he, he's saying I am the least of all the saints, Paul looked at himself in that way. And yet we would, we would look at it just the opposite when we, when we read his writings in the life of him and all that he went through, and all that he did, we would, I'm sure most of us would say he was the greatest of the saints. He he accomplished more than any of them. But, but this is, this is Paul, saying, he was by grace, this grace was given to me, the least of all the saints, to proclaim to the Gentiles, then the incalculable, the NIV says, riches of the Messiah, to proclaim to the Gentiles, the, the greatness, of the riches of the Messiah. He the King James Version says, the unsearchable riches of Christ. The, just the, the greatness of, of all of this of the riches God's.

 

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By the grace of God, Paul preached the unsearchable riches of of Christ, of the Messiah, verse nine, and to shed light, for all about the administration of the mystery hidden for ages. In God who created all things as a there's a mouthful there isn't there, to shed light, for all about the administration of this mystery, this dispensation of the mystery. Another version says, He once was concealed has now been revealed. And, and he has he shed light on this things that, that the Old Testament prophets didn't know they didn't. They, they, they just said things about it, but had no clue about the, the whole mystery that's now been revealed. And, and he is the one to, to shed light. This mystery hidden for ages, hidden all through the time, it was hidden from from Abraham and from Moses, and from Isaiah, it was hidden from all of them. And now, Paul is shedding light on it, he's revealing it it's, it's been put out. God who created all things, he ends it with the another, just another truth, right? He's, he is the, the creator of all the creator of the universe. God who created the world is the he's the same God who redeemed the world. This is clear to Christians today.

 

Paul, Paul was probably answering the Gnostic claim that the creator in the Redeemer we're different, is probably the reason that that was placed in here, but a truth nonetheless. The creator of the world is also the Redeemer of the world. He is the He is the God of heaven, the great I am the One in whom we live and move and have our very being. He is He is the God. Verse 10. This is so that God's multifaceted wisdom, made may now be made known through the church, to the rulers and authorities in the heavens. Referring to the angels, so even the angels wanted to look into this. Even the angels are to to understand this, the angels didn't know beforehand all the all the plans of God. Listen to First Peter 112 the angels desired to look into these things.

 

Now as the as the church functions the church makes known makes known the manifold wisdom of God, the angels are learning from the church. That sounds strange, doesn't it? The angels are learning things from the church. So we today as the churches, as we proclaim the gospel, we're, we're, we're in charge of this army. God. So we're spoken of in in several passages as being, being vessels. We're God's vessels, to, to get that message out, to preach that gospel, he, he's, he's doing it through us through the church.

 

Remember, Jesus left, Jesus finished what he had to do, and went back and is seated at the right hand of the Father. So all that's going to get done today is going to be by his church, by his people. We will be the ones to make known the manifold wisdom of God by by preaching that gospel, by going into all the world and preaching the gospel, making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, Matthew, 2819, and 20. It's the church. It's our job to do this. Verse 11, this is according to the purpose of the ages, which he made in the Messiah, Jesus our Lord, or according to the eternal purpose which He purchased, which he purposed in Christ Jesus, our Lord in other versions of this, the things which were happening in the preaching of the gospel, and the adding of the Jews and the Gentiles into the church, into into one brotherhood into into one household into one building. Where according to the eternal purpose of God, this was the eternal purpose of God that this happened. And that this is happening today.

 

God had this in mind, before the world began to establish the church, that the church would be the ones putting out the gospel message, that they would be those vessels. You will ask this means that the death of Christ and the establishment of the church were no afterthought. It wasn't something that he just thought of. It wasn't a plan B.

 

I've heard folks say that. I've heard folks say that, that the church was plan B, the God God didn't plan on the church but but had to because Jesus was rejected. No, no, no way. I mean, we we've read it right here. Several verses are all in a row, that this, this was the purpose of God purposed from, from the beginning, from the beginning of time before the before time began. This was the purpose. Verse 12, in whom, there it is, again, that prepositional phrase, In whom we have boldness, access and confidence, through faith in him. These are three three great words aren't they? Boldness, access and confidence. In when we when we link to when we link them together. I guess you could say they mean courage, of confident access, courage of confident access. Therefore, by faith in Christ, Christians have the courage of confident access to the Father. We we touched on this earlier, this the this idea of access by by our faith in Christ, we have the courage, of confident access to God Again, Paul, Paul emphasizes the power was in Christ in in whom right? It was not, it was not even Christians.

 

Hebrews 416 gives added meaning to this verse. Let us therefore draw nearer with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need. Let us draw near with boldness, confidence, access, courage of confident, access. This special in it I'm special, I'm Special to God. He has given me he's given me access. You know, just in one aspect, just the, the access of prayer. And the, the more the closer you draw to God in the, in the in the the better your prayer life gets in it that grows that grows over time. You will, the closer you get to God, the more you'll just be, you'll be in, in prayer to Him and and going to him and

 

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just think about that access 24/7 Anytime, anytime, any time of day or night. We have access to him. We can go to him. How beautiful is that? Let's read one more verse. We'll close verse 13. So then, so then I asked you not to be discouraged over my afflictions on your behalf, for they are your glory. Paul is he's urging the Ephesian Christians not to be discouraged. Don't be discouraged that because I'm in prison, because I'm suffering for the cause of Christ. And, and, Paul, so Paul understands that he's in prison, because this, this is where Christ wanted him to be. To, to further the gospel, to further the gospel of Christ and Paul, Paul is willing to do everything that Christ wants him to do. If it meant being in prison, for Christ's sake, so be it. The the Gentile Christians, though, they might not understand this and and they could grow discouraged. With Paul being in prison, they might not understand this, this whole thing and have discouragement. So Paul's Paul's telling them here, don't be discouraged, be encouraged. God, God had never forsaken Paul and and God was working out what was best for the for the kingdom, for the people for you. Is what he's saying that this is for you.

 

Let's close. Our dear God in heaven, we, we thank You again for the for the gospel message for this for this message that we've read today and for all that it means to us we we see the courage that Paul had and and we we understand the access that we have to You. We thank you that we have that access to your God. May we may we use it often. We love you. To Jesus name we pray, Amen.