God’s plan and desire for us in Christ – Ephesians 3

God’s plan and desire for us in Christ

Ephesians 3:1-21

Intro:

         Have you ever wondered how it was that God worked out His plan in Jesus Christ?  All of those events in the Eden, in Egypt, in Babylon, in Gethsemane, in the tomb, and on Pentecost; did they happen by chance?  Is God like the football coach who gives his team a play to run, and then when the actual events occur things get changed in the heat of the moment?

         Did the Jews in the Old Testament see any evidence for Gentiles getting saved?  If they did, how could they ever join for Temple worship with the Gentiles, they are not allowed past the outer court.

         Have you ever thought about how great Christ’s love is for us?  Do you think that as a result of knowing Christ, and knowing how great His love is for you, that your life should be glorifying to God?

I)                   God’s plan carried out in Christ (1-12)

a.      Paul the apostle to the Gentiles (1-3)

                                                               i.      He is in jail for preaching the gospel to the Gentiles (1)

                                                             ii.      He was chosen by God to preach to the Gentiles (2)

                                                            iii.      He was made aware of the mystery by God’s revelation (3)

1.      As he wrote previously – Ephesians 1:9-10

b.      The mystery revealed (4-10)

                                                               i.      Paul’s writing makes it obvious that God has given him insight into the mystery of Christ (4)

                                                             ii.      This mystery has been revealed to the apostles and NT prophets (5)

1.      Holy apostles – they have been “set apart” for this ministry

2.      This was not revealed in the OT, and was a surprise for all of the believing, and even unbelieving Jews

                                                            iii.      The Gentiles and Jews are one body and equal in Christ (6)

1.      This was something new, the OT speaks of Gentiles getting saved, but never does it speak of the Gentiles being equally privileged or on equal footing with the Jews

                                                           iv.      God made Paul an apostle by His grace and through His power (7)

                                                             v.      Paul the least of all saints, called to preach the unfathomable riches of Christ to the Gentiles (8)

1.      Unfathomable riches – salvation, standing, and blessings

                                                           vi.      Paul was called to proclaim God’s mystery, that was hidden (9)

1.      Because he was sent to the Gentiles

                                                          vii.      The mystery was revealed to show God’s manifold wisdom (10)

1.      This is a loud proclamation of God’s wisdom to Satan and his demons – rulers and authorities in the heavenlies

2.      “Manifold” – in classical Greek it referred to the beauty of an embroidered pattern or the variety of colors in flowers, now geologists use the term to refer to unusually assorted crystals

c.      What Christ has done (11-12)

                                                               i.      God’s purpose of the ages/eternal purpose carried out in Christ our Lord (11)

1.      God planned all of this before hand, and He has brought it to pass – Isa 55:11, Jer. 1:12

                                                             ii.      We have boldness and confident access to God through faith in Christ (12)

II)                 God’s desire for us in Christ (14-21)

a.      Pray to God (Father) over all (14-15)

                                                               i.      Paul gets on his knees and prays (14)

                                                             ii.      We can pray to Him, He is King of kings, and Lord of lords (15)

1.      Father over all

b.      Christ should be center of our lives (16-19)

                                                               i.      Pray that God will bless us with strength through the Holy Spirit (16)

1.      2 Thess. 2:17

                                                             ii.      Christ will be at home in our hearts (17)

1.      “Dwell” – make Himself at home, they are already saved, this refers to Him reigning in their hearts

2.      “Rooted” in love – like a tree is anchored

3.      “Grounded” in love – like an established foundation of a building

                                                            iii.      So that we will understand the width, length, height, and depth of Christ’s love (18)

                                                           iv.      To Experientially know Christ’s love, so that we may be filled to the fullness of God (19)

1.      “Fullness of God” – His communicable attributes, with an emphasis on love

c.      Glorify God who can bring this to pass (20-21)

                                                               i.      He can accomplish this spiritual growth in us (20)

1.      “Faithful is He who calls you, who shall also bring it to pass.” 1 Thess. 5:23-24

                                                             ii.      The Church and Christ are to glorify God forever (21)

1.      Church – 1 Cor. 6:21; 10:31

2.      Christ – John 12:28; 13:31

Conclusion:

         God has made Jews and Gentiles one body, equal in stature and privilege in Christ.  This was revealed in the New Testament, not in the Old.  It was revealed to the apostles and NT prophets, and witnessed by us in the Scriptures. 

         God kept this plan hidden, carried it out, and then revealed it to display His amazing wisdom to all of His enemies (Satan and his demons).  A message that says, whatever I purpose to do, I will accomplish.

         Our desire and prayer should be that:

o       Christ will be at home in our hearts.

o       We will understand not just in a knowledge of facts, but to experientially know Christ’s love.

o       By knowing Christ’s love, we will grow spiritually, being conformed to the image of Christ.  This will enable us to love others, and God.

o       Glorify God, who can bring this about in our lives.

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