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3 Eph 1-14, FBC

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Cosmic Christianity: 

February 11, 2007; FBC

Ephesians 3:1-11

3       For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—

2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you,  3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly.  4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,  5 which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.  6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power.  8 Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,  9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.  10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,  11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.  12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.  13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

30.68 οἰκονομίαb, ας f: a plan which involves a set of arrangements (referring in the NT to God’s plan for bringing salvation to mankind within the course of history)—‘purpose, scheme, plan, arrangement.’ αἵτινες ἐκζητήσεις παρέχουσιν μᾶλλον οἰκονομίαν θεοῦ τὴν ἐν πίστει ‘these promote controversies rather than God’s plan, which is by faith’ 1 Tm 1.4; φωτίσαι πάντας τίς οἰκονομία τοῦ μυστηρίου ‘to make all people see what his secret plan is’ Eph 3.9.

[1]

28.77 μυστήριον, ου n: the content of that which has not been known before but which has been revealed to an in-group or restricted constituency—‘secret, mystery.’ ὑμῖν δέδοται γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν ‘the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you’ Mt 13.11. There is a serious problem involved in translating μυστήριον by a word which is equivalent to the English expression ‘mystery,’ for this term in English refers to a secret which people have tried to uncover but which they have failed to understand. In many instances μυστήριον is translated by a phrase meaning ‘that which was not known before,’ with the implication of its being revealed at least to some persons.

[2]

You have HEARD ... (v2)

You will be able to UNDERSTAND (v4)

1)  Paul’s sense of stewardship . . .

2)  . . . Concerning the mystery of Christ

(Mystery:  the content of that which has not been known before but which has been revealed to an in-group or restricted constituency)

4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,

A) Not known in previous generations

 5 which was not made known to men in other generations

B) Now revealed by apostles

as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.

Substance of mystery:

 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

We are all in!

            Through the gospel…

                        Gentiles heirs together with Israel

                        Members together of one body

                        Sharers together in the promise of Jesus Christ

So then, if this is such a great privilege, how is it that you, Paul, came into this opportunity?

7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power.  8 Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,  9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.

 

            Paul, Servant of gospel

                        By the gift of grace

                        Through His power

                        To preach unsearchable riches of Christ

                        Make plain to administration of mystery

And what is God really up to with all of this?

  10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,  11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.  12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.  13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

God is not after growth, measured by size; he is interested in multiplication.

In the MYSTERY OF CHRIST, we have been included in God’s Kingdom agenda.

·        Jesus Christ makes a difference!

                                    Illus:  Barry and friend, Paddy, out on Yukon

·        Satan is a defeated foe because of Christ

·        The outcome of the battle is fixed

God’s intent:

·        Through the Church

o       Reveal God’s many colored wisdom

o       To the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms

·        Eternal purpose

o       Continuity down through time

o       Allows us to approach with freedom and confidence


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[1]Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996, c1989). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (1:357). New York: United Bible societies.

[2]Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996, c1989). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (1:344). New York: United Bible societies.

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