The Letter to the Ephesians Message Nine
VI. Promise Ephesians 3:1-13
As we read the Scriptures and understand the revelation of God from the beginning we must, as the New Testament believers also must, learn that the Gospel to the Gentiles was not an afterthought! The promises of God were revealed at His appointed time in accordance to His will, and we see in His Word the perfect plan set before the beginning of time.
Jesus came “in the fulness of time…”
Jesus ministered “…my time is not yet come…”
Jesus died “…when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father…”
God revealed His plan –
A. To enable all men to come to Him by grace through faith –
Ephesians 3:1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you
To understand Paul’s statement “For this cause…” we must read again the previous verses –
Ephesians 2:18-22 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
The cause is that men might know that it is God’s will for to be united in Him and being united in Him, to be united with one another –
John 17:22-23 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
B. To explain that Paul was called of God to declare this message –
Ephesians 3:2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
1. Paul was touched by conviction, as they were.
Acts 9:4-5 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
2. He was taught by revelation –
Ephesians 3:3-4 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
a. The Authority of this revelation was God.
Galatians 1:11-12 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
b. The acceptance of this authority was of God
(The Gentile church is not an invention of the Apostle Paul as some have claimed.)
Ephesians 3:5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
Acts 15:14-18 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
Galatians 2:7-9 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
3. He was tasked with the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles.
Ephesians 3:6-8 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
4. He was training others to follow the commission of God –
Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Paul was preparing men to prepare others to carry out the commission of the Lord Jesus Christ until He returns. He was training his generation to train the following generation until the “…end of the world.”
2 Timothy 1:12-13 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
C. To exalt the Lord Jesus Christ
1. Returning the glorious news of Christ –
Ephesians 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
- shouting it back unto all those that gave the first news of His arrival –
Luke 2:8-14 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
2. Reminding us again of how much the Lord loves His church –
Ephesians 3:11-12 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
Refer to –
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
The Lord loved the church from eternity past, before creation, He loved His church. In the sense of the infinite, Jesus loved it immediately, and in the sense of time, He loved it in anticipation.
We do not truly understand the infinite, but we who are married certainly understand the immediate and the anticipation of the marriage to our loved one. Jesus loved and loves the unity brought forth by grace through faith.
Grace brings us peace, but praise God as we grow in Him and daily learn also that grace brings boldness and access to Him.
D. To ease their concern for him
Ephesians 3:13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
Paul completed this thought by telling them not to worry about the tribulations he was going through – it is all worth it and after all – very temporary.
It is all in His plan – no surprise to God, it is just being revealed to us, unfolding as it were as time moves forward.
Have you submitted yourself to His plan – calling upon Him through salvation?