Paul's Ministry Explained (Eph.3:1-21)

  • Ephesians 3:1 "For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,"
    "Cause" = Bringing together the Jews and Gentiles into one body the Church, Household
    of God, the habitation of God. (Acts 2:19-22)
    "prisoner of Jesus Christ" = A prisoner the preaching of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles.
    (Acts 21:27 -33), Bound at Jerusalem for teaching "against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple."
    Eph. 3: 13 "Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory"

    Paul's was suffering because the will of God for the Gentiles was being carried out.

    Ephesians 3:2-5 "If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 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; "

    "Dispensation" = 3622. oikonomia, oy-kon-om-ee'-ah; from G3623; administration (of a household or estate); spec. a (religious) "economy":--dispensation, stewardship.

1. It was the arrangement of the Lord that Paul would preach to the Gentiles
(Acts 9: 15) "But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear
my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will show him how
great things he must suffer for my name's sake."
(Acts 22: 21) "And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles."
(See also Acts 22:15-18)

  • 2. The mystery was made known to Paul by revelation of the Spirit (verse 5).
    (John16: 13)
    3. Paul wrote (afore) previously and explained the mystery. (Acts 1:9-10, 2:11-18)
    4. Ephesians can know the same knowledge by reading. (verse 4)
    5. This knowledge was not given to other dispensations "AS" it is revealed to apostles and prophets.
    • a. It was made known in other ages: Abraham (GEN. 22: 18 "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.")
      b. With the coming of Christ and His new covenant, the mystery had to be explained.
    1. To the apostles: (Acts 10:9-48) Peter on the housetop, seeing a vision of animals to kill and eat.
    2. Then to Jews: Gal. 3: 14 "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ."
    3. Now to the Gentiles here in the letter to the Ephesians.

    EPHESIANS 3:6 "That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
    1. Fellowheirs = 4789. sugkleronomos, soong-klay-ron-om'-os; from G4862 and G2818; a co-heir,
    i.e. (by anal.) participant in common: --fellow (joint) -heir, heir together, heir with.

    2. Same body = 4954. sussomos, soos'-so-mos; from G4862 and G4983; of a joint body, i.e. (fig.) a fellow-member of the Christian community: --of the same body.

    3. Partakers of the promise = 1860. epaggelia, ep-ang-el-ee'-ah; from G1861; an announcement (for information, assent or pledge; esp. a divine assurance of good): --message, promise.

    4. In Christ = The source

    5. By the Gospel = The method used to invite and admit the gentiles.
    (Romans 10:12 "For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.")

    Ephesians 3:7 "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. 8 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; 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:"

    Unsearchable = 421. anexichniastos, an-ex-ikh-nee'-as-tos; from G1 (as a neg. particle) and a presumed der. of a comp. of G1537 and a der. of G2487; not tracked out, i.e. (by impl.) untraceable:--past finding out, unsearchable.

    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, 11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: 12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him."

    A. Could it be that through the church (one body containing both Jews and
    Gentiles) angelic beings learn the "manifold wisdom of God"?

    B. I Corinthians 4:9 "For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it
    were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to
    angels, and to men."

    • Spectacle = 2302. theatron, theh'-at-ron; from G2300; a place for public show ("theatre"), i.e. general audience-room; by impl. a show itself (fig.):--spectacle, theatre.
  • C. Hebrews 12: 22 "But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the
    living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of
    angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are
    written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men
    made perfect,"
    When one becomes a participant in the Church (the body), he is also in the
    presents of angels.

    D. I Peter 1:11 " Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ
    which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of
    Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12 Unto whom it was revealed, that
    not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now
    reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the
    Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look
    Yes, it is true the Church is the way God makes known his manifold wisdom, fulfilling his plan that was before the world. (Eph. 1:4 " According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:")

    Ephesians 3:14 "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,"
    A. Paul submits to the God the Father, who is the originator of the whole family.
    Eph. 4: 6 "One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."

    Ephesians 3:16 "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."
    A. Paul prays that God would bless and strengthen them through the Spirit.
    B. That they would let Christ dwell in them by faith, and they would be rooted and grounded in love.
    C. By doing these they "may be able" to understand the:

    1. bredth = Heb.2:9 "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the
    angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by
    the grace of God should taste death for every man."
    It embraces all men Jews and Gentiles.

    2. Length = John 13:1 "Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end."
    They would understand how far Christ love would go.

    3. Height = John 17:24 "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world."
    The height of Christ love is the aim of his love. (John 14:1-3)

    4. Depth = Luke 5: 32 "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
    The love of Christ goes to the lowest depths of human sin. His love is offered to the vilest sinner.

    Ephesians 3: 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."

    A. Paul magnifies and praises the power of God and his care for us.