'Word from Scotland' with Sandy Shaw
Originally posted on 11/04/2019
We are reading in Ephesians 3. Paul changes from these magnificent themes about Faith in Jesus Christ - and suddenly becomes quite personal. Both are needed. We see the reason for this.
Because of these magnificent themes which he has been preaching, teaching and writing - I, Paul am the prisoner of Christ Jesus - for the sake of you Gentiles.
We need sound theology and the ability to share our testimony. Paul was able to do both.
This man of God who travelled and preached and founded churches and visited various churches - is now limited in Rome - housebound in Rome - and he is able to handle and cope with this restriction so ably and so positively.
Do you ever feel you are being so limited - that you want to be able to do more for God - that you are not doing enough for God - that you would like to be set free?
That can be good - and is probably a sign that you are in God's will.
Paul accepted this limitation - Paul accepted these restrictions without complaining - as part of his service in the Kingdom of God.
He shares with us - teaching us - how the Grace of God is administered and managed - and – “I want to share it all with you”. This is the mystery made known to me by REVELATION. Paul could never have worked all this out for himself. He had to have God reveal it to him. Paul has received a wonderful insight into how God works and moves.
Part of this mystery is - that the Gentiles can now come to God without first coming to the Jews - and without becoming a Jew.
This is radical - revolutionary - that Gentiles can come to know Almighty God - the God of Israel - the God of the Jews - and have communion and fellowship with HIM.
We take this for granted - because we have never had to face this problem - but these disciples did then.
What had been hidden for centuries has now been revealed - and he was chosen to share this secret of God - among those who were once not God's People.
This is one reason why Paul faced such opposition at times. He preached to Gentiles - the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ - the inexhaustible wealth which available to us.
Verse 9 - Our task is to keep all this as simple as we can - and make it plain. We do not need to dress up the Gospel - or varnish it.
Verse 7 - Paul was a servant of the Gospel as well as being a prisoner of Christ.
Paul was called to light a lamp in a dark place - and this is our calling too - our task - our prophetic remit. We are called to help blind people see.
We will never run out of grace - we will never run out of resources.
One man asked me - "Is this going to be your method of preaching - just expounding and explaining exegetically the Gospel and the Bible?" "YES." "Well - you will never run out of resources." We need to know that - we will never run out of resources. We will never exhaust the Holy Spirit. We can spend His Wealth today - and there will be fresh supplies to-morrow. We can minister in His Power today - feel drained - and quickly recover as we REST in HIM.
Paul has so much to teach us in these verses - about God - about Jesus - about the Church - and he refers to himself as "less than the least of all God's people". This is not false or veiled humility - he perhaps remembers what he once was - and why should he be chosen and called and sent?
This Grace was given for a purpose. God always gives His Grace for a purpose.
Verse 10 - We read something of God's intention - and this again is strong writing - but remember who it is who is writing this - a man in Christ who has been faithful to GOD for some 25 years.
What did God intend to do? Make known HIS manifold wisdom - through the Church. MANIFOLD = varied colours - a variety of colours - it was used of a cloth or flowers - intricate beauty. The Church is VITAL. It is the body of Christ - it is vital for preaching and for salvation - it is vital regarding what God is doing in the world.
The Church is NOT some after thought in the mind of GOD.
God knew what HE was going to do when HE sent Jesus. When Jesus was crucified, the Father knew what was going to happen - so did the Holy Spirit.
The Blood of the sacrificial Lamb of God is shed to wash away our sin. Jesus is raised up. The risen Jesus appears to disciples - 50 days later the Risen and Ascended Lord Jesus Christ pours out the Holy Spirit upon men and women - and this HE continues to do - and we are part of all this.
Verse 11 - This is part of His eternal purpose - not some after thought - and it is being revealed through the Church. And - angels are observing what God is doing - good angels and bad angels.
Verse 12 - in HIM and through FAITH in HIM - we may approach God with freedom and confidence. What a privilege is afforded to us – every one of us can approach God through Jesus Christ - directly. This is what the Father offers us through Jesus Christ.
You can limit a man's preaching by putting him in prison - but you cannot stop him praying. That must have encouraged many of these disciples - and must have given them confidence.
“Loving Father – Almighty God – I see so clearly that the Church is central to Your purposes. May the church of Jesus Christ be central to my purposes too – and remain so in my heart and mind. Enable me to become more active in prayer. Allow the truths of Your infallible Word to be grounded deep within me – hear me as I pray, in Jesus name. Amen”