Ephesians 3:1–13comment (0)
September 30, 2010
By Dale Younce
Related Scripture: Ephesians 3:1–13
Explore the Bible
Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
God’s Power Comes by Grace
Salvation sparkles with God’s grace and power. Most Christians recognize that both grace and power are necessary in order to be saved. They also recognize that both are necessary for Christian witness and spiritual growth. But some seem to fail to understand that every opportunity to serve God comes as a result of His grace and an expression of His power. Consequently some believers miss out on the blessing of seeing God at work in their lives. In this week’s lesson, the apostle Paul explains the ministry to Gentiles, who had been given to him by God. The gospel message contains the great grace of God as well as the great power of God. The Christian’s responsibility is now to share the riches of Christ. We who are believers need to rely on God’s grace and power.
Recognizing God’s Grace (1–2)
The gospel is good news, not just good views. It is good news that God loves us, accepts us in Christ, forgives us and shares His life with us. It is the believer’s responsibility to share the good news so that others come to know Him. The apostle was in prison in Rome but did not consider himself a prisoner of any government or person. Rather he saw himself under Christ’s control with every aspect of his life in the Lord’s hands. He was in prison for preaching to the Gentiles. Just as the apostle saw himself as a special witness to Jesus so are we qualified and equipped to witness for Christ.
Recognizing God’s Revelation (3–6)
Paul felt compelled to state his authority for preaching the oneness of Jew and Gentile in Christ. This was a new, unexpected and far-reaching truth that many of the Ephesians apparently did not understand. God had given Paul a significant stewardship (“dispensation”) as the apostle to the Gentiles. The result of the preaching of the gospel was the unity in Christ of believing Jews and believing Gentiles. Paul referred to this truth of oneness as a “mystery of Christ.” The term “mystery” means that the spiritual oneness of believing Jews and believing Gentiles was in God’s eternal plan but was not revealed in the Old Testament; it has been revealed in the New Testament. As he wrote the Ephesian believers, Paul felt the need to explain this truth. Although God had promised universal blessing through Abraham (Gen. 12:1–3), the full meaning of that promise became clear only with the preaching of the gospel (Gal. 3:28). Paul explained what even the greatest prophets did not understand: The Church, composed of all the saved since Pentecost (both Jews and Gentiles), exists as one united body with no racial, social, cultural or economic distinctions. We all are fellow heirs in Christ. As part of God’s revealed, eternal plan, we have opportunities, by sharing the gospel, to serve Him and see others enter the united body, the Church.
Responding Through God’s Power (7–10)
No one can make himself or herself God’s servant, because the calling, message, work and power for genuine ministry are God’s to give. However, when, by God’s special favor and mighty power, a person is appointed His servant, it is a wonderful privilege. Even if one is not appointed in the same way Paul was, all believers have the exciting privilege and special joy of telling others the good news. We can tell others about the endless spiritual treasures found in Christ. When the gospel is shared, God’s multifaceted wisdom is put on display for the angels (both holy and unholy). God, by means of the one body of the Church, also displays His glory to all the angels. We are responding through God’s power when we accept opportunities to serve Him.
Rejoicing With Reason (11–13)
It has been God’s eternal purpose for the Church to glorify Him, and that purpose has been carried out through Jesus Christ. Because of Christ, we can come before God at any time, not in self-confidence but Christ-confidence. Consequently our sufferings glorify God, too. We can rely on Jesus regardless of what happens to us and rejoice in whatever helps others participate, by faith, in God’s eternal plan.