Sunday, September 18, 2016

Paul's Epistles - Ephesians - Part 6: Paul’s Revelation

Paul's Epistles - Ephesians - Part 6:
Paul’s Revelation
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

In Paul’s 35 years of ministry, since his conversion in Damascus, we have recorded in the Holy Bible many of his epistles, or letters.

Paul’s first journey took place from 33AD (the year of his conversion), through 46AD, leaving Damascus in 38AD.

Paul’s 2nd journey began in 50AD, four years later; during this time he wrote 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, and Galatians, with his second journey ending in 54AD.

Paul’s 3rd journey began in 55AD and lasted until 58AD where he found himself imprisoned in Judea from 58-60AD. During his 3rd journey Paul wrote 1st and 2nd Corinthians, and Romans. We have no record of writings from Paul during his prison time between 58-60AD in Judea.

After his release from Judea, Paul traveled on his voyage to Rome from 60-61AD, writing Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon, and finding himself in a Roman prison in 63AD.

Released soon after his incarceration, Paul then writes the epistles Hebrews, 1st Timothy, Titus and his final letter before his death 2 Timothy, which was written from a Roman prison he was placed in during 66-68AD.

Though the bible does not tell us when or how Paul died, it is believed by scholars that he was beheaded in 68AD in May or June.

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—
Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 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.
I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 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 that 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.

Paul’s Explanation how both the Jew and Gentile are reconciled through Christ

The message of this epistle to the church is “The Church, The Body of Christ”.

Scripture again begins with “Therefore”, which is a reference to the previous verses where Paul explains that there are those who were born Gentile, but were no longer separate from the Lord because of the blood of Christ, and because of Christ, Gentiles are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of the household.

Today, Paul explores God’s plan for the Gentiles.

a. Paul, a prisoner of Christ for the sake of Gentiles
                                                                                  i. Remember, Paul wrote this epistle from a prison in Rome.

                                                                               ii. He did not consider himself a prisoner of Nero, rather a prisoner for the sake of Christ.

b. The mystery revealed to Paul through revelation by the Holy Spirit
                                                                                  i. Which was made known to Paul so we would have it in text

c. Which was not made known to other generations
                                                                                  i. However, has now been revealed by the Holy Spirit to Apostles and Prophets

1. Paul was given this revelation first! Galatians 1:11-12

                                                                               ii. What is the mystery? Through the gospel Gentiles are heirs with Israel, members of one body, sharing in the promise of Christ Jesus

a. I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people
                                                                                  i. True humility made evident here in scripture

b. God’s Grace was given to me
                                                                                  i. As it is to us all

c. Mission: to preach to the Gentiles the Boundless Riches of Christ
                                                                                  i. The riches are not gold and silver, which is worldly, rather salvation and reconciliation to God through the Cross, which is Spiritual.

                                                                               ii. And to make plain (easy to understand) to everyone (Jew and Gentile) the administration (delivering) of this mystery.

a. God’s intent is that NOW (the church age / age of Grace) through the church, the wisdom of God should be known

                                                                                  i. What mystery? The gospel converts the lost into God’s people

                                                                               ii. Made known to whom?

1. Rulers and Authorities in heavenly realms (righteous angels)

2. Because even the angels had not known of God’s intent from before time to bring man into reconciliation to God through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

b. According to God’s eternal purpose (from before the beginning)
                                                                                  i. God formed the plan of salvation of man before time

                                                                               ii. That plan was centered on the Lord Jesus and what He did at the Cross

c. In Christ Jesus our Lord, we may approach God with freedom and confidence

                                                                                  i. Because of the Cross
1. We can have boldness in our approach to God (Hebrews 4:16)

                                                                               ii. The only way we have access to the Throne of God is by and through Jesus Christ and His atoning work at the Cross

CONCLUSION – i ask you therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.
We close today with Paul asking that we not allow our faith to weaken because he is currently in a Roman prison writing.

“Which is your glory”

In other words, whatever happens to me will be for your good, and for the greater good of proclaiming the gospel.

God is in control, even when others cannot see it.

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