Ephesians 3:7-9 ESV
“Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things.”
Gentiles is another term for those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives. And, this includes all those who make professions of faith in Jesus Christ but who by their lifestyles deny him. For, their faith is lip service only, for their hearts never changed. They continued in their sin right in the face of God, taking God’s grace for them totally for granted.
So, it isn’t just those who make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ who need to hear the gospel. It is also those who say they believe in Jesus but who have believed a false gospel of grace which permits them to continue living in sin while claiming heaven as their eternal destiny. They need to be told the true gospel of grace which delivers us from addiction to sin.
For, God’s grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return (Titus 2:11-14).
Ephesians 3:10-13 ESV
“So that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.”
For, God did not call us to preach (teach, share) a watered-down version of the gospel which is intended to tickle itching ears. He did not call us to tell people what makes them feel good about themselves in their sin. He didn’t call us to shy away from telling the truth, so we don’t offend people, either. For, the message of the cross is an offense to those who are perishing.
We are called to teach the whole counsel of God, as Paul said he did. We are to tell others the whole truth, not half-truths which don’t offend, and which coddle people in their sin. For, we are not called to make people like us. We are called to lead them to repentance and to obedient faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord, whereby they die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness (1 Pet 2:24; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; Lu. 9:23-26).
So, we need to have courage and be bold in our witness for Jesus Christ and in the sharing of the gospel of our salvation. We must not fear other humans and what they might do to us or say about us or to us. We must not fear their rejection of us, either. For, their salvation must be more important to us than our own lives, for that is the example Jesus set before us.
Ephesians 3:14-19 ESV
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
God did not call us who are believers in Jesus to a halfhearted faith in Jesus Christ. He didn’t call us to merely profess his name or to spend five minutes a day reading a short devotional and to say our prayers. He didn’t call us to worship of him that is once a week, merely singing songs. And, he didn’t call us to some kind of casual relationship with him, either.
Truly Jesus is our best friend, and we can be at ease with him. But we are always to treat him with the utmost honor and respect and never lower him to the level of humans. He is not like us. We are supposed to be like him.
Our relationship with Jesus Christ is not to be on the side. He is not to get the leftovers. He is to be the main course! And, it is a huge main course, too! For, it includes all the fullness of God and the length and breadth and height and depth of his love for us, too. So, no cheap grace gospel here!
This is the whole thing! It is the full gospel message. It is all inclusive. It tells the complete story of God’s love for us, not the sugar-coated message that many charlatans are spreading today.
For God loved us so much that Jesus died for us that we might be crucified with him in death to sin, be transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and that we might be empowered to now live holy lives, pleasing to God.
He died to transform us, to make us new, and to deliver us from our addiction to sin so that we might now become bond-servants of him and of his righteousness.
And, this is not optional. This is required. For, if we walk according to the Spirit, we have eternal life with God, but if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins (Rom. 8:1-17; Lu. 9:23-26; Gal. 5:16-21).
Banner of the Cross
By Maj. Daniel Whittle, 1884
There’s a royal banner given for display
To the soldiers of the King;
As an ensign fair we lift it up today,
While as ransomed ones we sing.
Though the foe may rage and gather as the flood,
Let the standard be displayed;
And beneath its folds, as soldiers of the Lord,
For the truth be not dismayed!
Over land and sea, wherever man may dwell,
Make the glorious tidings known;
Of the crimson banner now the story tell,
While the Lord shall claim His own!
When the glory dawns—’tis drawing very near,
It is hast’ning day by day—
Then before our King the foe shall disappear,
And the cross the world shall sway!
Marching on, marching on,
For Christ count everything but loss!
And to crown Him King, we’ll toil and sing,
Beneath the banner of the cross!
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