Ephesians 3:7-10 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, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.”
There should be no pride coming from those who are sharing the gospel with others, as though this all came from ourselves. We can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father draws us to Christ. And even the faith to believe in Jesus is a gift from God. And Jesus Christ is the founder and the perfecter of our faith, not us. So, none of this is of ourselves.
And some of us, if we look at our lives, and where we were either before we believed in Jesus, and/or where we ended up if we ever strayed from our pure devotion to him at any time, we must realize how totally undeserving we are of God’s grace, and of his calling, of his forgiveness, and of his assignments he has given to us to carry his gospel to the world about us.
Now, this is not saying that people don’t share the gospel in the flesh. I am certain that some (or many) do. I am also certain that many who share the gospel in the flesh also distort the gospel of Jesus Christ to make it more appealing to the flesh and to the people of the world, and so it is a half-truth gospel they share, and a half-truth is a lie.
But what I know with great certainty is that, if we were made ministers of the gospel by the grace of God, and if this gift was given to us by the working of the power of God, if we operate in that gift, it will be the Holy Spirit working through us guiding us in what to say (or to write), and this won’t be coming from our own flesh.
Also, if this gift is from God, and if this gift was given us by the working of God’s power, we are not going to be sharing a diluted gospel message intended to appease human flesh, but we will be sharing the fulness of the true gospel of grace, in the power of God’s Spirit, for the glory of God, and for the genuine conversion of human souls.
[Jn 6:44; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; Lu 9:23-26]
God’s Eternal Purpose
Ephesians 3:11-13 ESV
“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.”
God has an eternal purpose for each one of us, much of which is a collective purpose, but he also has individual assignments for us, too. For, we are all members of the body of Christ, through faith in Jesus Christ, but we are not all the same part. We don’t all have the same function. But each part is critical to the working and the maturity of the whole body.
For example, in 2004, God called me to write down what he was teaching me through his word and to place it on the internet so that the internet could “run with it.” By 2006, he had called me to this ministry full-time, and he was having me write pretty much every day. Then he began to add songs to every writing, and then he eventually had me write songs.
This is my part in the body. It is not any better than or any less than any other part, but it is uniquely my assignment from the Lord. And my part is part of the universal body of Christ, not confined to only a local body of Christ, although that is where I served the Lord for most of my life, for he called me to teach his word when I was a teenager.
But whatever our part is in the body of Christ, we are equipped and empowered to do those ministries in the power of God’s Spirit, not in our own flesh. God doesn’t call us and then throw us out there, and we are on our own to figure it out for ourselves. His Spirit will guide and direct us in what to do, and he will empower and strengthen us to do his work, too.
Through His Spirit
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.”
Because of God’s grace, and because Paul was called of God, and he was empowered of God’s Spirit, and he was being led by the Spirit of God and given the words God wanted him to share with the people, therefore he had the boldness to approach the throne of grace, and to find the help he needed, and to speak the word of God he wrote in the Scriptures.
But also because of what the Lord was doing in and through his life, for the glory of God, and for the salvation of human lives, he was also suffering much persecution for the gospel of Christ, too. But he willingly suffered much for the sake of the gospel, for the salvation of souls, and for the freedom of people from their bondage to sin.
But Paul wasn’t disconnected from the people with whom he was sharing the gospel. He prayed for them. He pleaded for them to God. And he was deeply concerned that they walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. He was concerned for their walks of faith and for their maturity in Christ and for their obedience to the word of the Lord.
So, he prayed for their encouragement, and for them to be strengthened with power through God’s Spirit, and that they would grow in their faith, and be being rooted and grounded in God’s love, and that they would comprehend the fulness of God’s love for them, but not the way many are teaching it today, but according to the Scriptures.
For, this love isn’t feelings oriented. Love for God is to obey him. Love for others is to do good to them and to not deliberately sin against them, especially not habitually. And God’s love for us delivers us out of our slavery to sin so that we can be his slaves, and slaves of righteousness. For, his love doesn’t put a “Band-Aid” over our sin.
To God be the Glory!
Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Jesus didn’t die on that cross just so we could be forgiven our sins, be delivered from hell, and so we could go to heaven when we die. He died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. For, his goal for us is that we be fully surrendered to him, as living sacrifices, living lives which are holy and pleasing to him, for his praise and glory.
The Way That He Loves
By W. Elmo Mercer
Scripture: I John 3:1; I John 3:16
The way that He loves is as deep as the sea,
His spirit shall be my stay.
The way that He loves is as pure as a rose,
Much sweeter He grows each day.
His peace hovers near like a dove.
I know there’s a heaven above.
To Jesus I cling, life’s a wonderful thing
Because of the way He loves.
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