Ephesians 3

1. For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

2. If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

3. How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

4. Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

5. Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

6. That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

There are some people who believe that when this world is over, the church and Israel will be merged into one body, and will rule with Christ in eternity. I do believe there is a place for Israel and the local church in God's eternal rule, but they are not in the same place. The last verse of this chapter declares that the church will give glory to God throughout all ages, world without end, therefore Israel will be a nation throughout all eternity, and the local church will remain the local church. I do not understand just exactly how all this will work, but I don't worry about it, because I know all that will be revealed to me as time progresses.

7. Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

8. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

It is amazing that Paul thinks this of himself. Paul thinks he is nothing, but the way I look at it, Paul is almost everything. He was faithful beyond what any person ever was. At least he was continually faithful to the calling of God. There is no record he ever failed to do exactly what God instructed him to do. David was a man after God’s own heart, yet David sinned in the matter of Bathsheba and Uriah. David repented, and he is a great man to be sure. But there is no Bible record, as far as I can tell, that Paul ever did wrong in the eyes of God. Paul also was called up to the third heaven and saw things and heard things that a normal person was unable to see and hear.

Paul thought him unfit, but he was very fit, at least God thought so. It was only by the grace of God that Paul was used of God, even as it is by the grace of God that we are used. I think it would be good if we all would have the heart of Paul. Paul worked very hard for the Lord, devoting his entire life, after his salvation, to the things of God. Paul gave up all his earthly prestige for the Lord, counting it all but dung, that he might win the Lord.

9. And to make all [men] see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

It is Paul's desire that all men (both Jews and Gentiles) understand that God's plan is to draw all men unto Himself. The gospel is not to be held for any person because of their nationality, background, or standing.

These things had been hid from the very beginning of the world.

1. Adam and Eve belonged to the Lord, but all of their sons did not.

2. Cain killed Abel and was expelled from other believing humans. When Seth was born, he was a follower of God while his brother Seth didn't follow God. It must be noted that there were many individuals on the "Seth line" who didn't follow God, for it wasn't very long until Genesis 6 states that the "sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and took them wives of whom they chose." This great mixing of true religion and false religion caused God to destroy the world with water.

3. Once again there was an separation of the wicked from the righteous. Noah, his wife, three sons, and their wives all got on the ark, but the rest of the world perished. All was well for a while after Noah got off the ark, but it wasn't long before there was a great division in the people.

4. Noah traveled with the rest of the people after getting off the ark. They traveled away toward the west, away from God, and decided to build the tower of Babel. It was here that God again caused a great separation to take place by confusing the language of the people so they couldn't understand each other. The people that spake in different language all settled in different parts of the world, unwittingly following the commandments of God.

5. When God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees to follow Him, there was again a great separation. Abraham became the chosen nation of God (called the Jews), and everybody else wasn't in the chosen of God, (they were called Gentiles). Israel began to mix and mingle with the world until they finally got like the world and God turned from them to the Gentiles, calling out of them a people for His name.

6. Jesus Christ came into the world, organized his Jewish church from the material prepared by John the Baptist, and left it here to complete the work He had started. This Jewish church went into Jerusalem, Judah, Samaria and into every nation of the world, preaching the gospel of Christ. Thousands of Jewish and Gentile churches were organized which in turn carried on the work of Christ, which is given in Matthew 28:18-20 (going, making disciples, baptizing the believers by God's power, and then teaching them all things in the Word of God). Toward the end of the last days, there will be a great falling away from the truth by the local churches. There will be a great mixing of truth with error, just like Israel did. This is shown by the following scriptures:

a. II Tim. 3:1-9 - Perilous times shall come.

b. II Tim. 4:1-5 - Many will not endure sound doctrine.

c. II Thess 2:1-3 - There is coming a great falling away.

d. Matt. 13:24-30 - The parable of the tares.

e. Matt. 13:31-32 - The parable of the mustard seed.

f. Matt. 13:33 - The parable of the hidden leaven.

g. Luke 18:1-8 - Will Christ find faith on the earth when He returns?

7. It will be at this point that Christ will return, restore Israel to its former glory and rule this world with a rod of iron. During the millennium, all those that have been faithful to God's Word will rule with Him, both Jews and Gentiles. It is during this time that Satan will be bound, and the Jewish nation and the Gentile Church will reign alongside Christ. There will be a short intermission of this peaceful reign at the end of 1,000 years when Satan is turned loose and the gathers the nations of the earth together to fight God. That rebellion is immediately squashed, Satan and his dupes are cast into the Lake of Fire, time stops and eternity begins.

10. To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly [places] might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

"Principalities": the person or thing that commences, the first person or thing in a series, the leader: that by which anything begins to be, the origin, the active cause: the extremity of a thing, of the corners of a sail.

"power" is speaking about those creatures in heaven who have authority and power which has been given to them by God.

"Principalities and powers" is talking about those creatures in heaven that were there first: angels, Seraphims, and Cherubims. Powers are talking about those creatures in heaven that have the right and authority to make decision for themselves. This narrows down our selection to the angels, for the Seraphims and Cherubims don't have the right to make decisions. The angels do have this right because 1/3 of them chose to follow Satan in his rebellion against God.

Those angels who have freely chosen to follow God didn't really understand the end result of His work on this earth, but as time has unfolded itself, they have watched as God's plan has been unveiled to them. This is the work of the Gentile church in the era we now live in.

It must be noted that Satan is a fallen angel. He doesn't understand God's plan for the ages until God reveals that part of his plan. Then Satan reacts. Satan's final judgment is going to be worse and worse as time passes and he understand more and more of God's grace toward fallen mankind.

What is the church to do to reveal the eternal purposes of God to the world? Instead of local churches proclaiming the eternal purposes of God to the world, saved people who are not in a local church have taken over and are proclaiming God’s glory to the world.

  1. Answers in Genesis – This is an excellent organization, dedicated to proclaiming the truth of special creation and revealing more and more how evolution is really a religion, full of false faith. It is amazing that most local churches do not believe in special creation, rather believe the Bible is not true when it speaks of creation in the first 11 chapters of Genesis. When I was growing up, the church I was a member of attempted to reconcile “science” and the Bible by saying there was millions of years between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. The museum being built in Ohio and dedicated to creation is something a local church ought to be doing, not some form of universal, invisible church, of which there is none.

  2. Focus on the family. This is a good organization, which teaches about the family. This organization has helped many people in their quest for a better family. That is a good thing, but churches would do a much better job. But churches have slowly destroyed the importance of local families, just as many churches have destroyed the very meaning of the local church by putting emphasis on the invisible universal church instead of their own local church. Many churches have also broken up family worship in their congregations, by sending the kids to their own worship services. I believe Sunday School is good, because for that special time, various age groups are able to meet separately to study according to their own mental capabilities. But many churches do not like babies in the congregation (because babies cry), some do not like young people in the services, putting them in “junior church”, where they learn nothing, but how to be pampered.

  3. Radio stations. I know only one churches who own and operate a radio station. The one church I know is in West Virginia. The only way I know about that radio station is because they also broadcast over the Internet. Sometimes there are church members who own the radio station, but there are not many churches that own stations solely for the furtherance of the gospel.

  4. Hank Henagraph as the Bible “Answer Man”. He has a pretty good program, even though he is wrong about many Bible doctrines, as there are many people who have Bible questions. Wouldn’t it be good if people would turn to local churches for Bible answers instead of the world.

  5. Alcoholics Anonymous. There is nothing wrong with this organization, but because of political correctness, they can no longer say that a trust in God is completely essential to stop drinking.

  6. There are many more organizations we could mention, but you get the idea.

In all fairness to local churches, there are many people who do not want all of the truth. There are people who want just a little bit of the truth, enough to satisfy their “spirituality”, which often isn’t much. Therefore they do not want to know what the Bible says and they do not want to do what the Bible says. There have been many people come to Independence Baptist Church who want what we have, but they did not like what it takes to get there. Some have told me that very thing. Some of those people have left and go to other churches. I am glad they are going to church, but it would be much, much better if they (and we should do this too) would leave all personal preferences behind and completely, totally submit to God.

Also, social security and the welfare state we now have in the United states started because there were “un-churched” people that got old and had nobody to take care of them because they did not teach their families properly.

I also must mention that it doesn’t make any different what others do. Mark 9:33-40 – The disciples were trying to determine the greatest among them, when Jesus took a child and set him in the midst of them, declaring that each disciple should be like this little child. The disciple that was most like this little child would be the greatest. At this point, John said, “Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.” Jesus then told him, “Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. 40 For he that is not against us is on our part. Even during the ministry of Christ, there were those people who were very honest in their following Christ, that were not members of the first church. That group continues to grow until this very day. We are not supposed to be looking at them, or doing what they do. We are supposed to be obeying Christ alone. It is our place to make sure we follow Jesus, not as these not in the Lord’s church follow Jesus, but as he would have us follow him. Always put Jesus first.

11. According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

This is God's eternal purpose. He didn't intend to reveal everything all at once, but slowly as time progressed. Those people that desire to see the entire will of God in their live times are wrong.

God's plan is slowly unfolding itself as time goes by. This doesn't mean that God has changed his eternal plan. That plan is the same as it has always been. It is just that we see another part of his plan that was previously hidden to us.

12. In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

13. Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

Our Source of Strength

Eph. 3:14-21

Verse 14. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Verse 15. Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

Introduction: Verse 14-15.

1. "For this cause" - Paul's earnest prayer for the believers that they might achieve the goals in verse 16-21.

2. "bow my knees" - It is good to bow the heart, and this physical bowing of the knees reveals a total giving over of the growth of the Ephesians to God.

3. "Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" - Paul is praying to the Father, through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the way we pray.

4. "Whole family in heaven and earth" - All the saved of the earth.

5. "That He would grant you" - The granting would be according to His grace (unmerited favor).

Verse 16. That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

I. Verse 16 - Strengthened with might.

A. The starting place is to be strengthened.

B. Might or "ableness, can do".

C. By His spirit, I John 2:27 - The Holy Spirit always teaches us.

D. Inner man - the true source of strength.

Verse 17. That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

II. Verse 17 - Indwelling Christ.

A. This isn't talking about salvation, but service.

B. By faith, freely for faith is a gift of God.

III. Verse 17 - Rooted and Grounded.

A. Ps. 1:3 - We shall be like a tree planted by the Rivers of water.

1. Having an unseen source of strength.

2. Able to endure afflictions because of a personal knowledge of Christ.

B. Grounded - settled.

Verse 18. May be able to comprehend with all saints what [is] the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

IV. Verse 18 - Able to comprehend. (Seize eagerly)

A. We won't be able to understand more than other saved people.

1. The "normal" Christian (as opposed to the "average" Christian) will be a growing Christian.

2. We should be able to teach others what we understand about Christ.

B. We ought to be growing up to know all about the love of God.

Verse 19. And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

V. Verse 19 - Able to know. (have knowledge)

A. Not our love, but the love of Christ.

B. This love passes mental or physical knowledge, but not spiritual knowledge.

C. This is how we are filled with all the fullness of God.

1. The way to spiritual maturity is through the love of Christ.

2. It is possible to be complete in Christ while still on this earth.

20. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

21. Unto him [be] glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

This verse tells us that the church of Jesus Christ will never stop existing. Many people believe that when this world is over, the church and Israel will be merged into one body, and will rule with Christ in eternity. I do believe there is a place for Israel and the local church in God's eternal rule, but they are not in the same place. I do not understand just exactly what their places will be, but I don't worry about all that, because I know all that will be revealed to me as time progresses.

The local church is one of the most precious organization on the face of this earth.

Organized by Jesus Christ during his own personal ministry for the purpose of God’s eternal glory.

Matthew 4: - Christ called his disciples from the shores of Galilee, instructing them to follow him, and he would make them fishers of men.

Jesus taught his disciples himself, giving them heavenly instructions.

In this world, many churches are in a constant uproar about who is in control, or what the church should do next, or what program, plan, or whatever they should be involved in. The most important thing is that the church meets together to worship and serve God. It is good when visitors come to services, but it is better when the people of God come together to worship him.

The church meetings should be a refuge from all the strive, trouble, and uproar of this world. It ought to be a place where we are free to be ourselves, to be refreshed in the word so we can go out into the world and be the kind of witnesses God wants us to be.

There are many different local churches in this world, but all of these various churches are the local body of Christ, and he is the head of each of these churches. When each church members realizes this eternal truth, they will be much happier and more content.

God intends for each saved to be scripturally baptized and an active member of his local church in the area where they live.