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God’s Mystery Made Known

Visualize

Read Ephesians Chapter 3 several times to understand the context.
Then concentrate on Ephesians 3 : 1-13

Define

  • Dispensation (use Thayer’s Bible Dictionary)
  • Minister
  • Fellowship

 

Investigate

  • Paul begins Chapter 3 with the words “for this reason” – What “reason” is he referring to?
  • What is the “mystery” Paul was speaking of?
  • Why was God gracious toward Paul?
  • What are the “unsearchable riches of Christ”?

 

Embrace

Often when we think about our Bible heroes like Paul, we tend not to relate to them.  We have a habit of placing them on a holy, well-deserved pedestal that we deem is unreachable in our own lives.  But if we stop to really think about what Paul says in Ephesians 3 we might find we are more like him than we realize.

Paul writes of his acknowledgement that he is the “very least of all the saints” (vs 8), he knows within himself there is nothing of redeeming quality about his past or what he has to offer God.

I imagine Paul had thoughts like these –  “I am the last person God could ever use to work through. Do you even know the things I’ve done in my past?  I mean, I can barely look at myself in the mirror. Who am I to think God has a plan to use me in such a way? I am the least of any Christian, surely He can find someone that is better than me.”

Yet, he also states because of God’s gift of grace (vs. 7) “the mystery [of God] was made known to me” (vs 3) and it was for the planned purpose of preaching to the Gentiles the mystery – which is “the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus” (vs 6).

Paul recognizes it is only through God’s gift of grace and salvation that allows the Christ within him to work through him.  Paul has confidence, not in himself, but in God’s ability to use someone with a shady past, now filled with Christ,  in His planned purpose of good work (Eph 2:10) to reach those separated from Him because of sin.

Oh, if we could only grasp this same confidence in our own hearts, to have faith in God’s ability to use us – our shady past and all – to minister to others.

When we change our focus from self to Savior, we change our attitude from “I can’t” to “He can”.

When we believe in His ability to use our past  – and present – as a testimony to reach others, we will find the confidence and boldness through Christ to do the good work (Eph 2:10) He purposed in our lives.

  • Can you relate to Paul when he says he is the “very least of all the saints”?
  • Does seeing how God can use Paul give you encouragement to know He can use you, too?
  • Share your Wow moment from Ephesians 3 : 1-13

 

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5 Comments

Gina

I had a lot of “wow” moments in Ephesians 3. This study is helping me see how repetitive reading can really help you grasp the Word of God. I’d say a huge “wow” moment was one the author also mentioned and I had highlighted: ….might be made known to the angelic rulers and authorities in the heavenly sphere.” It was just incredible to me that God wanted to show the angelic rulers and authorities in the heavenlies His power. It’s a little insight into another world that I hardly think about. I also like that he tells the Ephesians not to lose heart at his suffering – which I think makes the Ephesians a people I can relate to. I’d be horrified to know the man teaching me about God is suffering and in prison for it. It would make me worry about my own safety and the safety of any believer.

Reply
Stephanie K. Adams

These are great insights, Gina! Thank you so much for sharing with us.

Reply
Liane Conaway

I’m so behind in this study but I am moving along at a snail’s pace. How often do we really look at the ‘unsearchable riches of Christ”? God is really using this in me as those riches are every aspect of the Gospel, the Good news that yes, saves us once and for all but also transforms us on a everyday basis. These unsearchable riches are to be sought after throughout each day…continuous and not a one-time offering. It’ through His kindness, tolerance, and patience that leads me to repentance, that He redeemed me by His blood and has forgiven me from my sin….that is a mouth full that the Lord has me mulling over. By my sin has separated me from the Lord…and oh how our culture has rationalize sin…wondering how I’ve let that seep in silently and without knowledge. My sin is weighted, not to feel guilty but to recognize what I have been saved from. This and more is part of the unsearchable riches of Christ that I want so much to be apart of my every day life. Such great nuggets amongst the richness of His Word!!

Reply
Stephanie K. Adams

Liane, I have been pondering on the same thoughts of if/how have I become desensitized to sin because of the message of society. It has been sitting heavy in my heart as I see more news reports that glorify sin and even describe it as something people have a right to. My spirit has been grieved because I know God weeps. But He is showing me there are other places where I make allowances for sin because it has become familiar in the lives of those around me. Being reminded of His sacrifice and His riches does indeed keep a perspective how much He has done for me and I should be careful to honor Him in my thoughts and actions.

Thanks for sharing!

Reply
Liane Conaway

I’m right beside you! Oh, to know the day that sin will be stripped to be in the Presence of the Lord. But for now we continue to ‘clean house’ as a reminder of His glorious riches.:-)

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