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God's Eternal Plan for the Church: Ephesians 3 Bible Study

This blog post will explore Paul's letter to the Ephesians in Chapter 3 and the mystery of how Jews and Gentiles are joined together in one body of Christ. We will look at how God used Paul to declare how Jews and Gentiles would be joined together in one Church and receive equal rights and privileges. We will explore why God reveals His wisdom through the Church to the principalities and powers and why God wants to reveal this wisdom to us. We will also look at the importance of having the strength of the Spirit in our inner man and how Paul prayed for us to be filled with all the fullness of God.


Below is the video message and outline notes from this Ephesians 3 Bible Study.



Ephesians 3 Bible Study

Unveiling God's Eternal Plan for the Church



OPENING VERSE - Ephesians 3:1-5


I am the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles. During his Roman imprisonment, Paul was under house arrest. The entire reason he was under arrest and awaiting trial was because of his missionary efforts on behalf of the Gentiles.


God used Paul to declare how Jews and Gentiles would be joined together in one body of Christ.


VERSE - Ephesians 3:5


In the Old Testament, the salvation of Gentiles through the Messiah is prophesied, but the joining together of Jew and Gentile into one body is not specifically seen. It predicted that God’s grace would come to the Gentiles (Genesis 12:3), but equal rights and privileges with the Jews by becoming part of the same body were not revealed.



THE MYSTERY DESCRIBED



Those Jews and Gentiles who have faith in Christ are joined together into one body of Christ, into one Church, and no longer separated before God.


Fellow heirs - receive the same inheritance - same standing, promises, privileges


Partakers of His promise in Christ: Gentiles are now full partakers of His promise.


Through the gospel: This could only happen through the gospel (good news). Everyone is equal before God.






To preach: preach literally means “to announce the good news.” Paul’s preaching was simply the announcement of the good news of what God has done in Jesus.


Good news: The unsearchable riches of Christ. All spiritual blessings come by way of Christ. Every work, and activity that is in or upon our lives through the Spirit of God, in the activity of salvation and the eternal life that we have received.


We see here, Paul’s passion was to make this gospel known to everyone. It should be ours as well.



PURPOSE OF THE MYSTERY



God has infinite wisdom and glory. God wants to reveal Himself. In Ephesians 1-2, we see this.


This wisdom is manifold: This word has the idea of intricacy, complexity, and great beauty. It is many-sided. There are many parts to it.


Might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places: This explains how God will reveal His wisdom, and to whom He reveals it. God will reveal His wisdom through the church, and He will reveal it to principalities and powers.


We are surrounded by invisible spiritual beings, and they intently look upon us and see the things which God has done in and through our lives.



According to the eternal purpose which He completed in Christ Jesus our Lord: God will gather all things together (bring all things together) in Jesus. The start of it is here on earth through the church.


Through faith in Him (common application): Access comes by way of faith in what Jesus did. Not based upon anything else.


We need to understand today how much God values His church. God paid through His Son the ultimate price (nothing greater could be done) in order to bring together His church.


We see:

  • essential value of the church

  • essential value of being part of (involved in) planted/active in a church

  • essential value of unity in the church

  • why the enemy tries to destroy the church, discourage active involvement in church, bring disunity




Though under arrest because of the gospel, Paul tells the Ephesians to not lose heart.


Paul’s example - each of us has a place in the service of God’s eternal plan. We need to guard against losing heart in the midst of tribulation.




PAUL'S PRAYER FOR THE EPHESIANS



For this reason I bow my knees: The basis of Paul’s prayer was his knowledge of God’s purpose (spiritual blessings, coming together of Jew and Gentile, eternal purposes of God).




HEART OF PAUL’s PRAYER (PRAYER FOR US)



They would be given, power to be strengthened by His Spirit in the inner man: Paul asked that they would be strengthened. He also prayed that the strength would come through the Holy Spirit - you can’t have God’s strength without the Holy Spirit. That it would be put into their inner man.


VERSE - 3 John 1:2


and that Christ may dwell in your hearts: - The Word Dwell is an ancient Greek word for a permanent home. Jesus wants to dwell in us as a permanent resident, not just to visit as a stranger.


Being rooted and grounded in love: A root gives strength and nourishment to a plant. God’s love for us is the basis of all our spiritual hope and well-being. Without God’s love, none of these blessings would have been offered to us.


VERSE - Romans 5:8


what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge: The love of Jesus has dimensions.


VERSE - Romans 5:8 - While we were yet sinners, Christ died.


VERSE - Jeremiah 31:3 - I love you with an everlasting love.


VERSE - Philippians 2:7-8 - But He emptied Himself, taking upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in the form of a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.


VERSE - Ephesians 2:6 - and He raised us up and seated us together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,


  • God’s love is wide enough to include every person.

  • God’s love is long enough to last through all eternity.

  • God’s love is deep enough to reach the worst sinner.

  • God’s love is high enough to take us to heaven.


To know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge: This is something to know. This is something we can experience. God wants to reveal His love to us.


That you may be filled with all the fullness of God: Paul asked God to fill these Christians with all His fullness. God desires us to be filled and to know and experience the abundant life in Christ.



CLOSE - DOXOLOGY



Paul says that God is able to do above all that we ask or think.


  • You can ask for every good thing you have ever experienced - God can do above that.

  • You can think of or imagine things beyond your experience - God can do above that.

  • You can imagine good things that are beyond your ability to name - God can do above that.


According to the power that works in us: God is able to do this in our life now, not beginning with heaven. This power... works in us now.


To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus: The only correct response is to give Him glory. When the church understands and walks in God’s eternal purpose, God will be glorified.



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