Ephesians 3:1-13 - Homiletics
God's purpose as to the Gentiles.
This passage a parenthesis after Ephesians 3:1 —a reference to Paul's personal history. It contains the explanation of his whole career, the secret of his wonderful zeal. Why was he a prisoner? Generally, for the Gentiles. Why for them? Because the Divine purpose regarding them had been revealed to him, and through him to the world, and the enmity of the Jews to that purpose had brought Paul into captivity. Looking at the passage as a whole, it may show us how Paul found compensation for his captivity in the privileges connected with his office as apostle of the Gentiles. This compensation lay chiefly in three things.
I. The precious insight he obtained into the glory of the Divine purpose in reference to the Gentiles, giving him a high conception of the far-reaching generosity of God.
1. There is a high intellectual pleasure in the discovery of any great truth.
2. A profound emotional pleasure in discovering a truth of vast benefit to mankind.
3. A still higher pleasure in receiving such a truth direct from God. This truth did not involve a case of leveling down, but of leveling up. Though the Jews, as a nation, were no longer to occupy a higher platform than the Gentiles, yet all were to be invited to equal nearness to God, and if any should reject the invitation, the blame and the loss would be all their own.
II. The remarkably high qualifications given to him for his office (see Ephesians 3:7 )—great love, faith, courage, perseverance, hope; great intellectual insight; great spiritual power. Others got frightened (Mark, Demas, etc.); Paul went on. The human spirit was often depressed, but God comforted him. The thorn in the side was annoying, but "my grace is sufficient for thee."
III. The great honor and privilege of being called to so blessed a work. The work had a glory on earth and a glory in heaven.
1. On earth . He preached to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. He proclaimed his riches of grace, and showed them to be unsearchable. He not only proclaimed them, but in a sense imparted them—brought them into contact with the Ephesians, so that they got the good of them, through the blessing of the Holy Spirit.
2. In heaven . The gospel has aspects of blessing beyond this world. It carries important lessons to the principalities and powers. It shows the manifold wisdom of God, shows how all classes and varieties of mankind are brought to God by the cross of Christ, assimilating all characters, overcoming all alienations, demolishing all wails of separation, and building up all together in Christ Jesus. One great conclusion. In every sense the success of the gospel is very glorifying to God; it illustrates his perfections; it glorifies his Son; it educates the very angels; and thus it carries forward the grand purpose of God in the creation of the worlds. "To him be glory forever. Amen."
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