Why is it both important and exciting to be part of God’s church? Ephesians 3:1-21.
We are encouraged when we hear church members say positive things about the church. However, the most enthusiastic among us falls short of Paul’s exuberant testimony in Ephesians 3:1-21 about the church.
Paul starts a report of his prayers for believers in Ephesus (Ephesians 3:1; compare Ephesians 1:15-23, NKJV) but breaks off to discuss God’s creation of the church (Ephesians 3:2-13), and then completes his prayer report (Ephesians 3:14-21). Along the way we come to understand important things about God’s “plan” or “mystery”:
- In eternity, God conceives of “the mystery” or “the plan” about the church (Ephesians 3:3-5, Ephesians 3:9, Ephesians 3:11).
- Through the life and death of Jesus, that long-hidden plan is “accomplished” (Ephesians 3:11, NKJV; compare Ephesians 2:11-22).
- By revelation, Paul learns “the mystery” of the church and the astonishing fact that Gentiles are to be full partners in it (Ephesians 3:3-6).
- Paul participates in spreading this good news as preacher to the Gentiles of “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8-9).
- With many won to Christ, the church, composed as it is of both Jews and Gentiles, displays “the manifold wisdom of God” to “the principalities and powers in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:10, NKJV), announcing their coming doom (compare Ephesians 6:10-20). The plan to unite all things in Christ (Ephesians 1:10) is underway, and their time is short.
This understanding of the church motivates Paul to pray for believers. Why not imagine him praying the heartfelt prayer of Ephesians 3:14-21 about you? Why not imagine him praying that you will be “filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19) and participate fully in the amazing, unfolding mystery of a unified church?
|What are the kinds of barriers between believers in our church that, in light of what Paul has written, should not be there? What can you do to help remove them?|