Ephesians Chapter 3

May 2, 2013

This Preaching in Shorts Bible study is on Ephesians. Each chapter is read verse by verse with the major points highlighted and discussed.

You can listen to the study by clicking here

In these first few chapters of Ephesians Paul talks about the role of the church in the Kingdom of God. God is at work in the church, doing far more than we may imagine. What is important for us however is to realize that “in Christ” and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. All this is possible because God is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.”

Ephesians 3:1-21 (NIV)
1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles– 2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. 7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory. 14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:1-4

Paul was under house arrest in Rome for preaching about Christ. Paul always maintained that God was in control of his life, even during the difficult situations and that He would work in them and through them.

Ephesians 3:5-11

God’s plan for the church was not revealed to previous generations. It wasn’t because God was hiding the information, it was a matter of timing for when the information would be revealed. God planned to have Jews and Gentiles comprise one body, the church. It was known in the Old Testament that the Gentiles would receive salvation:

Isaiah 49:6 (NIV)
6 he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”

But it was never revealed in the Old Testament that all Gentile and Jewish believers would become the body of Christ, the Church. It was in Jesus that this was made possible as we saw in Ephesians 2:

Ephesians 2:14-15 (NIV)
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,

Ephesians 3:12-13

What an awesome privilege to be able to approach God with freedom and confidence. In Christ we have access to the throne room of God 24/7. The literal presence of God is available to us in Christ. We don’t need to be afraid, or ashamed because He sees us in Christ.

Ephesians 3:14-19

The family of God is made up of who have believed in him in the past, all who believe in the present, and all who will believe in the future. We are all a family because we have the same Father. He is the source of all creation, the rightful owner of everything. God promises his love and power to his family, the church. It is as we stay connected in and through the body of Christ, the Church, that we are able to receive the blessings of God. We were not created to live this life alone. It is all about relationship with God and relationship with people in relationship with God.

How cool is it that Paul describes God’s love as; wide—it covers the breadth of our own experience, and it reaches out to the whole world. God’s love is long— it continues the length of our lives, it is high—it rises to the heights of our celebration and elation, His love is deep— it reaches to the depths of discouragement, despair, and even death. If you are ever feeling shut out or isolated, remember that you can never be lost to God’s love.

Ephesians 3:20-21

In the first three chapters, Paul described the timeless role of the church. In Chapters 4-6 he will explain how church members should live in order to bring about the unity God wants.

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