verses for this week: 1
John 1:6 If we say that
we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do
not the truth: 1 John 1:7 But
if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship
one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us
from all sin.
2 of Ephesians has some of the best teachings in the Word of God to
prove that salvation is wholly from God and by His grace are we
saved. We work
for the Lord out of debt for what Christ did for us, not in order to
obtain or maintain salvation. This
week, in Chapter 3, we study about the mystery of Christ and the
mystery of the church. The bible contains many simple doctrines, and then some
that we have to really study to understand.
The Church is a Mystery Hidden from Past Ages
For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you
Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God
which is given me to you-ward:
verse 1, Paul begins a prayer which he resumes in verse 13 after he
explains why he was so earnestly praying for them.
His interest grew out of a special revelation, such as no
other man has sustained. His
expression was “The dispensation of the grace of God which was
given me to you-ward.” By
the grace of our good Lord, Paul received this special revelation.
This dispensation for the Gentiles was given and committed
specifically to him.
3 How that by
revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in
few words, 4 Whereby,
when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of
Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of
men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by
the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the
same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
special revelation did not come by man but from the Lord Jesus
Christ. This wasn’t
something that was relayed to him second hand by Peter, but God
himself spoke to Paul. He
mentions how that he had written of this prior to this letter.
Colossians 1:25 Whereof
I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is
given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
mentions the word mystery in regards to Christ in verse 4.
John speaks of the mystery of Babylon in the book of
Revelation 17:5 And
upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
speaks of the mystery of godliness over in I Timothy 3:16
1 Timothy 3:16 And
without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was
manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels,
preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up
word “Mystery” used here in verse 4 is used in a different
things he speaks of are not a mystery to him, nor will they be to
those when he explains these verses.
They mystery he speaks of is how the Gentiles had become
fellow heirs and fellow members in the church with the Jews.
Only those who turn to Christ for salvation have this special
honor bestowed upon them, whether they be Jew or Gentile.
It was a mystery that the gentiles were to be saved and be in
the church as equal members with the Jews.
Matthew 24:14 And
this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a
witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Genesis 12:3 And
I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee:
and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Deuteronomy 32:8 When
the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he
separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people
according to the number of the children of Israel.
only were the gentiles to be saved like the Jews, but they were to
be fellow-heirs with the Jews.
This was a great mystery concerning them being together in
the new testament church.
7 Whereof I was
made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given
unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8 Unto me, who am
less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I
should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
Old Testament saints did not have this mystery concerning the church
revealed unto them. But
we are blessed to have this made known unto us.
Paul talks of how by God’s grace he was called into the
ministry, and how that he was granted the opportunity to preach the
unsearchable riches of Christ to the Gentiles.
All of God’s ways are unsearchable.
Romans 11:33 O
the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how
unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
1 Chronicles 28:9 And
thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him
with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth
all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts:
if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him,
he will cast thee off for ever.
is the one who searches the heart, but no human heart can search out
God. Even when it comes
to salvation, it is God who is seeking us.
Our ways are all against God.
Vernon McGee has some good insights concerning this mystery of the
Now he clarifies what he means by the mystery. There
is a sharp contrast between the sons of men in past generations and
the apostles and prophets of the church. No one in the Old Testament
had a glimmer of light relative to the church. It is now revealed to
His Holy apostles. They are “holy” because they have been set
aside for this office by God. The “prophets” are definitely New
The “Spirit,” the Holy Spirit, is the teacher of
this mystery. This is what the Lord Jesus promised when He told His
disciples of the coming of the Holy Spirit. “All things that the
Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine,
and shall shew it unto you” (John 16:15).
What precisely is the mystery? It is not
the fact that Gentiles would be saved. The Old Testament clearly
taught that Gentiles would be saved. Let me cite several passages:
“And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand
for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his
rest shall be glorious” (Isa. 11:10). Another: “And the Gentiles
shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy
rising” (Isa. 60:3). Isaiah also wrote: “I the Lord
have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and
will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a
light of the Gentiles” (Isa. 42:6). Zechariah also mentions it:
“And many nations shall be joined to the Lord
in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst
of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord
of hosts hath sent me unto thee” (Zech. 2:11). And Malachi: “For
from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my
name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense
shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name
shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord
of hosts” (Mal. 1:11).
If the mystery is not that the Gentiles would be
saved, what is the mystery? Mark it carefully. The mystery was that
the Gentiles and Israel were placed on
the same basis. By faith in Christ they were both brought into a
new body which is the church. Christ is the Head of that new body.
Therefore, now there is a threefold division in the
All people were Gentiles from Adam to Abraham—2000
All people were either Jews or Gentiles from Abraham
to Christ—2000 years
The threefold division is Jews, Gentiles, and the
church from the Day of Pentecost to the Rapture—2000 years (plus)
Paul referred to this threefold division when he
said, “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the
Gentiles, nor to the church of God” (1 Cor. 10:32). Paul included
the whole human family when he said that.
The church is not in the Old Testament de facto, although there are types of it in the Old Testament. Christ said,
“… upon this rock I will
build my church …” (Matt. 16:18, italics mine), and when He
spoke that, it was still future.
It is true that the church was all Jewish when it began, but
there was a period of transition when Gentiles were brought into it.
The church is one body, made up of both Jew and Gentile, and Christ
is the Head of that body. 
9 And to make
all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the
beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things
by Jesus Christ: 10 To the intent that now unto the principalities
and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the
manifold wisdom of God, 11 According to the eternal purpose which he
purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: 12 In whom we have boldness and
access with confidence by the faith of him.
chose Paul as the vessel to preach and make all men see what is the
fellowship of the mystery. This
had been hid from the beginning of the world until this time.
God had a reason, and eternal purpose, for the church which
was purposed in Christ. The
church is clearly God’s authoritative house of witness today.
We should be known as a beacon of light in a dark and dismal
world tainted with sin. If
we don’t shine forth, the lost will not be saved.
Second Prayer for the Ephesians
13 Wherefore I
desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your
glory. 14 For this
cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
bowed his knees unto the Father in prayer for the Ephesians, the
exact same God that Abraham, Isaac, Elijah, and Joshua prayed unto
in the Old Testament.
Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 That he
would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be
strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That
Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and
grounded in love,
note some of the things Paul prayed for in these verses.
verse 16, he prayed that they might grow spiritually. If we do not grow, we will be dwarfs in the knowledge
Heb 5:12 For when for
the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you
again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are
become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
Heb 5:13 For every one
that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is
Heb 5:14 But strong meat
belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of
use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
verse 17, Paul prays that Christ might dwell in their hearts by
faith, and that they might be rooted and grounded in love.
We will not accomplish anything in life until we find Christ
as Savior and get our feet on the solid rock.
But when we do that, and we seriously seek to serve the Lord,
we will be known for our love.
John 13:35 By this shall
all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to
1 Cor 13:3 And though I
bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to
be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
1 Cor 13:4 Charity
suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth
not itself, is not puffed up,
1 Cor 13:5 Doth not
behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked,
thinketh no evil;
1 Cor 13:6 Rejoiceth not
in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
1 Cor 13:7 Beareth all
things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all
1 Cor 13:8 Charity never
faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether
there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it
shall vanish away.
18 May be able
to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and
depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth
knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
prays that they might come to understand the great love that God has
for His children… the breadth, the length, the depth, and the
height. I don’t
think we know how wide or how deep God’s love is for us, but it is
the greatest love of the universe.
It is not the love like man has for one another, but it is
love, love of God. Full
of mercy and totally pure.
verse 18, he asks that they might understand and know the love of
Christ which passes knowledge.
As Brother Hair once preached, the love of God is probably
the deepest of all doctrines, and truly is beyond our understanding
Philippians 3:10 That
I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the
fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Paul desired to know not only the power of Christ’s
resurrection, but wanted to have fellowship with his sufferings.
Not many want to know about the suffering, but we must
understand this to truly begin to grasp the great love Jesus has
The Place Where God Receives His Glory
20 Now unto
him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or
think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be
glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world
without end. Amen. 
all the other things mentioned, God is able to do abundantly above
those things. He knows
our needs and meets them with His riches.
Mat 7:9 Or what man is
there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
Mat 7:10 Or if he ask a
fish, will he give him a serpent?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your
children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give
good things to them that ask him?
don’t give God the credit he so richly deserves for all that He
does for us. Paul in
Philippians says that he could do all things through Christ.
4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
King James Version Commentary had this to say about verse 20.
Now unto him.
This ascription of praise to God’s ability expresses our assurance
of answered prayer. Why should we hesitate to offer our deepest
petitions? Note the expressive and exhaustive language. Is
able. The strength of our confidence is the fact that He is
vastly able above and beyond all that we might ask. To
do exceeding abundantly. Superabundantly, overwhelming, over and
above, more than enough. David said, “my cup runneth over” (Ps
23:5), and we can say, “He brought me to the banqueting house, and
his banner over me was love” (Song 2:4). That
we ask or think. Our highest aspirations are not beyond God’s
power to grant. According to the power that worketh in us. This is that omnipotence
that raised Christ from the dead and quickened us when we were dead
in sins. 
21 teaches that it is through the local new testament church that
God receives glory and this will glory will continue throughout all
ages, world without end.
Christ loved the church so much that he died for it.
Do you love it the way you should?
I doubt if we put the love into it that we should.
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But the path of the just is as the shining light, that
shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
Practice Random Acts of Kindness.
Each act spreads, and many will be blessed.