Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bold Little Saints-Sermon Notes 9.14.2014

Ephesians 3:1-13
Bold Little Saints
September 14, 2014
Lynchburg, Virginia

         If we see God’s promises to us in Jesus correctly, there is a necessary progression for us. It is this,
         1. Faith in the work of Jesus Christ.
         2. Confidence to believe that God’s promises apply to me.
         3. Boldness to approach God in the name of Jesus.
         4. Access to the Father Himself.
         5. Obedience to our Father based on love.

         This process makes us bold little saints. What do I mean by bold little saints? I mean that our confidence in Jesus gives us boldness. But in order to have confidence in Jesus, one must admit that God owes us nothing. We need Jesus. We need a Savior exactly because we have fallen short of God’s glory. But Jesus is all of God’s glory revealed to us. We must make ourselves little in our own eyes if we are to draw near to God in full assurance of our faith. But having done so, we do not shrink away in fear. No, when we put on Christ, we are adopted as God’s children. And as His children, we enter into His presence with boldness.
         High Ropes Example- The lifeline gives one boldness to cross into the presence of God. The lifeline is Jesus Christ. In Him, you can do all sorts of things you never thought possible.

1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 
For which cause? The cause of the expansion of the gospel to the world through the church. This is the breaking down of any wall of division for anyone to come into the presence of God.
The prisoner of Jesus Christ- Paul is captive to the Romans but he is captivated by Jesus. And for the sake of the Gentile world. He was such a zealous Jew that he was not even willing that Jews hear about and believe in Jesus. But now, he has not only accepted the blessing of the Messiah, Jesus, for the Jews, but has fully embraced God’s plan to save both Jew and Gentile through Jesus Christ.

2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 
Paul is referring to his calling as the Apostle to the Gentiles.

3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 
This happened on the road to Damascus where Paul saw the Resurrected Jesus. Thus, Paul, himself, was a witness of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and qualified to be an Apostle.

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; 
There were hints of this revelation in the Old Testament. There was a promise that the light would dawn on the Gentiles. But it was obscure and unclear.
As we look back into the Old Testament with the light of Jesus, we can see these things clearly. It is as if the light switch has been thrown on and suddenly it all makes sense. But we need not be too harsh on our Old Testament brothers for not getting it until Pentecost. Even the Apostles did not get it until Pentecost.
The Jews figured it meant that the Gentiles would eventually come to understand that they need to become Jews. In fact, even the Apostles had to deal with this. We see this in the Council at Jerusalem in Acts 15. They correctly decided not to lay a burden on the Gentiles. They did not have to become Jews.
Paul understood this clearly but was willing to work with the other Apostles as God brought this to light in the work and revelation of the Church.
This becomes clearer as Paul even stands against Peter at Antioch. (Gal. 2:11-14.) Peter also realized that the Gentiles could live as Gentiles and fully serve Jesus. He wavered in this in order to please men from Jerusalem and Paul rebuked him strongly for it.

Both the calling and gifts given to Israel and the calling of Saul reveal God’s kindness and mercy. We must never give up on the stubborn and the seemingly reprobate.
Matthew Henry Quote- “Let us learn hence not to despair of the worst, of the worst of persons, and the worst of nations. Nothing is too hard for divine grace to do: none so unworthy but God may please to confer great grace upon them.”

6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 
Fellow heirs and of the Same Body- Keep in mind that this inheritance is not in the Old Covenant. The Jews could not gain the promises via the Old Covenant. The promises to Abraham, reiterated to Moses, and built up in David and Solomon, were all pointing towards Jesus.

So, the body mentioned here is not the body of the Old Testament believers. It is the body of the new men created in Christ Jesus. This body is the Church of the living God. The Jews do not get to boast about this as if the Gentiles have finally come into the inheritance. The Jews have also finally come in. They have come into their majority. They are no longer children who are no better than a slave. They are children who can receive the full inheritance. This inheritance was waiting for Jew and Gentile in Jesus Christ.

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