Life was designed to be lived in community.

10/26/14 Who Is The Controller of Your Life?

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Sunday, October 26, 2014 Under: Sermon
Worthy Walk Series – Week 11 (Ephesians 3:1-6)

Intro: Imagine committing a crime early into your adulthood and putting you in prison for decades! Years later you have paid your debt to society for your crime and you are now free! Upon your departure you have found everything has changed, technology, prices, cost of living the world… Fitting in becomes a major challenge, you don’t fit in and your immaturity to your new position in life becomes a major burden.

Text: Ephesians 3:1-6 (NKJV) “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles--2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel.”

Have you ever wondered - What is God’s Eternal purpose for man? God's purpose for believers involves much more than life on this earth. God has planned an eternal purpose for believers. His purpose is to make a new body of people on earth who will love Him, this is what is called the mystery of Christ. Second, His purpose is to make the believer into a mature person filled with all the fullness of God. This prison experience that is a part of the text today can be related to in several different perspectives; my thought at this point is simply; is it possible that you could ever be freed of your own imprisonment to this world? And be willing to be used for Christ? Paul says he is a “prisoner of Jesus Christ.”

If Jesus Christ alone is the controller of your life and destiny, you can face any trial, any situation, any person, and any problem with confidence, knowing the Lord is in control. That is where Paul was and that is where we need to strive to be as well.

Paul draws back the veil from the mystery of the church and allows us to see and understand what was hidden within the heart of God for so long. Paul was a Forerunner of the church: He wanted the church to understand the amazing grace and power of God in their salvation. He wants the church to know that it is not an accident, but that it is the product of the sovereign plan of Almighty God. God used Paul to help other Christians have the option of choosing who would control their life.

Paul was given a:

1. The Ministry He Was Given: vs. 2

“If indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you.”

This ministry that I speak of is a ministry any of us can be a part of today. Paul says that he was given a “dispensation.” This word means, “Stewardship, administration, or management.” This word refers to a person who was responsible to take care of the business of another. This person would have the oversight of all the responsibilities that pertained to the business of the one who employed him. WE ARE INTRUSTED WITH DISCIPLESHIP!

So as Paul was given the ministry of taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles the Christian, the church is still supposed to have the ministry of telling other’s about God’s Grace, His salvation: “Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God, 16 that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:15-16.

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10

The ministry that any of us can have is only accomplished by the grace of God! It’s that simple. While none of us have been called to be the Apostle to the Gentiles, we have each been given “a dispensation of the grace of God.” The Lord gave each of us certain spiritual gifts, talents, abilities, knowledge, and opportunities. We are to be good stewards of those gifts and use them to the glory of God, for the good of the Kingdom of God and for the good of people around us. In 1 Peter 4:10, Peter said it this way, “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” Like Paul, we all have a ministry, and it is our duty before God to fulfill it for His glory.

Paul was given a:

2. The Mystery He Was Given: vs. 3-5

“How that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets.”

In these verses, Paul makes it clear that he has been given a “revelation” of a “mystery.” The word “revelation” refers to “an uncovering.” The word “mystery” refers to “a hidden thing.” It speaks of "the secret counsels of God, or to things beyond natural knowledge.” In other words, Paul is saying that God has lifted the veil away from truths that were hidden with God. What Paul has been writing about is a divine secret. It is a truth that was hidden from the ancients. People like Moses, Abraham, David, Isaiah and others did not possess this knowledge. It was hidden from them in the secret counsels of God.

No one fully understood that truth until the revelation of the mystery was given to Paul and he explained it this way: “Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and declared, “It was necessary that we first preach the word of God to you Jews. But since you have rejected it and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we will offer it to the Gentiles. 47 For the Lord gave us this command when he said, ‘I have made you a light to the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.’” 48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad and thanked the Lord for his message; and all who were chosen for eternal life became believers.” Acts 13:46-48 (NLT)

I personally would love to see more of that same joy that these Gentiles had when someone is exposed to their darkness and offered the light of Christ! Please understand, we are given insight through the understanding of this mystery. WE MUST SHARE THAT!

Just for the record, no one is getting any new revelations today. The Scripture is complete. Everything we need to know concerning God and spiritual things is written in the Word of God. There are many truths we will not know until we are home in glory with the Lord. Right now, everything we need to know is written in the Bible. Read it and be wise; believe it and be safe; live it and be holy! “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Paul was given a:

3. The Message He Was Given: vs. 6

“That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel.”

We have already read and heard of this mystery from the book of Ephesians; Paul wanted to explain this more clearly. The mystery is the truth that the Gentiles have been included, alongside the Jews, in God's plan to form His church. The mystery is the truth that Jews and Gentiles are to be brought together in one body: the body of Christ.

The Gentiles are of "the same body” The same life that flowed through the spirit of Paul lives in your spirit today. Just as every cell in your body shares the life of your body, so every believer in Jesus shares the common life of God. In God's eyes every believer is absolutely indistinguishable from every other believer. As John MacArthur says, “Spiritually, he has no genes but divine genes.” Paul reminds us of this truth in: “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:12-13

Just a reminder the message is: “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

The only way anyone is ever saved is through the Gospel. Believe it and become a part of the body of Christ. Deny it and go to Hell.

Jesus Who died on Calvary indwells the spirits of His people. He is in every saint of God, regardless of his or her heritage. He is our common ground. He is our unifier. He is the one element that makes us one. Jesus should be bigger than differences in race, ethnicity, religious background, social status, economic means, or any other consideration. All that matters is Jesus Christ, and when He moves in, He makes us part of His body, and He lives His life through each of us. That is why we must strive for unity in the body of Christ. We must not allow personal feelings, opinions, or actions to disrupt the unity of the body of Christ. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

The Ministry, the Mystery and the Message have been given: “Who is the CONTROLLER of your Life?”

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