Joy...Because of the Church.

John Hosier | Sunday 10th May 2009 | Joy | Ephesians 3:7-13

Notes

In this talk John uses the NIV instead of the ESV

Ephesians 3 vs 7-13 

• Paul’s passion is that Christ should be made known.

In Eph 3 vs 8 Paul speaks of preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ. There are infinite riches in Christ and unlimited wealth in his salvation. The Incarnation and the Cross have always absorbed the thinking of men and women and still do. For time and eternity we will be explorers of the infinite riches of Christ. Heaven will not be boring!
Eph 3 vs 9 speaks of making plain the administration of this mystery. Again this is about making Christ known. God has a plan – previously it was hidden (a mystery), but now God’s great rescue plan in the work of Christ for men and the world has been revealed. We must make it known.
Eph 3 vs 10 tells us that the manifold wisdom of God should be made known. ‘Manifold’ means multi-coloured or richly diverse. Supremely Christ is the wisdom of God. See 1 Cor 1 vs 22-24, 30. Christ is God’s wisdom as through Christ we have the answers to life, death and eternity. We should make him known.
Eph 3 vs 11 tells us that finally everything is summed up in Christ. Salvation is not just personal; it is cosmic as Eph 1 vs 9, 10 make clear. This comprehensive saving work of Christ must be made known.

• Who is meant to know?
Verse 10 tells us that Christ is to be made known to rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. Certainly he is to be made known to the peoples of the world and we are engaged in that mission through evangelism and church planting. But he is also to be made known to angels and demons; to cosmic powers.  But why? Again it reveals the cosmic dimensions of the saving work of Christ. Finally, all that God has created, visible and invisible will submit to Christ. Believers are saved, creation will be renewed and every cosmic power will submit. See Eph 1 vs 20, 21.

• How is Christ to be made known?
The thrilling answer is given in verse 10 – ‘through the church’. God’s purpose right now is that through the church Christ should be made known to cosmic powers. How we do this implies some wonderful truths about the church.

By the church’s very existence. The wisdom of God in Christ brings down the barriers between people whether it be race, colour, language or social standing and forms them into one great community. The church is a miracle, a phenomenon, and speaks of God’s wisdom
By declaration. The proclamation of Christ changes people. Sinners become worshippers. Atheists become believers. Persecutors become church planters. Cynics become witnesses. God’s incredible wisdom!
By faith and prayer. Confident approach to God and believing him for great things and therefore doing great exploits reveals a people changed by the wisdom of God. Angels love it and demons tremble when the Church prays and believes.
By her weakness. See verse 13 – there is a link between weakness and glory. The world thinks of the church as weak and failing. Angels and demons see it differently; they see an ever increasing number of people becoming worshippers of Christ from among all the peoples. Glory!
What dignity the church has – there is nothing else like it – what a privilege to belong – Joy…because of the church.

More in this series

Sunday, 17 May, 2009

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