Through the church

The Standard February 5, 2020

In Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus he writes, “Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.” (Ephesians 3:7-12)

Eugene Peterson in The Message translates a portion of the passage this way. “And so here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head, the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ. My task is to bring out in the open and make plain what God, who created all this in the first place, has been doing in secret and behind the scenes all along. Through followers of Jesus like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels!” (Ephesians 3:8-10)

Paul says in verse 10 that the wisdom of God is to be made known through the church universal. The startling reality is that God has chosen us, notably imperfect vessels, as the conduits to help reveal the mystery of God’s plan.

In his sermon on this verse pastor and author John Piper asks,”How can I bring my own heart to sense the grandeur of the mission of the church?”  R.C. Sproul’s Ligonier Ministries website notes, “Ephesians 3:10 is one of the clearest verses in all of Paul’s writings telling us that our redemption is ultimately for the purpose of making the glory of the Lord known to His creation.” “The Greek word translated ‘manifold’ here was often used in the first century to describe the intricately embroidered patterns found on cloaks worn by the wealthy. Divine wisdom is incredibly rich, even colorful, similar to the patterns found on these cloaks. Yet God’s glory is even richer, and evidencing it to other creatures displays His magnificence more fully.”

As the church of Jesus Christ we are to show God’s magnificent glory and wisdom. This is quite a high calling. Through unity, peace and purity we best demonstrate God’s love and grace to the world. Since God has chosen to accomplish His purposes through the church, how could we help but be steadfastly faithful in Bible Study, worship, fellowship and service?

 

 

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