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Church of Christ Sermons and Lessons from Ephesians

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Bobby Stafford The Manifold Wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:8-13)      

 

The Manifold Wisdom of God

Introduction:

It is with sadness that a world filled with religious groups called churches seems to know little of the church we read about in the Bible. Even many members of the Lordís church know little about the importance of the New Testament church or about its distinctive nature. A partial cause may be due to a failure to understand and appreciate Godís purpose in the church and how He planned for it from the very beginning. As one writer so ably put it, ďIt is as though the apostle takes us into the throne room of the Godhead and allows us to witness the Sacred Three in Divine council concerning the spiritual welfare of mankind.Ē Elkins

Text: Ephesians 3:8-13

Body:

I. The Church Hidden in God (Verses 8-9) Verse 8 Paulís heart was a humble one. He didnít believe he deserved to be an apostle. It was by Godís mercy. (I Corinthians 15:9-10) Paul felt privileged to preach the ďunsearchable riches of Christ,Ē the entire gospel system. He valued the grace that he was given. (Romans 11:33) No one can, in this life, fully appreciate how valuable it really is. When we enter heaven and see the marvelous glories of that place, then we will comprehend those riches. Verse 9 Paulís purpose as an apostle was to make known the mystery to all people. The mystery was that Godís plan was to unite all Godís children, both from the Jewish and Gentile background, in the body of Christ, the CHURCH! (Colossians 1:24-27) This mystery [which was no longer a mystery] had been ďhidden in God.Ē Great men in the Old Testament such as Noah, Abraham, and David did not have an understanding of salvation in the church. (I Peter 1:10-12) But now Godís plan for manĎs redemption in the church has been fully revealed.

II. The Church Reveals Godís Wisdom (Verse 10)

Verse 10 What a truly incredible verse! ďIntentĒ is a definite purpose, not an accident. ďManifold wisdomĒ means many-sided, multi-faceted. ďOne can see part of Godís wisdom by viewing the world He created, but Godís eternal plan was intended to give now, in the Christian age, a view of His wisdom that is to be seen in no other way.Ē It is made known by or through the church of Christ. What Paul is saying is this: If you really want to see Godís wisdom, look at the church as shown in the Scripture. The existence of the Lordís church displays Godís infinite wisdom for all to see. (Matthew 16:18) A. Its Founder and Head is Christ, the only sinless human being. B. Its organization is simple, yet wisely devised. (Philippians 1:1) Local congregations are overseen by a plurality of qualified elders; served by deacons; taught by gospel preachers and teachers; comprised of devoted saints. See the wisdom of not having a larger organization than a local one, each church being completely autonomous. C. Its worship is simple and dignified, designed to bring honor and glory to God. D. Its plan of salvation is simple and straight forward, available to any and all who are willing to come to Christ with an obedient faith. It doesnít make any difference where you were born, who your parents were, or how much money you have. All of these things [worship, etc.] show Godís manifold wisdom, the divine side of the church of Christ is truly perfect. As Paul put it in Ephesians 1:23, the church is the fullness of Christ.

III. The Church in Godís Eternal Purpose (Verses 11-13) Verse 11 Godís plan for manĎs redemption was accomplished in Christ Jesus. It was His eternal purpose. This was not done on a whim. This plan was fully organized and very wisely designed. But note the immediate context. The church of Christ was an integral part of that plan! It was not an afterthought or some sort of substitution that God put into place because the Jews rejected Christ. The beginning of the Lordís church was prophesied by Isaiah in Isaiah 2:2-3. ďNow it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the Lordís house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.Ē NKJV Note what was predicted. 1. The mountain of the Lordís house would be established. 2. It would be established in the ďlatter days.Ē 3. All nations would flow into it. 4. The Word of the Lord would go forth from Jerusalem.

All of these began to be fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost when the church was established. 1. The Lordís house is the Lordís church. (I Timothy 3:15) 2. Peter said that these were the latter days. 3. The Great Commission, which included all nations, began to be preached that day. 4. The Word of the Lord went forth from Jerusalem that day. Verse 12 This is such an important verse. It is in Christ, [His body, the church] that we have boldness and access with confidence. This is a great blessing. It reminds us of Hebrews 4:14-16. This is another one of those spiritual blessings available only ďin Christ,Ē in His church! Verse 13 Paul ends this section as he began it, showing his wonderful attitude. He didnít want them to become discouraged or lose heart because of his sufferings for preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ. They would receive eternal glory one day.

Invitation:

This glory awaits all who are in the body of Christ, the church, and who remain faithful to the end. The Lordís church, the church of Christ, is the only religious body on earth that exists with Godís approval. Please do not accept any substitutes. The church is essential to Godís plan for manís salvation. That means itís essential to yours. That was Godís plan from the beginning. Wonít you accept his invitation to become part of His family, the House of God?

 Bobby Stafford

May 18, 2014

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