Ladies Bible Study
Ephesians 3:1-7: " For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I wrote before in a few words, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 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: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,
of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power."
Paul is telling us that we have been given the ability to understand the mystery of Christ.
that mystery that was not understood by the saints in the Old Testament. It was not understood until the coming of the Holy Spirit. This mystery was made known to the apostles and prophets and they wrote it down and taught it, so that we could have it today.
The mystery Paul is referring to here is that the Gentiles would be fellow heirs and partakers of the promises of God. It is because Paul was given this revelation that we can sit in church today and worship our Lord and Savior. We took that step of faith and accepted Jesus as Lord and now our names are written in the Lambís Book of Life and we have the life of God living in us!
This was Godís plan all along. He used the Jews to bring it about, but Godís will is that none should perish but all should have everlasting life.
John 6:40 "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.''
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
For you to be a partaker of the blessings God has for you, you need to do two things.
This is where abiding in the vine is so important, if you donít dwell in the secret place of the most High, if you donít spend time in Godís Word Ė reading it and learning what it means for you personally you will not know nor possess the promises. They are ours, we need to lay hold of this and stand in it everyday!
Ephesians 3:7 "of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power."
God has a plan for your life; it was thought out and put into action before the foundation of the world.
Paulís plan was to completely change his life, his thinking, his beliefs and his religious practices. Yet it was the best thing that happened to him! Yes, he suffered, was tortured and put in prison for the preaching of the Gospel, but His revelation knowledge, obtained through His intimate relationship with the Father, has led to so many things. A nation founded on the principles of God, " One nation under God," a Christian based nation that is blessed by God. It has led to the salvation of millions, throughout the ages, that now abide in Christ. It led to yours and mine salvation and life in God. It has led to us inheriting the promises of God!
Each of us has been given a call on our lives. And because it is God ordained, He will give you the power to fulfill it. The call is Godís gift of grace to you.
Not everyone is called to be an apostle, evangelist, etc. Believe me, whatever God has called you to do, He will empower you to perform it. We are all members of the Body of Christ and we each have a very important function.
Acts 9:10-18 "Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, "Ananias.'' And he said, "Here I am, Lord.'' So the Lord said to him, "Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying.
"And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.'' Then Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. "And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.'' But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. "For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake.'' And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.'' Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.
This was Ananiasí call or gift of grace from God. He was called to lay hands on Paul that He could receive his sight and move into the place God had prepared for him. God had spent years preparing this exact event to happen when it did. Ananias was saved and had a strong relationship with God. The Word tells us that Ananias was a disciple, not just a man. A disciple is someone who not only believes in something but also follows it completely. Ananias spent time with God; he knew Godís voice. If you do not spend time with God and know His voice, do not expect God to talk with you. God cannot speak to you if you do not recognize His voice. He cannot give you directions, or show you His plan for you, if you are not sensitive to hear from Him!
Ananias was sensitive! How do we know this? Because He heard Godís voice, and answered Him. He even double-checked with God to be sure He understood the directions clearly! If you arenít fellowshipping with God enough, you certainly will not hear Him, much less feel confident to as for more direction. Ananias was making sure God would empower him to complete the task at hand. God said to Him. "Go!í And Ananias was obedient to do just that.
When he arrived at the house Paul was in, he did not waste time, He followed Godís leading, told Paul what He was there for and laid hands on him and Paul was healed.
It is important for us to realize that Paulís physical blindness was a symptom of his spiritual blindness. The scales falling from his eyes were not only in the physical, but also in the spiritual. That is one of the reasons we have the wonderful prayer Paul prays for the Ephesians in chapter one. Paul truly understood what it meant to be spiritually blind and how important prayer is in removing that blindness.
Each of us needs to ask God to show us our areas of spiritual blindness.
Ephesians 3:8-12 "To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all people see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him."
Paul preached the unsearchable riches of Christ.
The unsearchable riches include "all spiritual blessing in Christ". So many times we get "hung up" on all our needs being met in Christ. This is a very true statement. God wants to bless us and prosper us.
But, this is not the only promise in the Bible. We are blessed in so many ways.
We have direct access to the throne room of God, any time we need it. We can boldly enter it whenever we need to.
Hebrews 4:16 "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
We have the right to divine health!
1 Peter 2:24 "who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness by whose stripes you were healed"
Another mystery is the role of the Body of Christ Ė the church- in Godís plan.
Verse 8 tells us that Godís plan includes that the whole world will see what the fellowship of the mystery is. That preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles. This has been Godís plan from the beginning.
Genesis 12:3 "I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.''
God promised Abraham that all the families of the Earth will be blessed. That includes you and me!
This is the mystery Paul keeps describing.
Paul however goes one step further. He defines the role of the church is all this.
Look at verse Ephesians 3: 10-12 again:
"to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him."
The wisdom of God including that the Gentiles are joint heirs is to be made known by the Church.
Who are we to inform about this? The principalities and powers in heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:12 "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
We as the body of Christ are to declare the mystery of God boldly to the rulers of darkness.
We are to speak the Word in every situation in our lives. We are to be doers of the Word as James tells us. When we are a doer of the Word that means that we know the Word and practice it!
Our lives should scream the Word of God to the enemy and his cohorts! Pastor Tony said last night, "when the enemy sees you, he is seeing God, because you are a reflection of the Father!"
This is so true, victory in your life does not come from you or your abilities, it comes from "Christ in you." Everything you do, in every aspect of your life should reflect God and nothing but God.
This makes you a powerful enemy of Satan, and this is just where I want to be! How about you?
The next time the enemy is attacking you, declare to him your God given rights as a child of the King!
Boldly tell Him the promises for you in whatever situation you find yourself. Declare the promises of your father about your job, your marriage, the salvation of loved ones, your family, Yourself!
Mark 11:23-24 ""For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, `Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says.
It is what we say with our mouth and believe in our heart that comes to pass. Donít let the enemy rob you of anything. Boldly declare what is yours!