Ephesians 3:7-13: Preaching the mystery of Christ
The Bible is full of little people being given big jobs. Imagine you were Abraham for a moment. God has given you a new name, it means father of nations, yet you have no children. God wants to bless the whole world through the offspring of a couple who cant have children. Or think of Moses, he used to be in favour with the Egyptian court until there was a warrant out for his arrest because he murdered someone. And now God wants to use this man who has been away from Egypt for 40 years to go as God’s mouthpiece and to demand that the entire Jewish labour force be released, talk about economic collapse. Of think of Paul, an enemy and persecutor of the church, someone who had dedicated his life to destroying it, saved by God’s grace to lay down his life for it. And of course there is you, the selfish sinner who has been saved to be a sacrificial servant. All of these examples tell us of small, sinful, weak people who God immerses in His universal, glorious plan. This is the sense we get as we continue looking at Paul explain his ministry as an apostle to the Ephesian church in 3:7-13.
The weak become strong, the selfish become servants, the comfort-seeking become suffering-embracing, the outcasts become included; God turns things upside-down when He includes us in His plan of bringing the gospel to the world. Have you ever felt so privileged and blessed you could burst, that suffering can be taken in stride because your cup runneth over? Have you ever felt part of something so important that the pedestrian details of your personal life are gladly surrendered to the massive thing that it going on? This is what we sense as we look at Paul in this section. Paul has been speaking to the Ephesians about his ministry. V1-6 was more about Paul’s calling and stewardship, v7-13 is more about the gospel he preaches. As we look at this section we will divide it up into 3 parts, firstly the privilege of preaching in v7-9; then the purpose of the church in v10-12; and finally a perspective on suffering in v13.