Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, Pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. In Christ, we have direct and free access to God, the Holy Infinite Sovereign of the universe. We can confidently approach Him to obtain all we need, without judgment or fear.
We come not on our own merit, but because of what Jesus has done. Let's listen in on this message titled Boldness and Access as Pastor Rich unpacks Ephesians 3, 8-13. We're continuing in Ephesians chapter 3 so you can turn there now in your copy of the scriptures. Ephesians chapter 3, the title for today's message is Boldness and Access. Our text will be verses 8 through 13. We are in the middle of one of Paul's classic run-on sentences, but not only is it that, but it's also one of his sentences where he kind of stops his thought and then gets on a sidebar. So he's in a parenthetical autobiography here that we're studying this morning. So it's verse 1, chapter 3, verse 1.
He begins a thought, right? For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles, and then he goes off that thought and he goes into this autobiographical parenthesis and he doesn't pick up that thought again until verse 14. For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Why? Because he is talking about the reconciliation that God is bringing to humanity to reconcile man to himself and therefore man reconciles to each other. And so therefore the Messiah did not come just for the Jews, he came for all of humanity. And that's why Paul says I bow my knees, I pray for you Gentiles, because God has entrusted with me with the ministry to tell you of what God has done for you. So as Paul is giving us and breaking down details about his ministry and how God has entrusted it to him, we take this morning from what he says an example of his ministry and a pattern for us and our ministry in the church as the church. It's all the same calling but it's different gifts.
It's all the same mission but a variety of tools. We are the church and Paul was entrusted with the task of establishing the gospel of grace and the truth of it and establishing the church. So he is painting as he's doing this, he is painting God's vision of a beautiful church. Just outside Ephesus was this temple of Diana, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. But he says listen that's just a building and what is it today?
It's nothing but ruins. But he says God is painting this portrait of the beautiful church that he is creating and establishing and growing and building and you are the church, he says. And so he outlines here the ministry of the church as he talks about his ministry. It is also the ministry for the church and here we have a portrait of the ministry of the church as we see in the Apostle Paul's ministry. And what is it that we are to do?
What is it that he's doing? He's bringing to light. It's enlightenment, bringing to light to make all see. That's the word there is to bring to light.
It is the actual word that means enlightenment. This is the true enlightenment because it's God's self-disclosure and it's enlightenment for everyone, it says in verse 9. As Jesus was walking with his disciples, he said to them, you are the light of the world because they are reflecting the teaching of the character, the purpose of Christ. So it's a reflection and a communication of God's character purpose. And how do we do that as a church?
We do it by being one people united in love and service. We are reflection of the light of Christ as we are one people in love and service, united in love and service. And so we are bringing light to everyone, not only reflecting in a communication of God's care but of God's revelation, his self-disclosure. This is who God is and this is what he's like. But we bring to light, it's not only for everyone. I want you to notice what he says here in verse 10, to the intent now that the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.
Wow, what is that? That's the angelic realm, angelic beings. That's fascinating when you think about it. The angels. Now there are two kinds of angels. There are elect angels and then there are fallen angels and we call them demons, right?
And so who are they? They are watching the outworking of God's creation and establishment and growth of his church. As the church is being attitude, as people surrender themselves in faith to Christ, the church is growing and expanding and the angels are watching. They are curious spectators of this saga of redemption that has been going on through history because redemption is not for the angels. It is for us.
It is for mankind. We are created in God's image. And so they are watching in fascination of this redemption that is happening. And scripture tells Luke 15 that the angels rejoice when one sinner repents.
So you can just see that, right? As God is working, the Spirit is working the heart and mind of somebody and someone surrenders themselves in faith to Jesus Christ and they are, you know, regenerated and they're brought into the body of Christ and the church expands. When that happens, you can see the whole host of angels. Imagine the Green Bay Stadium and it just erupts when the Green Bay Packers, why am I talking about Green Bay?
You know, I'm a Dallas Cowboy fan, you know, but they're not going to win the Super Bowl. So, you know, it's just one of those, you know, we erupt when something wonderful happens in this applause and this praise, right? And that's what the angels do when one sinner repents and is brought into the family and the household of God. But there is a different side of that, too, of angelic beings. They're watching this redemption outwork itself according to God's purpose and plan.
And when one sinner repents and entrusts himself to Jesus Christ and is made new than the demons, what do they do? They shudder. There's one more we've lost and they shudder. You know, I'd like to think that I'm in the business of making the demons shudder. I agree with C.S.
Lewis. He said, my prayer, and I've adopted this prayer, by the way, my prayer is that when I die, all hell will rejoice that I am out of the fight. Christian, that's our mission.
That's our mission. There is a war. There is a spiritual war going on and you and I are in the middle of it.
And our submission to Christ, our following Him, and bringing other people, inviting others to Jesus Christ is key in that warfare. So, yeah, the manifold wisdom of God, rulers and kingdoms, ideologies rise and fall, but the church remains through the centuries. The church remains because it's God's church. It's not our church. It's not remaining because we've done such a good job with it.
In fact, oftentimes that's quite the opposite of what's true. But it is God's church and He is the one that is growing it and building it. And it is a beautiful church.
You are a beautiful people. But he says, you know, we are bringing to light the manifold wisdom of God, he says here in verse 10, the manifold wisdom of God. That word manifold means many colored.
I remember when I was in Egypt, got to go over there to teach and we got to do some sightseeing and some of these guys are just pretty phenomenal. These eastern rugs, these oriental rugs, they're hanging up and they've got all these, you know, this big frame and they've got all these vertical strands coming down. And then there's a weaver and he's weaving in all these strands that make up the design.
And some of them are just really intricate, detailed pictures. And I'm looking around, I'm thinking, okay, what's he looking at? What's the pattern that he's following? And I'm thinking, okay, what's he looking at? What's the pattern that he's following?
And I was told he's not following any pattern. It's all up here. And I'm like, how can he do that? You know, that's what God's doing with the church. God has the complete picture of the church of all ages. And when the church is complete, he has that complete picture here.
And he's weaving all that together. And every one of us is one of those strands that he's weaving together in the church. We are, we're a part of that. We are individual members, interwoven, vitally connected, related to an integral part of the grand story of redemption in humanity. Every one of us is a part of that.
And that makes something very clear. And that is this understanding that in Christ, I am set apart to serve him. In Christ, I am set apart to serve him. Would you say that with me? In Christ, I am set apart to serve God.
It's a truth. If you are a Christian, you are by definition in ministry. Dwight and I are not the only ones in here that are in ministry. If you are in Christ, you are in ministry full time. Your life is ministry.
You need to understand that. That's what he means when he says, make your calling and election sure. You have been set apart by God in Christ to serve him.
Make your calling and election sure. It means you affirm this and you're living this in Christ. I am set apart to serve God.
And that's true whether I'm at home or at work or at leisure or in prosperity or in adversity. In Christ, I am set apart to serve him. Now, this being the truth, Paul understood this as one who is a minister. So let's glean from him then what was the fountainhead of ministry for him and as it is for us. What is the fountainhead of ministry?
Because we live in the outflow. Christianity for many, it's like you take any tree out there. We've got Bradford pears out here, all kinds of trees that break when the wind comes and stuff like that.
They got to get cleaned up. You can take a tree out here. You can pin an apple to it and say, behold, an apple tree. And for many, that's what faith is. You pin the right fruit on it and say, okay, I'm this kind of person. That's not an apple tree.
You see an apple tree, the apples grow out of the tree because it's an apple tree and the branch is vitally connected to the tree. And so the fountainhead of ministry is the confidence that we have in Jesus Christ. Look what he says in verse 12. This is the key verse for today. In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in him. Boldness and access with confidence through faith in him.
So let's begin with confidence. What does it mean by that confidence? Confidence is a word, it's related to faith. It's a word that means complete reliance on a trustworthy object. Complete reliance on a trustworthy object.
So we need to identify what that object is, don't we? He is not speaking here of self-confidence. He's not saying boldness and access with self-confidence in him. That's not what he's saying. That's not what this is about.
What is the object of our trust, the object of our confidence? We need to be very careful about this because it's common everywhere. It's not just common in the backwoods in Papua New Guinea. Synchrotism is very common even here in America. You've been listening to Delight and Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Visit our church website to see upcoming events or to listen to more messages at www.gbcwinston.com. To discover how to live by grace, tune in on weekdays at 10 a.m.
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