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. Today is the final part of this sermon, which was first preached on July 30, 2017 at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. And all these people, all these lives that He had taken in His religious zeal, because He thought He was serving God. But it was not the God of revealed Scripture, it was the God of His imagination. And that's why He calls Himself the less than the least of all the saints.
What makes it clear in this attitude of ministry here, the first one is grace, the second one is humility. There was no sense of worthiness in Paul. There was no sense of worthiness. Yeah, God you need me. He didn't come into the doors of an assembly of the church and he says, here I am, I'm God's gift to the church, what do you want me to do for you?
There was no sense of worthiness in him. And you see his humility, we know all that Paul went through, his humility informed his expectations and his demands, and so it should be for you and me. In our ministry, our context of the church, our humility ought to be what informs our expectations and our demands. You know, people can be demanding.
Did you know that? Paul didn't look to people for his affirmation, he looked to Christ for his affirmation. In other words, he wasn't living to impress himself. He was living for the audience of one and that became very, very clear. So that is the attitude of ministry that we find from the Apostle Paul. So what then is the message of ministry? The fountainhead of ministry, the attitude of ministry, and now the message of ministry.
Look for me at verse 9. And to make all see what is the fellowship, that's the word oikonomia, that's the word stewardship or dispensation, of the mystery which is from the beginning of the ages to be hidden, that has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ. Okay, the message of ministry, it begins with the Creator. We are communicating communication from the Creator, the purpose and plan of the Creator. That is, the message of our ministry is to glorify God, to point to Him, the One who made us and the One who made us for Himself. He is the point to our existence and the point to our existence is not a creed, it's not an idea, it's not a code.
The point to our existence is a person and that person is not me, that person is God. And so He is the One who is working through history to reconcile man to Himself. And so His mission is our drumbeat.
That's how we march. That's the message of our ministry. First the Creator, secondly the Redeemer. The message of our ministry is about the Redeemer. The unsearchable riches of Christ who preach among the Gentiles, the unsearchable riches of Christ. Folks, I don't have the time to unpack all that right now and neither does Paul in this, the unsearchable riches of Christ, because I think he's already unpacked them a little bit and you need to know that. You need to memorize that passage of scripture because that's what God is all about.
That's His purpose and plan. Ephesians 1, 3 to 14. The fact that they're unsearchable means that they cannot be exhaustively understood by us. It's an unending resource, the unsearchable riches of Christ. The gospel is a great treasure of immeasurable wealth where we find full satisfaction of meaning, of purpose, of desire, of peace, of joy, of love. We find complete satisfaction in these realms in the gospel of Jesus Christ and nowhere else. The shortest parable in scripture is Matthew 13, 44. The shortest parable that Jesus gave. The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy, he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. You see, that's exactly what Paul did, isn't it?
And that's exactly what you and I need to do. That treasure in the field, which is the kingdom of God, Christ ruling in my heart and I belong to Him and I will be with Him forever like Him. That treasure is far greater than anything else on this creation. What is it you're grasping onto? What is it that's distracting you from the unsearchable riches of Christ?
I want you to ask yourself that question because particularly here in our culture, in our country, we have so much to distract us away. To think that we're comfortable, we're okay, we're happy and it's all just temporary, it's all fleeting. We need to know God as the Psalmist did, Psalm 36 verses 7 to 9. How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of men take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life, in your light do we see light. Again, do you know God this way? Let me put a different question to you. Is God a duty to you?
Does this sound like a duty? Is God a duty to you? Then I invite you to get to know Him. I invite you to get to know Him through His self-disclosure.
Walk with Him. Are you reconciled? You need to be reconciled to Him first and that takes faith. But when you're reconciled to Him, then you can walk with Him and get to know Him by His self-disclosure, not by what has been taught in some church, not by what you read in some books.
Get to know Him from His self-disclosure, who He really is and you will delight in Him. Taste and see that the Lord is good because He is. I want you to remember this point because we have a mission as a church. Remember this, your satisfaction in God is the most effective way to share Him.
Your satisfaction in God is the most effective way to share Him. And we see Paul replete with this satisfaction in God even though he's bound in a Roman prison. And that's why he calls the people to an enduring ministry. He informs them that they are in ministry. They are the church. They are by definition in ministry. What is the fountainhead of their ministry? What is the attitude of ministry? And what is the message of ministry? And now he calls them to an enduring ministry as he himself has endured.
And it's here, verse 13, Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you which is your glory. Paul writes from a Roman prison, very uncomfortable circumstances. He says, do not become discouraged and give up. This is not just a dismissive, Paul's in prison and everybody's going, oh man, poor Paul, he's in prison.
And this is not Paul saying, really, I'm okay, it's fine, really, I'm okay. That's not what he's doing here, not at all. When he says do not lose heart, he says stay strong and faithful in ministry.
And you don't do that simply by pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and hankering down and tapping into your own grit. That's not what he's calling them to do. He's calling them back to the fountain. Because unless you're drinking at the fountain, you're going to dry up. If you're attempting ministry and you're not drinking at the fountain, you're going to dry up. But that's what he calls them back to. That's why verse 12 precedes verse 13. In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in him.
What a tremendous truth. Come back to the fountain and drink deep from the fountain of living waters. And he says don't lose heart. Again, it's not just that I'm fine, really, I'm okay, don't worry about me. That's not what he's doing. Stay strong, come back to the fountain, have an enduring ministry.
Why? Look what he said in verse 13. My tribulation for you, which is your glory.
Isn't that an amazing thought? My tribulation for you, which is your glory. In other words, Paul is suffering for them.
Not very curiously, not him. He's just an apostle, all right, but he's God's instrument. And God has a purpose in Paul's suffering. There is a purpose in it and he's not saying I'm okay, fine, don't worry about me. Instead he's saying look what God is doing. And he's doing it through me being in prison. Now think about this. He wrote this letter, here we are almost 2,000 years later unpacking this truth because he was in prison. Aren't you glad he went to jail?
Paul was. That's what happens when you know God. That's what happens when you drink at the fountain of living waters. He says it's for your glory, it's for your betterment and ultimate honor. And our honor is when we are like Christ and with him. So the point that he's making here is this, that through the suffering of God's people, God powerfully promotes his purpose and frustrates the schemes of men. Through the suffering of God's people, God powerfully promotes his purpose and frustrates the schemes of men. Look what God is doing. The fountainhead of ministry, the message of ministry, the attitude of ministry, the enduring ministry, nothing of that, nothing of that is contingent upon the stuff that happens around me. Because it's all anchored in Jesus Christ.
And that's what he calls the church too. Come back to the fountain and drink. Know God this way. You have boldness and access. Come and drink and drink.
Deep. Would you stand with me, please? Father, we are so grateful for your word, your self-disclosure, that you have not left us up to our own devices and our own deceptions and our own despair. But Father, you've revealed yourself so that we can know you.
Thank you. And Father, I pray for us as a people that indeed we will know you for who you truly are. And that as an outflow of that, our lives will be a ministry for you to point to you, to lead others to be thirsty for you as we are. So Father, may we sing the same song as David. As the deer pants for the water brook, so my soul longs for you, O God. May that be the constant daily prayer of our lives that we will constantly come back to you, the fountain of living waters, and drink deep. Thank you, Father, for what you have done and what you will do. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen. You've been listening to Delight in 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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