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The Mystery, the Ministry, and Me, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
October 16, 2020 7:05 am

The Mystery, the Ministry, and Me, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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October 16, 2020 7:05 am

Becoming a People of Grace: An Exposition of Ephesians

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Today on Insight for living from Chuck Swindoll. The mystery is that the Gentiles are in fellow errors, fellow members of the body full particulars of the promise in Christ. That is a Gentile first century Gentile. Your life is been empty for any purpose, and you hear the gospel and you know that Christ died for your sins according to the Scriptures and save you from your sins. If you only believe and what I believed I would be as close to the heart of God is to choose who was just believed. While under house. The apostle Paul wrote several New Testament books today on Insight for living Chuck Swindoll's teaching from Paul's letter to the Ephesians series called becoming a people grace in Ephesians chapter 3 we read about the mysterious union Jews and Gentiles to diverse people, groups were brought together as fellow heirs to the miraculous work of Jesus Christ. If you missed any portion of Thursday's program will begin with helpful review. Chuck titled his message, the mystery, the ministry and me know what I came to Ephesians chapter 3 and look closely a word got stuck in my throat.

In the very first verse because it was different. It was unexpected. And if you've never read the New Testament or if you've never studied.

Ephesians when you come to this word and you see another name before it is say they don't go together.

If it began.

For this reason I Paul the apostle you expected a good read on for this reason I Paul, the church planter, the missionary you could go on prisoner prisoner I'm reading a letter from an inmate.

I'm reading something that a man wrote from jail. Literally he was under house arrest but nevertheless a prisoner and I don't read any pity party. I don't read any poor me I don't read anything but as were going to see rejoicing in gratitude and on and on. I think how does he do it were back because Paul knew the why he could endure the what.

Without God's permission. Nothing happens see how he begins it. For this reason, there is the why. For this reason I Paul prisoner not the prisoner of Rome, not the prisoner of angry Jews.the prisoner of unfair circumstances. But I am the prisoner of Christ Jesus, under whose banner I live my life regardless of my circumstances say that that your attitude would you could you could you say that you find yourself today. I'm a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentile. If I wind up under arrest.

It's no shock to God. It's all part of his plan, and especially if it is an unfair arrest. It helps me if I know why.

Then I can go through the what and I love it that there is no feeling sorry for me in his line. Here are anywhere else in his writing.

I don't know of anyone who rose above the circumstances better in the New Testament save Christ alone.

Then the apostle Paul is a logical reason that he's in prison see the words for this reason I got in my mind an arrow that points straight up into chapter 2. What's the logical reason. But his message. He has had a message that was very unpopular among the Jews. They didn't want that message preached all of their lives. Certainly all of their religion they have seen themselves as uniquely exclusive to God. They are God's people and they took them God's law was given and from them God's truth was to be made known. They were to be the missionaries to the Gentiles. They forgot that and finally God broke through and gave the apostle Paul, the revelation that when you're a Gentile and you come to Christ you're in the same family as a Jew who comes to Christ as a theological reason is Lord is Lord has made sure he's there, stop and think. When else would Paul have had the time to write for letters if it hadn't been for two years in prison think about.

He wrote Philemon. He wrote in Colossians, he wrote Ephesians and he wrote Philippians he wrote all four of these letters during the two year imprisonment. That's why they're called the prison epistles while in that house arrest. He wrote those letters. Furthermore, he was evangelizing Caesar's household. Look at Philippians chapter 1 verse 12 just the next book after Ephesians at Philippians 112. I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances. That is, imprisonment have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel. Verse 13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well-known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else look at this next one in four of think it's for 22 all the saints, greet you, especially those of Caesar's also how their prisoner chain right here. He can't get a woman you got a guard change of the prisoner imposes on the tell you about Christ, the guards, as I don't want to hear well a lot, a lot, to tell you anyway. You're not going anywhere any gels of Christ and any comes to know Christ receives the Lord Jesus. So it gets unshackled and goes back to the very guys never believe, but I just met the most amazing manual ever made people say all you kidding Betsy got told you about. Yeah, you're on duty tomorrow. By the way, and this guy goes the next day and he gets trained and finally the word traveled all across Caesar's also want always imprisoned in the they're under house arrest.

Wait for trial. I just think it's fantastic.

That's part of God's plan. You know what's fun to look back on it, because we were there for two years under house arrest. These are all great stories because we were the ones shackled to a Roman guard but had we had a rotten attitude.

We would never let anybody to Christ, the great attitude back to chapter 3 verse one reason I'm a I'm a prisoner of of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles you know I am in prison because I've got a Gentile message coming from a Jewish mouth. I'm telling you about Christ who can save your life and save your souls. Christ, you, I'm a Jew telling you about it. But the good news is, once you come into the family. You are one with us and we are one with you beginning of verse two down three verse 13 he digresses.

He digresses so if you want to mark your Bibles.

You might put a big parenthesis just before verse two and at the end of the word glory in verse 13. This is a parenthesis he digresses to give you little outline for the parenthesis the revelation of the mystery versus 2 to 6 the declaration of the mystery seven through 10 and then three practical words of application. Three practical statements of the application of the mystery 11 to 13 verse the revelation.

Watch closely. This becomes fascinating, he says I'm in prison because of you Gentiles, if indeed you've heard of the stewardship of God's grace, which was given to me for you watch closely, that by revelation. There was made known to me the mystery of the next verse by referring to this. When you read you can understand my insight into the mystery. Verse nine to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery may give you little to you serious Bible students. When you see a word repeated note.

It this word is used three times in one paragraph, three times in one digression. Paul refers to the mystery mystery mystery. What is the mystery point out before I identify it, that it was revealed to Paul in the special revelation verse three by revelation. The mystery was made known to me when was that I'm guessing here, so your guess would be probably as good as mine.

I'm thinking when he was stoned at this and left for dead. When he went into an unconscious state.

I believe he was taken up to the third heaven and in his third heaven experience explained in second Corinthians chapter 12 the first nine verses the apostle received special revelation from God. Back in the days when the Bible was is still being written.

God revealed himself in spoken word invasions during the day and in dreams during the night in phenomenon that we would call today miraculous a cloud during the day to lead the Israelites. A pillar of fire during the night to warm them to protect them and to reassure them. These are all special revelation or phenomenon from God. God gave Paul an understanding of the body of Christ, the mystery, and he said I wrote before about it. In brief, the end of verse three initially relentless verse nine of chapter 1 he made known to us the mystery of his will. That's why he refers to writing about it. In brief, in chapter 3 in verse three.

The Bible ties together if you think of gears matching you will understand how Paul writes his words like no other writer of the New Testament dovetail. They work like tears together and he's moving in a direction he never forgets where he was in the previous chapter, or worries going in the next chapter. This is all part of it.

That's why the words for this reason I am so beautiful when he gets to verse three talks about this mystery and he said you can by reading this, understand my insight into the mystery of Christ. Verse four which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets in the spirit and to be specific, he says the Gentiles are got your pencil ready again fellow heirs, fellow members, fellow partakers three times the same word is used fellow fellow fellow Gentiles and Jews are together in one hope in one body and one act experience of sharing this is the mystery now. The reason you're hung up, perhaps on the word mystery is because you're thinking of our English word mystery, which is something convoluted.

Webster says it is.

It is something not understood and enigma something which baffles or perplexes auto I thought of a case that's been going on since the day after Christmas 1996, it began in Boulder, Colorado, a six-year-old girl named JonBenet Ramsey was found dead in her home did the parents during the night. Heard nothing, saw nothing had no reason to believe anyone with any ill intent was in their home but they were since the day after Christmas 1996 to this present moment. The moment when I speak this message, it remains a mystery.

It's baffling. It's an enigma. The parents John and Patsy Ramsey have continued to say we are innocent. They are not believed by some who are reporters and some who are detectives in the case the Ramses of just written a book called the death of innocence. I even not not only read this in the Newsweek addition of March 27, the year 2000. They said check on the Internet. Newsweek.com.

I checked it and I read the entire interview between the reporter with Newsweek and John and Patsy Ramsey. It's pretty convincing regardless of who believes what, regardless of how they been treated. They claim they are innocent they have no idea how their daughter was killed. On top of all of that is the horrible grief that it seems few people leave room for them to endure. Can you imagine imagine your Christmas from then on.

That's an enigma that is not the word translated mystery EMR Bibles stare on is the word, but that's the English concept. The Greek concept is secret. Think of secret. I am now making known to you and open secret. It was not known before. Nor could it have been known on their own. But now people know about it because God's revealed it and it's clear secret is something that isn't known at all and then once it's explained, it's clearly understood.

That's not like our word mystery, which is a baffling word and enigmatic set a perplexing situation in the mystery. To be specific. Verse six is that the Gentiles are in fellow heirs, fellow members of the body fellow, partakers of the promise in Christ matching that is a Gentile first century Gentile.

You had a multiplicity of God's your life is been empty vacant of any purpose, futile, and all attempts to please all the gods of your life and you hear the gospel and you know that Christ died for your sins according to the Scriptures. He was buried. He was raised from the dead, and he now is alive and will be alive forevermore save you from your sins. If you only believe as a Gentile. I would believe it.

And when I believed I would be as close to the heart of God is to choose who is just belief is remarkable. That's revolutionary. Certainly in the first century and the apostles that I have been called to make that message known human birth brings racial distinctions supernatural birth erases racial distinction. That's the whole point revolutionary in some places today, but everywhere in the days of the first century. Now I loved it when I came to verse seven in my study because now he talks about being the messenger here we have the declaration of the mystery of which this is referring to the mystery that mystery I was made a minister of according to the gift of God's grace, which was given to me according to the working of his power to say some things about preachers.

I don't understand most careers and I don't know much about other areas of responsibility in the professional world, but I know a lot about preachers and I not only engaged in training them. I have been one for the better part of my life when I read words like this.

These are these are helpful words. First of all those who are truly ministers or ministers because they were made that by God, I was made a minister people aren't preachers because mama wanted him to be preachers okay people aren't preachers or teachers of the truth because daddy had a dream that his daughter would grow up someday and teach the Bible.

That's great. I love daddies having dream just has nothing to do with what the Lord is going to tell the daughter to do now, in this case you see when you're made a minister comes from God. Most of us engaged in ministry weren't looking for it. It wasn't a long-awaited dream. It was a total shocking surprise. It really was a surprise to my colleagues in school of former years and believe me if I ever had the courage to go back to my high school that their common response would be, you are what is my band director said when I went back up to 25 years. You're supposed to be in San Quentin which is kind of an encouraging thought was he never did take a joke very well by the way, of which I was made a minister, so ministers are made and notice it is according to the gift of God's God in grace reaches into the ranks of humanity and picks out a few who are to be his spokesman and women we didn't look for. We hadn't prayed for it. We had a long forward. We probably didn't even want in the Lord's is provided. All you wish your mind you're going to do what I'm telling you to do so. We stepped into it. It was by his grace we didn't deserve it. Certainly not in fact look at verse 81 of my favorite lines from Paul to me the very least of all Saints declines the word that we could render least this, don't you love that I'm the least assist of the saints you get a letter and you go all the way to the last rung of the ladder and below the bottom rung you get a building you go all the way to the basement you go down the concrete floor below the concrete floor of the basement. I am least worthy to be a spokesman for Christ is a well, I'm not sure I believe that over first Timothy 115.

He says Christ came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am the most is to love that time. For most, but it's really the most when it came to his sinners. He was the most is when it came to preachers. He was the least both sides. I read this past week of Tuscany, who was making this magnificent performance he was conducting this orchestra. This wonderful date of concert and they played one piece after another in the crowd began to get into it more. The applause intensified, until finally, toward the end there now standing on their feet and their applauding and the encores are going on and on. Finally Tuscany wheel one more one more piece were to play in that seat and he turns rather embarrassed, and he says to the people in the orchestra.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am nothing. You are nothing. Beethoven is everything. That's the apostle Paul, I am nothing. You are nothing Christ is everything that's grace personified.

He says I was made a minister, according to grace, according to his working. The working of his power. He gifted me to do this to me the least, this grace was given, and what was he given to do.

Look closely to things look verse eight to preach to the Gentiles, so he was the Gentiles minister. He was, if you will.

The chaplain to the Gentile race. The unfathomable riches of Christ, and second, if you're noting verse nine to bring to light the mystery which for ages has been hidden see those words bring to light the kids.

So is the word we get our word photography photo photo kids so it always means to bring light when I want a true teacher of the Scriptures ministers the word light comes to otherwise vague, obscure, and dark areas of truth. It is the job of the minister, the teacher, the preacher, the evangelists, the communicator of God's message to bring light to the truth of Scripture and for Paul it was in the area of the mystery whenever you heard Paul teach you understood the body of Christ better if you were Gentile you felt a part of it. If you were to your prejudices were lost in the midst of your gratitude to God for his grace in saving Paul did, but he doesn't stop with the human audience so good I can hardly stand it.

Look at verse 10 so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to whom to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. Did you know that the ultimate result of the preachers message the teachers message the evangelists message. The ultimate result is that angelic hosts learn about the church.

Nobody is getting excited about it about these angels that don't know squat about the whole message of salvation of souls.

They bring quick where my yelling they have been created. These angels have been created by God to run his messages and and and and his errands there there carrying on this magnificent supernatural work. It's invisible and they don't understand the gospel, salvation is not saying they're not lost. They don't have so there they are learning about all the excitement of salvation from the church you're listening to Insight for living and Chuck Swindoll titled today's message, the mystery, the ministry and me to learn more about Insight for living. Visit us online head Insight world.org to give you context. Today's program features just one slice of a much larger series. It's a verse by verse study through Paul's letter to the Ephesians. This series is titled becoming a people of grace to enhance your study in this New Testament book you want to order a copy of Chuck's commentary on Ephesians as you'd expect from Chuck. The commentary is laid out in a format that's practical, easy to read and filled with opportunities to apply what you've learned to everyday life. Plus, this particular volume comes with Chuck's commentary on Galatians as well. It's called Swindoll's living insights commentary on Galatians and Ephesians. To purchase this 300 page hardbound commentary right now.

Go to Insight.org/store or call us if you're listening in the US dial 1-800-772-8888 just before we sign off all of us it Insight for living, would like you to know that we're praying that this study and Ephesians will inspire you to become God's agent of grace in a world that's craving to feel the touch of his kindness 2020 will go down in history as a year filled with uncertainty, fear, and even disrespect because Jesus has torn the curtain and in doing so broken all barriers it's all the more reason to become a people of grace. In that spirit, we're inviting you to join us in taking God's message of grace all across our country and even around the world vision 195, and one of the best ways to maximize your giving is to become a monthly companion by giving a donation every month you'll have 12 times the impact the course of one year. So to become a monthly companion go to Insight.org/monthly companion or give a donation today by calling us listening in the US dial 1-800-772-8880 Swindoll study called becoming the people of grace continues to run Insight for living. The preceding message, the mystery, the ministry and me was copyrighted in 2000 2001 and 2009 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2009 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. all rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited


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