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  • Pastor Jacob Marchitell

Ephesians 3:7-10

Given on May 16 2021

Were going to continue our study through Ephesians, by looking at


Ephesians 3:7–10

[7] Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. [8] To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, [9] and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, [10] so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. (ESV)


(the Church as a whole is what Ephesians is about)


Analogy of other businesses hurt by the pandemic

pig farms - Millions of pigs being euthanized

potato farm - 1 farm threw away 700 tons of potatoes


All institutions in this world are built, run, established, by us and are dependant on the things of this world to maintain themselves

Dependent on weather

Dependent on markets and prices and inflation and people and peoples tastes


The Church of Jesus Christ, is not like that at all.


How it was founded

Who founded it it

How it was built

Who built it

How it exists

How it continues

Why is it here

What is its purpose

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So when we look at these verses we can see that when God established His church, He didn't leave it alone or ignore it.


He didn't give it a jump start and then walk away


He is intimately involved with every aspect of how it was formed and starte, and He is intimately involved in how it operates and is sustained.


He does this, by giving gifts to His children.


And here in our verses this morning, we can see that Paul is acknowledging that he is a recipient of one of these gifts.


“I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace…”


#1) So…...how was Paul made a minister?


Was it because he was extra holy?

Was it because ………..


We have these gifts given to us by God, we didn't earn them….

We didn't make ourselves suitable recipients of the gifts of God


That doesn't mean that we go out and live our lives as selfish sinners, but that we understand that we can’t earn the gifts that God gives to us.


Will living a life of sinful rebellion omit us from receiving God’s gifts?

No, just look at how Paul used to live-----

But if you are already a Christian…..

If you have already repented and believed in Jesus Christ….

If the Holy Spirit already lives intertwined within your soul….

And you use the grace of God as an excuse to go out and live however you want…. Then you need to repent of your sin


Our past doesn't control or influence God in any way when it comes to the gifts that He gives His children.

He does so based on Him and Him alone.


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So when we move forward, we need to understand that because we didn't earn our gifts from God ------ we cant use them to define and identify us


God made us intentionally…..with differing strengths and weaknesses, so that when He gives us our gifts, we will use them how He wants us to--------


Paul talks about this in:


1 Corinthians 12:7-9

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”


God gave Paul a weakness, that He refused to take away, no matter how many times Paul prayed to have it taken away------ to keep him humble.

Its not that Paul was saying the wrong prayers

Its not like he forgot to tithe that week

He didn't have some secret sin that he was hiding from his church

He didn't have an ancestor with some dark secret, and because of that, God said “no”


God gave Paul a weakness ------- and said “no” when Paul asked him to take it away.


You see----humans have this tendency, to make everything about them

Look at what we can do

Look what I can do, of my own power


We even blow that thinking up to the extreme and say that we saved ourselves of our own will power and intellect.

“I myself, thought through all the things that needed to be thought through, my parents raised me the right way, so that I myself could make the right choice and believe in God all on my own.”


We divide ourselves based on ability

We divided ourselves based on intellect and belief and race and ethnicity


And then we use our self defined groups and then assign abilities and gifts to those groups----

We say “those people are good at this”

“People who have those experiences are good at this kind of stuff and people with these experiences are good at this kind of stuff”


Look at the lines we humans draw and then fill in with whoever we ourselves think will fit there.


And then God comes along, not only saves a God hating, Christian killing, pharisee------- he gives him one of the greatest gifts any human has ever received, and speaks directly to him to write ⅓ of the New Testament!


If thats not proof that God doesn't act in ways that we claim He should act, then I don't know what is.


God doesn't give gifts to humans based on how suitable they made themselves for receiving the gift.

Remember, though, thats not an excuse to go out and live however we want, its a reality that should cause us to worship and glorify God all the more.


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In fact, we could say that He gives gifts to His children in such a way, that when they exercise them------ and even in order to exercise them--------they need to rely on Him even more.


If my gifting is to stand in front of people and talk about God, then I need to understand that He made me in such a way, so that the only way I can fulfill that gifting, is by relying on Him.


Because if I relied on myself to stand up here every week and talk to you guys------I would fail.


God gives gifts to His children in such a way, that they grow and change and are transformed into the image of His Son, in order to use them…...and because they use them…….


For that is what HE is doing------- molding and shaping us

Building and changing us


And He uses the gifts He gives to do that.


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Paul uses a phrase here, in verse 8 “the very least of all the Saints” that he uses in his other letters as well.

Here is a man, chosen directly by God to be saved

Chosen by God to write a 3rd of the NEw Testament

Chosen by God to write down the very words that come from Him


And he still considers himself to be the least of the saints.


Its like that, because he understands that God is the gift giver

God made him ------ he didn't make himself

God saved him ------- he didn't save himself

God gave him a gift ------- he didn't give it to himself


So we should ask ---------

Do we consider ourselves to be somehow better or higher up than any other Christians?

Do we think that because God gave me THIS gift im somehow more important to the kingdom of God than someone else who has a different gift?

I pray that isn't true.


In fact, we can look at Paul saying he is the least of all saints------ as evidence that the God-designed weakness that we talked about in 1st Corinthians 12-------- is working.


God said “No” to Saint Paul’s prayer, to keep him humble------ and it’s working


God gives His gifts according to His own will and purposes------- and has very specific reasons for doing so.


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#2) Why was he made a minister?

When we keep reading we can see that He also gives His gifts for another reason.

For Paul, we can see that he was given his gift to do 2 things:


V.8 - to preach to the gentiles

V.9 - to bring to light FOR EVERYONE the reality that salvation is open for all who believe


That is what preaching does. It “brings to light”

We read the words of Scripture, and we can grasp some of them.

They make sense

They're orderly and uncomplicated

But other times, we read the words and we go “what?”

“What the heck does that mean?”

“Why is that there?”

“I don't understand it.”

God knew this would happen, so He gave the gift of preaching to people.


Preaching “brings to light” the things of Scripture that aren't easily digestible.

It unfolds and enlightens and helps us understand


With this, we can see that our gifts are meant to be used for other people.


They are to be used to build and undergird His body, the Church.


To strengthen the Church ------- To spread the Gospel

To feed the hungry ----------- To clothe the naked

To lift up the hurt and downtrodden ---------- To protect the weak and innocent


To shine the light of Jesus Christ into the dark corners of this evil world


All of us will one day stand before the Judge of the universe and give an account for how we used the gifts that He gave us.


Jesus talks about this in Matthew 25:14-30 ------ the parable of the ten talents


14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’


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God didn't leave us to grope and crawl in the dark about how the Church is supposed to act and operate and run and do things


He didn't just start the Church (((((like I said earlier))))) and then walk away


He gave gifts to people so that they will use them towards other people.


#3) Angels and Demons are watching us



And then we have our last 2 verses this morning.


They seem to come a little bit out of left field for us


[10] “so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.”


“Rulers and authorities in the heavenly places”


This phrase “the heavenly places” is used 5 times in the book of Ephesians.


Weve talked about it every time its popped up, and we know that he is talking about the spiritual realm.


The unseen realm of this world

Where angels and demons wage war against one another

Where the dark forces of this present darkness seek to fell the children of God


We were given these gifts to not only conform us-----

To not only help others-----


But because the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places are watching us--------


There are demons, that prowl the dark recess of your life-----

Watching how you fall

Watching what you fall too

Observing your weaknesses


You see, one of the best lies the devil has ever told, is that he knows what were thinking.

He knows what tempts us

What stretches our faith


Him and his dark forces only know our weaknesses when we show them to him


If in my heart im lusting after someone, only God and I know that

Its only when that lust takes action, does the devil know


He only knows the weaknesses that we act upon--------and the more we press after God

The more we pray

The more we worship

The more we read our Bibles

The more we arrange our lives around Jesus Christ------


The more the devil is going to pay attention to us

The more the demons that have haunted you fro years------will attack you


They want to watch you fall

They want you to fail

For your family to fail


They want your Church to fail


so ----they take advantage of the weaknesses that we have shown them.


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Have you fallen to lust numerous times before?

Then the demons know your weakness


Have you fallen to anger numerous times before?

Then the demons know your weakness


Has your Church fallen to complacency before?

Then the demons know your weakness


Has you family fallen to division?

Then the demons know your weakness


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When we get to Ephesians 6 ----- we’ll talk more about this


But we need to fight the demons that come against us

That raise their disgusting red claws against our family

That laugh at our sins and pain

That dance in glee whenever we fall

Our Churches need to rise up and face the demonic forces that sweep this nation


Our families need to rise up, and raise their Children in the ways of God if we ever want to see them win the fight against the demons specifically dispatched to bring them down.


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In closing----- there are demons watching us


The devil himself,

1 peter 5:8 says:

Goes around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he can devour



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You see, like we talked about at the beginning, the Church is an institution that was started by God.


And its reach goes beyond the town he has it planted in---------


It has a COSMIC purpose

Encompassing not only this physical world that we live in….but the spiritual world as well


The unseen realm of existence, populated by angels and demons that flow through this world-------- will give glory to God when His children live for him and no others.


Doxology



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