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18 June 2013

Ephesians - Part 5 (Hidden Things)

Ephesians, chapter 3:
Verses 1-6: 1. For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for (or, for the sake of) you Gentiles, 2. If ye have heard of the dispensation (administration) of the grace of God which is given to me for you: 3. How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote before in few words, 4. Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5. Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6. That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

The mystery, or hidden thing, to which Paul refers is identified in verse six as the Gentiles becoming fellow heirs with the Jews. Ephesians two, along with Colossians two, give more details of how this is accomplished by means of the cross. While there are hints of this in the Old Testament (Hos 2:23; quoted in Rom 9:25), it was not understood by prophets or the people, but began to be revealed after the advent of the Messiah. The revelation of this idea was given the apostles and prophets in Paul’s day.

The phrase by the Spirit is an example of the hundreds of seemingly insignificant phrases translated based on one’s belief rather than an accurate Bible concept. The actual Greek is in spirit. What difference does it make? By the Spirit implies a person, as a third person of a triune God. In spirit tells you that the revelation was to the minds of the apostles (cf Jn 6:63), the same way truth is revealed to us today as we study the Bible. In English, the word the could be added as an indefinite article. Here is another example: John 4:24: God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. Actual Greek: Spirit the God. With the correct idea of spirit as a way of thinking, the English would read, God has a spirit, or God is spiritual. God communicates in the spirit, mankind in the flesh (Rom 8:7). We worship God in spirit by receiving & sharing His thoughts (Isa 55:7-9).

Verses 7-9: 7. Whereof I was made a minister (to the Gentiles), according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach (good news) among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9. And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

The Greek word in verse 7 translated power (G1411), is “power derived from one’s ability.” So the phrase by the effectual working of his power, rendered as the working of His ability indicates that by means of the gift of God’s graciousness, He gives each individual the ability to understand and overcome sin. This knowledge, hidden from the beginning of creation, was revealed after the cross, and Jesus is the channel through which it comes.

Verses 10-13: 10. To the intent that now (unto) the principalities and powers in heavenly (places) might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11. According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: 12. In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him (Christ’s faith, Gal 2:16). 13. Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

As verse 10 is translated, it sounds as though God’s wisdom is being revealed by the church to the principalities and powers . Here is the verse straight from the Greek Interlinear: That might be known now, the principalities and the authorities in the heavenlies by the church, (by) the manifold (many aspects of the) wisdom of God (supplied by the author). The revelation is not to the principalities and authorities, but church’s spiritual darkness is being exposed by the wisdom of God. The principalities and authorities were revealed in Part 4. However this phrase was not discussed: Colossians 2:14-15: 14. Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15. And having spoiled principalities and powers (authorities), he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. In context (Col 2:14-23), the principalities and authorities represent the twisted, perverted thinking that comes from men’s opinions about God and spiritual things. It is the church’s modern day interpretation of the Bible, just as it was the Jew’s own interpretation of the law in the Apostle’s day. Receiving God’s wisdom creates war in our heavens, because of our perverted spiritual way of thinking. The war is between unclean spirits given to us by others, false ideas which have possessed our thinking and which are in conflict with God’s spirit, or ideas.

THIS is the eternal purpose of the Father for bringing forth a Son in eternity. 1 John 5:11-12: 11. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12. He that hath (the faith of, Eph 3:12) the Son hath life; and he that hath not (the faith of) the Son of God hath not life. By the cross, the Son of God spoiled, or divested himself of, the principalities and authorities in the heavenlies; and by understanding the cross, we can also divest self from the corrupted teachings of man by which we are controlled.

Verses 14-16: 14. For this cause I bow my knees (i.e. in the character of Christ, Php 2:10) unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15. Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16. That he [may give to you], according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his (the Father’s) Spirit in the inner man;

Over and over Paul emphasizes two individuals - the Father, from whom are all things, and the Son, through whom come revelations from the Father to us. I bow my knees in the spirit of Jesus, that the Father might reveal the riches of His glory, or, the riches of His ideas and opinions, so that you will be strengthened with might by His spirit (His way of thinking) in your inner man (cp Eph 4:22-24), or, in your spirit. The reason given:

Verses 17-19: 17. That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18. May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19. And to know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Think about what is being said here: When we have the riches of God’s glory, we possess Christ’s understanding (faith) of the love the Father has for us, and the love of both, the Father and the Son permeates our every thought and action. This is called being filled with all the fulness of God. Awesome!! When we reach this fulness, we will have been made in the image of God - inwardly.

Verses 20-21: 20. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power (ability of His love) working in us, 21. Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. What God can do abundantly exceeds all our expectations. I recently experienced what God can do when my home sold in less than 24 hours. Any delay in overcoming the sin in our lives is not due to God being slow to act; the delay is because of our ignorance, and being slow to receive and implement the things He is revealing. Romans 13:11: And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. Amen.