A Prisoner and a Minister

Ephesians 3:1-1

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

In the previous chapter we ended up talking about the fact that the Ephesians were not strangers anymore, but they have been fitly framed together by God to serve his purpose as a habitation of the Holy Spirit. That is the cause Paul starts out with here – of keeping the body together as God has placed the people in it. Then he says he’s a prisoner of Jesus Christ for the Gentiles. When you look up the word prisoner in Strong’s you’ll find out it is exactly what we think it is it is – a person who is held captive. I would like to think of Paul as captivated by Jesus Christ and not necessarily held captive.  We can be captivated by something good. If you look up the word captivated, it is defined as attracting and holding the interest and attention of somebody else. There’s no doubt in my mind that Paul was captivated by Jesus Christ.  I’m captivated by Jesus Christ. He is the amazing Son of God whom we can’t help but be attracted to.

Next he talks about the dispensation of grace. The word dispensation carries with it the meaning of administration, like the management of a household or household affairs. It’s a type of stewardship – stewardship that Paul was given of the grace of God to share with the Ephesian Church. They say that what makes the Christian faith different from all other faiths is the message of Grace. And Paul recognizes that. The preaching of Grace is an amazing thing in the world of religions.  Most religions require works.  You have to do something in order to be saved and go to heaven.  Christianity is based on the grace of God, who gave His Son as a sacrifice so that we could go to heaven.  That’s a big difference.

How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

Paul now brings us back to the mystery. We talked about the mystery of His will and the fact that there really isn’t a mystery to the will of God. His will is spelled out right before us in His word. Christ is the Word made flesh to dwell among us. And now the mystery has been given to the Gentiles. They are also able to trust in the word of God and find favor with God. Before, the Gentiles were thought of as outsiders, and there was no way that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was going to bless them. But Paul knew that the Old Testament prophets said the word would eventually go out to the Gentiles (Is 49:5-6). That’s part of the mystery. Why did the Jews never see that in the scripture? Why were they so opposed to Paul going to the Gentiles? Now we know that the gospel is for all men everywhere on Earth.

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;

That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

Paul says that in the past this mystery wasn’t made known to the men, it was hidden in the prophets. But now it’s been revealed by the Holy Spirit. The fact that the word is going to go out to the Gentiles and they will be fellow heirs and be partakers of His promise in Christ. This is an amazing thing especially if you were Jewish. God brought them up out of Egypt, they were called his special people, He set you apart for all those centuries and now it’s going to Branch out to other people besides Jews.  It’s a major change in their thinking. We’re now included in that group of Gentiles!  We are now partakers!  I love the promise in Christ.  Praise the Lord

Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

And now Paul says he was made a minister.  At the beginning of this section he calls himself a prisoner. If ministers are prisoners I guess I’m a prisoner too. I know that I’m captivated by Jesus. Paul mentions that it’s only by grace that he has been chosen as a minister. God, by working his power in Paul,  brought people into the kingdom of God. Paul always never takes credit. Everything he does, he gives glory to God.  It is the effectual working of God’s power that is touching lives and saving souls, not Paul.  It’s not Paul’s preaching. It’s God working through him.  He is a willing vessel to allow God to move. Let’s make sure that we’re sharing the grace of God.  It is God that draws souls to be saved, not our preaching or our charisma.  The preaching is necessary, for that’s the testimony that they hear.  But it is God’s power and grace that saves the sinner.


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I love the Lord. Each day, he gives me words of praise and encouragement, and asks me to share them with you I pray that they minister to you as you read them, share them, or ponder on them. Have a blessed day!

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