April 7, 2002
v. 2 – “the dispensation of the grace of God” (ch. 2:8-10) – in vs. 5-6 --Paul says this
dispensation “in other ages was not made known unto men (that
is, the church age – the last 2000 years)….that the Gentiles should be fellow
heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by
vs. 3 & 5 – That it was “by revelation He made known unto me the
mystery…..revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit”
How that, by revelation, was made known unto me the mystery.
The mystery, as is explained afterwards (ver. 6), was not the
gospel itself, but its destination to the Gentiles as much as to the Jews;
although, as appears afterwards, this fullness of blessing is really the great
glory of the gospel. Mystery, that which is known only to the initiated,
does not denote here a thing obscure in its own nature, but only something
that had been concealed from view. It was only the initiated that now knew
that God designed the gospel for Gentile and Jew alike. Paul had been
initiated “by revelation” — not by his own reflecting power, not by his
study of Scripture, not by communication from ether men, but by a special
communication from God (Galatians 1:12).
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v. 6 – That the Gentiles would be included in the Plan of Salvation.
The promise to Abraham – “in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of
the earth be blessed” – Genesis 12:3 – this blessing does not come by being
a Jew or through the Jews but directly to Gentiles from Christ, the Son of God!
v. 7 – “Of which I became a minister; according to the gift of the grace of God” –
the power of my ministry comes from God, not me, says Paul.
v. 8 - “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints”
Not only of apostles and prophets, but even of all believers — a profound
expression of humility, founded not only on his persecuting career, but on his
consciousness of sin, of inborn rebellion against God’s Law, of fountains of
unlawful desire in his flesh (Romans 7:18; 1 Timothy 1:13-15),
making him feel himself to be, in heart and essence, the chief of sinners.
The sense of sin is not usually in proportion to the acts of outward
transgression, but to the insight into the springs of evil in one’s heart, and
the true nature of sin as direct antagonism to the holy God.
“was this grace given” – the third time in this chapter that he speaks of his
office as a fruit of grace!
“to preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ”
Acts 26:16-18 – Paul’s testimony before Herod Agrippa
(Illustration of my grandson, Parker, nearly two years old and when visiting
looked in a room in our house and said in a coarse voice “Its dark in there”)
I say that the world, without Christ, is much darker than that room!
Matthew 6:23 – Jesus said “if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full
of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness,
how great is that darkness!”
e]qnov, — eth’-nos; probably from (e]qw); a race (as of the
same habit), i.e. a tribe; specially a foreign (non-Jewish) one
(usually by implication pagan): — Gentile, heathen, nation,
“ethnos” – heathen – an offensive name – yet with which the apostle associates
highest blessings of God.
Two attractive words – riches and unsearchable – conveying the idea of the
things that are most precious, being infinitely abundant. Usually, precious
things are rare; their rarity increases their price but here that which is most
precious is also boundless – riches of compassion and love, of merit, of
sanctifying, comforting and transforming power and without limit – capable
of satisfying every want, craving, and yearning of the heart, now and forever!
Much more abundant but on the same principle as air, sunshine and water!
The thought of having such riches to offer made Paul consider that his office
was regarded as glorious, although apparently, the world would despise both
it and the message?
Paul is thankful to God for having conferred this honor on him.
v. 9 – “And to make all men see” – Why the ignorance? Why the rebellion
that rejects it?
The answer is in II Corinthians 4:4-7
This connects us back to the last thing I was saying two weeks ago where
we pick up with the lesson on March 10 starting with the connection between
the heart and the intellect. The brown below is in reference to Ephesians 1:18 –
“the eyes of your understanding being enlightened”
V. 18 - The connection between heart & intellect
The Bible speaks of: “applying our hearts unto wisdom”
It has been said “the head is the dupe of the heart” -
dupe - one that is easily fooled, stupid bird,
Those that stand for nothing will fall for anything.
The Scripture is very emphatic in making the connection
between knowledge & holiness.
“having the understanding darkened”
"The entrance of thy words giveth light" - Ps. 119:130
* Purity of heart gives insight.
* Purity of heart rather than accuracy of thought is the
order of the kingdom.
This is why so many pseudo- intellectuals & spin doctors
of the day are out in left field.
I am amazed at the brazenness & defiance spewed out by such
in open defiance of the revelation of God.
They cannot think purely, therefore they think not clearly!
Matt. 18:5-6 Bibles in the public school library are under lock & key but
Easter displays of bunnies & plastic eggs are out in the open
for a candid world to see?
Take an athletic man, the most perfect specimen of athletic
training, bone, flesh & sinew, if that is all, he is but 1/3 of a
man and useless to society. Send him to the schools & cram
his mind full, he is but 2/3 of a man, and dangerous as well
as useless. Put Christ in his heart, to control & urge his
purpose & you have an ideal man, 3/3 or a total man.
Psalm 2:1- 4 of Jesus
How often do we find in human life that interest, vanity, fear,
and party spirit determine the conclusions of the intellect. Our
opinions often depend upon our lives quite as much as
our lives depend upon our opinions.
It is God who gives insight! I John 5:20
Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the
It is God who giveth the light of the knowledge of the
glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus - II Cor. 4:6
Our highest knowledge is a Divine gift - Luke 8:10
Every Christian, yea, every man’s prayer should be
“open thou mine eyes, that I may see wondrous things
out of thy law” - Ps. 119:18
back to ch.3: 9 – “what is the dispensation of the mystery which from the beginning
of the ages hath been hid in God” – (before the foundation of the world)
“who created all things”
This is no trifling matter; it connects itself with GOD’S GRANDEST OPERATIONS -
it might be supposed to have relations with only one race or one period of time, but it
has relations with “ALL THINGS”
“by Jesus Christ”
v. 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”
A lesson for the unfallen angels – their interest in the scheme of man’s
redemption is mentioned in I Peter 1:12
As if to imply that the work of redemption represents the highest order
of intelligence – thus the disappointment to miss the mark in the end –
and the self-reproach for eternity in Hell.
Even the highest powers of heaven have yet much to learn respecting
God, yet vain man curses Him and uses His Precious name in vain every
day – the Lord has warned that that man will not be guiltless – Exodus 20:7.
The dispensation of God’s grace to man is one of the angels’ lesson books!
I would like to recommend Clarence Larkin’s book on Dispensational Truth.
It is in our church library.
I recommend checking out www.larkinbooks.com.
So dread a sacrifice as the life of God’s Son could not have been made just for one
poor planet, in its indirect bearings we do not know what orders of beings have
derived most vital lessons from this MANFESTATION OF THE ATTRIBUTES
However men may scorn the salvation of Christ and all that belongs to it, the
highest intelligences regard it with PROFOUND INTEREST!
Yet: How the disinterest today? Why the disinterest today? Why the neglect of
the soul? The attitude of man is often portrayed by Satan when, before God, he
accuses Job by saying “skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his
life” – Job 2:4
Why the stupidity? Why the ignorance?
What shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Mark 8:37
My apologies to Bro. Laster (filled in last week for me) in whom I have
utmost confidence in his handling of chapter 2 but I must refer to that
passage when I studied Ephesians from Feb. 3, to March 16, 1976, and
I made a note to connect a reference on p. 61 in my commentary to this
passage. The following in red is to what I refer:
Ch. 2:1 refers to the condition of being dead in trespasses and sins.
Here the killing effect of sin is indicated. Sins of sensuality kill truthfulness,
industry, integrity and all virtue, so sin generally affecting as it does our whole
nature, kills or does not suffer to live, the affections and movements of the
For reference: Take the sarcastic attack on public knowledge of the Ten
Commandments by a judge for Caldwell, Lyon, Trigg and Livingston counties
– 56th district circuit judge – a huge article
April 6, 2002
The conversation with Bob McCord coming back from a golf outing at Russellville
last Friday – what his generation was taught – comparing it to endangered species’
loss of habitat and getting below a certain number (in this instance people that fear
the Lord) Ten righteous men in
Side effects of this condition are: a state of insensibility, utter powerlessness and
helplessness to do anything about it from a human standpoint.
2:2 – “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world” – a life
of walking but not normal life, a sort of galvanized corpse or of walking in
“the world” – the present system of things, only things that are seen and temporal
with no regard to God or the future life. Where there is spiritual death there is
insensibility to these things.
“according to the prince of the power of the air” – denotes evil spirits influencing
by temptations to draw people in worldly directions contrary to the will of God.
“the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience”
Unfortunately, persons of disobedience, bred by disobedience, having disobedience
in their very nature.
“The carnal mind is enmity against God” – Romans 8:7
2:3 – “fulfilling the desires of the flesh and mind” - a life of indulgence marked by
the absence of any controlling regard to the will of God.
As if, life is to be spent in the lusts and desires of our flesh, living for no noble ends,
as if there were nothing higher than to please the carnal nature?
“To be spiritually minded is life and peace but to be carnally minded is death” – Romans 8:6
Jeremiah 5:23 - “But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart;
they are revolted and gone”
SATAN INFLAMES MAN’S INHERENT DISLIKE TO GOD’S WILL AND
ENCOURAGES OUOTBREAKS OF IT!
Now back to chapter 3.
v. 11 – “According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our
The apostle is anxious that we connect these operations of God with the profundity,
deliberation and awfulness of the eternal decree – the whole element in which the
whole scheme of grace had its beginning, its progress and its end!
v. 12 – “In whom we have boldness and access”
Contrast with Adam hiding himself among the trees of the garden (Genesis 3:8)
and with the lost in Revelation calling on mountains to fall on them and rocks to
cover them (Revelation 6:12-17).
“In confidence through the faith of Him” – confidence of being welcomed and
accepted when we go through Christ, our Propitiation, our Peace and our
Reconciler to God.
He is not a means of deliverance out of the hands of God but casting ourselves
into the hands of God, He is the very best Friend we have in the universe!
Remember the influence of the old hymn What a Friend We Have in Jesus