“Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ephesians 3:8-11
Paul is saying in this scripture, “Look, I don’t deserve any of this!”
His background should have disqualified him as unworthy to follow Christ – much less become a minister of the gospel preaching the good news of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles.
But God uses Paul to highlight the reality that none are qualified or worthy to be used by God. It is only by His grace that we are saved. It is only by His grace that we are invited to demonstrate and communicate His great love to the world.
Paul tells us in this text that the church of Jesus Christ is God’s chosen instrument to reveal His rule and reign over all things and to point us to His love and grace as shown to the world in Jesus Christ.
This has massive implications for us! It means the church is a living and active testimony of the redemptive grace of the gospel that destroys the dividing wall of hostility between different types of people and creates a new people group in Christ. In the church, the redeemed – the saved – and the transformed – gather to reveal the beauty of God’s grace. The Bible says God’s manifold wisdom is revealed through the creation of the church.
This word for “manifold” is also used in Genesis to describe the coat of many colors given to Joseph by his father, Jacob. The manifold wisdom of God revealed in the church is a multi-colored, multi-faceted wisdom. It is a wisdom that stands out in the world as people from many different walks of life come together by the grace of God.
Don’t miss this: The beautiful creation (called the Church) is a stunning and powerful testimony of the grace of God – living together in unity for the sake of the gospel, igniting worship and praise in heaven! Tony Merida helpfully commented on this text, saying:
“How such a vision must have encouraged the churches in Ephesus! Can you imagine the people gathering from normal backgrounds, leaning in to listen to the reading of this letter – farmers, bankers, metal workers, carpenters, shopkeepers, servants, masters, moms, dads, and children? As the readers get to chapter 3, they are told that they are testifying to the heavenly beings! Stunning! Do not underestimate the glory of God in the church.”
Allow this text to remind us how beautiful and powerful the church is when we live the mission and function as God created us to do.
Does your church reflect the beautiful and manifold wisdom of God?
May our churches be a beautiful and powerful reminder of the importance of connecting and serving together for the glory of God!
Are you connected to a local church?
Taken from a sermon by George Wright, Senior Pastor, Shades Mountain Baptist Church, Birmingham, AL
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