Summary: Ephesians 3:11-12 is the climax of a long thought from Ephesians 1:22-3:10, and 3:12 is his summary statement. Because "all are invited" to be "in Christ" and in his body, the implications are 1) believers should GO and share the Good News and 2) those wh
All Are Invited
Ephesians - Live Like You Really Are
September 9, 2012
TEXT: Please Turn to Ephesians 3:11-12
POWERPOINT: There is a PowerPoint presentation for this sermon available by requesting it from me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illus. – When I was in high school, one of my classmates came to me in tears. I said, “Irene, what’s wrong?”
She said, “Why does Mrs. Sanchez hate me?”
Mrs. Sanchez was our Spanish teacher. I said, “She doesn’t hate you. Why do you think that?”
She said, “Because everyone was invited to the Spanish class party Friday night except me. She apparently doesn’t want me there.”
I said, “Irene, EVERYONE’S invited.”
“No, I didn’t get an invitation. Marie got one, and so did Glen, and you, and Wilf.”
I said, “Irene, you were late to class, remember? Just look on Mrs. Sanchez’s desk. There’s an envelope with your name on it.” She went up to the desk, and there it was.
I think we’ve all felt the sting of being left out of something. The Jews thought they were the sole recipients of God’s attention, and in their minds, the Gentiles weren’t invited!
THEY were God’s chosen people; He was THEIR God; THEY were the invited ones. But we have seen in our study of Ephesians 1:22–3:10 how Paul rocks their world with his teaching that the Gentile believers are joined with Jewish believers in the Church, the body of Christ.
Ephesians 3:11-12 is the climax of this passage and verse 12 is Paul’s summary statement.
So let’s read verses 11 and 12: “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.”
Now don’t miss what Paul is saying by imposing our modern individualistic focus on Paul’s thought on this verse. Paul had taught in 1:22-3:10 that it was true that God worked primarily through the Jewish nation up until the New Testament times, but that God had broken down the wall of division between Jewish and Gentile believers, uniting them into a wholly new corporate entity which would become God’s chosen people; namely, the Church, which he also calls the Body of Christ.
So Paul concludes in verse 12 that through Christ, ALL are invited; all who come through Jesus Christ by faith can have boldness and access with confidence to God.
The Greek word translated “boldness” here means “freedom of speech; unreservedness of speech.” – Paul is saying that just as Jews could talk to God and have a direct relationship with Him, so could Gentile believers.
The Greek word translated “access” was a word used in ancient times of having access to royalty. Even today, you can’t just walk in and talk to the Queen of England or the President of the United States because they have restricted access controlled by intermediaries you have to go through. Paul is saying to Gentile believers, “You don’t have to go through the Jews anymore to get to God or to have a relationship with God. You have the same access to God the Jews have because you and Jewish believers are united in the body of Christ. You’re one in Him.”
Now in this passage, I want you to see three things Paul says in his summary about the church:
I. FIRST, HE SAYS THAT THIS PLAN OF A NEW CORPORATE PEOPLE OF GOD CALLED THE CHURCH COMPRISED OF BOTH JEWS AND GENTILES WAS ALWAYS GOD’S PLAN. – Verse 11 – “According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Warren Wiersbe says, “The great truth of the church is not a divine afterthought. It is a part of God’s eternal purpose in Christ.” It was ALWAYS God’s plan that the Jews would be the vehicle to bring the light of God to the whole world and unite Jew and Gentile in what he calls “one new man” in Ephesians 2:15, which Paul identifies in 1:22-23 as the church, or Christ’s body. This seems self-evident to us today, but believe me, it was mind-boggling in Paul’s day!
II. SECOND, PAUL SAYS THAT THIS WAS ACCOMPLISHED THROUGH JESUS CHRIST. – Verse 11b – “which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The noun “purpose” in the first part of the verse and the verb “purposed” in the second part of the verse are two totally unrelated words in the Greek. The first means “purpose” in the same sense we use it in English, of an “intention”. But the second word has an entirely different meaning. It means, “made, accomplished, done.” Paul is saying that what was intended from all eternity past was accomplished, carried out, done by God through Jesus Christ.
When Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, He not only paid the penalty for our sin personally, but He accomplished an eternal plan put into place by the Godhead whereby ALL would be invited to a union with Christ.