Summary: 16th in the series dealing with Paul's example of an effective ministry. From his testimony about himself I draw several critical elements that should characterized any effective ministry of Jesus Christ.
Ephesians Series #16
“Marks of an Effective Minister”
I. Our Wealth and Worth In Christ 1-4
A. Paul blessed God for blessing us with every spiritual blessing 1:3-14
B. Paul prayed for their enlightenment 1:15-23
Hope of His calling
Glory of His inheritance in the saints
Surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe
C. Paul detailed our resurrected life in Christ 2:1-10
You all were individually dead by reason of personal sin
You all were individually driven by fleshly desires raging in the body and mind
You all were individually energized by Satan
You all were individually designated children of wrath by nature
Made us all alive with Christ
Raises us up with Christ
Seated us with Christ
Made us His special individual workmanship by divine re-creation
D. Paul declared our awesome acceptance and reconciliation 2:11-21
In verses 13-22 Paul focused on the lost as a group, namely Gentiles.
Corporately alienated, separated and rejected.
Gentiles, as a group, were…
Separated from Christ
Alienated by God
Strangers to the promises of salvation
Without God (a-theist)
Despised by Jews
BUT NOW, after the reconciliation ministry of Jesus…
We as a group have been brought near to God.
We as a group have been reconciled to God and the Jews.
Both Jews and Gentiles have been transformed into a new Community
This is not just a geographical or political community, but a community formed through a supernatural transformation and rebirth. It was accomplished by the Father bringing us near
It was accomplished by Jesus making peace by His death on the cross. It was accomplished by the Holy Spirit powerfully transforming us.
The result of this amazing reconciliation?
Open and equal access to the Father
Full citizens in God’s kingdom
Beloved children in God’s family
Strategic stones in God’s growing “building”.
There is a great deal of talk today about purpose in life. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback church turned the subject into a number one all time bestselling book outside of the Bible “Purpose Driven Life”. Philosophers have debated the subject for centuries. Why are we here?
As Christians we believe that our purpose has something to do with restored relationship with God. If that is the case then why doesn’t God just snatch us up to His Place as soon as we respond to His call? Why spend more time struggling down here? What is my purpose for staying down here? Paul was so moved by God’s newly created community that he intended to break out in prayer but took a slight detour before he actually got to praying.
“For this reason, I Paul the prisoner of Jesus Christ for the sake of you Gentiles…”
The actual prayer doesn’t resume until verse 14.
Paul’s detour turned into a powerful personal testimony concerning his relationship with the Gentiles. In it we find some essential factors that made Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles so monumental. In this “detour” we find the reason why God leaves Christians down here.
We are left to be a testimony to unbelievers, an encouragement to believers and an irrefutable testimony of God’s power to a surprising audience. God calls every follower of Jesus Christ into ministry. He expects every Christian to be fully engaged in kingdom work.
Paul stands as a shining example of a faithful servant of Jesus Christ. In fact, at the end of his life he could honestly affirm…
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 2 Timothy 4:7
I want to spend the rest of our time highlighting the marks of a meaningful ministry drawn out of Paul’s testimony. I want to address an obvious issue before we even start. This is obviously Paul’s testimony. Wasn't he a specially gifted apostle of Jesus Christ? So weren't things different for him? Just so we are clear from the beginning and I will continue to affirm throughout, all of the principles that I draw from Paul’s life and ministry are applied to all believers somewhere else in the New Testament. These are all elements that should be true of every faithful follower of Jesus Christ today.
E. Paul shared His personal testimony regarding ministry 3:1-13
1. Sound grasp of God's sovereignty and suffering 1
1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus
In Scripture, whenever you find a "for this reason", it would do well to try to discover what that reason was. Generally the reason can be found in the immediate context. The Immediate context of this passage has to do with Paul's discussion of God's newly created community of those putting their trust in Jesus Christ. As I mentioned before, Paul was about ready to pray for that community. Being a personal letter, Paul added a characteristic personal touch concerning himself. He called himself a "prisoner Jesus Christ".