Sermons

Summary: God’s blessings come as we obey Him, based on Ephesians 3

STEPS TO GREATNESS

Ephesians 3:1-12

Ken Ritz

Eph 3:1-13 NLT

I, Paul, am a prisoner of Christ Jesus because of my preaching to you Gentiles.

2 As you already know, God has given me this special ministry of announcing his favor to you Gentiles.

3 As I briefly mentioned earlier in this letter, God himself revealed his secret plan to me.

4 As you read what I have written, you will understand what I know about this plan regarding Christ.

5 God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now he has revealed it by the Holy Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets.

6 And this is the secret plan: The Gentiles have an equal share with the Jews in all the riches inherited by God’s children.

Both groups have believed the Good News,

and both are part of the same body and enjoy together the promise of blessings through Christ Jesus.

7 By God’s special favor and mighty power, I have been given the wonderful privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.

8 Just think! Though I did nothing to deserve it, and though I am the least deserving Christian there is, I was chosen for this special joy of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ.

9 I was chosen to explain to everyone this plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.

10 God’s purpose was to show his wisdom in all its rich variety to all the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. They will see this when Jews and Gentiles are joined together in his church.

11 This was his plan from all eternity, and it has now been carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.

12 Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come fearlessly into God’s presence, assured of his glad welcome.

13 So please don’t despair because of what they are doing to me here.

It is for you that I am suffering, so you should feel honored and encouraged.

An interview was done recently, with supermodels Kim Alexis, Carol Alt, and Beverly Johnson—

who collectively have appeared on more than 2,000 magazine covers—

They talked about the stresses and health problems of struggling to build their modeling careers.

Most women would love to trade places with one of these supermodels,

but the truth isn’t quite so glamorous.

Alexis said, "I cried for the first year of my career," Carol Alt was under such pressure to lose weight that she completely stopped eating, and passed out on one assignment.

Beverly Johnson ended up with bulimia, anorexia, and a thyroid problem.

Is that what it means to build a great life?

You men may not be able to relate to that,

so let me read a short football article.

Every year, one college football player earns the dubious distinction of being dubbed "Mr. Irrelevant."

The title is playfully given to the last man chosen in the NFL Draft —

In 1995, John Burrough came dangerously close to being Mr. Irrelevant. The 6-foot-5, 275-pound defensive end from the University of Wyoming was selected by the Atlanta Falcons as the 245th pick in that draft, only four slots away from dead last.

The harsh reality is that the odds are poor for late-round draft choices to make it in the NFL. The odds are even worse that one will make it to the Super Bowl.

Fast forward to Jan., 1999, 4 years later, Super Bowl 33, between the Atlanta Falcons and the Denver Broncos.

John Burrough, Mr. "Almost Irrelevant," lines up for the opening kickoff as a member of the Falcons.

Burrough said,

"I had been spending the whole week getting ready to play, and I kept thinking, ’This is absolutely incredible. Guys play their entire careers hoping to get in this game, and here God has blessed me with the chance to play in it after only four years. "I remember all the build-up, the hype, and the media exposure. On Media Day there were thousands of media personnel down there. When you watch TV coverage of it at night, you could easily think you were participating in the greatest event in the world. But in the middle of all the explosions and hoopla and hype, all I could think was, ’Is this it? Is this all it is? Why, this doesn’t even compare to worshiping God!’"

This morning I want to talk about,

What is it that makes for a great life?

When we look at the Apostle Paul we usually think about all the good that he did.

He lived a great life,

maybe one of the best ever.

He wrote most of the New Testament,

he started churches throughout the known world,

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