The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 19 : The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the EPHESIANS

[Chapter 3-2] (Ephesians 3:1-21) Immeasurable Blessings of Christ Are in the Heart of Every Saint Who Believes In the Gospel of the Water And the Spirit

(Ephesians 3:1-21)
“For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles—if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
 
 
We just read the whole chapter of Ephesians 3 for today’s Scripture reading. Through this passage, I would like to speak to you about the work God has done to us. In his letter to the Church of Ephesus, the Apostle Paul is speaking about God’s Church, His plan of salvation, and the abundant blessings God has bestowed on us.
If the Epistle to the Galatians taught us to reject heresy, the Epistle to the Ephesians is speaking to us about God’s Church. It addresses such questions as how God has blessed us so abundantly on this earth through His Church, and which gospel God has made us preach through His Church. In other words, God is teaching us how His work has unfolded through His Church to spread His abundant blessings among all the nations.
Ephesians 2:20 says, “Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.”
Where was the faith of the saints in God’s Church built? It was built on the foundation of the Apostles of the New Testament and the prophets of the Old Testament. Put differently, the gospel of God and His Truth of salvation were built and manifested on the foundation of the Apostles and the prophets of faith. The prophets here refer to the prophets of the Old Testament, and the Apostles refer to the twelve disciples of Jesus who, like Paul, were raised by God Himself in the New Testament times.
 
 
If We Are the People of the Kingdom of Heaven, Then Our Faith Was Built on the Foundation of the Apostles and the Prophets
 
It is thanks to the gospel of the water and the Spirit that you and I have been saved from all our sins to become God’s own children and His workers. To delve deeper, the people of the Old Testament became God’s workers by being justified through their faith in the sacrificial system, whereas in the New Testament, we have become God’s servants by believing that Jesus Christ came to this earth, was baptized by John the Baptist, died on the Cross, and rose up from the dead. In both the New and Old Testaments, God raised as His people those who believed in the work of salvation promised and fulfilled by God, establishing them on this foundation of their faith. These are the people who became God’s very own people by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And now, the gospel of the Spirit is being spread through us who have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
 
 
God Has Poured His Unsearchable Love on Us through Jesus Christ
 
The Epistle to the Ephesians is usually called a “Prison Epistle.” It was from prison that Paul wrote this Epistle to the Ephesians, saying that he had become “a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me” (Ephesians 3:7) in order to preach the gospel. Paul was full of joy and thankfulness even though he was in prison because of his devotion to the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Here Paul is telling us that God the Father has saved us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, appointed us as His workers, and raised us up as His apostles to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ to the Gentiles.
What the Apostle Paul is trying to teach us through this verse is this: By His grace, God has made us spread the unsearchable riches of Christ all over the world. In other words, Paul is speaking about the abundant grace of Christ. So at this hour I would like to share the Word of God with you on this teaching and reflect on its lesson.
  
 
Abundant Grace of Jesus Christ
 
Let’s read Ephesians 3:10-11 together: “To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The first lesson the Apostle Paul wants to teach us is that it is through God’s Church that the gospel of the water and the Spirit is spread. Whoever has become a member of God’s Church is someone who believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit revealed in both Testaments of the Scriptures. Through His Church, God has made us preach the unsearchable riches of Christ, so that “the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:10).
The principalities here refer to rulers, implying that we will live and reign forever in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus has delivered us from all our sins and condemnation through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and He has given us new life. And the Bible says that whoever has received this new life will never die but live forever in Heaven. “The principalities and powers in the heavenly places” mentioned here imply that all who have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit will reign over the whole Kingdom of Heaven and live a majestic life.
Born on this earth once, we are now able to enter the Kingdom of the Lord as we came across the gospel of the water and the Spirit and believed in it. We the believers have become God’s children. And it is only by our faith that we have received the remission of sins to enter Heaven. Soon, all of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Our destination is the heavenly dominion of God, and there we will live and reign forever enjoying all the privileges as the children of God.
The Bible describes this as God’s glory or the riches of the glory of Christ. Although we are still living on this earth, our lives on this earth is not everything we have, but we have another life waiting for us, one that is lived in the dominion of Heaven where we will never die. Moreover, we will not only live in the dominion of God, but we will also reign over all the creatures in this dominion as its rulers. This is the key message that the Apostle Paul is trying to tell us when he said here, “To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:10). God has blessed us all to live such a wonderful life.
 
 
The Abundant Grace of Christ Has Made God’s Wisdom Known to Us
 
Autumn is here in all its glory, and the changing season is manifesting God’s wondrous work. We can see the trees bearing abundant fruit to the praise of God. Even though no word is spoken nor any voice heard, we can still see nature itself speaking of the riches of the dominion of God, the many things that God has done for us and will do in the future, just as Psalm 19:2 says, “Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge.” Through this season when all things bear fruit for abundant harvest, God is reminding us of the rich blessings of Christ that will make us live forever in the Kingdom of God and reign over all His creatures.
We the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit will not only live in the Kingdom of God in near future, but we already have all the rights and privileges as God’s own children. God is saying to us, “I have blessed you to live as the masters and rulers of the everlasting Kingdom of Heaven that I have made just for you.” As the Apostle Paul knew in his heart what an amazing and wonderful blessing this was, he was trying to explain it to the Church in Ephesus.
What a great blessing is this? Even though right now we are living in this world, when the Lord returns, we will all go to His Kingdom. Just as there must be an end to everything and every affair, this world too must come to an end, and when it does, God’s everlasting dominion will unfold right before our eyes. God has promised all of us the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. He has given us the right to live and reign forever in this Kingdom of Heaven. We should therefore all reflect on what an amazing and wondrous blessing this is, believe in it, think about the glory that God will give us to enjoy in the future, have faith in this promise, and live with hope.
God has indeed given us amazing blessings. And none of these blessings could ever have been attained through our own fleshly effort. Just as the Bible says, “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9), everything in this world will become old and crumble down to perish and disappear in the end. However, although we see nothing in this world that’s perfect and everlasting, the Kingdom of God will last forever. And God has blessed us to reign over this Kingdom forever and enjoy eternal life with all its glory. We should all realize what an amazing and wonderful blessing this is, remember it in our hearts, thank God for His abundant blessings, and glorify Him in our lives.
What a wondrous blessing has God given to us? He has not only saved us from all our sins, but after granting us the remission of sins, He has also given us the right to become His own children. If you have become God’s child, then you ought to realize that God has given you such amazing blessings that can only be enjoyed by His children. You ought to grasp the glorious power and life that you will enjoy in God’s dominion. That God has bestowed such blessings on you and me and all His saints is so amazing that I cannot describe it with words, but I still believe in them. Just as God has saved me from all my sins and delivered you from all your sins, He has also blessed us to live forever and enjoy an abundant, glorious, and eternally blessed life. I believe with all my heart that God has blessed us all to live such a life amid all the unsearchable riches of Christ.
Even though we have no merit of our own in God’s sight, God has given us this abundant life in Christ out of His unilateral free choice. He has given us the rich and everlasting life of Christ. He has blessed us to live amid all the unsearchable riches of Christ. These blessings are so amazing that they cannot be measured. We are already thankful enough that God has saved us, allowed us to live as His workers to carry out His righteous work, and blessed us to live forever. Moreover, as if these blessings were not enough, God has also given us the power to reign over the Kingdom of Heaven. And as God has given us this right to rule over His Kingdom, He has allowed us to live an eternally imperishable life in Heaven. This is such a great blessing that it cannot be described by words nor measured by any means. The blessings God has bestowed on us are immeasurably great and wondrous. That God has saved us from all our sins and made us completely sinless is enough to make us all grateful beyond words and compel us to live the rest of our lives with thanksgiving; and yet as if this were not enough, God has also given us these great blessings of Heaven, made us live as His workers, and guaranteed us a life of unsearchable blessings.
All who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have received such wonderful blessings from God. We should realize just how great these blessings that we have received from God really are. I am not asking you here to serve the Lord more, but I am just pointing out how God has given us these immeasurably rich blessings of Christ. This is what Paul is teaching us here in today’s Scripture passage, and it is also what the Holy Spirit is saying to us all. God has given us the right to reign over the Kingdom of Heaven. He has given us such amazing blessings that cannot be described in words. So we cannot help but confess our faith in these blessings, thank God for them, and praise Jesus Christ our Savior.
All of you must now remember that God has given you such wondrous blessings. You should realize clearly that “the principalities and powers in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:10) refer to none other than you and me. That is why we have no lingering attachment to our lives on this earth.
 
 
The Apostle Paul Says That the Blessings of Christ Are Unsearchable
 
The Bible says that God has given us such great blessings that they can be neither measured nor counted. Most things are measurable with enough calculation. Even the distance to the sun can be measured with some calculation. But the remission of sins that the Lord has given us and the blessings that He has bestowed upon us cannot be calculated nor measured. These blessings are so great, so perfect, and so eternal that they are simply amazing and marvelous to us. God has indeed made us completely sinless. There are countless people in this world who still remain sinful even as they have believed in Jesus for decades. In contrast, you and I have become truly sinless by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
This morning I heard that a foreign resident in Korea named Kerry sent us an email, telling us that he read one of our gospel books and received the remission of sins as a result. In his email he also expressed his appreciation for our ministry, saying that he had a great deal of respect for the New Life Mission and all its ministers for preaching the Truth. He also said he had sin his heart even though he had long been a preacher, but now that he read one of our gospel books, all his sins were finally blotted out. And he expressed his thanks to us by saying that he appreciated and respected us for preaching the Truth of salvation. Just like Kerry, God has indeed saved all of us and made us completely sinless.
Many preachers and pastors say that there is no one righteous in this world, quoting Romans 3:10 that says, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” Countless Christians all over the world also think in this way. However, the passage in Romans 3:10 actually teaches us that although we had many sins in our hearts, we have now becomes completely sinless by the grace of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul was pointing out the fact that even though we were debtors before, we are now no longer debtors thanks to God’s salvation. Paul did not mean that there was no one righteous even though Jesus Christ had blotted out all the sins of the world. The problem is that too many Christians have failed to understand the whole context of Romans 3:10 and missed its key message, basing their comprehension just on this one verse isolated from the whole passage. That is why they are living as sinners.
In fact, these misguided Christians do not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If they knew the gospel of the water and the Spirit, they would have understood the overall message of Romans chapter 3, and they would have also grasped the core lesson of Romans chapter 8. It is written in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” This passage makes it unambiguously clear that we the true believers have absolutely no sin. The “condemnation” here refers to the condemnation of sin, and when the Bible says that there is no condemnation, it means that whoever believes in the righteousness of Christ Jesus has no sin at all. Yet too many Christians are oblivious to this.
Kerry, the man that I just told you about, had also thought that there was no one righteous on this earth. But now that he has received the remission of sins and become righteous, this was enough to make him utterly grateful and joyful. What’s more, he asked us to accept him as a coworker in our ministry, saying that he also wanted to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit. I am sure that Kerry is overwhelmed by joy just from encountering the gospel of the water and the Spirit. He probably feels like walking on the clouds, for all the sins that had troubled him has now disappeared. As Kerry believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit fulfilled by Christ, God Himself, his heart has actually become sinless.
This is enough to make him grateful, but how much more joy would he have once he realizes that he has put on the unsearchable blessings of Christ? The Apostle Paul here knew these blessings of Heaven coming from Christ, and if we also grasp these blessings like Paul did, then we can all thank God even amidst our difficulties. We would not only realize just how worthless the things of the world are compared to the things of the Kingdom of God, but we would also be compelled to thank God for the indescribable blessings that are found in Jesus Christ.
 
 
We Have Put on Heavenly Blessings That Are Beyond Description
 
Our salvation was not accomplished because we longed for it, but it was fulfilled solely according to the will of God the Father. It is God Himself who has achieved our salvation out of His own volition, all according to the eternal purpose that God accomplished in Jesus Christ. We neither longed for nor even thought about such great blessings. Yet through Jesus Christ, God has given us such unfathomable, great, and perfect blessings. I have absolute faith in this, and I ask you all too also believe it.
God’s grace is indeed beyond description, for it is unsearchable. Neither my limited vocabulary nor anyone else’s expression can ever describe this grace fully. What is clear, however, is that we will live forever in eternal happiness and blessings with the everlasting power to reign over the Kingdom of Heaven. God has granted all of us the right to live such an amazing life, and that is what we all believe.
That is why Paul said that he considered the things of the world as rubbish (Philippians 3:8). This is true for me as well. Although I am still not able to consider the things of the world as rubbish as completely as Paul, at least I know that what’s in this world cannot be compared with what God has given me. God’s gifts are infinite, whereas the things of the world mean nothing.
Paul wished us in Ephesians 3:18-19 that we “may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” This is what Paul wants from us. He wants us to realize that God has given us immeasurably abundant blessings in Christ. He is teaching us that God has given us the everlasting right to live and reign over the Kingdom of Heaven forever. All this came about according to the wisdom of God the Father. It is what God the Father Himself thought of; and through His Son Jesus Christ, the Father has not only made us His children and blotted out all our sins, but He has also delivered us from condemnation. God has made us His very own sons and daughters. That’s not all, for God has not only made us His children, but He has also blessed us to live forever in the Kingdom of Heaven with all the rights and privileges of the Lord as the children of God. These blessings are so great that words can never describe them all.
It is amazing enough that we will never die but live happily forever, but as though this were not enough, God has even given us the power to rule over the Kingdom of Heaven. Have you ever had any power to dictate everything to your own liking? Of course, God’s Church is not the place for any arbitrary exercise of power. Rather, it is a place where all of us ought to serve each other and cherish one another.
But the power to rule over others entails tremendous influences. When a politician is elected and inaugurated as the president or prime minister of a country, he has the power to command the whole government and determine its policies. Power makes everything possible just with words. And God has given us such power. This blessed life is so beyond our comprehension that it can neither be measured nor fully appreciated. As a result, we are prone to think that we would be happy enough if God were to give us just a few blessings that we can see and feel more immediately. Many of us would be content if God would answer just three of our wishes like the genie in a bottle. Everyone on this earth wishes for this.
In Jesus Christ, however, God has given us such great power and so many blessings that they can never be measured nor be counted. And it’s because these blessings are infinite that they cannot be measured, for we can neither fathom nor comprehend them as finite beings.
The Apostle Paul declared in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Like this, the abundant blessings that we have received from Jesus Christ are so amazing that our present sufferings are not even worthy of comparison. All of us can therefore live and prosper in Jesus Christ, for we have such hope. Whenever I find myself struggling, I also remember what God said in today’s Scripture passage. I can then thank the Lord and endure all my trials, for the blessings that the Lord has given me are so great. If I had not lived for the Lord nor faced any difficulties or trials, then I would not have been grateful to the Lord even after receiving His unsearchable blessings.
God said that He has given us such blessings as the “principalities and powers in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:10), and I believe in all this. If you are not that thankful enough for these blessing or can’t even remember them, then it’s because you are too content with the things of the world. But the world can never truly satisfy you. In fact, it’s precisely because life in this world is so hard that we wait for the day when we enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Because this promise will infallibly be fulfilled to us one day, and because such a blessed life will unfold before our own eyes, all of us should live by faith hoping for this day.
The Apostle Paul was in prison when he wrote today’s Scripture passage. He had no freedom. So he thought about the immeasurably rich blessings of Christ. And because Paul thought about these blessings and knew that his heart was filled with them, he was not troubled at all even though he was imprisoned. He was always thankful no matter what happened to him. That is why, despite finding himself in prison, Paul was able to minister to the saints in Ephesus and bless them, saying, “May your hearts be filled with the unsearchable blessings of Christ.” Like Paul, all our hearts should be filled with God’s unsearchable blessings as His servants and workers living in this present age.
These blessings do not require us to do something on our own to attain them, but they are received by faith for our enjoyment, for the Lord has given them to us freely. Jesus Christ our Lord has given us all these blessings, He fills all we desire in our minds and hearts, and He works in God’s Church to fulfill our every wish for us. So let us all trust in the Lord and thank Him. Your heart and mine are already filled with the abundant blessings of Christ.
I give all my thanks to God!