The Power of Grace Ministries

March 9
Because we live under the New Covenant, God has made known to us the full dispensation of His grace toward all man. Do not let the enemy steal from you what Jesus has already paid for by His shed blood.
Ephesians 3:1-21


Ephesians 3:1-7
, 1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles--2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 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: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, 7 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.   


Paul was not actually a prisoner in the sense he was held captive against his will. He could have walked away from his call anytime and gone to heaven just the same. What he is expressing is that he has such an appreciation and love for Jesus and what Jesus did for him, that he could never choose to leave his call. Paul was compelled, out of his love for God to be this prisoner for Christ. Christians as a whole do not understand completely what Jesus has done for us, if we did none of us would act like we do. We all would be as Paul. The most interesting point here is, Paul not only persecuted “The Way” which we call the church, but as a Jew and even more so a Pharisee he would have never entered into the house or even a conversation with Gentiles; and yet after his conversion, Paul is the primary Apostle to bring the gospel to the Gentiles.  


Before his conversion, Paul would have fought to the death, anyone claiming that Gentiles would be fellow heirs and of the same body as the Jews. There was no way a “dog” would enter into the Abrahamic blessing which the Jews held as only for them. And yet even today we still do not understand just what a blessing we truly have, and this blessing as a “child of God” is the very principle Paul writes about in most of his letters. When you think about it, he had to be a willing prisoner of Christ in order to spend so much of his life, which brought him heavy condemnation and punishment, for preaching and giving us these truths. Verse 2 “if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you,”  

In verse 2 Paul is referencing his call into the ministry for Jesus, by Jesus as read in Acts 9:15. “But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the Children of Israel.” This is when Jesus is speaking to Ananias, a Christian to go to the house of Judas and lay hands on Paul that he may receive his sight. Paul’s Damascus road experience had left him temporarily blind, but most people reading this do not realize the importance of a Christian being the one to go lay hands on Paul that he may see again.  
Look at what Jesus spoke in Mark 16:17-18 17 “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."

 
I tell people this truth all of the time and most people hearing it act as though they have never heard of it before. These signs shall “FOLLOW” those who believe; believers are not to follow the signs. Christians should have such a belief in Jesus and what He did for us on the cross that these signs should follow us like the dust cloud that followed “Pig Pen” from the Charlie Brown cartoon. Peter walked past the sick and his shadow crossing them healed them, Acts 5:15. Today we almost run away from a sick person as if the sickness is going to get on us. So of course Jesus had to send a Christian to lay hands on Paul because that is what we are called to do. And Paul was the best person on the planet to go to the Gentiles to teach them about Jesus.  
Paul knew the Laws of Moses and the Prophets better than most Pharisees. It was through the spiritual gift of wisdom and the spiritual gift knowledge, that the Holy Spirit was able to reveal the truth of the gospel Jesus Christ and God’s grace to Paul. The most exciting of all is the Holy Spirit did this through the books we call Old Testament. 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ). Through the study of Acts and several of the books written by Paul one can see that he spent approximately fourteen years alone in Tarsus learning from the Lord.  


Verse 5 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: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, 7 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”. Keep in mind that for centuries the children of Israel had the books of Moses. We read throughout the Old Testament where the prophets studied them constantly and wrote of their own revelations about the coming Messiah and yet even when Jesus showed up on the scene, no one recognized Him.