302. “Taking Hold Of Our Unsearchable Riches in Christ!” Praying Through Ephesians. Ephesians 3:7-10. Epistle for Epiphany Jany 6th 2019

It would be sad to read of an old man who lived his whole life in poverty not knowing that in his youth he had been left billions of dollars in an inheritance. What a difference it would have made to him if he had realised the ‘unsearchable’ riches that were really his.

Paul in this letter is at pains to share with the Ephesian believers, all the unsearchable riches they possessed in Christ.

The Passage From Ephesians 3:7-10. Eph 3:7 “Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.”

A Suggested Prayer Based on Eph 3:7-10

“Heavenly Father, we thank You that through the gospel You invite us to receive Your love in Jesus Christ. We thank You that You work within us to enable us to respond to You and to Your plan and purpose for us. Enable us to more fully understand and to take hold of the unsearchable riches which are ours in Christ. We want to live in the fulness of Your grace so that we can play our part in Your church in making Christ known throughout the world. We ask these things so that Your name may be glorified throughout the earth. AMEN!”

Some Notes On The Passage From Eph 3:7-10

“According to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me”. It’s so easy to just glance at this phrase and miss its richness. The word for “gift” is [dōreá, δωρεά] which is used to denote a gift stemming from the grace of God. Not just any old gift! Grace is [charis] meaning God’s unmerited favour. Paul didn’t earn or deserve the gift. But “grace” can also mean God’s enabling. Paul’s ministry was a gift from God for the benefit of His people.

There is a juxtaposition in this verse in his use of the terms “gift”, “grace” and “given” used in conjunction with the more dynamic terms “working” and “power.“ Paul’s ministry was a gift from God’s grace given to him and to the church but the preparation of Paul for that ministry involved God being at work in him by His power. He knew that was necessary as he indicated in Philippians where he wrote that believers have to work out in practice what God is working inwardly within them, 2:12-13 “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” The working out of his ministry was dependent on God’s work in him motivating and enabling him for his ministry.

Why was that work necessary? Because Paul saw himself as being the “very least of the saints”. The word he uses is a superlative, meaning the least of the least. So God’s powerful enabling grace was given to Paul to enable him to preach the gospel message to the Gentiles and to help them to recognise two things in particular. Namely, the unsearchable riches they possessed In Christ, and also the purpose of God is using the church to make known God’s wisdom in establishing Christ’s victory throughout the seen and the unseen world.

 “Unsearchable riches.” ‘Unsearchable’ is [anexichniastos , ἀνεξιχνίαστος] in the Greek New Testament . The only other occurrence is in Rom 11:33 where the word is translated as “inscrutable.” 11:33, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”  Humans, of themselves, are unable to grasp the depths of God’s wisdom or the vastness of God’s ways. Understanding could only come by revelation from God. That’s where Paul came into the picture as one of God’s agents He used to enlighten the people [especially the Gentiles] who sat in darkness.

“Riches”. The word is used more frequently here than in any other book in the New Testament. For example in 1:7 redemption and forgiveness are seen as coming from the riches of His grace.  In 1:18 Paul prays that his readers in Ephesus might be enlightened to know what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. Then in 2:7 he mentions the “immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Finally in 3:16 it is “according to the riches of His glory.” Riches so vast and so deep they could only be understood by revelation from God through His agents and through His church as it shared the gospel message.

This passage raises the question for us. Why live as spiritual paupers when in Christ we can become open, by His grace, to His unsearchable riches? And then live, appropriating from those unsearchable riches, for His glory, not ours!

Blog No.302 posted on www.jimholbeck.blog on Friday 9th November 2018.


About Jim Holbeck

Once an Industrial Chemist working for the Queensland Government but later an Anglican minister in Brisbane, Armidale and Sydney. Last position for eighteen years before retirement in 2006 was as the Leader of the Healing Ministry at St Andrew's Cathedral Sydney.
This entry was posted in BIBLE PASSAGE OUTLINES, Bible verses. Comments, Creation, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Forgiveness, Lectionary Readings Year C 2019, Prayer, Praying our way through Paul's letter to the Ephesians, Salvation and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to 302. “Taking Hold Of Our Unsearchable Riches in Christ!” Praying Through Ephesians. Ephesians 3:7-10. Epistle for Epiphany Jany 6th 2019

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