Ephesians 3 v 1 - 13

There are times, I think, when studying the letters of Paul, that we can recognise that he dictated his writings. In this passage we can see that Paul goes off at a tangent from the opening verse and only returns to it in verse fourteen, so the passage we are looking at this morning is one vast aside which, unless he had been a very fast writer, would not occur. When Paul wrote this letter it is probable that he was in prison in Rome awaiting trial before the Roman Emperor Nero. Yes, he lived in a rented house and his friends were allowed to visit, but he would have been chained to a Roman soldier night and day. However, Paul didn't consider himself a prisoner of Rome, but of Jesus Christ: He saw imprisonment as a blessing and honour! The greatest miracle of the Early Church was the unity between Jew and Gentile. We may read through the book of Acts and marvel at the miracles and preaching, but this would have been the most impressive thing to the outsider. Contempt ruled the ancient world, everyone tried to have someone they could look down on. I've just thought of the Monty Python sketch where everyone recognises their place in society-people to look up to, people to look down at! Paul was the first to fully recognise that God's blessings were for all people, apart from Jesus he is the most influential person in Scripture. Paul was clearly a highly reflective person: at times he appears self-congratulatory and other times highly self-critical. We can observe the following about Paul in these verses: Paul regarded himself as the recipient of a new revelation: God had revealed that Christ had come for the whole world! He regarded himself as the transmitter of grace, as being a channel of God's grace to men. He regarded himself as having the dignity of service; service was a huge privilege for Paul. He regarded himself as a sufferer for Christ

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