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INTRODUCTION :

 

There are many examples of showcases in our world. Local shops, jewellers, car showrooms, dress shops....and even photo albums! All are designed to display those 'products' that will catch the attention of those people we want to impress. 

 

As you think about the role of the showcase, let's turn to Ephesians again and look at another snapshot of God's Church. Thus far we have seen in God's photo album that the Church is a Body and that it is also a Temple. Now we turn the Ephesians chapter 3 - especially verse 10 -  and discover that the Church is also God's showcase in which He displays His character/action/ purposes.

 

[1]   THE CONTENTS OF THE SHOWCASE.

 

Just what is it that God wants to display about Himself through the showcase of the Church to the onlooking world?

 

GRACE (2/7; 3/7)

 

a. "....so God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of His grace...." (2/7)

 

b. No other religion, faith or movement teaches about grace or is energized by grace as is Christianity.

 

c. The riches of His grace - other words Paul uses in these chapters are "glorious", "lavished", "incomparable", "immeasurable"

 

KINDNESS   (2/7)

 

a. This means "goodness of heart" - Rom.2/4;Titus 3/4. This goodness is akin to grace.

 

b. This kindness is shown where the degree of kindness is not determined by the worth of object.

 

POWER   (3/7)

 

a. Paul makes repeated reference to God's mighty power in this letter - read Eph.1/19,20; 3/20,21 b. This is another aspect of God's character that the Church is meant to "showcase"

 

WISDOM   (3/10)

 

a.Wisdom = those ways & methods that God uses to achieve His purposes and confound His opponents

 

b. eg. Solomon's empire was a showcase to Queen of Sheba so she could see Solomon's wisdom - Read 1 Kings 10/1-7

 

c. God's wisdom was resident wholly and completely in Jesus. He was God's "showcase" Col.2/3; 1 Cor.1/24

 

d. Rom 11/33 - the depth of God's wisdom and ways - past finding out - apart from the showcase!

 

[2]  THE AUDIENCE

 

a. Obviously the human population on this planet looks at the Church & sees what it sees - I find that to be an unsettling thought because we don't always portray God accurately. You know what they say; "A picture never lies"!!

 

b. But Paul is emphasising another audience in this verse - "rulers & authorities in heavenly realms" (3/10)

 

c. Cf.Eph.6/12 - "...powers of this dark world & spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms".

 

d. The audience that is in mind here is the whole spiritual realm & its inhabitants - good and evil - angelic & demonic

 

e. Here is an mazing picture or concept!! In all that God has done, there has never been anything like the Church

 

f. What about original creation? No, that doesn't begin to compare with God's new creation (2 Cor.5/17)

 

g. God is saying to the whole of creation - past & present, physical and spiritual,"Look at My Church!" The universal showcase of grace, kindness, power & wisdom

 

[3]  THE ABILITY

 

a. How can we possibly fulfil such a high calling? Key is found in 2/10 - "We are His workmanship, created..."

 

b. NB 3/14-21 - focus is upon what God has done (and is doing) rather than on us & our ability.

* THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT (v.16) - God will strengthen us in our inner being

* THE LOVE OF CHRIST (V.18) - Christ within enabling us to grasp greatness of His love

* THE FULLNESS OF GOD(v.19) - reaching our full God-given potential in Christ.

 

APPLICATION

 

1. How can all this be? Do you sense how Mary must have felt? (Luke 1/31-35)

 

2. The only way is what is described in Eph. 3/20,21 - "Now to Him who is able...." 3. His power is at work within us - the Church - and God is glorified through the Church

 

Next Week: The Church, His Workshop(Chapter 4)

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