Ephesians 3:9
and to illuminate for everyone the stewardship of this mystery, which for ages past was hidden in God, who created all things.
Creation not Hitherto CompleteJ. Pulsford.Ephesians 3:9
God the CreatorEphesians 3:9
Teaching is the Church's DutyW. Graham, D. D.Ephesians 3:9
We Must Make Known the GospelC. H. Spurgeon.Ephesians 3:9
Aspects of the True Gospel MinistryD. Thomas Ephesians 3:1-13
Paul's Apostleship to the Gentiles: IntroductionR. Finlayson Ephesians 3:1-13
The Death of the Tribal SpiritR.M. Edgar Ephesians 3:1-13
The Apostle's High PrivilegeT. Croskery Ephesians 3:8, 9

Very often does he refer, with a sort of grateful humility, to the Divine favor in attaching him to the service of the gospel.

I. MARK THE CONTRAST BETWEEN HIS CALL AND HIS SENSE OF PERSONAL NOTHINGNESS. "Less than the least of all saints." The expression is exceedingly emphatic, being a comparative formed upon a superlative. He could never forget his share in the death of Stephen, and his fierce persecutions of the Church of God. This was the sin which, though forgiven by God, could never be forgiven by himself. But he was likewise conscious of his own weakness and sinfulness, as we know by the very forcible phrase, "of sinners I am chief," which he uses as a presently believing man. Such language of self abasement is a mark of true saintship. The highest saints are usually the most distinguished by their humility. The term by which he describes himself implies that there are saints in Christ's kingdom - little, less, least; not that there is any difference in their title, but a difference at once in their realization of their own unworthiness and in the degree of their conformity to him who was at once "meek and lowly." Now, while the consciousness of his own unworthiness steed out in marked contrast to the high function to which he was called in God's grace, he does not shrink from asserting his authority as an ambassador of Christ in the strongest terms, but always with the conviction of one who ascribes all his success, not to his own merits, but to "the gift of the grace of God? His call to the apostleship involved his conversion, and his conversion was "by the effectual working of God's power."

II. CONSIDER HIS MESSAGE TO THE GENTILES. "The unsearchable riches of Christ." We read of riches of grace and riches of glory, but the plenitude of all Divine blessings is in him.

1. The apostle does not specify what is included in the riches of Christ." He who was rich for our sakes became poor that "ye through his poverty might be made rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9). We see the source of all the riches - it is in himself. But Scripture shows that, while in him there was all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, with the real design of his filling us eventually with all the fullness of God, "the riches of Christ" are scattered over the whole path of a believer, from its starting-point in conversion till it is lost in the glories of the eternal inheritance. He is rich in love, rich in compassion, rich in mercy, rich in grace, rich in peace, rich in promise, rich in reward, rich in all the blessings of the new and better covenant, as he must be because he is "made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption."

2. The riches of Christ are "unsearchable." The word suggests the idea of the difficulty of tracing footsteps. Who can trace the footsteps of God? Whatever of power is infinite power; whatever of wisdom is infinite wisdom; whatever of love is infinite love.

(1) We cannot trace the extent of the "riches of Christ." We may apply a double standard of measurement, taking account of the infinite altitude of the sources whence his salvation has flowed, and of the depths of sin and misery to which salvation had to descend in order to reach its objects. Yet we have not searched out the riches of Christ. He put forth upon our salvation all the invention of his omniscient wisdom, applied to it the utmost energies of his omnipotent power, and lavished upon it the exceeding riches of his infinite goodness - neither mercy conflicting with justice, nor love with righteousness, nor compassion for the sinner with hatred of his sins.

(2) The riches of Christ are unsearchable so far they are undiminished with use or time. Who can trace the limits of their application? Millions have drunk of the "water of the wells of salvation?" but these wells are still unexhausted and inexhaustible. The rivers of the earth may fail; there may be dry wastes where now there are running streams; but the riches of Christ can never fail, though thousands of needy souls have drawn from them and twice ten thousand more will yet come to draw. The fountain of supply is full as it is free, and free as it is full.

3. Consider his larger message to the whole world of man. "And to make all men see the dispensation of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God." The apostle's object was to enlighten the Jew as well as the Gentile upon the true nature of the dispensation which displaced so much that was dear to the Jewish heart in order that the true glory of the Lord might shine forth, not as a mere minister of the circumcision, but as the uniter of Jew and Gentile, bond and free, male and female, in his own body. The mystery was hid for ages, but was now made known by apostles and prophets. We see how revelation was an historical movement, subject to the usual laws of historical development; for the redemptive purpose," hid for ages," was evolved by a gradual process of growth, till in Christianity it became a full-grown fact. It was part of the discipline of man to go through all these stages of imperfect knowledge till "the perfect day" dawned upon the world. But it was through all the ages "the mystery of redemption," going back to the ages that date from creation - "creation building the platform on which the strange mystery of redemption was disclosed." - T.C.

And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.
Whatever creatures may have thought, it is clear that God has never yet regarded the creation as in a final or completed condition. It is natural that men should look upon their heavens and earth as finished; and as a constitution of things appointed to serve for a time, they are finished; but in relation to God's original design, they will yet have to undergo marvellous changes. It is probable that, prior to the great angel fall, the angels looked upon their heaven as finished and perfect; but God knew otherwise. He carried in Himself a purpose which no angel knew. That purpose is at length somewhat opened, both to men and angels, but it is by no means carried out. It is both worthy of God and advantageous to His creatures, that the universe should be perfected by their cooperation, and the future processes of ages. Myriads of myriads of ages could be occupied in no better way than in enriching, maturing, and harmonizing the whole house, which God and all His children are to inhabit and enjoy forever. Indeed it is incomprehensible that a house which is composed of countless orders of creatures, each one of whom has a separate, individual will, should hastily, or soon, realize its finally balanced relationships. It is surely the praise and glory of God's plan, that it requires cycle after cycle, and dispensation after dispensation, for its development. In Himself, the plan was perfect, but apart from the long and manifold experiences of His creatures it could not be fulfilled. To be wrought in His Son was one thing, but to be wrought out in the wills and thoughts of His children, and in the condition of the creation, was a very different thing. He knew that only through failure, and out of failure, the finally steadfast and harmonious condition of things (the kingdom which cannot be moved) would grow. The failure and misery of self-will, and all the mistakes of creatures, will contribute both to the strength and the joy of the final house of God. The craving of infinite love will be satisfied. In the incarnation, conflict, and victory, of the Logos, the beginning of the end has come, and His reign (being the reign of all things in unity) will bring in the Father's first idea, namely, the absolute perfectness and enduring order of His creation. In proportion to the magnitude of a work, very considerable progress must be made, before persons who are looking on from without, are able to form any idea of the design. Till a comparatively recent date, no one on earth, nor anyone in heaven, had the slightest conjecture of the work which God has set Himself to do. "No one in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon." Jesus, the Firstborn from the dead, is the Opener of the book.

(J. Pulsford.)

Huber, the great naturalist, tells us that if a single wasp discovers a deposit of honey or other food, he will return to his nest and impart the good news to his companions, who will sally forth in great numbers to partake of the fare which has been discovered for them. Shall we who have found honey in the rock Christ Jesus be less considerate of our fellow men than wasps are of their fellow insects?

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

To make all men see, that is, to teach all men the fellowship of the mystery, which, from the beginning of the world, hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ. That is the duty of the Church. She is the teacher, the educator, the civilizer, the regenerator of the nations. Our text in this 9th verse reads "fellowship," but the better reading is "dispensation." Paul would teach all men to know something of the dispensation of the hidden mystery, and he asserts it was hidden in God from the beginning of the world. This 9th verse, then, teaches the following facts and truths: —

1. It is a great thing to be a preacher of the gospel.

2. Paul was the preacher and apostle of the Gentiles.

3. The union of the Jews and Gentiles in one body is a great mystery.

4. This mystery was hidden in God from the beginning of the world.

5. God created the world through the agency of Jesus Christ.These things the Church is to teach. Her duty is to teach all men, to make all men see the glories of the economy of grace.

(W. Graham, D. D.)

When Napoleon was returning to France from the expedition to Egypt, a group of French officers one evening entered into a discussion concerning the existence of a God; they were standing on the deck of the vessel as she was bearing them over the Mediterranean Sea. Thoroughly imbued with the infidel and atheistical spirit of the times, they were unanimous in their denial of this truth. It was at length proposed to ask the opinion of Napoleon on the subject, who was standing alone, wrapt in silent thought. On hearing the question, "Is there a God?" he raised his hand, and pointing to the starry firmament, simply responded, "Gentlemen, Who made all that?"

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