I. "WHEREOF I WAS MADE A MINISTER."
A. God had called Paul to be a minister to the Gentiles.
B. Paul viewed this calling as the gift of the grace of God that was given unto him.
C. No one appreciates grace more than the person that has received it.
D. Having received grace, he was made a minister of grace.
1. This is always the purpose of God.
a. Having received love, show love.
b. Having received mercy, show mercy.
c. Having received forgiveness, be forgiving.
d. Having received grace be gracious.
2. Jesus told the story of the man that was forgiven a debt of millions of dollars having a fellowservant put in jail for a fifteen dollar debt.
II. WHEREOF I WAS MADE A MINISTER OF GRACE, THAT I SHOULD PREACH AMONG THE GENTILES THE UNSEARCHABLE RICHES OF CHRIST.
A. What are the unsearchable riches of Christ to which he is here referring?
1. That we Gentiles who were at one time without Christ, and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel through Christ have become fellowcitizens with the saints and the household of God.
2. That we Gentiles who were at one time strangers from the covenants of promise have become partakers of the promises in Christ by the gospel.
3. That we Gentiles who had no hope in this world being without God, have been made a part of the family of God, through the work of Christ, and thus have become fellow heirs.
B. In chapter 1:7 He speaks of redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.
C. In 2:7 He tells us that God in the ages to come is going to be showing to us the exceeding riches of His grace toward us through Christ Jesus.
III. PAULS VIEW OF HIMSELF AS A MINISTER OF CHRIST. "UNTO ME WHO IS LESS THAN THE LEAST OF ALL SAINTS, IS THIS GRACE GIVEN."
A. He saw himself as less than the least of all the saints.
1. I contrast that attitude with the attitudes of many who seem to be in the lime light of ministry today.
2. I believe that it troubled Paul that he at one time so blinded by tradition fought against Christ and sought to destroy those who called upon the name of Jesus.
3. He speaks of his consenting to the death of Stephen, and participating in the stoning, by holding the coats of those who were stoning Stephen.
a. That means that Paul heard the terrific sermon of Stephen.
b. It means Paul heard the final prayer of Stephen, for forgiveness for those who were stoning him.
c. That must have weighed heavy on the mind of Paul even before he accepted Christ.
d. When Jesus apprehended Paul on the road to Damascus, He said to him, "It is hard for you to kick against the goads."
3. 1CO 15:9
For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did [it] ignorantly in unbelief.
And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
This [is] a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
B. His being in the ministry he sees as a gift of the grace of God.
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
1. If God spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him freely give us all things?
2. 1CO 15:10
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which [was bestowed] upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
C. Paul never ceased to be amazed that God in His grace would reach out to him and make him of all people a minister of the grace of God to of all people the Gentiles.
1. He who had out phariseed the pharisees.
2. As a strict orthodox pharisee, he would have never touched a Gentile.
3. Now God has chosen him to be the minister of grace to the Gentiles.
IV. "AND TO MAKE ALL MEN SEE WHAT IS THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE MYSTERY."
A. Here we have that grand and mysterious Greek word koinonia again.
1. Fellowship, communion, unity are all expressed in this word.
2. The unity that God has brought between Jew and Gentile.
3. The breaking down of the walls of separation.
4. I wonder how God feels when men today try so hard to rebuild the walls He has broken down.
5. Men emphasize doctrinal differences to the point of division within the body.
6. I cannot believe that God looks very kindly upon those who would be guilty of such things.
B. What a mystery it was to a Jew, that God would save a Gentile.
1. Not just save them but give to them all the rights, privileges, promises, and heritage of the Jews.
2. This was all granted according to the gift of grace in Christ Jesus.
C. Up to this point this mystery had been hid in God but is now being revealed through Jesus Christ.
Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him:
How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God;
[Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
V. "GOD WHO CREATED ALL THINGS BY CHRIST JESUS."
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
B. Jesus is not just the agent of creation, but the object of creation.
C. You were created for Him, for His good pleasure.
D. The question we need to be asking ourselves, "Am I bringing Him pleasure?"