Intro. Paul, who considered himself less than the least of all saints, received the gift of grace to preach unto the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make men understand how through Jesus Christ they can have fellowship with God.
I. THIS IS A BLESSED TRUTH OF GOD THAT WAS EVEN HIS FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS AND FROM THE ANGELS.
A. The truth that was given to Paul.
1. That the church was to be comprised of both Jews and Gentiles.
2. That the walls that once separated the Gentiles from the promises of God were broken down by Jesus Christ.
B. Paul declares that this truth was revealed to the holy apostles.
1. Peter writing about this said,
Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
Receiving the end of your faith, [even] the salvation of [your] souls.
Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace [that should come] unto you:
Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
C. God's intent is that through the church the principalities in heavenly places might know the manifold wisdom of God.
1. This aligns with the statement of Peter, "Which things the angels desired to look into."
2. It was prophesied in the old testament, however the prophets did not understand the things they wrote, neither did the angels.
3. Principalities and powers are the rankings of the angelic beings. Like Colonels and Lieutenants.
a. These angelic beings referred to as principalities and powers are divided into two factions, those who remained true to God and those who joined in Satan's rebellion against God.
b. In Romans 8
Paul tells us of their inability to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.
c. In Colossians 2
Paul tells us that Jesus spoiled the power they had against us, through His death on the cross.
d. In chapter 6 he tells us that we are in a spiritual battle against the principalities and powers of evil.
4. I can imagine that we Christians are a real enigma to the angels.
a. I think that they must be shocked that we struggle and fret over a problem rather than pray.
b. I think that they watch us with dismay when we venture into some of the areas where we go.
5. Here again is where hindsight is so superior to foresight.
a. Looking at the Old Testament prophecies concerning the suffering and death of Jesus, and of the gospel being given to all the world, is so much easier to understand now that Jesus has suffered and died for us, and that the Gentiles have become the center of world evangelization.
b. These things remained mysteries until their fulfillment.
II. THESE THINGS ARE A PART OF GOD'S ETERNAL PURPOSES.
A. Abraham was chosen by God to bring forth the nation through which the Son of God would be born.
1. God watched over them and preserved them that through them He might accomplish His eternal purpose of bringing the Messiah into the world.
2. The Messiah was to be the Savior of the world, and once He was born, the Jew lost his exclusive position as God's favored people, and the gospel was taken to all men, Jew and Gentile alike.
3. Now God's favored people are His church which is made up of Jew and Gentiles.
B. God's eternal purpose always included all men.
1. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to salvation.
C. Paul speaks here of the eternal purposes of God.
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!
Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken [it], I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed [it], I will also do it.
Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
III. IN WHOM WE HAVE BOLDNESS AND ACCESS WITH CONFIDENCE BY THE FAITH OF HIM.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [our] profession.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
And [having] an high priest over the house of God;
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
B. Through Jesus, I can come boldly to God.
1. There is no other way that I can approach God.
2. The whole ceremony of the law in the approach to God showed how difficult it was for sinful man to approach the holy God.