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Sunday, April 19, 2015 pm                Ephesians Index

STUDIES IN EPHESIANS (16)

Boldness and Access with Confidence

Ephesians 3:12-13

 

Tonight we continue our examination of the book of Ephesians.  We have been addressing the mystery that Paul, through the grace of God, was blessed to reveal: A message, in writing, that declares “the unsearchable riches of Christ” which made salvation available to all (that is not exclusive to any one particular characteristic). 

In our last lesson we addressed how this plan Paul was preaching demonstrated the manifold wisdom of God according to His eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus through the church.  We noted that the point of the text is that the church is an example of the manifold wisdom of God (rather than simply being a messenger of His wisdom).  Tonight we resume our study with verse 12 noting the confidence we can have as we understand what He has done for us. 

 I.                    In whom we have boldness (12)

a.        As we examine this entire text (actually chapters 2 & 3), I want us to remember Paul’s point is that Jesus died to bring all men that obey the gospel together!  The church MUST keep that in mind.  Consider this text in light of our pursuit of unity!

b.       “In whom we” – the “in whom” is Jesus – John 14:6 – He is the Way!
The “we” includes Paul, the Ephesians – both Jew and Gentile alike – and us!  As His people we can together approach God.

c.        The word “boldness” (παρρησία, parrēsia) is a word that can mean 1) we are straightforward (in our speech), 2) we are open (not hiding anything) and 3) the idea of courage and fearlessness as we speak.   When our faith is as it ought to be, all three of these apply. 
Consider Mark 8:29 – Jesus spoke openly of his upcoming death; John 7:13 – men did NOT speak openly of Jesus for fear of the Jews; John 7:26 – Jesus was different because He spoke boldly. 

d.       We can boldly come before His throne of grace -
Heb. 4:14-16 – because Jesus paved the way, we can with boldness come before the throne of God.
1 John 5:14-15 – “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.  (Consider James 1:6 – let him ask in faith).
1 John 3:21-22
, Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
Our prayers need to be prayed with a conviction that God can answer them (we don’t ask amiss, etc.)

e.       We can with boldness declare Him to others – Eph. 6:19 after describing our armor (including prayer), Paul asks, and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,
2 Cor. 3:12,
  Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech—  A text describing the glorious gospel which moved him to tell others
 Acts 28:31, while in Rome awaiting trial we read of Paul, “preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.

These examples of boldness depend upon our deeply rooted understanding of what He has done. 

f.         IF we are faithful, in the end we can have boldness as we stand before God
Heb. 3:6 – this confidence we must hold onto till the end as we stand before Him.
Heb. 10:35 – the writer admonishes, “do not cast away your confidence which has great reward.”
1 John 4:17 speaks of loving having been perfect  so “that we may have boldness in the day of judgment

 II.                    We have access - we have direct access to God.

a.        Under the Old Law, the children of Israel had to go through the priests to access God.  The High Priest would intercede for them on a yearly basis with blood of atonement.   They did NOT have direct access to God.

b.       Today, because of what Jesus did, we have access to the Father through Him.
Jesus is our mediator - John 14:6 – we come to the Father through Him.  Also 1 Tim. 2:5
Heb. 4:14-16 (again) tells us that He is our High Priest. 
His is our intercessor – Rom. 8:34 – He is at the right hand of God and makes intercession for us.
Heb. 7:25 – He can save to the uttermost since he lives to make intercession for us.
1 John 2:1 describes Jesus as our advocate

c.        All these terms describe our access to God – opportunity to enter into His presence, whether through our prayers right now, or after this life as we enter heaven. 
The word is used 3 times – Rom. 5:2, Eph. 2:18 and 3:12 (our text).

d.       God hears our prayers - 1 John 5:14.   Eph. 2:18, “For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

 III.                  We have confidence – we can trust Him. 

a.        The word confidence here means trust and assurance.  We believe He can and will do what He has promised.  This is similar to the way we use “confidence” in our English language today.

b.       Friends, in our last lesson we appealed to the power of prophecy in showing what God is capable of doing.  Paul has spoken of the church which was in God’s eternal purpose and has now been (Eph. 3:10-11) established.  God was able to accomplish what He intended with her (i.e. both Jews and Gentiles have access through Jesus).

c.        We have this confidence because:

                                                   i.      He is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4, Rom. 8:37 – more than conquerors, etc.)

                                                  ii.      He has demonstrated His power by sending Jesus to us. 

                                                iii.      2 Corinthians 3:4, “And we have such trust through Christ toward God.

 IV.                  All of these qualities are available “through faith in Him”

a.        In Eph. 2:8 we find that we are saved “by grace through faith”.  And as we have emphasized continually, that faith is not mere belief, but an obedient, trusting belief that obeys. 
The word has reference to doing what He tells us to do. 
In the case of salvation that involves – belief (John 3:16, Rom. 10:10), repentance (Acts 17:30, 2:38, 3:19, etc.), confession (Rom. 10:9-10)  AND baptism (Acts 2:38, 22:16, 1 Peter 3:20-21, Mark 16:16, etc.). 

b.       The faith of a Christian involves remaining faithful – Rev. 2:10, 1 John 1:5-9. 
That is also emphasized in Hebrews 11 which gives multiple examples of obedient faith.

c.         John 3:32 equates belief to obedience.  The word “does not believe” actually means to disobey, as the ASV, NASV, ESV and other versions show.  

 V.                   Therefore Do not lose heart

a.        In vs. 13 Paul asks that they not lose heart as they see him facing troubles.   Paul endured many things for the cause of Christ.  He was persecuted and was denied even basic comforts at time.   He was at times disappointed and even betrayed.  Yet he remained faithful.

b.       In our text we have noted that because of Jesus, we need to be bold and confident in Him.   

Don’t let the world intimidate you away from serving God. 
If we are looking to Jesus, and that IS the emphasis of this text, consider the suffering He endured.  Be reminded of 1 Peter 2:21-24 and the example He set for us.
Sadly, because of such things many turned away from Him. As noted early in John 7:10 they were afraid to stand up for Him.  John 9:22 speaks of the parents of the man born blind who Jesus gave sight to – they would not acknowledge Jesus.  John 12:42, even among the rules, many believed but they would not confess Him.
I think in such times, we must consider Matthew 10:32-33.  Consider also Mark 8:38, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
Often the deliberate suffering of the righteous causes some to falter in their boldness and confidence.   Let us consider all that our God and our Lord have done for us and stand with them in faith instead of against them.

c.        Which is your glory – God smiles on those who stand with Him in the difficult times.
Matt. 5:10-12 – Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake.
1 Peter 3:13-17 speaks of this as well.
2 Cor. 4:17 describes what we might endure as “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,

 

God has certainly done His part for us.  We have seen that in our studies of Ephesians thus far (and will continue to see it).  Because of Him we CAN have assurance and confidence, but only if we trust Him as we ought to.  We demonstrate by the way we live – which includes the way we treat each other.  Think about it.