PTB34: Jews and Gentiles, “Of the same body”, the Church

INTRODUCTION: Jews and Gentile remnants, Co-Partakers of the Same Gospel and Promise of the Everlasting Covenant fulfilled in the New Covenant.

“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 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; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel…”

This says something so simple that it is almost embarrassing to repeat it, except still Scofield mites refuse to accept it, some never have thought it through as that an enamored with their own local church to a failure to appreciate THE ONE BODY of all Christians, Jews and Gentiles which is the Church.  Secondily, as church members see such a small number today turning to faith in Christ causes them somehow to doubt the reality in our present world of the Scripture above as they fail to remember that in any age or generation only a remnant, Jews or Gentiles will be saved.  True, Scofield tries to deceive people into thinking the whole physical nation of Israel will be saved, but Zechariah 23 without a shadow of doubt makes it clear that during World War III, as the 3 frogs bring the world to fight at Megiddo, only one half of the Israel present there, the half that repents and believes in Jesus will be saved.  Anything less or beyond that simplicity is falsehood no matter what famous preacher or group supports it.

Perhaps one of the reasons we fail so miserably on this immutable doctrine of real Bible is that our own local church is so easy to see and to love, and even to be comfortable in, that we fail to get the bigger picture of THE CHURCH of Jews and Gentiles of all generations, the assembly of the firstborn written in heaven.  In other words, it is too big and too inclusive of all generations that the hands of our love have difficulty in getting around in, or our puny minds can not full grasp it, so we let it go!

I.  In the Church to all generations.

Ephesians 3:20-21

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

  1. God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is able to do.

Paul never leaves any doubt as to who this God is that the effect behind the Cause, it is Amen the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Not just an ordinary Do by our God as Paul and through the Holy Spirit define how great that power is, earlier it is the same kind of power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and now they try to go for infinity in doing is (1) exceedingly, (2) abundant, and (3) above all that it is possible for believers in Christ to think even with their best spiritual and thinking caps, but all we are able to ask.

  • God works through the inward power of the Holy Spirit in us.

The world can not see it, that is the inward in each believer in Christ of the power of the Holy Spirit, yet God is working to make each complete and good residents of eternity.

  • To Him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ.

It is significant that Carver calls his commentary on Ephesians The Glory of God in the Christian Calling”; however that is more the second half of Ephesians with the things for the called to do and think, here for these first three chapters THE CAUSE is the Lord Jesus Christ provided His heavenly Father glory by way of the creation of the total Church Assembly in heaven and on earth.

  • To all generations, and forever and ever.

To God the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit, there are no separate generations like millenniums, boomers, in-betweenness, and traditionalists.  God sees them as ALL generations and forever and ever.  The very nice factor about the church right, some from here and some from there, is that with those already in heaven, they also have forever and ever guaranteed.  Surely the nicest part of being part of the General Assembly of the Firstborn Jesus, as compare to the many that are called and not chosen of millions of local churches throughout the world.

  • Amen.

The midway in Ephesians benediction to end the prayer of Ephesians 4:14 for the Cause, the Cause being identified as being named and called a whole family of called out assembly, an assembly on earth and in heaven.  Even beyond the great host of witnesses with which believers are surrounded in heaven above, there are fellow supporters here on earth in many local churches throughout the world.

Since Ephesians is 6 chapters, this verse, 3:20, at the very end of chapter 3–halfway through Ephesians, is a benediction before the completion of Ephesians.

NOTE:  One reason is that this is the Amen of a prayer that started in Ephesians 3:14.

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, (the church)  That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passed knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

II.  For a second reason of this benediction in the middle is that the CAUSE mentioned above at the beginning of the prayer is the same CAUSE that starts the chapter.

“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 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; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel…”

How can any have little doubt that the Apostle Paul was uniquely chosen, and at the right time, in history to receive and proclaim a unique and magnificent mystery God the Father had kept hidden until the time of Ephesians.

  1. It is called “THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST”.
  2. What is specifically that mystery God has revealed through the Apostles and Prophets like Paul: That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel…”
  3. Gentiles fellow inheritors with the Jews.  Almost everyone knows that the Hebrews were originally chosen uniquely as a nation as children of God and remained so except for a few exceptions after the mystery revealed here.
  4. Gentiles members of the same body, the church, as the fewer Hebrews that believed.  We must explain that in majority remains to be seen, something more for God to do, although we are seeing especially some believer movements in Israel, and after, as Paul discusses in Romans, the fulness of the Gentiles is complete, there is some major revival among the Jewish people.  (Not the whole nation as some boldly predict, but more like the 144,000 of Mount Zion in the book of Revelation.)
  5. Gentiles should be fellow partakers of God’s Promise of the Everlasting Covenant, partakers IN CHRIST and partakers in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

III.  And THIS CAUSE of Ephesians 3:1 sends us back to the second chapter to see what it says about the Cause.

“And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:  And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.  For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”

  1. The Cause by Jesus is for the reconciliation between God and many, many of the words for the cross in the NT such as cross, atonement, and redemption, and so on.
  2. The Cause of Christ is “IN ONE BODY” and “BY THE CROSS”.
  3. The Cause of Christ above was only possible because Jesus Christ had already slain sin and rebellion, the enmity between God and man.
  4. Jesus came and preached, preached to the Jews of His own nation and at that time to the Gentiles more distant. Today, as predicted by Paul in Romans, the Jews are farther away and the Gentiles like in America, India, Africa, South America and the whole world are closer.
  5. Jews and Gentiles both have access unto God the Father through the One Spirit of God the Holy Spirit.

IV.  Primarily however the cause of this benediction in the middle of Ephesians is that THE CHURCH of Christ’s body is THE FINISHED WORK OF A WORK STILL IN PROGRESS THROUGH THE WORLD.

“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together growth unto an holy temple in the Lord…”  (Ephesians 2:16-21)

  1. There are no strangers or foreigners in the Church, the body of Christ.
  2. Gentiles are fellow citizens in the kingdom of Christ with the early Jewish saints.
  3. Jews and Gentiles are members of the household of God.
  4. New believers, Jews and Gentiles, are built on the foundation of the Bible, the book by the Apostles and Prophets through the Holy Spirit.
  5. Jesus Himself is (being) the chief cornerstone in the building of a huge temple of and in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  6. The building framing and growing of that huge holy temple, same as the whole family in heaven and on earth, is to take place in the manner described in Ephesians 4-6, but it is most important that IT FRAME AND GROW into a holy temple in the Lord Jesus Christ.

V.  Of the 128 times the word “ecclesia” for church are found in the NT, most are for the local church granted; however approximately 32 of those are so undeniably the church of the firstborn written in heaven, the one assembly of all Christian Jews and Gentiles so that any and all are without excuse that do not face up to the Bible reality.

“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 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; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel…”  (Ephesians 3:1-6)

The church is the called out assembly, some in heaven and some still on earth, called the whole family in heaven and earth, the one body of Jews and Gentiles; the kingdom of Christ is the future government and land of those people–ruling now one heart and mind submitting to the will of God and Christ but fully realized a literal forever kingdom on the new earth under the new heavens which God creates after the Second Coming of Christ.  The kingdom is not of this world else my disciples would fight, Jesus said.  Of course, like in the Garden before the cross, that is what Jesus said, and the Scofield mites still demand for several reasons a kingdom of this world and in Israel where the zealots can rule.  Jesus had troubles with His own disciples as well as the whole nation then asking the question, “Will you at this time restore the kingdom of David?”  It is so simple to tell the difference between the church and the kingdom if we just listen to the above words of Jesus and how He taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come”.  It was not there and was not on earth, a kingdom to be fulfilled after the Second Coming as a new heaven and a new earth are established where Christ rules supreme and then turns it over to God the Father, that God the Father may be all in all.

1.   We pray as taught by Jesus for the kingdom to come, the complete government of Christ on the new earth; we are half of the visible church now here on earth as some members of the thousands and millions of local churches assembly to honor Christ are also members of the one Church; and of course as such will be in the literal forever kingdom on the new earth.

Now the church is here and visible now, that is the half that is not in heaven.  Any time you see a local called out assembly of Christ, you are seeing some of the Church.  Since “many are called and few are chosen”, you can not tell which ones are eternal members of the church of the firstborn written in heaven; nor should we try—that is the job of God and Christ.  Now, Paul did make some efforts to allow the local church at Ephesus to see which ones were also members of the One body of Christ in that whether they had learned Christ or not.  First, it was obvious that they were not members of the One Church if they live like the other Gentiles in the vanity of their mind.  They were members of the one church written in heaven if they indeed had seen and heard Christ, in other words had a personal experience with Christ and experienced the 9-month new birth.  “The Cause of Christ” , sometimes overlooked in the reading of Ephesians as completely new revelation of NT times, summarizes the uniqueness of the one church, that Jews and Gentiles should be members of the same body.

You can appreciate somewhat the unbelief of the Jewish people as for generations as a called-out people of God, they were admonished constantly and, in many ways, to separate themselves from Gentiles; and now suddenly with this new revelation of the One Church body, they were called fellow citizens with the Gentiles.  It could be one way that God caused them blindness for their rejections of Him and Jesus until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

2.  In preaching through the Bible, we must each time add one point on the Cause of Christ as OT quotes in the NT could not cover this Cause since in all the ages before Paul, this revelation was not made.  “…Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men…”

In other words, there were in the long history of the OT no revelations made through the Prophets of this Mystery and Cause of Christ.  Can you even imagine in the OT days telling the Jewish nation, that the loathed Gentiles are going to be members of the same body of Christ with their own nation?  There was some missionary work among the Gentiles like with Jonah, the reluctant prophet, who warned Nineveh, a Gentile nation, to repent or destruction; and when they repented as God decided not to destroy them, Jonah sat down under a tree and pouted.  It is hardly to be thought that God was withholding something from His own people of the Jewish nation, it is just that they would not have been able to take it.  Goodness, they still have trouble taking it,  how horrible being one body and fellow citizens with Gentiles; yet Christ told his 12 disciples to first take the Gospel to the house of Israel; and there was a vast revival in Israel starting with 5,000 saved on Pentecost and every nation in the Roman Empire, then spreading through the Empire as Paul and the other Apostles first went to the Jewish synagogues to preach, then after rejected by the majority took some of them with them to form a local church with Gentiles.

To help you visualize the difference between the church and the kingdom of Christ, you can think of how each believer is one living stone that makes in heaven a holy temple to the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father, and that Temple is in the New Jerusalem which is headquarters for the forever kingdom of Christ on the new earth.  Is it important to even distinguish between the church and the kingdom?  Yes, primarily because it will counter so much false doctrine today in the falling away and of past history:  first, in the great falling away of the Roman Vatican about 1000 A.D. as forbidding priests to marry (and you know all the trouble that is creating with fallen priest pedophiles today), the Vatican both lost their continuing with Christ and the church and became victims of “seducing spirits and doctrines of devils”; and then the great apostasy started among Protestants with the Scofield Reference Bible in 1929 and found its full destructive manifestation in the falsely called “Conservative Resurgence” that split the evangelical work of the largest SBC into 3 denominations and out of a lack of love destroyed careers and reputations of fellow Christian brothers.

Conclusion:  Several things can be seen immediately by the failure of the church today to distinguish between the One Church of all believers in Christ and the one literal kingdom of Christ to be fully fulfilled at the second coming:

1.  The diversions of Scofield Theology.

(1) Scofield mites have taken dispensation, the only place mentioned in the Bible is Ephesians 1:10 and created a whole false philosophy and theology called dispensationalism with other words also not found even once in the Bible of millenniums and rapture; (2) to strain at consistency of their Scofield and Oxford Press theology, they have distorted the meaning of the first resurrection, created two second comings of Christ, and have with their bad mathematics of attempted additions to the Bible created two kingdoms, the first kingdom of one thousand years for the Jews to control, and the second kingdom after Christ comes again.

2.  Ephesians, a Book for the New Revelation of the Mystery of the Cause of Christ–

Paul, next to Jesus Himself was the extreme quoter of the OT in the NT, especially in Hebrews and Romans.  Yet when it came his writing of Ephesians after have published his first ten of the 14 books of the New Testament, he summarized those first ten with a meager 5 OT quotes, and further used Ephesians as a Book for the New Revelation of the Mystery of the Cause of Christ, a new revelation so mysterious that it demanded the Jews and Gentiles become members of the same one body in Christ.

Check the quotes out for yourself by either looking at the quotation marks in the body of Ephesians and comparing with either Hebrews or Romans, or if you have a Bible like the Nelson Ultra slim, you can check for OT quotes at the bottom of the page.  Granted those five quotes are great and significant for the realization in lives in Ephesians 4-6 of the new revelations of the Cause in Ephesians 1-3:  (1)  Psalm 68:18 in Ephesians 4:8 where the Ascended Christ determined captivity for His Kingdom and where He gave the gifts of pastors, teachers, apostles and prophets to the Church; (2) Zechariah 8:16 in Ephesians 4:25 about speaking truth with your fellow members of the one body in the Church; (3) following closely and in connected thought in Ephesians 4:26 is a quote from Psalm 4:4 on how to be angry and no sin and not letting the sun go down on your wrath as to give place to the devil; (4) Genesis 2:24 in Ephesians 5:31 where in marriage male and female become one flesh, and again Paul mentions the great Mystery by the way of the analogy of marriage when he speaks, “but I speaking concerning Christ and the church”  (while many think in local churches that Paul is meddling in something as personal as their divorce, they should be honored that God the Holy Spirits compares something of such magnitude as the Church, one body of Jews and Gentiles, to their marriage; and (5) Deuteronomy 5:16 in Ephesians 6:3 where honor of father and mother is a pre-requisite for a long and good life.

3.  You see how important these 5 quotes are to implement in Ephesians 4-6 the Cause of Christ, although meager if you compare the number of 9 OT quotes in the first chapter of Hebrews alone, and the 5 quotes in Romans the first two chapters.

(1).  You can see some obvious connection of the Church with the Kingdom in Ephesians 2:19-21 with telling the Gentiles that they are fellow citizens with the original Jewish saints in Jerusalem.

“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord…”

Fellow citizens automatically reminds you of a country or nation, the household of God reminds you of the whole family in heaven and earth, strangers and foreigners is obvious a reference to nations and kingdoms; and the church growing into a holy temple to be established in New Jerusalem on the new earth under the new heavens is another phrase for the church of one body. 

(2).  As we continue to preach through the Bible in one year, you in particular will see this fellow citizenship between Jews and Gentiles, that of Top Topic #11, the New King of Israel which outlines the quotes in Isaiah 54 through Jeremiah 17.

So Much meat of the Bible and hard not to understand but to properly get the mind sorted out that there is no Israel and the Church, that it is spiritual Israel, only a remnant, and believing Gentiles, also only a remnant of each generation, and as the general assembly is finalized at the Second Coming of Christ it will be exactly where God wants it, an assembly of Jews and Gentiles that no man can number. You will want to download this sermon from SunGrist at http://sungrist.org/PTB34OneBodyTheChurch.pdf

Or you can download it in word also from SunGrist at PTB34OneBodyTheChurch.docx

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