by Tony Nester

Making God's Wisdom Known
Tony Nester
Ephesians 3:1-12

The Apostle Paul didn't like talking about himself, but he also knew that his personal life couldn't be separated from his apostolic work. Life and ministry are always intertwined. And so today, as we come to Chapter 3 in the Letter to the Ephesians, we find Paul giving us some autobiography. He wanted his readers to know that his message wasn't merely ideas in his head. His message was backed up by his life.

Paul begins by telling us in Chapter 3, verse 1, that he is a "prisoner for Christ Jesus".

There are four books in the New Testament that are often grouped together as "prison epistles". Ephesians is one of them; the other three are Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Many scholars believe Paul wrote these four letters while imprisoned in Rome.

He wasn't in a prison cell as we think of them today, but confined to a small lodging where he was handcuffed to one of the soldiers who guarded him in four-hour shifts. He was free to have visitors, receive small gifts, and write and send letters, while awaiting trial.

The Bible ends before telling us how Paul's imprisonment and trial ended. Historians and Bible scholars, studying whatever materials they can find, surmise that Paul was eventually condemned and executed during the persecution of Christians by the Roman Emperor Nero.

Behind Paul's words is the price he is paying for serving Christ.

Many people today think that the reason to be a Christian is so that God will bless you with health and wealth, with success in your job, and with a happy, lovely life.

Paul would not have recognized such teaching as Christian. Jesus had not made him rich or successful or "happy". He was a prisoner whose freedom had been taken away, whose possessions were severely limited, over whose life was the sentence of death.

And yet Paul didn't complain or feel sorry for himself. Instead, he believed that his imprisonment was serv ...

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