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19. "Unsearchable Riches" by J.C Ryle- Chapter 18
Michelle yim  2015-07-14 23:34:04, 조회 : 1,252, 추천 : 212

                                                             “Unsearchable Riches”

        Apostle Paul is arguably one of the most well recognized apostles today. While his epistles are debated over its authenticity, there are many that admire his work and what he left behind. Richard Phillips, author of “Chosen in Christ” tells us that F.F. Bruce praises Paul for “the attractive warmth of his personality, his intellectual stature, the exhilarating release effected by his gospel of redeeming grace, the dynamism with which he propagated that gospel throughout the world”. However, one of Apostle Paul’s most notable characteristics is his humility. We can see this in Ephesians 3:8,

        “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ”

        With the verse given, we will now begin to explore what Apostle Paul says about himself, what he says about his ministerial office and what he says about the subject of preaching.

        Firstly, we will see what Apostle Paul says about himself when he says “I am less than the least of all saints”. Now this isn’t the first time Paul uses this type of language. He’s conveyed the same message when he’s also said “I am less than that man”. Historians and many Christians prefer to believe that Paul did not mean to speak so humbly of himself. Ryle tells us that people like to think “it is a mere fashion of speaking” and “it can only mean what St. Paul used to be, when he was a novice, and began to serve Christ”. However, Apostle Paul confirms his feelings many times when he says to the Philippians “I have not attained, nor am I already perfect: I follow after” (Phil. 3:12). To Timothy, he professes “I am chief of sinners” (1Tim. 1:15). Ryle teaches us that “St. Paul wrote with his pen, he really felt in his heart”. The great humility that Apostle Paul shows us is not a strange characteristic. In fact, this characteristic and “lowly expressions” are shown throughout many other people, like Abraham, Job and David. The one thing that brings all of these people together is “a very deep sense of sin”.

        For those that want to turn to God must first realize the depth of their sin. Luke 18:13 says “God be merciful to me a sinner”. We must seek humility because there is absolutely nothing that we should be proud of. Ryle says that “of all creatures born into the world, none is so dependent as the child of God”. We need constant “physical” and “mental” assistance.  We are ignorant of our own condition and only “but of yesterday” (Job 8:9). We must also seek humility because through it, we can become more “Christ-like”. Jesus Christ came down as a lowly man, endured hate and evil and then died as a lowly man once more. Therefore we must seek humility and more humility so that we can become more like Christ.

        Secondly, we will see what Apostle Paul says about his ministerial office when he says “Grace is given unto me to preach”. When Paul says this, he is simply saying “To me is granted the privilege of being a messenger of good news. I have been commissioned to be at herald of glad tidings”. He believes that the main reason he was chosen, was to give the gospel to sinners. Paul does not support a “sacrificing priesthood” as he confirms many times that “God hath set some in the Church, first apostles, then priests”. He also says “God hath manifested His Word through preaching” (Titus 1:3).  However, Ryle reminds us that we should not discredit the ministerial office as a “scriptural institution”. Timothy and Titus both confirm that Christian ministries are indeed supported by the scripture. God utilizes the ministerial office as a means for “promoting the awakening of sinners and the edification of saints”. It is an honor for those that are in the ministerial offices and we as followers should provide for those that are in these offices.

        Lastly, we will see what Apostle Paul says of the subject of his preaching when he says “the unsearchable riches of Christ”. For a man that once persecuted Christians, then turned to preach about Christ is something nobody expected. He also preached among “the Gentiles” and understood his position. But what did Paul mean by the “unsearchable riches of Christ?” Firstly, he meant that there are unsearchable riches in “Christ’s person”. The fact that Jesus Christ is perfect Man and perfect God is an amazing mystery that we cannot even begin to solve. In Hebrews 4:15, 2:18 tells us that Jesus Christ could not been “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” nor “suffered Himself being tempted”. We can also find unsearchable riches in the work that Christ did for us. In John 17:4 tells us that “He finished the work which His Father gave Him to do”. Ryle tells us the work of “atonement, reconciliation, redemption, satisfaction and the work of substitution”. Also we can see these riches in the “offices” that Christ fills. He is our Mediator, Advocate, Priest, Intercessor and our Physician. Next, we can see these unsearchable riches in the “names and titles” that is applied to Christ. For instance, He has titles like “Fountain of Living Waters”, “Lamb of God”, “Bread of Life” and “the Rock”. Lastly, we can see these riches in all the qualities that Christ has towards man. He is displays mercy, love and compassion. He also cleanses and forgives those that are willing to come to Him.

        Today, we were able to explore when Apostle Paul said “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ”. We can see Paul’s humility, his view on the ministerial offices and his meaning of the unsearchable riches of Christ. We should seek humility and if achieved, continue to pray for more humility. We should help and provide for those in the ministerial offices, especially for the offices that speak the truth and not smooth things. There are often too many ministries that like to tell their congregation trouble-free messages instead of the bold faced truth: that we are utterly hopeless with Christ. We should begin to seek the unsearchable riches that Apostle Paul is speaking of, and pray to taste the beauty and perfection of God’s plan.



Questions:


1)        What did Apostle Paul mean when he said “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints”? Is this behavior peculiar?

2)        Why must we show humility if we are Christians?

3)        What does Paul say about the “ministerial offices?”

4)        What are some of the unsearchable riches?

        

* admin님에 의해서 게시물 이동되었습니다 (2015-12-31 06:07)


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