In Ephesians 3:1 Paul says that he is a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of the Gentiles as Ephesus. The church must be incredibly valuable to God because He sent His servant Paul to serve the church and be willing to suffer for the church. Paul counts it a privilege to suffer for the church in prison or at least be under house arrest because of faith in the Lord. In v3-6 Paul speaks of the mystery of Christ. Now we have to understand that the Biblical term mystery is different to our modern understanding of mystery. We are all familiar with crime shows which propose a mystery at the beginning of the show which is then solved by the end of the show. This mystery in the Bible is something which was hidden but now is revealed. The mystery is that the Gentiles are now joint heirs and members of of the same body and sharers in God’s promises through Christ. This mystery has been revealed through the proclamation of the Gospel that God accepts both Jews and Gentiles who have faith in Jesus to be part of His family. Many of the New Testament letters deal with the ensuing issues and practicalities of how Jews and Gentiles can get on with one another now they have become members of God’s church together through Christ. Paul has a very high view of the importance and centrality of the church, for in 3:10 he speaks of how the manifold wisdom of God has been made known to authorities in the heavenly realm through the church. Paul concludes this section 3:12 by encouraging both Jews and Gentiles that they both have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Jesus. Paul tells the Christians 3:14 to not lose heart over his sufferings because God is using these for His glory. Paul recognises that the sufferings have come because of his desire to bring Christ to people and that despite the hardships God will be shown to be great and glorious through Paul’s preaching of the Gospel and the love shown. Tonight at 5pm the passage is Romans 3:21-26 and we are reflecting on God’s image in people which has been marred. Paul has built an argument that in Romans 1-3 that because all of us have sinned we are corrupted and not the people we should be. We need God’s image to be restored in HIs image and in our relationship with God. Through God’s grace Jesus has come and died for us so that we are forgiven and right with God and then God works in us to restore His image in us ! This work of Christ reveals His righteousness so that now we are counted as right before God and forgiven and we can enjoy access to God through Christ. We have much to thank God for and to celebrate !