Scripture Reading: Ephesians 3:1-13, ESV
What does Paul mean by “mystery”?
a truth that was hidden by God in times past, but is now revealed to those in His family.
A sacred secret reserved to be revealed at a specific time in history.
What is this “sacred secret”?
VS6: This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
This was a revelation of mind blowing proportions. The Gentiles were clueless that there was a “sacred secret” since they were not close to God and not considered worthy of life by the Jews.
· Jews believed that the Gentiles were created [by God] as fuel for the fires of Hell.
· It was unlawful, among the Jews, to aid a Gentile woman in giving birth, for that would bring another heathen into the world.
· Jewish Motto: The best of serpents crush… the best of Gentiles kill.
This explains why Paul is so enraptured with The Mystery of Christ and why it holds great importance in several specific contexts.
The Importance To Paul
The importance of this “mystery” to Paul is found in two words: “prisoner” and “minister”.
Prisoner: Acts 21:6 – 22:23
Paul was in chains for one offense. He offended the Jews by proclaiming The Mystery of Christ... that God’s plan was to include the Gentiles as equal participants in The Gospel, the work of the Messiah.
Minister: God had laid a “stewardship” upon him. Paul was God’s chosen vessel to bring His eternal plan to light so that Jew and Gentile alike would know the truth of the unsearchable riches of Christ.
The Importance to The Gentiles
The Mystery of Christ is of unparalleled importance to Gentiles because for the first time there is an authoritative voice telling them of God’s love, as opposed to His hatred for them.
God’s plan was use Israel as a “light on the hill” to let the nations know of His love for them, they failed to do that. Instead they positioned themselves toward the world in such a way that said God only had room in His heart for Jews and that Gentiles were nothing but “fuel for Hell”
To learn that this was not true. That God’s Son came to redeem Gentiles as well as Jews and that Gentiles and Jews…
· …are fellow heirs in the riches of Christ,
· …members of the same body,
· …partakers of the promises in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.
What a life changing revelation!
Faith Challenge: How do we position ourselves toward the world?
Our Mission is to demystify the mystery, helping people see what was hidden, is hidden no longer. God is openly calling sinners to repentance and fellowship with Him.
The Importance to The Angels VS8-10:
Who are these “rulers” and “authorities” in the heavenly places?
Angelic Hosts… both good & evil.
Ephesians 1:21; 6:12 and Colossians 1:16
1 Peter 1:10-12
What are the Angels are learning as they witness the unfolding of God’s plan of redemption in the world?
The manifold wisdom of God – VS10
“manifold” means many colored.
There is more afoot in redemption than saving souls from condemnation. The matchless, inexhaustible glory of God is on display and the Angels watch and they worship Him.
The Importance to You and Me
We are the target of this mystery and if we have come to faith in Christ Jesus, we are direct beneficiaries of it as well.
In Christ Jesus we have become:
· …fellow heirs of the riches of God
· …members of the same body with the redeemed of Israel
· …partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel
More than something received as a great benefit, we like Paul have also received a stewardship to demystify this mystery, making it clear and plan to the world around us. Matthew 28:19-20.
We don’t have to be timid, afraid, or intimidated. This mission and purpose …11was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.
· Let us embrace this revelation.
· Let us be encouraged in Christ’s presence with us.
· Let us re assured that we, empowered by The Spirit, are agents of demystification.
We are proclaimers of God’s truth, that His grace can make the impossible, possible.
· Sinners can become Saints.
· The Hopeless now have Hope.
· The Godless are only one step away from God.
Embrace Jesus, The Christ, and find life abundant and free.