Faithlife Sermons

I Know a Secret

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We’ve been going through the book of Ephesians
Through this book we’ve been hitting a lot of amazing truths
We are adopted through Christ
God reconciled not only Jews, but also Gentiles into His family through the death of His son
We are adopted and joint heirs with Jesus
Today, we will be talking about the mystery of the gospel revealed
Let’s read the Passage together

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles—2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, 7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.

Purpose of the Mystery

8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. 13 Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

Have any of you ever had to keep a secret before?
I hate secrets
When I was younger, I had a very big mouth
I used to tell any and all secrets
Story of finding lizard in the house and dad offered me $20 if i didn’t tell mom
Paul was a lot like me. He didn’t like to keep secrets either.
That’s why he told the greatest secret ever
Paul is telling us in this passage that Gentiles are now united to the Jews in one body the church—the gretest secret or mystery ever
Paul is showing this “mystery” to 4 different groups. He is showing the importance of this mystery.

It was important to Paul ()

The best way to grasp the mystery in Paul’s life is to consider the descriptions he gives himself:
He calls himself a Prisoner
He calls himself a minister
Paul was a prisoner because he believed in uniting Jews and gentiles into one body—the church
Orthodox jews considered Gentiles to be dogs
Christian Jews did not think much better of Gentiles
Because of this, Paul was shunned by many Jews
Shunned even though he collected offering for needy jews ()
Paul took drastic steps to pacify Jews in temple, but there was a riot and he was arrested ()
Had Paul compromised his message and encouraged the prejudices against the Gentiles, he may have been released.
He was a prisoner for you Gentiles ()
Paul was not only a prisoner because of the mystery, but he was also a minister.
God gave him a dispensation (stewardship)
So that he’d go preach the good news/gospel
And that he would tell the gentiles that we are all one in Christ
This was Paul’s dispensation or stewardship
Because he was a faithful steward in Christ, he became a prisoner in Rome
Like Joseph in the OT, his faithfulness resulted in false arrest
Ultimately his false arrest resulted in great glory for Christ
Not only was it important to Paul, but it was important to the Gentiles ()

It was Important to the Gentiles ()

In , we discovered that Christ’s work on the cross accomplished much more than the salvation of individual sinners.
It reconciled Jews and Gentiles to each other and to God
The truth of “the mystery” reveals to believing Gentiles that they have a wonderful new relationship through Christ.
This is excellent news because being a Jew/Gentile in Christ is neither an asset or liability
We all have the same inheritance through Christ because of this wonderful reconciliation
We do know, however, that there are certain promises God will keep that only apply to the Jews
The mystery not only gives us a new relationship, but also a new power
God gave Paul power to accomplish the ministry
Word working in this passage comes form energia —energy
Word power in this passage comes form dunamis — dynamic or dynamite
Finally there is new riches to the Gentiles
says exceeding riches, but here they’re described as unfathomable
The words can also be translated untraceable which suggests the end of the riches cannot be found
These riches are available to all

It is important to the Angles ()

Paul tells us that the angels are involved in this great secret
God is educating them by means of the church
Let’s review some things about angles
They are no omniscient
They are created beings
both good and evil
Angles rejoice in the repentance of a lost sinner (luke 15:10)
Angels watch the activities of local assembly ()
What do angles learn from the church?
The manifold wisdom of God
Angels know the power of God because of Creation
But the wisdom of God as seen through the church is new to them
Unsaved men look at salvation and consider it foolishness ()
Paul calls it manifold wisdom
This carries the idea of the beauty and variety of God’s wisdom
What are the evil angels learning from salvation?
Their leader satan does not have any wisdom
Satan knew the OT
He knew a messiah would come
He knew why He was coming
He knew where He was coming
But He didn’t know about the church
God hid this great plan from all so that we would be able to receive this incredible truth
We are all stewards now
This sacred secret that was so important to Paul, the Jews, and Gentiles is now in our hands!

It Should be Important to Christians today ()

When God saved Paul, he gave him precious treasures of Gospel truth ()
Paul’s life was dedicated to making other secret keepers.
Looking through the book of timothy, you see Paul exhorting other belivers, especially timothy to “keep the faith”
During the apostolic days the truths of the gospel were guarded preached, and handed down to faithful men
A study of church history reveals that the basic truths of scripture were replaced by man made theology, tradition, and ritual.
Then, God opened the eyes of many men so that they would see the truth again
Martin Luther championed justification by faith
Other spiritual leaders rediscovered the person and work of the HS
I believe man has once again rediscovered that we are all one in Christ—no matter any ethnic boundaries satan tries to trick us with.
What do you think of when you think of Napoleon Bonaparte?
War leader
Short guy?
probable nobody would say a patron of arts and sciences
In July 1798 Napoleon occupied Egypt
Septermber 1801 he was forced to get out
Many people would assume that this was a bad time for Napoleon’s military and political plans, but it was a great time for archaeology
In 1799 a Frenchman named Boussand disvovered the Rosetta Stone
This gave archaelogists the key to understand Egyptian Hieroglyphics
This mystery is God’s rosetta stone
It is the key to what He promised in the OT
What He did in the Gospels
What the early church did in Acts
What Paul teaches in the epistles
And what God will do in the book of Revelation
This great mystery is not a divine afterthought, it is part of God’s eternal plan
To ignore this truth is to sin against the father who planed it
The Son who died for it
And the spirit who seeks to work in our lives to accomplish it
When you understand the secret, it gives you great confidence and faith
We need to understand the secret so that we can be making spiritual progress
Imagine you are trying to fix a new computer system with old system directions
You’re not going to be able to figure it out
People who don’t understand this mystery are like the ones with the old computer system directions
They are trying to build with the wrong blueprints
Until we see that God’s church is not shackled by culture, class, or any other distinction, we will not understand the true meaning of the mystery.
God has a secret, but he doesn’t want it to be a secret anymore
This secret was important to Paul, Gentiles, and to the angels, and it ought to be important to us today!
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