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The Mystery

Ephesians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Ephesians 3:1–12 NKJV
1 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. 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.
eph3.
(NKJV)
The Mystery Revealed
3 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.

The Messenger of The Mystery

Paul - the prisoner of Jesus Christ (The proclaimer of the mystery, the apostle)
Suffering was for Christ
A prisoner becasue of the Lord Jesus - becasue of his faith and work
For the gentiles also - that they could be saved
Addresses the Gentiles - us
until then, it was believed that Messiah was for the Jews only
they believed they only were chosen
Gentiles believed themselves unwelcome by God
For you Gentiles -
Literally for them - as he was arrested in Jerusalem, accused of bringing Gentiles in to the temple
Willing to suffer himself that they might have opportunity to know this gospel
Where are the saints that are willing to suffer loss that others might be saved?
— “save a soul from death”
What would you be willing to suffer for the gospel’s sake?
How is it looking so far?
Pray for opportunities - to speak boldly as we ought to speak
be willing - instant

How The Mystery Was Known

until then, it was believed that Messiah was for the Jews only
they believed they only were chosen
Gentiles believed themselves unwelcome by God
This mystery was by “revelation”
It was Divinely revealed
This mystery by “revelation”
As Jesus explained to Peter “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you...”
Spiritually discerned ( But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. )
14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The gospel is hid to those who are perishing ()
Our knowledge of God must be “divine”, must be by faith
we can learn about God - but that is not revelation
The devil knows about God
We should seek this revelation - seek God
“You seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” ()
If you are not seeking God, you should not be surprised when you don’t find “evidence”

The Mystery Revealed -

“That the Gentiles should be “fellow heirs” of the same body”
The mystery of The Cross
The sacrifice of Christ
The remissions of sins
the receipt by faith
the gentiles reconciled -
This was a shocking revelation -
had been kept secret for untold generations
That the gospel was not just for the Jews
for all men, everywhere
for you and I today
How refreshing this is in a time of such divisions
in a time when so many want “exclusive” claims to God
when so many people are dividing into groups and clicks
That we are all “fellow heirs”, “partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel”!!

The Position of the Messenger

Less than the least of all the saints - Humility
Paul’s position was one of humility
we see this throughout his writings
He was not there to promote himself, or his credentials, or his accomplishments
“this grace was given” - he had not “achieved” this right
Perhaps the church needs a fresh dose of humilty
in this age of the megachurch and star preachers
in these times of bragging and touting of titles and accomplishments
where are those who truly recognize themselves as “less than the least”, and yet compelled to run the race - for Him?
Perhaps that’s you
To preach the unsearchable riches of Christ
The wonders of Him - inexhaustible
“To make everyone see”
This was his only motivation
to make everyone see “what is the fellowship of this mystery”
not himself, but Jesus
Let the whole world know !!!
This good news, from the beginning hidden in God, who created all things through Jesus Christ
God created all things
He did so “through Jesus Christ”
Jesus was there in the beginning- in eternity before and forever
This mystery by “revelation”
As Jesus explained to Peter “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you...”
Spiritually discerned
The gospel is hid to those who are perishing

The Purpose of The Mystery

“To the intent that...” - for this reason
God has purpose in this mystery - an intent - an intended result
That now -
For thousands of years this was not revealed
not to men, or kings
not even to angels or demons
but now, it is -
To Principalities and powers in heavenly places
There are “beings” that you cannot see
These are not earthly principalities and powers, as he specifies “in heavenly places”
Some scholars believe these to be “enemies of God” evil spirits, or demons, such as are mentioned in
Others believe these to be good angels and heavenly beings in the presence of God, learning this “manifold wisdom” of their creator
Perhaps it includes all of the above -
In any event, it is evident that there are spiritual beings -
living creatures - not invisible energy
having mind, will, emotions
having authority, and purpose
having power to perform their will and plans
And that God is “making known by the church”
That somehow, through the church, through us, God is making known his Wisdom
His multiplex of diverse and infinite wisdom
through, these ordinary human beings
That God has:
created man in His own Image
That He has loved us with an everlasting love
That He has redeemed us from sin through the blood of His Son
That HE has chosen to eternally identify Himself with us (the firstborn of many brethren)
That through Him, we are made partakers if His divine nature ()
Joint heirs together with Jesus
And that this is Wisdom
God did not make a mistake
He did not choose foolishly in choosing you
He did not err in putting His spirit in us
His eternal purpose is Wise and will accomplish His purpose
All creation is witness - here and there

The Result of The Mystery

His purpose was accomplished in Christ Jesus
It is finished
Now we have “boldness”
We can approach God directly
We have “access” to HIm
We don’t need to beg or plead
don’t need to climb a mountain or cross a sea
He is right here, and willing to hear you
HE has time for you
We have confidence
Our faith should cause us to be very confident of this access
That we “believe” Him
Confidence that our prayers are heard, and important to Him
Confidence that what He promised, He is able to perform
Confidence in eternal life!
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