The Power of the Mystery Now Revealed
The Power of the Mystery Now Revealed
Scripture: Ephesians 3:1-13
Central Theme: Power of the Mystery
Objective Statement: I want you to see the greatness of God’s power in the mystery now being revealed. Here are three aspects of this mystery that point to God’s power.
Aspect #1- The Message of the Mystery (3:1-6)
Aspect #2- The Ministry of the Mystery (3:7-8)
Aspect #3- The Magnitude of the Mystery (3:9-14)
- What is the most powerful thing you have ever experienced?
- This week Findlay was under a tornado warning.
- We drove over to the Kershner’s house and got in their basement. I saw pictures of some of our members in their crawl space.
- There were videos this week of Tornados in Andover, Kansas that were incredible. The force of nature through wind is incredible.
- Tornado’s are incredible powerful
- In the news there is talk of nuclear warfare. If you’ve seen video of the explosion of a nuclear bomb, or the after effects of a nuclear explosion, you have seen something that is a force.
- The power of nuclear bombs and tornados are probably a weird way to start a sermon on mother’s day, but I talk about these examples of power to make a comparison.
- We serve an incredibly powerful God.
- We also serve a God who reveals.
- His revealing throughout history has been an incredible demonstration of his power.
- Some parts of God’s plan and design we knew from the beginning.
- God has revealed himself through creation.
- He spoke and the world came into existence and into order.
- The first institution created by God was marriage and family.
- Husbands and Wives, Moms and Dads were an idea instituted by God and revealed by him in the beginning.
(26) And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
(27) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
(28) And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
- Motherhood is God’s idea. Fatherhood is God’s idea.
- And it is amazing idea.
- God revealed Himself through the nation of Israel.
- In the Old Testament we find God revealing who He is to the nation of Israel, and eventually to us through His Word, in incredible ways.
- Moses and the Exodus… and on and on.
- God revealed Himself through His Son.
(1) God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
(2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
(3) Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
- God’s power is incredible.
- Paul told the Ephesians that He was praying for them in Chapter 1:15-23.
- He was praying that they would know 3 requests:
- The hope of His calling
- The riches of His inheritance.
- The greatness of His power to those who believe.
- These three requests have been the table of contents for the rest of the book.
- Today, on this mother’s day, I want you to see the greatness of God’s power revealed in a different way.
- We see it in creation, marriage, family—motherhood.
- We see it in God’s dealing with the Jews.
I want you to see the greatness of God’s power in the mystery now being revealed. Here are three aspects of this mystery that point to God’s power.
Aspect #1- The Message of the Mystery (3:1-6)
(1) For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
- “For this cause”-
- In the last few verses of Ephesians 2, Paul points out the reconciliation between God and men in verses 1-10, and between Jews and gentiles in verses 11-22 into this new thing that God was doing called the assembly.
- He has several metaphors for this:
- New nation- (v.19)
- New man- (v. 15)
- Household- (v.19)
- Building/Habitation/Temple (v.20-22)
- All these metaphors have a family aspect to them.
- Nations have in the past been ethnically aligned. What Paul is pointing out is that the distinction between people in the church is not ethnic but our in Christ identity.
- The household that he points to is one that is made up of both jew and gentile. (V.19).
- The idea of building, or habitation, or temple refers to the idea that we are now the place that the Holy Spirit inhabits, and that we together in the assembly “growth unto a holy temple in the Lord”.
- So the context is Paul referring to this thing that God is doing called the assembly- the ekklesia- which amounts to ekklessias all over the world.
- In verse 1 Paul starts a prayer that he then diverts from and begins again in verse 14.
- It seems as if He has verses 3:14-21 in mind when he begins to pen verse 1, but then thinks to himself, “I haven’t said enough about this incredible new ekklessia that God has revealed.
- In verse 1 he refers to himself as “the prisoner of the Lord for you gentiles”.
- He was in jail for a reason.
- He says “for you gentiles”. Obviously, the Ephesians were gentiles.
- He makes the claim that He is in jail for them.
- And maybe this is what prompts what he is about to say.
- Maybe he is thinking that they needed to know why He was in jail for them. Not on a legal level, but at a spiritual level.
- And so Paul goes into a parenthesis in verses 2-13 that explains both the purpose of his being in jail, and what that has to do with what He has already been saying.
(2) If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
- Paul is claiming that He is jail because of the mission and message that he was given to impart.
- His mission and message is what he is calls “the dispensation of the grace of God which is give me to you-ward”.
- Paul’s mission and message is very much directed toward the gentiles.
- We live in a time and place where we are almost exclusively surrounded by gentiles.
- We also live in a country that compared to most of history and much of the world today very multiethnic and multicultural. We may be very Caucasian in Findlay, but our entertainment is not. Our culture is not. Our values are not.
- But you must understand the Jewish mind. There is still a conflict going on between the Jews and the Palestinians.
- Before Paul was saved his view of the gentiles would have been somewhat like the jews mindset about the Philistines. There is a history here.
- So when we read the following verses having always lived with the concept of a local church, salvation offered to everyone regardless of ethnicity, and the Gospel being for everyone while we eat Mexican food, Italian food, Chinese food, sushi… etc etc we may miss how dramatic what God has done truly is.
- Paul does not want them to miss how incredible God is, and how incredible God’s plan is.
- Paul also does not want them to miss how incredible it is that He is the one who has been given this “dispensation of the grace of God”.
- So what is this grace? What is this “dispensation of the grace of God”? He goes on to describe it.
(3) How that by revelation
- Here he begins to describe this grace.
- God gave to Paul a special “revelation”.
- This was part of being an apostle.
- We believe that the cannon of scripture is closed because that is what the Bible teaches.
- If you hear someone say today that they received special “revelation” from God you need to be skeptical.
- Test everything you hear by the scripture. God will never reveal anything to anyone that is contrary to his word.
- What was revealed to Paul?
he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
(4) Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
- The word “mystery” is written here twice.
- The word translated “mystery” comes from the word “musterion”.
- It is a word that comes from a root word “muo” which means to shut the mouth.
- It means secret.
- It speaks to something that was previously hidden.
- Paul is saying essentially, “I was told a secret by God”.
- He says he wrote afore in few words.
- In context this is referring to chapter 2, especially verses 11-22.
- He is basically saying that He is going to speak more of it now so that you understand how incredible this is.
(5) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
- This definition of “mystery” is much more clear in verse 5.
- People did not know that God was going to do this in the past.
- Notice too that although this revelation was direct to Paul, it wasn’t exclusively to Him.
- God was revealing this same thing to others at this time, too- namely “his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;”
- So what specifically is this mystery? He says it plainly in verse 6
(6) That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
- It is so clear and so profound.
- He uses the same kinds of metaphors that he was using before in 2:11-22.
- He uses family language.
- We who are gentiles can be “fellowheirs”.
- We are made part of the same family, and therefore we have the same inheritance.
- He uses body language.
- We are part of the same body- the church.
- We are part of this “new man”
- He uses covenantal language.
- We are partakers of his promise.
- We are in Christ.
- How do we become in Christ and therefore a part of the family, body, and promises?
- The Gospel.
- The Gospel is the life, death, burial and resurrection for our sins by the God-man Jesus Christ. God the Son took the wrath of God for our sin on the cross.
- The Gospel.
- This is the message that was hid in God and is now being revealed.
- God’s power is on display in this message because He has been working all human history to this point.
- His intention from eternity past was to redeem anyone who would repent and put their faith in His Son who demonstrated His power of sin, death, hell and the grave for the forgiveness of our sins.
(16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
We can see the greatness of God’s power in the - The Message of the Mystery (3:1-6) now being revealed. You can also see it in….
Aspect #2- The Ministry of the Mystery (3:7-9)
(7) Whereof I was made a minister,
- “Whereof” speaks to the Gospel itself.
- By the Gospel Paul was made a minister.
- It was how he came to faith- when He saw the resurrected Jesus.
- It was how he came to ministry- when Jesus called Him to preach His name to the gentiles.
according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
- How did this calling happen?
- It was a gift of God given by His power.
- The gift here is the ministry that he was given.
- Was he given this ministry to communicate this ministry because He was so deserving?
- No way.
- He was a persecutor of Christians.
- Acts 9:1 says about Paul:
(1) And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
(2) And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
- Paul, by his own admission, was not worthy of salvation, nor of the calling on his life to steward a ministry to the gentiles.
- This is what he declares in verse 8
(8) Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, What does he call his ministry in verse 8? He calls it “this grace”.
- Grace is undeserved and unmerited favor.
- Ministry of any kind is a privilege. It is God’s grace.
- Serving Christ with the Gospel is not merely a burdensome duty.
- It is not a right.
- It is a grace.
- There can be a weight. There can be a duty.
- All ministry for Christ should be flavored by the Gospel.
- What grace was he talking about?
that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
(9) And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
- There is a fellowship, “a koinonia”, a in common experience that everyone who believes can have together.
- It comes by the power of God and unsearchable riches of Christ.
- Those who created by Christ can be redeemed by Christ, and brough together in Christ.
- This was God’s plan, previously unrevealed, yet in His plans all along.
- Jew and Gentile, Male and Female, Young and Old, Wise and foolish, rich and poor, sophisticated and unsophisticated, educated and uneducated, all in Christ, serving Christ, worshipping Christ, and on mission for Christ together.
- What an incredible stewardship (dispensation v2) was given to Paul in being the one to reveal (among others-v.5) the purpose of God in reaching the whole world through the Gospel.
- Our stewardship is similar.
- We have the same message.
- We have the same mission.
- We have the same kind of stewardship.
I want you to see the greatness of God’s power in the mystery now being revealed. We have seen…
- Aspect #1- The Message of the Mystery (3:1-6)
- Aspect #2- The Ministry of the Mystery (3:7-8)
- Now let’s look at…
Aspect #3- The Magnitude of the Mystery (3:10-14)
(10) To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
(11) According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
- The mystery is now revealed with this intention:
- What is known by the “hire-ups” in heaven can now be known by the household of God here on earth.
- What is know unto “the principalities and powers in heavenly places” can be known and is now stewarded by the assembly- jews and gentiles.
- What is known there that is now known here that is displayed in this mystery is “the manifold wisdom of God”.
- The word “manifold” according to websters dictionary is
“divers kinds; many in number; numerous; multiplied”.
- God has revealed to us so much wisdom/revelation/truth.
- Yet He is infinite.
- This mystery now revealed is so wise, and at the same time so new that it makes us ponder all that God knows.
- It also makes us think about all that God knows that we do not know.
- His wisdom is vast, divers, numerous and multiplied.
- It is inexhaustible.
- This wisdom displayed through this mystery reveals the eternal purpose that He pursposed
(11) According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
- He created us by Christ.
- He redeemed us by Christ.
- He is saving us by Christ.
- He is bringing all things together in Christ.
- Christ is our past.
- Christ is our present.
Christ is our future.
- Christ has said and he will say:
(13) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
- There is coming a day when He will be recognized by everyone who does not recognize Him at this moment.
(5) Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
(6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
(7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
(8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
(9) Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
(10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
(11) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
- What does that mean for us?
(12) In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
- Because of all He has done and who He is we can have boldness.
- The message he has given to us (this mystery) is the most important message that can ever be proclaimed.
- This ministry he has given to us is the most important ministry that has ever been undertaken.
- We can go out and do what He has called us to do with boldness because we know that He has been working out all of human history to reach out to all people with this incredible mission.
- We can be bold because we have access to the Creator of the universe and redeemer of our souls.
- He didn’t just tell us to go with this message and ministry, He told us that He will go with us!
- “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”
- “And lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age…”
- “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God which giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not.”
(13) Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
- When we go through tribulation for stewarding this incredible message, this incredible ministry, understanding the magnitude of the wisdom of God in this…we realize we can’t lose.
- We realize that there is a purpose.
- We realize we are being used.
- Paul was saying to them, Don’t worry about me being in jail. I’m doing this because God has called me to do this for Him and for you!
- You don’t have to faint.
- God’s got this!
- Paul says, “I’ve got a secret, and it’s time to shout it from the mountaintops.”
- God has made us known of his intention all along.
- He isn’t just trying to redeem the jews. He’s trying to redeem everyone.
- The gospel isn’t just for a select few. It is the power of God for everyone that believes to the jew first, and also to the gentile.
- We have an incredible message. We have an incredible ministry. The magnitude of this wisdom of God now revealed helps us understand how powerful He is.
- We can keep going.
- We can endure suffering.
- We can minister boldly because of what He has done.