The Mystery Revealed

Sermon Titled “The Mystery Revealed” (Ephesians 3:1-6) – 15th February, 2014
mysteryrevealed
  • Ephesians 3:1-6 1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles – 2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
In the previous week’s sermons, we learned that the Gentile believers (that’s “us”) are no longer excluded from the Kingdom of God. Christ made it known that His throne can now be accessed by all believers, both Jew and Gentile, and in Ephesians 3:1-21, Paul expands on this revelation, proclaiming the truth that two groups of people, formerly separated, are now being joined together as members of one body. Before he gets into the gist of his explanation however, he goes off on a bit of a tangent (in verses 2-13), before finally revealing (in verses 14-21) what he ultimately intends to say.  Paul’s tangent, is what’s known as a parenthesis (or qualifying statement), and he begins his parenthesis in verse 2. Let’s see what was said in verse 1 that caused his thoughts to veer off track momentarily: 
  • Ephesians 3:1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of the Gentiles –
Paul makes it clear that he is a prisoner of Christ Jesus, likely meaning that even though he was literally a prisoner of Caesar, and had been for about three years, he was ultimately a prisoner of Christ, since he was right where God wanted him to be at that time. In fact, had it not been for the years that Paul spent behind bars, it’s possible that he would not have had time to write the letters that we are now able to read in the New Testament.
Paul next implies that it is because of the Gentiles that he is a prisoner, and he follows with his parenthesis, as a result of wanting to explain, or qualify, what he means by that.
  • Ephesians 3:2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you…..

Paul is saying here that he was administered with (or tasked with), the duty of delivering the gospel to the Gentiles. God chose him to be the apostle for the Gentiles, and Paul faithfully obeyed and carried out that which He was chosen to do, even though the consequences were not favorable (beatings, imprisonment, and later execution).

  • Ephesians 3:3-5 3……that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.

In the days before Christ and the New Testament apostles, this mystery (of God’s grace being extended to the Gentiles) was not known. Paul says that it was through his studying of the Scriptures, that God (through the Holy Spirit), revealed what was once hidden.

  1. Ephesians 3:6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

Herein lies the mystery: The Gentiles are:

  1. Heirs together with Israel (the Jews)
  2. Members together of one body (Jews and Gentiles make up the body of Christ)
  3. Co-heirs of God’s promise

This is a really big deal! There is no favoritism, or exclusion in God’s kingdom. Every person in this world, regardless of race, color, or creed, is included in God’s invitation to become part of the body of Christ, and co-heirs of an eternal inheritance. Paul was desperate to relay this truth to the Gentiles, many of whom would have found his message to be quite incredulous, yet it is just as true for those who believed way back then, as it is for those of us who believe today.

Now that the mystery has been revealed, it is up to each person as they receive this knowledge, to do with it as they please. Paul did his part in delivering it; how will you choose to respond to it?

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