Summary: The mystery (secret) of the Gospel of Jesus Christ reveals the heart of God to love and redeem his people. This is a secret we must tell others about.
Have you ever been entrusted with a secret that you had a hard time keeping to yourself? Sometimes it is hard to keep a secret. I have found that young children have a particularly hard time keeping a secret. That reminds me of two incidents in our family.
The first one happened about two years ago. It was my birthday and I was working in the church office. It was about 12 noon and Babette called and asked if I was coming over for lunch. I knew something was up because I was greeted right at the door by Christopher and his friend Bailey. As I was walking up the porch, I could hear them saying, "He’s coming!" Chris had a big grin on his face. He said, "Dad, we have a secret that we can’t tell you about." I figured I would have a little fun with him, so I said, "Oh, what’s the secret?" Then, without any further delay, my son went on to explain. "And don’t go in the dining room, because we made a cake for you and it’s there. Remember, it’s a secret." Chris was so excited about knowing the secret he had a hard time keeping it to himself.
Then again, just this past Mother’s Day, I learned that same lesson that children have a hard time keeping secrets. The day before Mother’s Day we all went to Walmart. I took Chris and Cassie and we went shopping for Mom. We went to the jewelry section and picked out a real nice watch for Babette. I told the kids to keep what we got Mom a secret so she would be surprised for Mother’s Day. Cassie could barely contain the excitement of the secret. When she saw my wife, without any prompting, she said, "We got a present...it’s a secret...it’s a watch. Wanna see?"
Yes, sometimes it is hard to keep a secret.
In our text, Paul describes the Gospel as “the mystery of Christ… (that has) been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets….” (3:6)
The Gospel is a SECRET that reveals the very heart and mind of God. But rather than keep the secret to Himself, in the Gospel, the reality of God’s plan is laid out for everyone to hear. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a secret that God wants all believers to openly share with others! (BIG IDEA)
A. In Paul’s day, there were many "mystery religions" that claimed to have secrets to unlock the key to life and happiness. Christianity is not like that at all!
1. In the mystery religions of Paul’s day, in order to discover these mysteries, the adherents of these religions had to undergo elaborate initiation rites in order to find out the secret knowledge of the universe.
2. Paul believed that Christianity too held the key to unlock life. But, John Stott is right when he points out that, "In Christianity there are no esoteric ‘mysteries’ reserved for a spiritual elite. On the contrary, the Christian ‘mysteries’ are truths which although beyond human discovery, have been revealed by God and so now belong openly to the whole church." (John Stott, The Message of Ephesians, IVP, 1986, p. 116) Another noted commentator, Markus Barth declares, "The whole true God is no longer hidden and unknown. His very heart is opened." (Markus Barth, The Anchor Bible: Ephesians 1-3 (quickview) , p. 127)