Summary: Have you ever been entrusted with a secret that you had a hard time keeping to yourself? It is so good that you just want to share it with someone. Sometimes it is hard to keep a secret. But I have a secret for you tonight that you don’t have to keep b
A SECRET WORTH SHARING
Have you ever been entrusted with a secret that you had a hard time keeping to yourself? It is so good that you just want to share it with someone. Sometimes it is hard to keep a secret. But I have a secret for you tonight that you don’t have to keep bottled up. Actually God would want you to share it with as many people as you can.
In our study today, Paul describes the Gospel as “the mystery of Christ… which has been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets….” The entire Word of God is a book of secrets to Christians explaining the heart and mind of God.
I. THE SECRET OF GOD MUST BE REVEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRT (vv. 1-5)
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 members of these religions had to undergo elaborate initiation rites in order to find out the secret knowledge of the universe. (Greco-Roman)
2. Paul believed that Christianity too held the key to unlock life. But, all we have to do is open the Word of God and ask for the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s secrets to us.
B. Although the secret plan of God is intended to be open for all, the Bible reminds us repeatedly that we can only come to know the mystery of God as God reveals it to our heart.
1. Notice, how we are reminded that the mystery of God must be revealed. In Ephesians 3:3, Paul says "the mystery made known to me by revelation..."
2. Likewise a person not of God will not be able to comprehend the Word of God.
C. In the Gospel, God’s plan of salvation is revealed to the human heart. Sometime we can get all confused about the intricacies of the Bible’s message. Because of this, it is helpful to keep it simple enough to get right to the heart of the matter.
1. In the opening verses of this letter, Paul reminds us of God’s love made plain to all: “In love He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will …” (Ephesians 1:4b-5)
2. If that is true, then why do you think people refuse to believe the message? Like any great mystery novel or love story, the plot must be revealed by the author himself. So too, the secret plan of God to love us and provide redemption for us in Jesus Christ must be revealed to our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
II. THE SECRET OF GOD TO BE EXPERIENCED (vv. 6 & 12)
A. Paul uses three phrases (all using the word "together" to describe the extent of God’s blessing of his people who partake of the mystery of the Gospel. We need to experience this mystery ourselves!
1. HEIRS together with Israel… (2:11-13)
11Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" 12remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
2. MEMBERS together of one body…(2:14-17)
14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.
3. SHARERS together in the promise in Christ Jesus… (2:18)
18For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
B. In Ephesians 2:18, Paul makes it clear that the promise is that we believers will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
1. The Holy Spirit is the down payment promising our full salvation.
2. Our experience with the fellowship of the Holy Spirit wets out appetite for all the full blessings of God’s kingdom yet to come.
3. Jesus said, "How much more will God give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"
III. THE SECRET OF GOD TO BE PROCLAIMED (vv. 7-13)
A. Collectively, the church has been designed by God to be the means by which the secret of God is made known to all. Paul says, that "His intent was that now, through the church, the wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms..."