Summary: Secrets fascinate us. All of us want to be privy to secrets. Secrets are fascinating. Did you know that God has a secret which He kept for thousands of years? It's true.
Ephesians: Our Identity in Christ~Part 11
The Mystery of the Church
1. For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—
2. if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you;
3. that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.
4. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,
5. which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;
6. to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,
7. of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power.
8. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,
9. and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things;
10. so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.
11. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,
12. in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.
13. Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory.
Secrets fascinate us. All of us want to be privy to secrets. Secrets are fascinating.
Did you know that God has a secret which He kept for thousands of years? It's true. In the passage of Scripture under consideration, Paul calls this secret a mystery. It was a mystery which was once hidden, but is now revealed. In other words, the secret which God kept hidden for thousands of years has now been fully communicated. Simply put, the secret which has now been revealed is the centrality of the Church in God's plan.
Among many people the Church is viewed as an organization like a small business or large corporation depending upon its size. To say the Church is people is just getting started. Some people therefore assume the Church is to be run like a business where everyone is a general partner. Some people reduce the Church to a democratic deliberation where the least offensive course of action is pursued --- assuring the lowest common denominator of spirituality to prevail. The Church is reduced to a social institution where the needs and preferences of the members are its focus. But that is not Church!
The Church is a living organism of God's people --- placed together by God's wisdom --- led by spiritual leaders of God's choosing --- committed to doing God's will --- living out its life together in community --- submitting to one another in love, with God's authority in its midst --- and revealing God's grace and wisdom to all around. The Church is central to what God is doing in the earth today. It is true that God deals with individuals, but generally God chooses to deal with them through the Church. And unless we come to this understanding of the Church as central to what God is doing in the earth today and in our own individual lives, then we will never understand why God does things the way He does. So let's look together at the mystery of Christ, which is His Church.