Summary: How do you feel approaching God - guilty, weak, timid? Paul encourages us to see our relationship with the Father as it really is - and shows us that you can’t outlove God!
What is the biggest thing you can think of - the most marvelous and wonderful thing imaginable? What comes to mind - is it great riches so you don’t have to worry about the bills? Is it power so that people can’t hurt you any more? Perhaps its wisdom so that people will respect you and look up to you. Maybe its great beauty and self confidence. Or maybe its that there would be world peace or something even grander. Maybe its just that you will be healed of a sickness that’s plagued you or depression that’s haunted you.
Whatever you can think of - God can do more. Whatever you can ask for, God can do more. Our problem is that what we ask for never really satisfies. If God were to grant us riches or intellect or beauty we’d still be just the same - only emptier.
I listened to an interview with Meg Ryan recently - and she said something amazing. Meg, who is very famous and very rich said that it all was very empty and meant very little to her.
Today we’re going to talk about what really does mean something - what really does satisfy and fills you up - and that God wants to give you that - much much more than you can even imagine.
First Paul gives us his mission statement - that God told him "no more secrets."
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 men 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.
7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul says: "My job was to make known something God kept secret - that everyone would be welcome into His kingdom through Jesus Christ. Now that job is passed on to you, the church."
Did you know that God withheld the mystery of the gospel even from the angels?
1 Peter 1:12 tells us that "even angels long to look into these things." We should feel special that God waited - He didn’t tell the prophets of the Old Testament period either - they spoke things about Jesus that they didn’t understand. It’s not until you look back at the OT that you see that it’s all about Jesus.
Paul considered himself "the least of all God’s people." In 1 Cor 8 Paul described himself as "one abnormally born." How do you think about yourself in the Kingdom of God - is God pretty lucky you decided to sign up? Or do you realize what you were and what God has done for you?
Verse 10 "rulers and authorities" probably means angels - so even though God kept quiet of His plan - now he wants to openly spread - everything is accomplished through Jesus Christ.
Just what was accomplished? Take a look at verse 12
12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
This is fantastic. Apart from Christ you cannot approach God.
Isaiah 59:1-2 "Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear."
But now through Christ - the way has been made into God’s presence - but only in Jesus - no other "way" exists - and the way through Christ is by faith in Him. You can’t invent a way to get to God - it would be like saying "I’m going to get to the other side of the mountain by walking through it instead of over it."