Summary: What was a mystery has now been made plain - God has healed the rift between Jew & Gentile - He has broken down the dividing wall. God heals the broken hearted & broken relationships - all by the work of Christ as revealed in the Gospel.
- In 1956, Stuart Hamblen wrote the song “It Is No Secret (What God Can Do) - the chorus runs like this...
It is no secret, what God can do
what He’s done for others, He’ll do for you
with arms wide open, He’ll pardon you
it is no secret what God can do
- This is the issue in today’s passage
- God has had a secret hidden for generations, but in the fullness of time, that secret was revealed
- It is the joining together of Jews & Gentiles in Christ to form one body
- Many people love secrets & mysteries
- Especially the “who done it” type novels
- Most mysteries contain certain elements in the story
* You have a crime that has been committed.
* You have a villain.
* You have a Hero.
* You have a pretty young thing
- In the NT, those same elements are present...
* You have a Crime. - People who sin & rebel against God
* You have a Villain - His name is the devil or Satan
* You have a hero - His name is Jesus
* You have a pretty young thing - She is called the Church
- When we talk about a secret, we talk about something that is not to be revealed to anyone else
- But God’s secret is now out in the open...
Ro 16:25-27 .. 25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, 26 but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith
1. God’s Secret
Q. Why is it we have secrets?
Q. Why do we, at times, like to keep secrets?
- For a number of reasons...it can be...
1. Out of Shame
- Most people have some “skeletons in their closet” that we don’t want revealed to the world, because we would feel ashamed if they were revealed
- And yet, knowing all about those skeletons, God is still willing to forgive us
2. Out of Discretion
- At times, it is appropriate to keep in confidence something that has been said
- When someone goes around telling others what has been said in confidence, then the community becomes full of gossip
- Mysteries are not much more than secrets yet to be revealed
- They serve a particular purpose as well...
1. For suspense
- There is the anticipation of what that secret might be
- The ending could be really good or it could be really bad
- You don’t know how serious the situation might be until the secret is revealed & so you are kept in suspense
2. For surprise
Q. How many times have you tried to anticipate the “who done it” in the mystery stories, only to admit when the mystery is revealed: “I didn’t think it was her”
3. To Arouse Curiosity
- A mystery or secret triggers in people the desire to know & discover the truth
- No one likes to be left “out of the loop” when it comes to a good story
4. To Stir up Amazement
- There is a sense of satisfaction & awe when the secret is revealed & all the pieces of the puzzle are put together
- The mystery Paul speaks about here, he says, was not made known to the sons of men in other generations
- But now has been revealed to the apostles & prophets in the Spirit
Q. What, then, is the content of this mystery? What is the answer?
- We will get to that soon
- What we do need to understand is that this revealed mystery is of eternal importance
- Of all the time that has existed / Of all the events that have ever taken place, this is the most important of all
- It is God’s eternal purpose that is now made known & we’re part of it
Q. How privileged are the apostles & prophets of the Lord that they have had this secret revealed to them?
- They must be special & worthy to have received this!
- Hardly, says Paul
- In spite of being a Jew, this secret was revealed to him via GRACE
1. By Grace, Revealed to Paul
- There is a definition to grace & it this... God’s “unmerited favour” & it totally excludes a person’s worthiness
- In other words, grace is a gift
- In Gen. 6:8 we read that Noah found grace from God