Summary: The best knowledge comes by revelation . . . & God makes us uncomfortable when He does His best work.
Ephesians 3 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 people 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.
Two main points today:
1. The Best Knowledge Comes by Revelation
The idea that we can know truth about reality by revelation is controversial today. We can know truths about how things work through mathematics. Some would like to narrow all knowledge to mathematical description-even describing love as a merely chemical process. I think there is more to life and truth than those things we can pin down with calculation. The Bible affirms often that there is truth which is spiritual, and can only be spiritually discerned. We shouldn't be surprised by this. Some physicists argue there are multiple universes which we cannot perceive or measure. They argue this because the math of life-the fine-tuning of the cosmological constant, imply that there is no way we could exist by accident. Their solution to this problem that apparently points us to God is to suggest this theory. Let's grant that theory for a moment (i think suggesting entire universes we cannot perceive with the senses sounds more religious than scientific, but let's set that aside). If a race of creatures living in one of these other universes wanted to communicate across dimensions of time and space and let us know of their existence, how would they do it? Kip Thorne's famous film Interstellar suggests advanced beings might communicate through gravity. One of the characters in the film also suggests that love is the one thing in our experience that transcends limitations of time and space. Professor Thorne may be pointing in the right direction. The idea that some physical means would be employed to communicate across multidimensional realities seems unlikely. But what if we could communicate across dimensions with thought? It seems this is how God chooses to communicate with us. In order to maintain this spiritual vision, i think we have to work to keep ourselves like children. Wordsworth said it well:
MY heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
2. God Makes Us Uncomfortable When He Does His Best Work
The idea of a multi-ethnic people of God was radical to some Jews. God revealed Himself to Abraham, not to all the other Chaldeans. He made his promise through Abraham's son, but only Isaac, not Ishmael. And of Isaac's sons, Jacob, not Esau, was the child of promise. God continued to reveal the plan of sending His Messiah through the Jews to a select group of prophets within the Jewish community. It seems like God's work was always a bit exclusive. When Jesus talked with and healed and saved non-Jews, many Jews were angry. But God was doing something most people in Israel didn't expect. He had promised to make the Jews a light to the Gentiles, that would bring God's salvation to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 49:6). But when God began to actually do His work, people were baffled, not seeing how He was accomplishing His purposes. The Church, made up of Jew & Gentile, was uncomfortable for many.