Summary: Making Christians aware of their responsibility to share the Gospel.
MORE THAN A MYSTERY
1. The Monarch Mystery.
The ability to find home evokes legends of Rover or Fido who, when owners have moved from one coast to the other, have made a 3,000-mile trek to find their owners in a location to which they’ve never been before. At least the dogs make it back home.
But not the monarch butterfly. These insects somehow know how to migrate thousands of miles every autumn, from the Eastern United States to a handful of sites in Mexico. There, they rest over the winter for the return trip home. But here’s the amazing part: No individual butterfly ever goes to Mexico and back, yet thousands converge on the same few sites year after year. These insects know where to go. But none of them has ever been there before. Let’s explain.
"Monarchs are not guided by memory, since no single butterfly ever makes the round trip. Three or four generations separate those that spend one winter in Mexico from those that go there the next." A monarch butterfly born in August in New York state, for instance, will fly all the way to Mexico, spend the winter there, and leave in March. Then it will fly north, laying eggs on milkweed along the Gulf Coast in Texas and Florida before dying.
The butterflies born of those eggs will continue northward, breeding and laying more eggs along the way. By August another monarch, four generations or so removed from the monarch that left New York for Mexico the previous summer, will emerge from its chrysalis and do the same thing. It will head south, aiming for a place it’s never been, an acre or two of forest on the steep slopes of a particular mountain range.
2. In today’s passage of Scripture the Apostle Paul talks to us about a mystery.
Christians, when Paul talks about a mystery, he’s talking about more than the mysterious saga of monarch butterflies, he’s talking about the mystery of God revealed in Christ Jesus.
1. Why do I say that the apostle Paul talks about more than a mystery?
TRANSITION: Paul talks about. . .
1. It is More than a Mystery Because It is Revealed By God. vv.1-5
2. It is More than a Mystery Because It is to Be Revealed to Everyone. vv. 6-9
3. It is More than a Mystery Because It is Our Job to Reveal It to the World. vv.10-12
I. IT IS MORE THAN A MYSTERY BECAUSE IT HAS BEEN
REVEALED BY GOD vv. 1-5
“In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight
into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in
other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit”4,5
A. The Meaning of the word “mystery” in the Bible
1. When we think of the word “mystery” we think of the word “secret” or of a “Mystery novel” in which we must follow a set of clues, or we think of a classical “who done it” movie.
2. But what does Paul mean when he says that God has
revealed to him a mystery? The word mystery, in the
Greek language is “musterion” which means “to shut
the mouth”; it is used to refer to “a silence imposed by
initiation into a secret religious rite”. You could compare it with something like the Masons or other fraternal organizations today.
3. But the Biblical meaning of “mystery” is different.
When the Bible speaks of a mystery it speaks of “something formerly unknown, hidden in the Old
Testament, but now revealed to us by God in Christ
B. God Disclosed this Mystery by “Revelation”
1. The way that God chose to make His mystery
known to us was through the process of divine
“revelation”. The word “revelation” means “to make
naked or lay bare”. Cardinal John Henry Newman wrote that, “As prayer is the voice of man to God, so revelation is the voice of God to man.“
2. Paul discusses the process of revelation in verse 5 .
He writes “this mystery has been revealed by the Holy
Spirit to God’s Holy apostles and the prophets.” The mystery that Paul speaks of is more than a mystery because now for the first time in history God has revealed it through Christ Jesus. It’s a mystery no longer!
C. What Is Revelation Like?
The story is told that after Helen Keller’s teacher, Anne
Sullivan, had given her the names of physical objects in
sign language, Miss Sullivan attempted to explain God and
tapped out the symbols for the name "God." Much to Miss
Sullivan’s surprise, Helen spelled back, "Thank you for
telling me God’s name, Teacher, for he has touched me
many times before." How could Helen Keller have known about God? It was because although she was blind, deaf and mute, Helen Keller knew God, for God had shown Himself to her. That is “revelation.”