Summary: Focus: Paul’s mission was to reveal the fact that God has broken down the walls which divide and made all one in Christ; a mission which he also gives to the church.
Focus: Paul’s mission was to reveal the fact that God has broken down the walls which
divide and made all one in Christ; a mission which he also gives to the church.
Function: To challenge the church to take up Paul’s challenge to reveal the manifold
wisdom of God to the world!
I’ve always loved a good mystery, how about you? I bet, as a kid,
I read most all of the Sherlock Holmes stories and was always intrigued
how Holmes could pick apart a mystery and solve it from the obscurest &
smallest of clues! One of my favorites, too, was the Hardy Boys- two
teenage boys who always seemed to find themselves in the middle of
some dastardly mystery. I loved mysteries on t.v. I suppose I was
strange for my generation in that I loved the old Perry Mason shows. My
favorite part was always at the end when Mason would reveal the REAL
killer and it was never who you would have expected! What is it that
makes mysteries so intriguing to us? Even today, the most popular t.v.
show is C.S.I. (Which I’ve never seen) but which depicts a team of
criminal science experts unraveling the toughest & graphic of crimes.
Mysteries draw us in, don’t they? They challenge our thinking and arouse
Did you know that in one sense the Bible tells of God’s Plan as
being a “mystery”? Now, its not the kind of mystery that you and I might
think of . . . a “whodunnit”-- and its not the kind of mystery that could have
been figured out by a Sherlock Holmes or Joe Friday. But in the very real
sense that what God was ultimately ‘up to’ had not been fully realized- it
was a mystery to many. What God was doing (& had been doing from the
very beginning) to reconcile his people to himself had not been completely
clear to the people. But now, Paul (in the great Sherlock Holmes tradition)
has the privilege of unveiling . . . of uncovering and revealing the greatest
of mysteries . . . for all time!
Let’s look again the text that _____ just read. Eph. 3 Remember Paul
has just pointed out that the dividing walls have been broken down- that
now we are all (Jew & Gentile) on the same team, so to speak! He’ll build
off of that theme and launch into a prayer, but something stops him short.
As he writes, he pauses to reflect upon the ministry that he has been
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.
I. Paul says, “Let me tell you about My Ministry.”
Remember, Paul is in prison here. He’s been given this
wonderful ministry to take the good news to the Gentiles, but now that has
landed him in prison. But notice that not even chains will stop Paul from
proclaiming the message! Though he’s chained to a Roman guard . . . he
doesn’t say that he is a prisoner of Caesar! Paul knows that he is a
prisoner ‘of Christ;’ for the sake of Christ and so he’s going to continue
and even use his imprisonment for the Kingdom! While imprisoned he
writes some of the most profound texts in all of Scripture: Galatians,
Ephesians, Philippians & Colossians- all written during his time in prison,
which was considerable! And then its as if this thought reminds Paul of
something and causes him to stop short. My Bible has a dash at the end
of vs. 1. Its an indication of an abrupt change in thought . . . something
‘theater folks’ call an ‘aside’. He leaves his train of thought for a few
paragraphs, but he’ll return to it next week in vs. 14.
He’s not just aimlessly meandering, he pauses because he has
something important to say! He has been handed a mystery- ‘made
known to him by revelation’ for ‘YOU’, Gentile Christians in and around
Ephesus! This word ‘administration’ is the same word for ‘stewardship.’
Paul, by God’s grace, has been made a steward or manager of this
mystery. Well, what is this ‘mystery’ Paul speaks of?
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