Summary: God's Grace and Mystery of Christ.
Years ago, my father coached a team of eight-year-olds. He had a few excellent players, and some who just couldn't get the hang of the game. Dad's team didn't win once all season. But in the last inning of the last game, his team was only down by a run. There was one boy who had never been able to hit the ball--or catch it. With two outs, it was his turn to bat. He surprised the world and got a single!
The next batter was the team slugger. Finally, Dad's players might win a game. The slugger connected, and as the boy who hit the single ran to second, he saw the ball coming toward him. Not so certain of baseball's rules, he caught it. Final out! Dad's team lost! Quickly, my father told his team to cheer. The boy beamed. It never occurred to him that he lost the game. All he knew was he had hit the ball and caught it--both for the first time. His parents later thanked my dad. Their child had never even gotten in a game before that season.
We never told the boy exactly what happened. We didn't want to ruin it for him. And till this day, I'm proud of what my father did that afternoon.
Jeffrey Zaslow, "Tell Me All About It," 1990.
Paul talks about a Mystery hidden in God. Let me tell you about a great mystery story:
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Senior, was a doctor. As such he was very interested in the use of ether. In order to know how his patients felt under its influence, he once had a dose administered to himself.
As he was going under, in a dreamy state, a profound thought came to him. He believed that he had suddenly grasped the key to all the mysteries of the universe. When he regained consciousness, however, he was unable to remember what the insight was.
Because of the great importance this thought would be to mankind, Holmes arranged to have himself given either again. This time he had a stenographer present to take down the great thought. The either was administered, and sure enough, just before passing out the insight reappeared. He mumbled the words, the stenographer took them down, and he went to sleep confident in the knowledge that he had succeeded.
Upon awakening, he turned eagerly to the stenographer and asked her to read what he had uttered. This is what she read: "The entire universe is permeated with a strong odor of turpentine."
Bits & Pieces, November 12, 1992, pp. 20-22.
The first part of our Scripture Text talks about God's Grace. Paul tells how God had entrusted with him this things that makes our life understandable in our relationship with God. Its called God's Grace. Paul said God gave it to him to give to us.
Paul probably understood that God Loved us. However, his understanding of what God's love was very stoic and unbending. Paul was stuck in a ridged set of rules that if he followed them he would get God's love if not he would be punished.
Gods' Grace is like the ball game we just heard about in the Youth Message. When we are on his team, know him as Savior or as some say let him in our heart, we can't do a wrong that will be any different than catching the wrong ball in the ball game.
This Grace Paul is telling us about is unending (boundless, fathomless, incalculable, and exhaustless) riches of Christ; it's God's Grace.
Paul also talks about: “my insight into the mystery of Christ”. It's amazing but this mystery he is talking about was in the Hebrew Scriptures (OT) right in plain view for anyone to read. God opened Paul’s eyes for him to see it after hundreds of years and his Jewish teachers of the Bible never saw it either. It was a mystery to them because they never saw it. We need to have our eyes opened to Gods Word as we read it and stop depending on other that we read and watch and communicate with about it as set facts forever. Open ourselves up to what God is saying that is the true meaning of his Word.
Through this Grace of God Paul was able to see that the gentiles were to be apart of this enlightenment. This enlightenment given to all people providing for their salvation. He now had a drive to make all people, for him especially the Gentiles, this Salvation that comes through Jesus the Christ.
We are members of the Fellowship of the Mystery that Paul talks about. As part of this Fellowship do we have the same desire to proclaim, to tell others about it. How it can change their lives; here on earth and the journey to the eternity. Are we so timid, scared, shy, melancholy or lackadaisical that we can't even invite people to church to where they can hear about Grace and his Love and what Jesus did for us. To hear it in a setting where they are expecting to hear the Word of God.