Summary: The mystery of God’s plan for humanity is made known to those who believe, and power is available for those who want it.
August 8, 2004
Text: Ephesians 3:14-21
Subject: The Mystery of God
Title: No Limits - Unlocking the Mystery
As a boy growing up, one of the things that I loved to do was read. I was glad when it was time for our class to go to the library. And I read all kinds of books. I really loved the Science Fiction books that talked about space travel or times on earth in the distant future. To me it seemed that those books held a key that unlocked the mysteries of things to come. And I loved to delve into the mysteries of life.
I also liked to read mystery books. I remember my sisters had the Nancy Drew mystery books around the house when I was only six or seven. They were for teenagers but I was a very good reader and could easily understand them. It was always fun trying to solve the mystery before the end of the book. And as I grew up my curious ways continued. I want to know the answers to the mysterious things around me. I was curious about UFO’s and the Supernatural, and para-normal. I wanted to know.
Not all people are like me. Not everyone needs to find the answer to the mysteries of life. Some are quite satisfied with knowing there are mysteries and allowing them to remain mysteries. That is not a bad quality. It’s just different than the way I am made.
An English professor at a prestigious college was grading tests before Christmas break one year when he came across an answer that said, “This question is a mystery. Only God knows the answer to this. Merry Christmas!” The wise old professor wrote in response, “God gets an “A”. You get an “F” Happy New Year!”. Obviously the student wasn’t too concerned about finding the answer to a mystery, but probably wished that he had in the end.
Paul describes the Christian experience as the mystery of God. In The first part of chapter 3 Paul writes about how the mystery has been revealed. Then he writes about the purpose of the mystery. Now he continues with the application of the mystery in the lives of people everywhere.
God’s mystery has been unveiled and it has no limits to those who believe.
I. WAKE UP AND LIVE. (verses 14-17a)
A. God Knows Your Name. Paul begins this section of his letter by saying that he is praying for the church. (I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.) God is the Father of Jesus Christ not by creation, or adoption, but by generation. Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. And because of our relationship with Jesus we are called God’s children. God is a personal God. He knows you by name. Listen to what God spoke to the young prophet Jeremiah in Jer. 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Paul’s prayer reminds us to whom we belong; “From whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” Since God is a personal God, he wants us to know that HE has given us a name. Revelation 2:17, “…To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” Who is this referring to? Those who have trusted Christ as their Savior. God is so personal that He gave up His throne to come to earth and walk among His creation and fellowship with humanity. He is so personal that He willing gave His life as a ransom for many. He is so personal that He has called you (or is calling you) by name, to come to Him through His Son.
B. God Gives You Strength. Paul’s prayer continues here with the desire for God to strengthen all who know Him. How does He want to strengthen you? Through His Spirit in the inner man. In Acts 4, after Peter and John had been arrested by the Sanhedrin and were threatened not to speak in the name of Jesus again, they gathered with other believers and prayed. What did they pray for? They prayed for boldness or strength to speak God’s word. Verses 29-31, “Now Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God boldly.” Where did their strength or boldness come from? It came from being re-filled with the Holy Spirit. They were Baptized in the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, but now they experienced a re-filling – “in the inner man”. Now go back to our original passage. Paul doesn’t want God to strengthen believers out of the excess of His riches, but according to His riches. Paul does not want us to experience something from God, but for us to experience God Himself. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is just that – experiencing God through His Spirit.