Summary: Study in Ephesians on the Great Mystery Revealed.
Note: This is a study through the book of Ephesians as done in 1995. One of the main sources I used at the time was Beacon Bible Commentary vol. 9.
Title: Understanding the Mystery
Theme: What is the mystery of Ephesians and how does it pertain to us.
Text: Ephesians 3:1-13
In the world today there are many mystery religions. Hinduism, Buddhism, Hair Krishna etc. They are called mystic religions. There whole concept is based on a secret. And unless you are part of them then you cannot understand what is going on. And unless you get involved then you are blocked out.
In Christianity we have no secrets all that we know and all that we have is written in this word. We don't believe that we have some esoteric knowledge that only we can know. Our Bible is open to any critic as we have seen.
But in Judaism, which is sometimes called the mother of Christianity, there was a great mystery. A mystery that no one could understand. Tonight I want to look at this. I call it "The Great Mystery revealed"
1. For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
For what cause? What cause? For the cause in chapter 2. The cause of Christ. The cause of revealing the mystery. The cause as we will see to fulfill the dispensation that God has given him.
2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
Remember the last time we met we talked of dispensations. How dispensations are time periods that God has set aside for individuals. Although we see a bigger plan in terms of scripture we can see a smaller plan in our lives. A more specific period of time. A dispensation in our lives of the years that we live. A certain amount of time to fulfill a task. Given to us by God. We must make sure that we are good stewards of it.
3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
I want you to notice that Paul will leave he train of thought of preaching to all and will explain the mystery. You will also notice that he uses the phrase "For this cause" again in verse 14 where he picks pack up. We could put a parenthesis after For this cause and then close in after "For this cause" verse 14. But anyway Paul will digress about the mystery.
The mystery that was wrote about by Paul. The mystery that was revealed to man as it is revealed to the apostles. By whom other than the Spirit. We know that the Spirit is the illuminator. He is the revealer. This is why it is so important that we get in touch with the Spirit when we pray and when we worship the Lord. He reveals things to us
John said of the Spirit in John 16:15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you.
So any way he uses this word mystery. How God has revealed or made known to him the mystery or the secret. But of what is the mystery. Let us read on.
6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
So what is the mystery. Well it is not that all gentiles could be saved. This was already revealed in the Old Testament in such passages as Is 11:10; Is 60:3;Zech 2:11. But it was that the Gentiles would one day be on equal footing with the Gentiles.
You may say well that is easy. Anyone knows that. For us maybe who have God's word but to the early church this was something knew. The Jews expected to be the rulers but not to share with the Gentiles. They expected to regin but not share. But now they are equal a task that took many years to fulfill.
Remember in scripture all were gentiles up until Abraham. Then with Abraham there were two divisions of human race, Gentiles and Jews. But praise the Lord when Christ came he made all equal and on the same ground. Today we are all equal and have the same access to Christ and to God. There is not secret but only acceptance.
7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.