Summary: The Apostle Paul is about to reveal to the Ephesians the mystery, which had been hidden from them but now, at the appropriate time, God is revealing.
Series: Experiencing the Riches of Christ
THE MYSTERIES OF CHRIST
A mystery-lover takes his place in the theater for opening night, but his seat is way back in the theater, far from the stage. The man calls an usher over and whispers, ’’I just love a good mystery, and I have been anxiously anticipating the opening of this play. However, in order to carefully follow the clues and fully enjoy the play, I have to watch a mystery close up. Look how far away I am! If you can get me a better seat, I’ll give you a handsome tip.’’
The usher nods and says he will be back shortly. Looking forward to a large tip, the usher speaks with his co-workers in the box office, hoping to find some closer tickets. With just three minutes left until curtain, he finds an unused ticket at the Will Call window and snatches it up. Returning to the man in the back of the theater, he whispers, ’’’’Follow me.’’’’ The usher leads the man down to the second row, and proudly points out the empty seat right in the middle. ’’’’Thanks so much,’’’’ says the theatergoer, ’’’’This seat is perfect.’’’’ He then hands the usher a quarter.
The usher looks down at the quarter, leans over and whispers, ’’’’The butler did it in the parlor with the candlestick.’’’’
Most of us love a good mystery, especially when the revelation of the mystery comes at the appropriate time. The Apostle Paul is about to reveal to the Ephesians the mystery, which had been hidden from them but now, at the appropriate time, God is revealing.
I. THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST’S SALVATION (3:6)
“Christ makes His glorious riches available to all who believe and accepts them into His body.”
1) Gentiles are to be fellow Heirs
- Heirs of Salvation
God desires all men to be saved.
(1 Tim 2:3-4) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
- Heirs of the Promises and Blessings of God
2) Gentiles are to be part of the Body
(McArthur, Ephesians Comm, p91) It is difficult for us to realize how incredibly revolutionary that truth was in Paul’s day. In spite of the fact that the OT teaches that Gentiles will be blessed by God, that Gentiles will bless God (Ps 72), that the Messiah will come to Gentiles (Isa 11:10, 49:6), thtat they will be saved by the Messiah (Hos 1:10), and they will receive the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-29), the idea of including Gentiles into one body with Jews was the spiritual equivalent of saying lepers were no longer to be isolated, that they were now perfectly free to intermingle and associate with everyone else as normal members of society”
3) Gentiles are to be Partakers/Sharers of His Promise
II. THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST’S WORK (3:7-9)
“Christ entrusts His work/stewardship to those who
were His former enemies”
1) God Places Specific Calls on Some to the Work of His Ministry
(1 Tim 1:12-15) And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; 13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
2) Every Believer is a steward of God’s Grace and Ministry
(Bob Briggs, Sermon: The Mystery Revealed to All Believers, Eph.3:1-13; Sermon Central)
Paul informs us of his condition, he is a prisoner in Rome awaiting trial with the Roman Emperor Nero. No, it didn’’t say all that there, I did some research. He was chained to a Roman guard, what a witnessing opportunity. It is interesting Paul said he was a prisoner of Christ rather than a prisoner of Rome.
Charles Colson in the Book God 0f Stones and Spiders tells of an episode in the life if anti-Communist Nein Cheng who was imprisoned by the Chinese in 1966. She was locked in a small, damp prison cell with a solitary light left on 24 hours a day, left to sleep on a bed caked with dirt. After weeks of imprisonment, Cheng watched a pea sized spider crawl threw the rusty bars into her cell and spin a spider web. She said, ““I had just watched an architectural feat by an extremely skilled artist. My mind was full of questions. Who had taught the spider to make a web? Could it have really acquired the skills through evolution or did God create the spider and endow it with the ability to make a web so that it could catch food and perpetuate its species? ““ She went on to say that it helped her see that God was in control.