Summary: To establish that the mystery of Christ revealed by God unto the apostle Paul; was, that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel.
1. The Mystery Received by Revelation (Uncovering)
2. The Mystery Recorded by Recollection (Inspiration)
3. The Mystery Read for Realization (Understanding)
1. In our lesson today we are going to be discussing a theme: “the mystery of Christ.” First, the word “mystery” means to “keep hid until it is time to be made known.” Further, the word “revelation” means to uncover, to reveal or to be made known. God has kept hid His mystery until the time in which he desired to reveal it by the Holy Spirit. Finally, the mystery was designed to be “understood” but, that was only possible through “reading” the words written by the apostle.
2. First, we will consider how the mystery was uncovered to the world. Paul writes: “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery.” He affirms that God made known unto him “the mystery of Christ” through direct revelation. God uncovered the mystery unto the Apostles and Prophets by the Spirit. This mystery was kept hid “from the foundation of the world; but, was manifested in due times by the Spirit.”
3. Second, we will discuss how this “mystery is recorded by recollection (inspiration).” The apostle writes: “As I wrote afore in few words.” He instructed the Ephesians that the mystery as it was uncovered to him by revelation; he wrote it down in just a few words. These words were written by inspiration or by the direction and guidance of God. It must be therefore understood, that these words from God: “were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope,” Romans 15:4.
4. Lastly, we will investigate how the mystery can be read for realization (understanding). Paul continues in our text to write: “Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ.” Paul lets the Ephesians know that through their reading of the mystery as he wrote it, they too shall have the same understanding of the “mystery of Christ.” I should stress that they would not have their own or another “understanding”; but, the same “understanding” that the apostle was granted through the “revelation of God.” With this introduction, let’s consider our first point, “The mystery received by revelation (uncovering).”
BODY OF LESSON
I THE MYSTERY RECEIVED BY REVELATION (UNCOVERING)
A. For this cause. This refers to the glorious work of the cross in "making peace and bringing the Gentiles nigh and into the household of God," described in Chapter 2.
1. I, Paul. The verb of which "I, Paul," is the subject, is not given until verse 14, is penned for our reading. The intervening verses are merely parenthetical leading us to his subject later in Chapter 3.
2. In verse 14, Paul repeats the first clause of verse 1; “For this cause”; and then gives the verb and subject: “I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,” Ephesians 3:14-15. It is possible now that Paul started his prayer here; and continued it unto verse 21 of this Chapter. And what a splendid prayer this was for the Ephesians. Each petition elicits his blessing for the Gentiles and requires no explanation regarding his requests. Notice:
a) “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;”
b) “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith;”
c) “That you, being rooted and grounded in love,”
d) “That ye may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;”
e) “That ye may know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge,”
f) “That you might be filled with all the fullness of God,” Ephesians 3:16-19.
g) His ending is a burst of praise: “Now to him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen,” Ephesians 3:20-21.
3. He no doubt was diverted by his own words: "The prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles," Ephesians 3:1. God used this beloved apostle to preach Christ unto the entire Gentiles world. But this service was not without persecutions.
B. The prisoner of Jesus Christ. Paul was a prisoner at Rome when this Letter was written, on account of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The word prisoner, in Gr: is “desmios,” which means a captive; (as bound): - in bonds. He confesses to the Ephesians that he was “an ambassador in bonds,” Ephesians 6:19-20; 2 Thessalonians 2:15-16; 2 Timothy 2:10. Paul speaks of being Christ’s prisoner. The Lord had arrested him! Notice: