Summary: Who loves a mystery? In this passage Paul talks about a mystery hidden in ages past which is now revealed - that believing Gentiles are now included in God's people!
Ephesians 1:1-6 The Mystery of Christ
Who likes a mystery? People seem to like mysteries. Look at the popularity of mysteries in novels, films. The Bible is the best-selling book in the world, but do you know who comes second? With 4 billion copies sold, the novels of Agatha Christie are the second best selling works in the world after the Bible. 4 billion copies sold.
What are her books about? Murder mysteries. Mysteries. People are intrigued by mysteries. Look at space exploration. What practical purpose does it serve to look at worlds billions of light years away? Not much. But they are a mystery and we are intrigued. We explore the bottoms of the oceans. Why? Because they are mysteries.
Some mysteries more relevant that others. Some are very practical. For example, the mysteries of the economy, of politics, of the sharemarket. For those who are married and I guess also for those who arent for us men, we contemplate the mystery of women: how do they think? For women they contemplate the mystery of men: why dont they think? Mysteries. We are intrigued by them. But generally, we dont like them to remain mysteries. At the end of an Agatha Christie novel, we expect to find out who-dunnit. If the last few pages dont solve the mystery, we feel let down. We search space, the oceans, to reveal the mysteries they hold.
Today we will look at a mystery, but a revealed mystery. Something once hidden, but now revealed. And this revealed mystery, is the mystery of Christ. It is the best news in the world the Good News. Today we will look at a passage which talks about a mystery a revealed mystery. As the stars and planets are mysterious because they are so large and far away, so this passage, which talks about a revealed mystery contains some incredible information. But it is not some information that is just interesting to know for interests sake. But it is really important information. Practical and useful information. Lets have a look at this revealed mystery that Paul talks about.
Eph 3:4 talks about the mystery of Christ. Then in verse 5, about this mystery of Christ, he says, that it
5 was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets.
and in vs 9 he says that it he was
9 to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.
Paul is talking about a mystery - the mystery of Christ - that is being made plain now, but wasnt always plain. A bit like space exploration. Consider the moon. In past ages it was a mystery. People knew it was there. They saw it at night. Before the advent of electricity, it helped people to see at night. The months (the word month comes from moon) are based on its cycles. We knew it was there, but what was it? Did people live there? What was its surface like? There were all sorts of guesses. At one point, they thought there were canals on the moon. But through looking through telescopes, and eventually going there, although theres still a lot we dont know about the moon, a lot of its mysteries are now known, because we have explored and discovered them.
In a similar way that the moon used to be somewhat of a mystery, the mystery of Christ before the time of Christ, was a mystery. Paul is undoubtably referring to the time of the Old Testament. But we might ask did they not have the Old Testament then? Was that not revelation from God? Yes it was. And we might ask did it not speak of Christ? Yes, the Old Testament did speak of Christ, but only in glimpses. Did it allude to the church? Yes but only in glimpses. There was not enough information for even the greatest of the prophets to have understood what Christ had brought. To understand what the church was. To understand the unity of Jew and Gentile in one body. To understand the revelation of this mystery. It was like the clues in an Agatha Christie novel, which are there, but the revelation of whodunnit is not plain. Not until you read the final few pages of Agatha Christie novel is it that you can read the novel again and see the clues pointing to whodunnit.
For example we can look back at Gen 12:3b
GE 12:3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you."
and see it is speaking of Christ because of Gal 3:8 which explains what it means