Summary: God had a mystery He has revealed through Paul to the church
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. As we open Ephesians 3, I want to provide you with information concerning this revelation, the mystery…
I. It Was Important to Paul. Lets look at the first 5 verses: For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—
2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which 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
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 if 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.
What is it in your life that has you out of control? Like Cheng, Paul, imprisoned in Rome, finds hope in the fact that when one puts their life in God’s hands, the circumstances that swirl around, although of notability, are nothing compared to the circumstances of the heart. When you know that you are held in Christ’s hands, your life situation is brighter. You can grumble about your circumstances are look for the silver lining of God working through you. Paul chose the latter. What about you?
The Apostle Paul had come into his life one of the greatest revelations of God, the secret that the love and mercy of God was not just for the Jews, but for all mankind, that God was reaching out the Gentiles, the pagans of the world with the message of hope through Jesus Christ. It is called the greatest story ever told, and it is the greatest story we can ever life, a life with Christ at the center.
This was not only important to Paul, it also…
II. Was Important to the Gentiles. Verses 6-8, 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.