Summary: Unseen by the rest of history, the mystery of the Kingdom is given to us.
I love mysteries. Many have looked at the universe as a mystery and sought to solve the mystery.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Senior, was a doctor. As such he was very interested in the use of ether. In order to know how his patients felt under its influence, he once had a dose administered to himself.
As he was going under, in a dreamy state, a profound thought came to him. He believed that he had suddenly grasped the key to all the mysteries of the universe. When he regained consciousness, however, he was unable to remember what the insight was.
Because of the great importance this thought would be to mankind, Holmes arranged to have himself given either again. This time he had a stenographer present to take down the great thought. The ether was administered, and sure enough, just before passing out the insight reappeared. He mumbled the words, the stenographer took them down, and he went to sleep confident in the knowledge that he had succeeded.
Upon awakening, he turned eagerly to the stenographer and asked her to read what he had uttered. This is what she read: "The entire universe is permeated with a strong odor of turpentine."
This passage today is a very important part of the development of the message to the Church of Ephesus, and to us. In it, we see that Paul has something on his heat that he starts to tell us.
But as he begins, he realizes that he has not finished laying the groundwork. The concept he deems necessary for us to know that he has developed in the first two chapters in not complete until verse 12. He doesn’t get to what he was originally going to say until beginning with verse 13. We will look at that next week.
Let’s look at how he continues to explain the foundation setting required to complete this letter….
Eph 3:1-4 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you, 3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ,
I. The Messenger. (1-4)
One of the essentials for giving directions is to know not only where you are gowing but where you are coming from. Mal (a church member) and I were trying to find the Lifeway Book Store in Lubbock and my phone had us at the wrong place.
I called Laura (my wife) and asked her how to get there, as she goes to Lubbock more than I do. Her first question was, “Well, where are you at.”
My first reaction was, “I know where I am at, but what I need to know where I am going.”
Her response was, “Well, I can’t tell you which way you need to go unless I understand where you are at.” Makes sense.
Paul begins a thought and then realizes that it is important that the readers know from where he is coming. It is important for them to know that he is not revealing a secret that he heard from a few Jewish variants or rebels. He heard this important message from Jesus Christ himself. He said he assumed that they knew this already, but he needed to make sure.
We know from Acts 9 that Paul/Saul was saved when Christ appeared to him on his way to Damascus. However, we do not see much theology or teaching being covered at that time. We see Paul in total shock from the realization that this Jesus he opposed was, in fact the Messiah. The Christians he persecuted were, in fact, God’s true people.
It was Paul’s testimony that after he was saved, Jesus met with him and taught him. He covered this a little in Galatians.
Gal 1:14-18 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days.
This was important for Paul to be considered one of the Apostles. 1Co 9:1 “Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord?” The messenger is important because of the Mystery he is revealing.