Summary: Paul records for us a mystery better than Sherlock Holmes.
THE WORLD’S GREATEST MYSTERY
(1) For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles – (2) if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you; (3) that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. (4) By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, (5) which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; (6) to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,
· This morning I want to talk about a mystery. The greatest mystery of all time. The greatest mystery writer of all time was the Apostle Paul, at least he got to write the last chapter of God’s great mystery. In Chapter 3 Paul begins to describe in detail God’s great mystery.
· WE LOVE MYSTERYS: something in the human nature that is fascinated by something hidden in secret waiting to be discovered.
1) Kid at dentist’s office. Look for the HIGHLIGHT magazine and turn to one page. Hidden Pictures(find things hidden in the larger picture)
2) Everything that surrounds us in life is pretty much a mystery. We don’t really know anything fully.
a) How to lose weight(protein diet? Grapefruit? Subway?)
b) Creation is a mystery/finding love/joy/women/
c) Medicine: finding cures and vaccines
d) Geraldo: ‘Capone’s Vault, Miss America, Superbowl, March Madness’ Can’t wait to find out what happens.
In 1925 the only written copy of the formula for Coca Cola was finally removed from a safety deposit box in a NY bank where it had been held as collateral for a loan and moved to a safety deposit box at Woodruff’s bank in Atlanta.
Policy was set that no one could view the formula without written permission from the Board and then only in the presence of the President, Chairman, or Corporate Secretary.
Further policy was set that only two officials would know the recipe at any one given time and that those two were not allowed to fly on the same plane together.
In 1993 came across in the papers of John Pemberton what he believed to be Coke’s original formula. And I have it. A 107 year old mystery, a guarded secret in my safety deposit box. Never would have guessed this to be that.
Prov 25:2 ‘It is the glory of God to conceal a thing; but the glory of kings is to search it out’.
· Want us to think about three things this morning as we consider this great secret which God unfolded before us in the pages of the New Testament.
THE MESSENGER (3:1-2) For this reason I, Paul the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles – if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you;
Notice that Paul begins with the phrase ‘for this reason’ and then gets exicited about one truth after another before finally coming to verses 13 & 14 and telling us the reason. He finished chapter 2 telling the Ephesian church who they were and now before he shares his prayer for them in the last verses of this chapter he gets excited about God’s work in his life.
1. We have a MESSENGER who is very excited about his message which is interesting since the first thing he says about himself is that he is a PRISONER.
Two descriptions Paul gives himself.
a. PRISONER: Paul the prisoner of Christ Jesus.
1) Notice he does not say he is a prisoner of Rome or Caesar, the Jews but of CHRIST JESUS.
Paul had been arrested in Jerusalem after the Jews rioted. He was held for years and finally brought before Festus and Felix and then sent to Rome to appeal to Caesar.
He lives in a hired house and is chained day and night to a Roman soldier as he awaits his trial before Nero.
Paul understood, despite all the outer evidence, he was a prisoner of Jesus. The duration of confinement was in God’s hands. When it no longer served God purpose then God would release Paul from his present circumstances.
You need to recognize God’s hands in your present circumstances and that when God’s purpose is served then they will change.
ACTS 12: Peter in Prison – Time to open the door and leave
1) Herod needed to see God’s power and so did those praying for Peter.
Man who had recently experienced a series of difficult events had fallen into a state of depression.