Everybody loves a mystery. Especially are they excited when they work out the answer to a mystery! The Bible talks about a mystery. It was a hidden mystery. It was an unexpected mystery. But it became an open secret [for those with eyes to see].
What was the mystery and what application does it have for us in our everyday lives today? The mystery has been revealed and Yes, it does have a lot of application for millions of people in today’s world. Surprising news! Incredible news! But true!
Paul used the word for “mystery” [mustērion, μυστήριον ] on 20 occasions out of the 27 occurrences in the New Testament. He described this mystery in his letter to the Ephesians. He begins in chapter 1 by saying that the mystery has been revealed according to the riches of His grace, “which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” Eph 1:8-10. The mystery is that God wants to bring unity, cosmic unity, to His universe through Christ.
It is very helpful to see how he used the word in this chapter 3 of Ephesians. In fact, the chapter could be built around the following outline, based on the word “mystery.” [I hope to examine the whole chapter in greater detail in future articles.]
1]. GOD’S MYSTERY ABOUT UNITY IN CHRIST WAS MADE KNOWN BY REVELATION TO THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS
Eph 3:1 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—
Eph 3:2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you,
Eph 3:3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly.
Eph 3:4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ,
- Eph 3:5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations
- as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.
2]. WHAT GOD’S MYSTERY IS ALL ABOUT! UNITY IN CHRIST!
Eph 3:6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are
- fellow heirs,
- members of the same body,
- and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
3]. PAUL’S PART IN REVEALING THE PLAN OF THE MYSTERY BY THE GRACE OF GOD
Eph 3:7 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace,
- which was given me by the working of his power.
- Eph 3:8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given,
- to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
- Eph 3:9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things,
4]. THE CHURCH’S PART IN REVEALING THE MYSTERY OF UNITY IN CHRIST!
Eph 3:10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
- Eph 3:11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,
- Eph 3:12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.
- Eph 3:13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.
5]. BELIEVING PRAYER FOR BEING FILLED WITH THE FULLNESS OF GOD IS BASED ON THE TRUTH OF THIS MYSTERY OF UNITY IN CHRIST!
Eph 3:14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
Eph 3:15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
Eph 3:16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you
- to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
- Eph 3:17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—
- that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
- Eph 3:18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints
- what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
- Eph 3:19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
- that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
6]. A DOXOLOGY TO THE GOD WHO REVEALED THE MYSTERY OF UNITY IN CHRIST!
Eph 3:20 Now to him who is able to do
- far more abundantly
- than all that we ask
- or think,
- according to the power at work within us,
- Eph 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Blog No 300 posted on www.jimholbeck.blog on Tuesday 11th November 2018