Year 3 Day 67
Read - Ephesians 3
Message - Scott Woodburn
There are people in the world who believe that they live next door to Lord Lucan, Elvis Presley works at their local post office and the moon landings were faked. This is an age were mysteries and conspiracy theories abound - did Donald Trump really lose the last election? Is Bill Gates responsible for Covid 19? I'll leave you to your thoughts on those questions but I'm glad to say that the Bible is in the business of revealing not concealing.
When Paul speaks of a mystery he means that there was something once hidden but it has now been made known. A great mystery now revealed is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and members of the church of Christ. The promises of God given to the Jews are also for the Gentiles (v6). Past generations did not have this truth fully revealed to them but it has now been revealed to the Apostles and the Prophets (v5). With the mystery revealed Paul was called to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ (v7-8).
The Lord does not require us to go on a spiritual trek to try and figure out what He commands. We do not need to crawl up a mountain to seek a holy man at the top. Christianity is not a faith of "hidden knowledge" but a faith of truth and light. By the preaching of the Word the Lord is bringing light to this dark world (v9). As the church proclaims the Gospel she is bringing to the world's attention the manifold wisdom of God (v10).
None of this is by accident. The Lord's eternal purpose is being worked out in and through the work of Christ Jesus (v11) and this same Jesus gives us boldness, access and confidence as we come before Almighty God (v12). This is all well and good but might seem a little bit "theological" for some. God has revealed the mystery of His salvation and the Gentiles are included...what help does this give me tomorrow at work?
Paul sees everything he has just written as a great encouragement to the Ephesians. Paul was suffering much as he sought to take the Gospel to the Gentiles and so he tells the church in Ephesus "Don't lose heart and don't give up. You might hear about me being beaten, mocked and scorned but keep your eyes on Christ! The mystery has been revealed, God is working out His eternal purposes. Rejoice but don't retreat!" Paul was confident in God's revealed plan and he was confident that anything he had to suffer would result in the glory of the Ephesians (v13). How does that work? Don't we believe to God alone the glory?
Well yes we do. But don't lose sight of the beauty of the church. The church is the bride for whom Christ died and the church is the kingdom of God. To the church has been given the Gospel, the Holy Spirit and the ordinary means of grace. You may not think or believe it but the glory of God is displayed in the local church. Paul saw his suffering as worthwhile as it resulted in the glory of God displayed in the church at Ephesus.
As the Apostle considered all of these things it caused him to fall on his knees in prayer (v14). He prayed that the Ephesians would be strengthened by the Holy Spirit (v16), that Jesus would dwell in their hearts by faith (v17), that they would be rooted and grounded in love (v17b) and that they would understand the extraordinary scale of of Christ's love for them (v18). Paul's prayer was that the Ephesians would be filled with the fullness of God (v19). He wanted them to be a mature Christian fellowship which existed for the glory of God.
With his prayer for the Ephesians finished, Paul breaks into a doxology - a song of praise to Almighty God. The Lord is able to do so much more than we could ever possibly imagine, so to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus (v20-21). Absolutely. Our God has revealed once hidden truth to the church. His Gospel is for both Jew and Gentile and all who would call upon the name of Jesus. Who deserves all glory, honour and praise? It is no mystery. To God be the glory, forever and ever, amen.
Q66 What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment? The reason annexed to the fifth commandment is, a promise of long life and prosperity (as far as it shall serve for God’s glory, and their own good) to all such as keep this commandment.