Appreciating the Mystery

Ephesians 3

BACKGROUND/FOUNDATION:   This entire third chapter of Ephesians is about the mystery of God, the eternal purpose of God for the Christian believer.  It is divided into three parts and all together, it tells us of our access in Christ Jesus: 

Ephesians 3:1-7 – Revealing the Mystery

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.

  • All are fellow heirs, or joint heirs
  • All are of the same body
  • All are partakers of the promise in Christ through the Gospel.

Ephesians 3:8-13 – The Purpose of the Mystery

To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

  • The power of God in the church
  • The grace of God in the church
  • God’s eternal purpose in Christ
  • The believer’s access into God’s presence by faith.

Ephesians 3:14-21 – Appreciating the Mystery

Appreciating the Mystery – For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

  • For strength and power within – by God’s Spirit
    • For Christ to rule and reign within – by faith
    • The encouragement to pray and trust God for the answer.

THE MYSTERY

In most books we read we find the same questions.  In school when you have a book report to write you had to cover all the very same questions.  No less is true when we read the Bible.  We must ask the very same questions.  Those questions are: 

  • Who
  • How
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why

In this chapter we find the answer to some of our questions.

  • Who – We are all fellow heirs, or joint heirs of the same body.  That is, both Jew and Gentile are partakers of God’s promise in Christ through the Gospel.
  • How – through the Gospel – the good news
  • What – the death and resurrection of Jesus giving us eternal life
  • When – Now
  • Where – wherever anyone receives the message and believes on Jesus
  • Why – the love of Christ which passes knowledge

Part of that promise is that He gave us the power and grace and strength to be like Him in obedience, faithfulness, and holiness in all manner of situations. 

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – “But He said to me, ‘My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you (sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully); for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in your weakness.’  Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! So for the sake of Christ I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak (in human strength), then am I (truly) strong (able, powerful in divine strength).  The Amplified Version. 

Colossians – “(We pray) that you may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, (to exercise) every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy.” The Amplified Version

Isaiah 40:31 – “But those who wait for the Lord (who expect, look for, and hope in Him) shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up (close to God) as eagles (mount up to the sun); they shall walk and not faint or become tired.” The Amplified Version 

Hebrews 12:1-2 – Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses (who have borne testimony to the Truth) let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight ) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, looking away (from all that will distract) to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith (giving the first incentive for our belief) and is also its Finisher (bringing it to maturity and perfection).  He, for the joy (of obtaining the prize) that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” The Amplified Version

THE PURPOSE

1 Peter 2:5 – “You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

OUR APPRECIATION

1 Timothy 1:13-14 – “although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

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