I. PAUL DESIRED THAT THEY MIGHT UNDERSTAND HIS KNOWLEDGE IN THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST.
A. This knowledge he did not receive from man but by direct revelation from the Lord.
B. When you have received from the Lord an understanding of an area of scripture, it is your desire to share with others that they might experience the blessings that you received.
1. I can remember how when I began to understand a little of the grace of God, how blessed I was. I was freed from years of legalism.
2. Just to know that God loved me and excepted me in spite of all my faults and shortcomings.
3. I was so blessed and filled with the message of grace that I desired to share it with everyone.
C. A large part of the epistle is devoted to the subject of the mystery that God was now revealing to the prophets and apostles by the Spirit.
1. This is why Paul refers to "When you read."
2. This was a letter meant to read to the whole church at Ephesus.
II. THIS MYSTERY WAS NOT MADE KNOWN DURING THE OLD TESTAMENT PERIOD.
A. There were some hints, indicating that some of the Gentiles would be saved, but the idea that they could become fellow heirs was a totally foreign concept to the Jew.
And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.
O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah.
Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.
[Then] shall the earth yield her increase; [and] God, [even] our own God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.
He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.
He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am] God, and [there is] none else.
The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and [things] wherein [there is] no profit.
Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, [in whom] my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
B. Quite often that which is referred to as a mystery in the New Testament, means that it is a truth that God had not revealed in previous times but is now making known.
1. Jesus said,
For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men] have desired to see [those things] which ye see, and have not seen [them]; and to hear [those things] which ye hear, and have not heard [them].
2. Paul said,
Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
3. Peter said,
Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace [that should come] unto you:
Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
B. Is now revealed to the prophets and apostles by the Spirit.
1. This revelation of the mystery was not something that was given exclusively to Paul.
2. Peter was the first one to whom it was revealed.
a. His vision on the rooftop of the house of Simon.
b. Do not call unclean, what I have cleansed.
c. He was apprehensive when he came to house of Cornelius, a Gentile, a Roman soldier.
And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
3. Though Peter opened the door to the Gentiles, it was Paul that truly invited them all to come in.
Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began
a. Verse 7,8
III. THE THREE THINGS THAT GOD HAS GRANTED TO THE GENTILES.
A. That they should be fellowheirs.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and jointheirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.
1. We sing "Children of God O glorious calling." But do you realize just how glorious that is?
2. "Beloved now are we the sons of God, but it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."
3. I am that child of the King.
4. My destiny is to rule and reign with Him.
5. I am an heir to vast riches beyond man's capacity to imagine.
"He owns the cattle on a thousand hills,
the wealth in every mine.
He owns the rivers and the rocks and rills,
the sun, the stars that shine.
Wonderful riches more than tongue can tell,
He is my Father so they're mine as well,
He owns the cattle on a thousand hills,
And I know He will care for me.
And if ye [be] Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
B. We are of the same body.
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ is] all, and in all.
1. There is only one body of Christ. It is made up of all true believers in Jesus Christ, Jesus has broken down every racial barrier that man has ever built up against some one of another color or race.
2. There are always those groups who are seeking to make exclusive claims, as though they were the only true church. That is one of the signs of cultism. But it is found in Baptist churches, as well as the Church of Christ and many others.
3. That idea of if you leave us you are leaving Christ, and your salvation is fallacious.
4. May we ever be held together by love, and never by fear.
For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ.
C. That we are partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel.
That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
1. What is that promise?
And this is the promise that he hath promised us, [even] eternal life.
As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
IV. THESE ARE THE THREE ASPECTS OF THIS MYSTERY.
A. That the Gentiles are fellow heirs with the Jews.
B. That we are all in the same body, the body of Christ.
C. That we can all partake of His promise in Christ.