The "Mystery" of the Church
Passage: Ephesians 3:1–3:13
Big Picture: God has revealed a new and definitive stage in his eternal plan that involves creating a new people for himself consisting of Jews and Gentiles united to Christ and joined to one another. All who have faith in Jesus Christ become a part of this new community and have direct and immediate access to the Father. Gentile Christians are equal with Jewish Christians in the church. This “mystery” reflects the infinite wisdom of God and is a message of defeat to the evil supernatural realm. Paul explains that God has given him the ministry of proclaiming and explaining this marvelous plan.
Point 1: The mystery made known to Paul (1-7)
Point 2: The ministry entrusted to him (8-13)
What is a mystery?
For Paul, a mystery is something that was hidden in the Old Testament but is now revealed. It’s not something that we can solve. It’s not something that’s puzzling. It’s something that we discover was hidden, but we first learn about it only when God reveals it to us (Rom. 16:25; 1 Cor. 2:1,7; 4:1; 13:2; 14:2; 15:51; Eph. 1:9; 3:3,4,9; 5:32; 6:19; Col. 1:26,27; 2:2; 4:3; 2 Thess. 2:7; 1 Tim. 3:9,16).
What is the mystery of Ephesians 3?
Gentile Christians are equal with Jewish Christians in the church
How is that a mystery?
- Promise and fulfillment: The Old Testament promises that God will extend his blessings to the Gentile nations and that Gentiles will turn to the God of Israel and be saved.
- Hidden and revealed: Jews and Gentiles will be an organic unity; believing Gentiles will be on an equal footing with believing Jews.
This sermon owes a debt to Andy Naselli’s book “How to Understand and Apply the New Testament.”
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