sprout_in_dirt_squareThis Week’s Sermon: Ephesians 3:1-13 (Juston Gates)

This Week’s Scripture Memory: “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.”–Ephesians 3:6

Next Week’s Sermon: Ephesians 3:14-21 (Neil Franks)

Next Week’s Scripture Memory: “…that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts throughout faith…”–Ephesians 3:16-17a

Devotional/Reflection: Mysteries have always intrigued me. Whether it was Encyclopedia Brown when I was in middle school or Sherlock Holmes, Father Brown, Hercule Poirot, and the dozens of other famous mystery solvers that I have read since, I have loved a good mystery. There is something about the intrigue, the suspense, the uncertainty, that makes it all exciting. But there is always a resolution. I wonder how I would feel about mysteries if they never had a resolution. I imagine I wouldn’t be much of a fan.

It’s interesting, then, to consider the way in which Paul says he is sharing with the Gentiles at Ephesus the answer to a mystery. He says that the mystery, hidden for ages, was that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and children of God through faith. Those who were seemingly outside the people of God, those who were called the uncircumcised by the circumcised Jews, and those who were without hope in the world, now have direct access to the Father, are part of the one people of God by faith, and share in Christ’s inheritance. I don’t know that I have read many mysteries that end this well! And what Paul makes clear in this passage is that we are called to share this mystery, to tell the secret, and to find joy in the fact that the Gentiles can now have direct access to the Father because of the work of the Son.

There’s something else unbelievable in this passage. This mystery was not only hidden from the Gentiles, but the angels themselves. Paul says that in the wisdom of God, the revelation of this mystery to the Gentiles was so that they, through the church, might make the mystery known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places (3:10). Talk about a mystery with a plot twist! So not only has God done the work of making one people out of two (2:11-22), and not only are Gentiles meant to share that mystery with the world (3:1-13), but through the mission of the church the wisdom of God in this mystery might be revealed also to the angels (3:10). So the point of this passage, is that this is one mystery that is no longer a riddle and it is a secret that must be shared, not kept to ourselves.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How would you summarize the mystery Paul shares in this passage?
  2. Why is this mystery good news?
  3. When did God first reveal to you the mystery/secret?
  4. What challenges do you have in sharing the secret?
  5. Who is God laying on your heart right now as someone with whom you need to share this secret?

Additional Resources: