Gospel of John [Joh 16:1]. The Mystery of the Church part 2. NT documentation of the word

Class Outline:

Title: Gospel of John [JOH 16:1]. The Mystery of the Church part 2. NT documentation of the word "mystery."



JOH 16:1 These things I have spoken to you, that you may be kept from stumbling [the law of Christ; the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus].


"These things" are the introductory doctrines of the mystery doctrine that He began to teach from JOH 13:1 up to this point.


They are likely in the Garden of Gethsemane at this point. This is the most effective, revealing, and important doctrine in all history.


NT documentation of the word mystery:   


EPH 3:1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles — 


EPH 3:2 if indeed you have heard of the stewardship [oversight or management] of God's grace which was given to me for you [and they have];


EPH 3:3 that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.


EPH 3:4 And by referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,


EPH 3:5 which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets [early Church temporary gift] in the Spirit;


EPH 3:6 to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,


The mystery 'hid in God' was the divine purpose to make of Jew and Gentile a wholly new thing — 'the Church, which is His body,' formed by the baptism with the Holy Spirit and in which the earthly distinction of Jew and Gentile disappears.


The distinctly Messianic promises to the OT saints are not in view here and will be fulfilled in the Millennium. The mystery is that salvation would engulf the Gentiles. The gospel would not come through the nation Israel to Gentiles as it did in the OT. Now the gospel would come through the apostles and the Church at large and engulf the world without the tiniest distinction between Jew and Gentile, both of whom, in the Church, would become one brand new body belonging to Christ as the Head.


An interesting observation is to be made by the location of Israel for all history and the same place that would become the origin of the Church.




EPH 3:7 of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power.


It is in Paul's writings alone that we find the mystery. That is not to say that the other apostles didn't teach it, they most certainly did, but it seems commissioned to Paul alone to put it in writing and to take it to the ends of the Roman Empire.


The gift of grace is mighty enough to turn Saul the prosecutor of the Church to Paul the apostle to the Gentiles.


The cost being the blood of Christ, the immeasurable cost of grace, which was able to transform Paul into something he could have never dreamed as a Pharisee, evokes in him a sense of his own utter worthlessness. This is what the response will be in all believers when they come to understand the cost to Christ and the change it has accomplished within them.


EPH 3:8 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,


"unfathomable" - avnexicni,astoj[anexichniastos] = that which cannot be traced out; no footprints. The riches of Christ cannot be fully comprehended by man.


No believer will ever be able to say that he has found the total of Christ's riches.


EPH 3:9 and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things;


EPH 3:10 in order that the manifold [multifaceted or multicolored] wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.


The Church thus becomes a university for the angels and each believer a professor so that they may comprehend the grace of God.


As the golden cherubim gazed down to the mercy seat on the Ark of the Covenant and peered into the blood of the sacrifice so now the living angels are peering down to the Church and witnessing and comprehending the grace of God to each believer, both the spiritual and the carnal.


EPH 3:11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,


EPH 3:12 in whom we have boldness [freedom of speech] and confident access through faith in Him.


Thayer defines "access" as, "that friendly relation to God whereby we are acceptable to Him and have assurance that He is favorably disposed towards us ."


Freely present before God and freely speaking to Him and to the world about Him as without any fear since we are convinced that we are perfectly acceptable to Him.


"to persuade." It comes from the perfect participial form which refers to a past process of being completely persuaded, with the present result that we are in a confirmed and settled state of utter confidence.


Inculcation of the word of God, and not fellowship with Christians, retreats, sharing, pot-lucks, church events, etc., is what is going to persuade a believer of their position in Christ, which had been a hidden mystery for millennia.  


EPH 3:13 Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory.


In vv. 1-12 Paul has revealed the dignity of his office and its significance, and that, as with all other gifts from God, is not diminished by his present circumstances of being imprisoned.


Paul has not lost heart, but he is concerned that some of those in Asian might lose heart. Their apostle is in prison for a domestic disturbance. Is this what living the Christian way of life gets you? Did Paul fail and so all that he said is false?


He shows them that in fact, through his tribulations the glory of the word of God is going even farther throughout the Empire and they are revealing the power of the grace of God through Paul.


EPH 5:32 This mystery is great [Christian marriage]; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.


"This mystery is great."


The reference in this mystery is to the preceding statement of the conjugal relation of the Church with Christ, typified by the human marriage relation.


In regard of Christ and the Church, it is not calling your attention to the mere human relationship, but to the mysterious relation between Christ and His Church, of which that is a mere semblance."


EPH 5:28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself


And in:


EPH 5:33 Nevertheless let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband.


The 'each individual' expresses still more emphatically the absoluteness and universality of the Christian duty of conjugal love — a duty from which no single husband is exempt.


"as" - o`j[hos] = not merely as himself, but that he is to love her as being herself part and parcel [essential and integral part] of himself. Christ loves the Church as a part of Himself.


EPH 1:22-23

And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all.


This mystery is great. Nothing has ever existed like this before. The Church, including every member of the body, would be organically part of Christ and Christ would love the Church as Himself since she is in Him, a part of Him, and the fulness of Him.