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Ephesians– overview of 3:1-9; The Secret of the Ages, part 3.

EPHESIANS-1-190801
length: 64:41 - taught on Aug, 1 2019
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Class Outline:

Thursday August 1, 2019

 


 

EPH 3:1-10 The Secret of the Ages.

 

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

 

His prayer is interrupted.

 

EPH 3:2 if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace which was given to me for you;

 

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 in the Spirit;

 

The mystery is Christ Himself (COL 2:2), Christ in you (COL 1:27), and that Jews and Gentiles are fellow heirs (EPH 3:6).

 

COL 2:1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf, and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face,

 

COL 2:2 that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself,

 

COL 2:3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

 

The treasures of wisdom and knowledge that the Messiah possesses are no longer hidden to a group known as the church.

 

God cannot be known by science because He is not matter. God has a mind, or rather, is like a mind. God has a spirit is perhaps a better statement since the spirit of a person is immaterial. Yet both are used to describe Him. You cannot get to know another person through science. You could run all tests possible and you may find out things about his diet, some of his habits (smoker, drinker, exercises, etc.), but you would still know nothing about the man’s personality.

 

Can you use science to know this man?

 

The man would have to open up to you and you would need to understand his language. This wouldn’t be done in a day or week, but years of revealing himself to you would allow you to know him.

 

So, the only person I can really know is myself. Because I have the spirit of a man, I can understand other men who reveal themselves to me.

 

The Bible tells us that we are created in God’s image. We are not gods, but we have something that God has, a mind and a spirit, which He gave us.

 

If God will reveal Himself to us, then we will be able to know Him. He became a man to make this possible.

 

On a side note, we cannot approach Him without forgiveness. God is good and therefore He hates what we are made of - sin, for we are all sinners. We all do what we ought not to do and don’t do what we ought to do. And all of us know this about ourselves, whether we admit it or not. The One that we need the most is the One that we most want to hide from. Without forgiveness, we cannot approach Him, and He offers it to us by dying in our place, and, by the way, only a person can forgive, and only God can forgive.

 

1CO 2:6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away;

 

1CO 2:7 but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory;

 

COL 2:2-3

God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

 

1CO 2:8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;

 

1CO 2:9 but just as it is written,

"Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,

And which have not entered the heart of man,

All that God has prepared for those who love Him."

 

1CO 2:10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

 

1CO 2:11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

 

1CO 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God,

 

1CO 2:13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

 

1CO 2:14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

 

1CO 2:15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man.

 

1CO 2:16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.   

 

Who is spiritual? The man who has the Spirit of God. So then, all Christians are spiritual, or if it pleases you, potentially spiritual, but not all Christians take advantage of it, for to take advantage of it we would have to come to know that mind and spirit that God possesses, and to do that, we must know Christ.

 

1CO 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ.

 

This seems to me to be much like saying, “I can’t speak to you as an adult, but only as a child because that is what you are acting like.” I would never say that to a child because they cannot understand adult things. I would only say it to an adult.

 

COL 1:25 Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,

 

COL 1:26 that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations; but has now been manifested to His saints,

 

COL 1:27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

 

The mystery was also that the Christ would be more than near to you, but in you. How can one get any closer or intimate? There will never be anything that could possibly separate you from the person of Christ.

 

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 kingdom was to be filled with a brotherhood of perfect peace. Mystery - all men could be in that kingdom, Jews and Gentiles.

 

Being able to see God in the person of Christ, knowing His knowledge and wisdom, having Him indwelling me, and having a perfect brotherhood of men in the body of Christ, and all during an age when Christ would not be on earth in His physical kingdom, but seated at the right hand of God - this is the mystery and it is our birthright.

 

JOH 1:45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."

 

JOH 1:46 And Nathanael said to him, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him," Come and see."

 

ISA 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;

And the government will rest on His shoulders;

And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

 

ISA 9:7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,

On the throne of David and over his kingdom,

To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness

From then on and forevermore.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.

 

All believing in Israel understood this to be a kingdom to come. But what exactly would it look like and when would it come, they could not know. Would it be filled with Jews alone?

 

ISA 14:1 When the Lord will have compassion on Jacob, and again choose Israel, and settle them in their own land, then strangers will join them and attach themselves to the house of Jacob.

 

ISA 14:2 And the peoples will take them along and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them as an inheritance in the land of the Lord as male servants and female servants; and they will take their captors captive, and will rule over their oppressors.

 

Paul takes up this very thing in Rom 15 using four Old Testament references.

 

ROM 15:7 Wherefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.

 

ROM 15:8 For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers,

 

ROM 15:9 and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written, [PSA 18:49]

 

 "Therefore I will give praise to Thee among the Gentiles,

And I will sing to Thy name."

 

ROM 15:10 And again he says, [DEU 32:43]

 

"Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people."

 

ROM 15:11 And again, [PSA 117:1]

 

"Praise the Lord all you Gentiles,

And let all the peoples praise Him."

 

ROM 15:12 And again Isaiah says, [11:10]

 

"There shall come the root of Jesse,

And He who arises to rule over the Gentiles,

In Him shall the Gentiles hope."

 

ROM 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

What could the OT saint see? Even of the Millennial kingdom it was a faint outline, which it is even to us today, but they knew the kingdom of the Messiah to be one of righteousness and perfect peace.

 

Balaam was forced to say it by God:

 

NUM 24:17 "I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near;

A star shall come forth from Jacob,

And a scepter shall rise from Israel,

And shall crush through the forehead of Moab,

And tear down all the sons of Sheth [identity unknown].

 

 

 

Though we cannot imagine what the Millennial reign of Christ will look like, we do now know what righteousness and peace look like because we possess them, as we possess Him.

 

What was not told to the OT saint is that there would be an age where the spiritual aspects of the promised Millennium would be possessed by men, but who would not possess the physical kingdom.

 

[back to]

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 in the Spirit;

 

The church-age, where so much could be seen that was dark prior to it, was not revealed in the OT.

 

The age of the church, an age when the spiritual blessings of the New Covenant would be given to all men who by faith alone believed in Christ as their Savior, was not revealed in the Old Testament.

 

This was an age which would eradicate all dividing walls, the most significant of which was the Law dividing Jews and Gentiles, and the full revelation of God would be given through the person of Christ.

 

So much is seen in this age which could not be seen before it. The most significant of which is the person of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

As He said to Phillip, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.”

 

So then, not only did the OT saint now know of the age of the church, but they possessed only an outline or shadow of the person of the Messiah. No one could have known Christ through prophecy alone, just as a person cannot be known through pictures only.

 

Balaam was forced to say it by God:

 

NUM 24:17 "I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near;

A star shall come forth from Jacob,

And a scepter shall rise from Israel,

And shall crush through the forehead of Moab,

And tear down all the sons of Sheth [identity unknown].

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