The Open Secret
Now about this matter of a mystery, it doesn’t represent something you cannot know. When the Bible uses the word mystery, it’s something that you can’t know by yourself but which God wants to open up to you.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? Doing alright? Well, I’ve just been praying that God would put His truth and His love and His blessing into what I have to say to you so that you’ll be conscious to the fact that the Heavenly Father has had some precious word to your own heart this very day.
You and I are looking at the Book of Ephesians chapter 3. Last time we got together, we were stopping just for a moment on verse 2 where he said, “The dispensation of the grace of God given to me for you,” and God wants to pour His grace through you to other people within the parameters of the gifts He has given us. “And unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” So, God gives you your special gift, having then gifts differing “according to the grace that is given unto us, whether it be prophecy, let us prophesy,” and so on. I quoted that passage for Romans 12 for you, you remember?
Now, what is your gift? Have you given any more thought to it at all? God has gifted you in some ways. Let Him pour His grace through you on those levels. Are you a mechanic? You know, you can reach people who are mechanically gifted far better than someone else who doesn’t know the difference between a Stillson wrench and half 9/16th. You can reach people because you’re gifted in that area and you can establish rapport, and there’s a credibility there because you know something about the work that they are doing. God wants to pour His grace through you on the level of the gifts that He has given you.
Now, he goes on to say, “How that by revelation, God made known unto me the mystery;… which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.” And what is this? “That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs” this is the essence of the mystery that had been revealed now through Paul. “That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.”
Now, stop here just to realize that Paul says, quite frankly, that this was by revelation. You and I don’t get any such revelations nowadays. The scriptures are complete, and we rest upon the promises of God. The Bible says, “To the law and to the testimony, for if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.” You find a person who says, “I’ve had a special revelation from God,” in all likelihood, that person has not had any considerable, lasting contact with the Word of God. God speaks through His Word. And you’ll find this working so very clearly, if you want Him to. A pastor friend of mine was telling me some years ago about the almost mushroom-like growth that occurred in the early years of that particular pastorate, and it involved the acquisition of extra property, it involved some decisions about building, it involved a number of things. But they were determined that they would not move ahead on any of these things unless they had a very clear word from the Lord, based on His Word. And so, again and again, they would go to prayer, they would wait on God, they would search the Word of God, and He would speak to them in very clear manner from His Word.
And this is not a matter of just picking out a verse at random, as some do, and that’s dangerous, you know. I don’t believe the Lord commands us to do that sort of thing. But it was a thoughtful, it was a thoughtful waiting on God and perusing His Word for guidance. I’ve done the same thing myself in my life, again and again. When you’re faced with a decision, don’t try to make it on your own. Go to your knees, wait on God, look in His Word and let Him speak to your heart. Revelation comes now through the Word. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing, by the Word of God.” But in those beginning days, God spoke directly to the Apostle Paul and revealed to him that this was going to be the special message that Paul was to give, that the Gentiles were to be fellow heirs with the chosen people of God.
Now, about this matter of a mystery. It doesn’t represent something you cannot know. And when the Bible uses the word “mystery,” it’s something that you can’t know by yourself, but which God wants to open up to you. And you’ll find that point of view in verse 4… Or 5, I should say, of Ephesians chapter 3. “A mystery, which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed onto His holy Apostles and prophets by the Spirit.” A mystery, when you find that in Scripture, is something that people cannot discover on their own, but which God will reveal to them, and it is an open secret, so to speak. An open secret. You have in Colossians, for example, “Their hearts being knit, comforted, and knit together in love unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God and of the Father and of Christ. In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” The mystery of God the Father and Christ.
Now see, that’s a reference to the truth that the Lord Jesus spoke in John 14, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” What’s the mystery? Nobody could really know God until Jesus came to reveal Him to us. “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” If you wanna know God, you get to know Him through the Lord Jesus Christ. “This is life eternal,” our Lord Jesus says in John 17, “This is life eternal that they may know Thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom Thy hast sent.”
So that’s the mystery. It’s a revealed concept that you couldn’t find out on your own but that God has opened up to you in His marvelous, matchless grace. You follow that? Over in chapter 4 of Colossians, as long as we’re in that book, we could turn over, and he said that he’d like to have the people in Colossi pray for him, “that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds, That I may make it manifest,t as I ought to speak.”
There, again, a reference to the fact that what Paul calls “the mystery of Christ” is simply the idea that salvation is not now limited to one nation, the Jews, but that Gentiles, and that means everybody else in all the world, whosoever will, Gentiles can now be fellow citizens and fellow heirs and of the household of God, and part of the body of Christ. I’m so glad for that. And I am grateful for my Jewish friends. I never forget the fact that the Bible, the Old Testament and much of the New Testament, came through people who were Jewish, and that my Savior came from the line of David, the chosen people, and that the preservation of the Scriptures through the centuries is directly traceable to the faithfulness of members of God’s special people, the Jews.
We owe a great deal to them. And no wonder the Bible says, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Never forget that you owe great debt of gratitude to your Jewish friends, and pray that God may bless them, and pray that they may be led to faith in their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah, as you know, the prophet Isaiah, speaks of God’s suffering Messiah, the one who would be rejected and later glorified. And that one who came as God’s Passover Lamb, John the Baptist announced Him that way, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” That wonderful person, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the Jewish Messiah, “who came in the fullness of time, born of a woman, made under the law, that He might redeem them who were under the condemnation of the law. He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities,” says Isaiah, “the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by His stripes, we are healed.” Wonderful, wonderful Scriptures, and we owe a debt of gratitude to those who preserved them through the centuries for us.
But now, the mystery that Paul is talking about is an open secret now that God reveals to you by His Spirit. What is it? That the Gentiles can be fellow heirs and fellow citizens and part of the very family of God. I’m so grateful for that. Oh, I can sing, as can you, with great earnestness, “I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God. I’ve been washed in the fountain cleansed by His blood.” Ah, yes, part of the family. This, we are. We belong, because of God’s gracious, wonderful provision.
So, he says this is the mystery that has now been opened up, that the Gentiles, that’s you and I and everybody else that doesn’t belong by birth to the chosen people, that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs and of the same body, partakers of His promise in Christ, by the Gospel. You know, you have to get at this actually from the end of the verse and work back to the beginning. “Partakers of His promise,” what is it? “Whosoever will may come.” “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” And whosoever will, see, the promise in Christ by the Gospel. Then what happens? “Of the same body, you are born again into a new family, the body of Christ.” The body of Christ is the group of believers all over the world who are linked together by virtue of the fact that they’ve been born again and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
Then what? Well, he says, “Then you’re fellow heirs.” “So far as the future is concerned,” Paul says in Romans 8, “we’re joint heirs with Christ.” A joint heir is one who owns everything you do, and you own everything he or she does. If you and I were joint heirs to $2, you would own the $2, but so would I. You could only spend the $2 with my permission, and I could only spend the $2 with your agreement. Joint heirs. We belong to our Lord Jesus and we will share in the inheritance of glory throughout all the ages of eternity. Hallelujah for that.
Now he said, “This message, this open secret, this revealed mystery,” he said, “I was made a minister of that, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effects of working of His power.” Now, what is the basis for your ministry? Preacher, Sunday school teacher, evangelist, missionary, deacon, trustee, whatever, we all have a ministry of some sort. Paul says in Ephesians 4 that the task of the pastor is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, that’s Ephesians 4:12. And so, we all have a ministry of some sort. What, then, is the essence of this? “I was made a minister,” said he, “made a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the working of His power.” Well, time is running out, and I have to come back to this the next time we get together, but there’s a nugget of truth here that I wanna share with you, so you be on the listening end the next time we get together, will you? We’ll start there, where we’re leaving off now.
Blessed Lord, grant to us as we share in this wonderful, open secret, the mystery of Christ, to show forth His praise every day. I ask in His name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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