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Sermon Audio: The Mystery of the Gospel

Scripture reference: Ephesians 2:19-3:21

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Commentary: The Building, The Mystery & The Purpose

By: Pastor Roy L. Crane

Listen to Pastor Roy’s Sermon Audio regarding this commentary Here!

Read the Scripture:  Ephesians 2:19 thru 3:12

The Apostle Paul lists some of the overwhelming new privileges of believing Gentiles. They have been made members of the church, or as Paul pictures it here, they have become stones in the construction of a holy temple. With great detail the apostle describes this temple—its foundation, its chief cornerstone, its cohesive agent, its unity and symmetry, its growth, and its other unique features. The unity and symmetry of the temple are indicated by the expression, the whole building, being fitted together. It is a unity made up of many individual members.

Each member has a specific place in the building for which he or she is exactly suited. Stones excavated from the valley of death by the grace of God are found to fit together perfectly. The unique feature of this building is that it grows. However, this feature is not the same as the growth of a building through the addition of bricks and cement. Think of it rather as the growth of a living organism, such as the human body. After all, the church is not an inanimate building. Neither is it an organization. It is a living entity with Christ as its Head and all believers forming the Body. It was born on the day of Pentecost, has been growing ever since, and will continue to grow until the Coming of Christ.

A Parenthesis on the Mystery (3:1–13)

Paul begins a statement in verse 1 that is interrupted in verse 2 and not resumed till verse 14. The intervening verses form a parenthesis, the theme of which is the mystery—Christ and the church.

Darby’s translation, “the mystery of the Christ,” suggests that it is the mystical Christ that is in view here, that is, the Head and the Body. (For another instance of the name Christ including both the Lord Jesus and His people, see 1 Cor. 12:12.) Verses 5 and 6 give us the most complete definition we have of the mystery. Paul explains what a mystery is, then he explains what the mystery of the Christ is.

Now we come to the central truth of the mystery, namely, that in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, believing Gentiles are fellow heirs, fellow members, and fellow partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel. In other words, converted Gentiles now enjoy equal title and privileges with converted Jews.

This mystery had from the beginning of the ages been hidden in God. The plan was itself in the mind of God eternally, but here the thought is that He kept it a secret throughout the ages of human history. Once again we notice the care the Holy Spirit takes to impress us with the fact that the assembly, or church universal is something new, unique, unprecedented.

One of God’s present purposes in connection with the mystery is to reveal His manifold wisdom to the angelic hosts of heaven. Paul again uses the metaphor of a school. God is the Teacher. The universe is the classroom. Angelic dignitaries are the students. The lesson is on “The multi-faceted wisdom of God.” The church is the object lesson.

From heaven the angels are compelled to admire His unsearchable judgments and marvel at His ways past finding out. They see how God has triumphed over sin to His own glory. They see how He has sent heaven’s Best for earth’s worst. They see how He has redeemed His enemies at enormous cost, conquered them by love, and prepared them as a Bride for His Son. They see how He has blessed them with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies. And they see that through the work of the Lord Jesus on the cross, more glory has come to God and more blessing has come to believing Jews and Gentiles than if sin had never been allowed to enter. God has been vindicated; Christ has been exalted; Satan has been defeated; and the church has been enthroned in Christ to share His glory.

As a result of Christ’s work and our union with Him, we now have the unspeakable privilege of entering into God’s presence at any time, in full confidence of being heard, and without any fear of being scolded (Jas 1:5). Our boldness is the respectful attitude and absence of fear we have as children addressing their Father. Our access is our liberty to speak to God in prayer. Our confidence is the assurance of a welcome, a hearing, and a wise and loving answer. And it is all through faith in Him, that is, our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.