THE SACRED SECRET # 3
The Secret Saves
III. THE MYSTERY THAT MAKES SALVATION REAL (Ephesians 3:8-13).
1. The mystery that had been concealed, and is now revealed, is the plan that makes salvation real.
2. The scheme of redemption is now in place. The price of pardon has now been paid. The purpose of God has now been “accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (v. 11).
3. The mystery that makes salvation a reality, and no longer just a promise or a prediction, is now an “accomplished” fact (v. 11).
4. The “unsearchable riches of Christ” (v. 8) are now to be preached to all men.
5. It is a perfect plan. It exemplifies the “manifold wisdom of God” (vs. 10a). It displays the “wisdom of God…the hidden wisdom” (1 Cor. 2:7).
6. In preaching the mystery, observe how Paul emphasizes:
A. The EQUAL POSITION (v. 8).
1. He preached among the Gentiles that we are “fellow heirs” in Christ. The word “fellow” means “equal.” We all share equally in the “fellowship of the mystery” (vs.9). We all share equally in the blessings of salvation. This means: You may have more money than me, but you don’t have more mercy, than me (Eph. 2:4). You may have greater gifts than me, but you don’t have more grace than me (Eph. 2:5 & 8). You may have more power than me, but you don’t have more pardon than me (Eph. 1:7). You may have more faith than me, but you don’t have more forgiveness than me (Eph. 1:7). You may be smarter than me, but you are not more saved than me (Eph. 2:8). You may be more helpful than me, but you are not more holy than me (Eph. 1:4). You might behave better than me, but you are not more blameless than me (Eph. 1:4). You may have more ability than me, but you don’t have greater access than me (Eph. 2:18). You may be better than me, but you are not better off than me (Eph. 1:6). You might be a better servant than me, but you don’t have a better Savior than me (Eph. 1:13; 5:23). You may have greater status than me, but you don’t have greater salvation than me (Eph. 1:13). You may keep more rules than me, but you are not more righteous than me (Eph. 4:24). You might have more intelligence than me, but you don’t have a greater inheritance than me (Eph. 1:11). You might have a better attitude than me, but you don’t have a greater adoption than me (Eph. 1:5). You may have more strength than me, but you don’t have more of the Spirit than me (Eph. 1:13,14). You may have more accomplishments than me, but you don’t have more assurance than me (Eph. 1:14).
3. All of God’s children “are one in Christ Jesus” whether Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, and “if you are Christ’s,” then you are “Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:26-29; Eph. 3:6).
B. The Exalted Privilege (v. 9-10).
1. Although in his own mind Paul was “less than the least of all saints,” he had the exalted privilege of making all men see this “fellowship” (or equal sharing) brought about by the revelation of salvation in Christ.
2. He considered it an exalted privilege to help men see the equal position of all who are in Christ (v. 8).
3. Now all men can understand what God was doing from the “beginning of the ages” (v.9).
4. The angels who “desired to look into these things” regarding the salvation of man (1 Peter 1:10-12) and the powers that can be now see “in the church” the manifold wisdom of God in it all (Eph. 3:10).
5. Who could have known that God was planning to die Himself in order to purify man so He could dwell in them on earth-in spite of their weaknesses and sins, ignorance and errors?
6. This salvation is real to all who trust in Christ and they are equally saved (Eph. 2:1-10), equally reconciled (Eph. 2:11-18), and are equally “being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph. 2:19-22).7. Notice also that, in the latter part of this section, the mystery was “accomplished in Christ” (v. 11b) and made real in us because in Him “we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him” (v. 12).
C. The Eternal Purpose (vs. 11-13).
1. Salvation through the death of Jesus was not an accident or an afterthought.
2. It was according to the “eternal purpose of God” (vs. 11).
3. In other words, there never was a time when God did not intend to save all in Christ.
4. As God is eternal, His purpose in Christ is eternal.5. Jesus was “indeed foreordained before the foundation of the world” to redeem those “who through Him believe in God…so that your faith and hope are in God” (1 Pet. 1:18-21).
Conclusion: The mystery is summed up by Paul in 1 Timothy 3:16 “God was manifest in the flesh. Justified in the Spirit. Seen of angels. Preached among the Gentiles. Believed on in the world. Received up in glory.” Truly the “history” of the mystery is “His story” from beginning to the end. This was concealed in types and shadows in the Old Testament revealed in words too plain to be misunderstood in the New Testament and made real in the hearts of all who trust Him as Lord (Rom. 10:9-10).
Illustration: When I think about the mystery I sometimes think about the first time I saw house plans. There were lines on sheets of paper with sketches, arrows, numbers, etc…but, since I’m not into house building, I did not really understand exactly what I was seeing. But later, when I walked through the house, I could look back at the plans and see what all those lines and sketches meant. In the Old Testament God was “drawing the plans” out for us. In the New Testament He has “built the house.” The “SECRET IS OUT!” Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).
Wayne Dunaway https://gandpministries.wordpress.com/