Ephesians 6:19 Top Secret Colossians 1:26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Colossians 2:2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; Colossians 4:3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: Notice the word used in all of these verses, "mystery." Do you enjoy a good mystery? I. What is a mystery? A. A Bible mystery is something that is unknown and unknowable unless God reveals it. 1. The word or some form of it is used 27 times in the New Testament. 2. That is not 27 different mysteries as some mysteries are mentioned more than once and sometmies an actual mystery is not revealed. 3. But the fact remains that God reveals many mysteries in the New Testament that were never made know. B. These mysteries are not revealed in the Old Testament. 1. The Old Testament Scriptures will not speak of them and the Jews did not know about them. 2. These truths were kept locked away. II. Question: Why was God hiding these mysteries? The Bible does not say, but there seems to be only a few logical reasons. A. They were surprises that God wanted to keep for the New Testament Saints. 1. The Old Testament saints got their share of surprises. a. They got to meet God at the burning bush, to hear His voice on Sinai, to follow Him through the Red Sea, to see fire fall from heaven, to watch as He defeated seven nations mightier than they. b. Miracle after miracle, prophet after prophet, deliverance after deliverance - They had their surprises. 2. Maybe these mysteries were the surprises God saved for us. 3. I think it is a good possibility. We all like surprises, even when we know they are coming. That is the reason why we spend as much money on wrapping paper as we do on the present. We want to see the joy of people when they are surprised. Perhaps that is why God made mysteries and revealed them in the New Testament. 4. But I think there is more. B. I think God wanted to keep the truth from someone, someone who if he had known what was going to happen would have done things differently. 1. I am not sure that God had to work to keep these mysteries from the Old Testament saints. a. I am not attempting to insult the Jews but God put a lot of information right out in the open and they missed it. b. Hiding from them did not seem to be very necessary. 2. One Bible verses sheds some light on why God kept truths to Himself. 1Cor 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. a. Notice the word mystery is used in this text as well. Paul was revealing our first mystery. b. And Paul says that God kept the mystery a secret because if had been known, the rulers would have never crucified Jesus. c. What was the mystery? 1. It was the crucifixion. Paul mentioned it in the verse. 2. No one knew about the cross in the Old Testament. God did not reveal enough information so that they could. 3. The Bible spoke of Christís suffering, the bulls of Bashan gathering around Him, being able to see His own bones, but the crucifixion itself was unknown when the Old Testament was written. 4. Crucifixion was not invented until the Old Testament was closed between 300 and 400 BC. At which time, it was invented by the Persians. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2004/apr/08/ thisweekssciencequestions 3. But from WHOM did God keep this truth? a. "From the princes of this world" \\#8\\. b. The word "princes" comes a Greek word to mean "the first" or the highest rulers over this world. c. I think there were two sets of high leaders that did not completely understand the crucifixion. 1. I alreaady mentioned that I am not sure He needed to hide anything from the Jewish rulers. They just were not looking. 2. But what about Piliate? (a) Pilate actually interogated Jesus more and better than the Jews. (b) And he was asking the right questions: Who are You? (c) Apparrently, Pilate never figured it outóat least not completely. (d) The verse says that if he had, he would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. (e) The WHO that hung on the cross was TOP SECRET, at least from some eyes. 3. I think there were spiritual rulers there that did not understand the crucifixion. (a) What details did the devil and his demons not understand? (b) They certainly knew WHO Jesus was. (c) They had been advertising His identity for years: sometimes asking Him for mercy and sometimes mocking Him. (d) What the spiritual high powers did not understand about the crucifixion is WHAT IT WOULD DO. (e) They did not know that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ would pay for the sins of mankind. (f) Had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory! (g) Hence, details of the crucifixion were kept TOP SECRET by God Himself. III. The TOP SECRET. A. So our first mystery \\#1Cor 2:7-8\\, the cross. B. Our second mystery. 1. In the book of Ephesians, the word mystery is used 6x. Thatís almost a quarter of the total number times used. Eph 1:8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 2. Paul was saying that God had made known to US what had been a mystery concerning Godís will or Godís plan. 3. In the next verse, he revealed what the mystery was. Eph 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 4. What was the mystery? a. That "he," God," might gather together in one all things in Christ." b. Paul was speaking of the church. c. In fact, Paul several of the references in the book of Ephesians are references to the church. Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: d. You and I are a part of something that no Old Testament saint ever imagined or conceived. (1) The fellowship which is the church has no parallel in the history of mankind. (2) God conceived the church before the world was ever formed, but kept it a complete and total secret. (3) To my knowledge, there is absolutely no Scripture about or even a hint of the church in the Old Testament. (4) The Jewish mind would have and does to this day reject the notion that Jews and Gentiles could be part of the same work of God. (5) To the blinded Jewish mind, the church is and has been a deviant heresy, something to be rejected without being given a second, or for that matter, even a first thought. (6) Little do they know that in order for them to worship God at all in this age of grace, they have to do it through the church! e. But it is not just the fellowship that the church provides between all saved humans. It is also the fellowship that we have with God. Ephesians 5:32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (1) New Testament saints have a union with God that was never possible in the Old Testament. (2) And it is interesting that God speaks of the fellowship not just between God and the individual believe but of God and the collective body, the church. (a) Do not let anyone tell you the church is not important. (b) It is not the individuals that God works within this age. (c) It is the church, the body of believers. (d) And it does not matter whether we are talking about the local body or the full body of believers. (e) God uses, works through, calls from, and blesses the church. (f) God did not die for home Bible studies, or para-church organizations, or small group applications. He died for the church. Eph 5:25 ÖChrist also loved the church, and gave himself for it; f. What a mystery. What a secret! It has been TOP SECRET! g. The church is just one of the mysteries of the New Testament. C. In \\#Matt 13:11\\, Jesus began a chapter of seven parables about Godís earthly kingdom by stating He was revealing the "mysteries of the kingdom of heaven" to His disciples. 1. In those parables Jesus described the explosive growth of His kingdom, the enemyís strategy against His kingdom, and the ultimate purification of His kingdom to the disciples. 2. Much of that is still not understood as Jesus revealed those truths in parable so that only the saved could comprehend the truths tucked away in them. D. In \\#2Thess 2:7\\, Paul spoke of the "mystery of iniquity" that was working in the world and would keep on working until the Power that was holding it back was taken out of its way. E. In 1Timothy 3, Paul spoke about the power of both "the mystery of faith" \\#1Tim 3:9\\ and "the mystery of godliness." F. Our text verse, \\#Eph 6:19\\, gave us a mystery: 1. Paul asked for prayer that he might "make known the mystery of the gospel." 2. The gospel was a mystery. G. And there are others but let me close by saying one of the most exciting mysteries is the one that many Christians today still do not understand. 1. It is the mystery of the rapture of the church. 1Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 2. Suddenly and without warning, every true believer in Jesus Christ will be changed and caught up together with Jesus to be with Him forever. 3. Some would ask, "What is so mysterious about this?" a. People in churches like ours are exposed to this truth much more than people in some churches. (1) Many have never heard of the rapture at all because many so-called preachers do not believe in it. (2) Many who have heard scoff at the notion of such a miraculous event taking place. They put it in same category Jonah and the Whale or a Seven- Day Creation. b. But even people in churches like ours do not really believe in the sudden and total removal of the saved from this earth for if they did, they would live differently. (1) Our lives give us away that we do not believe in the rapture or, at the least, we do not think about the rapture of the church. (2) Such knowledge is still unknown to many. (3) It has been classified by God as TOP SECRET. These are some of our surprises, our New Testament gifts from God. Perhaps you are familiar with them already, but I hope you enjoy a good mystery.
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