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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