The Mystery of the Revelation

Ephesians: A Letter to All the Saints  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  54:59
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →


v1-6 Introduce the mystery of the Gospel
The Mystery of the Revelation v1-3
The Mystery of the Regeneration v4-5
The Mystery of the Reward v6


Ephesians 3:1–6 ESV
1 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— 2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Author: Paul
Audience: All the saints / “You Gentiles”
Content: Understanding of the Gospel comes from a revelation of God alone
Context: Eph 3:1-13 deal with this mystery of the Gospel
Comparison: Gal 1:11-12
Ephesians 3:1 ESV
1 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—
Note the narrowing of the audience
Ephesians 3:2 ESV
2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you,
stewardship of God’s grace - Paul refers to his commissioning to take the Gospel to the Gentiles
Ephesians 3:3 ESV
3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly.
The μυστήριον, mysterion, mystery
Not explained by a man or another apostle, but by revelation of God alone.
Galatians 1:11–12 ESV
11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
Is divine revelation for the Apostles alone?
Matthew 16:17 ESV
17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
We see clearly it was revealed to the Apostles, but the apostolic ministry is not enough to shine light on the darkened hearts of men. A revelation directly from God is needed:
Matthew 13:10–11 ESV
10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
The revelation is a work of the Holy Spirit, not the apostles or any work of man
John 16:7–8 ESV
7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
And we have definitive statements about the revelation of God to mankind:
Zophar the Naamathite says this of Job’s understanding of God in Job 11
Job 11:7 ESV
7 “Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?
Daniel states the wise men of Babylon are worthless, and that only God can reveal mysteries.
Daniel 2:26–28 ESV
26 The king declared to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?” 27 Daniel answered the king and said, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these:
Amos declares God’s revelation to a sinful Israel
Amos 3:7 ESV
7 “For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.
Jesus is clear that it is a work of God alone that brings revelation to sinful man:
John 6:35–37 ESV
35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
John 6:44–45 ESV
44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—
Other instruction from Paul shows this is a consistent teaching:
1 Corinthians 2:14–16 ESV
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
2 Timothy 3:14 ESV
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it
Romans 11:7–8 ESV
7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.”
And the other Apostolic Authors agree:
James 1:5 ESV
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
1 Peter 1:3 ESV
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
2 Peter 1:3–4 ESV
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
1 John 1:1–2 ESV
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—
Jude 24–25 ESV
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
We are a wicked people, and only a work of God can save us. I want to be crystal clear, so I will rely on John 6:44: No one comes to Jesus, unless God draws them. This is the mystery we seek to understand today.
It is not my intent to be overly heavy-handed about this. But if you do not understand and believe that God alone brings revelation to His people, you will miss the deeper truth of what Paul is saying.


God sends representatives to the lost

Some will doubtless hear the teaching of God’s unconditional election of the saints and scoff, saying why send missionaries then? I would rebuke that attitude in this body: God did not choose to strike every called saint blind for three days that they would come to know Him, God chose to use the foolishness of us proclaiming God’s word. God chose to use us:
1 Corinthians 1:21–24 ESV
21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
We see this in Paul’s commissioning to deliver God’s grace to the Gentiles:
Ephesians 3:1–2 ESV
1 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— 2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you,
We see this in the council of Jerusalem as Peter testifies that God has called the Gentiles to be grafted into the family of God.
Acts 15:6–7 ESV
6 The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. 7 And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.
We see that it is God’s choice to use us to preach the Gospel.
Romans 10:14–15 ESV
14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

God sends revelation to the lost

I will not belabor the point we have already spent so much time on. I ask you simply remember verse 3 of our text and Paul’s own testimony.
Ephesians 3:3 ESV
3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly.
Galatians 1:12 ESV
12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
I simply ask you to remember: When we are faithful to proclaim God’s grace, He is faithful to reveal.
What if people reject God? Then His word and our obedience have served their purpose. Do you remember that God’s Word will not return void? Do you remember the whole of the verse?
Isaiah 55:11 KJV 1900
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: It shall not return unto me void, But it shall accomplish that which I please, And it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Isaiah 55:11 ESV
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
God’s word will accomplish what God desires, either it will convict, or it will harden. It is not up to us to convince and debate people to follow Christ, it is up to us to TRUST GOD.
Romans 9:14–15 ESV
14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
Romans 9:18 ESV
18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

God sends remission to the lost

Make no mistakes about it, this is a hard word. But I would encourage you to hold fast to your hope in Jesus Christ our Savior.
Matthew 9:1–2 ESV
1 And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. 2 And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”
This story is repeated in Mark 2 and Luke 5.
It is not misunderstood theology that condemns us. (I do believe it cripples us!) It is our sin. And Jesus forgives the repentant sinner! He was nailed to that cross to take our sin upon Himself!
My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part, but the whole
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul
Luke 7:36–50 ESV
36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” 41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more