Shiny & Mysterious: When You See Suffering (Ephesians 3:1-13)


Week 7 of EPHESIANS » God’s Ultimate Purpose
Message title: Shiny & Mysterious: When You See Suffering
Scriptures: Ephesians 3:1-13
Preacher: Pastor Jeff Patterson
Date: 2/24/13

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Ephesians 3:1-13:

3 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 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. 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.

Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.

1. the hardness of life,
2. the wonder of grace,

  • A “mystery” in the Bible is not like what we normally think of (as something hidden from you, which is your job to discover). In the Scriptures mystery speaks of something God has hidden and He must reveal it in order for us to “get” it. It’s a counter-intuitive truth we would never arrive at on our own.
  • The Gospel mystery:
    • The Son of God came to earth and triumphed through weakness and suffering.
    • He won through losing.
    • He gained everything by giving it all away!
    • He overcame our sin and guilt, taking it on Himself.
  • Through the Gospel we become simul iustis et peccator (at the same time righteous/just and yet sinful).
    • The idea that you’re saved by living a good life would make too much sense. Almost everyone believes that, and it’s not a “mystery,” for that’s something we can figure out on our own. The truth that we are saved by sheer grace is a mystery. Who can fathom the depths of this truth!
  • Let’s endeavor to never becoming bored with the Gospel!
  • Is the Gospel a counter-intuitive, astonishing, wonderful thing to you? 

3. the brilliance of church,

“The church here appears as God’s pilot plant for the reconciled universe of the future. The church is to be a new society, where the world can see what family life, what business practices, what race relationships, what all of life will be under the healing kingship of Jesus Christ.” —F.F. Bruce on Ephesians 3:10

  • The world is falling apart, but we Christians know that Jesus is piecing it all back together.
  • Right now it is the church that shows people a taste of how that’s going to be.
  • God is out to heal the world of all sin — in every dimension: psychological, spiritual, cultural, and physical — and the place the world will most clearly see it now is in the church.
  • Do you believe the Gospel should change your life? How will God use other people to bring about change in you, and use you in their lives? What is the place of suffering in shaping our character and displaying the “manifold wisdom” of God?

4. the freedom that comes to everyone who begins to get these truths (embracing and embodying them)

  • no suffering is for nothing
  • no suffering can really hurt you, and
  • all your suffering is for glory

(Let’s not forget: Paul is not lecturing students here; he is pastoring hurting people.)

There is only one Man who has full confidence and boldness to approach God. So, we approach God the Father through the grace given us by the shiny and mysterious life of God the Son, Jesus.

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