Yesterday, we looked at the word dispensation, which can be translated steward or stewardship, and speaks of our responsibility to complete the task God has given us to do. We also focused our prayers on Ephesians 3:2, which deals specifically with the dispensation of God’s grace given to Paul for the sake of the Gentiles.
But today, we will look at the next phrase, Ephesians 3:3-4, which reads:
How that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ).
In these two verses, we find the word revelation used once and mystery used twice. But this is not the first time Paul used these words in his letter to the Ephesians. In Ephesians 1:17, Paul speaks of praying the Lord would give the “spirit of wisdom and revelation” in the knowledge of Christ. And in Ephesians 1:9, we find God “having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to the good pleasure which He purposed in Himself.”
As we previously discovered, the word mystery is not something forever unknown. Instead, it denotes “something hidden or not yet fully manifest.” It’s knowable truth, but just not to everyone. This mystery is a truth God has reserved to reveal at a particular time, to a specific group of people, or person, for His unique purpose.
This wondrous mystery, unknown in the Old Testament, was finally revealed to Paul by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. And this mystery is the Kingdom of God includes, not just Jews, but also Gentiles. That God truly is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34-35), and the Kingdom of God is far greater than our prejudices, our racial discord, or our cultural preferences.
The Revelation of the Mystery
So what does the word revelation mean? Revelation (apokálupsis) means “an uncovering, unveiling, or the disclosing of something previously not known.” We don’t know how Paul received this revelation, whether an angel dictated it to him, or the Holy Spirit confirmed it in his spirit, or he received it through a dream or vision. We’re not sure how it happened. But we do know it happened. It’s almost like in Acts when the elders of the church were praying and fasting, and the Holy Spirit spoke to them collectively, saying, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2). It appears the entire group understood what the Holy Spirit said. How did that happen? Was it an audible voice? Maybe a confirming spirit in them? Or was it something else? We don’t know. The Scriptures don’t tell us. But what we do know is everyone received the Holy Spirit’s message about Paul and Barnabas, so they all agreed in unity and sent them on their way (Acts 12:3). Something similar might have happened here. It was a revelation of God’s truth revealed to His intended audience.
Do you realize, one trait of being a believer in Christ is hearing from our Father? We are in tune with God and His Spirit in a way the rest of the world isn’t, and can’t quite comprehend. We have an understanding, an enlightenment, that comes from the Holy Spirit living in us that takes random circumstances in this chaotic world and reveals to us His order and purpose through them. We can look at the Book of Revelation, for example, and clearly delineate the signs and symbols and literal interpretation of future events soon to come to pass. After all, that’s the way God intended. He promised to bless those who read and those who hear the words of the prophecy (Rev. 1:3). A promise not given to any other part of God’s Word.
And this gift is not only for Paul, but also for you and me. Remember, the “message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18). Why? Because God reveals His truth to us through His Word. To understand His Word is one of the greatest gifts you and I have received from Him.
This New Year, as you make resolutions and vows about Bible study and prayer and other things regarding your relationship with the Lord, remember you have been given a special gift. You can have the truth of God revealed to you by the Holy Spirit in such a way it will forever change your life. In the Scriptures, you will find the answer to every question asked by man, ever! There is nothing in life God has not revealed to us in His Word. The Scriptures reveal wisdom, the keys to a happy marriage, instructions on how to raise children, how to discover meaning and purpose in life, how to love your spouse— everything knowable is in His Word.
Time to Pray
When you begin your day with the Lord, ask Him to show you how overwhelmingly beautiful and inspiring and brilliant is His Word. Plead with Him to give you a hunger for His Word, unlike anything you have ever experienced before. And when you read His Word, either Old or New Testament, beg Him to reveal Himself to you and to give you the revelation of the mystery of His love for you, a love undeserved, unmatched, and eternal.
Only in His Word can you find the source of the “abundant life” Jesus promised (John 10:10). It’s ours for the asking. Join with me in making this quest for the “abundant life” in Him our passion for 2020.
One of the attributes of becoming a Faith Prepper is learning how to trust God as His Word. I know many of us will say that we do. When pressed, almost all believers will state the mantra, “I believe everything God says, start to finish, from Genesis to Revelation.” After all, that’s the expected answer. To say anything less would make us seem like a lukewarm believer.
But the truth is, most believers, maybe ever you, don’t truly take God’s Word as the final authority in your life. How can I say that? Because God’s Word speaks to just about every issue we face today yet the church seems to be divided up into various opinions that differ greatly from one another. If God’s Word doesn’t change and is always true, how can that be? If God’s Word says something is wrong, for example, how can any believer who claims God’s Word as the final authority in their life, have a different opinion than what the Word says? It seems inconsistent, doesn’t it? Hypocritical.
As the adage goes, the Scriptures are true about everything it teaches. And it teaches about everything.
To test whether God’s Word molds your opinions or whether your opinions are determined independent of God’s Word, I have listed a number of controversial issues below. What is your opinion on these? And whatever your opinion is, does it line up with the Word of God? If it doesn’t, who is wrong, and what are you prepared to do about it?
Let’s see how you would answer the following:
- Abortion – Does a woman have the right to end the life of her unborn child under any circumstances?
- Homosexuality – Is it a sin? Or did God create people both heterosexual and homosexual?
- Sex – Is premarital sex always a sin? Always?
- Divorce – Is it proper to divorce a spouse?
- Education – Whose responsibility is it to educate our children? Or, is it proper to send our children to government (public) schools?
- Tolerance – Is it true that Jesus never judged any one and neither should we as His followers?
- Children – How many children should a family have? Is birth control or family planning ever in God’s will?
- Church – Should women be pastors? Should women have leadership roles that involve men?
- Friends – Should a believer have friends that are non-believers? How close should they be?
- Home – Should a man be a stay at home dad? Or should a woman go to work outside the home and put the kids in daycare or public school?
- Spiritual Leadership – Whose responsibility is the spiritual leadership in a family? Father? Mother? Church? Someone else?
- Environment – How concerned should a Christian be about the environment? And what should they do about it?
- Politics – Should a believer ever vote for a Democrat? Should a believer ever vote for a Republican? Should a believer vote at all?
- Dating and Marriage – Should a believer ever marry an unbeliever? Should they date an unbeliever?
- Dating vs Courtship – Should a believer date at all?
- Islam – How is a believer to view the god of Islam?
- Drinking – Should a believer drink alcohol?
- Entertainment – Should a believer watch or listen to media that includes profanity, nudity, or sex? Should a believer watch or listen to media that promotes anything contrary to sound Biblical teaching?
- Money – How much money should a believer accumulate? And how much of their income should they give away?
How many of your opinions were just that, opinions? How many of your views or convictions were based on Scripture? And those that weren’t based on Scripture, does that bother you at all? Are you willing to change? Right now? Today? No matter the costs?
To find out more about becoming a Faith Prepper, keep listening.
The following is a study on Trusting God’s Word and becoming a Faith Prepper.
To download the slides to this message, click – HERE
The following are a few 2019 Bible Reading Plans from various sources. Make a commitment today to faithfully read the Scriptures more next year than you did this last year.
After all, the mantra “no pain, no gain” also applies to spiritual disciplines.
Genesis Through Revelation Bible Reading Plan
Read through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation with daily readings of three to four chapters. From www.heartlight.org.
52 Week Bible Reading Plan
Read through the Bible in a year with daily readings from the Epistles, the Law, History, Psalms, Poetry (Job, Proverbs, etc.), Prophecy, and the Gospels. From www.bible-reading.com.
Chronological Bible Reading Plan
Read through the Bible in chronological order. This is one of my favorites. From www.esv.org.
Duration: One year | Download: PDF
Historical Bible Reading Plan
The Old Testament readings are much like the order found in Israel’s Hebrew Bible and the New Testament readings are in the order in which the books were written. From www.blueletterbible.org.
Robert Murray M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan
This is the classic M’Cheyne Bible reading calendar that will let you read the New Testament and Psalms twice and the Old Testament once. From www.edginet.org.
5 Day Bible Reading Program
Read through the Bible in a year with readings five days a week. From www.BibleClassMaterial.com.
And a special thanks to Ligonier ministries for the reminder.
If we were honest, we’d have to admit that the picture of life in the church as revealed in Scripture and our own personal church experience are not always the same. In fact, they often seem like polar opposites, like night and day. Consider what Paul said about life in the church:
Ephesians 3:20-21 – Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works (where) in us, to Him be glory (where) in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
And yet, knowing this, we still struggle with trying to find the answer to the questions that trouble us the most.
Why can’t we keep our children involved in church?
Why can’t our children hold to Biblical morals?
Why can’t our children make Godly decisions?
Why can’t the church make a noticeable difference in our nation, culture and family?
Why can’t we get victory over our own sins?
Why can’t we see Jesus move in our lives like He did in the past?
Is there an answer to these questions? Is what we’re experiencing in church, Sunday after Sunday, all there is? Or is there something missing? And if so, what is it? How do I find it? What can I do?
If you want to know the answer to these important questions, then keep listening.
The following is a study on life in the Kingdom.
To download the slides for this message, click – HERE
Download this episode (right click and save)
Ever since the resurgence of the charismatic movement in the last century, there has been incredible controversy in church on the issue of spiritual gifts, especially the gift of speaking in tongues (1 Cor. 10:8). One faction believes it is a sign of a deeper relationship with the Lord that everyone should seek but only few find. You hear this when statements like this are made: “You must receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit as evidenced by speaking in tongues.”
Then there is the other side that throws all the uncomfortable gifts of the Spirit out the window for fear of being called strange, loopy or out of control. And these camps are entrenched, like opposing armies set for war.
But what is the truth? And how can we know from Scripture which side is right?
Simply put, the answer to this great controversy is found in the singular and plural use of the Greek word “glṓssa” – and nothing more. When you get this definition under your belt, the entire controversy vanishes into thin air, like a man-made mirage.
Do you want to know more? Then keep listening.
The following is a study on 1 Corinthians 12:10.
To download the slides for this message, click – HERE
Download this episode (right click and save)