The Mystery of Christ

God is uniting all things in heaven and on earth through the church and making a new humanity composed of Jews and Gentiles united.

Sermon Notes:

  1. Pau has here a pastoral concern in mind, that his readers would be discouraged by the fact that he was in prison, and wants to remind them that in spite of any appearance to the contrary, Jesus is Lord over all things.
  2. The mystery that is revealed in Christ is that in the gospel the Gentiles are grafted into the covenant people of God.
  3. “Mystery” in Scripture does not refer to that which is dark or enigmatic, but something that has been hidden.
  4. In previous ages, nobody had fully comprehended the coming of Christ, but Paul shares his insight into the mystery of Christ which was concealed in the Old Testament prophets.
  5. The significance of the apostolic witness to us is that these mysteries have been revealed to the apostles and recorded for our benefit, things that even Moses and the prophets had not been given to see.
  6. The mystery of Christ is that God is uniting all things in heaven and earth through the church and that now the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers in Christ. God is making a new humanity with both Jews and Gentiles.
  7. What absolutely identifies us is not our ethnic identity but our identity as brothers and sisters – co-heirs – in Christ.
  8. The promise that both Jews and gentiles have been given is that of eternal life in Christ, that is, the shared fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  9. Like Paul, we should marvel at the grace of God displayed in our own lives. Paul never lost a sense of wonder over what God had done in his life. This often comes up in his letters. The name “Paul” means little one, the small one. And he was aware of his smallness because of his own past as a persecutor of the church and Christ. This why he says he is the least of all the saints. He recognized God had done an amazing marvelous work of grace with him. 
  10. The church is a declaration to all dominions and rulers of God’s wisdom and power, and a rebuke to dark spiritual forces, reminding them that they are not in charge.
  11. Though Paul was in prison, but he was the freest man on earth. He was free in Christ.
  12. All through the ages God calls out worshipers who follow the scriptures and celebrate the sacraments.
  13. The image of the church in Revelation 7 is a congregation composed of every nationality, ethnicity and language.
  14. We need to be careful to protect the unity of the church. Don’t emphasize the distinctive of your denominational background. Don’t be dismissive or disinterested in your brothers and sisters in the church.
  15. Every Sunday we’re united in Christ at the Lord’s Table. As we celebrate each week, we’re commissioned to share the good news to other peoples.

Application Questions:

  1. What was the mystery of Christ revealed in the gospel?
  2. What is your primary identity?
  3. Are you exhilarated by the fact that you are Christian? Why or why not?
  4. What is the common bond between believers over history and across ethnic boundaries?
  5. How can we protect the unity of the church?