Missions: ‘The Mystery Revealed’
In my last post, we looked at God’s global plan of redemption. We touched on the fact of its evidence throughout the Old Testament. However, in viewing this evidence, it is only proper to understand that until the ushering in of the New Covenant, the plan of redemption through the God man – Jesus Christ – was always a mystery. The Apostle Paul proclaims this mystery to us and gives his following credentials to reveal in Ephesians 3:1-8 [ESV];
“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”
Though not an Apostle, we are still compelled to take the wonder of this mystery to the ends of the earth. Three things are very evident in this passage so lets take a moment to expound on them. There is:
1. The Plan of the Mystery
For the first time in history it is revealed that the Gentiles are partakers of the promise of Christ, members of the body of Christ, and joint heirs with Christ. This was so counter to the Jewish way of thinking. For the Gentiles, it was glorious news, but for the Jews a total shift – missions, if you will, was being ushered into the newly established church of Christ for the first time. We are so accustom to this concept now that its familiarity leaves us lethargic in our motivation for proclaiming the gospel. But Paul is laying out the mission’s plan – to bring God’s people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. You can almost sense Paul’s excitement as you read chapter 3. He is revealing a mystery that has been hid for ages. The promised seed of Abraham had come and through that seed all nations were to be blessed. Paul is proclaiming the missional application to the theology of Christ work – the mystery revealed. Our mission is clear: take the good news to all people who will partake “of the promise in Christ Jesus in the gospel.” How exciting is that?
2. The preacher of the Mystery
This mystery is what made Paul a minister. This mystery is what gave Paul his mission. As I said, you can sense his excitement and passion to be a part of this mission. How about us? Are we passionate to proclaim the mystery revealed? Are we giving of our life for this mission? Remember the words of Paul: “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? [Romans 10:14 ESV].”
3. The Person of the Mystery
The Person of the mystery is clear. We find Him in the risen Son of God – Jesus Christ. He alone compels and gives the passion for our mission. If your passion for Christ is dull and your desire to proclaim Him lethargic, maybe you need to spend some time getting to know Him better. Pick up the word of God where the mystery of Christ is revealed. Be fueled in your passion for Him. Find renewal in your vision for the mission. If you do so, you will GO. You can do nothing else.
Be not moved away,