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His Mysterious Plan: A sermon on Ephesian 3:1-12

His Mysterious Plan
Ephesians 3:1-12

† In Jesus Name †


 May the grace of God our Father help you see your role in the church, as God displays His wisdom, found in the mystery of His eternal plan carried out through Jesus Christ our Lord!

A mysterious plan

As this sermon will be translated in to Mandarin, I decided to look into how to translate the word mystery.  It is one of those words, that doesn’t translate easily, there could be at least 4 ways to translate it.

The Cambridge-English dictionary suggested clarifying what is meant in our usage of the word mystery. What comes closest to my understanding of the Greek word is this option:  †

“something strange or not known, that has not yet been explained, or understood”  Another way to phrase it would be an enigma, and in this case, a divine enigma. 

Oddly enough, the word google translate suggest is Chinese is 谜, pronounced “Me” ( Mi)

So “Me” is a mystery and an enigma.

Makes sense in English!

But we are talking about God’s mystery today, this plan that has been in existence since before time began.  A secret which Paul would reveal, which is still challenging for us to comprehend, and it is still a challenge for us to use in our lives.

Not revealed? Kept secret?

Twice in this passage, Paul mentions that his mystery, this plan of God that is not yet completely known or understood was kept secret.  In verse 5 he says,  

 God did not reveal it to previous generations,

And then in verse 9,

I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.

There is a challenge here, that we need to deal with, this idea that God hides His mystery, that God doesn’t lay out His entire plan for us to deal with, for us to accept, for us to know.

That doesn’t just sound right, after all, shouldn’t God just be completely honest with us?  Why wasn’t He completely transparent with His people?  Why where His plans such a mystery? 

There is tendency in mankind to want to know, to understand, but along with that we want to be able to raise questions, to criticize, to help adjust the plans.  We want to be advisors to God, and we see that throughout history. 

Peter did this, when Jesus talked about the cross, and Jesus called Peter Satan, and told him to get lost.

We do it now, when we choose to give in to temptation, when we decide to sin, when we choose to ignore God’s commands, especially the two great commands,

To Love God with all our heart, soul and mind

To love our neighbor as ourselves.

Every time we do something that Is not loving, every time we sin, we tell God that we don’t trust Him.  How much more would we have done this, if we knew everything from the beginning?
The plan – all united in Christ

So God didn’t share the plan, but now He has.  And it is about that very thing, loving God and loving those people God brings into our lives.,

To bring us all into this incredible relationship where God is our Father, where we all become one body in Christ.

Where we all share in the riches that we have, because we are the children of God, the endless treasures of God’s grace and love.

For we dwell in Christ, united to each other, even as we are united to Him, at the cross.

That is why the cross is the center of the plan, for Paul will tell the church in Rome and the church in Colossae that we were united to Christ at His death on the cross, so that we could be brought to life with and in Him, when He rose from the dead.

And as we are all united to Him, we find ourselves united to each other.  Jewish person, Gentile person, Taiwanese, those of European extraction, Mainland Chinese, Filipino, people from South America, or Africa, or India or Indonesia. 

We are all one in Christ, that was the mystery that Paul revealed, the plan we needed.  For we needed to see what the cross would make possible. That cleansed of all sin, restored and reconciled in our relationship with God

The fulfillment of the plan – we come boldly

Every plan has a final goal, a final measurement when you know the work is done.

Even those plans that seem vague, have that moment when everything becomes known, when everything becomes clear.

In this case, the plan’s goal, is stated clearly in verse 12. 

12 Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.

So now you see God’s ultimate goal, the reason for everything He has planned. 

That we would be able to confidently dwell in the presence of God.  

No fear

no guilt

No shame

no doubt

Just simply dwelling with Him, find comfort and rest in His presence, depending on Him to guide us, and take care of us.


For that is what it means to have faith, to depend on God completely, no longer hidng behind illusions, but to trust God with everything…

For He is our God


And we, we are all His people!  AMEN!

His Mysterious and Awesome Plan!

His Mysterious and Awesome Plan!

Featured imageEphesians 1:3-14

May you realize the grace of God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, the grace that reveals you are what they desired, as from before time, the manger and the cross became their plan in action!

18 times…. One Thought 

Eighteen times in the course of eleven verses, the plan of God is either mentioned directly or indirectly or the plan itself is simply reveled.

In these beginning verses of Ephesians, we are told over and over about this plan of God.

Paul wants to make sure the church in Ephesus knows that God’s mysterious plan, this awesome desire of His is made clear, that it is full revealed.

The Holy Spirit didn’t stop there, as this plan from before the foundation of world was executed, as it was completed.  As we, nearly 20 centuries later, see what God has planed and did impact our lives.

Right now, God’s plan is being revealed, and it is revealed in our lives..

18 times Paul mentions the plan….

It is that important to understand that plan for us…

Is real.

Is now….

…….And it defines who we are…..

The Amazing Plan….

We see the plan revealed with these words,

who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ

for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.

this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.

12 God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. 13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you.

The apostle Paul is explaining the reason for the manger, for the cross, for the baptismal font, for the altar from which we receive the feast of all feasts, the Lord’s Supper.

This purpose, this plan, was to reconcile everything to God the Father, as it was united to Jesus.

Paul will use the gardening/farming illustration of grafting us to Christ, of binding us to Him, for He is the source of our life.

He will use the banking illustration of reconciling us to Christ, and of redeeming us from the debt owed.  Everything we are, moved from a liability to an asset in God’s balance book.

He will talk of freeing us, and declaring us justified/righteous, judicial terms, and the medical concept of quickening – the bringing back to life.  God uses the image of the travel agent even, delivering His people into the land of milk and honey, the image looking toward the day Paul mentions in Colossians,

If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. 3  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4  When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4 (NAB)

 This is all why this exists, this plan of God to make for Himself a people, the masterpiece he will mention in chapter 2, verse 10.

A plan which no one could really understand prior to the cross, a mystery because no one could have understood that all this would be accomplished through a cross, through the violent death of God, as we killed Jesus, as God the Father raised Him from the dead.

The Amazing Reason….

If the plan for our deliverance, for our salvation, a plan put into place before the garden of Eden and is incredible and praiseworthy and glorious, there is a comment about this plan that is more astonishing.

It is mentioned a number of times as well…. The idea of bringing us home, of making us in Christ Jesus His children, is that this is His desire, this is what brings God, our creator great pleasure.

This is God’s goal for creation, it has been what the Trinity has determined to be their plan since the beginning.  God desired to adopt you Bob, and you Ben, you Carol, and you Julie.

If God had a facebook account with pictures of His kids….it would include you!

That may sound silly, (or it might cause some great concern – He’d have the most embarrassing pictures ever!)

But you are God’s adopted kids, a process that He takes the greatest joy in….

You are His, and you are the one He wanted….

Hear that again… all of this… all of Christmas….all of the symbolism, all of the decorations, all of advent and lent, Ash Wednesday, Lent, Holy Week, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost… it’s all about one thing….

God desire to make us His children, and doing what it took to make it so….

Our Reaction

That’s why this passage from Ephesians is called a doxology – an ancient song of praise.

Because God has desired this, because He has done this.

He’s made us His!

He has blessed us in a way we know is promised, and occasionally we get a glimpse of, like when someone is brought into the family of God, whether as an infant, or as someone in their 90’s.

We are amazed at such love, and we have to delight in it – we have to praise Him directly and to others… it is the reaction that comes from knowing such great love!

It is why this is all here as well – to testify, to proclaim that this love is for every person that has lived – and celebrated, for those who are living now – to come and pray here, a place for this incredible, glorious plan of God to be revealed to them, for His desire to be His children to be made known.

For all the people who live with 20 miles of this place to know the height and depth, breadth and width of God’s love, for them to rejoice and praise Him, for them to dwell in the peace we know…. For in Christ, we live in that peace, awaiting the day of His return…with Him.

AMEN?

If you are interested in hearing this sermon – you can check it out at

Every time Ya Think You Got God Figured Out…

Devotional Thought of the Day:

1  While I was still in prison in the courtyard, the LORD’S message came to me again. 2  The LORD, who made the earth, who formed it and set it in place, spoke to me. He whose name is the LORD said, 3  “Call to me, and I will answer you; I will tell you wonderful and marvelous things that you know nothing about. 4  I, the LORD, the God of Israel, say that the houses of Jerusalem and the royal palace of Judah will be torn down as a result of the siege and the attack. 5  Some will fight against the Babylonians, who will fill the houses with the corpses of those whom I am going to strike down in my anger and fury. I have turned away from this city because of the evil things that its people have done. 6  But I will heal this city and its people and restore them to health. I will show them abundant peace and security. 7  I will make Judah and Israel prosperous, and I will rebuild them as they were before. 8  I will purify them from the sins that they have committed against me, and I will forgive their sins and their rebellion. 9  Jerusalem will be a source of joy, honor, and pride to me; and every nation in the world will fear and tremble when they hear about the good things that I do for the people of Jerusalem and about the prosperity that I bring to the city.” Jeremiah 33:1-9 (TEV) 

924 You should try to have the holy shamelessness of a child who knows that his Father God always sends him what is best. That is why even when the apparently most necessary things are lacking he doesn’t worry; and with complete serenity he says: I still have the Holy Spirit and he remains with me.  (1)

There are days where I wished that God told us of the wondering and marvelous things that I know nothing about.

And then there are times I am so struggling with what He’s revealed… that I am more than willing to let the rest simply come about – as I naively and trusting in God, walk through life.

Sme of these wonderful and marvelous things take us by shock, because we do not see the big picture. like in the verses that follow in verse 4.  Hard to see the suffering and shock happen, as God strips the people of God of everything that separates them from Him.  It seems cruel, vicious, even mad for God to use Babylon’s destructive power to bear on His own people.  It can be easy to dwell on those times to be so overwhelmed that we don’t look to the promise, and trust in God’s faithfulness.  Maybe its the pain of losing a favorite sin, or some long held resentment,

But the promise is there – God will purify, God will cleanse and heal. God will restore the joy of His people in such a way it will attract people from all over the place to come and witness the restoration, and join in the praises.

Trusting in this way leads to the child like faith that Josemaria Escriva talks about – a faith that looks beyond what is necessary, a trust in God that finds one living in serenity, in incomparable peace. for you realize you are living in Christ, and the Holy Spirit dwells in you – giving you a life that goes beyond what is necessary – giving you a life with God.

So when God throws you a curve ball…and you find youself playing basketball..on ice…in a scuba gear…before 250,000 people…

Relax… He got it all under control..

And it is wonderful and marvelous – for the Lord is with you!

(1)  Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 3257-3260). Scepter PublisThhers. Kindle Edition.

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