Paul said that God had commissioned him and the other apostles to make known the “mystery” which was hidden to the prophets of old but has now been revealed. What was that mystery? What is the practical meaning of that to us today? A mystery is something that is hidden. This mystery was hidden from the Old Testament prophets, but now has been revealed. The mystery that Paul was commissioned to reveal is that now the full grace of God has been made available to both Jews and Gentiles in one body. Full access into the riches of God’s grace was opened up to every person through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, and the administration (or fellowship) of this grace is experienced in what is known as the church. Today we want to focus on “the unsearchable riches of Christ” that we may avail fully of this grace for the purpose and glory of God.
In writing to the Ephesian Church, Paul said that God had reconciled Jews and Gentiles in one body. There was no more distinction, and in that context He is fitting us together as a Temple of God. What does that mean to you and me in practical terms? We refer to the church as “The Body of Christ” and “The Temple of God.” and rightly so. But the deeper meaning of those terms often escapes us. In Ephesians chapter 2 Paul seeks to give us some understanding of the significance of what God has done in Christ. An increasing comprehension (revelation) of what God has provided for us in Christ forms the vision that should control us as we work out the details of God’s purpose for us in everyday life.
Paul said he laid Christ as the foundation of God’s building. To build properly on that foundation we must also build according to Christ. To do this we must have supernatural revelation of Christ from God. How do we get this revelation? The building of God is all spiritual. It cannot be done with natural understanding. This leaves us on our knees before God for spiritual insight that only He can give. Within that revelation of Christ is the light we need to walk in to be effective in our labor for God’s purpose and glory.
When writing to the Corinthian church Paul said that he had laid a foundation as a wise master builder. What was the foundation that Paul laid? If we are going to build properly we need to have a clear revelation of that foundation. We are continuing today on the subject of “Building in God” and are using the account of the beginning and growth of the Ephesian assembly as our outline. We have in the first three chapters of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians the foundation of the gospel he preached and the revelation truth of the church as the structure within which God is building today. The foundation is Jesus Christ, but what does that mean? We want to try to answer that question in some degree.
The truth that we need is not always spelled out in the scriptures in a detailed outline. Many times it is given to us by the record of God’s working in the past. The foundation and growth of the Ephesian church is an example of that. Let us learn from this account. We continue today on the subject of “Building in God” by considering the beginning and growth of the Ephesian assembly. In many ways, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is the most complete instruction that we have regarding the plan of God for achieving His eternal goal in our time. This letter was written from prison and is likely a summary of what he taught those believers for a period of three years when he laid the foundation. He had to condense three years into a relatively short letter, but our task is to “unpack” the truth in this letter and apply it to our situation by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit.