On Nov 23, 2014, Pastor Darin preached a sermon from Eph 3:1-11, The Unsearchable Riches of Christ. In this text, the apostle Paul addresses the tension between the Gentiles and the Jews, fueled by the Jews thinking that that God was only interested in bringing redemption to them. They didn’t understand the purposes of God to bring salvation to both Jew and Gentile. But our text speaks about how God in His own time revealed His plan of redemption that was centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ, and how the riches of His salvation would be lavished on people from every walk of life. So, the main idea of the sermon was that God progressively reveals His unspeakable riches toward you in Christ. 3 points:
1. God hides things until he deems it best to reveal them.
a. In vv. 5-9 Paul says that a central element of the Gospel that had been hidden—that salvation in Christ extends even to the Gentiles—has now been made known. This idea of God’s hiding and revealing things is not unusual. In Luke 10, Jesus tells the 72 he sent out not to rejoice that spirits are subject to them, but that their names were written in heaven (because they believed in Jesus). Jesus then rejoiced that God had hidden such knowledge about who He was, and revealed it to whomever He wanted. Dig deeper: God controls what to reveal, when to reveal it, and to whom He wants to reveal His truth. We don’t dictate to God, He dictates to us.
b. God calls us to live in light of the revelation He has given us. Example: Job. He didn’t have all the details, but acted on what he knew. Dig deeper: Deut 29:29 says the “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us…” Don’t concern yourself with what only God can know—it’s none of your business. Focus on what He has clearly revealed to you in the Scriptures and live your life in light of it.
2. Why God hides things:
a. v. 10 – these things were hidden so that the manifold (multicolored, or multilayered) wisdom of God might now be made known. God’s wisdom and how He deals with us is multicolored/multilayered.
b. Objection: if God was good, He would do “X”. This misses the point that God’s wisdom is beyond ours, and His plan for our lives is complex. He reveals what He wants at the right time for His pleasure to display His wisdom.
c. We sometimes might ask “why”? Jesus also asked why on the cross. But His question was asked in faith as He quoted Ps. 22, recognizing that He was being forsaken to accomplish our redemption by bearing the curse we deserved.
d. Dig deeper: We can ask why, but we may never know the answer until we get to heaven. So, trust God! God is not interested in simply giving us information. He wants us to experience things. Life is a journey and He wants us to learn to trust him: "God writes very good stories. Don't be surprised when your life experiences plot complication." - Sam Andreades
3. The content of what God has hidden
a. Verses 6, 8, 11 - God keeps his purpose hidden to create a community of people who have received His grace, not on the basis of anything in them, so that they discover more of the unsearchable riches of Christ. Dig deeper: The journey of the Christian life is to know and be changed by the unfolding of God’s richest toward you in Christ. How? Through all that God brings into your life, prayer, your service to others and theirs to you, and God’s Word.
b. Verse 12– We have boldness before God in Christ. This boldness means we can speak freely—it is a sensitive candor which is a sign of true friendship. Through Christ our High Priest who died for our sins on the cross, we now approach God not on the basis of ritualism, but through faith in Christ, our mediator. We have permission now the speak freely. Dig Deeper: Read Rom 8:15. We are no longer slaves (to sin, death, and Satan), but sons of God! Praise God for His grace toward you in delivering your from slavery to sin and making you a son/daughter!
c. God creates people who want to relate to Him as a Father. This is what Christ came to purchase for you through His work on the cross. Dig deeper: If you feel like you are too sinful to pray, or to come to church, etc., then you don’t understand this truth. Christ has purchased a relationship with God for you. God now wants you to see and take hold of by faith the progressive unfolding of His richest toward us in Christ.
d. It is hard to appreciate the riches of Christ if you are going through hard circumstances. But in v. 13 we see that when you receive Christ and His riches, you receive a calling worth suffering for. We are called for things worth suffering for as bondservants: voluntary servants. Dig deeper: reflect upon and sing the hymn When I Survey The Wondrous Cross: http://hymnbook.igracemusic.com/hymns/when-i-survey-the-wondrous-cross-traditional .
e. In v 10 we see that God’s wisdom is made known through the church (God’s people—me and you!) to the ruler and authorities in heavenly places. There is a cosmic battle/dialogue concerning you. Like Job, God wants to bring you to a place of worship and understanding of God that you never new before. Dig deeper: Read Rev 5:9-10. This manifold wisdom revealed through the church on display to these cosmic powers is the wonders of the cross in saving people from all over the world—and if you have received Christ, you are a part of that!
What are you living for? God is at work in your life because God wants to bring you into Technicolor understanding of who He is and the glories of the Gospel as you look upon Christ and live by faith in Him.