Ephesians – The mystery of His will
“… having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,” Ephesians 1:9
The people of Ephesus were dear to the Apostle Paul. He spent a lot of time there, at one point basically renting a room and teaching for over two years. People came and went, and the good news of Jesus was spread throughout Asia Minor. In fact, back in Acts 19:10 it says that during this time, “All who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews, and Greeks.”
Later, in the midst of a trip, he called for the Ephesians elders to come to meet with him and he spoke very personally to them, warning them of false teachers that would come, and sharing with them that they likely wouldn’t see him again. They prayed and wept, expressing their love for one another. Acts 20:17-38
Then, when Paul was in Rome under house arrest, he wrote to his dear friends in Ephesus and systematically answers the BIG question, the mystery, the thing everyone wants to know. It is a question that comes in many forms, "Why am I here?" "What is truth?" "Is there a God?" "What is the meaning of life?" "What is God's will?"
Have you ever whispered something like this in the quietness of your room or maybe shouted at the top of your lungs when everything seemed to be going against you? Sure. Because sometimes we feel desperate and need something to hold on to. We cry out with one question leading to another and always coming down to this, "What is God's will?"
The answer to life's biggest questions was formulated in the mind of God before the foundation of the world. Then year after year and generation after generation, His plan was put in place and the very history of the world began moving toward its revelation. Prophets hinted at it. Historical events symbolized it. And in the fullness of time, God unveiled it.
The mystery of God's will, in a word, is Christ.
Jesus Christ, God the Son, God incarnate, Emmanuel, is Lord and Messiah. By His life, sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection, He has once and for all conquered sin and death, restoring what was forfeited by the original humans – restoring the life of the world. Everything in creation that was lost to sin, now redeemed and made new.
Christ removed the distinctions between people and restored the community of mankind in the Church, His body. For in Christ all are one, a tapestry of brilliant color that encompasses the world. Jesus hinted at the mystery when He told his disciples that "One that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you." John 14:20.
Jesus will dwell in an individual person by the presence of God the Holy Spirit in their heart, and that person, all followers of Christ, would, in turn, dwell in Christ. Spiritually our lives are 'hidden with Christ in God," Colossians 3:3. And physically, we are each a part of His Body, dwelling by faith in the mystical, universal, yet local and identifiable, Body of Christ – the Church.
There is a debate in modern culture as to whether the local church is important anymore, if it is relevant. Technology has made all the 'services' of the church, like teaching, preaching, worship, available with the tap of a smartphone screen – why drive across town and 'attend' one more thing? We are so busy, after all.
But notice, the church isn't an assortment of spiritual services that you can take or leave, the church is something else entirely and part of the mystery of Christ. Those buildings are just gathering places. Where God is truly building something is among us, in our midst, both locally and globally.
"in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit." 2:21-22"
God is building a dwelling place for Himself. Not in a building made of stone, but in a building not made with hands, a people, redeemed and clothed in the righteousness of Christ.
Think for a moment about heaven. What do you imagine it will be like? Living in the presence and loving mercy of God Almighty, the victorious Jesus, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Life and Truth. Will there be strife? Will there be division? Will children go unwanted, unloved, or abused? Will widows go without? Will young people be abandoned? No, no, no and no. In heaven no one will be left behind, for all are loved and all are one.
This is what God is doing here on earth. Now. This is the Mystery of His will. The Kingdom of God – on earth as it is in heaven.
Dear one, Jesus is the answer. We are living in the culmination of society and culture. These are the days when God is moving in power through His dwelling place in the Spirit – the Church. Don't be a spectator, don't be a loner. Open your eyes and your heart and watch as God reveals the mystery of His will in our generation. There is a special place reserved for you to be part of the miracle. Step in.