Today we are starting the second week of our Hope is Here Bible study. This study of Ephesians was originally developed for my church, The Father’s House, as a compliment to the Hope is Here message series this August. Check out http://www.tfhny.org for message videos and more information.
Day 6 – The Mystery of the Gospel
As we continue on our “Hope is Here” journey this week, our reading brings us to a passage that is the essence of the gospel, the good news, of Jesus Christ. We find in the first verse today that Paul is writing this letter from a prison cell and is, in his own words, “suffering” for the sake of the gospel. Yet, in spite of his circumstances, Paul’s words are infused with peace and joy. He is speaking words of hope and encouragement to those who choose to follow Jesus.
Paul writes of the gospel as a bit of a mystery, expressing that it is amazing how God chooses to extend grace and the invitation of hope in life through Jesus to everyone who would choose to follow Him. As you read, be looking for how Paul, in spite of personal difficulties, is choosing to focus on the grace of God with an unrelenting desire to share this message with those he has influenced.
READ – Ephesians 3:1-13 (ESV)
1 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 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. 6 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. 7 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. 8 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, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.
REFLECT – Take a moment to answer the following questions in a journal or the notes app on your phone.
- Question 1: What, according to Paul, is the “mystery of Christ?” (hint: check out verse 6)
- Question 2: How does our understanding of the gospel help us be a better neighbor to those around us?
- Question 3: How does the fact that Paul is writing this from a prison cell affect my perspective of being hopeful in the face of difficulties?
RESPOND – Think about a person in your life that you have influence with, a “neighbor” who you can show love to this week as an expression of the hope provided by Jesus. Who is that person, and what can you do to express hope to them this week?
- Sign up to serve our neighbors around the city on the Day of Hope
- Bring a friend to church this coming Sunday
- Share what you learned from today’s study with a friend
Leave a comment in the space below and share what you have discovered as you read this passage today.