In 2009 the movie Sherlock Holmes came out. It received mixed reviews, but I loved it (don’t judge me). The reason why I loved the movie so much was because of the mystery Holmes and Watson were solving. And throughout the movie, the director would give small hints to the audience so they could also try to solve the mystery too. It was great, but the best part of the movie was the ending, when all the clues came together and the mystery was finally solved. People love a good mystery, but what they love most is being the one who solves it, and saves the day! I don’t believe I’m too far off by saying life can be one big mystery. We never know what’s going to happen to us one hour from now. Sure we can make speculations on what could happen, but in the end, we won’t know until the hour arrives and a new mystery begins. I’ll be honest and admit, there are some mysteries that will never be solved, and sadly, those are the mysteries we seem to painstakingly live our lives by. However, there are many of life’s mysteries that do have answers, if we’re willing to accept them, and in Ephesians 3:1-13, Paul gives an answer to one of life’s greatest mysteries: God’s purpose for the Gentiles.
For the last two chapters in Ephesians, Paul has been writing to the believers in Ephesus explaining to them their new found access to Christ. Now he has come to a point in his letter to comfort them because he is under house arrest. Paul had a special relationship with the believers at Ephesus, and evidently, the believers were feeling incredibly discouraged because Paul is suffering for sharing the Gospel all around the world, which they were a part of. So in order to comfort the believers, Paul shares the work Christ called him to do: sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the the Gentiles. Yet, Paul doesn’t stop there, and he continues to explain is work is so significant because it gives an answer for God’s mysterious plan for the Gentiles: to incorporate them as fellow heirs of the promise given to Israel (v.1-6). Now this isn’t anything new because Israel was already supposed to be bringing the Gentiles to God; however, if you read my last post, you would understand the Gentiles were never fully integrated into the Nation of Israel because of the many barriers that were put into place. Now the Gentiles are fully made one with the Jews because Christ has made all, who believe in him, citizens of the Nation of Heaven (2:18-19). I find it incredibly awesome that the way Paul comforts his brothers and sisters is by reinforcing their stance in Christ, and not by saying, “I’m doing ok.”
In verses 7-13, Paul continues to write about his calling, and how humble he is to be used by God to “bring to light” the answer to this amazing mystery. He further continues by writing the calling God placed on his life is not for him alone, but is actually the calling of the Church to continue revealing this answer to this great mystery to everyone (v.9-10)! The calling of the Church has been fulfilled through Christ, and because of the fulfillment, we can boldly proclaim God’s purpose for everyone, since we are confident of our faith in him (v.11-12). So Paul ends verse 13 by telling the church at Ephesus not to “lose heart” over his suffering for them, because he is suffering for a cause that is changing the course of mankind for the better. I think its safe to say, Paul would rather spend a lifetime being bound in chains, than being a free man, who never received the calling to share God’s love to all the nations.
When I think about answers to mysteries, and God’s eternal purpose for the Church, I know why church matters, because it provides the answer to one of life’s greatest mystery: “why was I created?” I believe the reason why we are all created is to be fellow heirs in Christ, and partakers of the promise of eternal life (3:6). God has created all of us to know his great love, to share it with others, and to experience true life during our time on earth and when we go to Heaven. This purpose is what we are all called to do, and I believe when we’re willing to let this be our life purpose, everything else will fall into place. In my opinion, this is what Christ is talking about when says “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33). Furthermore, I believe our churches should be doing everything they can do to provide more answers than questions. I understand there are some things we will never know, but I also believe God has provided us with the answers to our basic human necessities that go deep down into the core of who we are, and our purpose as a church is to provide God’s answers. It is theses answers to those mysteries that should drive us, not the ones we will never know. So if you’re searching for your life purpose, all I can ask you to do is try Jesus, you maybe surprised to what you will find.