What Are You Expecting? – Ephesians 3

In the book of ephesians paul wrote a letter to explain who we are and what we have in Christ at the time in history that paul wrote this letter Christians were on the run they had no rights they were in great danger paul actually wrote this letter while on house arrest in rome and despite his circumstances paul wrote to the church in ephesus describing the fullness and richness of life in Christ the letter to the ephesians explained what it meant to be in Christ to be the church the body of Christ paul knew that if the ephesians understood who they were and began to live in Christ the world would never be the same the same can be true for our church today if we understand what it means to live in Christ to be the church our city and our world would never be the same Good morning! Welcome! If you are new here among us my name is Gene and I serve here at C3 Church as your lead pastor. If you’re tuning in from somewhere else, welcome to somewhere else I’m excited to be continuing in our series on the book of Ephesians. Today we find ourselves in chapter three, the third part out of a six part series. Today we will be looking at the mystery that is the gospel Revealed in Jesus Christ written about by Paul and spoken about by us this morning, shared with everyone. We’ll see that what we believe about the gospel lets us know what we should be expecting Who likes pizza? All right, we got some pizza on the way from Palumbos today, so after the service if you want to have a slice or maybe two with me Let’s eat some pizza! Sorry I like pizza a lot I only get it on Sundays. Now last week, if you’re following along with us or you were here, I talked about crazy people Talked a little bit about crazy people. I told you that this is not my first rodeo or circus. Anyway, because I come from the martial arts industry. That is what my wife Heather and I did in our previous lives. I told you about this in the past and when I described it to you I told you guys you ought to not think of it like “karate.” We didn’t do any swatting around at the air, breaking boards or any of that kind of stuff It was mixed martial arts so Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which is like a very very important part of mixed martial arts, you kind of got to know it Cage fighting and indeed when you went into our gyms they were not called “dojos.” When you went into the gyms you would see a cage, a cage in there and so people would get in the cage and fight. That’s what it was all about Crazy right? You deal with a lot of crazy people, in fact when people asked me in the past what I used to do I would often say “I’m a zookeeper.” it’s all about keeping the animals in their respective cages, right? So that’s what the whole thing was really all about. Especially, especially on certain events when you have parties and things like that You have to be careful which animals you let out of the cages I told you about Heather’s epic texting disaster When she was trying to keep certain animals away from other animals on New Year’s. So she texted one to assure that one that someone else wouldn’t be there and she sent it to someone else. Bad, bad news So that kind of thing has been likened to letting toothpaste out of the tube You can’t get it back in. What you say, what comes out of your mouth you can’t put back in your mouth and make the person forget you said it or texted it, right? So we talked about having designated texters and things like “should I send this?” “Nope, no you shouldn’t.” it’s good idea to check right? Now, pastor Wayne our overseer. Before

he retired from the lead pastor position and put me in charge of all you animals, he liked to do object lessons. So if he were doing this message today I can assure you that there’d probably be a tube of toothpaste right here And what would happen, this was his specialty, he’d be talking but probably nobody was listening Everybody was just looking at the tube of toothpaste waiting to see what he was going to do with it, and at the right moment ♪squeeze♪ it’s all over the place I don’t like cleaning so I don’t do these types of things. I don’t want to torture my staff so we’ll leave the toothpaste out. Now, if you remember from way back when in our old building when we were schizophrenic, we had a traditional service and a whole other room for the modern service A whole other space, spaces are important right? You remember an object lesson. Remember way back when that he did in both of the spaces So for some context I want to show you this video you just got to see it for yourself It’s in the traditional worship service, just so you understand, at our old building. We had a modern one kind of look like this and a traditional one and it’s on the topic of gossip Saying things you can’t take back. Just watch Let me tell you a story There once was a woman who spent all afternoon gossiping with a friend about a man and things she knew nothing about. That night she had a dream and in her dream a great hand appeared in the sky pointing down at her Well she woke up incredibly guilty, feeling horrible. So this woman decided to go down to the church and there she met the old irish priest: Father O’Rourke She told father O’Rourke everything that had happened. The gossip, everything, the hand and she asked him these questions. She says “Father, was that the hand of Almighty God pointing a finger at me? Have I committed sin? Did I do something wrong? Tell me! Should I be asking your absolution for my actions?” Father O’Rourke replied “Aye lassie. Yes you have sinned! You have sinned You’re foolish and badly brought up female You are guilty of the sin of gossip You have played fast and loose with a man and his reputation. You have born false witness against your neighbor and you ought to be heartily, heartily ashamed of yourself.” so the woman said “Gee I’m sorry Will you absolve me?” “not so fast!” says Father O’Rourke “I want you to go home and I want you to take a pillow off of your bed, go to the kitchen and get the knife and climb up upon your roof And I want you to gut the pillow on top of your roof and then come back and see me.” well the woman did as she was asked, she went home, she took a pillow off of her bed, and she took a knife from the kitchen, she climbed up on the roof, where it was windy, she stabbed the pillow, and she did as the man and told her to do

And she went back and she saw Father O’Rourke and he said “Did you do what I told you?” She said “Yes, Father” and he said “what was the result?” “Feathers Father.””Feathers?” he says. “Yes father, feathers feathers everywhere!” and he said “now I want you to go back home, and I want you to gather up every last feather.” she said ” Father it can’t be done! The wind took the feathers everywhere!” and he said “Lassie that is the sin of gossip.” We were finding feathers in that building until we left it. They probably find them in there now, the church that is there Probably ssaying “there’s angels in here.” “No, no that’s just Wayne.” So I’m gonna pre-answer a couple of questions for you right out the gate. You’re naturally going to ask them Answer to the first one is no I will not be wearing a suit on Sunday mornings Question number two also no, no fire in the worship service we’re not going to light candles or anything like that. So if you’re like a traditional pyromaniac you’re going to be kind of upset. Sorry not sorry. Anyway, here’s the point Once you say something you cannot take it back Now there’s that, then there’s the mother of all toothpaste statements I wonder have you ever done something like I’ve done, way worse than what heather did Have you ever asked a woman when her due date is but she’s not expecting? That’s bad, I’ve learned it’s best to let them do the reveal. Just saying. If she’s expecting there’s something she really wants to do, she wants to be the one to do it She wants to tell everybody about it People like the gender reveal. They get really excited about those things Except only children My daughter Sophie, she’s an only child She stayed that way for a reason because when we floated the idea about having another child to her, she was what five, six? Four! This was her response “if, if you have another baby I’ll sell it on Ebay for a dollar.” that happened. As it pertains to asking a woman if she’s expecting I’ve learned it’s better to let her reveal the mystery Just some advice for you guys but they’ll eventually have to because it’ll become obvious, right? Today we’ll be talking about God’s big reveal Paul talks about the mystery of Christ hidden until the right time. Now, Ephesians contains some awkward chapter breaks. I’ve told you in the past that there were no numbers in these original versions. They were added way way later just for reference purposes and so here we run into kind of an awkward break Five and six there’s going to be another kind of awkward break. So I suggest to you guys as always read them straight through. We just do chapter by chapter because we’ve only got a certain amount of time, unless you want to be here all day then I’m fine with that too but you might get hungry and you might smell the pizza out there so we’ll just keep it to about an hour. It’s a continuation of a thought At the end of chapter two he’s talking

about being united in one body, the Jews and the Gentiles, the temple of the Lord then he says when I think about this in the first verse of chapter three he’s talking about what he said in chapter two He then writes about the unity between the Jews and Gentiles, that it was God’s plan from the beginning and then he says this Ephesians 3 verse 8 though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, He graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God the Creator of all things had kept secret from the beginning Part of that plan that Paul is immediately writing about is the Jews and the Gentiles. That they would become one new people united in Christ. We talked about this unity it’s a big theme in Ephesians Through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, that’s the important part. Now in the sister letter to Ephesians, Colossians I told you they’re very very similar, Paul talks about his responsibility there as well and look what he says about it Colossians 1 starting at verse 25 God has given me the responsibility of serving His church by proclaiming His entire message to you. This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past but now it has been revealed to God’s people. For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you gentiles too and this is the secret: Christ lives in you This gives you assurance of sharing his glory A mystery, a secret, look what he says in chapter two Starting at verse two of Colossians I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan which is Christ Himself In Him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge The wisdom of God is in this mysterious plan that is the gospel Now if you’re familiar and if you’ve been around on Easter you know that I go over first Corinthians chapter 15. Why? Because it’s mainly about the gospel, about the resurrection and that’s what Easter is all about. But as my mind was going ahead of my mouth Paul succinctly outlines the gospel right in the beginning there. Really, really important. So it is that Jesus died on a cross according to the scriptures Was buried and on the third day He rose again, the resurrection. Really, really important, in fact it’s pivotal to our faith. He says our faith is worthless without this resurrection. Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to witnesses, 500 people, the 12 apostles and Paul too So we get the gospel basics there This is what is interesting at the beginning of the letter though, in the first chapter Paul talks about the reception of the gospel in this way 1 Corinthians 1 starting at verse 18 the message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God as the scriptures say “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.” so where does this leave the philosophers the scholars and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know Him through human wisdom. He has used our foolish preaching about the gospel to save those who believe It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven and it is foolish to the Greeks who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified the Jews are offended and theGentiles say it’s all nonsense. But to those called by God to salvation both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God This “foolish” plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans. And God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength Paul continues with some reasoning behind why it was kept a mystery 1 Corinthians 2 starting at verse 7 no the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God His plan that was previously hidden even though He made it for our ultimate glory before the world began But the rulers of this world have not understood it. If they had they would not have crucified our glorious Lord Interesting foolishness to the world but the wisdom of God. Paul’s mission is to continue revealing this mystery. So the question is

now that this mystery has been revealed to us are we going to keep it secret or are we going to reveal it? Through us God continues to reveal this mystery and it’s best, like a pregnant woman, if it grows within us. It becomes obvious We begin showing so that it reveals itself, if we hadn’t already, with words. Is it obvious by our actions? Is it obvious that we’re expecting something? We should choose to reveal it in celebration but if it is in us it will eventually become obvious. Remember Paul’s prayers in Ephesians okay. Woven throughout the letter, quite beautifully actually Check this out in chapter 3. Ephesians 3 14 When I think of all of this I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in Heaven and on Earth. I pray that from His glorious unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through his spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand all God’s people as all God’s people should how wide how long how high and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ though it is too great to understand fully Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God So through knowing the love of Christ and the Holy Spirit residing in us, we are empowered to share our expectations Are you expecting? If so what are you expecting? Colossians 1:3 we always pray for you and we give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all God’s people. Which come from our confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the good news If you are in Christ, if you know Jesus you should be expecting heaven Now I’m going to give you a little spoiler alert We’re going to go to the end of the book Now some people have asked me “when are we going to do a series on Revelation?” and I say “when are you going to read the Old Testament?” and then they stop asking me all right? You don’t start at the end of the book But listen I’m going to give you something to look forward to. We’re going to be going to Hebrews next. It’s not about coffee I told you that We’re going to be using it as a lens by which to look into the Old Testament. If you’re familiar with Hebrews you know it’s got a lot of Old Testament in it a whole lot, like almost half the thing Old Testament scripture So it’s going to be a good window and then we’re going to do the Old Testament We’ve got a really cool series coming up at the top of the year, it’s really going to be exciting “The rest of the story” kind of cool Anyway this is Revelation. We’re going to the end, second to last chapter. Context this is a prophecy about Jesus coming back, yes He’s coming back About the end times if you will and heaven Let’s take a look at it revelation 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared and the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city the new Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne saying “look God’s home is now among His people and He will live with them and they will be His people GodHimself will be with them And He will wipe every tear from their eyes and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain All these things are gone forever.” and the one sitting on the throne said “Look I am making everything new!” and then he said to me “write this down for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” and He also said “it is finished I am the alpha and the omega. The beginning and the end To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings

and I will be their God and they will be My children That, that is what those who are in Christ should be expecting Now remember I told you in the martial arts industry I dealt with a lot of crazy people, but I think we can admit that there are different kinds of crazy, right? Like different types of crazy. I haven’t sat down and tried to like make a list but not everybody’s like caged animal kind of crazy And if we’re telling the truth we’re all a little bit crazy in our own way And if you know me I like when people let it out I like crazy people, that’s why I do this But we all have a little crazy in us right? So It’s common. In martial arts not everybody is that caged animal type of crazy There’s different degrees I got a call from one of my friends last week from the martial arts industry and he’s not that caged animal kind of crazy He’s a really interesting dude his name is Ray and Ray is a PI. As I was going through the message and talking about him with Heather, I was trying to describe right. I was like “is it like Magnum PI?” like the original the cool one with the mustache she’s like “no no no Ray is like the guy Liam Neeson plays in the movie Taken.” and then every single Liam Neeson movie after that, right? It works right? That’s Ray, he’s like the real life version without the accent so maybe he’s not as cool But but he has a special set of skills and he can and will find you. He’s a very interesting character he’s not like a fighter, not that kind of martial artist he’s more like a samurai Like that he lives by that bushido code bushido bushido code He’s like that he really does. He lives by this code I really like I wouldn’t describe him as like a real Christian guy but like a samurai. Real serious dude, interesting, a dying breed. You might be interested to know that samurai comes from saburai which means servant so you can think of it like a deacon with a sword Interesting well Ray called me last week for a specific reason He asked me to be with him during the most important time of his life. Ray asked me to pastor him through the last days of his life here on earth Ray is coming to the end of his fight with cancer God must be writing these sermons Remember I told you last week before the phone call that I read Ecclesiastes a lot and there was a reasoning behind that. I didn’t share the verses with you, but a pastor friend of mine when I first got ordained, might have been on the day I got ordained, he quoted some verses from Ecclesiastes And I didn’t know them I didn’t like that So I started reading Ecclesiastes a lot these are the verses and keep this in mind in light of what I’m telling you and what happened immediately after I mentioned it Ecclesiastes 7:2 better to spend your time at funerals than at parties After all, everyone dies. So the living should take this to heart Sorrow is better than laughter for sadness has a refining influence on us. A wise person thinks a lot about death while a fool thinks only about having a good time So the important question is what is Rayy expecting? That’s what comes to mind immediately as soon as I got the news. It’s what it’s all about Now if you think that the gospel is foolishness to the world, imagine to a warrior Think about it. Try getting a martial artist comfortable with this idea that God would come here and die, surrender Die on a cross. Try getting this warrior comfortable with that idea Giving up to a fighter

that’s what you train your whole life not to do Don’t want to surrender it’s foreign it does not compute When you tap out you lose or if you’re samurai like Ray you die It’s a foreign concept it’s foolishness to the world and even more to a warrior Have you ever I wonder seen the meme or the t-shirt that said “Jesus didn’t tap.” it’s not true! He did! That’s the whole point, that’s the very foolishness that Paul is talking about He gave up his life This is the very core of the gospel message and that phone call All that’s going on through my head that’s it. It’s urgent it’s the very core of pastoral work and it’s the very core of every single ministry in the church That’s it. This is what it all boils down to, it’s where the rubber meets the road So don’t care if you’re feeding people, watching the kids, singing on the worship team. We need to get people to the gospel or it was just feeding people, it was just watching kids, and it was just singing That’s it. So when this happens this is it. It’s what it’s all about The gospel, there’s an urgency to that ministry an urgency Very important, so if you don’t know it already, you weren’t paying attention before I want to share the basics of the gospel with you, so that you too can share it with others Jesus is God. Came here in human form. Laid aside some of his divine privileges although always God. Man and God, died on a cross according to the scriptures for the forgiveness of sins He took your place, died the death that you deserve Yes the gospel is very offensive Then died, buried, rose from the dead proving he was God According to the scriptures and also so that we we may have hope in eternal life. We too will rise from the dead in Christ Jesus That’s the core of the thing. Now that this great mystery has been revealed to you if you believe it in your mind and in your heart, you too should have great expectations. Amen? Peace be with you dear brothers and sisters and may God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you love with faithfulness May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Christ Jesus Amen