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SPEAKING BOLDLY THE MYSTERY
Victor M. Eskew
A. Our text for this lesson comes from Ephesians 6:19.
And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel.
B. This text is at the conclusion of the section known as “The Gospel Armor.”
1. Once the armor is on we have an obligation.
2. The obligation is not to stand in a corner and look good in our armor.
3. The obligation is to “Speak Boldly the Mystery.”
C. In this lesson, I want us to look at four points covered by the apostle in Ephesians 6:19.
I. THE ACTION: Speak
A. Paul does not use the word “speak” in this verse.
B. He does use two other statements.
a. Strong (3056): something said
b. Thayer: speech, a word uttered by a living voice, what is declared, the act of speaking
2. Open my mouth
C. The gospel can be communicated in two ways.
1. By one’s life
a. I Peter 3:1-2
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
b. This method of communicating the gospel communicates the beauty of the message.
1) Others are able to see transformation from the old man to the new man.
2) Others are able to see Jesus Christ being lived in our lives.
3) Others are able to see what joy, peace, and hope mean in the life of the saved.
c. This method of communicating the gospel will only go so far.
2. Ultimately, the gospel must be communicated by speaking the words of truth to another person.
a. I Thessalonians 2:4
But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
b. This method of communicating the gospel communicates the body of the message.
D. We find numerous examples of people speaking in the first century.
1. To the Jews on Pentecost (Acts 2:4)
2. Peter spoke to the household of Cornelius (Acts 10:32)
3. Paul spoke to the women by the river outside of Philippi (Acts 16:13).
4. Paul spoke to the Philippian jailor and his household (Acts 16:32)
5. Paul spoke freely before Festus (Acts 26:25-26)
E. When we speak we need to speak just as they did.
1. We need to speak words of truth and soberness (Acts 26:25)
2. We need to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15).
3. We need to speak the things which become sound doctrine (Tit. 2:1)
4. We need to speak and exhort and rebuke with all authority (Tit. 2:15).
5. We need to speak as the oracles of God (I Pet. 4:11).
II. THE ADVERB: Boldly
A. Paul says: “…that I may open my mouth boldly…”
B. The word “boldly” is the New Testament word for “courage.”
1. Strong (3954): all out spokenness, frankness, bluntness, assurance
2. Thayer: freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech, free and fearless confidence, openly, frankly, without concealment
3. Vine: plainly, the absence of fear in speaking
C. We have numerous examples of those who spoke boldly.
1. In Jerusalem, Paul spoke boldly after Barnabas testified on his behalf (Acts 9:29).
2. In Iconium, Barnabas and Paul spoke boldly for a long time in that city (Acts 14:3).
3. Paul reminded the church at Thessalonians: “…we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention” (I Thess. 2:2).
4. One of my favorite texts on boldness is found in I Corinthians 2:1-5.
And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
D. Two thoughts:
1. Boldness does not authorize meanness.
2. Boldness is often accused of being mean and unloving.
E. This teaching about bold preaching would be preached by most preachers, but not all preachers will preach boldly.
1. There is one church.
2. Baptism is for the remission of sins.
3. Repentance comes before baptism.
4. Modest apparel is commanded by God.
5. God commands respect for leaders.
6. Man must worship in spirit and in truth
7. The church is commanded to withdraw from the disorderly.
8. Homosexuality is sin.
9. Abortion is murder.
10. Fornication is the only scriptural reason for divorce and remarriage.
F. According to Acts 4:13, a mark that you have been with Jesus involves one’s ability to speak with boldness.
III. THE AFFIRMATION: The Mystery of the Gospel
A. Paul wanted to boldly make known the mystery of the gospel.
B. In chapter 3 of Ephesians, Paul explained exactly what this “mystery” is.
1. It was something that had been hidden in times past, but “is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (Eph. 3:5).
2. In Ephesians 3:6, he summarizes exactly what the mystery is.
That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.
a. The mystery can be summed up in two simple words: “the church.”
b. Jesus came and purchased the church with His blood (Acts 20:28).
c. In this holy body, God would place all of the saved, both Jews and Gentiles (Eph. 2:15, 17).
C. It is difficult for us to imagine how much opposition the apostles faced as they spread the message about the mystery of the gospel.
1. The Jews
a. Jesus is the Son of God and is both Christ and Lord.
b. The Old Covenant has been replaced with the New Covenant.
c. Circumcision is no longer an essential.
d. The priesthood has changed.
e. The temple is no longer the place of worship.
f. The Jews are no longer the people of God.
g. Gentiles can now be children of God as well.
2. The Gentiles
a. There is an invisible, living God.
b. God sent His Son to shed His blood for the forgiveness of sins.
c. All of your temples are vain.
d. You must give up your devotions and mystical books.
e. You must repent of your worldliness and carnality.
f. You must obey the gospel.
g. God is going to unite you in one body with the Jews.
3. The Romans
a. Jesus is the only King who is to be worshipped.
b. Your citizenship in heaven is more important than your Roman citizenship.
c. There is a superior kingdom that exists that is not of this world.
d. You must obey the gospel of Jesus Christ.
e. You will be united with the Jews and Gentiles in the church.
D. To preach this message to all men would certainly take much courage.
1. At times, it would be difficult to do.
2. At times, the minister of the gospel might want to remain silent.
IV. THE ASSISTANCE: Pray…for me
A. In this text, Paul specifically asks the Ephesian Christians to pray for him (Eph. 6:18-20).
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds; that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
B. Paul knew there was power in prayer. He knew that intercession from others on his behalf would be of great benefit to him.
C. Exactly how God would fulfill this prayer, I do not know. I just know that Paul wanted them to pray that he would be bold.
D. This needs to be the prayer of every member of the church
1. For their local preacher. Then, when he is bold, rather than getting angry, you ought to thank God that their prayers were answered.
2. For the elders of the church. They are men to labor in word and deed. They are men who are to be “apt,” that is, “skillful in teaching.
3. For missionaries. They are in difficult positions, often by themselves. They have to speak boldly, sometime with much opposition.
4. For self, as we go out into the world and have opportunities to speak to others about the mystery of the gospel of Christ.
A. The message of the gospel of Christ is designed to be spoken (Acts 8:35).
B. The message involves the “mystery” of the gospel, the church (Eph. 3:8-11).
C. It must be preached boldly, that is, frankly and fearlessly (Acts 4:13).
D. And, every child of God needs to pray to God that this is done by every minister of the gospel of Christ (Eph. 6:19).