- From the Cedar Street Times, Pacific Grove
What does God say about the mystery of Christ?
The Jews knew the Messiah was coming, Dan 9:25, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” But, they did not recognize Him, Jn 4:25-26, “The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.” Jesus told them he would be resurrected, but they chose to misunderstand, Jn 2:19-21, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.” Paul explains the mystery of His will, which helps us understand that the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice will save all who believe in Him, in spite of their previous sins, Eph 1:7-9, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:”
Part of the great mystery of Christ is that so many people choose not to see the truth, even some who witnessed His miracles, His healing power and His resurrecting of the dead, Jn 11:41-44, “Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.” Today, many ignore the historical evidence of Jesus’ existence and His sacrifice on the cross even though there are plenty of non-Christian references, from that period, in existence today. If Jesus is the Messiah, could anything in this life be more important than examining the evidence? Yet, mysteriously people refuse to consider the evidence and accept unfounded rumors instead.
Another part of the mystery of Christ is that history keeps unfolding in a way that conforms to the plan He chose, thus fulfilling His prophecies. This is happening, even though many of our leaders have used evil means in an attempt to achieve ends that oppose His plan. A few names come to mind; Emperor Diocletian, Emperor Shapur II, Emperor Constantine, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot. This is but a small sampling of the leaders who have tried to eliminate the freedoms Christianity advocates. Eventually, all of them failed, and God’s prophecies continue to be fulfilled.
Another part of the mystery of Christ is the many chains of people who have answered the call to spread the Word of God, here is just one chain; D. L. Moody to F. B. Meyer to J. Wilbur Chapman to Billy Sunday to Mordecai Hamm to Billy Graham to the millions he led to Christ.
Paul discusses part of the mystery in, Eph 3:3-6, “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:” So, the mystery that salvation was not just for the Jews, but for everyone who accepts Jesus as their savior, was kept hidden until Jesus began His ministry. Jesus gave many clues in His parables, but apparently, those who knew the scriptures chose to ignore them, Rom 16:25, “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,”
Part of Jesus’ mission was to prepare the way for the Holy Spirit, who has been sent to help us understand God’s plan, Jn 14:26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” God asks us to reason with Him, but He never forces us, Is 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” He wants us to understand He has invited everyone to be part of His eternal family, not just some chosen few, 1 Tim 3:16, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” When we begin to do our part in spreading His Word, it is the Holy Spirit who bring us the words when we need them, Ex 4:10-12, “And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” and Col 4:3, “Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:” Just another part of the mystery!
We think we are very clever; however, God reminds us, Is 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” He wants us to remember we did not create this world and nothing we do can stop His will from being fulfilled, Eph 3:9-11, “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:”
He keeps teaching us that we all have a part to play in His plan and He calls us to shine His light so others might find the path to Him, Rom 10:14-17, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” and to remind us He has left us His Word to help us on our journey to Him, Eph 3:4, “Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)”
Jesus has promised to return to take His family home, Jn 14:1-3, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” He knew many would try to pervert His Truth and weaken the hearts of those who believe, so He left us hope, Col 2:2, “That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;” He calls us to understand the mystery, which brings us that needed hope, Col 1:27, “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:”
All who preach the Truth are doing God’s work, 1 Cor 2:7, “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:” May we all work to fulfill God’s calling in us, 2 Tim 4:2-5, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” Are we living in “the time will come?”
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