The Greatest Mystery

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The Greatest Mystery 

Sermon Notes – Jim White

Sunday 26th July, 2020

With all the current news about Covid, the world’s attention hasn’t quite been what it might have been – on the launch of three rockets around the world – all heading towards Mars.

Actually, two of them have already gone up in the last couple of weeks – one from China and one from the United Arab Emirates,  which was launched in Japan.

The third one will be sent by NASA later this week.

They’ll have a rover attached to them, so they’ll be scooting across the surface of Mars in a race to send back brand new information to earth – to try and solve a few more mysteries about our closest planet. 

On top of that, Russia has just sent what they call a space cargo ship with 2,500 kilos of supplies, to the International Space Station that orbits the earth.

Apparently we’ve come a long way since I watch Neil Armstrong step onto the Moon’s surface in 1969 –  with robots doing everything now, so that men don’t have to risk their lives, stepping onto alien planets.

Mankind is trying its best – striving to solve the mysteries of the Universe and the Galaxies….  

But if we are really honest – there are a lot of mysteries still to be revealed right here in our own back yard.

This morning, I want to speak about one of the greatest mysteries of all time, because understanding the true meaning of this mystery has the potential to change this world far more powerfully than any secrets that could be discovered on some planet or in some distant galaxy.

We’re going back to Colossians 1, where we left off last week, talking about what it means to walk worthy of the calling to which we have been called.

Following on from the verses that speak about our calling, in verses 26-27 Paul then talks about:

“26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

The footnotes mention that this mystery is a secret – or a hidden truth.

Actually it says in the Passion translation,   “There is a divine mystery—a secret surprise that has been concealed from the world for generations, but now it’s being revealed, unfolded and manifested for every holy believer to experience.”

As New Testament believers, we are able to walk in and live out a mystery that our Old Testament counterparts would never have been able to comprehend or believe could happen.

In fact the scripture clearly says that it is a mystery that was hidden from ages and generations.  Some things are simply hidden. 

So what is the mystery?

It’s this:  That Christ in you, is the hope of glory!

And it also says, the riches of the Glory of this mystery is to be known among the Gentiles.

A Gentile is anyone who is not Jewish.  And this in itself would have blown the minds of the Jewish people, and probably still does for many of them – that God would include Gentiles into the promises that Israel carried as the people of God.

But this morning, I want you to be blown away by what this means for you.

I’m convinced this is an ongoing revelation to be had.  It certainly is for me. 

The mystery is an unfolding one.

In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit was definitely at work.  He would come upon certain people at certain times and empower them for their calling.

But now – for those who have received Jesus Christ as Lord, and who have opened their hearts to the Holy Spirit – He now resides permanently within us.

That’s a mystery!  

John 14: 19-20 (NKJV), Jesus says, “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”

This truth – which was once a secret and hidden mystery – is now a reality for us.  We live in Christ .  Jesus Christ lives in you and I.

I recall what Paul said to the Galations:

Gal 2:20 (NKJV), “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

That’s the one scripture I had to memorise in Bible College.  And I get it now – why it was so important.   Because if we can receive this truth – fully revealed – fully imparted into our life – it changes everything that we see and think and believe about ourselves.

The revelation of this mystery is life transforming.  It has the potential to set the most passive, oppressed, distraught individual on fire.

We’ve been destined to burn brightly for Christ.  

I recall reading of Christian martyrs who were literally set on fire because they professed faith in Jesus Christ.  And some would go to their death declaring that they would burn as torches in a dark world for Jesus Christ.  

They certainly knew who they were in Christ. 

But for those of us now who also have the revelation of Christ in us, the hope of glory – we can burn in life for Him.

I believe the revelation of this mystery is coming towards its full understanding and expression as the day of Jesus Christ approaches.

The church needs the revelation of who she is as Christ’s body on earth.

This world doesn’t need mere men and women to rise up – it needs Christ to come forth – expressed and revealed through us.

And what will that look like?  It will look like the hope of glory!

We carry the hope of glory!

What needs to happen though is that we need to express and display that glory.  It’s not our glory – it’s God’s glory revealed in His Son – in us.

Even using these words right now gives me a better insight into why this is such a mystery.  Who could ever have created such a hidden truth?   Only God!

So let’s look at the word glory for a moment.

It’s not an easy word to define in human words – in fact, it’s impossible.  And why wouldn’t it be – it’s part of the mystery of God.  

But we can pick up some hints of what it means as we search through the scriptures.

In Isaiah 6 the angels cry out holy, holy holy – in the same breath as declaring the earth is full of God’s glory.  To be Holy is to be set apart for God – sacred…. It’s connected to glory.

Jude 1:25: (NKJV),  To God our Savior,  “Who alone is wise,  Be glory and majesty,  Dominion and power,  Both now and forever…”

These are the kinds of words that are often used in conjunction with glory.  Majesty…. Dominion…. power…. 

Ps. 96:6 (NKJV),  “Honor and majesty are before Him;

Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.”

There’s majesty again – and strength and beauty…. 

Other places speak of His splendour…

We don’t have enough time to cover the number of times glory is mentioned in the bible.  It’s getting up towards 400 times.

But it is part of God’s presence – it’s the weight of His presence…

The heavens proclaim and display His glory.   The glory shone around the shepherds at Christ’s birth…. 

So we can get this sense of the glory that we also carry on the inside.

I think about that scripture that says:

Matt 14: 14-16 (NKJV), “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

The light doesn’t radiate from your human life – it radiates from the glory of God in Jesus Christ Who lives in you – Who lives through you…

Let Him live!  Let Him shine!  Lay down your own life for Christ.  

I know it’s a process.  Sanctification is a process.

Paul says – I die daily….  Some translations say it’s like continually facing death – or I face death daily…

And it’s speaking about dying to self…. 

But part of the mystery is that the more dead we get to self – the more Jesus lives in us – and the more the hope of glory shines into our world.

The mystery is that the gospel lives in you and through you – and the revelation that God so loved the world, that He gave His One and only Son – that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have eternal life.  That’s gospel hope!

Love is part of the mystery.  Not human love – but divine love.  

We are called to walk in divine love.  Divine love is about compassion, truth, acceptance, forgiveness….  It doesn’t make excuses for bad behaviour and sin – but it extends the life giving promises of repentance and forgiveness…. 

It doesn’t hold on to judgements or attitudes.

It’s patient and kind, full of faith and hope…. It endures, perseveres, puts others first…

It never gives up – and it never fails…

For those of you who have family members who are walking away from Jesus – don’t give up believing for them.  Don’t let the light of the hope of glory go out.

You can’t compromise – you can’t accept certain behaviours – but you never stop loving!  And Love never gives up.

For those who have a husband or wife who is not walking with God – and the grief of that is sometimes overwhelming for you…. Never forget – you carry the hope of glory – you carry Christ on the inside.

1Peter 3:1-2 (NKJV),  “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.”  (that’s the fear of the Lord…)

And it goes on to speak about living from the hidden person of the heart…. That’s where the mystery abides…. The mystery of Christ’s presence.

Live and love out of His life, His light, His wisdom, His majesty, His splendour…. You are able to radiate with the Glory of God.  Let that wear down the one you love…. 

And even if you fail at times, you get frustrated…. Remember, the truth is that you are going from strength to strength and glory to glory.

Don’t believe the lie that this is as good as it gets – or that you are as good as you’ll get!

Believe the truth that the Holy Spirit is at work in you – to teach you – to advocate and intercede for you – to help you – to dwell in you – you are the temple of the Holy Spirit – to search out the deep things in your life – to empower you – to give you wisdom and revelation – to guide you in truth – to tell you what to speak – to bear fruit in your life and gift you with supernatural ability…

And that’s just scraping the surface…

Phil 1:6 (NKJV),  “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”

It’s about operating in the opposite spirit to the world…. To be of a different Spirit…

When you have Christ on the inside – you also have the same Spirit that raised Him from the dead.

You carry resurrection life.  That’s great news – and we know we live forever because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

But I wonder if we still haven’t seen and experienced the fullness of that mystery – even in our own physical lives now.

If Jesus fills our life the more we let go of it…. I wonder how that translates over to our physical body – as well as our emotional being – and our mind…

We know we’ve been completely renewed spiritually – but part of the mystery should surely be that our whole being – body, soul and spirit – would come fully alive as we die to self and Christ lives more and more through us.

Let’s believe for a revelation and transformation to take place where wholeness and healing comes to our bodies… 

Doesn’t it make you want to cry out – Jesus, take it all!  I surrender everything!  

You’ll never become like one of those robots that are being sent off to Mars. – where you lose all of your sense of uniqueness as a man or woman.

Our personalities, our giftings, all the things that make us uniquely who we are – we don’t leave those things behind.   Jesus just wants to be embraced in all that makes us the unique person that He created – that he planned even before the world began.

Afterall, God is still three Persons in One.   Father, Son and Holy Spirit – three different expressions of Himself.

We also have our unique personhood…. But imagine what God could do with that if we let Him live fully within us.

Let him fully use your mouth, your heart, your eyes, your mind…. Those aspects your life that touch the lives of others.

Let the glory of God shine…. It’s not about striving – its about surrendering…

There are glorious riches tied up in this mystery that I’m sure we still don’t yet fully understand or have fully experienced.

That’s why I’m speaking on this right now – because there’s more to be revealed – more of the mystery to unfold.

It’s exciting – but it’s also necessary as we continue towards the day of Christ’s return.  Other people’s lives are depending on it.

Hear it again, this time from the Passion translation:

Col 1:27 (Passion),  “Living within you is the Christ who floods you with the expectation of glory! This mystery of Christ, embedded within us, becomes a heavenly treasure chest of hope filled with the riches of glory for his people, and God wants everyone to know it!”

He’s not hiding it or keeping it a secret ay longer.

The mystery is being fully revealed.

Receive it – live it – let it shine through you.

And to God be the glory – throughout all the generations – in Jesus name.  Amen.

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