Summary: Epiphany 1(A) - Because God’s mystery is revealed believers are able to find what was hidden and joyfully share what was given.
GOD’S MYSTERY IS REVEALED (Outline)
January 7, 2007 - EPIPHANY (1)
* * * * * * * * *
INTRO: God’s blessings upon blessing upon blessing in this New Year! Today we want to consider the mystery that God became man and still remained God. Not that long ago we rejoiced at the miraculous mystery of the birth of Jesus. Jesus was born in Bethlehem. God became man – a mystery, a miracle. Jesus taught in the synagogue. God became man – a mystery, a miracle. At Christmas we study the blessed fact that Jesus lived and walked on this earth as a human being. In this season of Epiphany we study the facts that Jesus lived and walked on this earth as God’s own Son. Such was the gracious plan of salvation of our loving God to pay the price for the sins of the world. Humanly and reasonably speaking this sacrificial life of Jesus, God, is a miracle and somewhat of a mystery. This is God’s plan of mercy. "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! ’Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?’" (ROMANS 11:33,34). We do not fully know the mind of God. We cannot fully know the mind of God on this side of heaven. This all the more reason to diligently study the mystery of salvation and the secret things of God. We pray the Holy Spirit’s guidance as we learn:
GOD’S MYSTERY IS REVEALED.
I. Believers find what was hidden and,
II. Believers share what was given.
I. BELIEVERS FIND WHAT WAS HIDDEN
A. These believers are reminded of the message of God’s grace to and for them. Verse 2.
1. God had called and saved Paul. God’s grace was given to Paul – for you.
2. Verse 3 tells these believers that they already have read of God’s mystery (chapters 1 & 2).
B. The mystery is explained briefly, clearly in verse 6. Jews and Gentiles alike are saved!
1. Note the words: heirs together, members together, sharers together. ALL are saved in Christ.
2. No longer were their prejudices to separate these two unfriendly nations. Shocking news.
C. This was shocking to the Jews. They thought they were the only ones chosen, deserving salvation.
1. Paul explains in verse 9. The truth was hidden in God.
2. But, now, no excuse. Verses 4,5. The promises of the Old Testament were now fulfilled.
a. God’s promises were now clearer in New Testament times than Old Testament ages.
b. God’s grace was clearer in the days after Pentecost than after the resurrection.
D. Did the Lord God really hide his message? Was salvation really a mystery? In one sense, yes. In truth, not really. It is easier for us to look back at all the promises of God and find their fulfillment in our New Testament times. But it was not always as easy in Old Testament times. The children of Israel did not always comprehend the clear promise of salvation for all mankind. Abraham would be a blessing to all nations was the Lord’s promise. Isaiah foretold of Gentiles coming into God’s kingdom. This was not a message the Jewish was ready to hear or accept, much less believe. In this sense, then, God’s truth was hidden. God’s mystery was clearly hidden in his word. "I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles"(ISAIAH 42:6). Believers who diligently study God’s word find what is hidden.
E. Paul described the mystery…hidden in God. The real question is whether God is still hidden. God is there for all to examine, discover, believe in, and be saved. That does not mean that all of our questions will be explained. There are still the deep things of God that go far beyond our human under-standing. Grace (God’s undeserved love) is a term that really, truly cannot adequately be described. By faith, the believer knows and experiences God’s grace because of God’s forgiveness of sins. This is also a mystery and a miracle that God would continually forgive our constant disobedience. But he does. More than that Jesus has gone ahead to prepare a place for us. "However, as it is written: ’No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’ -- but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit"(1 CORINTHIANS 2:9,10). The believer finds what is hidden in God.
F. Consider the mystery of faith. Who can fully and adequately explain why God has saved you or me or any other sinful human being? This is also a part of God’s plan of grace for all mankind. As we began: Who has known the mind of the Lord? By God’s grace we have been saved. By God’s grace what is hidden is made know to us. By God’s grace God’s mystery is revealed. We are heirs together, members together, sharers together of all of the promises of God. By God’s grace through faith we are saved. "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit"(JOHN 3:8). Believers find what is hidden.