Summary: I. The Mystery of Christ is based on a promise (6) II. The Mystery of Christ is accessible to all (6) III. The Mystery of Christ is visible through the Church (10-11) IV. The Mystery of Christ gives us a clear approach to God (12) V. The Mystery of Ch
The Mystery of Christ
Intro: How many of you like a good mystery (and I’m not talking about the location of your missing sock)?
Interestingly enough, the first definition for mystery in Webster’s Dictionary is “a religious truth that one can know only by revelation and cannot fully understand.” That sums up the gospel, the good news about Jesus pretty well! We can know about it, and God can reveal truth to us from His word, but how often can we really say that we fully understand? Why does God love us? That’s a mystery. How can God have had no beginning? He just always was! How can there be one God, but in 3 persons? Why are some people healed when we pray for them, but others suffer long-term illnesses? Even if we study a lifetime we will still be faced with mysteries that our minds cannot fully comprehend.
-Life itself is a mystery. Scientists are making amazing new discoveries each year into how vast and intricate our universe is.
-But as mysterious as everything around us is, there are also absolutes that God has revealed to us. We may not know everything there is to know about these absolutes, but we can through faith know that God has spoken to mankind and has a message He wants us to hear. God’s message to us is expressed in many ways, but the heart of it is this: God says, “I see you. I know you. I love you. I can help you.” And the way God has helped us was by sending His Son Jesus to pay the price for our sins and make us right with Him.
-So Paul talks about the mystery of Christ – a truth known only by revelation & never fully understood, but powerful & effective to bring healing to our lives & hope to our hearts.
-Let’s take a look at some clues that relate to this mystery – the mystery of Christ. My hope is that we will all understand a little more clearly who Jesus is and what He has done for us.
I. The Mystery of Christ is based on a promise (6)
1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles-- 2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
-Last week we focused on the fact that Jesus is our peace and has broken down the walls of hostility that we as humans have constructed. We talked about the fact that we are members of the same family when we put our faith in Jesus and accept what He did for us when He died on the cross. Well, the mystery of Christ and what He has done for us is based on God’s promise to help us. How do we know this?
-We can start in the OT, where we find hints or clues that God has a plan to do something about evil and the sinful condition of the human heart. Clear back in the Garden of Eden, after Adam and Eve sinned, God told Eve that one of her descendents would crush the head of the serpent, the devil. God also told Abraham that through His seed (his descendents) all the nations on earth would be blessed. Notice that even way back then God had Gentiles included in His plan.
-Another expression of God’s promise is found in Jeremiah 31:31-34 31 "The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant …. 33 "This is the covenant I will make … I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ’Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."
-God has never broken a promise, and He didn’t break this one. He has provided us with everything we need to come close to Him and allow Him to take care of our sin problem. It’s a mystery why God cares so deeply about us; however, the fact that He does care about us has been made known through His Son Jesus Christ. God’s promise to help us provides the basis of the mystery of Christ. Now let’s look at the availability of this mystery.