Summary: A sermon exploring the greatest secret that God kept hidden from the ages but which has now been revealed within the Christian.
The Secret in You Colossians 1:25-27
Introduction: A couple of years ago, Prime Time Productions produced a self-help video that flooded the internet and became a sensation. The video’s a documentary that consists of a series of interviews that claims to reveal a secret that can provide you with happiness, fulfillment and success in life all for just $19.95 The video’s been endorsed by new age guru Ophrah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and talk show host Larry King. Ophrah’s used the video to create a new age church with millions of female followers and herself as the high priestess. Now just what is this secret law that will fulfill all your dreams and give you the keys to happiness, success and fulfillment? Well, let me save you $20.00 The secret can be described in four words, “The Law of Attraction.” The law of attraction is simply this: You attract into your life whatever you think. Think negative thoughts and you’ll attract negative forces into your life. Think positive thoughts and you’ll attract positive forces. Millions of people have bought into this so called secret and swear by it. It’s interesting that something similar was happening when Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians. The Gnostic heresy was rampant in Colossae. The Gnostics claimed to have a secret knowledge or gnosis which would open up the way for salvation. They gained their name from the Greek word gnosis, meaning knowledge. Many Christians were being duped by this heresy. We find the same thing happening today. Some things never change. Today, I want to talk to you about a different secret. It’s not a secret that was dreamed up by people but revealed by God. It’s not a secret based on magic but the power of God. It’s not a secret founded on some philosophical law but upon the living person of Jesus Christ. It’s not a secret you can purchase for $19.95. Rather, if you’re a Christian, it’s a secret that’s already within you. I’d like to make three observations about this secret within us.
I. First, This Secret in you is an Ancient One. Paul tells us, “This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past...” God knows how to keep a secret. The Duke of Wellington is best remembered as the general who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815. During his earlier service in India, Wellington was in charge of negotiations after the Battle of Assaye. The emissary of an Indian ruler, anxious to know what territories would be ceded to his master, tried in various ways to get the information. Finally, he offered Wellington a large sum of money. "Can you keep a secret?" asked Wellington. "Yes, indeed," the man said eagerly. "So can I," replied Wellington. Like Wellington, God knows how to keep a secret. God kept that secret hidden from the ages. You see, it was a secret that God foreknew before the foundation of the world, that his Son Jesus would be our pathway to salvation and oneness with God. Even though God’s plan of salvation was secret, there were hints of it throughout the Old Testament from Genesis through Malachi. This secret was referred to as the Star of Jacob (Num. 24:17), the Root of Jesse (Isa. 11:10), the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6), the Mighty God (Isa. 9:6), the Branch (Isa. 11:1), the Ancient of Days (Dan. 7:9), the Son of Man (Dan. 7:13) and many other metaphors. But this ancient secret is no longer a secret and that brings us to the second observation.
II. Second, this Secret in you is now a Revealed One. Paul writes, “...but now it has been revealed to God’s people.” Paul also writes in Galatians, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son...” (Gal. 4:4) That phrase “fulness of time” means literally, “at just the right time.” In other words, when the time was just right, God sent Jesus into the world for our salvation. At just the right moment in history, God revealed the great secret of salvation God had planned for humanity in Jesus Christ. This secret’s now proclaimed openly through the gospel of Christ. But it’s open only to those of faith. In all His dealings with humanity, God’s been working on a plan for the redemption of humankind. Paul’s telling the Colossians that their salvation isn’t found in some secret knowledge the gnostics possessed. No, not at all! The secret’s not in a philosophy, but in a person -- the person of Jesus Christ. And the secret of secrets is that Christ can dwell in you and me. Which leads to the last observation.
III. Finally, this Secret in you is a Transforming One. Paul adds, “And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.” The secret that’s now revealed isn’t a philosophy or law. It’s a person. And that person’s Jesus Christ. Paul describes it this way, “Christ lives in you.” This secret’s now available to every Christian. Christ lives in you. The creator of the universe has made His house and home within your life! And because Christ lives in us, we have the assurance that we’ll share in Christ’s glory. How many of you remember Bob Vila’s show, “This Old House” that ran on PBS from 1979 to 1989? It’s amazing how Bob could take an old, decrepit and crumbling structure and turn it into a beautiful house that anyone would want to live in. But the change didn’t happen overnight. Bob would have to remove the rotting boards and crumbling drywall and replace them with new lumber and drywall. Sometimes he had to take out rotted pipes and replace them with new ones. Old fixtures, tiles and appliances had to be taken out and replaced. Walls had to be sanded down and repainted with several coats of new paint. The refurbishing didn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of time and a lot of work. That’s exactly what Christ does within us. When we invite Him in, Christ moves into our lives and changes our heart, the foundation. We call that justification. Then Christ starts the long refurbishing process of changing our lives completely; gradually removing the old destructive habits that have plagued our lives and replacing them with new, godly habits. We call this sanctification. Drunkenness, dishonesty and carousing are replaced by honesty, prayer, Bible-study and church attendance. The desire to serve ourselves is replaced by a hunger and desire to serve God. Christ gets out the old in our lives and replaces it with the new. As Paul once wrote, “If anyone’s in Christ he’s a new creation. Old things have passed away, all things become new” (2 Cor. 5:17) That’s the secret Paul’s talking about this morning: “Christ lives in you. This gives you the assurance of sharing his glory.” Don’t settle for some inferior substitute. Don’t buy into the new age gurus who promise you wealth and success while they enrich themselves from the money you spend on their books and videos. There’s no philosophy, no new age secret or law that can substitute for the fullness of God revealed in Jesus Christ. In Christ, we find all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom that we need, to lead us through life into His kingdom. Conclusion: Have you experienced this secret: The secret that Christ lives in you?