Summary: Paul summarizes the gospel in a (possible) early Christian hymn in which he points out the revealing of certain hidden msyteries.
1. Mystery on the Border
Juan comes up to the Mexican border on his bicycle. He’s got two large bags over his shoulders. The guard stops him and says "What’s in the bags?" "Sand," answers Juan.
The guard says, "We’ll just see about that; get off the bike.” The guard takes the bags and rips them apart. He empties them out and finds nothing in them but sand. He detains Juan overnight and has the sand analyzed, only to discover that there is nothing in the bags but sand.
The guard releases Juan, puts the sand into new bags, heaves them onto the man’s shoulders, and lets him cross the border.
A week later, the same thing happens. The guard asks, "What have you got?" "Sand," says Juan.
The guard does his thorough examination and discovers that the bags contain nothing but sand. He gives the sand back to Juan, who crosses the border on his bicycle.
This sequence of events is repeated every week for three years. Finally, Juan doesn’t show up one day and the guard meets him in a cantina in Mexico.
"Hey, Buddy," says the guard, "I know you are smuggling something. It’s driving me crazy. It’s all I think about. I can’t sleep. Just between you and me, what are you smuggling?"
Juan sips his beer and says, "Bicycles." Mystery solved. In time, all mysteries will be revealed and nothing is hidden to our great God!
2. Most people like a good mystery – Columbo; Monk; Sherlock Holmes; “Unsolved Mysteries”
3. Mystery in scripture is more about secret/hidden things of God than a riddle to be solved
a. God is in charge of the Secrets
“The secret things belong to the LORD our God; but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law. Deuteronomy 29.29
b. He will reveal in his time
6 “You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it? From this time forth I make you hear new things, hidden things which you have not known. 7 They are created now, not long ago; before today you have never heard of them, lest you should say, ‘Behold, I knew them.’ Isaiah 48.6-7
4. 1 Timothy 3.14-16 (possibly taken from early hymn)
5. Some Mysteries to Consider (some with explanation; some without)
I. Mysteries About the Body of Yeshua (Jesus)
A. Mystery at the Incarnation – 100% God/Man
1. Physical Body Like Ours – John 1.1; 14
2. Tempted like we are – Hebrews 4.13
When the over-70 Ronald Reagan was campaigning for the presidency, an 80-year-old woman said to him, "Everything you said sounds fine. But what about us old folks? Haven't you forgotten us?" Mr. Reagan smiled and said, "Forgotten you? Heavens, how could I ever forget you? I am one of you."
That makes a difference. To affirm that God was in Christ is to affirm that God has become one of us. He has walked where we walked.
B. Mystery at the Ascension – a Resurrected Body
1. Returning to the Father
2. “Sat Down” at Right Hand – No Chair in MHP – work always to be done – no more
3. God came down to us – On Mt. Sinai; in Yeshua (Jesus); New Jerusalem/Heaven and Earth
4. We go up to him – Moses on Sinai; Yeshua (Jesus) returning to Father
C. Mystery of His Body of Believers – Church/Community
1. The Ideal – Powered by HS; Another type of Incarnation -- 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 1 Corinthians 12.27
2. The reality
The world does not fear the church, it barely tolerates it. It considers the church no longer a player in the world affairs and only an observer.
The church is a quaint old relic of the past that lends a certain charm to a neighborhood, a holdover from bygone days, big but harmless, like a beached whale.
II. Mysteries About the Spiritual Realm of Yeshua (Jesus)
A. There is an Unseen World
1. Daniel’s “unanswered prayer”
2. Spiritual warfare – 12 For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6.12
B. HS (of that World) Justified Yeshua (Jesus)
1. Conception (Matthew 1.20)
2. Baptism – Dove and Father’s voice – two witnesses
3. In his people at Pentecost – Acts 2
a. Affirmation of who Yeshua (Jesus) IS
b. Focus on Yeshua (Jesus) is a key purpose of HS
13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. John 16.13-14