Let’s turn now in our Bibles to Colossians, chapter one.
Colossians is a church that was not founded by Paul. It was probably an outgrowth of Paul’s work in Ephesus. Many of the people were familiar to Paul, but he had never been to the church in Colosse. Shortly after Paul’s letter to Colosse, the city was destroyed by a major earthquake. It was written, again about the same time as Ephesians, in fact it is thought that it was carried to the church in Colosse by the same one who carried the letter to the church of Ephesus.
Well, let’s just get into it. I could give you a lot of information you don’t want to know.
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother, Many times Paul calls Timothy his son in the Lord. Now he refers to him as our brother here. And Timothy was with Paul there in Rome and probably was the scribe. It is, you know, possible and probable that Paul dictated this letter to the church in Colosse to Timothy, who was the scribe.
Paul, an apostle, one who is ordained, a representative, one who is sent, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.
2To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. This is so typical of Paul’s opening salutations. The declaration of who it is that is writing. And to whom he is writing. And the typical, grace and peace.
3We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, It gives us a little insight into the great heart of Paul. Not only was he engaged constantly in prayer for those churches that he did found.
As he writes to the Romans, he speaks about his constant prayer for them. God is my witness how that I cease not, night and day, praying for you.
To the others he is talking constantly of his prayers for them. Paul a man of prayer and praying even for those churches that only heard of him and he only heard of them. Churches that he had never founded or actually had visited, and yet they were on the heart of the great apostle. So we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you. And of course when we get to verse nine, we will find out just what Paul was praying for them.
4Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, 5For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, In First Corinthians thirteen, Paul said, now abide these three, faith, hope, and love. But notice, how that we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, your love which you have for all of the saints and for the hope that is laid up for you in heaven.
He brings the three together in this opening salutation, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; The glorious hope of your salvation! Paul said, that’s a part of the gospel. You have heard it before. And surely the hope is an important part of the gospel. It is a gospel of hope.
Over and over, the Bible speaks of the blessed hope, the hope of the believer. And that hope is of eternal life, with God in the Kingdom of God. And that is what the gospel promises to those who believe in Jesus Christ, and the hope, Paul said, that you have heard—the word of the truth of the gospel.
6Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; Now that is quite a remarkable statement! Paul is declaring to them and this is some thirty-two years after Pentecost. He is declaring that by this time the gospel had gone into all the world, the gospel as it has come to you as it is in all the world.
In Foxx’s Book of Martyrs or Eusevius’ Church History, they tell of the areas where the different apostles carried the gospel and were martyred.
The story is that Thomas, doubting Thomas, carried the gospel to India. In India today, there is a church of Thomas, a denominational group called the church of Thomas. And they trace their roots back to Thomas.
So the apostles carried the gospel into all the world in thirty-two years they had reached the world.
In verse twenty three of this chapter, Paul said if you continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard and which was preached to every creature, which is under heaven. Paul is declaring the effectiveness of the early church.
Now that is a statement that we cannot make today. We can’t say that the gospel today has been taken into all the world, that every creature under heaven has heard the gospel. With all of our technology and our abilities to communicate, with Internet, with satellite transmissions and our abilities to get around the world in jet travel and things of this nature, we have not reached the world today with the gospel as they did in those days.
The big difference that I believe that they did it through the power and the guiding of the Holy Spirit. We have sort of become like the church in Galatia, the churches of Galatia, where Paul said, having begun in the Spirit are you now going to be made perfect in the flesh? And that’s exactly the position that the church is in today, having begun in the Spirit, we then seek to perfect it in the flesh. As we then begin to try and get it organized and all set. We try to get our programs going, get our slogans and all, and it’s a tragedy that we don’t rely more on the Holy Spirit and that we are relying more on our abilities and our genius and so forth, to accomplish the work of getting the gospel out. Paul was able to declare the gospel as it has come to you as it is in all the world.
and bringeth forth fruit, wherever the gospel is preached, it brings forth fruit,
as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth: The glorious gospel of God’s grace toward sinning man, the forgiveness that God offers to us for our sins.
Now Epaphras was, no doubt the one who carried the gospel to Colosse. It is thought that Epaphras was possibly the Epaphroditus of which we read, who was a companion of Paul. Epaphras is a contraction of the name, Epaphroditus, even as Demas is a contraction of Demetrius. And so it is thought that this Epaphras could possibly be the Epaphroditus in the other epistle, but because of his familiarity with the church in Colosse, having established it, he refers to him by this sort of nickname or shortened form of his full name.
7As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; What more can you say about a person? He is a faithful minister of Christ or a servant of Christ.
8Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit. So he is Paul’s connection with the church in Colosse. He has come to Paul and declared to Paul what God had done, the work that God has accomplished.
It’s a glorious thing as the Spirit of God is working and moving, how that that work which the Spirit has begun here, has now spread so far. There are many Calvary Chapel affiliate churches that I don’t even know exist. I’m finding out all the time where a new Calvary Chapel has sprung up and there, you know. They are going out from Raul’s church. They are going out from Greg’s church. They are going out from Mike’s church. They are going out from Downey. And mission works all over the world. There are Calvary Chapels springing up all over. They are, you know, just a lot of people like Epaphras, who just go to a community, start a Bible study and soon has a church going. And it is just a glorious thing that the Lord is doing, even in these days.
So Epaphras went to Colosse and took the gospel to them and developed a fellowship. It was a good fellowship. He declared to Paul their love that they had in the Spirit.
9For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, (that is your love) do not cease to pray for you, and to desire (and notice the things that Paul is praying now.)
He desires, first of all in prayer, that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That’s getting right to the heart of the issue. Oh, to God, that we, all of us knew the will of God in all Spiritual wisdom and understanding.
There are so many people who attend church faithfully, but they don’t have the slightest clue as to what God’s will is for their lives, basically because they have never sought it! They’ve really never really pursued the knowledge of God’s will. And yet truly the most important thing in my whole life is to do the will of God! Everything else that I do is a wash out. Only what I do for God, according to His will, will have any eternal value! And you know, I am going to spend the rest of my existence in eternity. I’m not here long.
You know, as Jacob said when he was one hundred and thirty years old, few and short have been my days. If I live to be a hundred and thirty and am still around, I’ll say few and short have been my days, you know.
But what is a hundred and sixty-five years compared to eternity? And yet what is a hundred years? What is eighty years? You see, we spend so much of our time in things that are not lasting, things that have no eternal value. Thus, we spend most of our lives, wasting it. Only what we do for Jesus Christ, only for what we do for the Kingdom of God, only that which we do according to the will of God, has any eternal value.
And so Paul prays for them that they might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual understanding and wisdom.
Secondly he prays 10That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, That is that your life might please God.
In the Book of Revelation, chapter four, as John is taken into the heavenly scene, he observes the worship of God there in heaven, by the cherubim, which are a class of angelic beings. And as he observes their worship of God, he sees the twenty-four elders who are on lesser thrones, fall on their faces to take their golden crowns and cast them on the glassy sea before the throne of God and they declare, Thou are worthy to receive glory and honor. For Thou hast created all things and for Your pleasure they are and were created. Acknowledging that God is the creator but then acknowledging that creation was for His good pleasure. That’s why you were created! To please God!
And so Paul prays that they walk in such a way, that the Lord will be pleased with them.
Oh God, help us, that our live will be pleasing to God! When He looks at us, He is pleased! When we stand before Him on that day, He will say, well done thou good and faithful servant! To receive those words of approbation from the Lord, the paramount desire of my heart!
being fruitful in every good work, May our lives bear fruit for the kingdom of God and for His glory.
and increasing in the knowledge of God; And he prayed that they might increase in the knowledge of God.
In the previous epistle that we just studied, Philippians, Paul after thirty years of walking with the Lord, declared his earnest desire to know Him and to be found in Him. That longing to know God better! And that should be something that each of have, a longing in our hearts to know God better.
Now how do we come to know God better? By the Word of God! A lot of people express many times their difficulty in trusting God. So often they will come and say, I’m having the hardest time just trusting the Lord. Well, in reality what they are actually saying is, I really don’t know God very well. You see if you really knew God really well, you would have no problem trusting Him at all! It’s the fact that you don’t know Him very well that creates the problem with trust. The more you know God the easier it is to trust, the more you do trust, because you know how trustworthy He is!
Now what does the Bible tell us? It tells us of the faithfulness of God to keep His Word. He is a God who will keep His Word! And over and over and over, throughout the Bible, there are illustrations of God’s faithfulness in keeping His promises and keeping His Word to the people.
And as you read and you come to know God and the faithfulness of God, then you find that it is quite easy to trust in God.
But then also from what we learn of God in the Scriptures, as we come to trust God, we then begin to experience ourselves the faithfulness of God.
And so it’s like the people in Samaria when the woman at the well came into town and she said come and see a man that has told me every thing that I have ever done! Isn’t this the Messiah? And they came out of the village to meet Jesus out there. And after Jesus talked with them for a while, they said to her, now we believe, not because of what you told us, but we have heard for ourselves.
And it’s always that glorious time when your faith and all is from personal experience. I’ve read the Word. He has spoken to me of His nature of His character. He has told me of His faithfulness. And men who have trusted and have found God faithful, but now I can add my chapter. I can tell of the faithfulness of God in my life, how that God has not failed me.
Oh, there were times when I thought He was going to fail me. There were times when I was sure He was going to fail me. There were times when I said, well God, You are too late! You had Your chance. Now, I’ve got to do something about it myself. And I thought that God didn’t come through, but you know, I later discovered that God was at work the whole while. It was just that He didn’t fit with my time schedule. I gave Him until three o’clock, Friday afternoon. He let me wait until Saturday. But God is faithful and we need to know Him. And so we need to be increased in our knowledge of God.
And then 11Strengthened with all might, He prayed for them to be strengthened with all might. And of course, that’s the power of God’s Holy Spirit. You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you! And so strengthened with all might.
according to his glorious power,
Then, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; And to these characteristics. Now, these are characteristics that mark love. In Paul’s definition of love, the agape, in First Corinthians thirteen, he tells us that it suffers long and is kind. That longsuffering, that patience.
When Paul speaks of the fruit of the Spirit, which is the agape, as he describes what agape is—the joy, and peace and longsuffering and gentleness and goodness and meekness. There are characteristics. And so this fruit of God’s love and this is the thing that he is commending the Colossians for, because he heard of their love for all of the saints and their love in the Spirit.
12Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Now these are the petitions, but now Paul also speaks of his thanksgiving for them. He praises God for these things. He has asked God to do certain things, but now he is giving thanks unto God, the Father, which has made us sit to be the partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. Oh, thank God! We’ve been called together as heirs of God, that we might be partakers of this glorious inheritance of the saints in light. You are a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ! And if a child of God, then you are an heir of God and a joint-heir with Jesus Christ! And, you know, whenever Paul thought about that he just was so thankful to the Father, for the family of God, that we are heirs together of this glorious inheritance of the saints in light.
13Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: Oh, this calls for thanksgiving! Just look at your life. God delivered you from the power of darkness. That makes you an exclusive person. That sets you apart from the world.
Look at the world around us in which we live. We get here together and we seem, like oh, my, great number, you know. But really, there are so many surrounding us. You go to the schools and you realize that we are not a majority. We are a minority. Which means that we are special. God has chosen us to reveal His Son to us that we might have fellowship with God and become the Sons of God and enjoy this glorious inheritance of the saints in light.
He has delivered us from the power of darkness! You look at the world around you. It is still engulfed in the power of darkness. It is still held prisoner. We look at the darkness of the world in which we live and we are appalled. But He has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son. What does that mean? It means that Jesus is the Lord of your life. The kingdom—the moment that you receive Jesus Christ as your King, you’ve entered into the kingdom of God, which is an eternal kingdom!
And speaking of course, of His dear Son, Paul said, 14In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: We once were slaves to sin, in bondage to our flesh. But Jesus Christ paid the price to redeem us from that slavery to sin, to redeem us from the power of darkness, that He might claim us as His own. He redeemed us by His blood.
Peter said, for we have been redeemed, not with corruptible things such as silver and gold, from the empty life that we used to live, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, who was slain as a Lamb without spot or blemish.
Jesus, through the giving of His life, paid the price to redeem you from the bondage to sin. And so, in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins. It is through the fact that Jesus gave His life for us that God, now has a just basis to grant to us forgiveness of sins.
15Who is the image (speaking now of Jesus and oh, now we get into it, the superiority of Christ and the pre-eminence of Christ, who is the image) of the invisible God,
In the Book of Hebrews, chapter one, it opens with these words: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, (but remember we are joint heirs with Christ. It speaks of the inheritance in saints in light.) by whom also (speaking of Jesus) he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, (Jesus Christ, the express image of the person of God) and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high”;
Now this description that we are going to get here of Jesus in Colossians, parallels this description in Hebrew, which is another reason why Paul is thought to be the author of the Book of Hebrews, although it doesn’t openly declare it. So He is the image of the invisible God!
John said, no man has seen God at anytime, but the begotten Son has manifested Him. The Word was made flesh, John said. He dwelled among us. We beheld His glory as of the only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. No man has seen God at any time but the only begotten Son in the bosom of the Father, He has manifested Him.
So He is the image of the invisible God, and He is the firstborn of every creature: Now the Jehovah Witnesses use this often in their argument to demean Jesus to be something less that God. The fact that it says that He is the firstborn of every creature, they interpret that as Jesus being created by God, perhaps the first of God’s creation. But as a created being of God and thus less than God. That is why they believe that Jesus was Michael, the archangel, which was a created being.
The word, firstborn, is where they get tripped up, because the word, firstborn, doesn’t mean, as we would think, firstborn.
I would say of my daughter, Jan, she is our first born child. I would say Chuck, Jr., is my firstborn son. But the idea of firstborn, as it is used in the Scripture, does not necessarily mean, the first one who is born.
In the Old Testament, Joseph had twin sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. It so happened that Manasseh was born first and Ephraim was born second. So that when Joseph brought his two sons to his father, Jacob, to receive the patriarch’s blessing, he brought them in the position, so that when Jacob reached out to bless them. (Jacob had lost his sight by this time.) Joseph figured that so he brought them that when Jacob reached out to bless, the right hand would be upon Manasseh and the left hand would be upon Ephraim. But when they brought them to Jacob, he crossed his hands. He put his right hand on Ephraim and his left hand on Manasseh. And Joseph tried to move it. He said, no, no, Dad. Jacob said, hey I know what I am doing, son. Leave me alone, you know. I know what I am doing.
Later on the Scriptures say (Jeremiah 31:9) that God said, Ephraim is My first born. But wait a minute, we know that already Manasseh was the first one born. What does it mean? The most prominent one was called the first born. So it wasn’t necessarily in a chronological first in that idea of the firstborn, but it’s the most important one. And of course Jesus is the most important One in the universe. So the firstborn of every creature. It can have as a meaning, sort of the originator, above all.
16For by him (and here we get it. If they would read it in context they would have it. For by Him. Who? Jesus Christ!) were all things created, John said in the beginning was the Word, the Word, referring to Jesus, and the Word was with God and the Word was God, the same was in the beginning with God and all things were made by Him? Without Him was not anything made that was made.
Now Paul is making that same declaration.
For by Him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: Now, these are angels. These are rankings of angelic beings. He created all of the angels. And so He created everything. Things that you see and things that you don’t see. The Spirit realm, that we don’t see as well as the material realm, that we do see. He is the Creator.
all things were created by him, (But Paul goes one step further) and for him: He is the object of all creation. He is not only the Creator but the object of creation. You were created for Him! As we pointed out, the elders in heaven acknowledge, for Your good pleasure they are, and were created. Thou has created all things and for Your pleasure, they are and were created.
17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. The word, consist, is literally, held together.
Now when we talk about the creation of invisible things, that I suppose would include atoms–electrons, protons—He created all things. And we know that all matter is made up of invisible particles, known as atoms. And we know that atoms are made up of electrons and protons. The nucleus of an atom is the proton and the electrons are the negative charges that spin around. The proton is the positive charge.
Now Coulombs’ law of electricity, speaks of the repelling force of positive charges. And if you have played with magnets, you know what that’s all about. You know that opposite poles attract and like poles, repel. Trying to put the positive poles of a magnet together, you find them repelling. They push apart. But you put the opposite poles together and they attract.
Now in atomic fission, the way it was created was to take slow moving neutrons and bombard the heart or the nucleus of the atoms, the positive charges in the heart of the atom. And by bombarding the atom with these slow moving neutrons, they were able to upset the molecular balance or they were able to release the positive charges so that the positive charges responded according to their nature and this is to repel each other.
The tremendous atomic blasts are caused by the upsetting of the molecular structure of an atom, causing the positive charges to respond according of their own nature of repelling each other. As they repel we know the tremendous force that is generated when we release the atoms or the positive charges within an atom and they repel against each other.
Now, it takes a stronger force than that which is released, to hold the atoms together. The very nature of atomic structure, our whole universe should just be blown apart! As all of the positive charges in the nucleus of all the atoms, were released, it would, just, poof, it’s all gone into oblivion!
Now Peter seems to speak about something like that happening one day as this whole universe is going to be disappearing, dissolved with a fervent heat. Tremendous! What will happen? God will just release His grip. The whole thing will go! Think of the power of Jesus, holding together all of the atoms in the universe! By Him all things are held together! The wonderful power of Jesus!
And he is the head of the body, the church: Every board meeting, we begin in prayer and we begin by acknowledging that Jesus Christ is the head of the body, His church.
We are not here to run things. We are here to take orders. We are here to discover His will, what He wants for the church. And thus we seek His wisdom, His guidance. We make ourselves available to Him to be led by the Spirit, acknowledging that Jesus is the head of the church. He is the head of the body, the church. Not the Pope!
who is the beginning, the firstborn (Again, the idea of the firstborn from the dead. And so He was the first One to rise from the dead, not to die again. Lazarus was raised but only to die again. Jairus’ daughter was raised only to die again.)
But He is the firstborn from the dead; The resurrection. It began with Him. It will end with the martyred saints.
that in all things he might have the preeminence. Now, you are part of the “all things” that He created. Thus, you are part of the all things, in which He should have preeminence. The question is, is Christ preeminent in your life? Is He above everything else? That, in all things, He should have the preeminence.
19For it pleased the Father He talked about the knowledge of the will of God and to all pleasing or walk worthy of the Lord in all pleasing.
It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; That He has the preeminence. This is the Father’s pleasure.
20And, having made peace (and now we deal with the things we have through Him. We had redemption through His blood, a little earlier.
You remember that, but now we have peace through the blood of his cross, That is, peace with God. Man was alienated from God. Man was at enmity with God. He was in rebellion against God. For sin is rebellion against God, against the law of God. But Jesus not only provided the forgiveness of our sins, but now He has made it possible for us to live at peace with God, through the blood of His cross because the sin is put away.
by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled That is, He has brought us together! He has brought us unto the Father. And we are presented to God in Christ and by the blood of His cross. The war is over. We have peace with God now. We are reconciled unto God through Him!
22In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: That should just cause you start to shout! He is going to present you, holy, unblameable and unreproveable in the sight of God! Glory! Hallelujah! That’s wonderful! One day when Jesus presents me to the Father, it is through Him that I will be presented! Believe it or not, holy, unblameable and unreproveable.
Now unto Him, Jude wrote, who is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy! When He presents me to the Father, He is going to say, Father, this is holy Chuck, unreproveable, unblameable.
But notice now, it’s conditional, 23If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, What if you don’t continue in the faith? Then, it’s an uncertain future. But He is going to present us if we, you know, see people are always asking about eternal security. Yes you are eternally secure as long as you abide in Jesus Christ, as long as you continue in the faith, you are eternally secure. Don’t worry about it. Don’t make it an issue. Well, what if you don’t abide in Christ? You have no security outside of Jesus. What if you don’t continue in the faith, you don’t have any security, outside of Jesus. It’s through faith in Him that I will be presented, holy and unblameable and unreproveable. If you continue in the faith.
People are trying to push reformed theology. I have many problems with reformed theology, when you get into the five points of Calvinism. I find difficulty. But I don’t argue the subject. But I still feel a tremendous responsibility to warn people about what God’s Word says. I personally do not want to give any person comfort or hope that they are eternally all right with God, because of some profession of faith that they may have made back in their childhood, but who are not walking after the Lord or after the Spirit, who have not continued in the faith.
I would feel that I was remiss as a servant of Jesus Christ, if I tried to comfort people in sin. If you are living in sin, I hope to make you extremely uncomfortable! I would love to see you squirm. Because I don’t know and I don’t think you can have any assurance of salvation if you are living in sin and rebellion against the commandments of the Lord.
Over and over, Paul warns that those who are living in sexually impure lives are not going to inherit the kingdom of God. And thus, I don’t want to say—well, God’s grace you know, and have you use it as a cloak to try and cover your lasciviousness. Well, God is forgiving. God is loving and you know. No, no! He is a God of justice. If you continue in the faith, hey, one day He is going to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight.
If you continue in the faith, grounded and settled and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, Now, why Paul would say that if there is no possibility of being moved away from the hope of the gospel?
which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; The early church was extremely effective because they were led by the Holy Spirit.
whereof I Paul am made a minister of this glorious gospel;
24Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, Paul said, I rejoice in my sufferings for you.
and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: His body being, of course, the church. So, I am here for Christ’s sake. I am in prison for Christ’s sake. I have suffered beating for Christ’ sake. I’ve suffered persecution for Christ’s sake. But I’m glad to do it! I have rejoiced in these things, that I might suffer for Him!
Paul wrote to the Romans, and said, if we suffer with Him, we will also reign with Him. But Paul’s attitude toward these things were, this present sufferings is not worthy to be compared with the glory that’s going to be revealed. So Paul looks past the sufferings, past the hardships to the glory that was going to be revealed.
Even as Jesus looked past the cross to the glory of being able to forgive your sins! Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame.
So it’s important that we have our minds set on the eternal glory of God that is going to be bestowed upon us. Yes, we may go through some suffering. We may go through some reproach. We may go through some hardship, but, oh my, the glory that shall be revealed! This present suffering isn’t worthy to be compared with it.
Again he wrote, for this light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh an exceeding eternal weight of glory! And so he looked beyond the suffering to the glory of the Kingdom of God that was going to be revealed.
And so I rejoice in my sufferings as I fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body’s sake, which is the church.
25Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; I’m here. God’s purpose, God’s plan being accomplished in and through me, a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God.
26Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: The word, mystery, is not something like Sherlock Holmes, in the Scripture or Agatha Cristy.
In the Scripture, mystery is a truth that is now being revealed, that has not been revealed to the past prophets. It is a clarity of understanding that is now being given.
Now, we are told that those who wrote in the Old Testaments, the prophets, as they wrote, they didn’t understand many of the things that they wrote about. They were just obedient to God in writing down, but they didn’t understand. What in the world is that all about, you know? It would be sort of weird to write something you don’t even understand, but so they did.
Basically, one of the things they had trouble with, is their writings concerning the suffering of the Messiah because they knew the Messiah was to reign in glory. He was to sit upon the throne of David and of His increase of His government and peace, there would be no end. And yet, how is it that He is going to suffer? To be put to death? But they wrote it not really understanding.
Now even the angels, God didn’t clue them in to what He was going to do for the church. The Bible talks about how the angels desire to look into the thing of the church. This is the glorious mystery of God’s tremendous love for the church, and all that God has done for the church and all that God has made available to His church. This is the mystery that Paul talks about. It’s revealing now what God does for those who will put their trust in His Son, Jesus Christ. The things that God will do for them to enhance and enrich their lives. So even this mystery which has been hid from the ages, that is from the Old Testament times, and from the generations, throughout the Old Testament, but is now made manifest to His saints. God is now revealing it.
27To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; And what is it?
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: That Christ will come and dwell within you at your invitation. That you can experience the indwelling power of Jesus Christ. Christ in you, the hope of glory! What a fabulous, glorious truth! Because when we look at what God has required and desired of us, we realize that we can’t do that. My flesh is too weak. I can’t accomplish that. That’s more than I can do. I can’t live that kind of a holy life. So what does He do? He comes and He dwells in Me and He gives me the power to be what I couldn’t be. He gives me the power what I can’t do. Christ in you, the hope of glory.
28Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect (or complete) in Christ Jesus: So, the purpose, Paul said, of our warning and our teaching, is that our desire is that we present you perfect in Christ Jesus.
29Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily. Christ in me, the hope of glory! Christ in you, the hope of glory! The glorious mystery of the church! The indwelling presence of Christ in our life! Giving us that power that we need.
Father, we give thanks to You for this tremendous mystery. We give thanks to You, Lord, for the tremendous hope. We give thanks to You, Lord, for this marvelous redemption. We thank You, Father, for Your Son, that He might have preeminence, Lord, in all things. Lord, may we make Him preeminent in our lives this day and may we experience the power of the indwelling Spirit of Jesus Christ, that we, Lord, might be everything that You want us to be through His enabling power. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Transcribed from “The Word For Today”, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #8180, (KJ Version)