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The Great Mystery

Dr. Jon Morrissette - 9/23/2018

As excited as it is to update you about the Vision, let me tell you what I’m even more excited to talk about. Well, how about Colossians 1:26? It says, “. . . the mystery hidden for ages and generations has not been revealed to the saints… the Church!” Colossians 1:27 says, “God wanted to make known among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery…” Those of you who give… you are using your earthly wealth to make the glorious wealth of God’s mystery known to the nations! You’re so awesome!

The Great Mystery Has Been Revealed. (1:26-27, 2:2-3).

Tell you what. I’d love everyone to grab their Study Guide or a Bible and turn to Colossians 1:26-27. The mystery hidden for ages/generations has now been revealed. A mystery of “glorious wealth” has been made known. The average person attends church 1.6x a month. At Lakeside, our attendance can fluctuate up to 100 people from week to week… that 20-25%!

Our highest duty in life… indeed, our highest privilege in life… is to celebrate our glorious wealth in Christ. Proclaiming what God has done for us in Christ Jesus, is the single most important thing we can possibly tend to, across the span of a given week. Have you stopped being in awe of the mystery? Is it possible, that maybe you haven’t truly heard, nor come to appreciate God’s grace, in all its truth? God’s people, the Church, forsaking the assembly, 3 Sundays a month? God’s people, the Church too busy, too bored, what is going on?

Try this out for size. God wants to give you knowledge of his will. He wants to give you practical wisdom for victorious living. In the depth of your heart, God wants you to understand his ways and have peace. More than anything else, God wants you to please Him by how you walk. He wants you to bear fruit and keep growing in grace and truth. If you’d just ask, God wants to strengthen you by giving you endurance, giving you patience, and giving you joy. God wants your worship… and certainly deserves it!

If you think worldly wealth is awesome, think about this. God has enabled you to share in the saint’s inheritance. God has enabled you to share in the “glorious wealth” of this mystery that is in Christ Jesus. {I still haven’t told you what this mystery is yet}. God has blessed you in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. God has rescued you from the dominion of darkness, he has transferred you into the Kingdom of the Son he loves. In Jesus, you have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Redemption, what is that? Try out Romans 8:22-25 for size! “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

Try out 2 Corinthians 4:16-18! “Therefore, we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. 18 So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” If you don’t know God, you’re getting your best life now; But if you know Jesus, glorious redemption is store for you.

Forgiveness, what is that? Try out Ephesians 2:1-10. “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously lived according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient. 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, 5 made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! 6 He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might display the immeasurable riches of his grace through his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.”

Why would anyone want to blow off the God of redemption and mercy? Can you imagine anything more glorious than redemption and total forgiveness? {I still haven’t told you what the mystery is, redemption and forgiveness are just tip of the iceberg!} Think about this: Jesus Christ is the image, exact representation, the fullness of the invisible God. Jesus Christ stands supreme over all creation. Everything was created by Jesus Christ, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Jesus and for Jesus. Jesus Christ stands before all things, and He is the strength and power that holds all things together in the universe. Jesus is the eternal sustainer of all things!

This same Jesus is also the head of the Church. We are his physical and spiritual body on earth. Jesus is the beginning and firstborn from among the dead. What does this mean? Jesus is the beginning. Jesus is the first to be resurrected from the dead. But his resurrection is just the firstfruits of many resurrections to come! In Jesus, we have a glorious hope that’s being stored up in heaven, that is, those who believe!

Not only was God please to have all his fullness dwell in Christ Jesus, but it was God’s pleasure to reconcile all things to himself (things on earth, things in heaven) by making peace through the blood of the cross. Once you were alienated and were hostile to the things of God—as shown by your behavior. But now God has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through his death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before him. This good news has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven. The God of the Universe… our Creator and Sustainer. The Head of the Church… the firstborn from among the dead… Our Lord and Savior, our Redeemer Jesus Christ… has made a way for all of us to stand before God… not in guilt/shame… but holy, faultless, and blameless. Can you imagine anything more glorious? {Yet even still I haven’t told you what the mystery is}

Friends, here is the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to the saints, the Church… Here is the glorious wealth of this mystery... They mystery is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Is anyone listening this morning? Did anyone hear what I said? The mystery is the Lord of the Universe, the Creator and Sustainer, the Head of the Church… the firstborn resurrected of God but certainly not the last. The Almighty God taking up residence not in some shrine, some temple, some sanctuary… no… the Almighty God taking up residence in you and me and in His Church.

In Colossians 3:3-4 Paul says, “You died. Your life is hidden away with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with Him in Glory!” Christ is now your life. You are not your own. Christ isn’t just living within you, he is revealing his glory within you!

Philippians 3:18-21. “For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things {could this explain why so many are delinquent these days in worship?} But our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform our lowly bodies into the likeness of his glorious body, by the power that enables him to subject everything Himself.”

Colossians 2:2-3. God wants you have “all the riches of complete understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery—Christ. In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” In Christ we can know glorious health, glorious wealth, glorious love, glorious wisdom/knowledge/understanding, glorious forgiveness, glorious redemption, glorious resurrection… indeed we be filled with the very glorious presence of Christ, who is in us, who fills us with the hope of glory!

The Great Commission Has Been Given (25-26).

I want to tell this morning that not only has a GREAT MYSTERY BEEN REVEALED…. But a GREAT COMMISSION HAS BEEN GIVEN. In Colossians 1:25-26 Paul says, “I have become {the gospel’s} servant, according to God’s commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.” Colossians 1:28, “We proclaim him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.”

A commission is a calling. God’s calling isn’t about you. I think this is where the problem lay. We neglect worship, we neglect the mission of Jesus, because we only think it’s about us. God’s call may very well be given to “me” but it isn’t just for “me.” Paul says its “given to me for you… for others.” I’m sorry but we don’t do church for me. We do church, we do mission, for others!

If you don’t think you need to come here for you, at least consider coming here to make the word of God fully known. At least consider coming to make know the mystery that been hidden for ages and generations but is now revealed to the saints. At least consider coming to warn and teach others with all wisdom, so that at the end of the age, we may present everyone fully mature in Christ…. “Holy, faultless, blameless…” Why does everything always got to be about you? If you are so spiritually put together that you only need to check into worship 1.6x a month, why don’t you serve in the children’s ministry the other 3-4x? Why don’t you teach our students? Why don’t you lead a small group? Why don’t you go preach—there are dozens of churches without pastors!

We’ve been given a Great Commission to Make Known the Great Mystery and present everyone mature in Christ Jesus. Less I ever be guilty of mincing words—about the critical role you in God’s plan of reconciling all things to himself… may I submit for your consideration Colossians 1:24-25, and Colossians 2:1-3:

The Great Gospel Still Lacks One Thing (24-25, 29, 1-3).

Colossians 1:24-25, “24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I am completing in my flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for his body, that is, the church.” 25 I have become its servant, according to God’s commission that was given to me for you…”

What in the world, do-tell, could possibly be lacking in Christ’s afflictions for his body the church? What’s lacking is our proclamation. What’s lacking are servants, kingdom workers, people willing to make known, to declare the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Over in Romans 10:13-15, Paul declares, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But here is the stinger… “How, then, can they call on him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.” What hope does the world have if our feet won’t carry our little bodies to worship, let alone carry the gospel around the earth?

Colossians 1:29-2:3, “29 I labor for this, striving with his strength that works powerfully in me. 1 For I want you to know how greatly I am struggling for you, for those in Laodicea, and for all who have not seen me in person. 2 I want their hearts to be encouraged and joined together in love, so that they may have all the riches of complete understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery—Christ.”

Think what your generosity can mean—you can make known the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you the hope of glory. Think what your life can mean—you can make Christ known, you can present others mature in Christ.

Three Invitations... Worship, Baptism, and Communion.

Scripture Verses

Colossians 1:24-2:5

Study Questions

  1. Read Colossians 1:24-2:5 Why do you think God allows us to suffer difficulties?
  2. What cost are you paying right now so that others can know Jesus and grow in Him?
  3. Why do you think Paul refers to his role as a '"stewardship" in verse 25? What are his responsibilities as a minister? What was he trying to accomplish? What resources did God provide?
  4. What mystery does Paul refer to in this passage (Also see Romans 8:10; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 3:17.)? Why is this mystery so important to the Colossians and us today?
  5. What does it mean to strive according to Christ's power in verse 29? (See 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Ephesians 1:18-21; Philippians 4:11-13.) How do we practically depend on the strength of the Lord?
  6. Are you carrying out the preaching of the word of God and bringing people to reconciliation? In what ways are you participating in seeing every person presented complete in Christ?
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