The Mystery (Hidden) Unveiled: Wow, What Results!
Paul writes to the Colossians, pointing to His mission and source. The passage we wish to examine is:
Col. 1:24 "I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily." (NKJB)
Lets notice his claims:
1. First Paul was rejoicing for these brethren at Colosse! He was so glad that they had been enlightened, even though he was being made to suffer at the moment, remembering that Christ has suffered, too. Beloved, may we develop and maintain that attitude: be able to REJOICE when we know of others who have obeyed the gospel and are making progress!
2. He was made a minister, according to the dispensation of stewardship from God to assist these people and others. We, likewise, must first of all be grateful for the HELP we have received from others, in our spiritual adventure; also, may we be dedicated to HELPING other to the extent we are able.
3. The MYSTERY which had been hidden from ages and generation, had NOW been "manifested," made KNOWN! Although it has been mentioned by each generation down through the centuries, the GOOD NEWS is that it is now available to each person, and these people, had taken advantage of it! How wonderful! What a valuable message to them and yea, surely to us!
Lets notice the channel:
4. Mystery manifested to his saints! We need to understand and appreciate that God has dispensed the message of salvation through the apostles and other inspired men, who wrote the New testament, and God's providence has preserved it for us! It's available to all people everywhere!
5. Mystery Riches of glory: unsearchable riches! Beloved there is nothing so valuable as the message that has been unfolded to us in the gospel message, as recorded in the New Testament scriptures, as supported by all the inspired men of old in the Old Testament.
6. Mystery among you --The Gentiles: Universality! There had been a time when only the Jews were the recipients of God's special blessings ( Eph. 2:11-12) but "NOW" (Eph. 2:13), the wall of separation has been removed, and the blessing are available to all people on the same bases! How wonderful to all. Aren't you and I blessed! Are we availing ourselves of the riches through the unfolding of that mystery?
Lets notice the caution:
7. Warning every man -- Caution, sounding the alarm! Man as a rule does not like to me warned, reproved, or scolded. Yet, at times the danger must be recognized, before one can and will enjoy and experience the joys of the benefits available, only if he she takes advantage of the offer!
8. Mystery mightily producing labor. Paul was willing and did in fact labor in the gospel, trying with every ounce of energy and ability he had to make known the unfolded mystery to others, even from his prison cell. He was not complaining, as I'm afraid I would be were I in such a situation, but with enthusiasm urging all to live right, happily active in the work of the Lord, knowing that live will soon be over and heaven is waiting! If we miss, there'll be torment to pay! Eternity is a long time to be tormented; when we could be SURE of getting to eternal bless!
Lets notice the challenge!
Beloved do you and I get excited about the challenges before us? We can speak to our heavenly Father in prayer. Do we, often? We can tell others of the great salvation, in Christ. Do we move and work excitedly, enthusiastically? We can know by faith that God will supply all our needs. Do we manifest the same in our behavior? We have the privilege of worshiping God with His people, in singing, listening to and discussing the revelation, take the Lord's supper, and lay by in store as we've been prospered each Lord's day. Do we look forward to that opportunity and gather promptly, greeting with love all who so gather?
In conclusion, friends, let us appreciate what Paul tells us about this mystery! Let us not think because it is caused "mystery" we can't understand it! The mystery description, title, means that it originated in the mind of God and He made it known as He saw fit, and man on his own could not obtain it (1 Cor. 1:21). However, NOW it is no longer hidden from Mankind. Rather it is manifested, made known, revealed -- laid out before us! Lets avail ourselves of it. Join with me in doing that: embrace it, believe it, turn from you sins and confess the name of Christ and be buried (Rom. 6:3-4) with Him so you can be raised, to that elevated position as were these Colossians! Wow, what a wonderful unfolding!!!!
By William C. Sexton
From Expository Files 5.11; November 1998