Stewards of the Mysteries of God #1

These past 4 weeks as a church were really sweet as we looked into the ministry and mysteries of the Holy Spirit.  If you missed it or if you aren’t part of our church family, you can find the series here:

The Holy Spirit Summer Series

We last looked at Colossians 1:26 and leaned into a few aspects of the mystery of Christ residing in us, which we understood as a reference to the Holy Spirit.  This mystery is profound.  This mystery is abounding with glorious wealth.   This mystery reveals that God is for all people, Jew and Gentile.  It’s been referrenced and alluded to in previous ages and generations.  A mystery that reveals the plan of redemption, justification, and sanctification.  A mystery that reveals that the presence of God will dwell in the lives of those who placed their faith in Jesus the Christ.

the presence of God…

Think about that!  The very presence of God that shook Mt. Sinai.  The very presence that Moses longed to see.  The presence that made God’s people then and now distinct.  The ALL HOLY GOD dwells within us.  Our hearts have become the holy of holies where now by the grace of God, we can boldly approach the throne in our time of need.  

the very presence of God now living within all who believe…

How thankful I am that the Holy Spirit, the very presence of God lives within me?!?  To know that He prays and intercedes for me because I do not always know what I should pray for (Romans 8:26-27).  To have the ability to daily be filled by the Spirit, to be able to be led by the Spirit, to be able to pray in the Spirit, all in order to build myself and others up in our most holy faith (Jude 20-21).  It’s Him, the Holy Spirit, who roots me and you in the love of Christ and always points us to Jesus.  This really is a mystery!  A beauitful mystery!  A glorious mystery!  This is only a glimpse of all the Holy Spirit does for us.

Yet there is more!  There is another mystery that the church today needs to embrace, live in, and live out.  Take a moment and read Ephesians 5:22-33 and look for it.  Don’t keep reading 😉 Seriously, take a moment to read it.

Paul is encouraging husbands and wives to love each other, to both submit to each other because of love.  Towards the end of this encouragement, Paul uncovers really what he is trying to describe - “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”

 Paul is connecting marriage, husband and wife, to the relational dynamic that the church has with Jesus.  In a marriage, husband and wife become one flesh.  Through the gospel, the church and Jesus become one body.  Think about those implications for what it means to be a church and to be part of a church.  Just think about that in the context of this passage.  Jesus loves us so much that He gave His very life as a sacrifice for us, so that we can become one with Him.  Now that we are ONE with Him, through the Holy Spirit He sanctifies us, sets us apart, cleanses us from the stain of sin in our lives through interacting with His word.  The Holy Spirit is transforming us from one degree of glory to another to make us become more and more like Jesus.  He takes care of His bride, the church.  He nurtures our hearts.  He strenghtens.  He affirms and reaffirms His affection.  He makes us become beautiful, pure and holy.

Our struggle in the western church often tends to be twofold: intellectualism and individualism.  We tend to not like mystery and therefore we try to reduce it down to something that is rationale and easy to process.  We also have been formed in our culture to be individualistic.  This paradigm influences how we read the Bible.  Where the Bible speaks in plural and meant to be plural we interpret it often in the singular - What does this mean for me?  How does this apply to me?  There’s also a subtle value that has been embedded in many regarding the gospel, which is to keep it private.  And let me go one step further, still today in our post-covid world, there are some who claim allegiance to Jesus and yet now has come to see attending a local church as optional and not really necessary as long as we can stream the service.  That seems to me to show significant disregard to the mystery of the Gospel and God’s plan for His people.

Here’s my take - If you are being filled daily by the Holy Spirit, if you are being led and walking by the Spirit, HE WILL LEAD YOU TO BE PART OF A LOCAL CHURCH.

How could He not?

“…He is the head of the body, the church…”. Colossians 1:18

“Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”  1 Corinthians 12:27

“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”  1 Peter 2:4-5

“For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”  Ephesians 2:14-22

We are described as the temple of the Living God, that’s both indivdually and corporately.  Mystery.  We are told that the church should display this MYSTERIOUS UNCOMMON UNITY we have through Jesus.  That each of us have been given a gift from the Holy Spirit to build each other up in community.  In fact, Paul seems to suggest in Ephesians 4:15-16 that if we aren’t pursuing Jesus together in community, and if we aren’t using our gifts for the common good, the church’s growth would be stunted.

The glorious wealth of the mystery of God, Christ in you, is NOT ONLY about you individually.  It’s about us collectively.

Imagine what the local church could be if we embraced this mystery?  Imagine what the local church could do if we collectively were led and walked by the Holy Spirit?

Let’s talk for a moment
• What’s your concept of church?  Why?
• What has shaped your view of church?
• Is church hard for you to be part of because of previous church hurt?
• Do you need to be connected to a community?

The next blog will focus on the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given the church.  


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