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Communion (1995 Series)

Mystery!

Scheduled for September 14

(Eph 1:7-10 NIV)  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace {8} that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. {9} And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, {10} to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

 

“Mystery” -- as Paul has it here -- is not the same word with which we are familiar.  When I think of mystery, I think instantly of Agatha Christie, the great bamboozler of our time.  I speak as one of the great bamboozled.  I have never yet been able to penetrate “who done it?”  I think of myself as being reasonably intelligent, so it’s frustrating to read these mysteries and not be able to figure them out before the detective announces the solution.  How do these mystery writers do it?

Dorothy Sayers, another great mystery writer (and probably the finest writer of theology in the twentieth century) has revealed the secret of how it’s done.  She explains it this way:  “If a thing could only be done one way, and if only one person could have done it that way, then you’ve got your criminal, motive or no motive.  There’s How, When, Where, Why and Who -- and when you’ve got How, you’ve got Who.”

 

In this series on Communion, I have given much attention to Why:  the love of God.  Communion also reveals to us the mystery of God’s purpose: the How.  The How is Christ, the mystery of the ages.  Mystery in the Biblical use of the word means something which was hidden, but is to be revealed at the proper time.  Christ is the great mystery of God.  From the beginning, it was God’s intention that Christ should come.  Throughout the Old Testament, first in hints of prophecy -- one thinks of Job crying out, “I know that my Redeemer lives!” -- and then in more explicit terms, God makes it clear that the Messiah (which is the same as Christ) is to come.

Then, at the right time, Jesus arrived.  The mystery was, as far as God was willing, revealed to us.  We understand now what God was driving at.  He spent two thousand (and more) years drilling into one people group just what kind of God He is -- so that we could know Him when he came.  The great point of that coming was Calvary.  God’s purpose in this visit was to provide a way back to him -- and that way is Jesus.

But there is more.  The mystery is not yet fully revealed, nor will it be until He accomplishes his ultimate purpose:  “to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.” 

 

In Communion, we proclaim not only the mystery revealed, his coming to the Cross, but also the mystery to be revealed -- his coming again.  We do not yet know all -- but we know Who.

 

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