The Mysteries of the Church…
In the scriptures there are many Mysteries. The word in the Greek means something secret or something that God is silent about. Not the “special knowledge” of the Gnostics, or the “secrets” of the Mormons, but God’s secrets…
A mystery in the Bible is something that God has not yet revealed. There are some things God gave us marvelous instructions about, but left our eyes closed until an appointed time. Some of them are:
-The preaching of Christ now revealed to all nations (Ro, 16:25).
-We will have Glorified bodies (1 Cor. 15:51).
-That the Gentiles and the Jews will be gathered together (Eph. 1:9).
-That Christians are one flesh and bone with Jesus (Eph. 5:32).
-Christ in us the hope of Glory (Col. 1:26-27).
-The Gospel itself is hidden in parables and symbols (Matt. 13:11, Mk.
4:11, Eph. 6:19, etc…).
There are many more, but for us that have trusted our lives to Christ, there are some Mysteries upon which our service to God, even our very lives DEPEND.
In many parts of the world today, Christians are being robbed, tortured and killed (martyred). More Christians are being slaughtered today than in any other time in history.
In my own country (USA), our President, our Government and our Courts are making increasingly aggressive attacks against Christ and His people. Efforts are underway to remove all constitutional protections from the churches. What is now a “legitimate” church will be a group that condones things forbidden in the Scriptures. Properties and finances will be confiscated for “hate crimes”. Police now will not pursue those making death threats against Christians…
What of us Christians that love the Lord and seek always to follow Him? What has the Lord done for us to ensure our protection and even our survival? The “escape” teachings being taught in many churches (rapture before things get too tough) are little comfort to those in agony today in North Korea, Iran, Syria, China, Mexico and other wicked places.
-Has He hidden in the Bible tools for our success?
-Has He hidden secret powers to give us Victory?
-Didn’t He know about this beforehand?
Of course! The Lord has provided abundantly more than we will ever need!
First of all, God has made His Kingdom invisible to sinners:
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
This is great news! Not only can’t the enemies of God SEE God’s Kingdom, they can NEVER enter into it (unless they repent and surrender to Christ):
John 3:5-7 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
So, no need for walls and security alarms. No need to post guards or worry about invasions. Even spies in our midst can’t harm us:
1 Corinthians 2:4-14 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
And yet, every day Christians are being killed:
Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Let’s consider the work of the Church. Can the government (or anyone) hinder it in any way? In our efforts to serve Jesus and help the needy, to bring the Good News of the Gospel to those that thirst for Christ and His Salvation, can we be stopped?
Never!! Even on a personal level, the Word of God in us ALWAYS accomplishes those things that it set out to do (Is. 55:11). You may find this a bit confusing. Maybe you think that Christ has done VERY LITTLE in you.
-You look around and don’t see many souls saved.
-You pray and nothing happens.
-You ask God for things that He does not give you…
Are you the purpose of the Church? Of course not!
You judge yourself (and God) by what you (and God) have NOT DONE. That is the “ruler” that is used on the goats. God’s sheep are judged by what they HAVE DONE. (Matt. 25:31-46).
Imagine, if you will, a farm worker that is sent to irrigate the fields in their time. He wishes perhaps to plow or plant… Maybe he wants to run the harvesting equipment. Every day he asks the farmer for permission to do these other more interesting things. He wants to make more of a difference on the farm. Yet the farmer just smiles and sends him again to irrigate.
One day, the worker is shown how to discern the weeds from the young plants; soon he is sweating in the field with an aching back… Almost, he wishes he was irrigating again.
In the proper season, ALL will be working in the Harvest! The farmer knows what needs to be done RIGHT NOW. We are each like this farm worker. While we long for the Harvest, let’s be sure to do those things God has anointed us to do.
Consider how the works of the Church are invisible:
Charity work is invisible:
Matthew 6:1-4 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
Honestly, the large, public charity efforts do not see the power of God. They are not attended by miracles and born-again hearts. They do not show God’s great love; it is Man’s generosity that gets the credit. Who is that man that went on Welfare and in his gratitude he surrendered his heart and life to God?
Even the Church cannot see the work of God that is done through its members, because it is a secret work... If you have been blessed by God to represent Jesus to the poor and the hurting, you are fortunate indeed!
If the government (or some shady investment agent) should empty the Church’s bank accounts, confiscate the properties and fine the members, God will continue to give alms to men… Jesus will do it OPENLY!
Prayer is invisible:
Matthew 6:5-8 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
We’ve all seen and heard public prayers. We pray them ourselves. Actually, they are generally “thank you (praise) prayers”. Sometimes a preacher will summarize his main points during the closing “prayer”. How can I say that these are not true prayers? Because God does not answer them. Neither the people nor the preacher expect Him to.
Prayer is speaking with God. If God has not answered, we have not prayed! Jesus promises that the Father SHALL reward thee openly!
The prayers that are answered are those that happened privately with God. When someone is saved in a Church service, it’s not because the sermon was good, it’s because the prayer was good.
No one can stop a man from praying. Threatening Daniel with death in the lion’s den didn’t stop Daniel. Neither did the lions! (Daniel 6:6-23)
If you’d like instruction on how to pray powerful, anointed prayers that move God, Jesus has a tutorial in Matt. 6:5-15.
Fasting is done Secretly:
Matthew 6:16-18 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
Fasting is SO INVISIBLE that many in the Church don’t realize that it is still done. The reason for this is that when it is publically instituted, it doesn’t work. Yet it has ALWAYS been a powerful tool of the Church!
Fasting is more than denying yourself food, it is denying yourself for the sake of others. When a Christian encounters a soul in need, whatever the Christian has becomes available. This means money, a spare tire, a day off, etc…
If a dear one NEEDS a miracle from God, his Christian friends will pray without ceasing. They will take days off work and spend hours and hours in prayer. They will cancel vacations, get out of bed in the middle of the night and promise wild (and maybe foolish) things to God. Our Father in Heaven receives these offerings of love and is pleased. He will reward them openly.
Fasting is a dreadfully powerful demonstration of God’s love. The Father has shown us that He, too fasts. He offered up Jesus, His precious Son on the cross for us!
When a heart is so broken that it begins to fast, nothing (not even death) can stop it…
Eternal Wealth is stored Secretly:
Matthew 6:19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Luke 16:9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail (means to die), they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
The Church’s wealth is in Heaven and can NEVER be plundered, lost or spent. No taxes, fines or fees can ever be put against it. The shouts of joy and delight that ring through the Heavens every time a Christian arrives there can probably be heard down in the pits of Hell!
Some might think that Heaven is full of good fishing holes, harp playing or some other silliness. REAL JOY comes from seeing Jesus face to face! Then being reunited with our beloved family and friends! That joy is awaiting each of us and Jesus, too. (Heb.12:2)
These wonderful, mysterious adventures of the Church have a common purpose:
-They show the world the Kingdom of God.
-They show God’s will in action.
-They show the Glory of God to a dark and doomed world.
When God answers us openly, the world sees Jesus, the Savior and Sovereign King of all that is. Only God can convince the world of sin, show the majesty of the Cross and win over the hardest of hearts to love and adoration. When the Lord moves in us and around us, the scripture calls this the LIGHT:
Matthew 5:14-16 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 6:22-24 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Mammon is this world’s wealth; money, land, power. Remember Luke 16:9? Let’s trade this mammon for friends and loved ones that have been saved!
-You don’t need money.
-You don’t need property.
-You don’t need popularity or political power…
What you DO need is to find Jesus and His Salvation.
What you DO need is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Solve the mysteries of the Church TODAY!
Trust your life to Jesus Christ
and your eyes will be opened!