Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Colossians 1:24-27 The Hope Of Glory

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 minister, according to God’s administration that was given to me for you, to make God’s message fully known, 26 the • mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to His saints. 27 God wanted to make known to those among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this • mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

In the New Testament the Spirit of God reveals two mysteries of surpassing wonder and greatness. On Paul's lips, the word " mystery " meant almost the opposite of what it does to-day. He borrowed the word from contemporary religions which used it to indicate " a truth or rite reserved only for the select circle of the initiated." By it he meant a sacred secret, long kept hidden, and while so hidden, abso­lutely impenetrable to man, who could learn it only by divine revelation. Heathen " mysteries " could be known only by the favoured few, but in verse 28 of this chapter Paul says these mysteries are open to " every man in Christ," and not for a spiritual aristocracy only.
What then are these two mysteries ?
First, the incarnation of God in the human nature of Christ. " Great is the mystery of godliness . . . God was manifest in the flesh." i Tim. 3 : i6. " God was in Christ." 2 Cor. 5 : 19. Mystery of mysteries, the Infinite becomes an infant, ".made in the likeness of men."
Second, and a greater mystery still, the incarnation of Christ in the life of the consecrated believer. " Jesus Christ is in you." 2 Cor. 13 : 5. " Christ liveth in me." Gal. 2 : 20. It seems as though Paul is speaking with bated breath as he unveils this marvellous mystic secret.
The first mystery, Christ FOR. us, is the basis of our salvation.
The second mystery, Christ IN us, is the basis of our sanctification.
The hope of glory.
Glory for an athlete.. win over all the rest and take the podium. Top 3 athletes at Olympic games versus hundreds of elite athletes to stand on the podium.
The hope of glory.
More than just mortal glory here.
The glory of God, in the face of the Lord Jesus Christ. At His return!
2 Cor 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or bad.
But as we run this race, there are obstacles.

1. We struggle With Issues.

Jesus warned us. He said, "Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also." [John 15:20].

Paul goes into some detail about his sufferings in 1 Corinthians 11,
Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
Notice that Paul identifies several sources of suffering. There is overwhelming physical suffering. He was attacked, beaten and left for dead. All this because of his proclamation of the gospel. This may not happen to churchgoers in our country very often but it is happening in other countries. The world is becoming increasingly hostile to the Christian message. And as we have seen, people are resorting to violence to address their grievances more and more. Paul tells us that he is also threatened by the Gentiles. In other words, he faces the subtle antagonism of non-believers.. Here is something we should be able to relate to. Every time we take a stand for Christ, we become a target. If you take a leadership position, you become a bigger target. This is often much more subtle and subversive. People will exclude you, ridicule you, criticize you behind your back.
He faces suffering from false brothers. These are Devastating attacks from within the church. In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Caesar is killed by a group of assailants. A famous line is "et tu, Brutè?" Caesar was stunned that one he thought was a friend would turn on him. Anyone who has served in the church for any length of time understands this feeling. Some of the most painful blows come from these "false brothers" the ones we thought were our friends. It would be nice if everyone in the church applied God's commands to love, kindness and encouragement. It would be nice, but it is not the way it is.

Participation in the work of salvation.
2 tim 2:10 This is why I endure all things for the elect: so that they also may obtain salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
Paul identifies one other source of suffering: "I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?" One of the most painful aspects of Christian leadership is the heartbreak of sharing people's pain. It's tough to listen to the heartache that goes on in so many lives. It's devastating to see someone who is acting out of rebellion to the Lord. It hurts every time I stand at a casket as a family says their final goodbyes. The closer I am to the family. The more it hurts.
Sometimes I wonder if we’ll make it. Sometimes the pressures get too extreme. Sometimes the pressure of the world in the church gets me down.
Sometimes life is just so difficult if you are going to be a fair dinkum Christian and live by His Word. And you wonder, where can you muster the courage and the strength to go on. There is an answer.

2. We Survive By His Indwelling
Consistently Taught in the Scriptures.
It was foreshadowed in the Old Testament. " I will dwell in them, and walk in them." Lev. 26 : 12 ; 2 Cor. 6: 16.
It was Foretold by Christ Himself, but when He began to reveal the mystery in the words, " He . . . dwelleth in me and I IN HIM," John 6 : 56, His disciples could not grasp His meaning. And why ? " The Holy Ghost was not yet given because that Jesus was not yet glorified." John 7 : 39. And we shall be just as impotent as they to grasp the glorious fact that Christ actually, literally, really indwells the true Christian, if Jesus is not enthroned in our hearts, and unless the Holy Spirit takes of His things and reveals them unto us.
Listen to our Lord's words spoken on that memorable eve in the upper room. Listen simply, and as though you had never heard before. " At that day"—when the Spirit is given—"ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in Me and I IN YOU." John 14 : to, " Abide in Me and I IN YOU." John 15 : 4. " He that abideth in Me and I IN HIM." John i<; : 5. " That the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them and I IN THEM." John 17 : 26.
The Lover of our souls will not rest content with mere exterior contact with the objects of His love. He must dwell within the heart that returns His affection.
It is Developed in the Epistles, especially of Paul, to whom its unfolding was entrusted. " If Christ be IN YOU, the body is dead because of sin" Rom. 8 ; lo. " Know ye not that Jesus Christ IS IN YOU." 2 Cor. 13 : 5. " Christ LIVETH IN ME." Gal. 2 : 20. " That Christ may DWELL IN YOUR HEART by faith." Eph. 3 : 17.
" Christ IN YOU, the hope of glory" Col. 1 : 27.
" Greater is HE THAT IS IN YOU than he that is in the world." l John 4: 4.
What an imposing array of Scripture testimony to this glorious secret. Have you learned it ? Do you enjoy the experience of " Christ in you ? " Have you only an external Christ Who lives in a far away heaven. Who graciously pays you occasional visits, and on Whom you call in time of emergency ? Do you think of Him as doing His saving work in you from the outside ? Does this beautiful yet tragic hymn of Dr. Bonar's describe your experience ?
" Sometimes I catch sweet glimpses of his face, But that is all.
Sometimes He speaks a passing word of peace, But that is all.
Sometimes I think I hear His loving voice Upon me call.
" And is this ALL He meant when thus He spake,
Come unto Me ? Is there no deeper, more enduring rest
In Him for Thee ? Is there no steadier light for thee in Him ? 0 come and see."

" He's real to me. He's real to me, My blessed Lord is real to me, A living bright reality, My blessed Lord is real to me."

Do you wish it to be true ? Then believe the consistent testimony of Scripture. Do you say, " I have no conscious­ness of the Indwelling of Christ ? " Remember that this is not an attainment slowly achieved, it is instantly received.
Then, again, the fact of Christ's Indwelling has been—

Continually Experienced by Saints
What was it transformed the timid, cowardly, jealous, self-seeking disciples into courageous, self-effacing, tireless ambassadors for Christ ? Pentecost, when the Risen Christ was made vividly real to them by the Holy Spirit. Hear
them preach now ! How real Jesus is to them. Where is now their cowardice and self-seeking ? It has been expelled from the hearts in which the Risen Christ has been invited to dwell.
When did Paul's career, in all its flaming grandeur and sacrifice, really begin ? When he was blinded by the brilliance
of the revelation of Christ, on the Damascus road ? No 1 It did not begin with the exterior revelation of Christ, but with an interior revelation. " But when it pleased God to reveal His Son IN ME." Gal. 1 : 16.
We must have an interior as well as an exterior revelation of Christ to the soul. From the moment of that revelation,
Paul's life took a new direction. He was possessed and controlled by a power far transcending even his outstanding
mental and physical powers. He henceforth protested : " I no longer live . . . Christ lives in me." Now he is able to conquer sin, endure hardness and accomplish unbelievable work, not through his human talents, but through " Christ in him."
Is it not just here that so many of us fail as Christian workers ? Be it noted that in Paul's experience " Christ liveth in me " was preceded by " I have been crucified with Christ." Your life is a fresh incarnation of Christ only insofar as you yield the old life to the death of the cross. When your eyes are opened to see that your old sinful self was nailed together with Christ to His Cross, and you consent to live a crucified, self-denying life, then the Holy Spirit will delight to reveal the Lord Jesus within, no longer an external Christ but an indwelling Saviour.
If the old Paul no longer lived but Christ lived in him, we can expect him to act like his indwelling Guest. Was his Lord consumed with love for the lost'? Then it is not surprising to hear Paul saying, " I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren." Rom. 9 : 3. " Neither count I my life dear unto myself." Acts 20 : 24. Did Christ live a life of unappreciated self-sacrifice ? His bondslave likewise partakes of His spirit and says, " I will very gladly
spend and be spent for you, though the more abundantly I love you the less I be loved." 2 Cor. 12 : 15. Paul's union with Christ was no mystical and mythical thing, but a fact of real and momentary experience. So entirely one with Christ did Paul become in his inner experience, that in describing his life he said, " to me to live is— CHRIST." Not to be Christ-like, or to serve Christ, or to have Christ's help, but " CHRIST." Their lives had merged the one into the other in an indissoluble union of thought and feeling and action. Christ had constituted Himself Paul's very life. " Christ liveth in me."
J.Hudson Taylor, M.D. was a missionary to China, and the founder of the China Inland Mission. Here is the inward joy and power that Hudson Taylor found in Christ. What was the secret? The simple, profound secret of drawing for every need, temporal or spiritual, upon "the fathomless wealth of Christ." " . . . God made me a new man! God has made me a new man!"
Horatio Bonar wrote a hymn
Yes, in me, in me He dwelleth
I in Him and He in me!
And my empty soul He filleth
Now and through eternity.

Dr. F. B. Meyer wrote:: " It is my confident belief that there is not a single man or woman who believes in Christ who has not Christ in the heart. But remember, that as the heavy veil hid the holy of holies from the holy place, so Jesus Christ may be in your heart; but because you have never recognised that He is there, because you have made no use of His presence there, because you have been unbelieving, and maybe indolent to respond to His appeal, though He has been in your heart ever since you were regenerate. His presence has been hidden from your eyes ; it has been veiled. I pray God that the two hands that rent the veil of the temple in twain from the top to the bottom, may rend the veil in your inner life that the Christ who is there may be revealed in you."

Dr. A. B. Simpson, the great preacher, poet and missionary leader ;
" This. is my wonderful story, Christ to my heart has come ;
Jesus, the King of glory, finds in my heart a home"
" Not a brief glance I beg—a passing word,
But as Thou dwell'st with Thy disciples Lord,
Familiar, condescending, kind and free,
Come not to sojourn but abide with me."

Almost everyone has heard of Mr. Heinz whose "57 varieties" of pickles have distinguished his name. One day after an evangelistic service the speaker turned to him and said, "You are a believer, but with all your energy why aren't you up and at it for the Lord?" Heinz went home in anger. That night he couldn't sleep, however, and at 4 o'clock in the morning he prayed that God would use him to lead others to the Savior. A day or so later at a meeting of bank presidents, he turned to the man next to him and told him of his joy in knowing Jesus. His friend looked at him in surprise and said, "Because I knew you were a Christian, I've wondered many times why you never spoke to me about salvation." That gentleman became the first of 267 converts -- people of different varieties, from all walks of life -- that Mr. Heinz eventually won to Christ!

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