ABIDE IN THE VINE

ABIDE IN THE VINE
FRUSTRATED WITH YOUR WALK WITH GOD? (Click this Picture) "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." Matthew 24:12

Thursday, 28 January 2010

FORESIGHT OF THE MASTER PLANNER - Journey From Mere Dust To Divinity

THE ORIGINAL PLAN – The Glory of God Eph.1:3-6


Christ In You, The Hope Of Glory – Journey From Mere Dust To Divinity

Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Col.1:26-27.

I remember when I was a child and I used to have this fascination about the hidden secret, or cryptic truth that makes a human being function. I used to stare continuously at people to try and ascertain what made them speak, see, hear, breathe. Although these are simple biological processes to someone who has a bit of knowledge of biology; to me as a child it was something that needed to be discovered. So knowing then that God was the creator of every human being I tried to analyse, I would raise up my index finger when my analysis hit the boundaries of the knowledge I was equipped with as a child. I raised the index finger to confirm that, there is only one Almighty GOD, and he is the only supreme being and the creator of the world (Being brought up in a Muslim family and this I believe was a Muslim thing). I have since then asked untold number of questions and had untold mysteries concerning This Almighty God that now as an adult (due to so much curiousity as a child) I have gotten used to not using my right index finger for anything other than what is directly connected to God. (Please if there are any religious folks reading this post; this is not a doctrine – just a personal thing).

There is nothing in this world that man knows everything about; the dictionary describes mystery as anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown: the mysteries of nature. Or, as any affair, thing, or person that presents features or qualities so obscure as to arouse curiosity or speculation. Ray Stedman explains it thus:

God understands us so thoroughly that he has hidden mystery in everything in life. We do not know anything fully. There is always an element we don't understand. Even terms we commonly use, such as love and joy and life itself, are basically mysterious to us. We know they are absolutely essential to our existence, but we don't know what they are. We struggle constantly trying to understand what are the great realities they represent.

This is true in every area of our lives. Even physicists tell us that, hidden away in every physical manifestation of the world and universe around us, is mystery. The quantum theory, upon which much of modern physics is based, and which has unleashed the whole realm of nuclear fission, has at its heart, say the physicists, a principle of indeterminism, a hidden principle. It states that we never can discover fully the truth about anything; there is an element of hidden information about every subject we go into.

We are ever confronted with mystery. It is mystery which makes life entrancing, fascinating. And God understands this. It is why the Scriptures say, "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing; but the glory of kings is to search it out," {cf, Prov 25:2 RSV}. God knows that we all want to be kings, that we are made to reign. And the glory of kings is to discover that which has been hidden.

Apostle Paul got some of these hidden information this time concerning our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ (Eph. 5:32) and made it known to the Church:

How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ): Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; Eph.3:3-5

That this mysteries, this many-sided wisdom of God in all its infinite variety and innumerable aspects, through the church, might now be made known to the angelic rulers and authorities (principalities and powers) in the heavenly sphere.

And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Eph.3:9-11

We as Christians have to vigorously seek to know and in turn pass on these mysteries {1 Cor 4:1 RSV}; Ray Stedman continues:

The "mysteries" are the sacred secrets that God knows about life, which men desperately need to know. Think of this! This is what Paul says we Christians are -- beginning with apostles, and including everyone who names the name of Christ -- we are servants of Christ, and stewards, responsible servants, given the responsibility of dispensing the mysteries of God, of helping people understand these great secrets which explain life and make it possible to solve the difficulties and problems of our human affairs. To us is committed this responsibility. This is how Paul sees himself -- as a steward of the mysteries of God.

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles

Now as Apostle Paul goes on to tell us in verse 32 of Romans 3 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” sin is supposed to qualify us for the wrath of God; but He has instead of wrath prepared us unto glory. Watchman Nee explains:

“In Romans 3:23 we read: “All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God”. God’s purpose for man was glory, but sin thwarted that purpose by causing man to forfeit God’s glory. When we think of sin we instinctively think of the judgment it brings; we invariably associate it with condemnation and hell. Man’s thought is always of the punishment that will come to him if he sins, but God’s thought is always of the glory man will forfeit if he sins. The result of sin is that we forfeit God’s glory: the result of redemption is that we are qualified again for glory.

God in His omniscience, have total and absolute control concerning His purposes. From the beginning to the very end

Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory. Rom. 9:21-23

Ray Stedman explains:

What Paul is saying in all this is that God may have purposes and objectives that we do not see. And doesn't he have the right to do it? And what if one of those objectives is not only to display his power and his wrath by allowing and permitting man to oppose him and to resist him, but also to display his amazing patience and longsuffering this way? Did you ever think about that? Did you ever think of how, for centuries and centuries, God has put up with the snarling, nasty, blasphemous, accusing remarks of men, and has done nothing to them? He has listened to all the cheap, shoddy, vulgar things that men say about him, and allowed them to treat him with hostility and anger and never does a thing but patiently endure it and put up with it. Paul says, "What if God does all that. What if it takes that kind of a display of the wrath of God and the patience of God to bring those of us whom he chooses to himself?" Something has to appear to us that makes us understand God. We are not being forced to come to him, we are drawn to him. Therefore we have to respond, and something must make us respond. Is it not the wrath of God and the patience of God that draws us on?

It is relatively easy to teach or listen to these mysteries of God but they don’t easily bear fruit. Apostle Paul prayed that - “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints”. Eph.1:18.

Ray Stedman observed in Turned On By Prayer:

It isn't enough simply to teach truth. It isn't enough to spread doctrine. It isn't enough to have a Bible class in which you are getting the students to learn certain facts from the Scriptures. The Apostle Paul, and the other great leaders of the early church, understood man much better than that. You never get the whole man until the heart is moved, until the eyes of the heart are enlightened, until truth is moved from the head down to the heart, and thus it has gripped the emotions. Then the will is properly motivated. Then the person begins to grow tremendously.

So what an encouragement this is to a ministry of prayer! Pray for one another. Pray for the class that you teach. Pray for your children -- that the truth they are learning, both at home and at Sunday school, will become vivid to them. How many times have we allowed them merely to learn factual matters, and have never prayed about it, and then wondered why the truth doesn't seem to affect them very much. Pray for your father and mother -- that the truth they are learning may change their hearts so that they will be easier to get along with. Pray for your husband, pray for your wife -- that this enlightenment of the heart may come. See how Paul understands this and how he stresses it with us. He says, "For this reason ..." there is no use teaching you this truth unless I also pray for you, unless prayer changes your life so that you are 'turned on,' so that your hearts come alive with the truth of God." And, if we do the same, we will understand that God has designed truth to make its appeal to the whole of our humanity, the whole being, the whole man, and we will become whole in Christ.

It is these prayers that we pray for one another concerning the mysteries of God especially that strengthens us internally -

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man Eph.3:16.

It is this prayers that also bring in the comfort that is the fruit of unity –

“That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”. Col. 2:2-3.

Christ in you, the hope of glory

Prayer:

Our Heavenly Father, we thank you so much for this revelation of the way we are made. Thank you for the wisdom of the Apostle Paul, who knew that you can't simply pour out so many facts, write them down in a letter, and expect to have people grasp them and live by them. There must be the bending of the knee, the opening of the heart, the imploring of the Spirit, the bathing of the truth, the Word, in prayer, so that it becomes vital, living, attractive, compelling. Lord, help us to pray for each other. We need this truth greatly today, and we pray that you will drive it home to us with clarity and with power, in Jesus' name, Amen.

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