The Great Mystery

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Today’s Scripture: 1 Timothy 3

When I was a young girl, I was intrigued by mysteries. I read every Nancy Drew Mystery book I could get my hands on. My favorite was The Mystery of the 99 Steps. Nancy had to search for a flight of 99 steps to solve the mystery of her friend’s weird dream. This adventure led Nancy and her friends to Paris—such excitement for a 9-year-old to read. (Side note, I was able to visit Paris in March this year—ooh la la!)

1 Timothy 3:14-16
14 I am writing these things to you now, even though I hope to be with you soon, 15 so that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth.
16 Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith:
Christ was revealed in a human body (A)
and vindicated by the Spirit. (B)
He was seen by angels (C)
and announced to the nations. (D)
He was believed in throughout the world (E)
and taken to heaven in glory. (F)

In today’s reading, some versions of the Bible, like the NKJV, have the heading for these verses as “The Great Mystery.” According to the dictionary, the definition of mystery is “something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain.” It is important to differentiate between the dictionary definition and one of the ways the Bible uses the word mystery. In this instance, the Bible uses “mystery” as a sacred secret, something that was previously hidden, but has now been revealed through the gospel of Christ. Let’s unpack the meaning of verses 14 through 16.

The apostle Paul wrote this letter to Timothy, the pastor of the church in Ephesus, because the subject matter was too important to be missed if he was unable to deliver the instructions in person. Paul wanted to convey how those employed by the church and those who serve in a position doing ministry should conduct themselves as pillars of God’s church. It was vital for them to behave in a manner so as not to blemish the truth of the redemptive mission of Christ (vs. 14-15).

In verse 16, Paul gave a short outline of the life of Christ:

  1. Christ was revealed in a human body: “So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” (John 1:14)
  2. Christ was vindicated by the Spirit: “The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, 4 and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 1:3-4)
  3. He was seen by angels: “Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.” (Matthew 4:11)
  4. He was announced to the nations: “It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’” (Luke 24:47)
  5. He was believed in throughout the world: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, KJV)
  6. He was taken to Heaven in glory:  “until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:2)

Unlike the mystery books where it was the responsibility of Nancy and her besties Bess and George to solve the mystery, the mystery of our faith comes only through the church of Jesus Christ.

Do you see the importance of the church? Are you committed to investing in the church? Are you living the truth of God’s love and grace in Jesus Christ? If not, why?

Next Steps:
The church has given out cards to list five people we want to invite to a service. If you have not already filled one out, do so and pray for those people. Be mindful that the list should contain names of people that are not currently involved at another life giving church.

Dear heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of salvation through your only begotten son, Jesus. Thank you for our church leaders and their dedication to godly behavior. Help us to grow in the fruit of the Spirit. Give us strength and wisdom to look up to see the hope in Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen.

This post was written by Jennifer Macke. Jenn has a son, daughter, granddaughter, and grandson, and she thanks God every day for them. She is enjoying retirement and feels blessed to be writing for LivingItOut. She was raised in an Evangelical Church, but her spiritual life awakened when she started attending CedarCreek.

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