1) FIRST, WE SEE THE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL WHICH HAS BEEN SUPERNATURALLY REVEALED.
i) We are to believe in the supernatural origin of the gospel message. The gospel message is about the Lord Jesus Christ stepping into history in the fullness of time being born of a women, born under the Law. He died on a hideous Roman cross and rose again bodily from the dead. It is unique. No other religion has the facts of God acting so powerful within history itself. Most religions today look for a sort of mystical escape, and inner feeling of spirituality.
ii) The gospel is only believed by us through supernatural intervention. Paul would not have believe the gospel unless the Lord opened His eyes to see it.
1 Corinthians 2:12 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,
1 Corinthians 2:14 14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
iv) Two ways we tend to deny the supernatural character of the gospel today:
- We turn to the church into something about us. We fail to preach God’s holiness, God’s wrath and the necessity of Christ crucified. Michael Horton says is this way:
God is used as a personal resource rather than known, worshipped and trusted; Jesus Christ is a coach with a good game plan for our victory rather than a Savior who has already achieved it for us; salvation is more a matter of having our best life now than being saved from God’s judgment by God himself and the Holy Spirit is an electrical outlet we can plug into for the power we need to be all we can be. –Christless Christianity, p.19
- Christian ‘spirituality’ looks no different than pagan spirituality. We have turn the truth of the faith—God’s work in revealing Himself into personal internal feelings. Now God does change our hearts. But many spiritual individuals will claim the experiences of life change. We have lost as Christian’s our ability to distinguish. When everything is rated by personal experience: did is work and is it true for you… Christians lose sight of the fact that the gospel is supernatural—the act of God. And if it is something that God has truly done then it is not a matter of personal opinion.
2) SECOND, WE SEE THE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL WHICH HAD BEEN PERFECTLY TIMED.
Warfield in the context of talking about the Trinity summarizes it this way:
The Old Testament may be likened to a chamber richly furnished but dimly lighted; the introduction of light brings into it nothing which was not in it before; but it brings out into clearer view much of what is in it but was only dimly or even not at all perceived before…Thus the Old Testament revelation of God is not corrected by the fuller revelation which follows it, but only perfected, extended and enlarged (The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol ii, pp.141-2).
Consider this example: In the movie The Sixth Sense the man characters are a man and boy. The boy can “see dead people”. The man through the movie helps the boy discover and cope with his ability. We get glimpses of who this man is—but then at the end there is a huge plot twist: the man realizes he is a dead person. If you go back and watch the movie you see all the clues now revealed. So it is with the gospel! The clues are in the Old Testament. They are a mystery hidden—a concept that comes right out of Daniel 2. But now with the coming of Christ and the gift to Paul and the apostles—this mystery is made clear. It is revealed. We see it clearly. We are to marvel at the unique timing of how God makes these things known.
i) We need to get out of our selfish individual approach to Christianity and see its significance for the scope of human history.
ii) We need to see the turning point that the cross and resurrection really were for all of human history. God revealed Himself. The gospel was fulfilled. For me this happened in college, particularly in my sophomore year in a class called Life of Christ. We were dealing with the topic of the kingdom of God. Suddenly, I began to see the scope of God’s plan. God’s plan to destroy this “present evil age” and replace it with “the age to come”. I saw how he had begun this at the death and resurrection—the king was on the throne. I became more aware: this isn’t about me—it’s about Him!
Ephesians 1:9-10 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him
3) THIRD, WE SEE THE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL WHEN PEOPLE ARE UNITED INTO THE PROMISED FULFILLMENT.
i) God’s mission—God’s goal, is to make His glory known throughout creation so that people of every tongue tribe and nation will bring glory to Him. He does this by uniting people to Christ. What is unique is that He unites all believers to Christ without distinction. Many religions in both the ancient world and the modern world are tribal and cultural: they are unique to a time and place. Mormonism is unique primarily to America—although it is spreading. Islam is unique largely to the Arab world. Judaism is unique to a nation. New Age philosophies are particularly unique to our day and age of selfish narcissism. Sociologist invest money and time into determining what cultural factors drive and create religion or what goes into a persons background that might make them ‘religious’ or ‘spiritual’. Christianity is not a ‘Western religion’ –it is not a Jewish religion although is roots are in the Old Testament Jewish worldview. Christianity is not African or Asian. A person of any tribe, tongue or race can be united to Jesus Christ through face thanks to the mysterious working of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.
ii) The Lamb gets worship from all who belong to him: These men and women join in worshipping as they share their inheritance together:
Revelation 5:8-12 8 When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. 10 "You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth." 11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing."