God’s Greatest Mystery

A mystery is something that is veiled and not easily understood. The word mystery is used over twenty times in the New Testament. One example is in the last part of Ephesians chapter five. This passage is expounding on the relationship between husbands and wives, but at the end it takes a surprising turn and finishes with an astounding revelation.

“This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:32 ESV)

Paul reveals an amazing truth, referring to it as a mystery. But this doesn’t mean that God is trying to keep something from us. It’s a mystery because it’s something so wonderful and so profound that it’s difficult for us to grasp. It’s so beyond our ability to comprehend that God must reveal it to us by his Spirit.

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Don’t Expect Jesus To Be Reasonable

Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came to earth to seek and to save that which was lost 1. However, in the Bible we never see Jesus inviting people to pray a prayer to “receive” salvation. Throughout the four gospels we see Jesus calling people to follow him, and it’s this commitment to follow Christ that leads to salvation 2. Our understanding of Jesus’ call, and how we respond, has eternal implications.

Let’s examine some Biblical examples of Jesus calling people to follow him, and the different ways that they responded.

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Living In A Right-Now Relationship With Jesus

The four gospels of the Bible give us amazing insight into the life of Jesus. We get to see the Son of God living among us as the Son of Man. He models perfectly what it means to love God and to love others.  He also models perfect obedience that honors God. “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Phil 2:8). For all eternity we will marvel at how God’s amazing love caused Him to make the ultimate sacrifice that restores us to right relationship with Him.

As believers we should give serious attention to studying the gospels and taking to heart the example and the teachings of Jesus that are recorded there. However, we are also called to engage in a right-now relationship with the risen Christ. In order to have a healthy relationship with Jesus, we must understand who he is right now, who he is beyond the gospels. If we freeze Jesus in time, and only see him as he was in the time of the gospels, this will have a negative effect on our present-day interaction with him.

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Why Miracles Matter

A miracle is an extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses human and natural powers and can only be reasonably understood as a supernatural act. The word supernatural,  means supercedeing the natural, or simply, beyond the natural. The Bible is full of miraculous, supernatural events. They are seen throughout the Old Testament, in the life and ministry of Jesus, in the ministry of the apostles, in the ministry of the early church, and are spoken of prophetically as something God intends to be an ongoing part of the church’s ministry (John 14:11-12). As common as miracles are in the scriptures, they are still rather controversial. Throughout history people have debated both the validity and necessity of miracles as a part of God’s plan and work on the earth. Some people take a theological stance against miracles, teaching that God no longer enables believers to operate in the supernatural. Others take more of an apathetic view, they believe miracles are possible but are not very concerned about whether they actually happen or not. Still others believe miracles to be a vital part of God’s plan, and that without them the church will struggle greatly to fulfill its mission of proclaiming the message of the kingdom of God and the gospel of Christ. There are those in the latter group who are deeply concerned at the scarcity of miracles in the American church and are committed to seeking God for answers and calling on Him for this to change.

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Church Atmosphere By God’s Design

Many churches today are very concerned about the kind of atmosphere people will encounter when visiting one of their services. They invest a tremendous amount of time, manpower, and money trying to create an environment they hope will be attractive to those who attend. It’s certainly a good thing to create a friendly, welcoming atmosphere; but endeavoring to make church appealing can be very misguided and even counterproductive to what God actually wants to accomplish when the church gathers.

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What Jesus Requires To Follow Him

Jesus said he came to “seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10). He finished one parable with the statement “Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.” (Luke 14:23). These statements communicate the passion and commitment Jesus has to see people restored to right relationship with God. However, if we read objectively through the gospels and observe Jesus in action, it becomes clear that his desire to see people saved never led him to compromise what he required of them. Instead, he routinely challenged people to come to him through surrender and obedience.

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The Power Of The Gospel

Believers often think that to effectively share the gospel they need a logical and persuasive discourse that proves the validity of the faith and convinces their listener to accept Jesus. Since most of us can’t actually pull this off we are left feeling inadequate and hesitant to even try.  The Bible shows how the gospel can be presented in a simple, effective manner that every believer can accomplish.  Continue reading “The Power Of The Gospel”