Greater Mystery

Ephesians 1:8b–10a (NASB 95)

8b  In all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10a 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.

Explain / Examine

As I understand it, the mystery is the church, for it was not even mentioned until Jesus set it in motion. Christ’s purpose was to establish the church, and one day, Jews and Gentiles would be believers in Christ Jesus. And the fullness of the times is the second coming of Christ. The summation is the end of time, the new heaven and new earth meeting, and eternity’s future begins with us in it.

How do I apply this to my life?

How am I being the “church” right now? What about my life proclaims the gospel of Jesus Christ? What about this day and age is missing the mark of being “the church?” Has focus been lost on buildings and watered-down beliefs? Is a new generation of believers rising up and stepping out of the building and migrating back to “home churches?” Are we as a society leaning into alternative forms of teaching and gathering together? Is the future of biblical study bound to podcasts? Is the concept of an old-school preacher standing on stage and delivering the message of a different generation? Is the buzz of multi-site churches the way things are headed? A video feed of a pastor to sheep he will barely know and lead? In my eyes, it is a version of podcasting. We are in a world that can’t seem to walk away from screens and information. How do we adjust to paradigm shifts when reaching the lost? They still need to hear the good news that Jesus died for them and that they are loved. However, we are headed back to a smaller unit of relationships. My heart is dead set to have three men in my life for life. As long as the Lord leaves this air in my lungs, I want to grow old in the company of three men who know all my secrets. I long to live life together with them as brothers in Christ. Then there are the “small groups.” It’s shorter-term, but they need to be a unit that gets to build relationships for more than two months. How can we get to know anybody in a room with fifteen other men or couples in two months? Finally, there is value to having those short two-month groups, but I need to see how we can have any intentionality of walking out with a foundational relationship afterward. It can’t be the purpose. Beyond that is the crowd in the building. Those of us with any sacrifice to advance the Kingdom of God. They are there to “worship” on a Sunday morning and maybe show up to a “group” setting on Wednesday, but they absolutely refuse to allow anyone in. They were the mask and put on the show a “good church member.” There is a time when we will all answer for what we did while walking around down here.  As believers in Christ, what did we do with our time, talent, and treasure? Did we love our enemies? Did we die to ourselves? Did we wear a cross on our shirt or necklace but refuse to carry it? Did we lay our life down for the one who laid His down first? I think the greater mystery of the “Church” is how the “Church” operates. By no means do I think I have it figured out, and do I contribute to the mishandling of the “Church?” Probably more than I want to admit. But how do we change it?

What is my response?

Father, I don’t want to be passive about being a follower of Christ! One day, I want to stand before you and hear, “Well Done!” I want to use every ounce of time, talent, and treasure for You. But I’m lazy. I am selfish and prideful. I choose my wants and desires over others. I pray that I surrender every area of my life to You. As a believer, you would think I would have done that already. However, sanctification is a process. Not to use it as an excuse, but humans are a little slow sometimes. I’m no exception. I get it wrong way more than I get it right. I need to keep running to You in every failure. I must focus on the One who provides my salvation more than I focus on getting out of uncomfortable situations. I must be the body of Christ the way You created me to be. Use the gifts and abilities You gave me to help the next person. I must slow down and take time to see someone else’s needs. Help me slow down and stir the souls of men to want to draw closer to You so that when that day comes and Jesus is coming down, we can look up with joy and excitement in our hearts. Amen.

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