October 3

Today's Bible Reading
     I Kings 6
     Ephesians 3
     Ezekiel 36
     Psalms 86
 
MEMORIZE TODAY
            “And to make all people see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 3:9)
 
THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH
            When we think about a mystery, we think about something like Sherlock Holmes. When I was a child growing up,I enjoyed a series of mystery novelsfor children known as the Hardy Boys Mysteries. I still enjoy watching a movie that is an interesting mystery.  For years, people were enthralled by Alfred Hitchcock mysteries.
            When we read about a mystery here in the Book of Ephesians, it means something entirely different from the mystery books that many of us enjoy. There are some mysteries we will never understand. They are hidden in the heart of God. (Deuteronomy 29:29) But there are some mysteries that God intends to be revealed. The mystery we are considering now is one of those. In the New Testament sense, a mystery is ''a truth which was previously unknown but now has been revealed by God." So, when we study the mysteries of the New Testament, we are matured, established, and strengthened in our faith to discover the wonderful things God has for us.
            As we study the Scriptures, we will discover that Paul was the custodian of threegreatmysteries:
1.         The mystery of Christand His Cross. (I Corinthians 2:7) From eternity past, the Cross was in God's heart. It is now God's open secret.
2.         The mystery of Christand His Coming. (I Corinthians 15:51) The apocalyptic vision of John on the Isle of Patmos allowed God's people to see into the future, and to understand what is going to take place at the coming of our Lord and the events to follow.
3.         The mystery of Christand His Church. (Ephesians 5:32) This is the mystery Paul is sharing with us in this passage.
            He is sharing with us that God has brought into existence something that never existed before -a new entity, an altogether new thing - a new dispensation,a supernatural entity.
            As we study what the New Testament teaches us about Jesus, we realize that there are actually threebodiesof Jesusmentioned in the New Testament. We learn of His materialbody,His memorialbody, and His mysticalbody. The mystical body of Christ is His church,and it is very real.
            In this new body is the open secret which God has revealed to the world through Paul. God has tom down all of the Old Testament's distinctions between Jew and Gentile,and has made them all one in the Body of Christ.
            Dr. J. Sidlow Baxter well stated it when he said, ''During the present age, an elect people, the church, should be gathered out, irrespective of nationality- an elect people who should be brought, collectively, into such an intimate union of l life,love, and eternal glory with Him, as can only be expressed by saying that the church is His Body, His Bride, and His Building."  These are three metaphors,which respectively express union, life, love, and glory.
            It is imperative that every Child of God not only be known as a part of the Body of Christ, but be identified with a local body of believers where they can worship and serve the Lord of the church. I have often said that if a man has enough of Jesus to get him into Heaven,he has enough to get him to church. It is impossible to conceive of a genuine Child of God who is not aligned with, and committed to, a local body of believers where he serves the Lord.
            It is only through our faith in His power, and our fellowship within His body of believers,that we discover God's incredible ability to perform beyond our greatest expectations. 
            ''Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." (Ephesians 3:20- 2 1)
 
PRAY FOR THE WORLD
            Pray today for more than 2000 graduates in India, Nepal, Myanmar, and Bhutan who are planting churches, starting orphanages, ministering in slums and brothels, and providing medical clinics to reach thousands of hurting people in difficult places.