COLOSSIANS – LESSON SIX
“I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” Colossians 1:25b–29 (ESV)
The apostles of Christ were given the glorious task of revealing of the mystery of God to mankind. Each of the apostles was charged to reveal the hidden message of God to an unbelieving world. The word, “mystery” in the Greek language is μυστήριον (Musterion meaning: a mystery or secret doctrine). Peter, was the first to reveal the mystery to the Gentiles, Acts 15:7, yet his primary duties were among the Jews. Gal 2:7 informs us that Peter was the apostle to the circumcised (Jews) and Paul to the uncircumcised (Gentiles). Thus, while each of the Apostles had the glorious privilege of revealing the mystery of God to the people of the First Century, they seem to have had special areas of responsibility.
Concerning the mystery, we learn that, in times past, the prophets who spoke and the angels who heard wondered when and how the prophetic utterances of the prophets would come to pass, 1 Peter 1:10-12. Until the establishment of the church the gospel message was a mystery both to the angels in heaven and to the humans on earth.
Paul told the brethren in Ephesus, “the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit,” Eph 3:4-5. Because Paul taught them the whole counsel of God they were able to understand the mystery of Christ. In Ephesians the mystery was “that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,” Eph 3:6. He declared the whole counsel of God to them and they did understand the message.
From Colossians 1:25-29, we learn that Paul’s stewardship was to make the word of God fully known. He did not leave out any teachings that God wanted us to know. Here is what we can learn about the mystery from our passage in Colossians:
- The mystery is no longer hidden. It has been revealed, Col 1:25-26.
- God included the gentiles in the message of salvation, Col 1:27.
- The Gentiles could also have “Christ in them, the hope of glory”, Col 1:27.
- The teaching of the gospel message is of value to warn sinners and to equip everyone with all wisdom, Col 1:28.
- Understanding the mystery makes one mature in Christ, Col 1:28.
- Paul wore himself out in his efforts to declare the powerful message of the Gospel, Col 1:29.
Most of the people alive today need to hear and understand the mystery of God. Many have never heard the message. Others, like the Ethiopian eunuch, do not understand what they read, Acts 8:30-31. It is our job to explain the word of God to them. We, like the Christians of old, need to wear ourselves out in our attempts to teach Christ’s message to those who do not understood the mystery. Below are some important statements from Paul that show us how diligently he taught the message to those who never heard. PAUL SAID:
“How I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house,” Acts 20:20 (ESV).
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed,” 1 Corinthians 15:10–11 (ESV).
“Continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to all creation under heaven, and of which I Paul, became a minister,” Col 1:22b-23.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could truly say, “I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God,” Acts 20:26-27. It is God’s plan to use people who believe to reveal the mystery to other people. It is the only plan God has. Rise up, Oh church, and proclaim the message.