Once again I had the privilege of leading the service at Parkrose this sunday.
Order of service,Bible Reading and Sermon follows.
Parkrose 17/7/16 Order of Service
Welcome and Call to Worship : Psalm 92:1-4
Hymn: “To God be the Glory” 128
Announcements:Bible Reading: Colossians 1: 20-27 Living Bible
Hymn: “On this Holy Lord’s Day morning” 256
Church Prayer: Geoff
Hymn: “I cannot tell why” 481
Sermon: “GODS’ SECRET MADE KNOWN”
Hymn: “I love to tell the story.”
Benediction and Vesper.
13 For he has rescued us out of the darkness and gloom of Satan’s kingdom and brought us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who bought our freedom with his blood and forgave us all our sins.
15 Christ is the exact likeness of the unseen God. He existed before God made anything at all,[a] and, in fact, 16 Christ himself is the Creator who made everything in heaven and earth, the things we can see and the things we can’t; the spirit world with its kings and kingdoms, its rulers and authorities; all were made by Christ for his own use and glory. 17 He was before all else began and it is his power that holds everything together. 18 He is the Head of the body made up of his people—that is, his Church—which he began; and he is the Leader of all those who arise from the dead,[b] so that he is first in everything; 19 for God wanted all of himself to be in his Son.
20 It was through what his Son did that God cleared a path for everything to come to him—all things in heaven and on earth—for Christ’s death on the cross has made peace with God for all by his blood. 21 This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were his enemies and hated him and were separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions, yet now he has brought you back as his friends. 22 He has done this through the death on the cross of his own human body, and now as a result Christ has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are standing there before him with nothing left against you—nothing left that he could even chide you for; 23 the only condition is that you fully believe the Truth, standing in it steadfast and firm, strong in the Lord, convinced of the Good News that Jesus died for you, and never shifting from trusting him to save you. This is the wonderful news that came to each of you and is now spreading all over the world. And I, Paul, have the joy of telling it to others.
24 But part of my work is to suffer for you; and I am glad, for I am helping to finish up the remainder of Christ’s sufferings for his body, the Church.
25 God has sent me to help his Church and to tell his secret plan to you Gentiles. 26-27 He has kept this secret for centuries and generations past, but now at last it has pleased him to tell it to those who love him and live for him, and the riches and glory of his plan are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ in your hearts is your only hope of glory.
28 So everywhere we go we talk about Christ to all who will listen, warning them and teaching them as well as we know how. We want to be able to present each one to God, perfect because of what Christ has done for each of them. 29 This is my work, and I can do it only because Christ’s mighty energy is at work within me.
GODS’ SECRET MADE KNOWN
Can you keep a secret?
It’s difficult isn’t it but sometimes we need to keep a secret so as not to embarrass people.
There are some things we shouldn’t keep secret.
Eg If we know someone has committed a dreadful and serious crime we should report it to the proper authorities.
On the other hand sharing other people’s secrets amongst our families and circles of friends is Gossip.
Gossip is one of the most deadly poisons on this earth.
There is also always the danger of what they call “chinese whispers” where an original statement gets mixed up as it is repeated and after several repeats can be nothing like the original.
Little kids like to whisper secrets in your ear at times as they like the idea of causing some intrigue or for whatever reason known only to them.
It’s like having something they can impress their siblings with or young friends.
“ I know something that you don’t know.”
Many of us of course keep things that might have happened to us in the past,
or things we have done,
as a secret.
Quite often that’s because of pride as we don’t want people to know of some shady or sinful thing we have done as we want everyone to think well of us.
Keeping some of these secrets can harm us as often things like that keep us tied up in knots and we really need to confess sin in order to know God’s freedom.
Sometimes we may be trying to deal in secret with the effects of someone else’s sin against us.
We might have huge deposits of resentment and unforgiveness built up in our hearts.
That sort of secret we need usually to take to Jesus for healing.
Let’s get back to our title today.
GODS’ SECRET MADE KNOWN
The passage we have had read to us today tells us of God revealing His incredible secret that he had chosen to hold back until a time He deemed it appropriate to make it known to the world.
The “secret” was in the Old Testament all the time, and it was revealed in the New Testament, in the birth,life,death and resurrection of Jesus.
There are two sayings that go like this:
“The New is in the Old concealed,the Old is by the New revealed” or
putting it another way
“The New is in the Old contained, the Old is by the New explained.”
All the way through the Old Testament the Jews were being drawn towards the coming of the Messiah.
The problem was that when He came the majority of them did not recognize that Jesus indeed was the Messiah.
But in actual fact the first Christians were Jews who did realize who Jesus was and responded to Him.
We see their response on the day of Pentecost when 3000 of them formed the first Church.
We read this again from Paul:
“25 God has sent me to help his Church and to tell his secret plan to you Gentiles. 26-27 He has kept this secret for centuries and generations past, but now at last it has pleased him to tell it to those who love him and live for him, and the riches and glory of his plan are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ in your hearts is your only hope of glory.”
But God now does not want this to remain a secret.
He want’s the whole world to know.
Paul tells us in this passage that he has been given the task of telling all of the plan God has for everyone’s lives, those who will receive Jesus as Saviour.
He goes on:
“28 So everywhere we go we talk about Christ to all who will listen, warning them and teaching them as well as we know how. We want to be able to present each one to God, perfect because of what Christ has done for each of them. 29 This is my work, and I can do it only because Christ’s mighty energy is at work within me.”
Isn’t it sad that many of us hold back on telling people we know, this open secret, about why Jesus came and died on the Cross and was resurrected from the grave.
Perhaps it may be that we are Christians amongst Christian people but not very Christian in our behaviour with others who are not.
We might be frightened that people will ridicule us if they know we are Christians.
But this open secret is the most important thing that anyone can ever be told.
Again the following passage tells us how this secret works for us: “22 He has done this through the death on the cross of his own human body, and now as a result Christ has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are standing there before him with nothing left against you—nothing left that he could even chide you for;”
Nothing left that God could even chide us for!
How liberating is that?
How wonderful is that?
Whatever secrets we have held back because we are ashamed, our slate is wiped totally clean when we accept Jesus as our Saviour with a repentant heart.
It is not just Paul’s responsibility to tell people about Jesus it is also ours.
Paul is no longer on this earth and it is our responsibilty as Christians to share Paul’s message and that of the whole Christian Gospel as given to us in the New Testament.
I know this can be daunting for us usually but in this country it is not yet a life and death matter to declare yourself a Christian and to share your faith.
We don’t have to another Billy Graham but should be ready to share the reason for our hope whenever we are asked.
If we go about our lives expecting God to provide those opportunities He will see to it they arise.
In some countries in this current age to be a Christian, let alone share your faith, can be very deadly.
We come back to our standing with God because of Jesus.
“Christ has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are standing there before him with nothing left against you—nothing left that he could even chide you for;”
“nothing left that he could even chide you for;”
Nothing is hidden from God about our behaviour and yet if we have Jesus as our Saviour we receive God’s total pardon.
As Paul says though,in Romans, that because we are pardoned it is not a reason for us to just go on sinning to our heart’s content.
“6 1.Well then, shall we keep on sinning so that God can keep on showing us more and more kindness and forgiveness?2-3 Of course not! Should we keep on sinning when we don’t have to? For sin’s power over us was broken when we became Christians and were baptized to become a part of Jesus Christ; through his death the power of your sinful nature was shattered. 4 Your old sin-loving nature was buried with him by baptism when he died; and when God the Father, with glorious power, brought him back to life again, you were given his wonderful new life to enjoy.
5 For you have become a part of him, and so you died with him, so to speak, when he died;[a] and now you share his new life and shall rise as he did. 6 Your old evil desires were nailed to the cross with him; that part of you that loves to sin was crushed and fatally wounded, so that your sin-loving body is no longer under sin’s control, no longer needs to be a slave to sin;”
We no longer need to be slaves to sin.
We read this wonderful passage in Romans 8
Romans 8Living Bible (TLB)
“8 So there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 For the power of the life-giving Spirit—and this power is mine through Christ Jesus—has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death.”
How wonderful to be raised in newness of life with Jesus.
To become a brand new person.
Hopefully most of us here know the new life that Jesus brings and have been growing in that new life for many years.
If not ,well, it’s not too late to enter into God’s amazing secret that really is not a secret.
Is there someone in your life you are able to share this wonderful secret with?
A secret that isn’t a secret anymore.
A secret that anyone can know the answer to.
And this is the secret: Christ in your hearts is your only hope of glory.”
It’s hard to understand what it means, “Christ in our Hearts.”
It doesn’t mean our physical heart but in the place where our spirit resides.
This is where Jesus wants to reside.
Praise God that He does and He is our hope..