The Mystery of God (Part 2)

In the Mystery of God (Part 1) we answered four questions about the mystery of God.

  1. If it is to finally be finished, when was it started?
  2. Who knows about this so called mystery of God?
  3. What is this mystery of God?
  4. Does this mystery of God impact us?

We discovered that this mystery was ordained before the world began.  This mystery was revealed to the prophets and Paul mentions it.  We learned this mystery does impact us because it is the completion of the gospel of God.

I am going to give more scriptural support for the conclusion that the mystery of God being accomplished in Revelation 10 is our gospel.  The understanding of this mystery being finished at the last of the seven trumpets has some very interesting implications for the debate over a pre- trib rapture.

Paul declares he was a minister of the mysteries of God.  Again this answers the question of who knows about this mystery. 

Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.[1]

Paul not only was one who new of such mystery and was willing to be accountable to it, he charges deacons to hold this mystery of the faith (our gospel) with a pure conscience.  So our church leadership should know what it is.

Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double-tongue, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;  Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.[2]

Paul lets us know that not only was he preacher of this mystery.  What did Paul preach, but our gospel.  He was also in chains because of this mystery (gospel).  Paul asked for prayer that he may declare this mystery (gospel) with out fear.

Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains.  Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.[3]

There is one source were we can find all the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge and this place is found in another mystery.  Paul wants believers to have a complete understanding of the mystery of Christ (who is our gospel) which is were we find all hidden treasures.

My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.[4]

Paul again declares he is in chains but this time he doesn’t call it the mystery of the gospel but of Christ.  Again he wants prayer that he may boldly the mystery of Christ (our gospel) as he should.

And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.  Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.[5]

Paul teaches us that Christ is the mystery of godliness (our gospel).  Our gospel is a mystery about God imputing us righteousness and our being dead to sin through the cross.

Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.[6]

Paul uses the example of marriage to describe to us the mystery of our being united to Christ (our gospel).  Our gospel is a profound mystery.

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”  This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church.[7]

Tomorrow we will look at more scriptural support for the conclusion that the mystery of God that is accomplished in the days of the last trumpet.  Until then what implications do you think this has on the pre-trib rapture position?

[1] 1 Corinthians 4:1

[2] 1 Timothy 3:8-9

[3] Ephesians 6:19-20

[4] Colossians 2:2-3

[5] Colossians 4:3-4

[6] 1 Timothy 3:16

[7] Ephesians 5:31-32

The mystery of God (Part 1)

There is a future day when without delay the mystery of God will be finished.

But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.[1]

Something takes place in the book of Revelation when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet.  Something is said by the seven thunders and John was not allowed to write it down.

And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.[2]

What ever was said by the seven thunders prompted an angel to sware by God there will be no more delay.  But no more delay for what?

And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:[3]

This is when it is announced the mystery of God will be accomplished.  For some reason we can not hear what the seven thunders spoke but we can know that what ever was said, it has made it so the mystery of God will be completed without any more delay.

There are some questions that need to be asked here.

  1. If it is to finally be finished, when was it started?
  2. Who knows about this so called mystery of God?
  3. What is this mystery of God?
  4. Does this mystery of God impact us?

The scripture in Revelation gives us a hint that the prophets had this mystery declared to them.  So we need to look at what the prophets knew or look to one who could tell us what this mystery is these servants knew.

Paul sounds like the kind of guy who would know about this mystery.  He too says it was ordained before the world.  This answers the question of when the mystery of God was started. 

Of course Paul speaking of the mystery answers the second question of who knew about this mystery of God.  He could give insight to what the prophets knew.

Paul also answers the third question when he alludes that the mystery does impact us.  Paul says this mystery is unto our glory.

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:[4]

The only question left to be answered is, what is this mystery?  It was ordained before the world for our glory and spoken of by the prophets.  Is there anything in scripture that we can find ordained before the word began for our glory?  Why yes there is, it is called the gospel.

We have a promise of salvation before the world began, a lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world, an inheritance prepared before the foundation of the world and our names written in the Lambs book of life before the world began, we hope.  It is our gospel that in every way was prepared in advance for us before time began and announced to the prophets. 

God during the blast of the seventh trumpet will without delay accomplish His gospel.

[1] Revelation 10:7

[2] Revelation 10:4

[3] Revelation 10:6

[4] 1 Corinthians 2:7

More than nothing left to do


What believer would deny what was done on the cross?  What believer would belittle what was accomplished for us on the tree that was a curse?  I would have to say, no true believer would.  Not one person who puts their hope in Christ would ever diminish the sacrifice made and the accomplishments made on our behalf by God.

Partly because we acknowledge the work that has been accomplished and mostly because Jesus said, “It is finished” we assume that there is nothing left to be done.  But there is more than just sitting on the porch swing drinking Country Time lemonade ahead when it comes to the finished work of God.

Since everyone has a reference of everything being finished at the cross, how many of us know of the scripture that speaks of a great work, that God has put in motion and know the day it will be finished?  There is something so long in the coming that the prophets talked of it.  To shock many of us, this was not finished at the cross.  It was determined to be accomplished at a future date. 

But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.[1]

There is some great event that is still waiting to be accomplished.  Something that God has spoken to the prophets and it will be done just as He has revealed to His servants.  There is something held out in scripture that is not finished.  There is something spoken of in even the Old Testament that was not accomplished at the cross.

Somehow many of us have been a little short sighted in our understanding of the great work of God.  Does the fault fall on Jesus for misleading us at the cross?  Was He a little presumptuous of His own work on behalf of mankind?  After all it wasn’t all finished at the cross now was it not.

It is not Jesus who has mislead the congregation but we ourselves.  We fail to understand that Jesus work on the cross was not the entire work of God.  Just as we fail to understand the work in our lives is not finished until our race is done.  Just as we fail to understand that we who run the race have a hope of salvation.  Until we finish our race, His work in our lives is not finished.

Jesus did accomplish what He was supposed to do, but He did not accomplish all the work of God.  He did come to become the savior of the whole world, and this He accomplished.

And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.[2]

Through Christ the work needed to bring us the forgiveness of our sins has been accomplished.  Not the full work of God.

Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.[3]

If all the work of God is not finished, even though Jesus has accomplished what He was sent to do, what do you think is the still yet unfinished work of God?  What is this mystery spoken of in Revelation?

[1] Revelations 10:7

[2] 1 John 4:14

[3] Acts 5:31

Is anybody out there?

I was having a discussion with Reform Theology on my blog about my beliefs and he asked if there is anyone online that I knew of that resembles my understanding of the gospel.  Here is my answer to Reform Theology and the question is still open.  Is there anyone anywhere that has any public venue that preaches the gospel I contend for?  The only ones I know of that have preached the gospel I contend for are listed below?

My Response.

I do not know of anyone that believes or contends for the gospel I read in scripture.  The best way to show a short version of what I believe is the gospel is my post “The gospel According to the gospel”

Here there are three basic nutshell points about our gospel:

  1. It was Abraham who was given the covenant of imputed righteousness, not those in the gospels.  This was for Him and his descendants.  Through Christ we are grafted into this imputed righteousness.

  1. Our gospel was first preached at Mt. Sinai, not in the gospels.  The Old Testament saints had our gospel and either lived it or didn’t like believers today.  Out gospel is nothing new.

  1. We are not saved, rather we have a hope of salvation.  The New Testament teaches our God speaks things that are not as if they were and He does so in our gospel when it speaks of our salvation.  Yet we know we have to endure, abide, remain in order to be saved.  The church doesn’t understand this and makes up the three tenses of salvation when Paul clearly teaches, who hope for what he has?

That’s the nutshell of the gospel of Paul, Peter, John, Hebrews, Jesus, Jude etc. that I find in scripture.  This nutshell doesn’t speak of the implications etc. but is meant to introduce you to the gospel.

If this is all true then you have to ask the question, why the cross?  The answer is really fascinating.

Imagine what The Gospel According to the Gospel does with the debate over once saved always saved.

I would really like your opinion on what I have written.  Let me know if you think I have represented the gospel properly and maybe there will be two of us.

Forsake not the message of the fellowship

We have been looking this week at the common phrase “forsake not the fellowship”.  We already have the understanding that it is used to condemn those who do not attend the local church, but instead attend a smaller home gathering. 

Now through this week we have learned

  1. Scriptures speaks of two or three as fellowship.  This is sufficient for Christ to be there and God the Father to answer prayers.
  2. True fellowship does not come in the traditional church format where only a few encourage the body and the rest discuss everything from sports to movies before and after the so called fellowship.  Biblical fellowship takes place when the individuals of the body encourage each other with scripture when they come together.
  3. If our coming together does not produce in us a maturing new man who lives righteously then we have no fellowship at all.  True Biblical fellowship begets godliness.

But what is the context of all this?  What position of belief is the writer of Hebrews coming from when he says,

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.[1]

In the verse before this the writer wants the reader to hold unswervingly to the gospel by which we encourage each other in true Biblical fellowship towards all godliness.  But what is this gospel?  Is it that we have arrived, we have made it, we are now secure?  Is it the gospel we preach for people to come forward and be saved and posses’ eternal life or is it something else?

You have heard it said.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.[2]

But we say.

Let us hold unswervingly to the factual we profess, for he who gave was faithful.

If we care to look and understand scripture, we find the message of the gospel of hope in the misused verse of “forsake not the fellowship” 

When you come together to fellowship in your local body, what gospel do you share?  Is it the “but we say” verse or the “you have heard it said” verse?  Whose voice are you listening to and repeating? 

If you desire true fellowship with the eternal gospel that is testified with great support in scripture then I encourage you to get to know The Gospel According to the Gospel.  The gospel of scripture that testifies our gospel is a hope and a promise.  It is not the gospel of the factual.  We have a hope of salvation not salvation itself.  We have the hope of eternal life, we do not posses it yet. We are imputed righteousness, we do not posses it yet.

So now give yourself a grade.

  1. Do you have two or three in your gathering?
  2. Is everyone in your fellowship encouraging each other with scripture?
  3. Is you fellowship moving people to maturity and holiness in Christ?
  4. Are you preaching the gospel of hope and the one who promised?

If you do not agree with me, can you prove with scripture that I have mislead and misrepresented in our discussion of “forsake not the fellowship”.  Any challengers?

[1] Hebrews 10:24-25

[2] Hebrews 10:23

Forsake the failed fellowship

In the last two posts we have learned that there is more to the phrase “forsake not the fellowship” then a simple incrimination of those who do not attend church.  We have discovered that scriptural fellowship is when two or at times three are gathered together.  We have also learned that the Father will move heaven and earth to answer the prayers of that small fellowship.  It isn’t the purpose of scripture to place the small gathering of believers under scrutiny of the local church.  Instead we find scripture admonishing the small group to do and be what Christ has called us to be and do.  So we can quit looking down on those who fellowship in smaller circles.

We have learned it is more than a head count.  It isn’t a simple role call of attendance, there is something for every believer to be accountable to, if we are going to qualify any group as fellowshipping.  Scripture teaches that in order to qualify as fellowship, every believer is to encourage one another.  We are to encourage each other to be obedient and strengthen each other with the word of God and hope of His return.

So with the size (two or three) and the responsibilities (everyone) laid out in biblical fellowship, lets look at the purpose of this fellowship.  Scripture is looking for the end result of this fellowship.  There is something that God wants to happen in His people as a result of fellowship.  Remember this result needs to come through the encouragement of every believer in each others lives when we get together.

Right on the heals of the responsibilities of all believers we have scripture teaching we need to quit deliberately sinning.  This is the goal of what the Lord wants to do in our fellowships.  He wants us to mature in all things and in righteousness.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approachingIf we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.[1]

Why should this purpose of our fellowship be strange to us?  It shouldn’t, since we have scripture in another place letting us know that the spiritually immature are not acquainted with righteousness.  So again the goal of our fellowshipping one with another, whether in a large group of small, is holiness in the life of the believer.

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.[2]

If your fellowship with other believers is not helping you to mature and train yourself to live righteously then you are immature. If you have received the knowledge of the truth and do not train yourselves to leave deliberate sin, then you who have received the truth have no more sacrifice for sins left.  God help us all.  We all need to participate in real fellowship for our own sakes and that of those we call brothers and sisters in the Lord, no matter where we find ourselves.  We need to recognize it is all of us who have forsaken the fellowship or we will suffer for our arrogance and pride.

We can not sit back and point the finger at those who worship in very small gatherings rather than the local body.  If you in the local body are not nurturing the environment where every individual is encouraged to strengthen his brothers in the Lord, then your fellowship has failed. If you in the local body do have members encouraging members, yet it does not produce mature believers who live righteously before the Lord, then again your fellowship had failed.  If all your local body has is a role call when they assemble together, then your fellowship has failed, you are not obeying scripture that teaches us to not forsake the fellowship.  If your fellowship has failed and you want true biblical fellowship, then maybe you should leave the local body and seek out a small group of practicing believers of the word and not those who spout quotes only.

[1] Hebrews 10:25-27

[2] Hebrews 5:13-14

Yeah local church, forsake not the fellowship

Those who attend local churches are always so quick to instruct those who do not. They are more than happy to quote the following verse to show the error of those who choose to stay away from the local body of believers.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,[1]

When I am confronted by those who so dogmatically instruct me in the better way, I always ask them to quote the entire scripture.  As of yet no one has been able to get past the little sound bite they so easily regurgitate, and be able to quote me the whole of the scripture.

Did you know there is a second half of the verse that every Christian tardy officer quotes, but they don’t realize they only have half the picture?  They are more interested in a legalism birthed in the local church than what scripture teaches us.  There is no interest in what makes a fellowship of believers, that being two or more, or what we are to do in that fellowship.  Rather they think this scripture is about a head count.

In order to make sure we actually have the right kind of fellowship when we come together, scripture has surrounded this verse of incrimination to those who do not attend the local church, with the purpose of that fellowship. 

In the verse before we have this statement.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.[2]

Then the verse in question actually finishes by saying.

but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.[3]

It isn’t the pastor’s job of doing the fellowshipping.  It is the job of every member of the body of Christ.  Everyone is to be spurring one another and encouraging one another with our hope found in scripture.  Not the pastor.

Which brings me to a sad state of affairs.  In every body of adult believers I have attended we talk job, sports, hunting, real estate, movies, anything but scripture.  And this while attending the church.  And in the believers home it is no different.

When I was confronted by those long time church associates about my tardiness from the local assembly, by the half a verse in question, I would ask them the last time we talk the book.  They came to realize it was never, it was always something else, but never the book.

So what of it local church?  You have a large head count, but no one is spurring or encouraging one another as scripture has told us to do.  Every individual who reads scripture should know what we are instructed to do when we come together.  Oh, maybe that is it.  This fact is evident only to those who read scripture.

You have heard it said.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.[4]

But we say.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.

How about next time someone wants to play the trump card on the believer who has “forsaken the fellowship”, how about them asking themselves if they have encouraged with scripture those they fellowship with towards love and good deeds in Christ.  Or how about encouraging with scripture those they fellowships with concerning the approaching day of our Lord.

Sitting in a large gathering of believers listening and leaving is not fellowshipping.  Nor is coming and going without individuals using the word of God to encourage and spur each other on.  So what of it local church, quit forsaking the fellowship!

[1] Hebrews 10:25a

[2] Hebrews 10:24

[3] Hebrews 10:25b

[4] Hebrews 10:24-25