Communion Sunday Reflections
(c) Copyright 2008 Rev. Silas Nefefe
3 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—
2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.
Theme: God’s plan is to have a new international community. (Or Global community of God)
Before we arrive
Last Sunday when we arrived in one of the Christian Reformed Church we were give paper or bulletin, when I read the first thing which I noticed is the mission and vision of the church. After all these observation I concluded that Christian schools and Church have visions and missions because their God is visionary and missionary God. This is clear when you read from Genesis to Revelation. His vision is that one day there will be one new international community in his Kingdom. Therefore our responsibility as Christians is to become labourers or co-workers, together with God in achieving his goal.
before he ascend to heaven he made it to be the first priority to his
that they should understand their commission in this world. In Acts1,
them about the
“But you will
receive the power
when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and
you will be my
Jesus had a
broader vision of His Kingdom and His kingdom is not bound to
The Christian mysteries are truth which , although beyond human discovery, have been revealed by God and so now belong openly to the whole church. More simply, mysterion is a truth which is hidden from human knowledge or understanding but now disclosed by the revelation of God.
that through the Gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with
In this verse Paul assembles three parallel, composite expressions. Each has the same prefix, together with” these indicate what gentiles’ believers now have and are in partnership with the Jewish believers.
Gentiles and Jews are co-heirs, member together of the body, and sharers together of the promise.
And this shared privilege is both in Jesus Christ. These privileges are enjoyed equally by all believers whether Jews or Gentiles, provided that they are in union with Christ and through the Gospel. The Gospel’s proclamation includes this unity and so makes it available to those who believe.
But what neither the Old Testament nor Jesus revealed was the radical nature of God’s plan, which was that the theocracy( the Jews nation under God’s rule)would be terminated, and replaced by a new international community, the Church, that this church would be the body of Christ; organically united to him. There is no Jews nor Gentiles, all of us we are one in Him.
How to become the member of this Church: Paul said:
2.The divine commission to all Christian is to preach the good news so that people become the members of the new international community.( vrs 8-10)
(a) Making known Christ’s riches to the unbelievers (vrs8)
“Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me, to preach to the gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.
The greatest concern of our Lord is that the unbelievers should be called to Christ by preaching of the gospel, and this should be the first priority of the church and every Christian. Peter said ‘ But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praise of him who called you out of darkness into a wonderful light( 1 Peter 2:9)
If you read Ephesians 1-2 you will see all these riches: They are riches freely available because of the cross.
They include resurrection from the death of sin, you were dead but God raised you, victorious enthronement with Christ in the heavenliest, Reconciliation with God, incorporation with Jewish believers in his new society, and we have access to the father through Christ and by the Spirit, membership of his Kingdom and household, being an integral part of his dwelling place among men. All these are our riches.
And all this only a foretaste of yet more riches to come, namely the riches of the glory of the inheritance which God will give to all his people on the last day.
Let me remind you one thing which I have learned since I have been here, The Christians of Christian Reformed North America had passion of Christian Education, they have build Christian schools and their Children are going to Christian schools and Colleges. The point I want to make is that Christian education is part of God commission of making disciples and they must share this to other countries.
So what is needed today for a recovery of evangelistically zeal in the church is the same apostolic conviction about the gospel. Once we are sure that the gospel is both truth from God and riches for mankind, nobody will be able to silence us. And we will not be ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of God for salvation.
(b) To preach the good news is to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all thing( vrs 9)
In this verse the preaching of the gospel is now defined not as euangelizo (to announce the good news) but as photizo ( to enlighten). In other words the thought shifts from the content of the message (good news) to the condition to whom it is proclaimed, they are in the darkness of ignorance. Jesus himself had characterised Paul commission in these terms, since he told him he was sending him to the gentiles to open their eyes, which they may turn from darkness to the light and from the power of Satan to God. Jesus took this sin of ignorance very serious, in such a way that he prayed for it on the cross, he said Father forgive them for they know not what they were doing. In other words they did not want to know the real meaning of the death of Christ. Some times it happens in the church that some people become the members of the church but they do not mind about the importance of the death of Christ in their lives.
Brothers and Sisters let me remind you today, we ourselves must always remember in our evangelism that the prince of darkness holds men and women in darkness, and that only by a divine enlightenment will their eyes be open to see. Our responsibility is to be faithful in spreading the gospel, since this is the means which God has ordained by which to bring the light to those in darkness.
In my country we are facing a new challenge, the young people are no longer involving themselves in the church, the present pop culture is deeply influencing them. I think this may be the same here in your country. People are focusing on themselves; on their wealth etc. therefore the prince of darkness hold men and women in darkness, only the word of God can liberate them. They need to be enlightened.
“His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. (Vrs 10)
The first result to be expected from the preaching of Christ’s unsearchable riches and the mystery would be the birth of the church. Gentiles and Jewish would embrace the gospel, be converted, and find themselves joint members of the family of God and the body of Christ. Indeed this has already happened, as Paul was writing, he was not theorizing. The Mystery was not an abstract. It was taking concrete shape before people’s eyes. And in this new phenomenon, this new multi-racial humanity, the wisdom of God was being displayed.
Brothers and Sisters in the Lord, Indeed the coming into existence of the church, as a community of saved and reconciled people, is at one and the same time a public demonstration of God’s power, grace and wisdom.even by our coming together today is a demonstration of god’s power, grace, and wisdom. In the Holy communion we will remember these.
We must now understand that as the gospel spreads throughout the world, this new Christian community develops.
I want to thank
God who is working among of the Christians here in BC, some of them
I have been here for three weeks one of our task is to build relationship and partnership, we want Christians to work as a family of God.
(NIV) Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.