1. A Graduation Message
My husband, Michael, was asked to speak at the graduation ceremony at Hayworth Christian School last Thursday. He chose Colossians 1:27 as his focus for the graduating class. "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:" I asked him to share his message for our devotions this week, but he is still limited in typing due to his broken hand. I want to use his notes and expand on them for our daily devotions this week. He was also asked to sing during the ceremony, and since he could not find a song which correlated with his message, he wrote one just for them and I hope to share it with you at the end of the week. I hope you will join us and see this "mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
2. God Walked With Man
When we talk about a mystery in the Bible, we don't mean a Sherlock Holmes novel or a television mystery. A Bible mystery is something that is not known at the time when it was written, but is later revealed. We see an example when Abraham took Isaac to be sacrificed in Genesis 22:8, "And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together." When Jesus came to die for the sins of the world, He was the Lamb that was offered. The mystery that is in our verse, "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:" (Colossians 1:27) is that Christ is in us. From the very beginning of time God chose to dwell with mankind, as we see several times in the book of Genesis. God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden until they sinned against God. "And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?" (Genesis 1:8-9) God walked with Enoch until one day Enoch just walked home with God. "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." (Genesis 5:24) And God walked with Noah and through him spared the life of man and animals. "These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God." (Genesis 6:9) This is somewhat of a mystery in itself that God would want to walk with man. It is amazing that God Almighty would find pleasure in walking with us. "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." (Revelation 4:11)
3. God Dwelt Among Man
In the book of Genesis God walked with man, and after God led the Children of Israel out of Egypt He told Moses to build a tabernacle so He could dwell with man.
"1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.
3 And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass,
4 And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair,
5 And rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins, and shittim wood,
6 Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense,
7 Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate.
8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them." (Exodus 25:1-8)
The tabernacle was completed and Moses met with God in the tabernacle.
"7 And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp.
8 And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle.
9 And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses.
10 And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door.
11 And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.
12 And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight.
13 Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.
14 And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.
15 And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence." (Exodus 33:7-15)
The tabernacle was a place where the people could meet with God and sense the presence of God. God walked with man, and now He wanted to dwell with man.
4. "Will God Indeed Dwell On The Earth?"
God spoke with Moses in the tabernacle that was moved from place to place as they were led by the pillar of cloud. When David became the king of Israel he wanted to build a house for the Lord God, but God told him that his son would build the house. King Solomon built the temple and the glory of the Lord filled the house.
"10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD,
11 So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.
12 Then spake Solomon, The LORD said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.
13 I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever.
14 And the king turned his face about, and blessed all the congregation of Israel: (and all the congregation of Israel stood;)...
22 And Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven:
23 And he said, LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:
24 Who hast kept with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him: thou spakest also with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.
25 Therefore now, LORD God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou hast walked before me.
26 And now, O God of Israel, let thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David my father.
27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?" (I Kings 8:10-14 and 22-27)
The countries that surrounded Israel all had idols and gods that they worshipped. But the Children of Israel were God's chosen people and He was and still is the only true and living God. His glory filled the house of the Lord. It is still true today that "the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain" God, but oh, what a difference it makes when the glory of the Lord fills our churches!
5. The Word Was Made Flesh, And Dwelt Among Us
Yesterday we looked at the question posed by King Solomon, "But will God indeed dwell on the earth?" As we come closer to solving the mystery, we see that God did come and dwell on earth, in the form of man, Jesus Christ our Lord. Because He came, we can have everlasting life!
"1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:1-4 and 14)
"28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:28-35)
6. Christ In You!
We have followed the progression of God walking with man, and dwelling with man and today we finally come to the mystery of God dwelling in man. "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" (I Corinthians 6:19) "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:" (Colossians 1:27) That's it! "Christ in you!" I am sure that the men and women of the Old Testament could not have understood that God would dwell in us. During the last days of Jesus on earth, He tried to prepare the disciples for what was about to come. "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." (John 14:1-17) Enoch walked with God. Moses talked with God as He dwelled in the tabernacle. Men and women walked and talked with Jesus, the Son of God, as He lived on this earth. But we have an even greater blessing. When we trust in Jesus to be our Savior, then the Holy Spirit dwells in us, our Comforter. What an amazing God we serve!
7. The Hope Of Glory
The word "hope" in the Bible is a much stronger word than the way we use it today. We may say that we hope it doesn't rain, but "hope" in the Bible is a sure thing. "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;" (Hebrews 6:19) An example is the "hope", actually assurance, that Christ will return according to the scriptures. "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;" (Titus 2:13) When Michael gave the commencement speech at the graduation ceremony he reminded the students that their parents and many others had long waited with great hope for their special day. Now it was their turn to step into the roles Christ had for them and be strong Christians for the glory of God. No matter what profession they chose, he told them to be the best Christians they could be on their jobs, and in their homes, serving the Lord. The Apostle Paul admonishes us in I Corinthians 10:31 to do all things to the glory of God. "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." God dwells in us, that is the mystery, to help us live a Christian life, that is the purpose. "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:" (Colossians 1:27)
8. The Song
The graduates had asked that Michael also sing at the ceremony, and since he could not find a song to go with the thoughts he had prepared to say, he spent several days writing this song. "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:" (Colossians 1:27)
Christ In You, the Hope of Glory
Since the world at first began
God desired to walk with man,
He longed to share Himself with all who sought His face.
And from that moment you believed,
The Holy Spirit you received,
And now He dwells within your heart by His great grace
May God's fullness dwell in you
In everything you say and do
Let this be your lifelong story
Christ in you--the hope of glory
Now as you go, by God's great grace
Into the world to find your place,
Remember God dwells deep within your very soul.
Just trust in Him to be your guide,
And in His love daily abide,
Let others see a life where Christ is in control.
(Repeat last two lines of Chorus at end.)