HUSBAND WALKS OUT!

 

A Marriage Question: Brother Wayne, my husband who is not a Christian has walked out of our marriage. There does not seem to be anyone else. He just decided he doesn’t want to be married any longer. He refused to go to counseling and walked out on me and the children. He had been pulling away for years and finally decided to leave for good. I have heard about your book on divorce and remarriage, but do not have it, and do not know what to do now. I am in complete turmoil and fear of having to live alone for the rest of my life. I was brought up in a very conservative Church of Christ, so you most likely know what I have been taught. What am I to do? Can I ever get married again?

My response: I believe that the Bible is very clear about what must be done in some of these cases. LET. HIM. WALK!!! And while I certainly would not make the decision for you, because that is between you and God, I do believe that you need to know what the Bible says, then make up your own mind. But some things are obvious. We cannot keep people in our lives that refuse to be kept in our lives. One cannot stay married to someone who has deserted the marriage. In those cases where it cannot be saved after reasonable efforts to save it have failed, then the deserted party must recognize that the “marriage is over” and seek God’s help in getting “over the marriage.” When a “relationship is over,”, all we can do is seek God’s help in getting “over the relationship.” Paul is very clear about what some should do when in this very situation. Read it yourself.

But if the UNBELIEVER DEPARTS, LET HIM DEPART; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has CALLED US TO PEACE. (1 Corinthians 7:15; NKJV).

God has called us to “peace.” He has not called us to persistent punishment, self-condemnation, and self-abuse. He has not called us to a life of celibacy simply because a former marriage partner decided to walk out of the relationship. If a mate has “walked out” then in most cases all we can do is “LET’EM WALK!”

Is it a sin for you to marry if you are divorced? You decide! You do not need any help from me or from anyone else to understand what God has said. All you really need to know is what He said and where He said it. The main ones who need “help” in understanding this are those who have been taught by those who have misunderstood this. Read what God said about those “loosed from” (which must include those divorced) a mate.

Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. are you LOOSED FROM A WIFE? Do not seek a wife. But even IF YOU DO MARRY, you have NOT SINNED; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. (1 Corinthians 7:27-28; NKJV).

It is not a sin for a deserted partner to marry because a believer is “not under bondage” to a mate or marriage that no longer exists because one party chooses to walk out (1 Cor. 7:15). If some of your friends or Church members need help “understanding” this, then it is obviously a situation where more help is needed than we are qualified to give them. We can “explain it” to them…but we cannot “understand it” for them. Paul clearly says that those “loosed from” a mate has “not sinned” if they “marry.” That must include those who have been deserted by an unbelieving mate because Paul had just dealt with that very situation earlier in this very chapter (7:15). Sometimes the best way to “get over” an unfaithful mate is to find a faithful one. But again, your decision about what you should do is between you and Jesus. Reading my book, reading this response, or listening to others may help, but your decision needs to be based on what you understand the Bible to teach. Pray, ponder, and then practice what Jesus teaches and leads you to do. I would believe that if it is God’s will that “you marry,” then He will bring someone into your life who will “marry you.”

I deal with this in chapter 10 and chapter 24 of my book on MDR. Also, in Appendix # 6, I quote from some of the best minds, and at one time some of the most respected men in the Church of Christ, who also understood 1 Corinthians 7:15 exactly as it is written. If you want a copy of my book, send me your address and I will send you a copy free. I wrote it to help people like you. I will also be praying for you and your family. Blessings!

Wayne Dunaway
gandpministries.org

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How Do We Know We Are Going To Go?

 

We know that we will go to Heaven because of:

 

1. The Promise Jesus Made

First, I know that those in Christ will go to Heaven because of the promise Jesus made. Some of the most familiar verses in the Bible are about the mansions in Heaven that He is preparing for us and the promise that He will come again and take us to be with Him (John 14:1-2). He “promises” and He even “swears” that He will take us there (Heb. 6:16-20, NASV). Since God cannot lie (Titus 1:2)—indeed, it is impossible for God to lie (Heb. 6:18)—then we can have “strong encouragement” because our hope is both “sure and steadfast.”

I know that we live in a world where our leaders lie and speak with “forked tongue.” One man asked another, “How do you know when a politician is lying?” The other answered, “When his mouth is moving.” I am not sure that I would go that far, but I do know that, in our world, it is hard to trust in their “promises” no matter who they are. Of course, I also know that convicts lie, lawyers lie, car salesmen lie, church members lie, elders lie, preachers lie, those who write books lie (I guess I need to move on!). What I am saying is that Jesus is not like us! When He makes a promise, He keeps it and we know that we are going to go because of the promise Jesus made.

 

2. The Prayer Jesus Prayed

Second, I know that those in Christ will go to Heaven because of the prayer Jesus prayed. In John 17, Jesus prayed a prayer for His disciples and for us (v. 20). In that prayer, He prayed that His Father would “keep” us (v. 11). He prayed that His Father would “protect” us (v. 15). Then in verse 24, He prayed: “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am.” Notice carefully that He prayed that we would be with Him in Heaven.

There are many praying men in the Bible. Daniel was a man who believed in praying (Dan. 6, 9). Elijah was known as a man of prayer (James 5:17-18). Prayer is powerful. Prayer put hungry lions on a diet and stopped rain for over three years. God listens when His people pray even though we don’t always do what is right. But Jesus could say, “I always do those things that please Him” (John 8:29). Therefore, He could say to His Father, “And I know that You always hear Me” (John 11:42). Since the Father always hears Him, and He prayed that we would be in Heaven, then I know we are going because of the prayer that Jesus prayed.

 

3. The Price Jesus Paid

Finally, I know that those in Christ, who continually trust in Him and seek to do His will for their lives, will go to Heaven because of the price Jesus paid. Jesus died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God (1 Pet. 3:18). He was obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Phil. 2:8). Isaiah said: “He was wounded for the wrong we did. He was crushed for the evil we did. The punishment, which made us well, was given to him, and we are healed because of his wounds. We all have wandered away like sheep; each of us has gone his own way. But the LORD has put on him the punishment for all the evil we have done” (Isa. 53:5-6, NCV). Therefore, “It is finished” (John 19:30). He has “offered one sacrifice for sins forever” and has “sat down” (Heb. 10:12).

Why has He sat down? Because nothing else needs to be done as far as the sacrifice for sins is concerned. Furthermore, since God “did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” (Rom. 8:32, NLT). In other words, if God let Jesus die for us, then surely, surely, surely, He will give us all the things that we need to get us to Heaven! The promise Jesus made, the prayer Jesus prayed, and the price Jesus paid should help His people be unafraid.

This is from my book, “Heaven: Where Few Are Many.” It can be ordered from me waynedunaway@gmail.com or from Amazon.

Wayne

BY THE GRACE OF GOD, I AM NOT WHAT I WAS, AND BY THE GRACE OF GOD I AM WHAT I AM!

God does not extend grace to believers because we are so good, He extends grace to us because we don’t live as good as we should. Lost sinners who learn of His grace and come to Jesus for salvation, do not suddenly turn into sinless saints who somehow earn His grace by their dedication. If we dismiss grace at any point in our Christian lives, because we think we are being good, it is not only a disgrace, but it will also cause us to miss grace. If we believe we are being “good enough” to be saved, we must also believe that we are saved by being good enough…and not one of us even “know enough” about being good to do that. As a matter of fact, we do not even consistently practice what little good we do know. If we ever attempt to be justified by keeping laws, then we have ceased to be kept justified by grace. Why, you asked? Because not one of us can keep God’s holy law good enough at any point in our Christian lives to be saved by law keeping. And if we could, we would not need grace. Therefore, it is totally by His grace that He saves us, and it is totally by His grace that He keeps us saved. By the grace of God, I am not what I was (lost sinner), and by the grace of God I am what I am (saved sinner)!

You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be JUSTIFIED BY LAW; you have fallen from grace. (Galatians 5:4).

But BY THE GRACE OF GOD I AM WHAT I AM, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10).

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope FULLY ON THE GRACE that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13; ESV).

Wayne

A blog: GMC: Grace Motivated Christians http://wdunaway.blogspot.com/2015/04/gmc-grace-motivated-christians.html

MY HEART ATTACK AND THE CHURCH OF CHRIST!

MY HEART ATTACK AND THE CHURCH OF CHRIST!

Since my heart attack on February 3, 2018 I have even greater appreciation for  members of the Church of Christ. The prayers, cards, calls and concern from members of the CoC were simply great! (This is not to say that members of other Churches did not pray, send cards, and show concern, because there were many, many, many of those as well. I have many Bible believing family members and friends in other Churches and I really appreciate their prayers and I hope they continue to pray for me throughout my recovery.)

Of course, the Ohatchee CoC was best of all for obvious reasons. But there were also many other members of the CoC, some of whom I have never met personally, who sent cards and offered up prayers on my behalf from numerous places–especially the Westwood CoC in McMinnville, TN. And I am so thankful for all the prayers prayed by all members of the Church on my behalf and I hope you continue praying.

I was baptized on June 14th, 1970 and have been associated with the Ohatchee Church of Christ—serving as minister and/or elder–for most of that time. We baptize believers into Christ, partake of the Lord’s supper every Sunday, sing acapella, etc. as many other Churches in our brotherhood/fellowship do. We still do basically the same things in our assemblies today at Ohatchee as we did back in 1970 even though God has changed our emphasis and attitudes tremendously– especially concerning His grace and mercy toward us and other sinful believers who still do things we shouldn’t do and leave undone things we should do. But I like our commitment in the CoC of seeking to go back to the Bible for our faith and practice without others telling us what to believe– even though I know we don’t always conform to all we know, nor do we think we understand everything. In my judgment most of those in CoC are some of the very best, most loving, and most dedicated people on the planet and I am thankful to be associated with them and always have since 1970.

But one thing that most people outside the Church (and some in our group) should know about the CoC is that we are all autonomous or self-governing. In other words, each individual congregation follows the Bible as we understand it at any given time regardless of what other Churches of Christ do or think. This, we believe, was/is the Lord’s idea and the result is freedom and independence from the opinions and dominance of a religious hierarchy or group of individuals and/or Churches. As a matter of fact, there are all kinds of differing views and opinions on any number of important issues taught in the CoC. There are many views taught by some Churches of Christ that neither I, nor the leaders at Ohatchee CoC, share at all. For example, I will mention only five of the most serious ones that are, in my judgment, most important for others to understand that I do not hold or teach in the CoC where I am, nor are they taught by any number of other Churches of Christ in our brotherhood/fellowship, nationwide.

1. Some believe that our group is the only one going to heaven. They believe that only those associated/identified as members of the group known as “Churches of Christ” or “churches of Christ” (Non-instrumental) are going to heaven. All others, including other divisions of the Church of Christ (no Bible classes, One cup, etc.), Christian Church, and all others in other Bible believing groups are all lost. This is a judgment that I do not make and a view that I certainly do not believe.

My View: I believe that we should be Christians only, but I do not believe that we are the only Christians. I believe that all of those born again (Jn. 3:3-5) who are seeking to follow Jesus as they understand His will for their lives at any given time are among the saved and are members of the universal church that belongs to Christ. It is my conviction that the same blood of Jesus that keeps me clean from my sins, honest misunderstandings, and ignorance will do the same for all true believers (1 Jn. 1:7-9). I want to receive other Christians who truly believe despite what I consider to be their errors, ignorance, and misunderstanding, as I expect God to accept me despite my errors, ignorance, and misunderstandings. As Paul wrote, “Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7). You can count me out when it comes to condemning/judging other believers as lost who obviously love the Lord Jesus, but who, in my opinion, may be honestly mistaken about any number of things. I wrote a book about what I believe about who is going to heaven called, “Heaven, Where Few are Many! It is available on Amazon.

2. Some in the CoC deny that Christians have a personal relationship with Jesus and that the very idea is a “hoax.” This too is a very serious error, evidently taught by some sincere folks, that I do not believe and certainly do not share. Personally, I would be afraid of making such a statement and I have never doubted that believers have a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

My View: I believe that a “personal relationship” with Jesus is basically all that really matters. Since Christ lives in us and we live in Him, I don’t know how much more personal it can get than that (Gal. 2:20). In my judgment, if we do not have a personal relationship with Jesus then we likely have no relationship with Him at all in the Christian age.

3. Some say Jesus came back in A.D. 70 for the final time. Some in the CoC believe and teach that the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and the final judgment all occurred in A. D. 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. I believe that this is a very serious error and one that I do not share at all and never have. This, in my judgment, basically destroys the Christian’s hope as I understand it (Acts 24:15; Rom. 8:19-24). I know there are some very sincere members who hold this view, but I am not one of them.

My View: I believe in the personal visible coming of Jesus at which time there will be a resurrection of our physical bodies from the grave (1 Cor. 15:35ff), the eternal judgment of all men (Acts 17:31), and the entrance into the “new heavens and new earth” for those who are saved (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1ff). I believe that it is a very serious matter to deny the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that “the Lord, Himself shall descend from heaven” at some point in the future (1 Thessalonians 4:16ff).

4. Some say there is no personal indwelling Holy Spirit. Some in CoC do not believe that the Holy Spirit dwells in us at all. They believe that the “gift of the Holy Spirit” was a miraculous gift given by the laying on of the apostles’ hands and when the word was revealed and/or the last apostle died, then the Holy Spirit ceased dwelling in believers. Others believe He dwells in us only through the words of the Bible. This last view is known as the “word only” view. I know and have known some serious Bible students among us who believe this. But denying the Holy Spirit’s personal presence in our hearts is a serious matter indeed to me and one that I do not share in any way, shape or form.

My View: I believe in the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit who leads us (Rom. 8:14), strengthens us (Eph. 3:16), makes intercession for us (Rom. 8:26), and produces fruit in us (Gal. 5:22-23). I believe that the Spirit personally dwells in the body of the believer (1 Cor. 6:19-20) and that He is our Helper (Jn. 14:26-27). I believe that it is a very dangerous doctrine to deny the Spirit’s presence and work in the life of the Christian. Paul’s statement to the Romans has always made this very clear to me when he wrote, “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His…But if the Spirit of Him, who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you…” (Romans 8:9-11). I have always believed in the presence and work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer (Gal. 4:6). The gospel comes not in “word only” but also in power and “in the Holy Spirit” (1 Thess. 1:5) whom God has given us (1 Thess. 4:8).

5. Some say that divorced people who have remarried must divorce again in most cases. Some members in Churches of Christ believe that there is absolutely no reason for divorce and remarriage. They believe that all of those who have divorced and remarried for any reason are in adulterous sinful relationships and must divorce again and live single or go back to their former mate. Others believe and teach that those who have divorced and remarried– unless the reason for the divorce was “fornication” on the part of the mate–must divorce again and remain single to be saved. In other words, those who have divorced their mates because of abuse, physical violence, harming their children, desertion, or were unjustly divorced by a mate, etc. and have since remarried, must divorce again and live single in order to go to heaven. Some even refuse to baptize most of those who are divorced and remarried unless they divorce (or agree to divorce) first. This, in my judgment, is among the most damaging, hurtful and seemingly heartless things taught by some Churches of Christ–both for our society and the Church. We already have enough divorces and broken homes in our country without some demanding more. Teaching a loving married couple, who have been married for years and in some cases have children, that they must divorce is serious, serious business indeed. Others can do as they wish as far as seeking to break up loving families, but not me. Furthermore, there are many other Churches of Christ who refuse to have a part in breaking up loving established families and these numbers seem to be steadily increasing as various Churches study for themselves.

My View: I do not believe in refusing to baptize MDR couples or breaking up established families by demanding that divorced and remarried people must divorce again and live single to be saved. I believe that the Bible clearly teaches that those married need to stay married whether first, second, or subsequent marriage (1 Cor. 7:17, 20, 24, 27-28). I believe that those who demand divorce of married couples are totally wrong. I believe that it is a very serious matter to demand something of others that God says He hates—which is putting away faithful mates (See Malachi 2:16). I have written a book on this very issue titled, “Just As I Am: Married, Divorced and Remarried”. You can find it on Amazon.

Special Note: There are numerous other ongoing disagreements and discussions among us in the CoC on such things as worship, music, role of women, etc. But the five that are listed are the most serious to me and things I want others to know that I, personally, do not believe and they are not taught where I am.

Also, believe it or not, we even have some in Churches of Christ who teach that it is wrong to eat food in a Church building, applaud at a baptism as a means of approval, have Bible classes, use more than one container (cup) for communion, have youth ministers, have praise teams, help non-Christians (including orphans) from the Church treasury, have a regular (located) preacher, support such organizations as Churches of Christ Disaster Relief, Inc, and a host of other things that many of us might find silly and/or senseless. But this is what makes the Church of Christ unique! We are all autonomous and are governed only by the Bible as we understand it at any given point in our spiritual journey, regardless of what other Churches of Christ believe, teach or practice. We have people-who obviously believe they are right–all over the spectrum of beliefs from the radical conservative right to the extreme liberal left (whatever those terms may mean) and all in between. Most seem to be good people who love the Lord and want to do and teach the right thing. (Of course, the Baptists have their “Westboro Baptist” and, quite obviously, we have our extremists, but most members I know in the CoC are simply teaching and practicing what they believe the Bible to teach just as I am.) I am thankful to be part of the group known as Churches of Christ and believe that it is the best way for me (and those who believe like me) to practice Christianity as God intended for His people. Obviously, those in other groups or Churches do not agree with this assessment and I can appreciate and understand that. We all need to rest our hope fully (not mostly, partly, or somewhat, but fully) on the grace of Jesus (1 Peter 1:13). Hopefully, He saves all who are born again and have committed our lives to Him in seeking to do His will.

Finally, after having the heart attack, I just wanted to clear the air, so to speak, because there are many misunderstandings concerning Churches of Christ and especially about our autonomy and what I personally believe. I have many Christian friends and brethren who do not understand the nature or the real way the Churches of Christ operate. Sometimes a very vocal minority want to tell us all what to believe on almost every issue. This, of course, will never happen. People can only know us at the Ohatchee CoC by what we believe and teach–not by what they have heard from other Churches of Christ or it’s ministers. We study the Bible for ourselves and seek to base our lives on what God says and not on what others believe, say, or do. This is just one of the many things I like about the CoC and most of our members who recognize and respect local autonomy. Thanks again to all in the Churches of Christ for the prayers and please continue to pray for me as I recover. Blessings!

Thank God for Jesus who saves us all…if we are saved at all.

Wayne

Check out my Amazon author page here:
https://www.amazon.com/Wayne-Dunaway/e/B073VSV3TK

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The Sacred Secret # 3

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THE SACRED SECRET # 3

The Secret Saves

III. THE MYSTERY THAT MAKES SALVATION REAL (Ephesians 3:8-13).

1. The mystery that had been concealed, and is now revealed, is the plan that makes salvation real.

2. The scheme of redemption is now in place. The price of pardon has now been paid. The purpose of God has now been “accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (v. 11).

3. The mystery that makes salvation a reality, and no longer just a promise or a prediction, is now an “accomplished” fact (v. 11).

4. The “unsearchable riches of Christ” (v. 8) are now to be preached to all men.

5. It is a perfect plan. It exemplifies the “manifold wisdom of God” (vs. 10a). It displays the “wisdom of God…the hidden wisdom” (1 Cor. 2:7).

6. In preaching the mystery, observe how Paul emphasizes:

A. The EQUAL POSITION (v. 8).

1. He preached among the Gentiles that we are “fellow heirs” in Christ. The word “fellow” means “equal.” We all share equally in the “fellowship of the mystery” (vs.9). We all share equally in the blessings of salvation. This means: You may have more money than me, but you don’t have more mercy, than me (Eph. 2:4). You may have greater gifts than me, but you don’t have more grace than me (Eph. 2:5 & 8). You may have more power than me, but you don’t have more pardon than me (Eph. 1:7). You may have more faith than me, but you don’t have more forgiveness than me (Eph. 1:7). You may be smarter than me, but you are not more saved than me (Eph. 2:8). You may be more helpful than me, but you are not more holy than me (Eph. 1:4). You might behave better than me, but you are not more blameless than me (Eph. 1:4). You may have more ability than me, but you don’t have greater access than me (Eph. 2:18). You may be better than me, but you are not better off than me (Eph. 1:6). You might be a better servant than me, but you don’t have a better Savior than me (Eph. 1:13; 5:23). You may have greater status than me, but you don’t have greater salvation than me (Eph. 1:13). You may keep more rules than me, but you are not more righteous than me (Eph. 4:24). You might have more intelligence than me, but you don’t have a greater inheritance than me (Eph. 1:11). You might have a better attitude than me, but you don’t have a greater adoption than me (Eph. 1:5). You may have more strength than me, but you don’t have more of the Spirit than me (Eph. 1:13,14). You may have more accomplishments than me, but you don’t have more assurance than me (Eph. 1:14).

3. All of God’s children “are one in Christ Jesus” whether Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, and “if you are Christ’s,” then you are “Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:26-29; Eph. 3:6).

B. The Exalted Privilege (v. 9-10).

1. Although in his own mind Paul was “less than the least of all saints,” he had the exalted privilege of making all men see this “fellowship” (or equal sharing) brought about by the revelation of salvation in Christ.

2. He considered it an exalted privilege to help men see the equal position of all who are in Christ (v. 8).

3. Now all men can understand what God was doing from the “beginning of the ages” (v.9).

4. The angels who “desired to look into these things” regarding the salvation of man (1 Peter 1:10-12) and the powers that can be now see “in the church” the manifold wisdom of God in it all (Eph. 3:10).

5. Who could have known that God was planning to die Himself in order to purify man so He could dwell in them on earth-in spite of their weaknesses and sins, ignorance and errors?

6. This salvation is real to all who trust in Christ and they are equally saved (Eph. 2:1-10), equally reconciled (Eph. 2:11-18), and are equally “being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph. 2:19-22).7. Notice also that, in the latter part of this section, the mystery was “accomplished in Christ” (v. 11b) and made real in us because in Him “we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him” (v. 12).

C. The Eternal Purpose (vs. 11-13).

1. Salvation through the death of Jesus was not an accident or an afterthought.

2. It was according to the “eternal purpose of God” (vs. 11).

3. In other words, there never was a time when God did not intend to save all in Christ.

4. As God is eternal, His purpose in Christ is eternal.5. Jesus was “indeed foreordained before the foundation of the world” to redeem those “who through Him believe in God…so that your faith and hope are in God” (1 Pet. 1:18-21).

Conclusion: The mystery is summed up by Paul in 1 Timothy 3:16 “God was manifest in the flesh. Justified in the Spirit. Seen of angels. Preached among the Gentiles. Believed on in the world. Received up in glory.” Truly the “history” of the mystery is “His story” from beginning to the end. This was concealed in types and shadows in the Old Testament revealed in words too plain to be misunderstood in the New Testament and made real in the hearts of all who trust Him as Lord (Rom. 10:9-10).

Illustration: When I think about the mystery I sometimes think about the first time I saw house plans. There were lines on sheets of paper with sketches, arrows, numbers, etc…but, since I’m not into house building, I did not really understand exactly what I was seeing. But later, when I walked through the house, I could look back at the plans and see what all those lines and sketches meant. In the Old Testament God was “drawing the plans” out for us. In the New Testament He has “built the house.” The “SECRET IS OUT!” Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).

Wayne Dunaway https://gandpministries.wordpress.com/

The Sacred Secret # 2

THE SACRED SECRET # 2

THE SECRET’S OUT!

II. The Mystery is Revealed (Eph. 3:5b-7).

Observe, in the latter part of verse 5 that Paul says the mystery “has NOW been REVEALED by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets.” This mystery can now be “read” and “understood” (vs. 4). It might be best in helping us understand this Revelation that is now “made known” (vs. 3) by asking the following questions:

1. What did God do? Answer: He made known and revealed the mystery.

2. When did God make known the mystery? Answer: “Now” in the Christian age. “It has been made clear…” (Rom. 16:26 NCV).

3. How did God make the mystery clear? Answer: “By Revelation” (Eph. 3:3). It is “revealed by the Spirit to the holy apostles and prophets” (Eph. 3:5). Please observe that Paul says there was a time when these things had not “entered into the heart of man” (1 Cor. 2:9). Then he says “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit” (1 Cor. 2:10).

4. What means did God use to make the mystery clear? Answer: Words! ”Words that can be “read” and “understood” (Eph. 3:4). Words “which the Holy Spirit teaches” (1 Cor. 2:13). Note: A picture is not always worth a thousand words. Remember God did not give us a catalog or High School annual. He gave us “words” so we can “understand the mystery.”

5. What is the mystery that is now made known or this secret that is now made clear? Answer: It is that the Gentiles are blessed in Christ just as are the Jews. They are: Fellow heirs (vs. 6a); in the same body (v. 6b); partakers of His promise in Christ (v. 6e).

6. The sacred secret is that all saints are saved in Christ. All are equal. (See Gal. 3:26-29).

7. Paul’s point in talking about the mystery here is stressing that saints share equally in the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8). The “mystery is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). That God Himself would save and come to live in the hearts of Gentiles, as well as Jews, was never anticipated, nor expected, by those in former ages. But God has saved us all and lives in all who are in Christ (Eph. 2:1-22). Thank God for Jesus (2 Cor. 9:15).

More to follow.

Wayne Dunaway

https://gandpministries.wordpress.com/

The Sacred Secret # 1

            
             THE SACRED SECRET
             (The History of the Mystery)
               
Introduction: Eph. 3:1-13
A. In Ephesians 2 Paul had discussed Salvation (vs. 1-10), Reconciliation (vs. 11-18), and the Foundation (vs. 19-22) that God has provided for us.
B. In our present study he is going to expound on the Revelation that
makes the Salvation, Reconciliation and Foundation possible.
C. He is going to give us a brief History of the Mystery or the Sacred Secret.
D. In discussing these verses we will note three main points about the
mystery.
a. The Mystery Concealed (vs. 1-5a).
b. The Mystery Revealed (vs. 5b-7).
c. The Mystery Is Real (vs. 8-13).
I.  THE  MYSTERY THAT WAS CONCEALED (Eph.3:1-5a).
A.    Observe please that in verse 3 Paul refers to “the mystery.”
B.    The word mystery means, “Something unexplained, unknown, kept secret.” (Webster).
C.    The word, as used here, does not mean “mysterious” in the sense that it is impossible to explain, but rather to a secret “which in other ages (what we commonly call the Patriarchal and Mosaic Ages) was not made known” as it is now.
D.    Illustration:  We read a book called a “mystery,” or watch a “mystery” on T.V., and we really don’t understand it until the end.
E.     In much the same way the gospel was a mystery, or secret, during the Old Testament period.  We might call the gospel a “the Sacred Secret.”
F.     Note that the mystery was “not made known” in the other ages as it is “now revealed” (v. 5).  God was making known His purpose from the very beginning (Gen. 3:15), but it was not clear and, therefore, not understood.
G.    According to Paul, the “preaching of Jesus Christ” was “according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25).
H.    It is “the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations” (Col. 1:26).
I.      But the question we might ask is, “How was it concealed or hidden?”
J.      Time will not allow us to study, or even mention, all the ways it was concealed.  In fact, I don’t pretend to know all the ways.
K.    I do know that the Old Testament contains a “shadow of good things to come” (Heb. 10:1).
L.     So what were some of those “shadows” or “types”?
M.   In order to help us remember, we will use the word “S-E-C-R-E-T” and let each letter stand for a way in which the mystery was concealed.
Sacrifices – The mystery was concealed in the sacrifices offered in the O.T. All the animal sacrifices from Abel on (Gen. 4) pointed to, in one way or another, the sacrifice of Christ. (See Heb. 10:1-14).
Expressions – There were certain expressions or statements that concealed the mystery. For example, God spoke of:
1.    The “seed of woman” bruising the serpents’ head (Gen. 3:15).
2.    The “seed” of Abraham blessing all nations (Gen. 22:18).
3.    A “root of Jesse” and how “the Gentiles shall seek Him” (Isa. 11:10).
4.    Raising up “the tabernacle of David” and including “all the gentiles” who are called by His Name (Amos 9:11-12). 
Note: Those expressions and a host of others were never understood by those in other ages.  The real meaning was concealed or kept secret.
Characters – There was certain individuals in the O.T. whose lives in certain respects concealed the secret.  They were types or “figures” of one to come.  For example: 
1.    Adam (1 Cor. 15:22 & 45).
2.    Melchizedek (Heb. 5:6ff).
3.    Moses (Acts 3:22-23).
4.    Aaron (Heb. 5:4).
5.    David (Ezek. 34:23-24).
6.    And many others.
Race The mystery was also concealed in God’s dealings with the Jewish race.  The children of Israel and their relationship with God were also a type of something to come.  For example they were:
1.    Chosen ones (1 Chron. 16:13; Eph. 1:4).
2.    Redeemed (Deut. 21:8; Eph. 1:7).
3.    Children (Deut. 14:1; Eph. 1:5).
4.    Special (Deut. 7:6; Eph. 1:6; I Pet. 2:9).
5.    Saved (Ex. 14:30; Eph. 2:5). 
Note: God intended for the Jewish race to be a type of God’s people today is clear from the fact that His spiritual people today are called “the twelve tribes” (Matt. 19:28;James 1:1); “house of Jacob” (Luke 1:33); and “the Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16).
                     Experiences – The mystery was concealed in various experiences  recorded in the Old Testament. For example:
1. Abraham offering the ram instead of Isaac (Gen. 22:1-22; 2 Cor. 5:21).
2.    God delivering Israel from Egyptian bondage (Ex. 12-14; 1 Cor. 10:1-11).
3.    The Passover Lamb (Ex. 12; 1 Cor. 5:7).
4.    Jonah in the whale three days and nights (Jonah 1-2; Matt. 12-40). 
Note: These experiences as well as many others typified and concealed the mystery in the O.T.
                  Temple One of the most notable ways the mystery was concealed in ages past was in the temple in Jerusalem. When it was built “it was symbolic for the present time” and typified numerous “good things to come” (Heb. 10:1). The Holy Place, the most Holy Place, Altar, Curtain, etc…. were mere copies of the true and real thing (Heb. 9:24).
N.    Thus we clearly see that the mystery was not “made known to the sons of men” (Eph. 3:5) and “none of the rulers of this age knew” (1 Co. 2:8), nor understood what blessings God had/has in store for those in Christ.  As Isaiah wrote (64:4) in his day “Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor have entered into the hearts of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor. 2:8-9).
O.   The Secret that was concealed in the Old Testament is now revealed in the New. As Paul wrote: “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit” (1 Cor. 2:10).
Note: God can/did keep a Secret but now the Secret’s Out and that will be the subject of lesson # 2.
Wayne Dunaway
gandpministries.org