Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Fellowship Of The Mystery

Is there any good thing that can come from the www, you bet there is.
It was the tool used by the Father in connecting me with my friend Art, the brother that has written this four part article.

It continues to amaze me how our Father is orchestrating everything, working in the depths of peoples lives, for all intents and purposes without any outer evidence, and yet, when things seem to suddenly all fall into place, it would lead one to think it was simply by osmosis.

I have never loved Jesus more than I do today, and I am so blessed in having a wife that wants only to grow in the grace and true knowledge of this friend that sticks closer than a brother.

Each day is a day that will never be repeated. I love the one line from Russel Crow in the movie The Gladiator, just before going into the last battle before going home to Rome for good, he yells out to his loyal and trusted officers, 'what we do today, echoes throughout eternity.'

This resonates with such truth, and wanting more than ever to cooperate with God my Father with His eternal purpose...those He foreknew, he predestined them to BE conformed (transformed) into the likeness of His only Son!!


Our Union with Christ - The Head of the Body
Is “The Fellowship of the Mystery”

By Arthur J Licursi
Part 2 of 4

This union by Christ indwelling each believer as their life is what Paul calls the “fellowship of the mystery” that was revealed to Him, to be explained to us. Ephes. 3:8-9 Unto me (Paul), who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

This “fellowship” in Greek is “koinonia”, meaning a participatory partnership. We participate in this partnership of life, since we are living members of the body of Christ. We have consciousness and free will such that we may or may not co-operate within the very real living union relationship we have with Christ. In that union we have the sense of His life in us prompting or restraining us form within in a normal life way – Paul writes of this union in this way. Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God…

The “fellowship of the mystery” is the union that comes not by simply receiving Jesus of Nazareth, but by receiving the crucified and resurrected Jesus into our very being- “Christ according to the revelation of the mystery (secret gospel)” (Rom 16:25) that Paul preached. Paul’s mystery (secret) gospel, succinctly stated, is “Christ in you the hope of glory” ( Col 1:26-27).

Paul here in Eph 3:9 also tells us the proclamation of this union with Christ is Paul’s commission – it was his work, given to Him by the ascended Christ. Paul says he was commissioned “to make all men see what is the fellowship (or union) of the mystery”. That fellowship or union is the crowning purpose of Christ birth, death, and resurrection. Christ became the life-giving (1Cor 15:45) out of His resurrection (2Cor 3:17a), such that He as the “Spirit of life” then could be received by every man – into their human spirit. Now, by His indwelling and our union with Christ, as being one in spirit, we also are living expressions of the fellowship of the mystery that permits all men to see “the fellowship of the mystery”.

We must come to agree with Paul who wrote 2 Cor. 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore we do not preach the God-man Jesus of Nazareth and all that He said or did in His earthly ministry. Rather, we preach the fruit of the cross – Christ in His celestial ministry. That message is Christ crucified, resurrected and now available as the “Spirit of life” to come and indwell every believer, to be their new and uplifted life, in place of their old life. Though we rarely hear this message in its simplicity, it alone is the gospel for today in “the dispensation of the grace of God”.

The fellowship of the mystery is the fruitful union we may now have with Him, who now is our only indwelling life (Col 3:4a), and Lord (Rom 10:9). No greater “mystery” could exist than the union of God and man, being one in spirit. The core of Paul’s gospel is not “Jesus died for your sins”, though Paul is the one who explains that fact to us as a “first” step (1Cor 15:3) of His message. No, Paul saw beyond our reconciliation by Christ’s blood and death (Rom 5:10), he saw to the fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose (Eph 3:11) that was in Christ before the world began. Paul preached Christ crucified, and now living in and through the believers. Col. 1:27b-28a …this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28Whom we preach… Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

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