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 1st Timothy 3:16

"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

 

LESSON 1:

There were just some things about which the Apostle Paul was SURE!

Absolutely sure!

For example, in Hebrews 6:19 the great Preacher thunders:  "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast ...!" 

Our "hope," our "trust," our very "faith" is an anchor!

It is stedfast and ... sure!

"Sure," in Greek "asphales," means not to fail! It's just can't fail!  Infallible!

And "stedfast" ("bebaios") means that which is foundational, rock bottom, firm!

Such belief is particularly true concerning Jesus Christ our Lord!

Paul, in 1st Timothy 3:16, says this of Him:  "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

Wow!

This verse has the cadence and the rhythm and the feel of being pure poetry!  Even grammatically so! 

It is thought that the Holy Spirit here has led Paul to the exact words of a hymn that the early saints sang in their church gatherings.

It's likely a confession of faith that many first century Believers quoted day after day.  It magnifies the Saviour!

You see, "God manifest in the flesh" is Jesus!

But back to my original point this morning ... this confession is sure!

It is "without controversy!"

The expression here is literally "homologoumenos" and is serving as  an adverb in our holy sentence, 1st Timothy 3:16.

It is synonymous with terms like "without doubt" or "indeed" or "positively" or "undeniably!" 

The exact Greek word is a combined form of "homo" which means "the same" and "logeo" which means "to say."   This exact term is hapax in Scripture.  "Hapax" means occurring once only.

Its "root" verb usually is translated as "confess" or "profess" or even "acknowledge."

Paul is saying some things about Jesus in 1st Timothy 3:16.  But before he starts his list of facts ... he prefaces them with a robust "for sure!"

"We all agree!"

"Beyond any shadow of doubt!"

It's an affirmation of faith!

Is anyone reading here today SURE of the Truth?

I mean ... the Truth about Jesus Christ.

That He is perfectly described by the following words:  "God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

What a "Christmas" Text!

For that matter, what a Text for anytime of the year!

Of this we can be absolutely positive!

"Without controversy!"

By the way, that "assurance" we enjoy is not of our own doing!

It, along with salvation itself, is a gift from God!

Listen to 1st John 3:24 ... "And hereby we know that He (Jesus) abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us."

The Spirit ... He gives us assurance!

"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."  1st Timothy 3:16

Amen!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2:

Paul called it "the mystery of godliness."

He was speaking of the Person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In 2nd Thessalonians 2 he also, when speaking of the anti-christ, used the opposite expression "the mystery of iniquity!"

The noun "mystery" is really a "loan-word" from the Greek language.

It was in Paul's day spelled "musterion" and meant a secret ... a hidden thing ... something not obvious to the understanding.

The word is used Biblically for truth that was "once concealed, but now revealed!"

If anti-christ is the very essence of iniquity ... Jesus is the very Essence of Godliness!

Here's the verse in which Paul uses this glorious expression:  "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

The reference is 1st Timothy 3:16.

The noun "godliness" is "eusebia" and means holiness or reverence or piety or even respect toward God!  It combines the Greek words for "good or well" ("eu") and "to revere or adore" ("sebomai").  In the New Testament it represents that which is well-pleasing to God! 

I think what Paul is saying about our Lord Jesus is this:  Just as in Him reside "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" ... also in Him are found all the secrets of pleasing God the Father, all the reverence and holiness of God Himself!  Jesus is the Way to Heaven, folks!  See Colossians 2:3.

Paul, in here calling Jesus "the mystery of godliness" characterizes Him as "great!" That adjective is "megas" and means big or large or abundant or eminent!

I would say that in every category ... Jesus is GREAT!

In all things He has the preeminence!  See Colossians 1:18.

Everything we need to know about holy living, about forgiveness of sins, about victory over iniquity, about eternity in heaven, about pleasing God in our lives ... is found in Jesus!

He is GODLINESS!

1st Corinthians 1:30 speaks  of "Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."  Here "righteousness" is quite similar to "godliness" of course!

Another way of wording that:  Jesus is the Mystery of Godliness!

In the old Greek religions, which indeed were based on false premises and heathen gods, when a person became a "member" of the cult ... he or she had to be "initiated."  In doing so, they were given certain "secrets" that identified them as bona-fide members of that group.

Those secret truths were called "mysteries!"  Using our very word, musterion, they were taught so-called facts that allowed them into that wicked fellowship!

Well, Christianity and salvation are as different from the old Greek mystery religions as day is from night!  However, in being saved ... each sinner is led to the One Who knows all the mysteries of holiness and godliness.  That One is Jesus Christ, God the Son!

And it is He Who implants within us the (no longer "secret" but ...) vibrant open nuggets of Truth by which we are saved!  For, you see, the Holy Spirit has "revealed" them to us!  He has opened our eyes to see Jesus for Who He really is!

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."  John 5:24

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."  Romans 10:9-10

My Believing friend, aren't you glad that one great day you met the One Who is the Mystery in Godliness?

And that He admitted you into the Family of God ... by Grace through faith in His shed Blood!

You know the very Mystery of God!

His Name is Jesus!

And if you are reading here today and are lost in your sins, unsaved, on your way to Hell, Jesus is still revealing Himself! 

To lost sinners!   

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3:

It's called the "incarnation" of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

The noun "incarnation" is derived from ancient Latin. "Carnus" means flesh, just plain human flesh.  And the prefix "in" (still Latin) is directional ... describing One Who came "in" flesh, One Who was eternal!

God became man!

God the Son took upon Himself skin and tissue and muscles and bones!

The "incarnation" of Jesus occurred historically and literally by means of a miracle!  How else could it have been?

That miracle is usually called the Virgin Birth!

Jesus had no earthly father!

Joseph was NOT Jesus' Dad!

Jesus was born of a virgin, the young pure Jewish girl named Mary, her having been overshadowed by the Holy Spirit of God.

See Luke 1:27 and 35.

This pivotal Event is described by six words in 1st Timothy 3:16.  "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

Let me repeat the "incarnation phrase" of our great verse:  "God was manifest in the flesh!"

The verb "was manifest" expresses the Greek verb "phaneroo" which means to reveal or to show or to make known.   This word gives us the English noun "epiphany!"  It suggests a bright light suddenly flashing on a dark night!  Jesus literally "burst" on the scene of world history ... pure Holiness invading a planet of iniquity ... pristine light flooding an orb of darkness!

"Phaneroo" here is framed as a passive verb.  That means Jesus was sent into the world by Another!  By God the Father according to John 3:16.  "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."   Better yet is 1st John 4:14. "And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world."

Amen!

Furthermore, "phaneroo" is an aorist, teaching us that this "sending" of Jesus via a virgin's womb is a completed action!   It is a fact of history!  It is not some ongoing  mythical process ... fueled by some liberal's agnosticism!  It literally and physically happened!  Without the virgin birth of Jesus ... there could have been no Calvary ... or salvation of lost souls!

But ... in what form did God the Son appear?

"In" the flesh!

"In" the form of humanity!

He, being God ... and remaining God of course ... for all eternity ... was clothed a body like ours!

"In" (in Greek = "en") indicates a fixed position.  With a dative case noun (as here) it means "within."  Jesus was not a spirit!  Jesus was not a dream!  Jesus was not an angel!  Jesus had real human skin and bones!  God indwelt man, a body!  John the Apostle, using one of his favorite Names for Jesus said:  "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 1:14

Then comes the word "flesh."  Jesus (God) was manifest in the "flesh!"

Paul sometimes used our word here, "sarx," to indicate our old sinful natures. For example, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness ...." (See Galatians 5:19) However, that is not its meaning when applied to Jesus!  

Jesus had no sinful nature!

In fact, Jesus never once failed His Father ... never a single time did He sin!

He lived "without sin!"  See Hebrews 4:15.

Therefore "flesh" (Greek = "sarx") in our verse today simply means a physical body.  Often Scripture mentions "flesh and blood," a term indicating human beings.

God the Son ... manifested in the flesh!

Why?

Why did Jesus so come?

"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."  Luke 19:10

"For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil."   1st John 3:8

Jesus came to die on the Cross ... that we might be saved!  He said: "Now is My soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour (the Cross): but for this cause came I unto this hour."  John 12:27

That's WHY He was manifest in the flesh!

He came to provide salvation for our lost souls!

Without that truth ... we would all die and go to Hell!

Friend, I am so thankful today that Jesus was "God manifest in the flesh!"

Aren't you?

                                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4:

Have you ever thought much about Jesus' relationship with the Holy Spirit?

That's an unusual topic!

Jesus the Son and God the Father are often mentioned together in the Scriptures.

But Jesus and the Holy Spirit ... not nearly as often!

However, the Apostle Paul gives us one great Text that clearly associates the Second and Third Persons of the Godhead.

"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."  1st Timothy 3:16

"God manifest in the flesh" is obviously a reference to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thus ... He is the Subject of this whole verse.

Note that the Lord was "justified in the Spirit!"

The verb "justified" here (in Greek = "diakaino") means "to declare right!"

Pilate may question our Lord and Herod may doubt Him.  The Pharisees may scoff and the lost crowds might scream "Crucify Him, crucify Him!"

But the Holy Spirit sincerely says ... "I find no wrong in Him!"

Think with me a few minutes.

At Jesus' very conception, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit was present and active, approving God's Way of getting Jesus to earth!  "And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshdow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."  Luke 1:35

That's the Holy Spirit's approval of Jesus the Babe!

Then thirty years later, at Jesus' baptism, the Holy Spirit again "justified" Him! Luke tells us that Jesus saw and heard ... "And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased."  Luke 3:22

Next came the temptation, 40 days of trial by the devil himself!  And after victory, Jesus "returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about."  Luke 4:14

Had the Holy Spirit not approved ("justified") Jesus in an overwhelming manner ... He would have never empowered Him so, returning with Him to the Holy Land.

On the Cross of Calvary too ... the Holy Spirit justified Jesus!  Our dear Lord could not have died as the powerful Saviour He is ... without the Spirit's co-operation and delight!  "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"  Hebrews 9:14

Jesus died having been fully accredited by the Holy Spirit!

Then ... naturally ... the Resurrection as well.  Peter writes:  "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit."  1st Peter 3:18

Jesus was raised from the dead by a delighted Holy Spirit!

"Quickened" means "made alive!"

In fact, in one vast over-all Biblical "sweep" you can tell how deeply the Holy Spirit participated in the Life and Work of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Isaiah prophesied Jesus as saying:  "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound ...."  Isaiah 61:1

Jesus used this Isaiah Text for His first recorded sermon in Luke 4.  His whole Life was endued with Holy Spirit Presence and Power!

So much so that John the Apostle said of Jesus and the Holy Spirit:  "For He whom God hath sent (Jesus) speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him."  John 3:34

Jesus was filled with a measureless supply of the Holy Spirit!

I call that being "justified" in the Spirit!

How about you, Christian friend?

Are you filled with the Holy Spirit of God?

Do you want to be?

Jesus indeed was!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5:

Two thousand years ago Jesus, the Son of God, was born in a human body.

He, as God the Son, is eternal!

But He, as the God/Man, had a beginning point in time!

Of course from now through all of eternity He will remain as God Who became man!  He is our great High Priest!  He "ever liveth" to make intercession for us!

This fact, the incarnation of Jesus, greatly interests the angels of heaven! 

Read carefully Peter's remarks about the interest of the angels, interest in the Gospel story.  The Apostle, writing to Believers in Christ mentions: "The end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into."

Notice the capitalized words!

Angels "desire to look into" the amazing things about Jesus and His death, burial and resurrection!

The verb here is "parakupto" and means "to bend down and lean forward in order to examine something!"

Angels, the very angels of Heaven, are that interested in Jesus our Lord, His Person and Work!

I have been thinking about that:  Jesus ... and the angels.

The angel Gabriel announced the coming Birth of Jesus to both Mary the virgin and Joseph her husband-to-be!   For example:  "And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.  And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS." Luke 1:30-31

Angels were present the very night of Jesus' Birth, appearing to the shepherds near Bethlehem!  "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord ... And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God." Luke 2:8-11 and 13

Angels are also mentioned at the Temptation of Jesus.  He, having conquered the devil, had also not eaten in forty days!  Matthew 4:11 records what happened next:  "Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him."  I think they, among other things, brought Him some food!

Again in Gethsemane at one of Jesus' most difficult moments ... "There appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening Him."  Luke 22:43

And His Resurrection was an angelic favorite too!  "But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, and seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain."  John 20:11-12

And, amazingly, angels witnessed His Ascension also!  "And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."  Acts 1:10-11

And what if I told you there's Bible evidence that angels will accompany Him when He returns to "catch away" His Bride, the Church?

There is!

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1st Thessalonians 4:16-17

Angels ... and Jesus!

But, Preacher Bagwell, is there a verse that summarizes this angelic captivation with Jesus?

Oh, yes!

I will capitalize and underline the pertinent words.  "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."  1st Timothy 3:16

The verb that depicts Jesus "having been seen" of angels is "horao." Basically, in the passive voce as here, it means "observed, noticed, recognized!"  It even implies "being visited, understood, or cared for!"

Oh, that we should be as interested in the Saviour as are the angels!

Today multitudes have chosen to ignore Him Who was the very Focus of angelic gaze for all the days of His earthly life! 

In fact ... in Heaven right now and for all of eternity future ... Jesus will continue to be worshipped by angels!

John saw it and has recorded his observations:  "And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing."  Revelation 5:11-12

Jesus is The Lamb!

Oh, this time of the year ... praise His dear Name!

Make much of Jesus!

After all, the angels sure do!

Surely those lovely created beings ... who, after all, have never really personally experienced the saving grace of God ... should not "out-praise" us old ex-sinners who have been washed in the Blood of the lamb!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6:

Generally speaking, the Bible sees mankind as divided into two groups, Jews and Gentiles.

Yet when Jesus came and died on Calvary, Paul detailed another group, the "church" of the living God!

Watch what he writes:  "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God."  1st Corinthians 10:32

God's "chosen" people, the "apple of His eye," are the Jews.  Jesus was a Jew.  The writers of Scripture were also.  The Lord even went so far as to say in John 4:22 that "Salvation is of the Jews."

It's a well-known fact that the Gospel was preached first to the Jews!  Again, Paul says: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."  Romans 1:16

John goes even further!  He explains to us that Jesus "came unto His Own," the Jews!  They rejected Him of course, but they were first on His list!

Now let me quickly give you the rest of that passage, John 1:11-13.  "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

The Jews did not want the Lord Jesus ... so He turned to as many as would receive Him!  That group logically includes the Gentiles!

Jesus loves sinners of all kinds ... of every tribe and nation on earth!

There is one outstanding verse of Scripture in which Paul encapsulates the whole of Jesus' Ministry in just a few words.  "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."  1st Timothy 3:16

Do notice that right in the middle of that Holy Spirit inspired biography is the clause "preached unto the Gentiles!"

The Jews did not highly value Gentiles!  They called us "dogs!"  We were the very filth of the earth. 

But Jesus loved us!

He even saved and called Paul the Apostle to be a special envoy "to the Gentiles!"  Right after his salvation experience, the Lord said about Paul:  "he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel."  Note here that Acts 9:15 just put the Gentiles before the Jews!  Wow!

Miracle of miracles:  Jesus ... preached unto the Gentiles! 

The verb "preached" here is "kerusso."  Jesus the Saviour and Lord was announced and proclaimed and presented as the Coming One, the very Son of God! 

The noun for "gentiles" is "ethnos" and means "nations or heathen" or non-Jews.

I do not know the exact composition of our readership, but I am sure that you all are about 95% Gentiles! 

We all ought to be rejoicing that the Gospel came our way too!

Not only were the Jews given opportunity to know Jesus ... we were included too!

That God for the day you, dear Gentile friend, heard the glorious message, Jesus saves!

Amen!

By the way, the day God saved you ... technically you were no longer just a member of the Gentile hordes of earth!  You became a member of the Church ... the Church of God!  Remember 1st Corinthians 10:32?  "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God." 

A saved man or lady is no longer just some ethnic identity! 

No!

He or she is a saint of God!

A born-again child in His family!

A member of His Body!

Part of the Church!

In that too we old (former) Gentiles can surely rejoice!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7:

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved!" 

That's good news!

These are the very words Paul told a poor frightened jailer in the ancient city of Philippi. The man had already heard the preaching of God's Word and was under Holy Spirit "conviction" for sure!

And he believed!

As apparently did all his household!

Let me just say it right now, echoing the words of the precious old Gospel song: "Jesus saves! Jesus saves!"

This is one of the firstfruits of the Gospel, the Story of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, God the Son!

That is ... the firstfruit of "belief" in His Name!

This "saving faith," this "trust," this "leaning on Jesus," this "belief" is well described in one great verse of Scripture, placed in proper perspective again the background of Jesus' whole life and ministry.

That verse is found at 1st Timothy 3:16.  "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."  I capitalized the "belief" clause.

Do notice please that the "believing" follows the "preaching" in our verse!

That's always the order in which salvation comes!

"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" says Paul in Romans 10:17.

Again in Romans 10, specifically verse 9, Paul says of belief in Jesus:  "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

That sure corresponds to something Jesus said about belief in John 5:24: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."

Amen!

The verb "believed" in today's verse (1st Timothy 3:16) is in Greek spelled:  "pisteuo" and means "to trust" or "to commit" or "to assent" or "to be persuaded"  or "to have confidence" in something or someone!

Here the verb is framed in the indicative aorist passive 3rd person singular form.  This belief is not doubtful or shaky ... it is sure (indicative mood).  It is describing the moment in the past when the one under conviction first placed faith, believing faith, in Jesus as his or her Saviour (aorist).  And it is not self-assertive faith either (passive voice).  This saving faith is given to the sinner ... by the Grace of God it appears!  "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast."  Ephesians 2:8-9  And Paul is here speaking of One unique Saviour, Jesus Christ (3rd person singular).

Jesus ... believed on in the world, the whole world! 

In heaven some day we shall all behold, as John on Patmos already did ... "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou (Lord Jesus) art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation ...."  Revelation 5:9

In Acts chapters 8-10 something amazing occurs!  Out of all three branches of mankind, based on the three sons of Noah who stepped off the Ark after the Flood, descendants of Ham, Shem and Japheth,  God saves many of each!

In Acts 8, an Ethiopian eunuch is born-again.  He is an offspring of Ham!

In Acts 9, Saul of Tarsus is saved!  He is a descendent of Shem, Semitic in nature!

And in Acts 10 Cornelius is saved, an Italian soldier.  He is a child of Japheth!

Let me again quote today's clause from 1st Timothy 3:16 ... "believed on in the world!"

Folks, saved people reading here today, we all ought to be shouting the praises of God this Saturday in December!

Why?

Because He came to us ... imparting His marvelous Grace ...and we believed in Him!  Believed unto salvation!  Believed with a faith that was not vain!  Believed for all eternity!

"But as many as received him (Jesus), to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."  John 1:12-13

Amen!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8:

The "Ascension" of Jesus is important too!

He is in Heaven today, sitting at His Father's Right Hand!

A complete account of the Gospel must furnish this great fact too.  Jesus was ... "received up into glory."

In Paul's great one-verse biography of our Lord he wrote:  "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."  1st Timothy 3:16

God the Son, our dear Saviour Jesus, came to earth in a little human body.  This event is called His incarnation and Virgin Birth.  Born in a lowly manner, then soon fleeing to Egypt to escape a wicked king, reared in a carpenter's shop, despised and rejected of men most of His earthly days, Jesus was certainly a "Man of sorrows."

BUT ... after His Death, Burial and Resurrection ... Jesus was "taken up" to Heaven in glory and honor and adoration!

What a Homecoming it must have been!

That little verb "received" is interesting.  "Analambano" means "to take up" something or someone!  God the Father, having seen Jesus' perfect completion of the Divine Will, took His Son up ... back to Glory!

The verb implies receiving someone with great joy, with great excitement, with great anticipation!

What a reunion the Father and Son must have experienced!

I believe Psalm 110:1 tells us exactly what the Father said to His returning victorious Son:  "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."

No doubt when Jesus ascended to Heaven ... the Father so greeted Him!

So did the multitudes of angels!  "The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place."  Psalm 68:17

And the saints of all the ages, having been "liberated" from "Abraham's Bosom" or "Paradise," were led by Jesus into the very abode of God too! "When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men."  Ephesians 4:8 quoting Psalm 68:18

What joy they must have expressed at Jesus' Victory over death, hell and the grave!

But ... now that Jesus has been so joyfully received up into Glory ... what is He doing there?

He is there as our Forerunner!  "Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."  Hebrews 6:20

"Prodromos" ("Forerunner") is the One who has already run the race ("dromos") ... and is already at the goal, awaiting our arrival! 

His being there reveals to us where the race ends ... in this case ... "in Glory!"

Jesus in Heaven now is also our Mediator!  "And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance."  Hebrews 9:15

Jesus is the Middle Man ... the One Who represents us to God the Father and reveals the Father to us as well!  Paul wrote to Timothy:  "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."  1st Timothy 2:5

The ascended Jesus is also our Advocate!  He is our Lawyer in Heaven!  He fends off the attacks of the devil, attacks on us Believers!  The devil you know is the "accuser of the Brethren."  Read 1st John 2:1 --- "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

He, Jesus, is also our Great High Priest!  He has already sprinkled the Blood of Atonement, His Own precious Blood, on the Altar of Heaven on our behalf!  He has obtained for us "eternal redemption" according to Hebrews 9:12.  Paul writes of our Lord ... "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession."  Hebrews 4:14

And He is in Heaven right now as the Head of the Church!  See Ephesians 5:23. He is the Head ... we Christians are the Body, the Bride of Christ Jesus. (Usually where one's head goes ... his or her body soon follows!  So is it with the Church!  Our Head is already in Heaven ... the Body will follow soon!  What security this affords true Believers!)

Yes ... busily sitting on the Throne ... Jesus is all these Things and so much more!

He was "received up into Glory!"

The verb "received" is in the passive voice!  Jesus did not lift up Himself to Heaven! 

No!

The Father did that to him and for Him as the perfect victorious approved Son of God! 

As soon as the Godhead was again corporally together at the Ascension, I suspect God the Father yet again announced:  "This is My Beloved Son ... In Whom I am well pleased!"

And where is Jesus now?

"In Glory!"

Heaven is called Glory!

The Place where the "glow" of God is abundantly apparent!

Where God's Will is done ... completely!

Where sin does not enter!

Where holiness rules and reigns!

Where worship continues without interruption!

And ... where we who have been saved are headed for eternity!

Thank God ... Jesus was "received up into Glory!"

Jesus promised us ... "That where I am, there ye may be also."

Amen!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

WHAT A VERSE ABOUT JESUS!

 

 

 

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