This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.1 Corinthians 4:1-2
A minister of Christ is to be a steward entrusted with what Paul calls
the mysteries God has revealed, that secret and hidden wisdom of God, these valuable truths which are only found in the revelation of the Word of God and nowhere else. Ministers are responsible to dispense these truths continually to the congregation so that lives are changed and lived on the basis of these remarkable truths. These are truths about life, about our families, about God, and ourselves. These truths lie beyond all secular research and opinion polls; they are undiscoverable by natural reason or observation. These mysteries, when understood, are the basis upon which all God's purposes in our lives are worked out.
Paul says that stewards are to be found faithful. Faithful at what? Faithful at dispensing the mysteries so people understand them. You may fail at many things as a teacher, a preacher, a leader of a class. You may not make it in many areas, but do not miss it in this one. Be sure that you are setting forth the mysteries of God. That is what stewards will be judged on.
What are these mysteries? Here are some of them: There is the
mystery of the kingdom of God, (Mark 4:11 KJV). What does it mean? It means an understanding of God at work in history, how he is working through the events of our day and of the days of the past, and how he uses these events that fill the pages of our newspapers to carry out his purposes. There is the
mystery of iniquity (2 Thessalonians 2:7 KJV), of lawlessness. This is the explanation we desperately need to be reminded of continually, of why we are never able to make any progress when it comes to solving human dilemmas — why every generation without exception repeats the struggle, problems and difficulties of the previous generation. Then there is the counteraction to that — the
mystery of godliness, (1 Timothy 3:16 KJV). This is the remarkable secret that God has provided by which a Christian is enabled to live right in the midst of the pressures of the world with all of its illusion and all of its danger, not to run away from it but to refuse to conform to it and do so in a loving, gracious way. What is the secret? It is the secret of an imparted life —
Christ in you, the hope of glory, (Colossians 1:27b RSV). Christ in you, available to you — his life, his wisdom, his strength, his power to act available to you — to enable you to do what you do not think you can do at the moment, but, when you choose to do, you find you have the strength to perform. That is the mystery of godliness, the most life-transforming doctrine that has ever been set before man, radical in its effect. Then there is the
mystery of the church (Ephesians 3:1-6), that strange new society that God is building which is to be a demonstration of a totally different life style before a watching world, and which is to repel the impact of the world upon it, and, instead, be an impact upon the world around to change it. Those who are called to teach this in a church congregation are stewards of that mystery, entrusted with it to set it out and to help people to face the facts of life without fear and favor so that all can experience both the ecstasy and the agony of Christian experience.
Thank you, Lord, for these insightful words that help me to understand how the church functions. Help me to support those who teach and preach and hold them up in prayer before you.
Whether we teach, or are being taught, we need to know the four mysteries revealed in, and only in Scripture. Can we identify them? Are we giving priority to learning and sharing this transcendent Truth?