Today's Little Lift
by Jim Bullington
Puzzles come in all shapes, sizes, and types. Some tease the eye and others tease the brain. Some tease the eye AND the brain. Some puzzles are especially intriguing because they challenge more than one of our sensory capabilities. Today’s message is about a puzzle that God designed, a puzzle that impacts and challenges every sensory capacity of man plus his brain and his heart. Paul spoke of this puzzle [mystery] and noted how it revealed the manifold wisdom of God.
“To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.” (Ephesians 3.8-12).
This puzzle (mystery) had been in God’s mind from eternity past. Eventually it was to come together at just the right time, in just the right place, and with just the right people to make it absolutely conclusive that it was the work of God and no other. This feat of bringing all the pieces together in an orchestrated fashion was necessary so that mankind could examine the evidence and be convinced of the puzzle’s Divine origin. The first “clue” that a puzzle was in the works was when God said to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3.15). No one could have known exactly what God was speaking of at the time. Looking back on the event it is clear that His reference to the Seed of woman was a reference to Jesus, and His reference to the bruising of the serpent’s head alluded to the crushing blow Jesus gave the serpent on the cross. This was the first small hint of the puzzle and good things to come.
Later God spoke of the sanctity of blood and the fact that life was in the blood (see Genesis 9.4-5 & Leviticus 17.11). This statement would find its full and final fulfillment on the Cross of Calvary. The Lord also promised great blessings to Abraham’s seed as well as to all those who saw fit to bless Abraham’s seed (see Genesis 12.1-3). This veiled promise was nothing less than the promise to bring nations of the earth together in one spiritual family, the Church of Jesus Christ (see Ephesians 3.1-6 and others). Prophet after prophet spoke of the brighter days coming to Israel; some of them were quite specific and bold even to speaking of a time when a virgin would conceive and bear a Son (see Isaiah 7.14). Miraculous events were predicted to occur at the time the promised Son would visit mankind (see Joel 2.28-32). It was even predicted that the Son would come to “…heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed.” (see Luke 4.17-21 & references to Isaiah).
We have but touched the hem of the garment in pointing out the pieces of the puzzle that came together on Pentecost following the resurrection of Jesus and the establishing of His church. It was this amazing institution that was in God’s mind from eternity and in which His great wisdom was/is revealed. No man could have guessed His purposes, but they are clear to all who seek them. His manifold wisdom is the super-abundant wisdom revealed in the Church. Never deny its importance!
1. What was the first hint that God had something special in mind through the “seed of woman?”
2. What relationship do those who bless Abraham’s seed (Jesus Christ) have to one another?
3. Of what value was the mysterious forming of the elements of the Church and the wonderful way in which these elements were brought together by the power of God?
4. Look back on these and other key events, is it possible that any power other than the power of God was behind the scenes, guiding events to their culmination in the Church of Jesus Christ?
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