THE MANIFEST MYSTERY OF CHRIST
Colossians 4:3-4 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
In the verse preceding the lesson text, Paul relates, to the Christians at Colosse, the importance of prayer, watchfulness, and thanksgiving. A close relationship between God and His children is established when these three Christian duties are faithfully discharged. As they, members of the church at Colosse, obediently communicate with God through prayer, Paul requests, even covets, their concern for him, and the effectiveness of his teaching, asking them to pray also for us (Paul and Timothy) - (see Col. 1:1). This, and similar requests, were made in his letters to the churches at Rome (Rom. 15:30-32), at Ephesus (Eph. 6:18-20), at Philippi (Phil. 1:19-20), at Thessalonica (1 Thess. 5:25), and, if being the writer of Hebrews, he makes this request: Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly (Heb. 13:18).
God opens doors of opportunity to those that seek His council and guidance. What a great lesson for each Christian, that is laboring in the Master's vineyard here on earth; striving to further the cause of Christ. Here Paul prays for, and asks other citizens of God's kingdom to pray, for doors of opportunity to be opened, as he labors to preach the word of God. A similar request was made to the brethren at Thessalonica as he asked them to pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you (2 Thess. 3:1). We know these prayers were answered. Note what Paul told the church at Corinth:for a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries (1 Cor. 16:9). He again told the same congregation when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, ...a door was opened unto me of the Lord (2 Cor. 2:12).
The request for the prayers of the Colossian brethren is practically duplicated to the church at Ephesus. Paul asked them to pray for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel ...that I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak (see Eph. 6:18-20). The mystery, which Paul was called by God through Jesus Christ to teach the world, was revealed to the churches at Colosse and Ephesus (see Col. 1:25-29 & Eph. 3:1-7). This mystery, the profound message that was hidden in all previous ages, was that the entire world, both Jew and Gentile called to become members of the church of Christ, His body. Only in His body, the church, are all able to partake of the promise found in Christ - the hope of eternal life. In His church all children of God can be fellow heirs with God's only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and spend eternity in heaven with Him.
This is The Manifest Mystery of Christ. This was Paul's message for which he coveted the prayers of fellow Christians. This was the message he preached that resulted in his imprisonment, as well as many other acts of persecution. This was the message Paul sought to bring to the world, praying that new doors of opportunity would be opened to audiences that were receptive to the word of God. This was the message Paul desired to make manifest, as I ought to speak. To make a principle or message "manifest," is to make it clear and plain, to reveal, to prove through evidence, to establish it, without question, to the point that it cannot be denied.
Jesus told His disciples, where the message of salvation was to come from, and how it was to be proclaimed. He said ...there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops (Matt. 10:26b-27). The mystery of Christ was made manifest; it was preached clear, plain, and with conviction, when the pure word of God was revealed, through the Holy Spirit, and spoken by God's Son, Jesus Christ - no more and no less. This was what Paul was to speak, and, indeed, what he did speak. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God (1 Cor. 2:4-5).
What a powerful admonition to all Christians today. As a Christian, I am required to preach and teach only the gospel message as it is found in God's holy word, neither adding to it, subtracting from it, or compromising any of its truths. In doing so, The Manifest Mystery of Christ will be revealed as I ought to speak. Fellow Christians, proclaim it to the world; shout it from the rooftops!