His Glorious Mystery

Romans 16:25-27 NLT

In a second postscript to his letter to the Romans, * Paul declares that God’s message is for the Gentiles. This mystery had been hidden for ages. God must receive the praise and glory for making salvation available to all who believe.

Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong, just as my Good News says. This message about Jesus Christ has revealed his plan for you Gentiles, a plan kept secret from the beginning of time. But now as the prophets foretold and as the eternal God has commanded, this message is made known to all Gentiles everywhere, so that they too might believe and obey him. All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen (Romans 16:25-27 NLT).

God’s Plan

If this doxology sounds familiar to several already studied, it is, or should be. The remarkable point remains that God’s plan was to bring in the Gentiles all along. The mystery of Jesus Christ, is the message brought by all disciples to ALL who would receive it.

Obey

Paul clarifies that believers are not only to receive Jesus as Lord but submit to him and obey his instructions. That’s a requirement we too often miss when we receive the salvation message.

However, God’s demand for obedience is “front and center” as we read and digest the Ten Commandments given to Moses. Then when we read and ponder Jesus’ teachings on obedience, we see he lived it!

Paul concludes his letter to the Romans with confident wording about the only God being the only true wise One who will receive glory forever through Jesus the Christ. Alleluia. God must receive the praise and glory for making salvation available to all who believe.

Prayer: Father, I praise you for sending Jesus the Christ, the Messiah to all who would believe. To you be honor and glory forever.

* Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, Finis Jennings Dake, Dake Bible Sales Inc., Lawrenceville, GA,1991, p.174.

He Works Within Us – A Series on Doxologies

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In Your Bible: Ephesians 3:20,21

Paul reveals an amazing truth after one of his prayers for the Ephesians. The God of all power chooses to work with, through and in believers. We may not even notice it when this happens! God works within the believer to save mankind, to build his Kingdom—all for his glory.

Gently Within Us

In this doxology, we praise him because he chooses to work through us in a gentle manner, guiding believers to accomplish his plans. God combines his Spirit with the believers’ spirit to create wonder-working power. Selah.

Ponder Eugene Peterson’s words in the Message: God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us (Ephesians 3:20 MSG).

Glory to God

At the conclusion of this doxology, come beautiful succinct words: May he [God] be given glory forever and ever through endless ages because of his master plan of salvation for the Church through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:21 The Living Bible). Again, much to ponder here! Selah.

What an amazing God we serve. This doxology has a wonderful truism. God works within the believer to save mankind, to build his Kingdom—all for his glory.

Prayer: Father, thank you for gently working in me. My praise for you is continually on my lips.

* Jesus Calling, Sarah Young, Enjoying His Peace and Presence, October 4, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 2004.

Majesty of God-Part Two of Doxologies

In Your Bible: Jude 25

After Jude discloses many challenges that the unfaithful bring into the church, he encourages the faithful to remain steadfast in what they’ve been taught. He affirms God cares for true believers all the time. Jude closes his letter with powerful words of praise. Look upward to the God of glory and seek his face.

God’s Attributes

To God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory, majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen (Jude 25 New King James). When we acknowledge these wonderful truths about God, we glorify God. We must recognize and declare it. Selah.

Jude also does an amazing job communicating the greatness of God too.

  • Yes, our only Savior
  • The only Wise One
  • Look and see his glory and majesty
  • He has dominion and awesome power
  • Now and forevermore

Interestingly, the words now and forevermore, could also be translated “unto all ages” which is eternity. Indeed our victory and triumph is in God forever.

Stay Connected

This doxology reveals God’s glory and our destiny in him. If we keep connected we cannot fall. Believers do not have to slink shamefully into the presence of God. We are presented to him with exceeding JOY! Look upward to the God of glory and seek his face.

Prayer: Father, what a wonder you are, Savior, Wise One, Awesome One. Glorious One, you are Messiah.

God is Able – Part One of Doxologies

In Your Bible: Jude 24

Jude the-half-brother of Jesus, likely the writer this book, warns believers against falling away from the faith. Especially in challenging times we must press in and fully trust in our mighty God. Jude encourages believers concerning God’s ability to help the faithful. God cares for all believers all the time.

He Is Able

Jude’s doxology encouraged believers then as well as it does us today.

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen (Jude 24,25 NIV).

Yes, he is able and desires to manifest our character as one with Him and we must be recognized as in him. Paul’s letter to the Colossians also says it succinctly, Christ in you the hope of glory (Col 1:27 NIV).

How can we keep from stumbling . . . with God’s help?

  • We must obey Him and keep His Word in our heart, mind and soul,
  • We must keep near him in prayer and listen to him, and be alert to what He is doing
  • We must show His mercy through Jesus’ love

He Presents us Faultless

Yes, we know we have faults, fears, doubts, and sorrows. Yet the Redeemer says his people are faultless in him. Let us look to Him who is able to keep us from falling. He desires to improve and maintain the work he has created in us. Then we will be presented before him and all his glory. God cares for all believers.

Prayer: Father, what a wonder you are. Sin does not have victory over me. I readily accept your transforming work in me for your glory.

New Topic – Doxology

Today we begin a study on insights from several doxologies in the Bible. Before the 17th Century, a doxology was often spoken out loud before a congregation by a pastor and then repeated by the congregation line for line. Simply put, a doxology is a hymn or song of praise to God. *

Protestant Doxologies

In Protestant traditions, The Doxology or The Common Doxology, is normally sung as a hymn. The following doxology, written by Thomas Ken in 1674 ** is still sung in churches today.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Catholic Doxologies

In Catholicism, doxology is a liturgical formula (or hymn) to give glory to God.

  • The Gloria in Excelsis (an expansion of Luke 2:14) is sometimes called the Greater Doxology.
  • The Gloria Patri (Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, world without end, Amen). It is often called the Lesser Doxology.

Wonderfully, three types of prayer are used, vocal, meditative and contemplative. Here, the focus reflects on Jesus’ life as the words of the church’s basic prayers are repeated.

My focus will be on Scriptures. We’ll find several doxologies in the Old and New Testaments. Simply put, a doxology is a hymn or song of praise to God.

Prayer: Father, every living creature on earth yearns to praise you. With heartfelt thanks, I too praise you.

* Webster’s’ New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, Michael Agnes and David B. Guralnik, 2001, IGD Books Worldwide, Inc., p 431.

** Thomas Ken, britanica.com,17th-century Anglican bishop and hymn writer.

Used for the Lord’s Purpose

In Your Bible: Acts 28: 30,31

This is the last blog on the study of Acts. Paul spent his remaining two years in Rome ministering to any who came to see him. In his overall ministry, he traveled extensively and wrote letters to churches he planted. Paul was chosen by God to travel, tell and teach about the risen Lord.

From Persecutor to Proclaimer

Saul persecuted Christians and put fear in the hearts of the followers of Jesus. He experienced God’s grace through a face to face encounter with Jesus himself! The Holy Spirit empowered Saul (now Paul) to tell Jews and Gentiles about Jesus. His path was difficult, but he accomplished much.

Paul Taught in Rome

Paul spent his final years in Rome in his own rented quarters. He welcomed all who came to him and taught them about the Kingdom of God with unhindered teaching. Paul was chosen by God to travel, tell and teach about the risen Lord.

Prayer: Father, what a joy it is to know you care for me. I need your help to keep my hands open to share with others the love you shower on me.

Questions: You have seen the Holy Spirit work through the disciples. In what manner does the Holy Spirit work in your life? How was the fall of the Holy Spirit crucial to the birth of the Church?

Paul Challenged in Rome

In Your Bible: Acts 28: 12-30

Paul possibly understood more of what Jesus said and did through his encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus. He knew well the Law and the Prophets as a “Pharisee of Pharisees” (see Acts 23:6). God gave Paul added time in Rome to instruct Gentiles and Jews about the Messiah—Jesus Christ.

Before the Jewish Leadership

In Rome, Paul called the Jewish leaders together and said, “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death” (Acts 28: 17b, 18 NASB).

The Roman Jews declared they’d not heard any of this . . .  “But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect” [followers of Jesus] (Acts 28:22 NASB). What a door God opened here. Paul explained about the Kingdom of God and about Jesus from the Law and the prophets.

Isaiah’s Prophecy Fulfilled

Some believed but most of the Jews did not. * Again rejection by the Jewish leadership deeply disappointed Paul. Then he quoted the same Messianic Prophecy that Jesus did (see Matthew 13:14 and John 12:40):

“The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, saying, ‘Go to this people and say,
“You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
And you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
For the heart of this people has become dull,
And with their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes;
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
And hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them”’ (Acts 28:25b-27 NASB).

Paul spent two full years, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching about the Jesus the Christ openly. God gave Paul added time in Rome—to instruct Gentiles and Jews about the Messiah—Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Father, please help me respond when opportunities to share the gospel arise. I want to be your spokesman.

Questions: In what manner do you react to rejection? How can you better allow the Holy Spirit speak through you in times of confrontation.

* Bible Commentary, McGarvey and Pendleton, Acts: 28:24, online at christianity.com