Christian Service in Relation to the Whole World
We come to the widest circle of Christian service in this chapter. The hope set before us in the Scriptures, the goal before Christ in His earthly ministry, and the ambition of Paul have in view the whole world. One day the whole world will be aglow in the light of the glory of our triumphant Christ. The glory of God is the goal of all true service. Glory will crown every work of God. What a high honor is ours to have part in this divine program.
1. The Ministry Of The Word Of God. Vs. 4-7.
There is a bright golden thread that runs thru the entire Old Testament Scriptures. From Gen. 3, where first God addressed sinful man, on thru the ages He told of the glorious prospect of the triumph of His grace and the defeat of the powers of darkness. In picture, by precept and prophecy the Divine Author was writing for our learning and all pointed on to that bright and blessed hope of Christ’s return. The same word that sets forth this hope also imparts “patience and comfort.” We need patience, for the road to the goal is long and rough; we need comfort for a dreary and dark night precedes that glorious dawn. The Word of God is the light that reveals the scenes of glory toward which we journey; it is also the lamp that brightens the way as we journey.
And since God speaks to us through His word we know He is with us as the God of patience and consolation, uniting our hearts as one in Christ Jesus so that we may “with one mouth glorify God even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is the effect Godward, and the result manward will be that we “receive one another as Christ also received us to the glory of God.” So we see that the purpose of revelation, the goal of the Scriptures is THE GLORY OF GOD. God glorified in His saints now and in the whole world bye and bye.
2. The Ministry Of Jesus Christ vs. 8-13.
In fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures the Lord Jesus Christ came to Israel. His earthly ministry was in a large measure limited to God’s earthly people, nevertheless it had the whole world in view for “God so loved the world.”
Christ came to “confirm the promises made unto the fathers” vs. 8, but He also came “that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy.” This fact is verified by a wonderful array of quotations from the Old Testament. From each of the three divisions of the Hebrew Scriptures a message of hope reaches us that embraces the whole world. We begin with THE PSALMS. David tells of Christ going down into death and coming up out of it in resurrection and singing among the Gentiles. This quotation is found in vs. 9 and is from Psalm 18:49.
Christ will be joined in this singing by a mighty chorus from both Jew and Gentile; this we learn from MOSES. He calls on the nations to rejoice along with God’s earthly people, (vs 10) from Deut. 32:43. Then again from the Psalms (117:1) we hear the echo of that Hallelujah chorus that shall fill the earth, vs. 11.
Finally from THE PROPHETS we learn the cause of this world wide praise. Christ although Israel’s Messiah will reign over the Gentiles and in Him they shall trust, vs. 12 from Isa. 11:10.
What a bursting forth of praise that will be! There in the highest heavens Jesus sings, and we join the singing that He leads but what will it be when all creation swells with the mighty chorus and all nations join in glorifying the God of all grace.
This section closes with a “Benediction of Hope.” What a blessed hope is ours. God is the God of that Hope. He will bring all to pass. But He desires us to enjoy in our hearts the foretaste of it now. “NOW THE GOD OF HOPE FILL YOU WITH ALL JOY AND PEACE IN BELIEVING, THAT YE MAY ABOUND IN HOPE THROUGH THE POWER OF THE HOLY GHOST.” vs. 13.
1. What is the blessed hope of the Believer?
2. What must take place before all the world praises God?
3. Was the earthly mission of Christ only to the Jews?
4. In what way does a knowledge of God’s purpose help in service for God?