It’s one of the greatest lines ever uttered, from one of the greatest characters of human history—Winston Churchill.
It came during one of his earliest BBC broadcasts to the British people during the early days of World War II. It was Sunday night, October 1, 1939, and Churchill said:
The British Empire and the French Republic have been at war with Nazi Germany for a month tonight. We have not yet come at all to the severity of fighting which is to be expected, but several important things have happened.
First, Poland has been again overrun by two of the great powers which held it in bondage for the last 150 years, but were unable to conquer the spirit of the Polish nation. The heroic defence of Warsaw shows that the soul of Poland is indestructible and that she will rise again like a rock, which may for a spell be submerged by a tidal wave, but which remains a rock.
What is the second event of this first month? It is, of course, the assertion of the power of Russia. Russia has pursued a cold policy of self-interest. We could have wished that the Russians armies should be standing on their present lines as the friends of the allies in Poland, instead of as invaders. But that the Russian armies should stand on this line was clearly necessary for the safety of Russia against the Nazi menace.
When Herr von Ribbentrapp was summoned to Moscow last week it was to learn the fact, and to accept the fact, that the Nazi designs upon the Baltic States and upon the Ukraine must come to a dead stop.
I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in mystery inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key, that key is Russian national interest.
There it is – “A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” That’s what Paul is talking about in Sunday’s text.
He’s writing from prison, to a group of Christians he’s never met. And here he speaks of a mystery far more significant and substantial than Mother Russia and her political pursuits. He speaks of the grand mystery of God that’s been hidden and unknown from the beginning of time. Paul says it this way, “the mystery hidden for ages and generations, but now revealed to the saints.”
In other words, from Adam to Jesus, God had a singular mystery that remained hidden. Adam didn’t know it, nor did Abraham, Moses, David, or any prophet. It was a riddle, a mystery, an enigma. But now, says Paul, every Christian knows it. It’s been thoroughly revealed.
What is this divine mystery? Paul tells us—“It is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
This Sunday we will examine Colossians 1:24-29 to discover four great aspects of this revealed mystery.
In preparation for Sunday’s message entitled “The Hidden Mystery” you may wish to consider the following:
1. What does Paul mean when he says that his sufferings are filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions? (see verse 24)
2. Why is he rejoicing in his suffering for their sake?
3. How does Acts 9:16 relate to Colossians 1:24?
4. In light of verse 26, how does Paul see the Old Testament Scriptures?
5. How does Galatians 4:1-7 relate to what Paul is saying in our text?
6. What do you learn when you compare Colossians 1:2 to Colossians 1:27?
7. See I John 4:1-4.
8. How is every believer “the new tabernacle”, “the new Temple”?
9. What are the implications of verse 27?
10. What do the pronouns in verse 28 tell us about Paul and you? (see II Corinthians 12:9)
See you Sunday!