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To you is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God;

The LORD is near - Saturday, December 7, 2013
by Jacob Redekop, Brian Reynolds, John van Dijk, Eugene P. Vedder, Jr
To you is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God;

To you is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to them who are without, all things are done in parables.
(Mark 4:11)

The Lord Jesus told His disciples that they would be given an understanding in “the mystery of the kingdom of God.” He also spoke of another class of people to whom everything would be spoken in parables; these He described as, “them who are without.” How solemn that God should speak of “them who are without”!
Who are the “without” and what does the Scripture have to say about them? Some Christians have the erroneous idea that the “without” are all those who do not belong to their particular sect. Not so-rather they are all those who are unsaved and still outside of the family of God. Paul mentioned those who are without in writing to the Colossians when he said, “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time” (Col. 4:5 KJV). As Christians we ought to seek occasions to share the life-giving message of the gospel. He further exhorted Christians to work with their own hands, and to walk reputably and honestly “towards those without” (1 Th. 4:12). How can we be a witness to the lost if our own lives are sinful and unholy? In writing Timothy, Paul said that one of the qualifications of an “overseer” was “that he should have also a good testimony from those without” (1 Tim. 3:7).
The contrast between those that are “within” and those that are “without” is put even more starkly by Paul when he admonished the Corinthians that they must judge those that are “within.” The assembly is to discipline Christians (the “within”) who walk in a sinful manner, but not judge those who are “without” (1 Cor. 5:11-12). Our duty, rather, is to bring them the gospel. Those that are “without” God will judge in a coming day and they will forever be without the gates of the heavenly city (Rev. 22:15). Sad and solemn reality!
B. Reynolds


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