PART TWO: A Scriptural Summary:
The activity of the Church today is supposed to be based on what God had determined in Himself before the world began and revealed when Jesus came. There is no need to establish a "new" vision and "purpose" for the Church. God had established all of that before the world began and related that hidden purpose to Paul who in turn delivered it to the Church that it should walk according to it:
ETERNAL LIFE WAS MANIFESTED IN CHRIST AT THE ORDAINED TIME
All of the following verses refer to the mystery of God hidden and then revealed to Paul for the Church. All of these scriptures are a synopsis of God revealing His hidden secret to humanity according to His timetable. The key phrases in this section are those which relate to those things in God "before the foundation of the world" which "he hath purposed in himself" and how they relate to Christ's first coming and us in our day. It is si importnat not to miss the fact that what God purposed before creation was His will, for His good pleasure, and His work is to further that purpose through grace:
EPHESIANS 1:4 before the foundation of the world . . . . 9: . . . he hath purposed in himself. . . . 10: That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.
JESUS SAID IT WAS THE FATHER WHO REVEALS THE HIDDEN THINGS OF GOD
LUKE 10:21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.
JESUS UTTERED GOD'S SECRET KEPT FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD
MATTHEW 13:35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
JESUS SAID WE ARE TO KNOW THE MYSTERY OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD
MARK 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables.
THE GOSPEL IS CONTAINED IN THE MYSTERY HIDDEN AND NOW REVEALED
ROMANS 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26: But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.
MYSTERY NOW MADE KNOWN BY REVELATION TO PAUL BY GRACE
EPHESIANS 3:1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2: If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; . . . . 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8: Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.
MYSTERY NOW MADE KNOWN TO THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS
EPHESIANS 3:4 . . . the mystery of Christ) 5: Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
Notice the word Now. It is "now revealed." In other words, all that God wants us to know was revealed 2,000 years ago.
GOD SAVED US AND CALLED US TO FURTHER HIS OWN PURPOSE AND GRACE
EPHESIANS 1:4 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10: But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
Again, the victory over death and the gift of immortality in Christ was "now made manifest" in Christ. How can the Church add to that? What "new revelation" do we need from God to get across to us what He has done in Christ? What is there left to do but to share the uncomplicated, overwhelming simple message while we wait for His return?
AMPLIFIED version: "according to and to further His own purpose and grace."
GOD CHOSE US TO BE ADOPTED SONS AND MADE US ACCEPTABLE TO HIM
EPHESIANS 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6: To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Notice again: what God did in Christ was "according to the good pleasure of his will."
THE REVELATION OF GOD'S MYSTERY GAVE PAUL UTTERANCE
EPHESIANS 6:19 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.
THE MYSTERY OF GOD WAS GIVEN TO PAUL FOR THE CHURCH
COLOSSIANS 1:25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26: Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
These are no new revelations, no restoration of apostles and prophets. The revelation of God was complete in Christ. There are no new truths or revelations never taught before. God has spoken by His Son to this age according to that which He determined before the creation of the world:
HEBREWS 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2: Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3: Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Christ sat down. His work was finished. We, too, are to rest in it. The revelation of Christ is complete to the Church, except for seeing Him as He is in person. The revelation of Christ to the world is not complete because it rejected the first revelation. Therefore, He will be revealed to it at the end of the age as a God of judgement.
THIS GOSPEL HIDDEN WITHIN THE MYSTERY ESTABLISHES US IN CHRIST
ROMANS 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began.
PAUL PREACHED THE GOSPEL CONTAINED IN GOD'S MYSTERY
COLOSSIANS 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
Here we have the depeest depth of all that Paul related to the Church: "that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."
GOD WORKS ALL THINGS AFTER THE COUNSEL OF HIS OWN WILL
EPHESIANS 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.
As we look at Romans 8:26-29, remember the words from the last verse, "worketh all things" in reference to God's will because these verses are discussing the will of God in relation to what he had determined before creation. The verses in Romans tie that will to the work of God in the individual Christian today as he had determined it before the creation of the world.
ROMANS 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27: And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29: For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
The Spirit knows that the will of God is that we be conformed to the image of Christ and all things are used by the Spirit for that purpose, be it health problems, works of the flesh or bad situations in the life of the believer.
FELLOWSHIP OF THE MYSTERY:
EPHESIANS 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.
GOD CALLED US BY THE GOSPEL TO OBTAINING THE GLORY OF THE LORD
2 THESSALONIANS 2:14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
THE MYSTERY OF HIS WILL WAS MADE KNOW TO US, THE CHURCH
EPHESIANS 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: . . . 11: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will
Verse 11 says God works everything after the counsel of His will, and verse 9 says God made known to us the mystery of His will. There is no reason for us not to know God's will if we are bent on cooperating with Him to bring about that which He purposed in Himself.
PAUL DID NOT WANT THE CHURCH TO BE IGNORANT
ROMANS11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.
THE CHURCH IS TO HAVE A FULL UNDERSTANDING OF GOD'S MYSTERY AND TO ACKNOWLEDGE IT ALONE SO THAT THEY ARE NOT DECEIVED
COLOSSIANS 2:2: That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3: In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4: And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.
WE ARE TO BE STEWARDS OF THE MYSTERY OF GOD
1 CORINTHIANS 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
WE ARE TO CONTEND FOR THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED TO THE SAINTS
JUDE 3: Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
The faith was ONCE DELIVERED. In spite of what modern apostles and prophets have said, we don't need addendums added to the word of God. It WAS delivered 2,000 years ago and that is what we are to be about so we can contend for it.
THE RICHES OF THE MYSTERY - CHRIST IN YOU - THE HOPE OF GLORY WAS TO BE MADE KNOWN TO THE GENTILES
COLOSSIANS 1:26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
MYSTERY REVEALED: GENTILES FELLOWHEIRS, OF THE SAME BODY PARTAKERS WITH THE JEWS OF THE PROMISES OF CHRIST
EPHESIANS 3:5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6: That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.
GOD'S HIDDEN SECRET WISDOM OUTSMARTED THE DEVIL
1JOHN 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
EPHESIANS 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11: According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
THERE WILL BE THE WORST TRIBULATION EVER SINCE CREATION
MARK 13:19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.
SOME WILL DOUBT HIS COMING AS PROMISED SINCE CREATION
2 PT:3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
THE MYSTERY AS DECLARED BY THE PROPHETS
REVELATION 10:5 And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, 6: And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: 7: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
THE SHEEP WILL INHERIT THE KINGDOM
MATTHEW 25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34: Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
REPEATING THE SUMMARY FROM PART 1
Before the world began, God hid within Himself a mystery. This mystery contained His purpose for Christ and the part of humanity that would accept Christ, the Church. That which He purposed in Himself, He would bring about after the counsel of His own will according to His own good pleasure. This purpose would be extended to the Church by grace alone in a way that was consistent with His purpose.
A SUMMARY OF PART 2:
A. SYNOPSIS: GOD'S PLAN BEFORE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD
B. SYNOPSIS: THE LAMB BEFORE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD
C. SYNOPSIS: GOD'S PURPOSE FOR MAN BEFORE CREATION
God would have a family of adopted sons created after the image of the first-born which would stand before the Father without blemish, holy and in love.
TWO PRAYERS OF PAUL FOR THE CHURCH
I close this paper with a Scripture to think about every day as the darkness continues to envelope us:
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