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Part Two: "THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES."

"PROPHECY OUT-LOOK WORLD-WIDE,"

Plus: "THE DISPENSATION OF THE MYSTERY."

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By Way Of Comparison And Contrast Read Concerning:

"The Dispensation Of The MYSTERY According To Paul" . . .

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( 1 ). { V. 24 } Scripture: "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of CHRIST in my flesh for His BODY's sake, which is the 'Church [ BODY OF CHRIST' ] see { Romans 12:4-5. }:

( 2 ). { V. 25 }: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the 'Dispensation [ stewardship, assignment or office' ] of GOD which is given to me for you, to fulfill the Word of GOD; see { 1- Corinthians 4:1 }.

( 3 ). { V. 26 }: Even the "MYSTERY" which has been hid from ages and from generations, but is now made manifest to His Saints:

( 4 ). { V. 27 }: To whom GOD would make known what is the riches of the glory of the "MYSTERY" among the Gentiles; which is CHRIST in you, the hope of glory:

( 5 ). { V. 28 } Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in CHRIST JESUS, { Colossians 1:24-28 }."

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( 6 ). The above { Vs. 24-28 } paraphrased in commentary form . . .

{ 24 }: "Even now I rejoice in the midst of my sufferings on your behalf. And in my own person I am making up whatever is still lacking and remains to be completed [ on our part ] of CHRIST's afflictions, for the sake of His BODY, which is the eternal adopted . . . BODY OF CHRIST."

{ 25 }: "In it I became a minister in accordance with the 'Divine stewardship [ Greek "Oikonomia," economy, Dispensation,' ] which was entrusted to me for you as its object and for your benefit . . . to make the Word of GOD fully known among you."

{ 26 }: "The MYSTERY of which was hidden for 'ages [ aions' ] and generations [ i.e., from angels and men alike ], but is now revealed to 'His holy people [ the Saints who make up the BODY OF CHRIST' ]."

{ 27 }: "To whom GOD was pleased to make known how great for the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this MYSTERY, which is CHRIST within and among you the hope of glory."

{ 28 }: "Him we preach and proclaim, warning and admonishing every one, and instructing every one in all wisdom, in comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of GOD, that we may present every person mature . . . full grown, fully initiated, complete and perfect . . . in CHRIST, the anointed One."

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( 7 ). Commentary . . . It is believed that Paul was in prison and in chains when he wrote the Book of Colossians. He in { V. 24 }: made clear that the above verses was definitely determined for you, not in your place, but in your interest and on your behalf and benefit, this took place to give all of us an advantage. The afflictions of the LORD JESUS had taken place and were well sufficient for the finished atonement, see { John 1: 29; - 2:1-2; - & - Isaiah 53:4-12 } those tremendous afflictions JESUS had gone through provided the saving of Paul and the salvation you and I have received because of them. Paul's own suffering while fulfilling his office of Apostle for the Gentiles gave him the knowledge, fortitude and humbleness to follow on in proclaiming the GOSPEL of the MYSTERY for you and me.

( 8 ). Paul also made clear in his writings that CHRIST's followers who had in the past become Believers were to become servants that would also proclaim the LORD's Kingdom Gospel until the inauguration of the new GOSPEL of the MYSTERY would be revealed. And now, Paul's own afflictions were to be identified with the afflictions of CHRIST but of course on a much different plane. Naturally Paul's afflictions could add nothing to the finished work of the LORD JESUS. The proclamation of the new GOSPEL of the MYSTERY transformed lost sinners into Saints, and many of those Saints into martyrs for the BODY OF CHRIST sake. Not in the sense of atonement, but in the announcing of that atonement, see { Philippians 4:11 }.

( 9 ). As to { V. 25 } above, Paul's appointment as a minister of this new Gospel { Ephesians 3:7; - & - Colossians 1:23 }, . . . a minister of GOD { 2- Corinthians 6:4 }; . . . a minister and an ambassador of CHRIST { 1- Corinthians 4:1; - & - 2- Corinthians 5:18-20 }; . . . a minister of a 'New Covenant [ Dispensation' ], { 2 Corinthians 3:6 }, and, the Divine "[ Greek: 'Oikonomia,' Dispensation, administration, stewardship, and trusteeship ]." This was Paul's high privilege and sacred trust. He was to be the one Apostle born out of due 'time [ season' ], { 1-Corinthians 15:8 }. He was to become a devoted steward in CHRIST's new economy; a trustee in GOD's household; and an administrator of GOD's business.

( 10 ). He was in the KING's business as a leader for the BODY OF CHRIST. His office was "given" to him and not usurped, it was accomplished 'for you' as the verse states. For your benefit and for your blessing in order to fulfill the Ward of GOD. The LORD's purpose and program concerning the BODY OF CHRIST through CHRIST's Word, was to be administered through Paul's message throughout this age of Grace. It was to be carried on by you and me until completed at the end of this age.

( 11 ). Concerning { V. 26 } above, the words "Even the MYSTERY" 'the Sacred secret,' has no connection which a mysterious or false religion. It definitely does concern a New Dispensation, an economy, that up till that time had not been revealed in any of the ages of the past. It had always been concealed in GOD, but now revealed to the Apostle Paul by "GOD the HOLY SPIRIT." Now it had become manifest, clear as day, to GOD's Saints, that is, to all born again Christians. In our message "The Song Of Solomon" we mentioned how that great prophetic Song like the Book of Daniel had the interpretations of both messages hid in GOD until these last days. The same thing must be applied to the great MYSTERY GOSPEL that had been hid in GOD until Paul had it revealed to him when he became the Apostle for the Gentiles, { Ephesians 3:9 }.

( 12 ). { V. 27 } above shows us that the LORD is now pleased to make known through Paul, to us this MYSTERY. By { Ephesians 1:17-18 }, GOD willed this change from a hidden MYSTERY to manifestation. This illustrates riches, glorious wealth, that is, not wealth as far as money is concerned but the wealth of CHRIST in you and in Me. The indwelling CHRIST as illustrated in { John 15:5; - Galatians 2:20; - & - Ephesians 3:17 }. CHRIST is the answer: Not the Law, not circumcision, ceremony, philosophy, science, nor social reform, but the hope of glory, the pledge of the future.

( 13 ). And, as to { V. 28 } above: these words "Whom we preach," actually tell us that Paul did not proclaim precepts, a creed, a code of ethics, rules or regulations, not a plan, not a program, but a Person, see { 2- Timothy 1:12 }. Paul was "warning every man," by addressing, the intellect; informing, and instructing in faith and morals. This refers to doctrine! The words, "May present," gives us the idea of Paul's aim and purpose. "Every Man," notice that this is repeated three times in the verse for emphasis. Paul has no narrow exclusiveness such as the Gnostics. "Perfect in CHRIST JESUS," not sinless, but perfect, complete, full-grown, mature.

( 14 ). Remember that we have mentioned many times in our messages that the a born again Christian is in perfection as far as his Saint-hood is concerned, for we posses the "new CHRIST like nature," that same type nature of the LORD Himself, which in itself, is perfection, this means that as CHRIST is holy, so is every Child of GOD holy in CHRIST. This tells us that we as Children of the FATHER will never have to ready ourselves to be received by the Head of the BODY, JESUS CHRIST our glorious Head. But, on the other hand the saved Israelites at the time of their MESSIAH's coming, must ready themselves for their Bridegrooms return, { Revelation 19:7 }. You will notice in the previous { V. 4 } of { Revelation 19 } that the 24 elders already in Heaven were glorifying the LORD with praise.

( 15 ). These 24 elders at the end of the Tribulation Period, are the same 24 elders that are referred to in { Revelation 4:4 }, that were siting on 24 thrones. This means since these 24 represent the BODY OF CHRIST having been Raptured prior to the Tribulation Period, are still seated in Heaven at it conclusion. Again concerning { V. 24 } above, because of the union of the Believers with CHRIST, Paul's sufferings for the sake of the BODY OF CHRIST can be called CHRIST's sufferings as well. { V. 26 } above: the Mystery = the secret known only by Divine revelation of the indwelling of CHRIST, see { Ephesians 3:3 }. Paul's message was and is pure and uncorrupted but false teaching has tried to corrupt it. We have mentioned that we as the BODY OF CHRIST are pictured on 24 thrones in { Revelation 4:4 } several years before the return of MESSIAH to this earth! We were perfected in CHRIST or we could have never been seated on those thrones! Therefore, those who teach that we will be the Bride of CHRIST are very much mistaken in their teaching. The saved Hebrew Remnant as we have before stated will become the Bride of MESSIAH, and at that time we will still be sitting on 24 Thrones in the Heavenlies { Revelations 19:4 }.

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( 16 ). { V. 1 } Scripture: "I charge you therefore before GOD, and the LORD JESUS CHRIST, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His Kingdom;

( 17 ). { V. 2 } Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.

( 18 ). { V. 3 }: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lust shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.

( 19 ). { V. 4 }: And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

( 20 ). { V. 5 } But you watch in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of your ministry, { 2- Timothy 4:1-5 }."

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( 21 ). The above { Vs, 1-5 } paraphrased in commentary form . . .

{ 1 } Scripture: "I charge you therefore before GOD, and the LORD JESUS CHRIST, who shall judge the 'quick [ living' ] and the dead [ and ] 'at [ in the light of' ] His appearing and 'His [ setting up of His millennial ] Kingdom [ theocracy' ];

{ 2 }: Preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [ stand by, be at hand and ready, whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable, whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as a servant of GOD and of His Word are to witness and show people in what way their lives are wrong ] and convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching."

{ 3 }: For the time will come when they will "NOT" 'endure [ or tolerate' ] 'sound doctrine [ wholesome instruction' ]; but after their own lust shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears [ and to foster the same errors they themselves hold, i.e., looking for something pleasing and gratifying, they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold ].

{ 4 }: And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions.

{ 5 } But you 'watch [ be calm, cool and steady and suffer unflinchingly every hardship' ] in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an 'evangelist, [ as every Child of GOD is a witness for CHRIST sake, fully perform all the duties and ]: make full proof of your ministry,' { 2- Timothy 4:1-5 }."

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( 22 ). Commentary . . . of the above 5 verses . . . { 1 }: Paul's final charge to Timothy was more than a command, for a charge carries with it the moral obligation to be carried out in the light of what has been said in chapter 3 about the last days, Paul reminds Timothy of a day of judgment. "The quick," the living, refers to those who are alive and remain at the time of the Rapture

{ 1- Thessalonians 4:17 } = and "the dead," "for the dead in CHRIST shall rise first, { 1- Thessalonians 4:16 }." Ministers are not the only ones who will stand at the judgment seat of CHRIST, for all Christians will be present there, at His appearing, { 2- Corinthians 5:10 }.

( 23 ). Notice the words "At His appearing and His Kingdom." We have a double meaning in this text, one makes us see that the Rapture is implied for us to contemplate, the other is speaking to Israel. When MESSIAH returns for Israel His Bride, He will inaugurate the judgment of the Nations, { Matthew 25:31-46 }, and His sheep who will be the faithful Believers and will be gathered into His Kingdom { 25: 34 }.

( 24 ). { 2 }: "Preach the Word," means to herald as the emperor's herald gave a formal message in an authoritative way. Be ready, Be consistent, he says, always, no mater whether the time is opportune for preaching the Gospel or not. Don't be afraid to reprove or rebuke but do it with long-suffering and good Bible doctrine. The teacher's or minister's personal feeling are not the ground for reproof: doctrine alone is that ground.

( 25 ). { 3 }: Paul states that "the time will come" and most believe that it is here today, because of the "itching ears," that are being "tickled" by preachers who do not preach sound doctrine from the Bible. This is a picture of folks both then and now who are no longer content to hear the sound teaching of Paul's message, but who are impelled to turn to many different teachers of novelty and untruth. Many Pastors bow to the wishes of ungodly folks in their congregations who only want to here what pleases them.

( 26 ). { 4 }: "Turn away" [ Greek "apostrepho" ] is in the Greek active voice and has the idea of deliberate action by themselves. "Shall be turned [ Greek ektrepo" ] means they are acted upon; it is a medical term meaning "to twist out of place."

( 27 ). { 5 }: "But," in contrast to what has been said = Timothy is to "watch," which has the idea of being sober and alert. "Endure afflictions," the devil doesn't play games. He puts up a fight. The preacher must not get discouraged and run. "Do the work of an evangelist," every Pastor, and yes, every Child of GOD, are 'to witness [ to evangelize' ], saved folks are to be soul-winners. All Christians are ambassadors and ministers of CHRIST, { 2- Corinthians 5:18-21 }.

( 28 ). They are not simply to pray and teach or preach! No minister can expect his flock to witness for CHRIST if he doesn't do it himself, and this goes for you also! Are your family all saved? Why haven't you led them to CHRIST? You are close to them, so get busy and don't let them go to hell because you are afraid of making them angry by witnessing to them, don't you be guilty of this sin! "Be you followers of Me" says the LORD . . . see { 1- Corinthians 11:1 }. "Make full proof of your ministry," The teacher, pastor and flock must be faithful in all the above admonitions.

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( 29 ). These verses actually concern the building and the function of the BODY OF CHRIST which is referred to as the "ONE NEW MAN" of { Ephesians 2:15; - & - 4:24 }. This "NEW MAN" actually represents the BODY OF CHRIST in its completeness and can also refer to Holy Temple of GOD with the body of each person consisting of an individual temple. We have tried here under each verse quoted to bring out in commentary form a simple understanding of what the verse is teaching, so please bear with us as we teach the lesson. Read the following text with the commentary added . . . { Ephesians 3:1-11 } . . .

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( 30 ). { V. 1 } Scripture: "For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of JESUS CHRIST for you Gentiles,

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( 31 ). The above { V. 1 } paraphrased in commentary form . . . "For this cause [ because I preached that you are thus built together ] I Paul, [ am ] the prisoner of JESUS CHRIST for [ your sake and on behalf of ] you Gentiles,"

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( 32 ). Commentary . . . "This refers to the LORD's elective Grace and concerns the holy temple of redeemed men which GOD is building. This BODY OF CHRIST is being built on the behalf of the Gentiles which had no part of the former kingdom administration. But, now in this new Dispensation, both Jew and Gentile can become as one in CHRIST JESUS. Although, most Jews, both then and now, reject the LORD as their MESSIAH except for only a small remnant of them. The Hebrews as a whole believe as a host of Gentiles also believe, that one must perform works to be accepted by GOD. Paul considered himself as a prisoner of JESUS because he placed the rest of his entire life under the burden of his commission to teach GOD's Word."

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( 33 ). { V. 2 }: If you have heard of the Dispensation of the grace of GOD which is given me to you-ward :

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( 34 ). The above { V. 2 } paraphrased in commentary form . . . "If you have heard of the Dispensation of the Grace of GOD [ His unmerited favor ] which 'is given [ and intrusted' to ] me 'to [ dispense' to ] 'you-ward [ i.e., for your benefit" ] . . .

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( 35 ). Commentary . . . Since you have heard with the understanding of what Paul, the new appointed Apostle of the Gentiles, had begun to teach concerning this Grace Dispensation that had now began. Paul refers to his high privilege and sacred trust of the administration of stewardship of GOD's universal Grace to all men, See { Galatians 2:7 }. This was given to Paul, and not of his own choosing. Concerning the Grace of GOD, this Grace is to be shared with others; it is not a personal luxury { Colossians 1:25; - & - 1- Peter 4:10 }. Paul was merely a channel of blessing to the Gentiles. . . .

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( 36 ). { V. 3 } How that by revelation he made known to me the "MYSTERY [ a secret ];" [ and I was allowed to comprehend it by direct revelation ] ( as I wrote before in few words, See { Romans 16:25; - & - Ephesians 3:6 }.

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( 37 ). Commentary . . . "The MYSTERY," this was not something mysterious in the modern sense but something unknown until revealed to the initiated, see { Romans 16:25 }. The MYSTERY spoken of here is not that Gentiles would be blessed [ for that was predicted in the O.T. ], but that 'Jews [ Hebrews' ] and Christians who had before-hand been Gentiles could together be equal heirs in the { "ONE NEW MAN" . . . the "One BODY OF CHRIST" { V. 6 }. This was unknown in O.T. prophecy but was revealed to the N.T. Apostles and prophets by the indwelling HOLY SPIRIT through the Apostle Paul { V. 5 }. This MYSTERY was definitely a hidden secret in the mind of GOD until He revealed it to the Apostle Paul. In other words, It was definitely unknown and unknowable apart from Divine revelation. It did not come to Paul by research or by rationalization, but by revelation ]. See { Galatians 1:11-12 }.

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( 38 ). { V. 4 }: "Whereby, when you 'read [ this' ], you may understand my 'knowledge [ and insight' ] in the "MYSTERY" of CHRIST."

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( 39 ). Commentary . . . "This Epistle was to be read in public, it was through Paul's direct revelation from GOD that gave him the authority to publish abroad the LORD's given knowledgeable insight in this new 'MYSTERY Dispensation of CHRIST, and of His BODY of future Saints' this was GOD's eternal purpose in CHRIST."

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( 40 ). { V. 5 }: "Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the SPIRIT;

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( 41 ). The above { V. 5 } paraphrased in commentary form . . . "[ This MYSTERY GOSPEL, Commission, and Dispensation ] Which "in other ages" was 'not made known [ never before disclosed' ] 'unto the sons of men [ nor to any human beings in past generations' ], as it is now revealed to His 'holy apostles [ consecrated messengers' ] and prophets by the [ HOLY ] SPIRIT through the Apostle Paul."

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( 42 ). Commentary . . . "The words "in other ages" that is, in the preceding generations it was not known, as it is now revealed. Up until that time, GOD's revelation was frequent and partial, now it is full and final. Before there was faint gleams of knowledge on types, shadows and symbols, now there is a clear and complete revelation by the HOLY SPIRIT. The SPIRIT was and is the agent of inspiration and illumination." See { John 14:26; - & - 16:12-15 }.

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( 43 ). { V. 6 } That the Believers should be fellow heirs, and of the same BODY, and partakers of His promise in CHRIST by the Gospel:

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( 44 ). The above { V. 6 } paraphrased in commentary form ... "[ It must be recognized ] That Christians are going to be fellow heirs [ with the Jews ], and [ members ] of the same BODY OF CHRIST. 'And, will become [ joint' ] partakers [ sharing ] in the LORD's promise in CHRIST by the [ great MYSTERY ] GOSPEL that is now revealed to Paul the Apostle of the Gentiles.

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( 45 ). Commentary . . . The Gentiles as well as the Jews after being born again into the Christian BODY = according to the same terms promised to other Christians, are to be blessed in the same way. The Gentiles after being saved are not to be second-class citizens of Heaven. Paul gives a clear statement of "the Dispensation of the MYSTERY." The Gentiles are to be fellow heirs along with the Hebrew people that are to become Adopted as Children of GOD, recognized as fellow Saints in the BODY OF CHRIST. Saints of GOD, because they were to be in the same BODY and the same family of GOD by regeneration. They are joint-heirs with CHRIST, { Romans 8:17 } and co-heirs with the Jews and with CHRIST Himself. They are fellow members of the same unitary, corporate BODY today, { Ephesians 2:15 }. The BODY OF CHRIST is one BODY with one Head. Anything else would be a spiritual monstrosity. . . .

( 46 ). In CHRIST there is a perfect amalgamation of each and every member. All members will be fellow-partakers and equal sharers of the same promise. As we have stated, the O.T. is not silent as to blessings for Gentiles, but it says nothing concerning a future union of all Believers of every nationality in the LORD JESUS CHRIST, so as to form one BODY of which CHRIST is the glorified HEAD. This is all made an actuality by the means of the "GOSPEL of the MYSTERY of the Grace of GOD" in its marvelous comprehension and its glorious contents." We have mentioned this several times in our messages: The BODY OF CHRIST is formed from ... the Jewish and the Gentile people! But absolutely no people are distinguished by race after becoming Christians. They are "GOD's Children"! and here all race distinctions disappear. NO Christian is ever to be called a Gentile! they are to be called [ 1 ]: Christians, [ 2 ]: Saints, [ 3 ]: Children of GOD! A persons race is of no consequence in Christianity! The same is applied to Hebrew People that have become GOD's Children who follow CHRIST JESUS!

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( 47 ). { V. 7 }: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of GOD given to me by the effectual working of His power.

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( 48 ). Above verse paraphrased in commentary form . . . "[ Take notice, ] according to the LORD's authority concerning this Gospel, I was made a minister according to the gift of 'GOD's free Grace [ undeserved favor' ], which was bestowed on me by the exercise, i.e., by . . . the working in all the effectiveness . . . of CHRIST's power."

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( 49 ). Commentary . . . Paul here gives his own concept of his mission. Notice that this was the LORD's doing, and it was to make available to all mankind the knowledge of Israel's hope for a MESSIAH. He states: "Therefore, or rather, for this reason = I was made a Minister." A GOD appointed Minister concerning the gift of free Grace. It took Divine Grace to transform Paul from a blasphemer into a Saint, from a Pharisee into an Apostle, and from a persecutor of Christians into a Preacher of the LORD. No doubt, it took Divine power and authority from GOD to enable Paul to function as a Minister and an Ambassador of GOD.

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( 50 ). { V. 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;

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( 51 ). Above verse paraphrased in commentary form . . . "To me, though I am the very least of all the Saint's [ GOD's consecrated people ], 'this Grace [ favor, and privilege' ] was granted and graciously entrusted: to proclaim to the Gentiles the eternal boundless, fathomless, incalculable and exhaustless riches of CHRIST : wealth, which no human being could have searched out."

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( 52 ). Commentary . . . Paul's sense of unworthiness as an Ambassador, Theologian, Missionary, Teacher, and Prophet is progressive:

[ 1 ]: The least of the Apostles, { 1- Corinthians 15:9 } [ But, to Christians today he is looked upon as the greatest Apostle! ];

[ 2 ]: Less than the least of all Saints, [ but "NOT" in the eyes of this writer ]! And; . . .

[ 3 ]: The chief of sinners { 1- Timothy 1:15 }. [ But not according to previous sins committed in this last century! ] Paul's high calling humbled him, and he never got over his unworthiness. He was always conscious of his demerit and never thought of himself more highly than he ought to think, { Romans 12:3 }. The words "unsearchable riches of CHRIST" concerns wealth beyond description which GOD provides for all folks in the person and work of CHRIST. The love and Grace of the LORD is a vast and measureless resource.

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( 53 ). { V. 9 }: And to make all men see what is the 'fellowship [ Dispensation, economy' ] of the "MYSTERY," which from the beginning of the world "HAS BEEN HID IN GOD," Who created all things by JESUS CHRIST:

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( 54 ). Above verse paraphrased in commentary form . . . "Also to enlighten all men and make plain to them what is the plan regarding the Gentiles and providing for the salvation of all men. And, to cause all mankind to understand the great MYSTERY which has been kept a "HIDDEN SECRET" throughout all the Ages, concealed until this present time in the mind of ALMIGHTY GOD Who created all things by CHRIST JESUS."

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( 55 ). Commentary . . . Since the Dispensation of the MYSTERY was hid in GOD till revealed to the Apostle Paul, it seems it is still hid from the eyes of most Christians today. Hardly any minister in our present time understands the present Commission for the BODY OF CHRIST during this age of Grace period! Paul's Ministry was to enlighten Bible students in this Dispensation concerning the MYSTERY GOSPEL and its Commission, but the blind leading the blind in our midst - truly do not recognize the correct MYSTERY Gospel or the New Commission that has been established through the Apostle Paul! This truth is only recognized by a small Christian minority at this time! The Apostle Paul was to even bring angelic beings to see the wisdom of GOD in His plan for the BODY OF CHRIST. This would be just one reason and purpose in preaching "the unsearchable riches of CHRIST," he would cause all beings to see by turning the light on and revealing that 'light [ knowledge' ]. He was aiming at spiritual enlightenment and spiritual apprehension. This Dispensation of the MYSTERY was to be a worldwide proclamation of CHRIST and His New Gospel that had been hid from all beings in all previous ages. . . . Which in many ways, would be much different from the former Kingdom Gospel that CHRIST Himself had taught previously before Paul came on the scene.

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( 56 ). { V. 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,

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( 57 ). Above verse paraphrased in commentary form . . . "The purpose is that through the teachings of those born again Believers in the BODY OF CHRIST, the complicated, many-sided wisdom of GOD in all its infinite variety and innumerable aspects might now be made known to the angelic rulers and authorities [ principalities and powers ] in the heavenly sphere."

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( 58 ). Commentary . . . The words "principalities, and power, and might, and dominion" in { Ephesians 1: 21 } is very similar to { V. 10 } above. These words, in rabbinic thought of that time, described different orders of Angels, see { Romans 8:38; - Ephesians 6:12; - Colossians 1:16; 2:10, 15; - & - Titus 3:1 }. Also, the words "might be known" concerns the MYSTERY of this one BODY Dispensation that had been made known to Paul, and now he wanted to reveal, by making it known to the rest of humanity. The great mission for the present BODY OF CHRIST is to know CHRIST and to make Him known to everybody on this earth. { 2- Corinthians 5:14-21 }!

( 59 ). This one BODY is the instrument to be used to proclaim GOD's MYSTERY of this Grace to all, and to bring all that will come to CHRIST. The wisdom of GOD in the verse, refers to the much diversified and many-sided "wisdom of GOD." This speaks of the beauty and diversity of the LORD's Grace ]." But, how many Pastors and Evangelist have you ever heard denounce the Kingdom Gospel for this Dispensation, and proclaim the GOSPEL of the MYSTERY for this age of Grace? I personally doubt if you have even heard one do this! Most all of them still proclaim Israel's Kingdom Gospel and commission of a past Dispensation!

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( 60 ). { V. 11 }: According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in CHRIST JESUS our LORD, { Ephesians 3:1-11 }."

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( 61 ) . The above { V. 11 } paraphrased in commentary form . . . "This is in accordance with the, terms of the eternal and timeless purpose which the Triune GOD has realized and carried into effect, in [ the person of ] CHRIST JESUS our LORD."

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( 62 ). Commentary . . . GOD's eternal purpose runs through the ages, not in an uncertain or unreasonable way, but according to a definite course and consummation, which He projected in CHRIST JESUS our LORD.

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( 63 ). Scripture: "And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers,

{ Ephesians 4:11 }."

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( 64 ). Above verse paraphrased in commentary form . . . "And 'GOD's gifts were [ varied; He Himself appointed some to be 'Apostles [ special messengers' ], some 'prophets [ inspired preachers and writers, scribes, expounders' ], some 'evangelists are [ preachers of the Gospel, or writers of Bible messages or Bible commentaries, or traveling missionaries' ], some are 'pastors [ shepherds of the LORD's flock' ] and teachers."

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( 65 ). Commentary . . . CHRIST instituted Apostles and Prophets into the world system. The LORD gave gifts to men, and He gave gifted men to the BODY OF CHRIST, in which and through which they function. Apostles were the official title of the first twelve that they might minister to Israel, and of course Paul the one Apostle especially called out of due season to the Gentiles. These particular men only received the office of Prophet and Apostle as temporary office holders. Nowhere does GOD's Word teach apostolic succession as many unscrupulously teach. GOD's Word indicts those who lay claim to the title of apostle today as deceivers, and liars { Revelation 2:2 }.

( 66 ). Prophets were foretellers such as the Apostle Paul who was both an Apostle and a prophet, he received direct prophetic knowledge from GOD to pass on to us today. Paul prophesied that which concerned the Rapture, { 1- Thessalonians 4:16-18 }, and he gave a prophetic message concerning the Antichrist in { 2- Thessalonians Ch. 2 }. Prophets received their message from the Lord and delivered it for the LORD and to man. They had deep insight into spiritual truths as they interpreted GOD's message under the power of the HOLY SPIRIT. On the other hand, disciples are folks who are followers of CHRIST and His teachings. "All Christians" regardless of age, race, creed or color, when they were reborn into the family of GOD, they became true Children of GOD. And, are to from hence-forth remain disciples, and in fact, are spiritually called Ambassadors, ordained - anointed - as ministerial witnesses to the rest of humanity of that which concerns CHRIST! This can never be abrogated! Pay strict attention while Reading our Commission for today in { 2- Corinthians 5:14-21 } and use your mental faculties in a wise manner.

( 67 ). The Evangelists were - and are to be itinerant missionaries who preach the Gospel of the MYSTERY to the unconverted and converted alike in many different areas, { Acts 21:8; - & - 2- Timothy 4:5 }. Pastors Teachers refer to one office with two functions, i.e., teaching Pastors. The word "Pastor" is synonymous with the words in the commandment to Peter to "Feed My Sheep," as spoken by CHRIST to Peter in { John 21:16 }; by Peter referring to ministers: [ service in a general sense as suggested in { V. 11 } above. See { Romans 12:7; - & - 1- Peter 5:2 }; and by Paul referring to "Overseers" 'Elders ( bishops' ) of Ephesus, { Acts 20:28 }. Concerning a "Bishop," which means "overseer or Elder," see { 1-Timothy 3:1 }. They were to shepherd and train the Saints." The fact is, All Saints are called to teach as evangelist, see { 2- Timothy 4:1-5; - & - 3:16 }!

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( 68 ). Scripture: For the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the BODY OF CHRIST, { Ephesians 4:12 }."

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( 69 ). Above verse paraphrased in commentary form . . . "Paul's intention was for the 'perfecting [ and the full equipping' ] of the 'Saints [ the LORD's consecrated people,' that they should perform ] the work of ministering,- toward the 'edifying i.e., building up' the BODY OF CHRIST: [ the Ekklesia Greek.' ]" . . .

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( 70 ). Commentary ... The perfecting of each and every Saint, with a view to equipping them for service. According to { 2- Corinthians 5:14-21 }: Saints in their entirety are classed as Ambassadors of CHRIST in the form of ministers to teach GOD's Word. Many may disagree with this understanding but when Scripture teaches it, then it is a fact. Perhaps this is the wrong place to state the following, and there are a "FEW" Pastors, deacons and other Assembly leaders who may not want you to believe what we say, but we in the past have noticed that at times there were some who seemed to glory in having power over various people in Christian Congregations. The fact is, no matter what office one has in the local Assembly, their power is only as great as you and the rest of the Congregation bestow on them.

( 71 ). No where in GOD's Word, do we find where any one person is to lord it over other Saints, for we are all Children of GOD by adoption - by His mercy and Grace. This writer has noticed some Sunday school teachers, and some Assembly deacons and elders who seemed to think they were much more knowledgeable than everyone else in their classes. But, some of those in the various classes could actually interpret the Scriptures much better than the class teacher! The truth is, no Christian, not even Theologians have reached perfection as far as Biblical interpretation is concerned, even when we reach Heaven, we will all have a great deal to learn! See { Isaiah 55:8; - & - 1- Corinthians 3:18-20. }

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( 72 ). What about various gifts? The purpose of CHRIST's gifts is not just making Saints perfect while here on this earth but of completely outfitting them to be vessels unto honor, sanctified and knowledgeable for the Masters use, { 2- Timothy 2:21 }. They were to be used in the ministry to perform spiritual service, not to do the other Saints work for them, but to prepare them for their own work. The great Evangelist and Teacher D. L. Moody stated: "It is better to put ten men to work than to do the work of ten men." The auditoriums that are used in teaching members of the BODY OF CHRIST are not to be used as rest homes, but a barracks for training soldiers of the Cross. This is all accomplished for the edifying of the BODY OF CHRIST, with the end in view of building up spiritually the whole BODY. Our LORD is interested in quantity, but He is more concerned about quality. All the Saints are to be equipped for the work of edification and then be engaged in the work of edification as CHRIST's called out Ambassadors.

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( 73 ). { V. 13 }: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the SON OF GOD, unto a 'perfect man, [ masculine' ] unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of CHRIST, { Ephesians 4:13 }." See { Ephesians 2:15; - 4:13; 24; - & - Colossians 3:10-11 }.

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( 74 ). The above verse Paraphrased in commentary form . . . "That it might develop until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the full and accurate knowledge of the SON OF GOD; that we might arrive at really mature manhood as the BODY OF CHRIST in all its masculinity really consists. We are to be in the completeness which is nothing less than the standard height of CHRIST's own perfection ...the measure of the stature of the fulness of the LORD, and the completeness found in Him."

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( 75 ). Commentary . . . "The unity of the faith," has reference to the whole BODY OF CHRIST. We are not to neglect anyone. The goal is that we attain unity, not uniformity; and our essential work is far from being accomplished. Paul speaks of true, accurate, and full knowledge which enables Saints to cooperate with one another in working out GOD's plan and purpose in order to obtain "A PERFECT MAN, the [ BODY OF CHRIST" ]. As long as our faith in CHRIST is not perfect we cannot be full-grown, mature Christians. We are to be "unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of CHRIST."

( 76 ). No under-shepherd has finished his work while the sheep fall short of the goal, a full grown man in CHRIST should complete his task. . . . This fulness, this CHRIST-likeness, is that which belongs to CHRIST and that which is imparted by CHRIST. GOD predestined His Saints "to be conformed to the image of His Son, { Romans 8:29 }." It would be wise for all of us to cry out with John, "He must increase, but I must decrease, { John 3:30 }." As long as we have an immature BODY of Saints, we will not make much headway in world evangelism!

 

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Continued on part three of this Message

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