Number 28 December 6, 2002
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth
not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15
The Twenty-First Century Church
By Jack Northart
There are many great realities available today because of the accomplished work of Jesus Christ. We need to get a deeper understanding and appreciation of the benefits that living in this administration, the Age of Grace, has available.
There are so many things available because of the completed work of Jesus Christ, that all we can do in the short space of this Grapevine is set a pattern of understanding so that as we grow in the knowledge of God and His wonderful matchless Word, we can appreciate what we have received spiritually.
Perhaps the greatest benefit to being a child of God is receiving the gift of holy spirit. When Adam sinned, he lost his connection with God. This directly affected his relationship with God. On the day of Pentecost this connection was once again made available to the Church of God, the Church that we belong to today. The understanding of all that was made available was not completely known until God told it to the Apostle Paul and had him record it in the seven Church Epistles.
This time period that we are now living in is called in the Bible, the Administration of the Grace of God, the Mystery Administration and the Church of God. Let's go to the Word of God to see how we can directly benefit from what God has made available to us living today. This time frame of the Administration of the Mystery was hidden in God. No one except God knew about it. This Great Mystery became a reality on the day of Pentecost, but it was untraceable in the Old Testament.
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, 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.
God commanded that the Mystery should be made known, so believers could understand and benefit from it.
I Peter 1: 10,11
Of which salvation the prophets had enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ, which was in them did signify, when it testified before hand of the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
These were the Old Testament prophets who saw a period of time between the "sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow."
Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
They searched the Old Testament scrolls for the meaning of the duration of that time period, but they could not find it because it was hid in God. Not even the angels of heaven knew what it was all about. Judeans and Gentiles made up the one Body of Christ, the Church of God. To both, God gave the same spirit in which to fellowship with Him.
Ephesians 3: 5-9
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 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel: 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. 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; And to make all men see what it the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in Godů.
All the Greek texts except the Stephens Greek text, read oikonomia, administration, not koinonia, the Greek word for fellowship.
This Great Mystery was so huge that it did not become a reality until the day of Pentecost. God was secretive about the details. It was untraceable. It is untrackable throughout the entire Old Testament.
Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation [oikonomia, administration] of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God.
The Great Mystery completes the Word of God.
Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 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.
Christ in you! This was to be made known not just to the nation of Israel, but to the Gentiles as well. Out of Judeans and Gentiles, there is now one new Body, with Christ as the head. There is no difference between born again Judeans and born again Gentiles. But why was this Great Mystery hidden?
I Corinthians 2:1
And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. ["testimony" is the same word translated "mystery" in Ephesians 3:3, Greek musterion.]
But we speak the wisdom of God in a [regarding the] mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory. Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
The great prince of this world is Satan, and he would have preferred a living Jesus Christ in one place, at one time, than Christ Jesus living in every born again believer. Every born again believer has Christ within them now, and is capable of doing the work that Christ himself did while on earth and more, because the new birth was not available until the day of Pentecost.
John 14: 12
Verily, verily I [Jesus] say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
This mystery is so incredible, so tremendous, that had Satan known it beforehand, he would not have crucified the Lord Jesus Christ. Since God did not want Satan to know His plan, the Great Mystery was kept hidden by Him so He could accomplish His plan of redemption. Jesus Christ was the promised seed of the woman. He paid the price for mankind with his sinless walk and death, making spirit once again available for all of mankind.
I Timothy 2: 3,4
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
God desires that all people get saved. His desire doesn't stop there, though. He wants all of His children to come unto a more complete knowledge of the truth, which is God Who is truth; Jesus Christ who is truth; and the Bible; which is truth. God desires that His children learn more about Him, His precious Son, and His perfect Word.
Jesus Christ bridged the gap between man and God, making available the relationship that Adam had lost. All are equal in the family of God now. The Church of God in the twenty-first century, like the Church of God in the first century, is a new entity separated out from both Judean and Gentile making up the Body of Christ, where he, Christ is the head.
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