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THE MYSTERY OF GOD’S PLAN AND PURPOSE FOR BUILDING THE LORD JESUS CHRIST’S CHURCH
‘‘Then when /Jesus came unto the parts of Kaisáhrei-ah of /Philippi[Fée-leeppohs], He asked His /disciples, saying, Whom are the humans saying that I[Me, accusative with infinitive], The Son of /Man[the Human] am? Then they said, On the one hand the +ones |say,| John the Baptizer! But on the other hand others[same kind] |say,| Elijah! But on another hand others[different kind] |say,| Jeremiah[Yehrahmée-ahs]! or, One+ of the prophets! 15He says to them, But yourselves, Whom are you& saying that I[Me, accusative with infinitive] am? 16Then Simon Peter answered and said, You$ Yourself are continuously The Christ, The Son of The Absolutely Living God. 17And /Jesus answered and said to him, You$ are continually a blessed[favored and joyful because of all Gods beneficent gifts] one, Simon Bar[Aramaic: son |of|] Jonah[Yōhnahs]; because flesh and blood did not reveal |this| to you$, but[on the contrary] My /Father, |namely| The+ One in The Heavens. 18Now I Myself also say to you$, ‘You$ yourself are Peter[little rock] and upon this /rock ledge I will build My /church. And [Háh-ihdays: temporary abode for departed human spirits cf. 11:23]Hell’s 0gates shall not prevail against it. 19And I will give to you$ the keys to the Kingdom of the Heavens. And what~ thing ever you$ bind upon the Earth shall be a bound~ thing in the Heavens. And what~ thing ever you$ loose upon the Earth shall be a loosed~ thing in the Heavens.’ 20At that time He explicitly ordered His /disciples that they say to not one that He is Jesus, The Christ. 21From that time /Jesus began to show to His /disciples that it is absolutely necessary for Him to depart unto Jerusalem$, and to suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and to be killed, and to be raised up in the third day. 22And when /Peter took Him aside, he began to rebuke Him, saying, |God be| propitious to You$, O Lord! This~ shall positively not be to You$. 23But He turned and said to /Peter, Be slipping away in back of Me, Satan! You$ are an offence[scandal, a cause of stumbling] to Me because you$ are not minding the~ things originating with The God, but[on the contrary] the~ things originating with humans[generic]. 24At that time /Jesus said to His /disciples, If (and it is true) anyone determinedly wills to come after[in back of] Me, he is to utterly deny himself! And he is to carry off his /cross! And he is to persistently follow Me! 25For who ever determinedly wills to save his /natural life[soul] shall lose[utterly destroy, ruin] it, but who ever lose[utterly destroy, ruin] his /natural life[soul] for the cause of Mine shall find it. 26For what is a human[generic] benefited, if (and it may be) he gain the whole world and forfeit[suffer the loss of] his /soul[natural life]? Or what will a human [generic] give in exchange for his /soul[natural life]? 27For The Son of /Man[Human]] is about to come in the glory[majestic radiant splendor] of His /Father with His /angels. And at that time He shall render to each one according to his /practice’’ (Mt. 16:13-27 APT).
Introduction: Jesus said,‘‘I will build my church’’ (Mt. 16:18) -- five words.
Who ever built anything lasting without plans? What results when plans are not followed? Chaos, ultimate disintegration, and destruction--chaos, ruin! Quite some years ago a Philadelphia contractor was engaged in building a multistory structure. However he decided the plans called for a grade of concrete which he deemed was not necessary. So he used a lower grade concrete than that which the plans required. After the building was complete, it collapsed and the contractor was financially ruined. Thus a twofold result of not following the plans: ultimate disintegration and destruction both of the building and of the contractor’s business.
The Lord Jesus Christ had plans for building His church. Do you know what they are? Why not? Jesus did not explicitly relate how He would build His Church. Yet because the plans are not clearly laid out and labeled as such, it does not mean that He did not have any plans or that we are not responsible to know and follow them. What would you do if The Lord Jesus Christ came here this hour and told you His plans for building His world-wide church and that those plans included you? Jesus progressively revealed to His disciples His plans for building His World-wide Church. We need to study those plans so we may build according to plan or there will be chaos! And so when we are called to give an account of our service to Him, we may be approved and commended. Twenty-five years ago, when my wife and I realized that The God wanted us to serve Him in Australia, I carefully studied those plans in order to follow the master plan as we began as co-builders in Australia with Our Precious Lord and Savior. This series contains the results of that study.
Before we consider The Lord’s proclamation to His disciples, the prerequisites for His disciples to build, and the paradox of The God’s plan, let us consider some primal or foundational truth. When reference is made to The New Testament, what do you think is meant? (Please read Heb. 9:15,11-17,18 cf. 8:6-8). In chapter 8 the Greek word διαθήκη (deeah-tháykay) is translated ‘covenant’ according to the context. In chapter 9 the same word is translated ‘testament’ and in chapter 10 that same Greek word is translated ‘will.’ All three meanings are given to διαθήκη (deeah-tháykay) because ‘testament’ is a synonym of ‘will,’ which is a document attesting to an agreement between two parties. In Scripture ‘testament’ is an agreement between The God and humans, and alternately it is the disposition of one’s property after the testator’s death. A covenant is a formal, solemn, and binding agreement of promise between two or more parties, especially between The God and Humans. And a will is a document that testifies to the intended disposition of one’s estate after one’s death.
It is necessary to ask and answer the question, “Why did Christ come?” (Heb. 10:5-10). [The tendency is to focus on the result, and not on the process.] The answer to this question is, ‘To establish the new (kind of or fresh) will of The God.’ Jesus indicated what that will involved (Mt. 16:18). It involved ‘Building His Church.’ But what is His Church? This is the first occurrence of the word ‘church’ in Scripture. Until Jesus said this at Banias (Páhneeahs) in the region of Caesarea of Philip (Kaisáh-reiah Fée-leeppohs) in Sivan (June) A.D. 32, there was no mention in Old Testament Scripture of ‘His Church.’ ‘Church’ is the English translation of the Greek feminine noun εκκλησία (ehkklayséeah), a compound word made up of the verb καλέω meaning ‘to summon’ plus the prefixed preposition ‘εκ’ meaning ‘out’, thus to ‘summon out’ and refers to an assembly or a gathering (congregation) of people. It refers mostly to ‘The Church of The Lord Jesus Christ’ composed of regenerated both Jews and Gentiles summoned out of the world to form a unique body of people (1 Cor. 10:32). In addition to referring to ‘The Church of The Lord Jesus Christ,’ there are four other churches or assemblies of people referred to as a church or assembly in the Book of Acts. These are: “the church in the wilderness” referring to Israel in The Old Testament (Acts 7:38); a political church or assembly of the whole city (Acts 19:20-32); a religious assembly of the false church of Diana, a false god and idol (Acts 19:34,35); and a legal assembly or church (Acts 19:39). There is a shroud of mystery about His Church and Paul calls attention to this mystery in His Epistle to Ephesians (3:4). But careful investigation of The New Testament Scriptures will disclose the Scriptural meaning of ‘mystery’ and ‘The Mystery of His Church.’ In order to understand this Truth, three aspects pertaining to ‘this mystery’ will be discussed: The Proclamation to His Disciples Concerning Building His Church, The Prerequisites for His Disciples to Be Used to Assist as Co-builders in Building His Church, and The Paradox of The God’s Plan for Jesus to Build His Church.
I. The Proclamation to His Disciples Concerning Building His Church (vs. 16-23):
After asking His disciples to tell Him Whom the humans were saying that He, The Son of The Human is, and after hearing their answers, He pointedly asked them to tell Him what their answer is. Peter gave the forthright confession to His deity and the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy, which confession Jesus called ‘this rock ledge,’ a feminine noun, not the masculine noun indicating Peter’s name.
A. The Person -- The Lord Jesus Christ (v. 16a);
The Person, Who declared that He will build His Church upon ‘this rock ledge’ of confession that “He is The Christ, The Promised Messiah, Who is The Son of The Absolutely Living God,” is The Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
B. The Process (vs. 21-23);
After The Lord Jesus indicated to Peter that he will be given the keys to the kingdom of the Heavens, he began to show his disciples the process through which He Himself will progress to build His Church, through which process those who become His disciples and co-builders of His Church must also proceed. First Jesus declared, “It is absolutely necessary for Him to go to Jerusalem to suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and to be killed, and to be raised up in the third day” (v. 21). Peter objected to this and rebuked Jesus. After Jesus rebuffed Peter, He related the conditions which those who would follow Him must meet to become co-builders of His Church. This process involves three steps including a cross experience: 1. utterly deny self, 2. carry off his cross daily, and 3. persistently follow Him.
1. Utterly Deny Self (v. 24).
What is the meaning of ‘self-denial’? To deny means ‘to contradict, to refuse to grant or admit, to declare untrue, to restrain oneself from gratification of desires, to disown, disclaim, abnegate, or renounce.’ Jesus equated self-denial with taking up the cross, which action indicates willingness and readiness to die. Before one takes up the cross it is absolutely necessary to deny ‘self.’ Jesus contrasted self-denial with confession. He said that it is either confess or deny. Jesus equated lack of confessing Him to denial of Him.
“Therefore everyone whoever shall confess[say the same thing as] |to be| in Me before the face of the humans, I Myself also shall confess [say the same thing as] |to be| in him before the face of My /Father Who |is| in 0Heavens. But whoever ever deny[renounce] Me before the face of the humans, I Myself also shall deny[renounce] him before the face of My /Father Who |is| in 0Heavens” (Mt. 10:32, 33 APT).
So denying ‘self’ is not confession. ‘Denial’ of Him is the opposite action to confessing Christ. To acknowledge Christ is to openly declare that He is your Savior and Lord. Failure to confess or acknowledge Christ is to deny Him. To deny ‘self,’ therefore, is to disclaim or to reject ‘self,’ to disown ‘self.’ To deny is to disavow, to abnegate, to fail to confess, to fail or to refuse to recognize, to abstain. Thus to deny ‘self’ is to renounce utterly and repudiate ‘self.’ When we stand before God to be judged, if we have denied The Lord Jesus Christ, He will not lay claim to us. He will disown us. He will not acknowledge us, but will say, “I know you not whence ye are; depart from me” (Lk. 13:25-27).
Therefore self-denial is refusal: to grant ‘self’ to have control of your own life and refusal of the freedom to indulge in worldly pleasures. It calls for self-restraint from gratification of your lusts and desires and control over your life. It demands one utterly deny the old ‘self’ who had his way for so long in one’s life before one’s life was committed to Christ. So often we attribute to self-denial abstaining in matters of things we desire, but really in the spiritual sense it refers to the matter of control of ‘self.’
2. Carry off one’s cross daily (cf. Lk. 9:23);
The second step in qualifying one as a disciple and a co-builder with The Lord Jesus Christ is to carry off one’s cross. Taking up one’s cross to carry it indicates one is willing and ready to die for The Lord Jesus Christ. Luke adds the qualifying word ‘daily’ to this condition. This word makes the action to be repeated every day. A fuller explanation of a cross experience is given under II. A. below.
3. Persistently follow Him (Lk. 9:23 APT);
The third condition which Jesus gave to His disciples in the introductory text above is to follow The Lord Jesus Christ with a determined will in persistent, steadfast following. There are two relationships that require following: a sheep to the shepherd and a disciple to his master-teacher. When a sheep gets sick, then it will follow anyone. Paul Lee Tan in Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations (p. 499) relates the story of an American traveling in Syria, where He came upon three native shepherds watering their flocks at a brook at the same time.
“The three flocks drank there together. At length one shepherd arose and called out, ‘ Men-ah! Men-ah!’ the Arabic for ‘follow me!’ His sheep came out of the common herd and followed him up the hillside. The next shepherd did the same, and his sheep went away with him, and the man did not count them. The traveler said to the remaining shepherd, ‘Give me your turban and crook, and see if they will not follow me as well as you.’ So he put on the shepherd’s dress and called out,’ Men-ah! Men-ah!’ Not a sheep moved. They know not the voice of a stranger. ‘Will your flock never follow anybody but you?’ inquired the gentleman. The Syrian shepherd replied, ‘Oh, yes; sometimes a sheep gets sick, and then he will follow any one.’”
The word “follow” is a word with meaning. It has several facets of meaning. Different people think of the act of following in one sense or another and not necessarily as involving entirely all the aspects. However The Lord Jesus Christ had all of these in mind when he said, “Follow Me.” Therefore it behooves us to understand and explain the full meaning of “follow” in all its aspects. Please refer to Webster’s International Dictionary. The word “follow” means “to walk after, to attend closely to, to accept as authority: obey, to understand the thoughts of, to be led by: to engage in as a way of life, to imitate, to keep the mind on, to be guided by.”
A two word phrase that Jesus used in the English translation of The New Testament is “Follow Me!” An equivalent phrase in the Old Testament is “walk after The Lord!” Eighteen times the Gospels record that The Lord Jesus said, ’ακολούθει μοι, “Follow Me!” Four times He used the word δεûρο (singular) or δεûτε (plural) meaning “come here” as a command , yet translated in some of the popular versions as “follow me” (Mt. 4:19), or as “come follow me” or simply as “come.” The context in which The Lord Jesus uses δεûρο or δεûτε with the second person singular pronoun is in regard to discipleship, except once in a prophetic sense (Mt. 25:34). After Jesus’ Baptism, directly (Mk. 1:19-12 APT) He was led by The Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tested by the devil for 40 days. Now it was necessary for Him to gather a core of disciples through whom he would build His world wide church. Then Jesus went to Baythahbahráh area for three days where some from Jerusalem and Judea and all the surrounding region of Jordan went out to John to be baptized of Him. Six men from Galilee met Him (Jn. 1:28-51). Two left John to see where Jesus dwelt, then went to get their brothers. Two became His disciples immediately and went to Kahnâh of Galilee with Him for the wedding feast (Jn. 2:1,2). Multitudes of people started to follow Him, appearing to be disciples, but most later abandoned Him, one betrayed Him, and the leading spokesman denied Him. So it is possible to begin to follow Christ without being born again or regenerated. Jesus called these who begin but do not continue, “the temporary ones” (Mk. 4:17 APT). It is imperative for those who truly desire to be His sheep to follow The Lord Jesus Christ steadfastly and persistently.
C. The Possession (Mt. 16:18) -- She is His Church! He Himself will build Her! He will use co-builders who meet His requirements for building Her and not just anyone who wants to help. He will only use regenerated disciples who have an on-going cross experience even as He outlined the cross experience that He Himself would have and did have. She is not anyone else’s church, but His. She belongs only to Him. She is not the Pastor’s church! She is not your church, nor my church! If a church is called by the Pastor’s name or any other name, that is not The Church belonging to The Lord Jesus Christ (Rev. 2:13). The Lord Jesus commended the local church at Pergamos because the members dwelt in the city where Satan’s seat and dwelling was. Yet mid all the Satanic opposition, the local church at Pergamos persistently retained the name of The Lord Jesus Christ. The members held fast to the fact that they belonged to The Church belonging to Him, His Church. Make no mistake, if the church you attend is not called By His name as the Possessor and Builder, it is not His Church but rather a false church; not the True Church, but a Kingdom of Heaven church belonging to Christendom with a combination of wheat and tares (poisonous weeds inflicting destruction) and not the pure Kingdom of The God Church.
D. The Product (Mt. 16:18b) -- A defense against the forces of evil!
The Lord Jesus stated that Hell’s[Hah-ihdays:] gates shall not prevail against it. Háh-ihdays is temporary abode for departed human spirits as well as the prison for fallen angels until the final judgment and banishment for ever in eternal darkness and agonizing suffering in the Lake of Fire (2 Pet. 2:4,17; Jude 6). The gates of the city acted as a deterrent to keep out some people from entering while permitting or dragging others to enter in and to keep those within from exiting. But against the members of His Church these gates have no power or authority to drag in or to extend their jurisdiction. The members of His Church are protected against the evil forces of Háhihdays. His Church is a defense against Satan and his emissaries of evil and protects the redeemed regenerated disciples of The Lord Jesus Christ from their onslaughts. What tremendous power and blessing for the members of His Church with such a defense promised by The Savior Himself!
II. The Prerequisites for His Disciples to Be Used to Assist in Building His Church (vs. 21-26) -- Requirements for builders!
Above under the heading I.B.2. Carry off one’s cross daily, it was noted according to the explanation given by Jesus that His disciples are to deny ‘self’. This action accompanies a cross experience. A cross experience is an essential requirement to become a disciple and co-builder with The Lord Jesus Christ in building His Church. Not one person, no matter how sincere, no matter how great an effort, no matter how much effort and financial investment is expended, not one person can do one thing toward nor participate in the building of The Church or the advancement of The Kingdom of The God. It is absolutely necessary to have a cross experience to participate as a disciple of The Lord Jesus Christ and assist Him as a co-builder of His Church.
A. A Cross Experience (vs. 21-24);
In Jesus’ time, when someone carried off his cross, he was going to his death, a horrible, agonizingly, painful death of crucifixion on that cross he was carrying. Jesus took up the cross and carried it to Calvary where He willingly died in agony for us. Taking up the cross was the act of showing He was willing to die for us. When you take up your cross you show that you are both willing and going to die to ‘self’ for The Lord Jesus Christ. Crucifixion is a death of homicide, not suicide. You cannot crucify yourself, but you can submit to being crucified. And that is exactly what Jesus meant when He said, ‘‘Take up the cross’’ (Mk. 10:21). Though actually crucifixion is a one time act, the willingness for ‘self’ to be crucified is an on-going attitude spiritually, therefore carrying off the cross is a daily demonstration to The Lord Jesus Christ, to His disciples, and to the world that crucifixion has taken place in one’s life and is continuing, as sin drops off more and more. This is done by “continually putting to death the practices of the body” (Rom. 8:13 APT). If anyone is to become The Lord Jesus Christ’s disciple, he or she must be willing to truly go to his or her death by means of crucifixion, not necessarily physically (although that may be one’s ultimate experience) but spiritually. Just as a cross experience was absolutely necessary for The Lord Jesus Christ to bear (produce) eternal fruit, so a cross experience is absolutely necessary for His disciples to bear fruit for eternity. Jesus said,
“Amen, amen, I am saying to you&, Unless the grain of /wheat falling into the soil[earth] die off, it continually abides alone. But if (and it may be) it die off, it is bringing much fruit” (Jn. 12:24 APT).
Therefore The Christ’s disciples must die in three regards: to ‘self’, to sin, and to the world.
1. Dead to Self
The focus here is upon one’s Interests. The Lord Jesus Christ taught the multitudes that in order to save one’s life eternally, one must lose his life temporally, materially, and selfishly (see Lk. 9:23-26 above). The ‘self’ life of every individual is a hindrance to knowing Christ intimately and to growing spiritually. Self can be equated to the flesh by analogy and by spelling flesh backward and dropping the ‘h’ = ‘s-e-l-f.’ In order to live for eternity you must die to ‘self’ and to the self-life now. Paul stated it plainly to the Romans,
“For if (and it is true) you& absolutely live according to 0flesh, you& are about to die off. But if (and it is true) by means of 0Spirit you& are continually putting to death the practices of the body, you& shall absolutely live” (Rom. 8:13 APT).
Paul explained to the Galatians what Christ meant by “take up the cross.”
“I stand crucified together with Christ, but I absolutely live. No longer myself, but Christ absolutely lives in me. In fact what~ I now absolutely live in 0flesh, I absolutely live by means of 0faith^, |namely| the^ one of The Son of The God, Who loved me and delivered Himself over in my behalf” (Gal. 2:20 APT).
It was no longer Paul that lived. The old Saul (Paul’s given name) was reckoned to be dead--crucified with Christ. He further stated, ‘‘Now the ones belonging to The Christ are crucified with reference to the flesh together with its sufferings and its passionate lusts’’(Gal. 5:24 APT). We do not crucify the flesh. That is an impossibility. As was said before, crucifixion is a death of homicide, not suicide. You cannot crucify yourself. But we willingly subject the flesh to be crucified. We reckon or count that what God says is true in actuality. Thus day by day you take your place as willing to be crucified. The old self-life (the flesh) is slowly, painfully, even agonizingly subjected to The God to be put to death by whatever means He deems necessary.
As the focus of denial of ‘self’ is upon one’s identification, so the focus of dying to ‘self’ is upon one’s interests in possessions and pleasures (appetites and lusts). There are examples of each in Scripture.
a. Possessions (Lk. 12:15; Mk. 10:21-24; Acts 5:1-10).
We need to die to ‘self’ interests in possessions. The Lord Jesus had much to say about possessions. According to our introductory text above He said, “Every one of you& who does not bid farewell to all the possessions of himself, he is not able to be My disciple” (Lk. 14:33 APT). The problem with possessions is that as soon as we lay personal claim to possessions, they possess us. Therefore The Lord Jesus Christ is hindered from possessing us.
“Jesus said to them, Be constantly vigilant and guardedly protect yourselves from /covetousness! Because the absolute life to any one is not in the process of the being in abundance of his /possessions” (Lk. 12:15 APT).
This absolute eternal life is not lived in the process of accumulating possessions. The reason is two-fold.
(1). On the one hand, our reasonable response to the love of The Lord Jesus Christ is to present our bodies as living sacrifices to God as bondslaves to The Christ.
“I repeatedly entreat you& therefore, O brothers, because of the compassions of The God, Offer as a sacrifice the bodies of yours& an absolutely living sacrifice, holy, well-pleasing to The God, |namely| the spiritually reasonable sacred service of yours&. And stop fashioning yourselves together to this age, but on the contrary continually be being transformed by the renewing of your& comprehension! in order that you& prove[after testing] what the beneficially good and well-pleasing and perfectly complete, determined will~ of The God |is|” (Rom. 12:1,2 APT).
And on two occasions Jesus Himself said that it is impossible to serve as a bondslave to two masters or lords, both God and mammon -- the total assets in your trust (Mt. 6:24; Lk. 16:13).
“Not one is able to serve as a bondslave to two lords. For either he will hate the+ one and [he]will love [sovereignly prefer over self and others] the +other[different kind] one, or he will cling to the+ one and [he]will despise the+ other[different kind] one. You$ are not able to serve as a bondslave to God and to wealth[mammōna, total assets in your trust]” (Mt. 6:24 APT).
“13Not one+ household servant is able to serve as a bondslave to two lords. For either he will hate the+ one and he will love[sovereignly prefer over self and others] the other[different kind], or he will cling to one+ and despise the other[different kind]. You$ are not able to serve as a bondslave to God and to wealth[mammōna, total assets in. your trust]” (Lk. 16:13 APT).
(2). On the other hand, the vocation to which we were summoned is to be disciples who make disciples (Mt.28:19,20).
“Therefore journey& and consecutively disciple[train by intimate process] people of all the [metonymy]nations then baptize them into the name of The Father and of The Son and of The Holy Spirit! and repeatedly teach them in public to keep all things as many as I commanded you& watchfully secure! And lo! I Myself am continually with you& all the days until the consummation of the age. Amen!” (Mt. 28:19,20 APT).
The Lord Jesus did not compromise on this issue. Note two examples:
(A) The rich ruler ( Mt. 19:16-26; Mk. 10:17-24; Lk.18:18-30).
When a rich ruler came to the Lord Jesus desiring to know what he must do to inherit eternal absolute life, Jesus told him that he was aware of the commandments and especially cited five. Mark added a sixth, “Never deprive[withhold what belongs to another]” (Mk. 10:19f APT). He told The Lord that he kept guardedly protecting all of these since his youth.
“Then when /Jesus earnestly looked upon him, He loved him and He said to him, One thing~ is lacking to you$. Be slipping away! Sell as many things~ as you$ have! And give to the poor ones! And you$ shall have treasure in 0Heaven. And here$! Continually follow Me! and carry off the cross! But since he became dismal over the saying, he departed grieving, for he was continually having many belongings. But the disciples were repeatedly astonished over His /words. Then when /Jesus answered again He says to them, Children, how difficult it is with reference to the ones having relied upon the resources[things one uses] to enter into the Kingdom of The God! And after /Jesus looked around Himself, He says to His /disciples, How difficultly will the ones having the resources[things one uses] enter for themselves into the Kingdom of The God!” (Mk. 10:21-24).
The Lord Jesus Christ understood the human heart and mind. He created them. That is why He gave so many instructions to His disciples concerning possessions and other aspects of the personality which will distract from Him. That is why He stipulated that His disciples are to bid farewell to their possessions in identifying with The Lord Jesus Christ’s death by dying to ‘self’ and taking up the cross. The other example is Ahnahnéeahs and Sahp-feh-éeray.
(B) Ahnahnéeahs and Sahp-feh-éeray provide a perfect example of how possessions bring disaster in the absolute life in Christ (Acts 5:1-10). At a time when the early disciples were selling their properties and bringing the resources from the sale and laying them at the apostles’ feet, this couple pretended to do the same. But they embezzled from the precious value. When Ahnahnéeahs brought the remainder as the others did, Peter challenged him, “Why lie to The Holy Spirit? You did not lie to humans but to The God.” Then he fell down dead at Peter’s feet. Later Sahp-feh-éeray, his wife entered. Peter challenged her as well,
“Why is it that you& were in accord to test The Lord’s Spirit? Lo the feet of the+ ones |who| buried your$ /husband at the door! And they shall bring you$ out. Then instantly she fell down alongside his /feet and she deceased. Then when the young men entered, they found her dead. And they brought out and buried |her| with her /husband” (Acts 5:9,10 ATP).
Since Ahnahnéeahs and Sahp-feh-éeray were not of themselves fulfilling the expectations of disciples dying to ‘self’ in the matter of possessions, they were removed from the congregation by physical death. Are we fulfilling The Lord Jesus Christ’s expectations of death to ‘self’ in the matter of possessions? Have we been to our white funeral to the old ‘self’ in regard to possessions?
Not only is ‘self’ to die to possessions but also to pleasures.
b. Pleasures -- appetites and lusts of the flesh (2 Tim. 3:4; Tit. 3:3; 1 Jn. 2:15-17).
Selfish pleasures that include every form of sexual immorality, lusts -- things which appeal to the flesh and distract from the things of The God, amusements -- things which cause one not to think on Spiritual things. ‘Amusement’ is a compound word made up of the negative privative plus ‘muse’ which means ‘to think’ or ‘to be absorbed in thought.’ Thus to amuse is to cause one not to think seriously especially about spiritual things. Amusements are those things which distract attention away from The Christ and the things of The God, and promotes appetites for things which please the flesh to the expense of pleasing The Lord. All these must undergo death by crucifixion. Paul wrote, “that in the last days ferocious seasons of time of themselves shall be impending.” Then he gave a description of what humans shall be. Included is the phrase “ones kindly affectionate to gratifying pleasures rather than ones kindly affectionate to God” (2 Tim. 3:1,4 APT). Then he also wrote to Téetohs (Titus) describing the past of his and all disciples, “ones enslaved to passionate lusts and various kinds of gratifying-sensual-pleasures” (Tit. 3:3 APT).
Then John, the Beloved Disciple wrote,
“Never love the world, nor even the~ things in the world. If (and it may be) anyone love the world, the love of The Father is continually not in him. Because the everything in the world: the passionate lust of the flesh, and the passionate lust of the eyes, and the arrogant display[of life without The God] of the manner of life is continually not of The Father, but on the contrary, it is of the world. In fact the world is progressively passing away and the passionate lust of it, but the one continually doing the determined will of The God is continually abiding for /ever” (1 Jn. 2:15-17 APT).
Paul wrote to Timothy about one who stood by him during his imprisonment in Rome. In his Epistle to the Colossians in mid A.D. 62 , Paul mentions that Daymáhs sends greeting to the church (Col. 4:14). But six years later in the summer of A.D. 68, in his second imprisonment in Rome, Paul included sad news in his Epistle to Timothy. “Daymáhs forsook me, because he loved this now age and he journeyed to Thehssahlohnée-kay” (2 Tim. 4:10 ATP).
How important it is to reckon ‘self’ to be dead in our ‘self’ interests in the realms of possessions, pleasures, appetites, and lusts of the flesh, all which conflict with The Lord Jesus Christ’s interests and what corresponds to the work and The Word of The God! In addition to dying to ‘self’ and the self-life, we are to be dead to Sin.
B. Dead to Sin The Focus of being dead to sin is upon Sin’s Intrigue.
The human’s attraction to Sin is by intrigue.
“What then shall we say? Shall we remain on in Sin in order that the grace abound? May it never be! We, whoever died off to the Sin, how shall we absolutely live in it yet? Or are you& ignorant that we, as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus, were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried together with Him through the baptism into the death in order that even as Christ was raised up out of 0dead ones by reason of the glory of The Father, so also we ourselves should walk in newness of absolute life. 5For if (and it is true) we have become ones planted together in the similitude of His /death, undoubtedly we shall be also |in the similitude| of His resurrection. 6Knowing this, that the old human of ours is crucified together |with Him| that the body belonging to the Sin become ineffective so that we no longer continue serving as a bondslave to the Sin. 7For the one |who| died off stands justified from the Sin. 8Now if (and it is true) we died off together with Christ, we continually commit trust that we also shall absolutely live together with Him, 9being aware that Christ, since being raised up out of 0dead& ones, no longer dies off. Death no longer exercises lordship over Him. 10For what |death| He died off, He died off to the Sin once for all. But what |absolute life| He continually absolutely lives, He continually absolutely lives to The God. 11So also you& yourselves reckon yourselves! on the one hand to be dead& ones to the sin but on the other hand absolutely living& ones to The God in Christ Jesus, The Lord of ours. 12Therefore the Sin is to stop reigning in the mortal body of yours& so that you& |not| continue obeying it in its /lusts! 13Neither continue yielding your& /members as weapons[implements of war] of unrighteousness to the Sin! But offer[t.t., lit.: to stand alongside, to present] yourselves at once |as sacrifices| to The God, as ones absolutely living& out of 0dead& ones and your /members as weapons[implements of war] of righteousness to The God! 14For Sin shall not exercise lordship over you&. For you& are not under 0law, but under grace. 15What then? Should we sin, because we are not under 0law, but under grace? May it never be! 16You& are aware, are you& not? That to whom you& yield yourselves bondslaves unto obedience, you& are bondslaves to whom you& are continually obeying, either to Sin unto death, or to obedience unto righteousness? But gratitude |be| to The God! because you& were continually 0bondslaves to the Sin, but you& obeyed out of 0heart in regard to which type of doctrine you& were delivered. 18Then since being freed ones from bondage away from the Sin, you& became enslaved to the righteousness. 19I speak humanly because of the chronic infirmity of your /flesh. For even as you& offered[t.t., lit.: to stand alongside, to present] as sacrifices your& /members as bondslaves to the uncleanness and to the lawlessness, unto the lawlessness, so now offer[t.t., lit.: to stand alongside, to present] as sacrifices your& /members as bondslaves to the righteousness, unto sanctification. 20For when you& were continually 0bondslaves to the Sin, you& were continually free &ones from bondage to the righteousness. 21Therefore what fruit were you& having at that time by means of which~ things you& are now being utterly ashamed? For the end of those~ things, death! 22But even now, since being freed ones from bondage away from the Sin but enslaved ones to The God, you& are continually having your& /fruit unto sanctification. Then the end, eternal absolute life! 23For the wages of the sin, death! But the grace-gift of The God, eternal absolute life through Christ Jesus The Lord of ours!” (Rom. 6:1-23 APT).
We must die to Sin.
“So also you& yourselves reckon yourselves! on the one hand to be dead& ones to the Sin but on the other hand absolutely living &ones to The God in Christ Jesus, The Lord of ours” (Rom. 6:11 APT).
1. Categories of Sin: There are two categories of sin: omission and commission.
a. Sins of omission (Mt. 23:23).
These are often neglected or not observed and minimized by many people. Yet those who commit sins of omission are just as guilty as those who are guilty of sins of commission. Failures to do what is right and lawful are sins of omission. Whether it be the ordinances of man or the acts declared righteous by The True God that are neglected or not observed, these both are sins of omission. It matters not what any human thinks or says in regard to this, The God has indicated such failures are sins. And He will hold accountable all who disregard what is right and well-pleasing (a delight) to Himself. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself verbally abused the Jewish religious leaders,
“Woe to you&, O hypocrites, scribes and Pharisees! because you& tithe the mint and the dill and the cummin and you& abandoned the heavier |matters| of the law: the judgment and the mercy and the faith. It is absolutely necessary to do these~ things and not to abandon those~ things”(Mt. 23:23 APT).
Both Paul and Peter wrote concerning subjection to ordinances of man.
“Every soul is to be under subjection to the superior authorities. For there is not an authority except /by\ 0God. In fact the ones being authorities are standing arranged by The God. So that the one resisting the authority, stands withstanding the ordinance of The God. In fact the ones remaining withstanding shall receive judgment against themselves. For the rulers are not a fear to the beneficially good works, but on the contrary, to the evil& |works|. But you$ are determinedly willing to fear the authority for yourselves, are you$ not? Continually do the beneficially good~ thing! And you$ shall have acclamation of the same. For he is continually the domestic servant of God to you$ for the beneficially good~ thing. But if (and it may be) you$ do the evil~ thing, continually fear! For he is not bearing the short sword meaninglessly. For he is continually God’s domestic servant, an avenger in anger against the+ one customarily practicing the evil~ thing”(Rom. 14:1-4 APT).
b. Sins of commission.
This is the other category of sins. It is obvious to most people as far as blatant sins are concerned. Yet The Lord Jesus Christ indicated very clearly that the aggregate encompassed by this term is far more reaching than is often assumed. In addition to sinning by one’s deeds, The Lord Jesus taught that humans also sin by thought and by word.
(1). Sin in thought;
“You& heard that it was declared by the ancient+ ones, You$ shall not murder. Then who ever murder shall be guilty in the judging. But I Myself am saying to you,‘‘Everyone+ who is angry in himself with his /brother rashly shall be guilty in the judging. But who ever say to his /brother, Rahkáha, shall be guilty in the Sanhedrin. Then who ever say, O moron, shall be guilty unto the Géh-ehnnah[place of fiery torment for sin] of the fire.’’ . . . You& heard that it was declared by the ancient+ ones, You$ shall not commit adultery! But I myself am saying to you&, Everyone+ who looks at a woman toward the act of earnestly desiring her, already commits adultery with reference to her in his /heart. . . . You& heard that it was declared, You$ shall love your$ /neighbor and you$ shall hate your$ /enemy. But I Myself am saying to you&, Continually love& your& /enemies! Eulogize& the+ ones cursing you&! Continually do well to the+ ones hating you&! And continually pray in behalf of the ones despitefully abusing you& and persecuting you&!” (Mt. 5:21,22,27,28, 43,44 APT).
(2). Sin in word;
“But I am saying to you, ‘Every idle spoken word which ever the humans will speak, they shall render an account concerning it in 0Day of 0Judging’” (Mt. 12:36 APT).
(3). Sin in deed
“Now also Ehnōkh, 0seventh from Adam, prophesied against them, saying, Lo! 0Lord certainly soon comes in midst His holy myriads to execute judgment against all and to thoroughly convict all the ungodly+ ones of them concerning all their /works of ungodliness of which they were ungodly and concerning all the hard things which ungodly sinners spoke against Him” (Jude 15 APT).
2. How to die to Sin!
There are 4 steps that must be taken in order to die to Sin. The first step is:
a. Recognize What The God Sees (Rom. 6:1-10, see above in B. Dead to Sin).
Paul described the believer as dead to Sin. God sees that the old sinful ‘self’, that is “the old human of ours is crucified together with Him (Christ)’’ (v. 6). God looks back to Calvary where His obedient Son died for us and bore our sins on the cross. But He doesn’t see Christ, He sees you and me in all our sins crucified. When he looks at us now that we have appropriated His saving work on our behalf by repentance and faith and made to Him unreserved commitment, He sees Jesus Christ in all His righteousness. Therefore each of us must first recognize that the old ‘self’ is indeed dead in God’s sight. The moment we identified with Christ’s death on our behalf we died in the viewpoint of God. Once we recognize this fact, we must take the second step which is:
b. Reckon What The God Says (Rom. 6:11; see above under B. Dead to Sin).
We are to reckon (count to be true) ourselves to be dead indeed unto Sin. God not only sees you as dead. He says you are dead if indeed you are in Christ. ‘‘So that if (and it is true) anyone |be| in Christ, a new creature! The early things passed away [the old life is dead]. Lo! The all things are permanently become a new kind’’ (2 Cor. 5:17 APT). Now here is where you begin to give evidence that you are regenerated. You must reckon what God says is true to be a reality in your life. You do this by faith--the same kind of faith you exercised to receive the Lord Jesus Christ and eternal life. If you will learn this lesson now, you will save yourself much heartache and anguish as well as a defeated life. (No one ever explained this to me and it took over twenty years for me to learn the secret of living the kind of life God intended -- a life of victory and not defeat.)
When you reconcile your bank statement, you find the error in your calculations and bring your check book balance to agree with the total the bank says you have in the bank. God says you are dead to sin and alive in Christ. Now you must bring your life to agree with that. In order for me to do this, sometimes I must talk with myself. I have to say, ‘‘Fred, you are dead! Old man, lie down there and be dead. Lord, I yield to Thee. Take control in my life.’’ Once you reckon what God says to be true, you can take the third step.
c. Refuse What Sin Seeks (Rom. 6:12).
Sin seeks to reign in your mortal body. It wants to retain the control over you that it always had, before you came to Christ. In no way does Sin want to give up the dominion, control, and reign over you. But you must see to it that “the Sin is to stop reigning in the mortal body of yours’’ (Rom. 6:12). Refuse to permit Sin to have its way with you. The fourth step is linked with step three. As you refuse to grant what Sin seeks, at the same time you must yield your members to the Christ.
d. Render (yield) Your Members to Christ (Rom. 6: 13,16).
The secret of victory over the lusts of the flesh is to “yield” to The Lord Jesus Christ. Learn this lesson well now. This five letter word is the key to success in this new and wonderful life in Christ
“so that you& |not| continue obeying it in its /lusts! Neither continue yielding your& /members as weapons[implements of war] of unrighteousness to the Sin! But offer[t.t., lit.: to stand alongside, to present] yourselves at once |as sacrifices| to The God, as ones absolutely living& out of 0dead & ones and your /members as weapons[implements of war] of righteousness to The God!” (Rom. 6: 13 APT).
You cannot follow Christ, unless you deny ‘self’, die to ‘self,’ and to sin, and yield to Christ.
‘‘You& are aware, are you& not? That to whom you& yield yourselves bondslaves unto obedience, you& are bondslaves to whom you& are continually obeying, either to Sin unto death, or to obedience unto righteousness?’’ (Rom. 6:16 APT)
If you really want to live physically and enjoy life (both physically and spiritually), you must yield in obedience to The God. Constant failure to do this will end in physical death. “For if (and it is true) you& absolutely live according to 0flesh, you& are about to die off. But if (and it is true) by means of 0Spirit you& are continually putting to death the practices of the body, you& shall absolutely live” (Rom. 8:13 APT).
Now note the result of dying to Sin: it no longer exercises lordship or dominion over the one who has died to it.
“Sin shall not exercise lordship over you&” (Rom. 6:14 APT). Not only must we die to ‘self’ and to sin, but we must also die to the world.
C. Dead to the World. The Focus here is upon Involvement.
Moreover Paul declared that he is not only dead to ‘self’ (Gal. 2:20; 5:24) and to sin (Rom. 6:8), but also dead to the world.
“But may it never be for myself to boast except in the cross of The Lord of ours, Jesus Christ, through Whom 0world is crucified to myself and myself to the world” (Gal. 6:14 APT).
What is this world to which Paul was crucified through his identification with The Lord Jesus Christ in His crucifixion and which was crucified to himself? Our English Bibles have used the word ‘world’ to translate three different Greek words. Therefore it is necessary to identify the meaning of ‘world’ in order to answer this question. According to Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, English speaking people use this noun in fourteen different ways. This makes it difficult to get a clear understanding of what Scripture teaches by simply reading Scripture. We need to study the meanings of the Greek words in order to understand just what it is that The God intends to say to all people (especially to us). [For a fuller exposition of the meaning of ‘the world’ used in Scripture and how it is necessary to ‘die to the world,’ go to the paper under NOTES ON DISCIPLESHIP entitled THE CONDITIONS OF DISCIPLESHIP: The Disciplined Life 3, page 2. C. Dying to the World. Click here to read it now.]
1. Scriptural Definition of ‘World’
In addition to so many uses of the word in English (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary lists fourteen different uses), confusion is increased by three different Greek words unfortunately being translated ‘world’ instead of the translators delineating between the three.
a. αiών - refers to three similar but different ideas: (1) “an indefinitely long period of time translated ‘age’ (Acts 3:21; Eph. 3:11; Heb. 11:3); (2) eternity translated ‘for ever’ and ‘for evermore’ (1 Tim. 1:17; Rev. 1:18; Jn. 12:34); and (3) a particular period of time in the world’s history translated an age (Mt.13:39,40,49)
Thus αiών (aiōn) is an age, an indefinitely long period of time, consequently it refers to the world and its culture at a given time; the spirit of this age; a particular period of time or an age in the world’s history.
b. κόσμος - ‘world’ originally signified ‘ornament or adornment’ (1 Pet. 3:3), from this it became ‘order or arrangement or beauty’; later ‘the well ordered arrangement of the material universe which was visible therein’ (Mt. 13:35; Jn. 17:5; 21:25; Acts 17:24; Rom. 1:20). Then κόσμος came to mean “that external framework of things in which man lives and moves, which exists for him and of which he constitutes the moral centre” (Jn. 16:21; 1 Cor. 14:10; 1 Jn. 3:17)
Therefore κόσμος is the world system, wicked and alienated from The God, yet cultured, educated, powerful, outwardly moral at times, the system of which Satan is the head, and all humans are his subjects (bondslaves), while fallen angels - the demons are his servants. What is encompassed by these meanings in the Scriptural use of the word “world’?
(1) Included are those people alienated from The God, their pursuits, their possessions, their pleasures, their purposes, their popularity, their position, their prominence, and the places they frequent where The God is not welcome nor wanted.
(2) Also included are governments, politics, facts, customs, lusts, pleasures, and the values that this system which has man as its center desires, and around whom it revolves.
c. οίκουμένη - “inhabited globe” in our English Bibles has been rendered ‘world’ fourteen times and ‘earth’ once (examples: Mt. 24:14; Acts 17:31; 24:5; Rom. 10:18; Rev. 12:9). The term derived from this Greek word is ‘ecumenical.’ It refers to the whole inhabited Earth or Globe with its peoples everywhere.
2. The Distinction between These Three.
a. Distinguish Between αίών - age, κόσμος - system and adornment, and οίκουμένη - habitation .
The difference between these Greek words which translators failed to mark is that αίών refers to aspects of time and the prevailing spirit operative throughout an era of history, while κόσμος refers to aspects of space, system, and adornment; and οίκουμένη (the word from which ecumenical is derived) refers to the realm of habitation on the entire globe.
The Scriptures make a distinction between these aspects by the use of three different and distinct Greek words and so should all regenerated children of The God. There was not a problem for those regenerated ones in the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries even though the translators did not make the distinction in the text. The Bible scholars in those days clarified the meanings in their teaching and preaching. The distinction was clearly indicated by Bengel and Trench, two noted nineteenth century lexical scholars. Only since: easy believism, easy prayerism, and neo-evangelism and the age of: tolerance, entertainment, lethargy, and compromise has spread throughout the world by means of electronic media has the distinctions faded into insignificance, so that there is little difference between local church people who ‘claim’ salvation and religious people who do not. Much less is there a clear distinction between worldlings outside the local church as well as among the local church people who ‘claim’ salvation and the true disciples of The Christ; between those who ‘claim’ to be Christians and those who live out and out for The Lord Jesus Christ. But there should be a clear distinction according to The Lord Jesus Christ in His High Priestly prayer on the way to the Garden of Gathsaymehnáy on the night He was betrayed (Jn. 17:7-9,11-18). And according to the Scriptures written by Paul (1 Cor. 5:9-11,13; 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; 1 Cor. 7:31; Gal. 1:4; Rom. 12:2), John the beloved disciple (1 Jn. 2:15-17; 4:4-6,17; 5;4,5,19), and Jude, the brother of The Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 1,4,12,13,22,23) such a distinction was made.
In addition to a cross experience in which the regenerated disciple is crucified with The Lord Jesus Christ to ‘self’, Sin, and the world, the second requirement for co-builders of His Church that Jesus declared to His disciples was a commitment exhibited.
B. A Commitment Exhibited (v. 25);
The second requirement for disciples who shall be co-builders with The Lord Jesus Christ in building His Church is loyalty or faithfulness to His cause demonstrated by their life’s commitment to Him and His cause.
“For who ever determinedly wills to save his /natural life[soul] shall lose[utterly destroy, ruin] it, but who ever lose[utterly destroy, ruin] his /natural life[soul] for the cause of Mine shall find it” (Mt. 16:25 APT).
To what are you committed? To save your natural life (soul) for your own sake (cause) or to lose it for the cause of The Lord Jesus Christ? Just to say you are committed to the cause of The Lord Jesus Christ is not enough. You must demonstrate or exhibit your commitment to His cause. The way you live day by day, hour by hour demonstrates your commitment to which cause you faithfully serve. Again the question is raised, To what are you committed? This is a vital issue because it determines your eternal destiny. There is no in-between. Jesus said, “The one not being continually with Me is against Me. And the one not persistently gathering with Me is scattering” (Mt. 12:30). Either you are entirely, persistently committed to the cause of The Lord Jesus Christ or you are not. If you are not committed the cause of The Lord Jesus Christ you are committed to your own cause. And therefore The Lord Jesus Christ must say to you what He told the disciples and the crowds who followed Him in the Sermon on the Mount in Adar I (late first February), A.D. 31. When they knock at His door and want entrance into Heaven, “And at that time I shall confess to them, ‘I never knew[from experience] you&. You&, the ones working /lawlessness[non-observance of law], be disassociating away from Me!’” (Mt. 6:23 APT).
Ten months later in Kislev (December) A.D. 32, Luke recorded an occasion upon which Jesus likened beginning of the Kingdom of The God with similar language (Lk. 13:18-30).
“24Agonize in conflict to enter through the narrow gate because I am saying to you&, Many |people| will seek to enter and they shall not prevail[be strong]. 25From what ever |time| The Housemaster be risen up and lock off the door and you& begin to stand without[off away from] and to persistently knock at the door, saying, O Lord, O Lord, open to us! And when answering, He shall say to you&, I am not aware of you&, from what place you& are. . . . 27And He shall say, I am saying to you&, I am not aware of you&, from what place you& are. Get off away from Me, all you& workers of /unrighteous deeds! 28There shall be the loud weeping and the gnashing of the teeth whenever you& behold Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of The God, but yourselves being cast out without[off away from]” (Lk. 13:24,25,27,28 APT).
C. A Conversion Exchange (v. 26);
This is the third requirement for the co-builders of His Church with The Lord Jesus Christ.
“For what is a human[generic] benefited, if (and it may be) he gain the whole world and forfeit[suffer the loss of] his /soul[natural life]? Or what will a human[generic] give in exchange for his /soul[natural life]?” (Mt. 16:26 APT)
The word translated ‘exchange’ (v. 26) is the Greek word aντάλλαγμα (ahntáhllahgmah), which literally means ‘the price paid in exchange; the equivalent ransom.’ What can you offer in exchange for your soul? The answer is, “Absolutely nothing.” All unconverted sinners are worthless except to Satan to be used for destructive service against The God. The Lord Jesus Christ must pay the ransom price to buy you (your entire being; soul, spirit, and body) back for The God’s own possession. You and I can offer absolutely nothing for our ransom since we have been enslaved to Sin and controlled by Satan. Our only hope of redemption is found in The Lord Jesus Christ Who paid our ransom price in exchange for our souls to be possessed once again by our Creator. Since we can offer nothing for the price of our ransom to redeem us from Satan’s power and enslavement to Sin our Master, our only hope is to turn to The Lord Jesus Christ for deliverance, Salvation, and Eternal life. When we do this and yield the members of our bodies to Him, we are able to become co-builders with Him in building His Church.
III. The Paradox of The God’s plan For Jesus to Build His Church (Eph. 3:3-6):
The paradox is contained in the mystery of The Church as explained by Paul in his Epistle to Ephesians.
A. The Scriptural meaning of ‘mystery’:
Paul defines the meaning of ‘mystery’ and especially “the mystery of The Christ in his Epistles to Ephesians.
The Scriptural Definition of a mystery: “A profound truth that has been hidden or mysterious and not understood in past ages, but revealed to the Apostles and Prophets of Jesus Christ by The Holy Spirit and is now known and understood by the obedient and godly regenerated saints. He wrote:
“According to revelation He made known to me the mystery (according as I wrote before in a few |words|); with reference to which, as you& are reading, you& are able to comprehend[with the mind] my /understanding in the mystery of The Christ), which in other[different kind of] generations was not made known to the sons of the humans as now it is being revealed to the holy apostles and prophets of His by means of 0Spirit; 6in order that the Gentiles[nations] continually be co-heirs and joint-body-members and associates together of the promise of His in The Christ through the gospel” (Eph. 3:3-6 APT).
Earlier he wrote of a miracle of peace brought about in The Church of and by The Lord Jesus Christ. This miracle is that Gentiles, alienated from the citizenship of the Israel and strangers to the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants of promise and without hope and without The God in the World having been afar off are now brought near by means of the blood of The Christ and experience peace with God and with former enemies, both of whom were perpetually alienated in enmity which is now negated in His Church (Eph. 2:11-19).
“11Wherefore continually remember: that yourselves once the Gentiles[nations] in 0flesh, the ones being termed[being said], 0Uncircumcision by the ones being termed[being said], 0Circumcision Made by Hands in 0Flesh; 12that in that season of time you& were continually apart from Christ, being alienated ones from the citizenship of the Israel and strangers to the covenants[Abrahamic, Gen. 15: 4-21; Mosaic, Ex. 19:5-20:20; Davidic, 2 Sam. 7:5-19; 23:5] of the promise, ones not having hope and ones-without-God in the World. 13But even now in Christ Jesus you& yourselves, the ones once being far off, became near by means of the blood of The Christ. 14For He Himself is continually the peace of ours, Who made the& both& one, even after bringing to ruins[to loose] the middle wall of the partition 15and in His /flesh negating the enmity, |namely| the law of the commandments in the sphere of dogmas so that: He create the two in Himself into one new kind of human, in result making peace; 16and He completely reconcile the& both to The God in One Body through the cross and kill the enmity by means of it[the cross]. 17And after coming, He pronounced[evangelized] glad tidings with reference to peace to you&, the ones far off and to the ones near. 18Because through Him we, the& both, are continually having the access to[the face of, double προς] The Father by means of one Spirit. 19So then therefore you& are no longer strangers and sojourners, but on the contrary fellow citizens of the saints and household& ones of The God” (Eph. 2:11-19 APT).
B. The Mystery of His Church.
The mystery of His Church as explained by Paul is that the regenerated Gentiles[nations] continually be co-heirs and joint-body-members and associates together of the promise in The Christ through the Gospel and are brought together into One Body (Eph. 3:3-6 quoted above).
Paul added additional comment later in his Epistle regarding the great mystery of The Christ and His Church becoming one even as The God intended for the man and his wife (Eph. 5;29-32).
“29For not one+ at any time hated the flesh of himself, but on the contrary, he persistently nurtures and persistently keeps it warm according as also The Lord |does| The Church 30because we are continuously members of His /body, out of His /flesh and out of His /bones. 31In the face of this a human shall leave remaining behind the father and the mother of his and he shall be attached[glued to] to[the face of] his /wife! And they, the two shall continually be as one flesh. 32This is the great mystery. But I myself am speaking with regard to Christ and in regard to The Church” (Eph. 5:29-32 APT).
What does The God want us to learn from this lesson? (1 Cor. 3:10).
“According to the grace of The God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid down The Foundation, then another[same kind] builds upon |it|. But each one is to constantly beware how he continues building upon |it|!”(1 Cor. 3:10 APT).
Paul carefully and wisely laid The Foundation for others to build carefully and wisely upon It. He had: a cross experience, total persistent commitment to The Lord Jesus Christ, a conversion exchange, and compliance with The Lord Jesus Christ’s orders (commands). He made and baptized disciples. What about you? How well and precisely are you complying to the specific requirements that Jesus laid down to His disciples in order to be co-builders of His Church together with Him? Why not begin now to comply with His specifications?
| |understood $singular &plural /the 0no article +masculine ~neuter
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