GETTING A STRATEGIC GRASP OF THE PAULINE EPISTLES
When we come to Paul’s thirteen epistles (Romans to Philemon) for “the body of Christ” we’ve arrived at what might be called “our mail” for today. The entire Bible is for us – “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning” (Rom 15:4a), but not all Scripture is about us, as members of “the body of Christ” specifically. Yet, since we are not the only people God has in His plans and purpose, we must never be so selfish as to think “every promise in the book is mine.”
We must always read and note “to whom” any particular Scripture is addressed, and “of whom” it is speaking. We need to know where we fit into God’s eternal plan and that Paul is our “Apostle.” We must “rightly divide the word of truth” so we can have a genuine appreciation for God’s word that is specifically addressed to us as the members of “the body of Christ.” There is nothing more exciting than to have God’s word working effectually “in you that believe” (1Thes 2:13). It is our faith, resting in an intelligent understanding of God’s Word that liberates its power into the detail of our lives, yielding rest and peace as we press on toward His eternal purpose.
A. Paul is our Apostle and as such he is God’s spokesmen for today.
Romans 11:13 For I (Paul) speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I AM THE APOSTLE OF THE GENTILES…
Romans 15:15-16 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me (Paul) of God, 16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me (Paul), even as I also am of Christ.
Galatians 1:11-12 But I certify you, brethren, that THE GOSPEL WHICH WAS PREACHED OF ME is not after man. 12 For I neither RECEIVED IT of man, neither was I taught it, but BY THE REVELATION OF (FROM) JESUS CHRIST.
Ephesians 3:1-9 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation (oikonomia, administration) of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3 How that by revelation he (Jesus) made known unto me THE MYSTERY; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
Titus 1:1-3 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; 2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; 3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me (Paul) according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
Colossians 1:25-28 Whereof I (Paul) am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil (Gk., pleroo, “to complete”) the word of God; 26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of THIS MYSTERY among the Gentiles; which is CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
1 Thessalonians 4:1-2 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. 2 For ye know what commandments (instructions) we gave you by (from) the Lord Jesus.
Compare PAUL’S CLAIMS and STATUS TODAY with… MOSES CLAINS toward
MOSES said: Deut 4:1-6 hearken, O
, unto the statutes and unto THE JUDGMENTS, WHICH I (Moses) TEACH YOU… that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you. 2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD YOUR GOD WHICH I COMMAND YOU 5 Behold, I HAVE TAUGHT YOU STATUTES AND JUDGMENTS, EVEN AS THE LORD MY GOD COMMANDED ME… Israel
By Contrast Paul writes: 1 Cor 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that THE THINGS THAT I (PAUL) WRITE UNTO YOU ARE THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD.
Things That We Would LOSE Without Paul’s Ministry
There would be no information for us regarding;
Ø The meaning of Christ’s Cross, death and shed blood; redemption, reconciliation, justification, etc.
Ø “The Mystery,” which includes “Christ in you (Gentiles)”(
Ø “Body of Christ” – Eph 3:3-6
Ø “Dispensation of the grace of God” - Eph 3:2
Ø “Gospel of the grace of God” – Acts 20:24, 1Cor 15:3-4
Ø The temporary setting aside of
– Rom 11:11, 25 Israel
Ø The “no difference between Jew and Gentile” status under grace today - Rom 10:11, Eph 2:13-18, Gal 3:28
Ø The “One Baptism” (Eph 4:5) into the “body of Christ” (1Cor 12:13)
Ø A commission that believers can fulfill today – 2 Cor 5:14-20, Eph 3:1-9 - 2 Corinthians 5:18, 20 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation… 20Now then we are ambassadors for Christ…
Paul’s ministry is the means whereby our ascended Lord from heaven’s glory has made known to us “the faith.”
Titus 1:1-3 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to THE FAITH OF GOD'S ELECT, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; 2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; 3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me (Paul) according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
Members of the “Body of Christ” needs to know and be Established in “the faith” that Paul brought to light.
Romans 1:11-12 that I (Paul) may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be ESTABLISHED; 12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by THE MUTUAL FAITH BOTH OF YOU AND ME.
Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to STABLISH YOU ACCORDING TO MY (PAUL’S) GOSPEL, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
B. THE REASON “THE MYSTERY” WAS KEPT AS A MYSTERY (A SECRET)
Eze 28:3 thou (the Devil) art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee:
YET, THE DEVIL IS NOT OMNISCIENT. The Devil, was taken in his craftiness by “the Mystery.” “The Mystery” of the cross of Christ was kept secret from the Devil, and his evil principalities and powers.
1 Corinthians 2:6-8 …we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a MYSTERY, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which NONE OF THE PRINCES OF THIS WORLD KNEW: for had they known it, they WOULD NOT have crucified the Lord of glory.
WHY THE MYSTERY? The Mystery is… “To the (God’s) intent that NOW unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Eph 3:10).
In ignorance, the Devil crucified Jesus, which actually made “the works of the Devil.” of no effect!
Hebrews 2:14 … he (Jesus) also himself likewise took part of the same (flesh body as us); that through death he might destroy (Gk., kartargeo, “make of no effect”) him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
Neutering the Devil is in accord with God’s eternal Plan for the fulness of times as entailed in “the Mystery”
Ephesians 1:9-11 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 (So) that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Eph 3:7-11 I (Paul) was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his (God’s) power. 8 Unto me (Paul), 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; 9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10
C. THE “THE BODY OF CHRIST” IS NECESSARY TO GOD’S ETERNAL PLAN
The “body of Christ” will one day occupy the heavens in authority, as God’s co-agent, in accord with God’s eternal purpose in Christ. We will replace the Devil and his angels in heaven.
After being cast out of the Third heaven, the Devil, the usurper, has had control of both the lower heaven and the earth. Then in Genesis 1:2, we see judgment came upon “the world that then was” (2Peter 3:5-7). This was since a time The 6-day recreation account begins in Genesis 1:3.
The Devil poisoned humanity through Adam’s fall and he crucified the Lord Jesus. As we’ve seen, in the act of the crucifixion, the Devil unknowingly brought about the seeds of his own destruction, which will culminate in “the Lake of fire,” which Jesus said was “prepared for the Devil and his fallen angels” (Matthew 25:41) .
After the Devils final overthrow, the believing remnant of
Israelwill co-rule with Christ as His agency in the earth; to be a blessing to all nations during the Millennial Kingdomand in the on earth. Eternal Kingdom
Before that, after the rapture, the members of “the body of Christ,” will have assumed its elevated position in their home in heaven (Philippians 3:20), where they will co-rule over the angelic host as God’s agency in heaven.
Thus, Christ will rule through the agency of these two people groups; “the body of Christ” in the heaven and, believing
in earth. Israel
The PLAN OF THE USURPER – The Devil
Isaiah 14:12-15 (KJV) How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. Note below that the Devil, referred to as King of Tyrus. was in “
” and “holy mount” of Heaven. Eden
THE FATE OF THE USURPER: The Devil
The Devil’s Loss of Power is Prophesied:
Genesis 14:19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of HEAVEN AND EARTH:
Genesis 14:22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of HEAVEN AND EARTH,
Ezekiel 28:12-19 Son of man (Ezekiel), take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus (The Devil), and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13 Thou hast been in
Edenthe ;… the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created (NOT BORN). 14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy gardenof God ; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. 16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountainof God : and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. 18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. 19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more. mountainof God
Matthew 25:41 Then shall he (Christ) unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into EVERLASTING FIRE, PREPARED FOR THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS:
God’s Eternal Purpose & Plan for the Powers & Heaven & Earth:
Colossians 1:16-20 For by him (Christ) were all things created, that are in HEAVEN, AND THAT ARE IN EARTH, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18 And he (Christ) is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things IN EARTH, or THINGS IN HEAVEN.
Ephesians 1:9-10 Having made known unto us the mystery of his (God’s) will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10 That IN THE DISPENSATION OF THE FULNESS OF TIMES he might gather together IN ONE ALL THINGS IN CHRIST, both which are IN HEAVEN, and which are ON EARTH; even in him:
In the “BUT NOW,” this day in which we live…
1. We see the “Body of Christ” destined to become God’s agency, co-reign with Christ, in the “heavenly places.” Ephesians 2:5-7 (KJV) 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
(For detail see the writers book “The Dynaspheres,” by Arthur J, Licursi)
2. The Operating System today is “Grace.” Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
3. Salvation and blessing are provided to ALL people on an equal basis in Christ Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
4. God’s purpose is to exalt Jesus Christ as the Head of the government in the “heavenly places” through the instrumentality of the “body of Christ.” Eph 1:10 That IN THE DISPENSATION OF THE FULNESS OF TIMES he might gather together IN ONE ALL THINGS IN CHRIST, both which are IN HEAVEN, and which are ON EARTH; even in him: