Lesson 2 – Hidden Things Revealed
Key Verse – Colossians 1:26-27
There can be no doubt that we enjoy a relationship with God that is different from that of the Old Testament saints. The difference of course, is that they had God with them, and we have God in us. God revealed to the Old Testament prophets a few things concerning the New Testament plan of Salvation, but some things were a mystery to them.
This lesson will show that God had hidden some things concerning the New Testament plan of Salvation (the Church Age).
Have you ever wondered how our experience with God today differs from that of the Old Testament Church? The Old Testament saints believed God and had faith in Him. God communicated with them and moved on them. In fact, there were many notable miracles done by people of God in the Old Testament.
However, if we have an experience with God that the Old Testament people did not have (and that angels desire to look into [I Peter 1:12]), what is it? How does our salvation differ from theirs? If we only believe in God, have faith in Him, or just live for Him — we do not have anything different than they had. First, lets look at the mystery…
THE MYSTERY HIDDEN FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT CHURCH
I Pet 1-9-12, “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have inquired 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 beforehand 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”.
The Prophets saw a salvation or an experience with God that was not for them, but us. It is a Gospel now preached to us with the “…Holy Ghost sent down from heaven…”
Romans 16:25-26, “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:”
Again, we see a mystery hidden from the Old Testament Church that had been kept secret since the world began, but is not made apparent to all nations.
PAUL: THE APOSTLE TO THE GENTILES
The Apostle Paul also talks about this secret kept hidden from the Old Testament Prophets. He reveals to us what that mystery is.
First, let’s look at the importance of the teachings of the Apostle Paul, and why they are so important to the Gentiles during the dispensation of Grace. Paul is the Apostle specifically called by God to bring the Gospel light to the Gentiles.
Romans 11: 13, “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:” Would you not agree that whatever Paul has to say to us takes on a double significance? We are the Gentiles that Paul is talking to.
Ephesians 3:1-10, “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 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 fellow heirs, 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 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: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,”
Let’s take a quick look at what we learn here. God gave Paul the revelation of the mystery, which in other ages was not known by men. He revealed it to his Prophets and Apostles that the Gentiles would make up the body of Christ along with the Jews (we will see the significance of this in the next lesson). The point here is that God anointed Paul to preach to us the meaning of the mystery.
Ephesians 6:19, “And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,”
PAUL TELLS US SPECIFICALLY WHAT THAT MYSTERY IS
Colossians 1:24-27, “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: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill 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:
Again we see Paul telling us that God had given him the meaning of the mystery hid from ages and generations, but now is made known unto us, which is … CHRIST IN YOU!
Three words sum it up–CHRIST IN US. The difference in our experience with God and theirs is that God was with them, but He is in us. This is the experience of the baptism of the Holy Ghost! We will see more about this as these lessons unfold.
We must remember the importance of the words of Paul to us Gentiles. We must obey the “light” that he sheds on this subject.
2 Corinthians 4:3-7, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
What is this treasure in earthen vessels? The Spirit of God in these fleshly bodies! Because the Spirit dwells in us, we become the temple of God.
1 Corinthians 3:16, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
I Corinthians 6:19, “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye Have in God, and ye are not your own?
The New Testament Church!
“…Upon this rock I will build my church…”
– Jesus Christ
It is obvious that the Church is God’s idea. He had specific guidelines to outline its reason for existence, its purpose, how to manage it, how to get in it, its standards, and what its future is. There are also many promises and prophecies concerning the power, ministry and future of the Church.
Obviously, there is a Church in the world today that is clearly identifiable and recognizable. We should love and cherish it with all our heart and life. We should also support it with our money, time, talents, and ability.
The church is the agency, through which, Jesus Christ has chosen to save mankind. We cannot be saved outside the church, which is the body of Christ. The church is to the world today, what the Ark was to people in Noah’s day: Our refuge, our safety, a way to escape the judgment of God upon the world. It is the church, which is also His bride, that Christ intends to return for someday soon!
It is important that we understand that God declared His intentions to build the Church, and to preserve and protect it, against the powers of hell.
Matthew 16:18, “And I (Jesus) say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
WHAT or WHO IS THE CHURCH?
In our vocabulary, the word church is usually understood in two ways: a) the building people gather in to worship God, b) the people who make up the Church. But this is not the Biblical concept of the word.
Actually, the word church comes from a Greek word meaning, “a calling out’. This is a reference to those whom God has called, chosen, and filled with HIS Spirit. We call them saints (Romans 1:7). We also refer to people, truly in the church, as being saved Being saved, means that we have been rescued, from a life of sin, and the judgment of God against sin.. It means that we have been justified and reconciled to God.
As we will see in the following Scriptures, the Bible, does not look at the building as the Church, nor does it consider people who not saved or born again, as being the church.
In a Biblical sense, the church is a reference to the people of God (Hebrews 4:9), the children of God (Romans 9:26), the elect of God (Colossians 3:12), the chosen of God (Ephesians 1:4), the redeemed of God (Galatians 3:13), the saints of God (Romans 1:7), those who are filled with His Spirit (Romans 8:)!
JUST CALLING YOURSELF A CHRISTIAN IS NOT ENOUGH!
The word Christian means to be like Christ. It means to be Christ man. A Christian is not a Christian just because they profess to be one. You can call yourself a car, but that want make you one! A Christian is one who endeavors to follow the teachings of Christ. How can we call Him Lord, unless we obey the things He says (Luke 6:46)?
Jesus taught us to repent, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish “(Luke 13:3).
Jesus taught us to be baptized in His name, “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47).
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. ” (Matthew 2 8 -.19).
Jesus taught us to be filled with the Holy Spirit, “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
John 7:37-40, “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:37-39).
The teachings of Jesus concerning the infilling of the Holy Ghost will be covered in more detail in lesson three.
THE CHURCH IS LITERALLY THE BODY OF CHRIST!
Jesus Christ alone is not the Church. Without God, we are not the Church. The Spirit of God in us (not just with us), makes us the Church! If you have the Spirit of God in your heart, you are the church! There is nothing we have that God needs except a body, heart and soul, He can live in. He has to have us, in order to have a Church.
The Old Testament church did not have God in them as we do today. God was simply with them. This is why the church, as we know it today, was a mystery to them. This is the only difference between our salvation and theirs. Christ in us, is the hope of glory!
“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:” (Colossians 1:26-27).
CHRIST IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH.
Scripture reveals to us that Christ is the head of the Church, and the church is the body of Christ. “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-24). Also read Ephesians 1:22, 5:23).
Colossians 1:18, “And he is the head of the body, the church…” Remember — Christ only has one body (Romans 12:5), the church, and a body without a head is a freak!
As the body of Christ, the Church is a living organism. There is a built-in life force that guarantees its growth and continuation (Isaiah 9:6-7 – Acts 2:47). It has principles of life, which if followed, will produce a growing and living people, called the church!
The following shows us how Christ feels about His church. “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:23, 25-27, 29-32).
HOW DO WE GET IN THE CHURCH?
You get in the church by being born into God’s family. Signing a church roll or shaking the preacher’s hand does not make us a member of the body of Christ! We can only be part of God’s Kingdom by the New Birth.
John 3:5,7, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Marvel not that I say unto you, ye must be born again”
How are we born again? By obeying the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. In Acts 2:37 the people asked the Apostle Peter what they needed to do. He said, “…Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
In that verse, we see the three elements of the Gospel. Repentance is a type of our death, dying out to the things of the world (Galatians 5:24, Romans 6:6-8), Baptism is a type of our burial (Colossians 2:12), and the in-filling of the Holy Ghost is a type of our resurrected, born again, new birth experience (Romans 6:4-8).
HOW CAN WE IDENTIFY THE TRUE CHURCH?
As with any enterprise, the church has certain characteristics, principles, standards, and doctrines that identify it to the world.
The true church of Christ today is one that believes and obeys the gospel, which is the plan of salvation. This study, The Promise of an Experience With God, lays this out in complete detail.
The church recognizes the Bible as the infallible Word of God, and preaches, teaches, and lives the same. The Word of God is the final authority and is not superseded by any thing else. The true church of God, preaches the whole word of God.
The church today is a holy church, living a Godly and holy life. It is a church that believes in the power of God to heal, deliver and save the souls of mankind.
If you want to find the true church in the world today, do not pay any attention to the organization, the name over the door, or the popularity of its preacher. Find one that teaches the Apostles Doctrine (Acts 2:42), the New Birth through salvation by faith, believing and obeying the Gospel of Christ. Namely, repentance, baptism in the Name of Jesus, the infilling of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2, 10, 19), and true holiness, “…without which no man shall see the Lord…” (Hebrews 12:14).
GOD’S PURPOSE FOR THE CHURCH
God wants His people to model and reveal, God Himself to the world. We are His body, His hands, feet, and mouth. The only way some people will ever see God is through us. We are ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).
“Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart” (2 Corinthians 3:2-3). That is why we should live Godly, holy, and righteously in this present world (Titus 2:11, 1 Peter 1:15).
We are to live our life in such a way, as to win others to Christ. “…To seek and to save…” the lost is the purpose of God for coming into the world.
God intends for the world to discover the treasures and riches of Christ through His church…….. I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable Riches of Christ; 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: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:” (Ephesians 3:8-11).
WHAT WE FIND IN THE CHURCH.
The church is to receive and administer, to the world, the grace and power of God. In the church you will find healing for sick bodies, minds, and spirits (Luke 4:18, James 5:14), deliverance from sin and the powers of darkness Colossians 1: 13), salvation for the soul (Luke 19: 1 0), as well as the love, peace, and joy of God (Romans 14:17).
This was the ministry of Christ, and it has been committed into the hands of the church to administer to others. (2 Corinthians 5:18).
God has also given the church special gifts to help administer the things of God to the church. This is the five-fold ministry. Ephesians 4:8,11-13, “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists, and some, pastors and teachers;”. Each of these ministries has a specific and unique purpose in the church.
Ephesians 4:12-13 tells us what these reasons are, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: ”
WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF THE CHURCH?
God did not intend for the church to endure on the earth, as it is today, forever. He had a plan and purpose for the church, and when it is accomplished, He will return and bring it to Himself. The future of the church is bright!
Ephesians 5:25-27, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
I Thessalonians 4:15-17, “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we ever be with the Lord.”