by Shawn Brasseaux
The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:20 KJV: “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” Those of us who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we are “ambassadors for Christ.” We do not belong to this world. Recall that an ambassador serves in a foreign land. “Our conversation [lifestyle reflecting citizenship] is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). One brother aptly stated, “We are outposts from the third heaven.” God has temporarily left us in this world. Why?
When the ascended Lord Jesus Christ saved Saul of Tarsus, He saved him for a reason. God did not take Paul to heaven immediately after he was saved. In fact, for the next 35 years, the Apostle Paul labored on earth as “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13; Romans 15:16; 2 Timothy 1:11). One day, Paul finished his course, and God took him to heaven (2 Timothy 4:6,7). While the Apostle Paul died almost 2,000 years ago, his ministry is still having a profound impact on the world!
As members of the Church the Body of Christ, the ascended Lord has given us the same ministry He first gave to the Apostle Paul. Our Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:8-12 KJV:
“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:
10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.”
For the same reason He left Paul on earth, God has left us here in this world. We too have been given the ministry “to make all men see…” (verse 9). Make all men see what? Within God’s Word, He gave us thirteen epistles (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon). God wants the whole world to know of the doctrine that is found exclusively in Paul’s epistles. The lost world and our Christian brethren need us to preach to them “the unsearchable riches of Christ” and “the fellowship of the mystery.” Oftentimes these are overlooked… even in many so-called “Bible-believing” churches.
BEHOLD, THE MANIFOLD WISDOM OF GOD!
As we study God’s Word, God’s way, we learn that the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ is doing something amazing in this the Dispensation of Grace. As “the ministers [servants] of Christ and stewards [servants] of the mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1,2), it is our responsibility to make this information known to all of the world. God wants to use us Christians to make known unto the angelic host and all men the plan that He had hidden in Himself since the world began, but the plan that He currently has in operation (Ephesians 3:1-9; Colossians 1:26,27). This is “the manifold wisdom of God” (Ephesians 3:10). What was God’s plan?
God finally revealed this secret plan to the Apostle Paul, so now, in the writings of Paul (Romans through Philemon), we can read this previously hidden information. According to 1 Corinthians 2:6-8, Philippians 2:5-11, and Colossians 1:16,20, God would use the merits of Jesus Christ’s finished work on Calvary’s cross to restore His authority not only in the earth (which is the focus of Israel’s prophetic program), but also in the heaven (the focus of our mystery [secret] program). By keeping that information secret until Paul, God demonstrated His “manifold wisdom.” Satan would crucify Jesus Christ, thereby participating in his own defeat, and would not learn about that secret until after he had killed Jesus Christ!
In this the Dispensation of Grace, God is forming the Church the Body of Christ, a spiritual group of believing Jews and Gentiles who will one day take over the heaven for His glory (just as God formed the nation Israel to take over the earth for His glory).
Today, anyone who trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her personal Saviour—he or she trusts in the fact that “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again for our justification” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 4:25)—God has promised that person everlasting life and permanent salvation in the Church the Body of Christ. But salvation is just one aspect of the Christian ambassadorship…. the other is spiritual growth and maturity.
In 1 Timothy 2:3,4, we learn that God’s will is “to have all men saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.” We at arC Ministries also desire that all people would be saved. Moreover our will is that every Christian is firmly grounded and stabilized in the Holy Scriptures rightly divided. Our goals in this ministry can be summarized in two brief statements:
- Preach Jesus Christ crucified, buried, and raised again as the only means of salvation, and
- Edify/build up the Christian brethren using dispensational Bible study.
Salvation allows us to participate in God’s purpose and plan for the heaven and the earth. Spiritual maturity enables us to understand and appreciate God’s purpose and plan and our role in it.
After salvation God wants to establish you, to have your inner man (soul) firmly fixed on the truth of His Word rightly divided. This will only happen through your studying God’s Word, God’s way: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV).
Now that you are saved in Christ Jesus, God wants to educate you as to why He saved you by using dispensational Bible study. Once you grasp a firm understanding of what God is doing, then God wants you to tell others what He is doing (that He wants to save them and that He also wants their participation in what He is doing).
BEHOLD, GOD’S “ETERNAL PURPOSE” AND THE “UNSEARCHABLE RICHES OF CHRIST”
We saw earlier in Ephesians 3:8-11 where Paul wrote that God commissioned him “to 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:” God the Father has an “eternal purpose,” something that He has “purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (verse 11). God the Father’s manifold wisdom is expressed in this eternal purpose. What is the “eternal purpose of God?”
The Bible tells us in Ephesians 1:9,10 KJV: “[God] Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 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:”
God the Father has one overriding plan: He is determined to make His Son Jesus Christ the head of the governments of the heaven and the earth (Colossians 1:16-20). This will be accomplished in the ages to come (Ephesians 2:6,7)—“the dispensation of the fulness of times.” The “unsearchable riches of Christ” is a reference to what Christ will inherit one day: He will inherit the governments of the heaven and the earth as well as us the saints! How “unsearchable” is that! Furthermore, that information cannot be found in the Old Testament—it was not revealed at that time so no one could “search” it out (cf. John 5:39). God first revealed it to the Apostle Paul.
Ephesians 1:18 says, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” Not only is Christ Jesus going to inherit something, but we as members of the Church the Body of Christ are also going to inherit what Jesus Christ will inherit. Consider Romans 8:17: “And if [we are] children [of God], then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” As members of the Body of Christ we will share in ruling and reigning with Christ in the heaven. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:” (2 Timothy 2:12)!!
To prepare us for our role in heaven in the ages to come, God has left His preserved Word. In the form of the Authorized Version King James Bible, we have God’s preserved and perfect Word in English. In order to educate you in His purpose and plan for the ages, He has left you His Word, so it is critically important that you have the right Bible. You cannot trust the modern Bibles because their underlying manuscripts and translation philosophies are untrustworthy.
God wants “edified” (built up) and “perfected” (spiritually matured) saints (Ephesians 4:12), for only they can do the work of the ministry He has for them. Before we can share God’s Word with others, we must first know what God’s Word says. When we study God’s Word, rightly divided, understanding that all of the Bible is written for us but not all of the Bible is written to us or about us, and then we believe that sound doctrine, we are building inside our inner man a structure, an “edifice,” of sound doctrine.
This structure is to be built according to sound (dispensational) Bible teaching. It will not only enable you to share the truths of God’s Word with others, but it will equip you to function in the ages to come for God’s glory in the heaven.
God’s Word will “stablish” (stabilize) your Christian life and inner man via a three-fold process. The Bible says in 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:”
God wants to “stablish” (stablize) us, His saints in Christ Jesus. He will bring stability to our Christian life using a three-fold process:
- “my gospel”—Paul’s Gospel, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 is the foundation of the Christian life
- “the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery”—this is Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, the sound doctrine (building materials) which we use to build on that foundation
- “the scriptures of the prophets”—this is all of the Holy Scriptures, in light of the doctrine revealed to Paul.
This is why rightly dividing the word of truth and studying the Bible are so important. We study all of the Bible, Genesis through Revelation, but we follow the design of Christian edification as laid out in Romans 16:25,26. This Bible study summarizes what arC Ministries is all about.
A FEW CLOSING WORDS
Saints and beloved in the Lord, as we reflect on the ministry this past year, we ponder the heartaches, the times of rejoicing, the friendships gained and lost, the enemies gained and lost, the spiritual growth, and the fellowship with you. We at arC Ministries consider it a privilege to work with you alongside the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ in allowing Him to accomplish His will in and through us. As we know, our work here is of great importance, for it holds eternal value.
How we thank God for your fellowship in the gospel. We thank you from the very depths of our hearts for praying for us. Your prayers have sustained us.
Like our Apostle Paul, we must finish our course. In the next year, we hope to see many more souls saved from hell, and many more souls saved from religion. Lord willing, we will continue seeking more ways to get the message of God’s grace published. Thank you for supporting us with your prayers.
To the praise and glory of the risen Christ, whom we serve in the ambassadorship,