What did Paul mean when he said to Timothy:
“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel.” II Timothy 1:8.
Before we answer this question let us quote Paul’s words in II Corinthians 1:5 and in Colossians 1:24 and 25:
“The sufferings of Christ abound in us.” “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 (complete) the Word of God, the Mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints.”
Then II Timothy 2:9 and 12 and II Timothy 3:12:
“MY GOSPEL. WHEREIN I SUFFER TROUBLE AS AN EVIL DOER, EVEN UNTO BONDS; BUT THE WORD OF GOD IS NOT BOUND.” “IF WE SUFFER WE SHALL ALSO REIGN.” “YEA, AND ALL WHO WILL LIVE GODLY IN CHRIST JESUS SHALL SUFFER PERSECUTION.”
In II Timothy 1:8, Paul wrote of the afflictions of the gospel in connection with that which he called in II Timothy 1:12, “my deposit.” In the Greek we learn that Paul wrote of “my deposit” in this verse, “For the, which cause I also suffer these things.” Because of that ministry which Paul, in II Timothy, calls “my gospel” and “my deposit,” Paul was in jail suffering as an evil doer.
We learn in Ephesians 6:18 to 20 and Colossians 4:3 and 4, that Paul was in jail for “the mystery;” for “the Mystery of the Gospel.”
There is a difference between the gospel, as recorded in I Corinthians 15:3 and 4, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and “the mystery of the gospel.”
What then is “the Mystery of the Gospel?” Whatever “the Mystery” is, or is not, we know that it is Divine Truth that was unknown to any servant of the Lord for more than four thousand years, until it was revealed by Christ, after His resurrection, to the Apostle Paul. Ephesians 3:8 and 9—Colossians 1:26. It was hid in God from the beginning of the world. It was never mentioned by any of the Old Testament prophets. It was not mentioned while Christ was on earth. It was not mentioned in the ministry of Peter and the Eleven, in Acts. But we know that the gospel by which we are saved,-the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Christ, was all according to the Scriptures. I Corinthians 15:3 to 5. This was foretold by Israel’s prophets.
Every person who has ever been saved, since the days of Abel, has been saved on the grounds of the death and resurrection of Christ. Note Acts 13:29 and 30: “And when they had fulfilled all that was written of Him, they took Him down from the tree, and laid Him in a sepulchre. But God raised Him from the dead.”
Thus we see that “the Mystery of the Gospel” is something different from the fact that Christ died for our sins and was buried and raised the third day.
As Christians, we will be spared much controversy, if we get fixed in our minds and hearts that, in addition to God’s redemptive message for sinners, the word “gospel” covers the entire range of God’s truth in which there is any spiritual benefit or blessing for saints. Never before the revelation to and by Paul did the Lord make known such a “grace” gospel as we find in II Timothy 1:9:
“Who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”
The Holy Spirit calls this “God’s eternal purpose in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 3:11. Who preached it to Gentiles? Paul. Read II Timothy 1:11.
Of course Peter and all the uncompromising messengers of the Lord Jesus Christ suffered at the hands of evil-doers and most of these persecutions came from religious people who claimed that they were God’s servants. Note I Thessalonians 2:14 to 16: “. . . For ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.”
They suffered because they preached the gospel; but they were not in jail for “the mystery of the gospel.” “How that by revelation He made known unto ME “the Mystery. “ Then note Ephesians 3:8:
“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.”
The word “unsearchable” here means “not-to-be-traced”, that is, “unprophesied.” “The mystery” was “Gentilish” rather than “Israelitish.”
Let us think of “the Mystery of the Gospel” as “the eternal purpose of God” concerning members of Christ’s Body “being predestinated according to the purpose of Him Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.” Ephesians 1:11.
The “not-to-be-traced (unprophesied)” riches of Christ for heathen was different from any message or ministry foretold by Israel’s prophets or preached by the Twelve. This Divine Truth, “the dispensation of the Mystery” (Ephesians 3:9), was made known after God brought religion to an end with the setting aside of His religious Nation, Israel. After that time Israelites had to come for “grace” salvation, not as sons of Abraham, but with the heathen, as sons of Adam.
Paul was neither deluded, presumptuous, nor egotistical when he mentioned himself in the first person pronoun, more than ten hundred times. He spoke the truth when be said: “I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” I Corinthians 15:10.
Note Paul’s testimony in Galatians 1:10: “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men I should not be the servant of Christ.” Galatians 2:5: “To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.”
Galatians 6:12: “As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.”
Galatians 5:11: “And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.”
Paul’s religious enemies were determined that he and his “grace” converts should add circumcision or something religious to the “grace” gospel.
So far as the apostles were concerned, Paul stood alone, that there should be no mixture of anything religious with that gospel which he preached to heathen. Read Galatians 2:10 to 15. Such a stand caused him much suffering, but he did not compromise to please men.
He would permit nothing to take away the offence of the cross. We are to follow Paul as he followed Christ. I Corinthians 11:1 and Philippians 3:17. For the spiritual aggressive servant of Christ, it is either compromise or suffering. The less the compromise the more the suffering.
What folly then to try to make the “gospel of grace” popular or to pervert that gospel with religion to please religious people!
Little do we appreciate all that is meant by Paul’s final words: “I have fought a good fight . . . I have kept the faith.” II Timothy 4:7.
A short time ago a faithful pastor, who had suffered much from the religious friendly enemies. because of his uncompromising stand for the “Christ-Pauline” message, said, “What we need today among our Bible teachers is some tentmakers; then perhaps so many of our Fundamentalist brethren would not keep silent concerning `the mystery of the gospel”, for the sake of personal advantage.” This message is not popular in religious circles or with sectarian Christians. and sad to say its bitterest foes are many of the outstanding preachers in the “Fundamentalist” organizations.
As we study II Timothy, concerning the peculiar message and ministry of Paul, which he calls in II Timothy 1:12, “my deposit (paratheke) “ and compare with the statements in Ephesians 6:18 to 20 and Colossians 4:3 and 4, that Paul was in jail for “the Mystery,” as the prisoner of the Lord Jesus Christ for Gentiles (Ephesians 3:1), we can better understand the particular sufferings to which he referred when he said: “ Wherein I suffer trouble as an evil doer, even unto bounds; but the Word of God is not, bound.” II Timothy 2:9.
Note again II Timothy 2:12: “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.” Then Paul added. “Yea, and all that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” II Timothy 3:12.
There are multitudes of God’s people who are testifying daily to sinners concerning salvation by the death and resurrection of Christ, who are not partakers of the afflictions of the gospel. There are a number of outstanding “Fundamentalist” Bible-teachers and evangelists in this country, who stand for the verbal inspiration of the Bible, for the Deity, death and resurrection of Christ, preaching salvation by blood, who are not partakers of the afflictions of the gospel. Some of them travel first class. They stay at the finest hotels, receive from $75.00 to $375.00 per week for their services. They never know what it is to be a “partaker of the afflictions of the gospel.” They are very careful not to jeopardize their popularity, or fearlessly speak forth some Bible truth that might offend their religious hearers, and thereby cut down their income, or hinder a return engagement.
They pay little, or no heed to Galatians 1:10, concerning pleasing men rather than God. They seem perfectly willing to add it little something to take away the offence of the cross if that pleases their donors.
Satan becomes very much exercised when God’s servants teach the truth concerning “the dispensation of the grace of God,” for he knows that the Pauline Gospel will deliver religious people from all their religious entanglements. This Satan does not want. So he ever brings pressure to bear to keep God’s servants ignorant or silent concerning this special phase of Divine Truth. Many servants who are not ignorant are silent so as to escape the afflictions of the gospel. The jail door was opened for Paul because he was making known “the Mystery of the Gospel”. Ephesians 6:18 and 19. Then multitudes of those who had been saved by his preaching, turned away from him. II Timothy l:15—II Timothy 4:16. While suffering its an evil doer in his prison cell he asked others to pray for open doors where the Mystery might be preached. Colossians 4:3 and 4. Let us join in that prayer.
ROMANS 8:17 AND 18
“And if children, 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. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
II CORINTHIANS 1:7
“And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.”
“That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.”
I PETER 3:14, 17 AND 18
“But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled.”
“For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”
Many Christian foreign missionaries have suffered much, some of them unto death. Many Christian preachers in the homeland have labored with inadequate financial support and have suffered hardships, self-denial, sacrifice, and persecution. Yet the majority of these missionaries and preachers have not been partakers of that phase of the gospel to which Paul referred in II Timothy 1:8. Always read II Timothy 1:8 with II Timothy 2:8 and with Colossians 4:3 and 4, and especially with Ephesians 6:11 to 21. Let us note several of the verses in the sixth chapter of Ephesians:
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESS IN THE HEAVENLIES.” Ephesians 6:11 and 12.
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints: 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, For which I AM AN AMBASSADOR IN BONDS: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” Ephesians 6:18 to 20.
Note here concerning the devil and the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies. “In the heavenlies.” We find this expression in Ephesians 1:3— Ephesians 1:20— Ephesians 2:6— Ephesians 3:10. And in Ephesians 4:10 this heavenly place is described, “far above all heavens.”
In Matthew, Mark and Luke we read a number of times, “on earth”—“on the earth”. But in Ephesians it is “in the heavenlies.” There is a great difference.
The devil works as “the prince of this world,” as “the god of this age”, as “the prince of the power of the air.” In Ephesians, wherein the mystery is revealed, Satan is identified with principalities and powers in the heavenlies.
In I Thessalonians 2:18 Paul declared that Satan hindered him. Thank God that we can believe and act on the truth of Colossians 2:15: “And Christ having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”
And God will accomplish through members of His Body, Ephesians 3:10.
“To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God.”
Note the power available for Church-members:
“What is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power. Which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenlies. Far above all principality and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 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 fulness of Him that filleth all in all.” Ephesians 1:19 to 23.
But let us never discount the power of Satan. We should be able to say truthfully, with Paul, “we are not ignorant of his devices.” II Corinthians 2:11. Satan is a very clever devil. He is transformed into an angel of light. II Corinthians 11:13 to 15.
With a vicious hatred the Adversary hates the truth concerning the Head and Body in the heavenlies as he hates no other truth in the Bible. He is the relentless enemy of “the Mystery of the Gospel.” In no other way can we account for the profound ignorance and silence concerning this most blessed and glorious message in God’s Word.
Hear the testimony of a man of God, who for years was an outstanding “grace” preacher. In his book “Romans” he wrote:
“You can judge any man’s teaching or preaching by this rule. Is it Pauline? Does his doctrine start and end according to those statements of Christian doctrine uttered by the Apostle Paul? No matter how wonderful a man may seem to be in his gifts and apparent consecration, if his gospel is not Pauline, it is not the gospel, and we might as well get our minds settled at once on that point.” (Page 339.) “For instance, if you were to take Paul’s Epistles out of the Bible, you cannot find anything about the Church, the Body of Christ, for no other apostle mentions the Body of Christ.” (Page 340.) “Would that we had the grace to defend just as vigorously this great message today, for it has many enemies and even real friends who do not yet see it clearly; and there are others, who like Peter (Galatians 2), through fear of others, are ready to compromise and tone down the gospel of God.” (Page 344.)
For some reason this dear brother has omitted these statements from his revised “Romans”.
Another outstanding “grace” preacher who is pastor of one of the largest churches in America and a very popular servant of the Lord among Fundamentalists has written many books about the Church which is the Body of Christ.
This brother, in his books, touched upon only one aspect of God’s spiritual program during this parenthetical period. In his writings he contradicted himself by stating that “the dispensation of the mystery” began with a new revelation which was given to Paul, (not to Peter); and in the same writings he declared that this dispensation began on the day of Pentecost, with Peter. He did seem, however, to have a splendid start, going almost as far as did John Darby, that great man of God. But something happened. The brother wrote a later book and backed up on the truth, and now he is in utter confusion. If he had gone on in his study of this blessed truth, not seeking a popular ministry, he might have been wonderfully used by the Lord in the recovery of lost truth, for he is an outstanding “grace” preacher, with many followers.
He quoted in his book on baptism a statement, by another “Brethren,” that the truth concerning the one mystical Body of Ephesians was buried under religious rubbish for centuries. Surely this is true concerning “the dispensation of the Mystery” and humanly speaking, it is an impossible task to recover or uncover it, but blessed be the Name of the Lord, we are making some progress.
Now note some of the written statements of this “grace” preacher concerning Pauline truth—
1—“To the epistles of Paul alone do we turn for the revelation of this mystery. He was the special vessel chosen to make known the heavenly calling. The twelve were, as we have seen, connected primarily with the testimony to Israel. Paul, as one born out of due time, was selected to be the messenger to the nations, announcing the distinctive truths of the present dispensation.”
2—“Throughout the writings of the apostle Paul he again and again refers to a wondrous secret, which he designates in a special way as “the mystery,” or “the great mystery.”
“For centuries it was almost entirely lost sight of. In fact, until brought to the fore through the writings and the preaching and teaching of a distinguished ex-clergyman, Mr. J. N. Darby, in the early part of the last century, it is scarcely to be found in a single book or sermon throughout a period of sixteen hundred years!”
“Of ordinances exalted to the place of mysteries, as in heathen rites, he will find much; but as to the mystery, which to the apostle was so unspeakably precious, rarely a reference!”
3—“That a doctrine so clearly revealed in the Scriptures could have become so utterly lost is only to be accounted for by the Judaizing of the Church, and the consequent minding of earthly things that beclouded the heavenly ones.”
4—“The mystery formed no part of the revelation of the previous dispensations. Had it been otherwise, Paul could not rightly have written that it was “kept secret since the world began.” It was part of the good news he was commissioned to publish abroad, but he learned it not from the former Scriptures, but by direct revelation from the Lord Jesus Christ in glory.”
5—“Now if the mystery be for those who have faith to obey, it is certainly of vast importance that every child of God be instructed as to its true character.”
6—“The mystery is made known in the prophetic writing of the apostle himself. He was the chosen vessel to whom alone it was given to set it forth “for the obedience of faith.” “Mysteries of God” Page 52.
(Concerning Ephesians 3:1 to 3)
7—“This is the fullest declaration, or unfolding, of this precious and wondrous mystery that we have in all the Bible. It is so plain that one would suppose that every spiritual mind must see at once to what it refers. Yet the commentators and expositors generally are content to make it mean that in the present age God is extending to the Gentiles the same grace He offers the Jew, so that the former, by closing with his offer of grace, becomes a sharer in the kingdom promised to Israel.”
8—“All God’s promises to Israel will be fulfilled. They will be blessed on earth. The Church will be blessed in heaven.”
“This is the mystery; glorious, inconceivably grand, and transcendently wonderful!”
9—“What is especially insisted on here is that the mystery is the great truth that completes the Word of God.” (Colossians 1:24 to 27.)
“It is the capstone of Scripture teaching, as the Cross is the foundation-stone of the gospel. Christ is now working among the Gentiles, while rejected by Israel. This, the Old Testament did not contemplate.”
10—“The mystery” was not something of difficult, mysterious character, but a sacred secret never known to mankind until in due time opened up by the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul.”
“It was not hid in the Scriptures to be brought to light eventually; but we are distinctly told it was hid in God until such time as He chose to manifest it.
“This was not until Israel had been given every opportunity to receive Christ both in incarnation AND RESURRECTION. When they definitely refused Him God made known what had been in His heart from eternity—that from all nations, Jews and Gentiles, He would redeem and take out an elect company who would, by the Spirit’s baptism, be formed into one Body.”
11—“But this doctrine of the one body is never referred to by any other apostle than Paul. He calls it “the dispensation of the mystery” which he had especially been entrusted with.”
12—“It was the secret purpose of His heart only to be revealed after the rejection of His Son.”
13—“Let the reader not fall into a mistake very commonly made today. The kingdom is not the Church. The latter is the Body of Christ, composed of all who, in this dispensation, are called out from Jew and Gentile, and baptized in the power of the Holy Spirit. During the period in which God is doing this special work of His grace, the kingdom, properly speaking, is in abeyance.”
14—“The rejection of Messiah has caused God—not to cancel His promises made to the fathers of the Hebrews, but—to bring to light hidden purposes, hitherto unrevealed, of grace for the Gentiles during a period of undefined duration.”
15—“That the nations would be brought to own His sway THROUGH Israel, is clearly taught; but that He would be doing a special work among them, while the Jew is set aside, was a secret hid in God. To understand it is to enter into the truth for the present dispensation.”
16—“While Messiah is on the Father’s throne and the people of Israel are rejected because of their refusal of their King, God is displaying the hidden purpose of His heart in bringing in of “a new thing in the earth,” even the mystical body of His Son to share with Him all the glories He is yet to enter upon, when the regular line of prophecy is taken up.”
17—“The mystery, on the other hand, is spiritual, and belongs to heaven. A break in God’s ways having come in, He now makes known His hidden purpose to take OUT of Jew and Gentile a people for heaven, who are to be one with Christ for eternity.”
18—“The Old Testament Scriptures clearly predicted the calling of the Gentiles but always in subjection to Israel. During the present dispensation Israel, as we read in Romans 11, is set aside because of unbelief, and Christ is working among the nations, attracting weary hearts to Himself altogether apart from any thought of Jewish priority. Believing Jews and Gentiles are united by the Holy Spirit’s baptism into the one Body, and thus all fleshly distinctions are done away. The middle wall of partition is broken down. This is the mystery.”
19—“THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH AS THE BODY OF CHRIST WAS NEVER MADE KNOWN IN OLD TESTAMENT TIMES, NOR YET IN THE DAYS WHEN OUR LORD WAS ON THE EARTH. WE ARE TOLD DISTINCTLY IT HAD BEEN “HID FROM AGES AND GENERATIONS, BUT NOW IS MADE MANIFESTED TO THE SAINTS.” THE DIVINE METHOD OF MAKING IT KNOWN WAS BY A SPECIAL REVELATION TO THE APOSTLE PAUL, AS HE TELLS US IN EPHESIANS 3. BUT THIS REVELATION WAS NOT FOR HIM ONLY IT WAS A MINISTRY COMMITTED TO HIM TO PASS ON TO THE SAINTS.”
20—“The whole counsel of God was not made known until Paul received this revelation of the mystery.”
21—“It was a special revelation given not to the twelve, but to him as the apostle of the new dispensation.”
22—“How earnest was the apostle in seeking to lead Christians into the knowledge of this precious truth.”
23—“Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles and as such he magnified his office. He was not the apostle to the Hebrews.”
24—“If I set at naught any fellow-believer I am to that extent failing to keep this unity.”
25—“Doubtless the devil thought he had gained a great advantage when he shut Paul up in prison, but from that prison cell came at least four of the great Church Epistles, and some of the pastoral letters, which have been the means of untold blessing to millions throughout the centuries.”
Our brother wrote a later book, “Wrongly Dividing The Word of Truth”. On page 66 of that book he said:
“I SPEAK AS UNTO WISE MEN, JUDGE YE WHAT I SAY.”
That is exactly what we now desire to do, judge what he has said in “Wrongly Dividing” by making comparison with the statements we have already quoted from his earlier writings. Let me emphasize the fact that he has recently stated that he believes all that he has written in his earlier writings and stands by all of his statements in “Wrongly Dividing.”
We now quote his contradictory statements from this later book for wise men to judge:
Page 40 and 41
1—“The mystery then is not simply centered in the term “Body” but whatever expression may be used, the mystery is that during the present age all distinction between believing Jews and believing Gentiles is done away in Christ.”
Concerning Galatians 3:26 to 29, where there is no mention of the Body of Christ, but reference to the salvation and unification of Jews and Gentiles in Christ “on the common ground of grace,” the writer writes
2—“Is there anything in the revelation of the mystery as given in Ephesians or Colossians that goes beyond this? It is a clear definite statement of the absolute unity in Christ of those who before their conversion occupied different positions here on earth, some being Jews, some Gentiles, some free men, some slaves, some men, some women, but every distinction now obliterated in the new creation.”
3—“The distinction between Jew and Gentile was abolished on the cross.”
Pages 41 and 42
4—“The greatest of all New Testament prophets is Luke himself, and in his Book of Acts the mystery is plainly made known.”
Page 33 (Acts 9:5 to 15)
5—“Who art Thou Lord?” and the glorified Saviour answered, “I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest.” “This was the revelation of the mystery.”
6—“Was this mystery made known by other servants besides the apostle Paul? It was. The apostle John makes it known in his account of our Lord’s ministry as given in the tenth chapter of his Gospel.”
7—“It shows us that John, as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, had received the revelation of the mystery even before the apostle Paul did.”
8—“Then what of the apostle Peter? We dare say this same mystery was made known to him on the housetop of Simon’s residence in Joppa.”
Now reconcile our brother’s other statements with this one.
This he writes in another message
“A dispensation then is a period of time in which God is dealing with men in some way in which He has not dealt with them before. Moreover there may be degrees of revelation.” “Only when a new revelation from God is given, does a dispensation change.”
In spite of this statement of fact, this man of God teaches that the new dispensation began with Peter on the day of Pentecost without a revelation. Contradiction as well as blunder.
When does he state that a dispensation changes? When a new revelation from God is given. When did Paul have his revelation according to our brother’s writings?
On the way to Damascus. Acts 9.
When did Peter get the revelation?
On the housetop in Acts 10.
When did the dispensation of the Mystery begin according to his writings? We quote:
“According to God, the new dispensation, that in which we now live, the dispensation of the grace of God, otherwise called the dispensation of the mystery, began the moment the spirit descended at Pentecost.”
In closing we quote again what our brother says about this truth, which he acknowledges was “so unspeakably precious.”
“AS OF ORDINANCES EXALTED TO THE PLACE OF MYSTERIES, AS IN HEATHEN RITES, HE WILL FIND MUCH, BUT AS TO THE MYSTERY, WHICH TO THE APOSTLE WAS SO UNSPEAKABLY PRECIOUS, RARELY A REFERENCE.” “MYSTERIES OF GOD.”
“THAT A DOCTRINE SO CLEARLY REVEALED IN THE SCRIPTURES COULD HAVE BECOME SO UTTERLY LOST IS ONLY TO BE ACCOUNTED FOR BY THE JUDAIZING OF THE CHURCH, AND THE CONSEQUENT MINDING OF EARTHLY THINGS THAT BECLOUDED THE HEAVENLY ONES.”
We quote our brother’s commendation of Paul; “Lectures on Colossians,” page 59: “How earnest was the apostle in seeking to lead Christians into the knowledge of this precious truth.”
Paul should have been earnest in seeking to lead Christians into the precious truth concerning “the Mystery.” I am trying to be earnest in the matter. I wonder if our brother is earnest about leading the many members of his present church into this precious truth while he is bitterly opposing God’s servants who are doing what he is neglecting to do.
In closing we ask you to remember Satan’s activity in the heavenlies and to obey Ephesians 3:9— Ephesians 6:18 to 20—Colossians 4:3 and 4, praying for open doors and open months for “the Mystery” and make all to see it.
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him; 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. And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.” Ephesians 1:17 to 19.
Well it cost Paul something to proclaim this Divine Truth. He was in jail for “the Mystery of the Gospel” and if we aggressively proclaim it with conviction and zeal we will be partakers of the afflictions of the gospel. The devil will never cease to oppose this glorious Divine truth.
But here is a challenge! Find one single sectarian Christian who preaches the Mystery. Find one single zealous baptizer who preaches the Mystery. You will look in vain. There is neither sectarianism nor water baptism in the program of the Church of the Mystery in Ephesians and Colossians.
“Be a partaker of the afflictions of the gospel.”
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.