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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

MADE KNOWN BY THE CHURCH

Ephesians 3:10-12 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: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him.

Although Paul accepted Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and accepted the role given to him by Jesus to preach the word of God throughout the far reaches of the known world, he considered himself as unworthy of such an honor. Regarding his calling Paul said, 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. Further, his mission was ...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 in Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:8-9). In verse 6 we find the explanation of this mystery: That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the Gospel.

Paul's commission was to preach among the Gentiles and all men, the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Rom. 1:16). To the eleven apostles Christ gave this commission, Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world (Matt. 28:19-20). Immediately before ascending into heaven Jesus told his apostles ...ye shall receive power, after the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in all Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8). What a great mission these apostles had bringing the word of God, the gospel of Christ, to all men and to all nations. No doubt they preached Christ from every pulpit they could find, to every group of people they found assembled, from the street corners of every town and city they entered, and from house to house as opportunities availed themselves.

As far as we know, Jesus admonition to His apostles and other disciples was that the ...gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations...(Matt. 24:14), and it did, indeed, come to pass. However, the time of the apostles also passed. History tells us that John lived to be approximately 90 to 95 years of age, was the last apostle to die, and possibly died of natural causes after being exiled to the island of Patmos. History also tells us that all other apostles probably met untimely deaths, martyred at the hands of, or by the authority of, Christian persecutors. What lives on is the written word of God penned by the apostles and other disciples as inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Notice that Paul not only taught the word of God, as a personal evangelist, and as an inspired writer, but he taught others to teach God's word, and taught them to teach others, who were to teach others, etc. Paul told Timothy ...the things that thou has heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also (2 Tim. 2:2). This, truly represents the wisdom of God that allowed His word to be preserved, continually preached, and remains available for us today. The commission of preaching the gospel of Christ, God's word, was first given to the apostles and other inspired disciples of Christ which contained the pattern by which God's church was to be established and maintained on earth. This was to become the church over which Christ was made head; the body of Christ; the church of Christ. From the day it was established, the church was given the responsibility to continue teaching the word of God. As the lesson text indicates, God's plan of salvation was then, and is today, to be known (throughout the world) by the church the manifold wisdom of God.

As the body of Christ, every member is responsible to carry out this "great" commission. All within the church are to be edified by the ministry of other members of His body. Based on the varied talents and abilities of each, all are to be ministers of Christ. And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers (Eph. 4:11-12). God's plan of salvation is to be made known by the church. This is the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.