Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries

 

The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 06/15/08
Principles the Lord has established which guarantee that the human race will not self-destruct: Part 2.
We have noting that the Six Basic Principles the Lord has established which guarantees that the human race will never self-destruct, and the Word of God which has never failed and will never fail will still come to pass because Jesus Christ controls history. We have seen the first five:
1. Division of languages, GEN 11:6-8.
2. Nationalism.
3. Client nations to God.
4. Salvation work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
5. The pivot of mature believers.
We are now ready for the sixth and final basic principle: The Divine provision of the different dispensations. We begin with some definitions. A dispensation is a period of timein human history expressed in terms of divine revelation for that period. The inerrancy of the Word of God is the source for looking at history from the divine viewpoint. The term dispensation is a technical theological term used primarily by the apostle Paul in the presentation of the mystery doctrine of this Church-age.
Dispensations are divine categories of human history; therefore, both the divine outline and the divine interpretation of human history. There are many interpretations of history, but the only accurate one is dispensational. Dispensations are the vehicle by which believers, living at a specific time in history, can orient to God’s will, plan, and purpose for their lives. This is very important to understand because God’s plan is not the same for every dispensation. In fact, the plan is quite different in each. Old Testament believers were under the ritual plan of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ was under the incarnation plan of God. The Church-age is the dispensation of the mystery plan, the Pre-designed Plan of God (PPOG) for every believer in the Church-age.
A dispensation is a period of time during which a particular revelation of God’s mind and God’s will is operative, and during that time man is tested as to his obedience to that specific manifestation of God’s will, purpose, and plan. The believer’s orientation to both time and human history is necessary for understanding God’s plan and God’s purpose. ROM 11:13 “But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles,”
EPH 3:1-3, For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you; that by revelation [there’s the key word, by revelation, not by Old Testament passages as Covenant theology teaches] that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.
The term “revelation” indicates in what manner the dispensation of the mystery of the Church-age is to be studied and searched out. In order not to miss anything essential, we must first lay the foundation of a basic understanding of the dispensation of the mystery of the Church-age, a mystery which will not be fully understood until we get to Heaven. Paul was the first Apostle to reveal the dispensation of the mystery doctrine of the Church-age. However, there are not enough books in the world to contain all the information regarding the dispensation of the mystery of the Church-age. This is why the pastor/teacher must fulfill such passages as 2TI 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth. Therefore, the dispensation of the mystery of the Church-age, as taught in the Word of God, is something that we all need to grow in on a continual basis through the communication of Bible doctrine.
We have to understand that revelation is a divine manifestation of Deity. This is something that is fantastic, exciting and challenging for all of us since we are all believer priests and there is equal privilege and equal opportunity for all of us as members of the Royal Family of God. We need to comprehend the true basic essentials of the dispensation of the mystery of the Church-age and then we will have the foundation to achieve even a greater understanding through the progression an unfolding of our desire to seek for God. HEB 11:6  And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
We need to comprehend the true basic essentials of the dispensation of the mystery of the Church-age and then we will have the foundation to achieve even a greater understanding through the progression an unfolding of our desire to seek for God. This advanced understanding of the dispensation of the mystery of the Church-age is a goal that we must all seek to attain on the basis of the relevant facts that have been made known to us through the epistles of the New Testament, especially those of the apostle Paul.
The Greek noun apokalupsis translated revelation refers to the opening up of realities and spiritual truths veiled in the Word of God which has never failed and will never fail. This opening up or revelation is to be done in preciseness and detail. This can only be done through dedication and devotion to Bible doctrine. This refers to the opportunity that you all have in GAL 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all equal in Christ Jesus.
In 2CO 12:1-7 this word apokalupsis denotes the unveiling of heavenly matters which Paul experienced in an ecstatic state.2CO 12:1-7, “Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows—was caught up into Paradise, and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. On behalf of such a man will I boast; but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in regard to my weaknesses. For if I do wish to boast I shall not be foolish, for I shall be speaking the truth; but I refrain from this, so that no one may credit me with more than he sees in me or hears from me. And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me—to keep me from exalting myself!
1PE 1:12 also talks about this principle, “It was revealed to them [Old Testament prophets] that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.
Angels can’t receive the information through revelation as much as we can as believers in the dispensation of the mystery of the Church-age.
EPH 3:1-9, “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of God’s grace which was given to me for you; that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. And by referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration [oikonomia – dispensation] of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things;”
The greatest responsibility of pastors in the Church-age is to communicate the dispensation of the mystery. The doctrine of dispensations emphasizes what God wants you to do after salvation. The pastor is to communicate God’s will, God’s plan and God’s purpose for your life. The dispensation of the Church-age is very important because every believer is important, no exceptions. There is only one dispensation in all of history that emphasizes every believer and that is the Church-age.
In the dispensation of the Hypostatic-union one individual is emphasized, and He, of course, is the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the dispensation of the Church-age, every believer is emphasized as a part of the body of Christ. In the dispensation of the Church-age we are given equal privilege and equal opportunity and this is the dispensation of glorifying Christ, COL 1:27 “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 confidence of the glory.” The power and the assets which were given to the humanity of Christ are now given to each one of us; this is a special dispensation. Never before in Old testament dispensations was there such a tremendous emphasis on the individual. The same thing can be said about the Tribulation and Millennial reign. In every other dispensation such as the Old Testament, a few individuals; a few spiritual believers were emphasized at the time. But now, for the first time in human history, the emphasis is upon the man in the pew, the housewife, the mother, the individual believer. Regardless of their background, color, handicaps, every believer has been given greater assets, power, and blessings than anyone ever before.
In EPH 3:8, the apostle Paul says; “To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ.” Until you understand where you are in the biblical interpretation of history, and the fact that Jesus Christ controls history, you will have no idea about the real reason why you have been created. Until you have located yourself in the correct dispensation, it is impossible for you to execute God’s plan for you life. It is the responsibility of the pastor to clarify this issue. It is not an issue you can clarify for yourself just by reading the Bible. You have to be taught, and the pastor is to “make known what is the dispensation of the mystery.”
The Greek word for mystery is musterion, itrefers to the Church-age and the true meaning and purpose and definition for your life depends on your understanding the doctrine of dispensational truth. Your life is important, you live in dispensation where every believer counts. In reality the future of our country does not reside in the hands of the politicians, but in your personal attitude toward Bible doctrine, because as goes the believer so goes the nation. For the first time in history, significance is placed on the individual believer. that’s why one of the many things that happened to you at salvation is that you became a member of the Royal Family of God. Therefore, the sooner you become briefed on how royalty functions, and what your role in history is, the better chance you have to glorify God and be the recipient of the most fantastic blessings ever. You are important to God. You are not as important to people as you think you are. This is one of the delusions of romance and friendship, but you are important to God. The sooner you recognize that fact the sooner you will live your life as unto the Lord. God’s will for your life is for you to understand what is the dispensation of the mystery. When we study the dispensation of the Church-age, what we are studying was hidden from all of the Old Testament prophets, priests and Old testament believers.
The first person to ever reveal anything about the coming of the Church-age was Our Lord Jesus Christ. MAT 16:13-19, Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He {began} asking His disciples, saying, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some {say} John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal {this} to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Any system of theology that tries to start the Church in Abraham’s tent or with Noah or Moses has an erroneous understanding of the Scripture and does not understand the correct biblical interpretation of history. They fail miserably when it comes to God’s plan and the mystery doctrine. That’s why most churches are involved with cleaning up the devil’s world because they do not understand dispensational truth or the dispensation of the mystery. Therefore, the Church-age is the most difficult yet exciting time in history; for God’s plan for the Church is superior in every way to God’s plan for previous and future dispensations. Never before in human history, and never after the Rapture of the Church has so much divine power been available to each believer.
Never before, and never after the Church-age does everything depend on the believer. As goes the believer, so goes history in this dispensation. The Church is every believer in union with Christ, the Royal Family of God. Christ, while absent during the Church-age, is Head or Ruler over the Church (EPH 1:22; COL 2:10). With doctrine, the Church is the greatest power on earth against Satan’s rule. The great power experiment of the Hypostatic-union overflows into the Church-age as the challenge to Satan. The strategic victory of our Lord in the angelic conflict terminated His residence on earth (COL 2:13-15). Therefore, He left behind the Church to challenge Satan, with the potential to attain the tactical victory in the angelic conflict.
There are two parts to the angelic conflict as it extends into human history: There is the strategic side and there is the tactical side. The chief witness in all of human history is the humanity of Jesus Christ in Hypostatic-union. Our Lord is what we would classify then as the strategic witness. Our Lord came up with strategy to defeat Satan, and executed that plan magnificently. Our Lord Jesus Christ defeated Satan. The other witnesses are the invisible heroes, those believers who execute the PPOG in the Church-age. These mature believers are classified as tactical witnesses, that means we do the same thing, but in lesser form. Our Lord accomplished the strategic victory of the angelic conflict through His salvation ministry on the Cross, plus his physical death, burial, resurrection and ascension. The believer accomplishes the tactical victory of the angelic conflict by advancing to spiritual maturity in the PPOG, at this point he becomes an invisible hero. When our Lord was on the Cross, He won the strategic victory, when our Lord returns, there will be the Second-advent and the tactical victory. In the meantime, anyone who believes in Christ is a winner strategically in the angelic conflict, so that in effect, all Christians today are, and all believers in the tribulation will be strategic victors, but it is the tactical victory that is in view with Bible doctrine. Your daily attitude toward Bible doctrine, in both perception and application becomes the tactical victory. So you can be a strategic winner and a tactical loser. A strategic winner has eternal life. But in eternity he doesn’t have anything to show for the time that he spent on earth.
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