Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)
TITLE: The "Mystery" Doctrines Of The Church Age
By Doug Laird
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Each dispensation in the plan of God has its own characteristics that distinguish it from the others.
How Man worships and glorifies God in each dispensation changes, but God is immutable.
Although there are clues and overt manifestations of the Spiritual activity all around us, most believers fail to accurately discern the Power behind the mystery and the objectives of the Church Age. The primary objective of the Church Age is the evangelization of unbelievers and the discipleship of believers.
Even the term “mystery” is bothersome to many believers. It seems to imply something that is not openly disclosed to the Church at large and whose secret is only unlocked by a chosen few.
Claims of Bible codes with encrypted messages, alleged apparitions with secret prophecies, miracles, cults, and secret societies of the past and present times, all contribute to the air of a mystery regarding spiritual activity during the Church Age dispensation.
Certainly there were periods of Church history when it was believed by its so-called leaders that only they were capable of interpreting Scripture and that the common Man was too ignorant for such a task. History would soon set the record straight.
When the Bible became available in the language(s) of the common Man, laws were passed making it a criminal offense in many European countries to possess or promote Scripture in any “unauthorized” language.
As God would have it, the Bible eventually became available in the language(s) of the common man and contributed much to exposing all the “religion” that Man had either added to or deleted from what the Scriptures teach regarding both doctrine and practice.
It was the Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic languages of the original transcripts that God the Holy Spirit used to inspire the human authors of Scripture.
Accurate interpretation is primarily the function of the pastor-teachers who God has gifted for the very purpose of teaching Bible Doctrine to his congregation, but this does not mean that individual believers should not follow the Biblical example of the ancient Bereans (Acts 17:11).
The “mystery” of the Church Age is not hidden or kept from anyone who desires to seek it out. What makes it a “mystery” is that most of what takes place in the spiritual realm is intangible and invisible as opposed the overt blessings and spiritual activity during the Old Testament dispensation.
Man, in his ignorance and arrogance, replaces the unseen mystery with overt “religious” activity, rituals, human good, and morality. As appealing as “religious” things may be to Man, they are nothing but soiled rags in the eyes of God (Isa.64: 6).
Overt morality will be the RESULT of genuine spirituality, but such things are NEVER the means to acquire it. An atheist or an unbeliever can choose to be moral, religious, and produce deeds of human good for a variety of reasons, but will still burn forever in Hell.
The entire mystery of the Church Age cannot be adequately explained in a single article or even a series of articles, but there are some elementary facts that help to explain the mystery of the unseen spiritual activity of the Church Age.
The Dispensation of the Church Age began at Pentecost and comes to its end at the Rapture of the Church.
During the Dispensation of the Church Age, ALL born again believers are indwelled (2Cor. 6: 16), instructed (John 16: 13-15), gifted (1Cor.12: 11), and empowered (John 15:5) by God the Holy Spirit who produces divine good in and through the life of the believer in the daily events that HE engineers.
There is a world of a difference between being “indwelled”, as all born again believers are, and being “filled” (controlled) by God the Holy Spirit.
The mystery calls for death to one’s self-life (Luke 22:42/Romans 6); developing the “mind of Christ (1Cor. 2: 16 NASB)” by becoming a “mathetes” (a Greek word meaning a technical student) of the Word of God;
identifying, developing, and applying the specific spiritual gift that God has assigned to us as an individual believer (1Cor. 12: 11) for the spiritual service/edification of OTHERS; and being empowered by God the Holy Spirit (John 15: 5).
“…the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it (Matt. 7:14 NASB).” No wonder it’s called a mystery.
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