Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: June 2018

Monday, June 18, 2018

Teaching Our Children to Walk

Teaching Our Children to Walk

          Children are versatile and imaginative.  They learn to speak by listening.  Most children learn everything they learn by observation and copying.  This aspect of learning is ingrained into their beings by God.  This is how God designed us to learn and develop as spiritual beings.  Yet, children are incredibly fragile creatures.  As spiritual beings they require spiritual models from which to learn how to be spiritual.  Sadly, there are very few spiritual models for them to observe.  In most cases, even their parents are incredibly inadequate spiritual models because they grew up with poor spiritual models themselves, if any at all.  

In most cases, most people have no idea what genuine spirituality looks like.  Genuine spirituality is humble, transparent about failures, faults, and weaknesses. Genuine spirituality understands the need for constant repentance and continual renewal.  Genuine spirituality understands the warfare against the flesh and one’s own natural propensity for lusting after the worst of the worst.  Genuinely spiritual people are engaged in the battle for their own spirituality knowing that in the battle they are fighting for the spirituality of every person they love.  This engagement is in fact what defines his love for others.  The priority of the spiritual person is to deal with the desires of his “flesh” in the brutal manner it deserves.  Crucify the “flesh”!  That is where the Christian life begins in repentance from sin.  It is also within this fertile soil of constant and continual repentance where the Christian life of spirituality grows. 

24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. 1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For every man shall bear his own burden. 6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 5:24-6:10).

          I sat in my family room watching the rain drops hit the glass on our French doors as I was thinking about the truths of this text.  I thought that God might view the preaching of His truths to His children like I saw those rain drops hit the glass.  Rain has the potential of satisfying our thirst if we would drink it in.  It could cool us on a hot day if we would stand in it.  It will cleanse us of the sweat and filth of our toils if we would but give ourselves to its downpour.  Yet, so often we are like the guy sitting in his family room watching the rain bounce off the glass of his patio doors.  We appreciate all that God’s truths promise.  However, we take truth so for granted that we never really appropriate its benefits to us.  We never involve ourselves in living truth because we do not allow those truths to really touch our lives.  As a result, we are only spectators, while God intends us to be full participants.  Because of that, we never fully grow to the spiritual maturity that God intends. 

          God’s Word is like an apple orchard with trees so heavily laden with fruit their branches are about to snap from the load.  Christians drive by.  They wonder at the bounty on those trees.  They admire the beauty they present to their eyes.  Yet they never realize that the fruit of those trees is provided by God for them to eat and be nourished by if they would only reap the harvest.  God’s truths are to be taken, eaten, and enjoyed.  However, until they are acknowledged as God-truths and that they are best for us, they will always be bitter in our bellies.  God-truths benefit us only when they are BELIEVED and LIVED.  

          Modeling how we want our children to live is the primary method for successful parenting.  This modeling is summed up in Galatians 5:25, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”  Modeling Christ involves teaching children HOW TO “walk in the Spirit.”  It also involves teaching children what is necessary in order to correct spiritual deficiencies evident in the lives of other professing believers.  Galatians 6:1-10 deals primarily with the process of spiritual discipline and teaches what is necessary to implement spiritual discipline in our own lives and the lives of those under our influence.  

          What do we do when someone we know refuses to recognize that his life is out of control?  What do we do with the person who manifests obvious symptoms of out-of-control anger, fear, or desires, but seems blinded to them?  How are we supposed to maintain our relationship with such people?  It will be very difficult, if not impossible, to do so.

Can two walk together , except they be agreed” (Amos 3:3)?

          The Word of God does give us exhaustive instruction in dealing with these people.  However, they have a free will.  You can never change them.  All you can be is a “ROAD SIGN” for God.  In this text God gives us four ways to do that.

          Galatians 5:24 says to be a stop sign.  Be the right kind of example in dealing with your own flesh.  Galatians 5:24 is a statement of fact.  “They that are Christ’s” are those who have openly confessed to be His followers (disciple).  This person recognizes the sovereign right and authority of Jesus Christ to expect His disciples to live and act as He directs them.  In both of Paul’s epistles to the carnal Corinthian Christians, he had to remind them that they belonged to Christ.  This is a common problem for people who continue to live out of control lives.

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own” (I Corinthians 6:19)?

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates” (II Corinthians 13:5)?

          If a person professes to be a follower of Christ, he is morally obligated to crucify “the flesh with the affections and lusts.”  Ritual (water) baptism is all about testifying to this crucifixion of the flesh.  This is a predominant characteristic of those who seek to live under the control of the Holy Spirit.  This means they see their “flesh” (sin nature, all those “works of the flesh” in Galatians 5:19-21) nailed to the cross with Christ.  The metaphor does not mean that we crucify our “flesh,” but that our flesh has already been nailed to the cross.  We are to live within the practical reality of that new position in Christ.  That means, even though the “old man” still lives within us, he is restrained by the enabling grace of God through the empowering of the Holy Spirit.  We must see the “flesh” on the Cross and daily die to its “works” before we can be yielded to the Holy Spirit’s control.  There is such shallow teaching regarding the purpose of water baptism and the sanctified life to which it is intended to represent that the ritual is meaningless. 

1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were {Spirit} baptized into Jesus Christ (the New Genesis in Christ as the ‘last adam’) were {Spirit} baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by {Spirit} baptism into death: that like as {water baptism is a physical semblance representing our understanding of the spiritual} Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death {immersion; if the spiritual reality has taken place}, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:1-6).

          Galatians 5:25 says to be a yield sign.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”  Be the right kind of example by living your life yielded to and under the control of the Spirit.  If there is a profession of faith, there should be a walk of faith that backs up the talk.  If we say we live by the Spirit’s guidance and empowering, then we should change the way we live and act. 

          “Live by the Spirit” means that the Holy Spirit is the only One able to put the God-life into these “dead in trespasses and sin” bodies of ours.  That life is available to every believer who has been “born again” and indwelled by the Holy Spirit.  The “old man” was crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6).  We need to keep the “old man” on the cross, which frees us to serve the Lord (body, soul and spirit).  If we are going to help others get victory over their carnality, we must “walk” under the control of the Spirit ourselves.

11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin {the ‘flesh’ or sin nature}, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin {the ‘flesh’ or sin nature} therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin {the ‘flesh’ or sin nature}: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin {the ‘flesh’ or sin nature} shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace {inward spiritual enabling of the indwelling Spirit}. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace {inward spiritual enabling of the indwelling Spirit}? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness” (Romans 6:11-16)?

          Walking “in the Spirit” means to live the “Christ-life” by His help and with His assistance, through the direction of the Word of God.  It means allowing Him to take us by the hand through the Word of God and lead us through difficulties and trials, even trying to live with out-of-control people.

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Galatians 5:16-18).

          Galatians 6:1 says to be a direction sign.  When a brother or sister in Christ is out of control, make sure you are under control and working towards restoring him/her to the Spirit’s control.  This means confrontation.  Understand two qualifying statements about this confrontation before you attempt it.

1. Make sure you are under the Spirit’s control (“spiritual”).  This control will be evident by an attitude of “meekness,” which is a “fruit of the Spirit.”
2. Take into consideration how you might respond under various circumstances so that you can ACT instead of RE-ACT.  Prepare yourself so that your “triangle for failure” (fear, anger and desires) doesn’t get out of control.

          The word “restore” in Galatians 6:1 (Greek - kat-ar-tid'-zo) means to mend something that is broken or to make it what it ought to be.  Effort is expected on the part of the restorer.  We are often willing to go to extremes when a person is broken in some physical way but are unforgiving and unwilling to try to help when someone fails spiritually.  We don’t want to get involved!

          If someone has a broken leg, how would you go about setting the bone?  What carefulness would you employ to ensure that the person would be able to walk again?  Would you take into consideration the pain of it all?  Would you be as gentle as possible?  How would you participate in their recovery? 

Restoring someone has three steps (Matthew 18:15-17).

1. “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother” (Matthew 18:15).
2. “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” (Matthew 18:16).
3. “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican” (Matthew 18:17).

          Galatians 6:7-8 says to be a warning sign.  When a person refuses to repent, warn him of the consequences of his choice.

“When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul” (Ezekiel 3:18-19).

          Christians who live their lives out of the control of the Holy Spirit, unaware of the consequences, live in mockery of God and His holiness.  God is not mocked.”  Lives lived out of the control of the Holy Spirit will eventually reap the consequences. 

          Believers who continually live lives out of the control of the Holy Spirit need to be reminded and warned of the end results of their selfishness.  Yes, their sin penalty has been paid for in the work of Christ, BUT the consequences of living under the control of the “flesh” will “reap” devastating results in that person’s life and in the lives of those who follow their bad example. 

          You harvest the crop you plant.  Once sown, weeds become self-propagating.  If you plant corruption, you will harvest corruption.  What does that mean?  If you continue to live in the “flesh” (as manifested by the evident “works of the flesh”), you will harvest a crop of misery, broken relationships, destroyed lives and lost hopes.  This is not what MIGHT happen.  This is what WILL happen.

4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? 5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. 7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways(Haggai 1:4-7).

          Galatians 6:9-10 says don’t get discouraged by people who ignore the signs you are trying to give them.  Just be what you are supposed to be and do what you are supposed to do.  The rest is in God’s hands.  Keep putting God first in your life.  Don’t blame God for the pain that disobedient people bring into your life. 

          “In due time we shall reap.”  Sooner or later, in God’s own time, our lives will be a harvest field of what we have sown.  If we have sown righteous living, we can expect to reap the benefits of that.  If that does not happen in this life, it will happen in eternity.  Only then will we really see the eternal consequences of living under the control of the Spirit.

          “If we faint not” - persevere, don’t quit on Christ.  If you are alive and living under the control of the Holy Spirit, there is hope for change in the lives you are seeking to influence for Christ.  In every “opportunity” (v. 10) that comes along, God opens a window for those living out of His control to see you as the road sign which He intends you to be.  When that “opportunity” comes along, make sure you are living under the Spirit’s control.

1. Make sure you are a Stop Sign by making sure you have put a stop to the “flesh” in your life.
2. Make sure you are a Yield Sign by making sure you manifest a life yielded to the Holy Spirit in obedience to the Word of God.
3. Make sure you are a sign that gives the right directions for being restored to fellowship and living under the Spirit’s control by practicing the three steps to restoration found in Matthew 18:15-17.
4. When necessary, don’t be afraid to be a Warning Sign to those who refuse to repent.

Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Biblical Zionism XII: Grafted into the Holy Root

Biblical Zionism XII
Grafted into the Holy Root

    It is to two outcomes that the phrase “but rather through their {national Israel’s} fall {side-slip; backsliding} salvation is come unto the Gentiles {ethnos; foreigners to national Israel and by implication all heathen ethnicities}, for to provoke them to jealousy” refers in Romans 11:11.  Therefore, God has two purposes in this:

1. That this new priesthood of evangelists could lead both Jews and all other ethnicities (“whosoever” of Romans 10:13) to salvation “by grace through faith” in the “finished” work of redemption in the death, burial, and resurrection/glorification of Jesus Christ.
2. So that the nation of Israel would be provoked to “jealousy” and repent, turning to faith themselves one day in Jesus as the Christ.  This will happen during the last half of the Tribulation through the miraculous witnessing of the two witnesses and the 144,000 sealed Jews who all will preach Jesus as the Messiah and redemption “by grace through faith” in Him. 

          This is all important because, during the Church Age, national Israel is set aside and exists in the very place to which they have backslid.  Although still God’s chosen people, they are presently viewed by God as common sinners like everyone else in the world and need to get saved the same way any Gentile needs to be saved. 

12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:12-13).

          From this contextual continuity, we can transition into the statement of Romans 11:12, “Now if the fall {paraptoma or backsliding; same as the second use of “fall” in verse 11} of them {national Israel} be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them {national Israel} the riches {full spiritual wealth} of the Gentiles; how much more their {national Israel’s} fullness {referring to the restoration and salvation of national Israel during the Tribulation time}?” 

When the priesthood of national Israel side-slipped away from maintaining the faith-way of salvation and the blessings of God, the riches of God’s grace were extended into every ethnicity in the world through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by those sent into the world through the Great Commission.  The very notion of Ecumenicism is a compromise of the believer’s responsibility to maintain the purity of the Gospel by any type of acceptance of the corruption of the gift of salvation offered solely by grace and received solely through faith. 
The “riches of the Gentiles” does not refer to material wealth or material blessings.  The phrase refers to the “riches of grace” in the new priesthood of all believers of the Church Age.  Election primarily refers to God choosing a priesthood.  First the Levitical Priesthood under the Mosaic Covenant.  They failed to maintain a Gospel of the gift of salvation out of God’s pure grace received purely by faith alone.  Because the Levitical Priesthood refused to repent, even to the degree they were willing to crucify the very Messiah promised in the Abrahamic Covenant, God elected a new Melchizedecan Priesthood of all Church Age believers “born again” of the Spirit and baptized with the Spirit into the New Creation “in Christ.” 
God’s election of a new Melchizedecan Priesthood is corporate and vocational election.  This corporate and vocational election of the Church as this new Melchizedecan Priesthood is the substance of the epistle to the Ephesians.  The following texts refer to the Church corporately. 

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us {the Church corporately} with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us {the Church corporately} in him before the foundation of the world, that we {the Church corporately} should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us {the Church corporately} unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us {the Church corporately} accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we {the Church corporately} have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us {the Church corporately} in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us {the Church corporately} the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 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: 11 In whom {Jesus as the ‘firstborn’ of the New Genesis} also we {the Church corporately} have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we {the Church corporately} should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye {Gentiles} also trusted, after that ye {Gentiles} heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye{Gentiles} believed, ye {Gentiles} were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our {the Church corporately} inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:3-14).

          Clearly, from Ephesians 1:3 where Paul says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us {the Church corporately} with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ,” we can see that the “riches of the Gentiles” of Romans 11:12 refers to eternal and heavenly blessings, not temporal earthly blessings.  The word “heavenly” in Ephesians 1:3 is “literally the heavenlies . . . the word signifies that which is heavenly in contradistinction to that which is earthy.”[1]  The intent here is the emphasis on a change in the realm or place of where the blessings from God upon a believer’s faithfulness exist.  These are not material blessings (real estate).  These heavenly blessings are much more valuable blessings than silver, gold, or real estate because they are eternal in nature.  This presents to all true Christians a radical change in the way we view life and live our lives. 

These spiritual blessings are to be viewed as treasures that are being laid in store in “the heavenlies” as opposed to the treasures of this world.  19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

The reality of this eternal faith-view of God’s blessings is a manifestation that a believer genuinely understands the differences between the Mosaic Covenant under the Dispensation of the Law and the New Covenant under the Dispensation of Grace.  Christ taught this when He taught the blessing and curse aspects of the New Covenant in Matthew chapters five, six, and seven and in Luke chapter six.  In Matthew 5:3-12 and Luke 6:2-23, we are given the conditions for God’s blessings.  In Luke 6:24-26 Christ pronounces four conditions for God’s curse upon the lifestyle practices of believers in the four uses of the word “woe.”  Matthew 5:21, 27, 33, 38, and 43 each begins with the words “ye have heard” referring to what had been taught regarding the necessities for God’s blessings under the Mosaic Covenant.  These man-made interpretations of the Law merely reflected the “letter” of the Law, but not its “spirit.”  In Matthew 5:22, 28, 32, 34, 39, and 44 Christ gives the “spirit” of the Law and establishes God’s original intent in the conditions for His blessings in obedience “from the heart” (Romans 6:17 and Ephesians 6:6).  

To make Romans chapter eleven and Ephesians chapters one through three mean that God has replaced national Israel with the Church, as does Covenant Theology, is a complete misrepresentation of the text.  God is replacing the Levitical Priesthood with the Melchizedecan Priesthood.  Earthly and temporal blessings are directed towards the physical seed descendants of Abraham.  Heavenly and eternal blessings are directed toward the faith in the Seed descendants of Abraham (those of the “the regeneration,” Galatians 3:16).
          Paul is clearly referring to the Church corporately in Ephesians chapter one and this is the contextual continuity that continues into chapters two and three of the epistle.  Although all these truths extend to individuals, the focus of these texts are upon those individuals as they are a new spiritual construct “in Christ” corporately as the Church and “body” of Christ that forms the eternal and living “temple” of God (Ephesians 4:20-22).  This “body” of Christ is the “new creation” or “the regeneration” that unfolds in time to the final eternal state in the New Heaven/Earth.  Christ is eternally the “head” of that “body” and the indwelling Spirit is eternally the heart of that “body, which brings all those in “the regeneration” into perfect union and into perfect, eternal fellowship (unity; Ephesians 4:1-6) with the Father. 

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. 11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off {Gentiles}, and to them that were nigh {Jews}. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye {Church Age believers, therefore the Church} are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints{‘born again’ Jews}, and of the household of God {true Israel}; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets {all Jews}, Jesus Christ {a Jew} himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit’ (Ephesians 2:4-22).

          In Ephesians 3:1-13, Paul explains this previous hidden “mystery” regarding God’s spiritual blessings upon salvation offered to the Gentile nations (“whosoever,” Romans 10:13) and the new ministry of the evangelism of all ethnicities through the priesthood of all Church Age believers.  Gentile believers from the Church Age would be grafted in to true Israel at the beginning of the Kingdom Age as Israel’s new ruling priesthood directly under the headship of their High Priest Jesus Christ.  

This “dispensation {stewardship} of the grace” and the fact that Paul “should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” is the pattern for, and expectation of, all believers in the Church Age and is what defines the “perfecting {maturing; equipping} of the saints, for the work of the ministry” in Ephesians 4:12, which is available to all Church Age believer-priests through union with Christ and in unity with the Father (Ephesians 4:1-6). 

1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation {stewardship} of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 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. 13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory” (Ephesians 3:1-13).

          In Ephesians 3:8, Paul refers to this great and previously mysterious blessing of preaching to Gentile ethnicities “the unsearchable riches of Christ.”  The word “riches” in Ephesians 3:8 is from the Greek word ploutos (ploo'-tos), which means abundant or complete/full wealth.  The word from which “unsearchable” is translated means beyond finding out or beyond comprehension.  Again, this is spiritual, heavenly wealth that is beyond comprehension this side of eternity. 

[1] 1917 Scofield Reference Bible Notes, SwordSearcher Software 4.8

Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.