Knowing our King | Colossians 1:25-26 Ministers of the the "Mystery"
25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 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 hope of glory: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
A word I want to point out is “Made.” This correlates with what we said yesterday, about us being first administered to and then we can minister. God is making ministers, not schools, not parents, not even churches, all of these may be the instruments God uses to craft and shape his ministers but if none of those things are available then God can take a man to the back side of the desert for 40 years, like Moses. Or to your father-in-law’s house for 20 years, like Jacob. Or to Arabia for 3 years, like Paul. As a minister of Jesus Christ you will look back on your life and see that the circumstances and happenings of life have all been part of a much bigger plan and pieces have been being moved long before you were saved or surrendered to his will. Looking back over my childhood, the place I grew up, the lessons learned working on the farm, on vehicles, and even riding motorcycles all over the country where I grew up were all preparations. In the big things and even the smallest of things, he was making me a minister. In the good things and the bad things, he was making me a minister. The same is true for those of you surrendered to his will, there are more ministers than just pastors and preachers. Like Joseph, he has brought us all through life’s path, and at the end of the story we will be able to say to all the hurtful parts and people; “What you meant for evil God meant for Good.”
In this present hour, Jesus is ministering and making ministers. Paul said in verse 23 He was made a minister through his suffering. The above verse tells us of how Paul is made a minister through the Word and now ministers the Word. Notice the first thing he mentions is the current dispensation of God which was given to him, for us; “According to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you.” Something that may need defining is the “dispensation of God.”
A dispensation is an act of dispensing something to someone. What is being dispensed? The grace of God by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Keep in mind Paul was well versed in the scripture, he was a “Pharisee of Pharisees” “Of the tribe of Benjamin” and even learned at the feet of one of the highest regarded teachers of the law in that day, Gamaliel. He was a master of the word of God. Knowing the details of the law and prophets and by his testimony was “Zealous toward God.” He was a master of the scriptures, but the scriptures had never mastered him. He was a devoutly religious man and taught and preached and even persecuted the church out of his zeal for God. Fast-forward to Acts 9 something takes place, The God of the scriptures showed up and knocked him off his high horse and on that day he was changed by The Word, Jesus Christ. He is no longer preaching and teaching the old dispensation of God’s grace, The Law, but he is preaching the fulness and completion of the Law, Jesus Christ. God’s grace was dispensed to the world through the nation of Israel under the old covenant, they were to “Let their light so shine before men, so that men may see their good works and glorify their father which was in heaven.” When Israelites had true hearts toward the Lord even the onlooking gentiles would come to faith in God. For example, Ruth through the testimony and life of Naomi came to God, and Rahab came to faith in God through the testimony of the spies and was saved. God’s grace was “dispensed” to Moses under the old covenant, and he gave it to Israel to dispense to the world. Today the revelation of Jesus Christ and the Gospel was dispensed to the Apostles, the Apostles to the church, and the church is to dispense this same grace, the gospel of the Lord, Jesus Christ to the world; so that others may come to know him.
“Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 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 hope of glory:”
The fact that God was going to shift his dispensing of grace away from Israel and to the church was a mystery hidden in plain sight within the scriptures for thousands of years. That is why Paul calls it a mystery but notice how he speaks in the past tense concerning this mystery, “Hath been.” Even goes on to say, “But now is made manifest to his saints.” The mystery of God’s grace being dispensed to the World through the church, which is made up of people of every tongue and nation is no longer a mystery. It was, but a reading of the New Testament makes this truth crystal clear. The truth of the gospel is no longer hidden, except to one group of people, “the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who believe not.” The nation of Israel did not believe, and their eyes were blinded, “Blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” [Rom 11:25] Another verse explaining this well is 2 Corinthians 3:14-16 “But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.” The gospel is only hidden to those who refuse to believe it, Jews and Gentiles alike. Having eyes, they see not. Notice to whom this mystery is made manifest, or very clear too, “His saints.” This goes with what Paul said in the above-referenced verse, “Which vail is done away in Christ” and “When it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.” Paul had a vail on his heart when he read the scriptures, he could not see Jesus as the son of God and the Savior of the World and Israel’s Messiah, all of it was a grand mystery to him until his heart turned to the Lord in faith and vail was lifted and now he preaches from those same scriptures the Jesus that he used persecute. The ministry of a minister of the Word is to do just this. Preach the “mystery of the gospel” to those it is still a mystery to, unbelievers. Until their eyes are opened by the “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] Jesus is currently calling men out of darkness and ignorance to him and his word, so they can in turn do the same for others. The Word ministered to Paul and now he is made a minister of the Word.