[ 397 ] Les Feldick [ Book 34 - Lesson 1 - Part 1 ] Our Position After Salvation |a
[ 398 ] Les Feldick [ Book 34 - Lesson 1 - Part 2 ] Our Position After Salvation |b
[ 399 ] Les Feldick [ Book 34 - Lesson 1 - Part 3 ] Galatians 4:1-14 |a
[ 400 ] Les Feldick [ Book 34 - Lesson 1 - Part 4 ] Galatians 4:1-14 |b
[ 401 ] Les Feldick [ Book 34 - Lesson 2 - Part 1 ] Works Attached To The Gospel For Salvation |a
[ 402 ] Les Feldick [ Book 34 - Lesson 2 - Part 2 ] Works Attached To The Gospel For Salvation |b
[ 403 ] Les Feldick [ Book 34 - Lesson 2 - Part 3 ] Galatians 4:15 - 5:11 |a
[ 404 ] Les Feldick [ Book 34 - Lesson 2 - Part 4 ] Galatians 4:15 - 5:11 |b
[ 405 ] Les Feldick [ Book 34 - Lesson 3 - Part 1 ] The Holy Spirit Gives Victory Over Sin |a
[ 406 ] Les Feldick [ Book 34 - Lesson 3 - Part 2 ] The Holy Spirit Gives Victory Over Sin |b
[ 407 ] Les Feldick [ Book 34 - Lesson 3 - Part 3 ] Galatians 5:13-23 |a
[ 408 ] Les Feldick [ Book 34 - Lesson 3 - Part 4 ] Galatians 5:13-23 |b
OUR POSITION AFTER SALVATION
We’ll be starting in Galatians Chapter 4:1, but first let’s do a bit of review. Remember Galatians was written to that group of Churches up in Asia Minor which were called Galatia, which was central Turkey. And this was written for the precise purpose of correcting these Galatians going back under legalism. So I think it became such an urgent thing for the apostle Paul that he didn’t even wait for a secretary to do the writing for him as he does on his other epistles. But this was so urgent that we have to feel he wrote this letter in his own handwriting even with the eye problem he had.
“Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.”
I still think the eye problem was the thorn in the flesh he talks about in II Corinthians Chapter 12. And as blind people do, he no doubt had to print with large figures, so I think that was why he was not to be able to see the small print. So the whole little letter of Galatians is written with the view that you’re not under Law, but rather under Grace. And of course it’s still appropriate today. Most of Christendom today is so saturated with legalism that it is so hard for people to break away from something that has been drilled into them.
People have asked me why I think it took the Lord three years to show Paul (while he was in Arabia) all the things of Grace?” And I tell them with tongue in cheek, that it probably took 2 1/2 years to get Judaism out of him. You know it’s just human nature that when we are so brainwashed with religion and tradition even as Paul was in Judaism, so also everybody today is ingrained with legalism of one sort or another. So this little letter is just as appropriate for us today as it was the day that it was written, “We are not under Law, but Grace.” Now remember Grace means Total Freedom, and Total Liberty! But again I always follow that by saying it’s not license, but so far as being confined with any legal system, any idea that “you can’t do this, you can’t do that” is out, because we’ve been set free from all of that. And now through the power of the Holy Spirit which the Law had nothing of, we under Grace can live and be pleasing in God’s eyes without rules and regulations to tell us what we can and can’t do. So this is the whole idea of this little letter.
“Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, (or a slave) though he be lord (small “l”) of all;”
Now this is not so much from the Hebrew or the Jewish background as it is from the Romans and the Greeks. And of course Paul uses the whole spectrum when it comes to illustrating and so forth. So now he dips into the Roman and the Greek culture that the wealthy Romans and Greeks would hire tutors, and the soul purpose of these tutors was to prepare that child, that legal son who was an heir. Remember, “as long as he was a child he `differeth nothing’ from a slave even though he be lord of all:” which means he was a blood heir of the father. But until he has finished his time of tutoring he has no more authority in the family than a slave. So this is where Paul is coming from. These Greek and Roman children were under the responsibility of tutors, learning and preparing for the day as you see in verse 2.
“But is under tutors, and governors until the time appointed of the father.”
We don’t know how long they were under tutors as I’m sure the times were different. But they had to stay under the tutor until the child was old enough to take on family and business responsibility, which was all set by the father. The father would say to the tutor, “You take this child of mine, and you teach and tutor until such and such an age.” So these Roman and Greek kids were under these tutors and governors until the father was satisfied that they had now reached the time of becoming full heir with the father. Now verse 3. This shows it’s only an illustration.
“Even so we, (or in like manner) when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world;”
Now of course, I think in the pronoun “we” in verse 3, we find Paul referring to himself as a Jew. So he’s not including the Gentiles per se, but Jews who were under the Law. Remember the Gentile world was never under the Law of Moses – only the children of Israel fell into that category. Se he says in verse 3 again –
“Even so (just like these Roman and Greek kids were under the rule of a tutor, and the father paid very little attention to them, so in like manner, Israel) when we were children, (under the Law) were in bondage…”
Now I know I just keep hammering away at people that to live under the Law is always a bondage. It’s like Peter says in Acts Chapter 15. This is when Peter finally wakes up and realizes that Paul is right. He can now see that the Judaisers were giving Paul grief and causing him trials and tribulations by saying that apostle Paul’s Gospel was not sufficient unless his converts also became keepers of the Law, and practiced circumcision. But like I said, finally Peter wakes up and comes to the defense of Paul which had he not done before, and I think Christianity, as we know it, would have died right then and there. Now I know God is Sovereign and He could have done something else, but as we understand the unfolding here, had it not been for Peter finally coming to his senses and defending the fact that Gentiles could be saved without coming under the Law of Moses, Christianity would have never survived. Now look what Peter says –
“Now therefore (since Gentiles are not under the Law of Moses) why tempt (or test) ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, (or believers) which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?”
Remember the Law had demands on the human race that were almost impossible to keep and the reason being that God had to show mankind that there was no way they could measure up to His standard of Holiness and Righteousness. So the Law then became a yoke which neither the forefathers back in Old Testament days nor the Jews of Peter’s day were able to bear. Now then when you come back to Galatians we’re going to see before we go too far in Chapter 4 that Paul also refers to them as almost the same kind of thing, they were beggarly. They begged to be something better than they were. The Law could not do anything to bring a person out of his sin. All the commandments could do was convince him of his sin as we’ve pointed out so often all the way back to Romans Chapter 3. All right so looking at verse 3 again.
“Even so we, (speaking as a Jew) when we were children, (when the Jews were still in the Old Testament economy) were in bondage under the elements of the world:”(system)
Now you’ve got to remember that Israel as a nation, when they came out of Egypt and had been surrounded with all of that pagan culture, when God gave them the Law at Mount Sinai, God didn’t lift them out of the world. They still had to live and move, eat and sleep in the midst of all that paganism. So the whole world system was still working even though Israel was now under the Law. In other words, God didn’t suddenly transport them into a whole spiritual world all their own, and that’s why they failed so often. They failed miserably, and it was always because of their unbelief, but nevertheless they were in bondage under the elements or the workings of the world around them. And how long had they been under it? 1500 years.
Now remember Abraham was called out of Ur at approximately 2000 BC, and then 490 years later Moses led them out of the land of Egypt and God gave the Law. So you’re talking in terms of about 1500 BC from the giving of the Law to Israel until the time of Christ at what we now refer to as 0 so there were 1500 years that Israel labored under this yoke of bondage. It’s no wonder that they were in such rank unbelief and I suppose a lot of the time they just gave up as they couldn’t keep the Law anyway. And of course that’s what legalism does. Legalism I think just destroys the incentive.
Oh I’ve had people come into my class where they’ve been under some of these abject teachings and preaching, and this is what they tell me. “When I was young and I heard all that kind of preaching I thought, well what’s the use. I can’t measure up to that.” Well that’s what legalism has always done, and so even Israel, God’s Covenant people, how many times did they go into abject sin and unbelief because they just couldn’t hack it. Now verse 4, what’s the first word? “But.” You know if it weren’t for the flip side of all of this, where would we be? Well we’d be back to where they were. And so even though Israel had been 1500 years under the Law, in bondage, but then flip side appears.
All of a sudden God stepped in and changed the format. I hope my listening audience realizes that, as you come up through human history, you can see how many times God changed the format totally. Although God Himself never changed, the format was changing. I always like to go back all the way to the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden living was totally different than it was out of the garden. Wasn’t it? All you have to do is just stop and think. What was life like in the garden? Oh it was easy, no sin, no opposition, no weeds or thorns, it was just a beautiful lifestyle. What was it like after the garden? Just the opposite. All of a sudden now they’re confronted with all of the opposition of nature, weeds, thistles, briars, thorns, and insects and that was the curse. It was totally different, but had God changed? No, God never changes.
Then you take that economy up to the flood, and Noah and the family come off the ark, and again I like to draw the analogy, was it the same after the flood as it was before? Why heavens no. Everything was different. God’s whole economy for man was going to be set up differently. Where as before the flood there was no law and order, there was no system of worship prescribed per se. They couldn’t eat meat, and they didn’t. They ate of everything that grew naturally, but now as soon as they come out of the ark what does God tell them to do? Now you can kill and eat. Whatever lives and moves are for you to partake of. But God also at that time instituted capital punishment. For the man that kills another man he must be put to death. See that was a whole new economy, but had God changed? No, not a bit.
So then we come to the call of Abraham, and again God does something totally different without changing Himself. God says to Abraham, “I’m going to make of you a little separate race of people. I’m going to let the vast majority of mankind just go on their way, but I’m going to work through this little nation that will come through you and your wife.” So all the promises that God made to Abraham, although they took 490 years to come to fruition, there they came.
The Nation of Israel makes their appearance then God again does something totally different. What did He do? He put them under Law. Now listen, that was something totally, totally different from anything that had happened previously. God sets down these Ten Commandments, along with the priesthood and the Temple, and all of its rituals, and He tells Israel by instruction explicitly everything that they were having to do. Not only what we call in their spiritual life or in their everyday way of living, but everything was now prescribed. Everything was laid down as to what they could and couldn’t do. What they could now eat and what they couldn’t eat. Now listen that was all different.
Now then Israel lived under those circumstances up until the work of the Cross was finished. But the work of the Cross couldn’t be finished until first Christ had to be born at Bethlehem, and that’s what we have now in verse 4 after 4000 years of varying types of responsibility. All of a sudden God does something totally different and how does it begin? With the fulfillment of a promise that He made to way back in Genesis Chapter 3:15. But let’s read verse 4 before we go back and look at that.
“But when the fulness of the time was come,…”
That means according to God’s schedule, at the exact right day and hour and year the Messiah was born in Bethlehem. And when I look at this verse, I have to remember the time someone asked his pastor why he didn’t spend more time in the apostle Paul’s writing and less in the Four Gospels? And his answer was, “Well, if I leave the Four Gospels then I don’t have anything to say about the Christmas story.” How ridiculous can you get? This is referring to Christ’s birth in Bethlehem, but Paul doesn’t have to rehearse all the details of Joseph and Mary because that’s already been implied as it was prophesied. But now Paul brings us to the crucial point of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem. Why did it happen? Because it was in God’s timetable. It was all part and parcel of God’s plan for the ages, and at the exact right moment in time, Christ was born of a woman and became the fullness of time.
“God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.”
Now let’s go all the way back to Genesis Chapter 3. We’ve looked at it many times but I also know that you can’t repeat these things often enough. We always hope that once you’ve said something that people have it, but it doesn’t work that way because that’s part of our human makeup. It takes a long time for these things to get soaked in, and we have to be reminded of them from time to time. In this verse the Lord is now dealing with the serpent, Satan, after Adam and Eve have fallen. And God comes right back, as Romans 8 makes it so plain, with hope for the race and that is the promise of a Redeemer. God is talking to Satan through the serpent here.
“And I (God) will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; (the Christ, the Son of God) it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt (Satan) bruise his heel.” (caused the suffering that Christ had to go through)
This is the promise of the coming Redeemer. As soon as man sinned, God came right back with the remedy, and it’s the only remedy. Now coming back to Galatians Chapter 4 we see, then, in the fullness of time, right on God’s timetable the Son was born. I was just explaining to someone last night that when you watch the timing of things back in the Old Testament, God was never a day late! God was also never a day early, and I can always give examples. You take Abraham, at exactly the right time God brought him out of Ur, and set him on his path toward going into Canaan and becoming the father of the Jewish race. And exactly 430 years after is the night of the Passover in Egypt. Moses is then ready to lead Israel out of captivity.
Now we also know that there was to be a 40 year span of time from the time they left Egypt until they would finally get into the Promised Land. Which of course was 40 years to the day. Now as I was studying this some years ago I found it amazing that on the Passover night in Egypt it was the same day and the same month, but 40 years later, when they celebrated the Passover with Joshua leading them across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. God’s timing is right on. Sir Robert Anderson was one of the first to realize that from the decree to Nehemiah to go back and rebuild the city of Jerusalem as it’s recorded in Nehemiah Chapter 2. From that date until the triumphant entry or Palm Sunday is exactly 483 years as it was prophesied. God is always right on schedule. Now according to Paul then, Christ’s birth is the same way. At the exact moment in human history when the fullness of time was now fulfilled Christ was born in Bethlehem. Not an accident, but totally according to God’s program.
Now then the other part that is so amazing was that not only was the Son made of a woman, but under the Law of Moses. And I wish people would understand that. Everything concerning Christ’s first coming, the Law was in place, and we’re going to see in an allegory next month when we tape, that as Paul wrote this Book of Galatians the Temple was operating full speed ahead there in Jerusalem. The priests were performing the rites; they were bringing the animal sacrifices the whole Nation of Israel was under the Law. Now it was a degenerated religious system, totally degenerated.
Instead of now operating under the basic Ten Commandments you want to remember that Temple worship at the time of Christ was now under 613 rules and regulations which comprised the Law. And that’s what made it that much harder. Instead of 10 to keep, they had 613, that’s almost a life-long education to learn that many rules and regulations, but that was the Law under which Christ came. And not one time did He ever tell the Jews of His day to forget keeping the Law because they were under Grace. He never said that because He couldn’t. You see Israel was not yet in a place where the Law was set aside. That couldn’t happen until Christ died. The Cross was where the Law was finally crucified. The Nation of Israel at that time could see nothing but their own self-righteousness and they could brag about how they were Law-keepers.
LESSON ONE * PART II
OUR POSITION AFTER SALVATION
Now as we begin this lesson we just praise the Lord that He has saw fit to use us to create an interest once again in the study of His Word. I don’t expect everybody to agree with me, but if I can just cause people to start searching the Scriptures. We don’t have to agree on every little detail because there’s room for disagreement, but hopefully I try to stay as close to the truth as I possibly can. We’re not here for any particular denomination. I’m only here to teach the Word of God. Now our study begins in Galatians Chapter 4 and we were finishing verse 4 when we closed the last lesson.
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.”
That verse falls in line with what I have stressed over and over and that is that Christ’s earthly ministry was under the Law of Moses. We just spent this last week in Indiana where we just had such a response, and this is the one thing that we hear over and over. Never did they realize that Christ’s earthly ministry was under the Law. Everything that Christ said and instructed was in compliance with the Mosaic system. Not a word of this Gospel of Grace, you see it couldn’t be because He hadn’t died for the sins of the world. He couldn’t speak of His death, burial, and resurrection and have faith in that for salvation because He hadn’t died yet. We don’t get those instructions for the Church Age believer until we get to Paul. That revelation was given only to that apostle.
Oh, Christ did mention the fact that He was going to die, in fact let’s look at it again in Luke Chapter 18. These are verses that I think most people don’t even realize are in the Bible. And this is why I emphasize that when people continue to preach in the Four Gospels and totally ignore the writings of the apostle Paul, that those preaching and teaching must realize that His death, burial, and resurrection hadn’t taken place yet. They couldn’t preach our Gospel as found in I Corinthians 15:1-4. It had to be completed, and you can’t preach something until God reveals it, and at that time He hadn’t revealed it. And it’s so obvious here in Luke 18. This is at the end of His earthly ministry.
“Then he (Jesus) took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, `Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. (hadn’t happened yet but it will) 32. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, (the Romans) and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33. And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.’ 34. And they (the Twelve) understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken,”
These disciples had no idea that He was going to die on that Roman Cross. And as I showed so often in John’s gospel Chapter 20, we might as well stop there on your way back to the Book of Galatians. Here Peter and John have now run to the tomb. Everybody is shocked at what Mary Magdalene had told them (that the tomb is empty). They had no idea that He was going to rise from the dead but remember He had told them. But what had happened? It was hidden from them. God kept it secret even though He said it out in plain language. So here we are now on resurrection morning, and Peter and John run to that empty sepulcher.
“Then went in also that other disciple, (John) which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. (then the next verse tells it all.) 9. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.”
Do you see how plain all that is? They didn’t know, they had no concept of a saving Gospel of Grace based on His death, burial, and resurrection. Yet most churches spend most of their time teaching and preaching exclusively from the Four Gospels. No wonder the Church is dying on the vine. No wonder we’re going into such an apostasy, because there’s no power in this now. This is faded off the scene. His earthly ministry is part and parcel of the past just like the Old Testament economy. And now we’ve got to come into the letters and writings of the apostle of the Gentiles, the apostle Paul, for the doctrines of Grace. Now come back with me to the Book of Galatians Chapter 4 where it says He came, made of the woman, made under the Law, but what was the purpose?
“To redeem (buy back, pay the price) for them that were under the law, that we (the whole world) might receive the adoption (position) of sons.”
Now, let’s go back to Romans. It’s been a long time since we’ve taught Romans, so I think it can bear repeating, and we’ll be coming back here more than once in these next few verses in Galatians. But in Romans Chapter 3 verse 23 for this moment:
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” That means everyone – Jew and Gentile, black and white, rich and poor. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Verse 24.
“Being justified freely by his grace (how could he justify us?) through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
Redemption is the process of buying us back. Now the first thing you always have to qualify is why does the word “redemption” have to be used? Why did God have to buy something back? Because you don’t buy something back unless you’ve owned it and lost it, right? In other words, you take something to the pawn shop; it was yours, you sold it, took a loan against it and they took over control. You cannot get it back and have control of that, whatever it is, until you pay the price of redemption.
It’s the same way in Scripture. The reason God had to pay a price of redemption, first for Israel, nationally, and for the whole world in general, was because that which was once God’s – He lost it. Satan picked it up. And so he’s holding it tight until God pays the price of redemption. Now when I say that Israel was lost, that goes back to when the brothers sold Joseph into slavery. It was sinful, it was wrong. But when they did that, God lost control of the little Nation of Israel, although it was still embryonic. But God lost control. They ended up in Egypt and for those 215 years they were under the control of the Egyptian yoke. And now when they finally come out, as it’s recorded in the Book of Exodus, what do we call Exodus? The book of redemption, because what is God doing? He is paying the price to bring Israel out from under bondage, out from Egyptian control, and back to Himself where He originally had them. Of course, the price of redemption there is more symbolic than actual, because it was the blood of the lamb that kept them safe on the night of the Passover. And it was the power of opening the Red Sea that brought the nation out to God Himself. But He redeemed them. He paid the price and He brought them back.
Now for the whole world population in general, He paid the price with His own Blood. The Cross of Calvary is where Christ paid the price of redemption. When Adam sinned, the whole human race fell under the control of Satan. And so He has paid the price of redemption for how many? All. You’ve heard me stress for the last several months on the programs, that when Christ died, He paid the price for every human being’s sin. He has paid the price of redemption for everyone. But you can’t appropriate it until faith comes into the picture. Now back to Romans Chapter 3. So He has justified the believer, freely, because of that price that He paid to bring them back from under the control of Satan. Now verse 25.
“Whom (speaking of Christ Jesus) God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood,….”
Why the Blood in this verse? Because the Blood is the price of redemption. Without the shedding of Blood there is no remission. And had not Christ shed His Blood then the redemption price would have never been paid. Satan would still claim us as his own. It was paid and it’s done. Now verse 26 and what beautiful language –
“To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness:(God’s righteousness) that he (God) might be just, and the justifier of him which (what?) believeth…”
Not a lot of other things, but to him who believeth. Now let’s come back to Galatians 4 once again. He came made of the woman, for only one purpose. First, to be the King of Israel, but when they rejected that, then His eternal purpose was to go the way of the Cross, to shed His Blood, to pay the full price of redemption. And it’s paid in full. Now verse 5.
“To redeem them that were under the law, (which was Israel. But it didn’t stop with Israel, thank goodness. It spread to the whole human race) that we (now Paul speaks in terminology that includes everybody, Jew and Gentiles, because after all he’s writing to Gentiles) might receive the adoption of sons.”
This adoption could never happen without the price of redemption. It had to be one of the first processes in the plan of salvation. Now let’s go back to Romans Chapter 3 and we’ll look at a different verse.
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law;…”
Now compare that with Galatians and what did it say? He came to redeem them that were under the Law. But the next part of the verse in Galatians 4 says that we, the whole general race, might receive the adoption of sons – and now back to Romans 3:19, not only to them under the Law, which was Israel –
“…that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”
Now whose mouths are we talking about? The whole human race! Not just Israel. The whole human race has to understand that there is not a word of argument that they can offer. It’s going to be amazing, we’re not going to be there of course, but I know from Scripture, that I can guarantee it that when lost humanity comes up before the Great White Throne, up there in Revelation 20, there’s not going to be any argument. They’re not going to debate the issue. There won’t be a great big jury trial. But individually they’re all going to come before that righteous Judge, which will be Christ Jesus Himself.
And even though He did express in His earthly ministry, they are going to say, “But Lord didn’t we do this, or that and cast out demons.” And He’s going to say, “Depart from me, for I never knew you.” But other than that, there’s going to be no argument. They’re suddenly going to see the record, the Lamb’s Book of Life and their name isn’t in it. And they’re going to see that long list of evil deeds and works that they know they’re guilty of. No argument and He’s going to consign them to their eternal doom. I know people don’t like to hear that. They like to think that they’re good enough and they’re going to somehow slip in. But, NO THEY’RE NOT!!
I will never forget one old fellow that I did a lot of business with and he said, “Les, I hope that someday I can sort of shimmy under the door.” No, it’s not going to work that way. And some like to think that maybe they can barter with old Peter at the Pearly Gates. No, it’s not going to work that way either. But those that are lost are suddenly going to be brought to the Great White Throne with no argument, realizing that they have been guilty of unbelief and rejecting and they’re going to go to their eternal doom. Now back to Romans 3:19.
“…that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”
A lot of people think it should say “and all the world may become fit for Heaven!” But that’s not what it says. It says all the world may become GUILTY! And there’s no way of getting into a place of freedom and liberty as long as you’re guilty. Not even in the secular world (I hope). Now verse 20 and I love these two verses to show people that all their law-keeping, all their good works, all their legalism, will be for nothing, because –
“Therefore by the deeds of the law (trying to live the good life according to format of the Ten Commandments) there shall no flesh be justified in his sight:…”
They may be good enough in man’s sight, but they’ll never cut it when they come under the scrutinizing eyes of the Lord Jesus. And so no flesh is justified in his sight, why?
“…for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
All the Law can show mankind is their sinfulness, not their salvation. Isn’t it amazing how Satan can totally counterfeit the issue? Now today, Satan has convinced millions, probably billions, that if they do the best they can, if they keep the Law, at least as much as possible, somehow they’ll make it. They’ve got that idea and it’s just stuck in their craw and they refuse to see what the Book says. The Book says they’re never going to make it. Because by the keeping of the Law, is no flesh justified. But we have to experience that price of redemption, which is by having our faith in that shed Blood of Calvary.
Now let’s move on in the moments we have left, to verse 6 of Galatians 4. Now then, since it’s established that the Law could not save, but that the work of the Cross has redeemed us and as soon as we are redeemed we are placed by the right of adoption into that place of full maturity in the Body of Christ. I think I mentioned in our last taping that there are two concepts in Scripture. One is that when we come in as a new believer, how do we begin? Babes in Christ, and we desire the sincere milk of the Word, the simpler things.
But as we grow and as we come through the Christian experience, we finally reach the place where we are ready for the strong meat of the Word. Not just the simple things but also the strong meat. Let’s go to Ephesians Chapter 1 and verse 5 for the other concept. And that concept is that the moment that we’re saved God puts us right up in that place of full responsibility like this tutored son. Like that little lad, for years, was constantly being taught and encouraged and reprimanded by his tutor. But when the day came, he was presented as a full partner with that father. Now remember the two concepts. We come into the Body of Christ as babes in Christ, no matter whether we’re six or sixty and we grow in grace and knowledge. But positionally, and that’s what the great book of Ephesians is all about – our position in the Body of Christ.
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto Himself,…”
That does not mean that we’re legally transformed from one family to another. But the word “adoption” coming out of the Greek and the Roman practice was like we’ve just seen and that was the placing of that son as a full partner and heir with the father. That’s what adoption means. Now God has predestined us. He has kept that place open for every believer, that the moment he is saved, there he is, right where God intended him to be from eternity past. And so that’s what the predestination is about is the position.
“…according to the good pleasure of his will.”
Now, I’ve got to take you back to Acts Chapter 2 again. We use some of these verses over and over because I think they are so fundamental to understanding everything. Peter is preaching on the day of Pentecost and he’s preaching to the Nation of Israel, still under the Law. And look what he says-
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; (did those Jews know their Old Testament? Of course they did! They were taught in the whole idea of the Law and the Old Testament prophets and so forth. Even though they were in rank unbelief, yet they knew these things from the Old Testament) Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23. Him, (Jesus of Nazareth) being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:”
You know what he could have also said? “And he has reserved you a place. He has adoption waiting for you.” But Peter didn’t know that. But God did. God had the foreknowledge of everything from eternity past up until the time that it is finally consummated and will continue until the end of time. Nothing in all of God’s working was unknown to that predeterminate counsel of God back there in eternity past. The Triune God saw everything and that’s beyond our human comprehension. He saw it all! He knew back in eternity past that we would be sitting here in Tulsa, Oklahoma this afternoon. There is nothing beyond His knowledge and He knows exactly what’s ahead of us, even though we don’t. Let’s look at verses 4 & 5 again –
“…God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5. To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
He went through that whole finished work of the Cross, arose from the dead, appeared to the eleven for forty days, ascended back to Glory and then revealed to this next great man in human history, the apostle Paul, or Saul of Tarsus, all of these doctrines of grace. And until Paul comes they are unknown. That’s why he refers constantly to the mysteries, the secrets that were kept in the mind of God. I’m so thrilled that people are seeing this, by the hundreds. People are finally understanding that it’s only through the revelations to this apostle that we now understand that eternal purpose of God in the crucifixion and in calling out that body of Gentiles, which we call the Church. Not under the Law, but under grace.
LESSON ONE * PART III
OUR POSITION AFTER SALVATION
Now back to the Book of Galatians Chapter 4 and we’ll pick up with verse 6. Now remember what we just saw in the last lesson, that when God, at the proper time, at the exact moment, made of the woman, came into the human experience at His first coming and went the way of the Cross that He might redeem not just Israel, but the whole human race. And now there is not a soul living that hasn’t gotten the opportunity for salvation.
Here in this verse he’s going to come back to show these Galatians, as well as ourselves, the opportunity that we have as believers. Now he’s not talking about salvation, but rather our position after salvation, and what a great thing it is to enjoy these doctrinal truths even short of glory itself. You know I’ve said so often that salvation isn’t just a fire escape, but most people think of it as such. They want to get saved so that they won’t go to Hell. Well that’s all part of it, but that’s not the most important part. The most important part is God is with us here and now, and He can help us avoid all the pitfalls of life. My goodness, I’ve told you before that I’m not a counselor, but people call and you wonder how can they get into such horrible circumstances.
Well it’s because they evidently never understood that the answer to all of life’s dilemmas are right here in this Book. It’s all in here, and all we have to do is be obedient to the things of God and we’ll avoid most of those. I won’t say we’ll avoid them all because after all we’re flesh and human, but we can avoid so much if we just understand our position as believers. And as the Lord said in His earthly ministry that He came to give us life and so that we might have it more abundantly. And that holds, this is still His whole concept that we can have eternal life, but even in the physical we can have it more abundantly.
“And because ye are sons, (sons of whom? Well sons of God – we’re now the born ones as a result of our salvation. And since we’re sons) God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”
When it comes to the spiritual, God is the One who precipitates all the action. We don’t! You know recently I had a chance to visit with an Orthodox Jew and it was a thrilling experience (with his black robed clothes, steeped in the Law of Moses). My we just had a royal time. I’ll never forget that I brought him up in his memory to when Israel stood on the shores of the Red Sea, and I asked him how much could those Israelites do? Well he just sort of looked blank. I said, “They did nothing! The Egyptian army was behind them, mountains on the right, obstacles on the left, and the Red Sea in front of them. And did God say, “Well hurry up and do something?” No. He didn’t even tell them to get down and go through some rituals and gyrations and all of this, but rather all He told them was what? “Stand still, don’t do anything.”
Just wait for the power of God. And what happened? The Red Sea opened up, and He led them through on dry ground. You see it’s the same way today. People try to do this and that, they work, and they attempt to please God, and they try to keep the commandments, and they want to do, do, do, but God keeps saying, “Stand still.” Don’t do anything but believe the Gospel for your salvation, that it’s all been done for you. So here again because of our position after believing faith, God is the One who precipitates the action.
“…God hath sent forth the Spirit (the Holy Spirit of promise) of his Son into your hearts, (notice it’s the heart, and not the denomination or church building. In other words, you don’t pick up the Spirit when you walk through the door on Sunday morning, but rather the Spirit is in the heart of every believer.) crying, `Abba, Father.'”
Now we have that full privilege of approaching God as our heavenly Father. The unsaved world can’t do that. Oh they can but they won’t accomplish anything by it. But you and I as believers can come right into the throne room now and call Him Father. As Paul teaches we can come with all of our petitions, and requests. Nothing withheld, not on our merit, but because of that finished work of the Cross. So here we have our position as born ones because of our salvation and then immediately God does the doing by sending forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts and in response to that, through the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit, we have every right in the world to call Him, Abba Father. Now look at verse 7 –
“Wherefore thou art no more a servant, (slave) but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
Remember how many times Paul likes to use that word, “wherefore.” I don’t think you ever find that word in Peter’s preaching, or even in the Lord’s ministry. But Paul uses it over and over. Why? Because Paul’s is a progressive revelation. He is constantly building and so when he’s covered this ground he says “wherefore” or “therefore.” And he’ll go a little further and he’ll stop and will say, “wherefore” or “therefore.” Well, here’s another one. Now then he says “wherefore,” because of all he’s unveiled in these previous chapters. He says you’re not even a little child that’s under tutors, but a what? A Son. A full-blown son in full partnership with the Father.
Now again I think I did this in the last taping. I’ll never forget one of the first times we went to Israel, and this goes back a few years. Iris had a lot of souvenirs to pick up for friends and relatives. So she waited until we got to this one huge souvenir store and there were very few customers in there that day. In fact, we were the only ones in there that day. Here was this little 12 or 13 year old boy behind the counter and Iris had all of her stuff collected and so they start adding up. And she begins to bargain. And let me tell you she is the world’s best! And she kept bringing that kid down and down and finally he just put his hand on the counter and said, “That’s it.” I could tell that the father was sitting over there in a little room, through a door. And so I was seeing all of this go on and I was being amused. So I go back to the old gentleman and said, “Do you speak English?” And he said, “Oh yes.” And I said, “Are you going to let that little fella do that?” And you know what his answer was? He said, “He’s never lost a dime yet!”
He knew what he was doing. He had become a full partner in the business and the father just let him go, even though he was up against a pretty good bargainer. And so here it is. We’re no more a little kid under tutors now as believers, we are in a full-blown position as the final tutored son of these parents. We are a full heir. And if you’re in that place of maturity that adoption has placed you, then you’re an heir. Can you imagine how many young people just almost revel at the fact that they are an heir of some wealthy rich grandfather and they are almost sub-consciously waiting for the old gentleman to pass on, so that they can cash in on all of his wealth because they know they are an heir.
But listen, we’ve got something far better! I don’t have a rich uncle or anybody that I can wait for them to die. But listen, I can be anticipating this one. Because I am a joint heir. You as a believer, are a joint heir with God Himself. Now let’s go back to Romans Chapter 8, and this isn’t a slip of Paul’s pen. He says it over and over that this is part and parcel of Pauline doctrine. And here it is in Romans. You see, I like to use more than one portion because I’ve accused people sometimes of building all their doctrine on one or two verses. There isn’t any thinner ice anywhere in the world than to do something like that. That’s why I try to use as much Scripture as possible. This wasn’t just a unique point in Paul’s writing. It’s everything else that he’s written.
“For as many (or all of you) as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
Listen, that’s very exclusive to us. I get a kick out of the Biblical Archeological Review letters of the editor. Because some of these people write in and condemn people for being exclusionists. Of course we are, because the Bible is! And what’s it excluding here? Lost people are not led by the Holy Spirit. They’re out there on their own under the power of the god of this world. But believers are led by the Spirit of God. That’s one of the indications that we have true salvation.
I had a letter the other day and it was a good question. “How can I know that I’m truly saved?” It’s a good question. I wrote back and said, “There are several ways: 1. Do you have a hunger for the Word of God? If not I doubt if there’s any true salvation because it just follows like daylight following dark, that when we become a child of God we hunger after His word. 2. Do you enjoy being with God’s people? If you don’t, then there’s something wrong and I would re-examine my so-called salvation experience. 3. Do you enjoy prayer time, and taking your needs to the Lord? If not, I doubt if there’s any relationship there.”
But whatever, it’s a thing of the heart and I can’t look on the heart nor can anyone else, but you can self-examine. And I think it’s Peter who wrote, “make your call and election sure.” Well, what did he mean by that? Don’t work a little harder, but just simply on the light of Scripture, examine yourself. Are you just depending on something that you have done, or are you depending on a solid faith in the Gospel wherein the power of God has been exercised? And when that happens, here it comes, as we saw in Galatians and now here in Romans, the Holy Spirit comes into our life and He begins to lead and guide and direct to the place where we don’t have to have rules and regulations. The Spirit does that. Now here again, if we’re led by the Spirit of God then we are the sons, or the born ones of God. That’s one of the proofs of footing. Now let’s go to verse 15 and again he’s talking to believers here.
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to (what?) fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba Father.”
Believers don’t have to walk around in constant fear. We have respect for God and we revere Him, but we don’t have to fear Him. Because we know He loves us. In fact, I’ll never forget, and I think I mentioned this on a program a long time ago, somebody sent me a tape of their pastor’s Sunday morning sermon. I learned a bunch from it. And that was that in John Chapter 13, where Jesus was dealing with Martha and Mary and Lazarus, all through that chapter, it wasn’t how much Lazarus and Mary loved Jesus, but what was it? How much He loved them! And it was an eye-opener! And this is what people have to realize. It isn’t dependent upon how much I love Him, although we’re certainly going to love Him. But you see, the thing that’s important is that we realize how much He loves us! Enough to die and suffer for us. Now then, when we have that kind of a salvation, the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.
Now do you see how that flies in the face of these people who say you can never really know? They say you can hope so or you can try and do the best you can, but you’ll never really know? That’s not what my Bible says. My Bible makes it so plain and mine is no different than anybody else’s. But it makes it so plain that we can know that we have passed from death unto life. And here is another one. It’s the witness of the Holy Spirit that we have that salvation, we have that we are children of God. Now let’s look at verse 17.
“And if children, (true sons of God by virtue of our saving faith) then heirs; (not of some rich grandfather, or of some corporation president with millions and millions of shares. We’ve got something far greater) heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
That’s just what it says in Galatians. We are heirs of God and now to bring it even tighter, we are joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. Now, I don’t have to tell adults like you what it is to be a joint-heir. If any of you own a home or property and both of you are owners, what are you? You’re joint-heirs. You both have rights to that property. If one of you pass off the scene, the property belongs to the one that’s left behind, regardless of which one goes first. Now the whole concept of joint heirship is part and parcel of the Christian experience. We are heirs of God because we are joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. That may mean we will suffer with Him and we may also experience that glorification with Him. Now back to Galatians once again. And verse 7 is in complete agreement with Romans Chapter 8.
“Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” We are a son. A one in full heirship – an heir of God through Christ. Now verse 8.
“Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are not gods.”
Now I’ve stressed, especially since our time in the Mediterranean last spring, that as we re-traced so many areas in which the apostle Paul labored in, and we saw the gross idolatry, the gross mythology, these are the places where Paul earned his converts, and how the man must have been constantly subjected to all the immorality of that ancient world. It’s beyond me. And yet he never slowed down or stopped proclaiming the Gospel and out of that gross immoral pagan world, he got trophies for God’s Grace. I was explaining this to someone Sunday afternoon, we had a group of college kids, and they had a long list of questions.
And one of the points that I made was, isn’t it amazing that these new converts of Paul’s Gospel came out of the immorality of the pagan worship of gods and goddess. They came into a salvation experience and almost immediately had to be martyred for their faith. Now think of that. They hadn’t been saturated for 50 years in Christianity like you and I have been. But even as new believers just recently saved out of all that background and they died for their faith. They didn’t go back into their paganism although I think it would have been awfully easy to do.
But you see, if you look at that and then compare that with Christianity today, how many professing Christians today, even after having been taught and tutored for 25 -40 years, if that kind of persecution came that their life was on the line, how many would stay with it? You ask yourself, how many? Next Sunday morning when you’re sitting in church and I don’t care what church it is, and I can do the same thing with mine, you look out over that congregation, how many, if all of a sudden a heavy hand of persecution would fall and we would have to literally give up our life for our faith; how many of that congregation would go with us? I think we would be kind of surprised.
But you see this is what Paul is talking about, that all of his converts not only in Galatia, but also in Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, Rome and any other place that Paul ministered and had these converts out of paganism, they immediately came under the pressure of persecution. We covered that when we were back in the Corinthian letters. This is the main reason that he didn’t really encourage marriage because it’s so much easier to die for your faith if you’re single than if you have a loved one to worry about. I think that was his only reason for being against marriage. But here look at it –
“…when ye knew not God, (they were steeped in pagan darkness Paul says) ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.” See, they worshipped these pagan gods who, by nature when you boil everything down, they weren’t gods at all. They were nothing but a piece of wood or stone, but now verse 9, and here is another one of my favorite words.
“But (they’re no longer in that paganism, they’re no longer worshipping wood and stone, but) now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, (God knows them personally now because they’re His. They’re His children and Paul says if you are in such a glorified position ) how turn ye again to the weak, and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?”
Now what does it mean to be beggarly? Well just exactly what the word implies. It’s to be just sort of groveling, and just begging for mercy. And that’s all these things were, they were beggarly, and weak and had absolutely no power to lift these people out of their bondage, and out of their paganism. Then why turn back to something that is no good? Now we’ve been studying the Book of Hebrews in our Muskogee class, and all through the Book of Hebrews, what’s the comparison? The things that were good, and they were. But we’ve got things that are so much better. A thousand times better, and so here Paul is responding, “Why, when you’ve had it so good, you’re feet have been planted on something solid, you’re an heir with God, you have the Holy Spirit to direct you, then why turn back to that which is beggarly?” Well what’s he talking about? The Law, legalism, and legalism is beggarly. It is a dust groveling system, and if people could see that. Legalism is just putting people literally crawling in the dust, and begging that, “Somehow I can make it.”
You know just before we left for Indiana last week I had quite an experience. In our mail was the sweetest letter from a dear lady who had come out of some of the most rigid religious background and I won’t even name it here. This lady lives in Pennsylvania and she had just gloried now in the Grace of our message. So while in Indiana I was sharing some of the points of the letter with my crowd in Indiana and who should walk up at break time but this very lady who had come clear from Pennsylvania. Now you talk about somebody that was now living in such freedom, and such Grace, and such joy, she was so excited, and I’m excited for her.
But listen, this was just the opposite of what the Galatians were doing. The Galatians were going back into that stuff, if I may call it that. And they were giving up their freedom and joy and letting themselves get wrapped up again in legalism and Law-keeping. Paul says how, “can you desire again to be in bondage?” It is hard to understand that isn’t it? And yet that’s the human race. Even tonight the whole human race for the most part is just simply groveling in legalism, and good works trying to keep the Ten Commandments, and not realizing that when Christ died, He paid it all. And all that I can hope for is for God to open the hearts of people to the fact that Christ has paid it all.
LESSON ONE * PART IV
OUR POSITION AFTER SALVATION
We hope you’re taking your Bible and following along with us.
“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. 12a. Therefore many of them (Bereans) believed;…”
So now let’s begin our study in Chapter 4 and let’s just drop right down to verse 10. Remember how we closed the last lesson. These Galatians believers were turning back to the weak and beggarly things which tells you what the Law really was from man’s point of view. The Law was perfect from God’s point. It was absolute, it was righteous, but from man’s point of view it was weak and beggarly because it had no power to help people keep it. I hope that everyone understands that. The Law had absolutely no power to help people keep its demands, but this Gospel (I Corinthians 15:1-4) is empowered by the Person of the Holy Spirit, and He is the One that now sets us in the right direction, so, consequently, we do not need the Law, we’re not under it because the Holy Spirit takes up where the Law leaves off. So now then verse 10, and Paul says that this is all a sign of their weakness by going back under legalism.
“Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.” Now what group of people did that? Well, not only the pagans but also the Nation of Israel. The whole Israeli economy was based on the new moon, and on the Holy days, the high Sabbath, as well as the regular Sabbath, and everything was regulated according to the moon, signs, and so forth. And Paul says, “You’re going back under that same stuff? Listen we’re not under any particular day, or feast day or celebration day.” Now reading on in verse 11.
“I am afraid of you, (he’s beginning to doubt the veracity of their profession of faith) lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.”
Now what does Paul mean by that? I stressed, especially when we studied the two Corinthian letters, how much the apostle Paul suffered and deprived himself so that the Gospel might go to these Gentile communities. And now Paul says, “If you’re turning your back on everything that I have taught, that I have proclaimed and preached to you, and now you’re turning back under the Law, did I do all that in vain?” Well, listen it was bad enough in vain for Paul, but oh, how much worse in vain for what Christ had done.
You know I’ve been stressing that for the past several months. What a waste when Christ has already accomplished everything that needs to be done for every human being, and then they walk it under foot. People go on their merry way totally unconcerned and indifferent, and the Blood of Christ is counted as nothing. Oh indeed it was in vain for those who never believe. But for those of us who believe the Gospel for our salvation all of His suffering wasn’t in vain. Now look at verse 12 where he says is almost identical to what he said to the Corinthians and Philippians.
“Brethren, I beseech you, (Paul is not commanding here, because that wouldn’t be Grace, but rather he’s begging them, and he’s begging you and I tonight.) be as I am;…”
Now Paul was an apostle, but was he beyond the reach of the ordinary believer? No. Paul was a sinner saved by Grace just like you and I. So he says,
“…be as I am; for I am as ye are;…”
Paul didn’t put himself above the rank and file. He says, “I’m nothing more than a sinner saved by Grace like the rest of you.” Oh, granted these Galatians had come out of paganism, but what had Paul come out of? Judaism. And in the final analysis how much difference was there? None. They were all, as Paul says in Romans Chapter 3, without God – they are all on their own way, and the fear of God was with none of them. So Paul goes on to say in verse 12 –
“…ye have not injured me at all.”
They couldn’t touch him, but he wanted them to do as he had taught them. Paul wanted to be their example. I want to come back to what Paul says early on in I Corinthians Chapter 4. A lot of people don’t even know this is in their Bible, and if they do know it they don’t like the fact that it is. But here in Corinthians there are a couple of verses that say the same thing regarding Paul’s example for us. Paul wrote this to all of his churches that they were to follow his example. Now today most people say, “We’ll follow Jesus.” But that’s not what the Holy Spirit writes through the apostle Paul. Paul says we are to follow him, because who is Paul following? He’s following the ascended Christ, and we follow Paul.
I Corinthians 4:16
“Wherefore I beseech (beg) you, be ye followers of me. (Do you see how plain that is?) 17. For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, (Timothy) who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.”
Remember everything that Timothy knew, he learned from Paul. So everything is going out from this one apostle. Barnabas, Silas, Titus and all of Paul’s helpers learned everything from this one apostle. So he says –
I Corinthians 4:16
“Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.”
I Corinthians 11:1
“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
Now come all the way over to the Book of Philippians Chapter 3. Now remember Paul had a real warm place in his heart for the Philippians. Never a word of criticism in this letter, and these Philippians had loved the apostle so much. Remember Paul nearly died in Philippi, and they nursed him back to strength. But, look what he says –
“Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.”
They had experienced God’s saving Grace, and they had suffered for the sake of the Gospel, and had given up so much for the Gospel and so Paul tells them to “to be willing to follow me for the sake of the Gospel.” Now as we come back to Galatians 4 let’s look at verses 11 and 12 again.
“I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. 12. Brethren I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all. 13. Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. 14. And my temptation (testing) which was in flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.”
So they immediately recognized that the apostle was the emissary of Christ. Now come back with me to II Corinthians and I emphasized this in our Corinthian study, but I don’t want you to forget it. As I said in an earlier lesson, Paul is castigated, he is rejected, and ridiculed many times, but look what he says in II Corinthians 11:5. Remember this theme runs all the way through his epistles. This is why he is the major writer of the New Testament. There was someone recently who sent me an article with the argument that Luke was a Jew. I’ve always put it on the idea that when Paul said that Israel had more advantages than any other group of people because unto them was committed the Word of God.
“What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? 2. Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.”
Well I’ve always used those verses as the basis for my claiming that Luke must have been a Jew because otherwise Paul couldn’t have written that. Because when you take the gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts that is a goodly portion then of the New Testament, and Luke wrote them both. Well if Luke was a Gentile then Paul could not have rightly written by inspiration Romans 3:1-2. Luke had a Roman name but so did Saul. Saul was a Jewish name, but what was Paul? That was a Roman name. So there were many Jews of that time that had Jewish and Roman names, so Luke was probably one of those. But anyway that was just something that I happened to have thought of although it does fit with this lesson. Now II Corinthians Chapter 11 and verse 5. Look what Paul says again.
II Corinthians 11:5
“For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.”
I don’t know what the average person thinks, but when you read that term “the very chiefest apostle,” who do you think of? Peter. Of course Peter was the spokesman and leader of the 12 disciples for the Nation of Israel. And when you go back into Acts Chapter 2 and 3 when those Jews sold all their goods and transferred it into cash, at who’s feet did they lay it? Peter. So Peter was the spokesman, he was the authority of the Twelve. So I’m sure this is what Paul is relating to especially since some in the congregation thought Peter was the only authority.
So here in verse 5 Paul says, “I was not a whit behind Peter in authority.” Not very long ago I had a thought that I’ll share with you. These various opposers of Paul and his apostleship – I’m sure their argument always was, “But Peter and the others had 3 years with Jesus. They spent 3 years with Him going up and down the roads of Palestine, you didn’t.” Paul may not have spent 3 years in Palestine, but he spent 3 years with, I think, a private tutor from the Lord Jesus Himself in Arabia. So again even in time spent with the Lord, he’s not one whit behind Peter. And that’s why it had to be 3 years at Mount Sinai, because surely it didn’t take that long just to learn the things that he was going to be preaching. So in order to give him the authority with the full time spent with the Lord, I think now that’s what he spent 3 years in Arabia for. Now let’s look at verse 23.
II Corinthians 11:22-23
“Are they (Peter and the eleven) Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? (to be a son of Abraham this was the crowning bragging rights of a Jew) so am I. (so they have nothing on Paul there.) 23. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more: in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.”
Then Paul goes on to show how much he had suffered for them and us tonight. I’m sure he told them, “You mean I went through all of this in vain?” And look at what he suffered.
II Corinthians 11:24
“Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.”
Which was 39. Now listen, if you understand scourging which this was, usually a man could not take 39; he would die. So usually they had to stop short of 39, but he took the 39 on 5 different occasions without benefit of antibiotic or hospital care. So how this man suffered.
II Corinthians 11:25-27
“Thrice (3 times) was I beaten with rods, (that was sort of like the American kid they caned in one of the foreign countries a few years ago. And remember the outcry that it was brutal and inhuman, but this apostle went through that 3 times.) once was I stoned, (and we know the account of that up there in Asia Minor) thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26. In journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27. In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, (the man was human. He got tired just like we do. He hurt, he ached, of course he did.) in hunger and thirst, in fastings, often, in cold and nakedness.”
Then Paul comes down to Chapter 12 and repeats again why he can write the things that he writes and we can just literally rest on them.
II Corinthians 12:11
“I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles (and again I think he’s making reference to Peter.) though I be nothing.” Now reading Galatians 4:13 again.
“Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.”
Paul is always bringing up the fact that he passed on to them that which he had received first from the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul also brings up the fact that he is at the head of that long line of sinners saved by Grace that comprised the Body of Christ as we see in I Timothy.
I Timothy 1:15-16
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. (or first. Chief here is like the chief of a tribe, or a governor. It means first not the worse.) 16. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” Now back to our text in Galatians. Let’s read verse 14 of Galatians 4.
“And my temptation (I think the word testing is a better word here) which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.”
Again go back to II Corinthians Chapter 12. We may have new listeners who have never heard this before. What was the apostle Paul’s testing? That three times he asked the Lord to take it from him. But the Lord didn’t heal him, but the Lord answered him. The setting for this was in Asia Minor at Lystra when Paul was stoned and left for dead 14 years earlier, and was caught up into the third heaven right into the abode of God. He then wrote that eyes had not seen or ears heard the things that God has prepared for them that love Him. So now he comes back from that experience and says –
II Corinthians 12:6-8
“For though I would desire to glory, (or brag. We have no idea what Paul saw in glory) I shall not be a fool; (God had told him he couldn’t tell about the experience) for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, (withhold telling about heaven although the pressure was beyond imagination) lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be or that he heareth of me (can you see the danger of knowing someone who had actually been to glory and could tell what he saw? My goodness the world would beat a path to his door. So that’s why God had to tell him that he couldn’t reveal or share what he had seen.) 7. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, (lest Paul should get boastful and puffed up, not for what he had seen in glory, but even for these tremendous revelations that God had given him. This was enough to give anybody the big head.) there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, (and for what purpose?) lest I should be exalted above measure. 8. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.”
We don’t know exactly how all of this came about, but we do know that God permitted Paul to suffer an affliction, much like he did Job. God didn’t inflict it, but rather He permitted Satan to do it. Paul asked the Lord three times to take this affliction away from him. Now I’m sure it must have been an eye affliction, and I’m sure some will disagree with me. I think his affliction was a typical middle eastern eye disease. It would matter, and flow, and it was awful to look at, so the apostle must have literally said, “Now Lord how can people stand to look at me? How can I stand up and preach to these people when I look so awful? ” But God says what?
II Corinthians 12:9
“…My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness….”
I’m sure God says, “Now Paul that’s when I can use you.” You know I’ve always pointed out that Moses is a good example of that. God took Moses to the back side of the desert and there he was a sheep herder for 40 years. Have you ever been around sheep? They don’t smell very good. Also there weren’t many people around him, and on top of that Joseph of Egypt made it so plain to the brethren when they came down to Goshen for them not to tell Pharaoh that they were shepherds, because a shepherd in the eyes of an Egyptian was an abomination. In other words for all practical purposes Moses was an Egyptian, at least that’s the culture he had been raised in for 40 years. Then to look at himself and smell himself and say, “I’m nothing but an abomination.” Then God says, “OK Moses now we’re ready to use you, let’s go to Pharaoh.”
So here you have the same thing in Paul. He would have liked to have been something nice to look at. Paul probably would have liked to have been a big handsome Jew like King Saul was, but he wasn’t. But look what God told him.
II Corinthians 12:9
“…My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
So it was in that weakness with this affliction of the flesh when Paul thought he was unfit to go into these pagan sophisticated people, especially when he was in a place like Mars Hill when he was among all the big wheel philosophers, and here he is with this affliction that was not very nice to look at. So he must have pleaded with the Lord to please take this away from him so at best people would not be turned off by what they see. But God says, “Paul, that’s not the name of the game. The name of the game is your message and the power of my Spirit.”
LESSON TWO * PART I
WORKS ATTACHED TO THE GOSPEL FOR SALVATION SHALL PROFIT YOU NOTHING
GALATIANS 4:15 – 5:11
Our goal is to just simply teach the Word of God. We don’t want you to just sit and let other people throw stuff at you and you not know whether it’s right or wrong. I always like to give this example – I’ve been told that when a new employee goes to work for the US Treasury Department in view of going against counterfeit money, for the first 6 months all they do is study legitimate American bills. Well the idea is that if you know what the legitimate looks like, a counterfeit will be easy to spot. Well you can also use that same analogy with the Word of God.
If folks would just know what the Bible says, and know it forward and backwards then when this counterfeit stuff comes along you’ll see it right away. So that’s really my main purpose of teaching. Be able to separate the Scriptures between Law and Grace. Separate what was written to the Jew and what’s written to the Gentile Body of Christ. Be able to separate the writings of Paul the apostle to the Gentiles and the rest of the Scriptures. Then you’ll be able to see the Scriptures you can claim for your own, and the Bible will become exciting and just open up to you.
Now in our last lesson we got down to Galatians Chapter 4:15 so let’s just pick up where we left off. Now remember that the Book of Galatians is Paul proving that we’re not under the Law, but rather we’re under Grace. And Galatians is so appropriate even today. I think after our teaching today that you’ll agree with me that we’re totally under that beautiful freedom of Grace.
“Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.”
Now what’s Paul saying? That there was such a bond of affection between these pagan Galatians who had come under Paul’s Gospel, and the transforming power of it. These Galatians love the man in spite of his physical inadequacies, and they would have given their healthy eyes to replace his sickly ones. Let’s turn to II Thessalonians for a moment and I think this is typical of all of Paul’s converts with the exception of some of the Jewish believers. Whenever Paul went into a pagan community it was all steeped in idolatry, but when they heard his Gospel message here are the results –
I Thessalonians 1:9
“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.”
Now doesn’t that say it all? He came into this strange city with no fanfare, no trumpeting introducing him and he merely began to confront people with the Gospel of the Grace of God, how that Christ had died for their sins, and had been raised from the dead And they believed it, and they turned from their idols to the true and living God. Now in Galatians it was the same way. They had entered into such a joy of their salvation realizing that it was all of Grace.
And then just like it happens all the time today, I see it over and over how that when we have a new believer who comes under the power of the Gospel and they’ve come away from all this other stuff, and they enter into salvation by Grace, what happens? Oh they start getting bombarded with all of the pressure to come back to all that stuff. I had a phone call just this morning where the poor man was just beside himself because he’d come out of this false teaching, he had seen the truth of the Word the way we teach it, and believed it for salvation. But oh, the constant pressure to come back to where he was before. Listen this is not new. The Galatians were under the same thing. Paul had told them that they were in such a state of blessedness, that they would have plucked out their own eyes for him…and now –
“Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”
Can I show you what the truth did? Turn to II Timothy Chapter 1 for a moment. Now listen if you think you get discouraged sometimes and wonder why you or I or anybody else cannot have the results that we’d like to have, listen it’s always been that way, and that’s why I don’t get discouraged. My lands, when you come to Noah’s flood with probably a few billion that were on the earth at that time, how many were saved? Eight! You get to Jesus at the end of His 3 years of ministry in the area of Jerusalem and how many true believers were there? 120. Just 120 people. Hey that’s next to nothing. That’s the way it’s been all the way up through Scripture. So here again, look what happened to these converts that Paul had brought out of paganism. Now remember Galatia was in Asia Minor. Always remember geography when you read Scripture because geography and history all fit together with the overall working of the Holy Spirit. So look what happened here in II Timothy.
II Timothy 1:14-15
“That good thing (the Gospel) which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. 15. This thou knowest, (in other words it wasn’t just Paul’s idea. Even Timothy and Titus and his other helpers realized it.) that all they which are in Asia (and that would include Galatia) be turned away from me;…”
In other words how much effect did the letter have on the Galatians in the long term? Well almost none. Oh this little letter is so good for us, don’t get me wrong. It’s part of the Word of God, but so far as it’s impact on this Galatian congregation, it evidently fell on pretty much deaf ears because several years later when he writes to Timothy in the verses we just looked at he has to say by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me.” Well you know what I think they did? They all succumbed to legalism, and consequently none of those churches survived. There isn’t one of those cities left today, they’ve all fallen into the dust of history, and all because they refused to stay with Paul’s simple Gospel of Grace. Now that’s sad isn’t it? But listen the world hasn’t changed a bit, it’s still the same way today. Oh they just almost ridicule this concept of Faith + Nothing? Just where in the world are you coming from? I’ll tell you where I’m coming from, the Book! Now back to Galatians Chapter 4 and looking at verse 16 again.
“Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” That hasn’t changed either. Usually people don’t like the truth do they? Now verse 17.
“They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.”
Now in order to explain that verse, let’s let the Scriptures do it for us by coming back to Chapter 1. See a lot of these verses are kind of hard to comprehend. Just what is the apostle driving at? See, what he was driving at was that they were beginning to believe these Judaisers who were coming in and demanding circumcision, and Law-keeping over against Paul’s pure Gospel of Grace. And what does he call it?
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel;”
The Grace of Christ is what brought them out of their idolatry, but what were they slipping into? The influence of another Gospel. Now verse 7.
“Which is not another; (it’s not something that is totally different, but a perversion) but there be some that trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ.”
And the perverters finally succeeded evidently, otherwise Paul wouldn’t have written to Timothy, “that all they which be in Asia have turned away from me.” Now coming back to Galatians Chapter 4. Now we’re going to see how the apostle Paul is going to miraculously use the Scripture to teach us a lesson. If the Galatians didn’t catch it at least let’s hope that we do. Now verse 18.
“But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.”
In other words, when Paul was in their physical presence they could evidently hold everything pretty much together. But as soon as he left, then in would come the false teachers like hungry wolves, and they would just simply tear these little congregations apart. Now verse 19, and here is one of my very favorite portions of Scripture. I’ve always told my classes here in Oklahoma if you’re ever put on the spot to have a devotional for your Sunday School or one of your men or women’s group, then here’s the best one you could use. Oh this is a dandy, and it’s so easy to present.
“My little children of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.”
In other words, Paul is saying? “Just like the mother’s birth pains of bringing forth that beautiful innocent baby,” Paul felt these pagans who also had been transformed and had made a regularly burping process into the eternal things as a result of his Gospel. And Paul was thrilled by that, but now they were in trouble. They were listening to false teachers and he says –
“I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; (or raise my voice and get your attention so that you hear what I’m saying) for I stand in doubt of you.” Why? Because they were falling for this stuff. Now verse 21.
“Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, (you who desire to want to do something in addition to the Gospel) do ye not hear the law? 22. For it is written (in the Old Testament) that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.”
Now of course most of you know what’s he talking about, but there may be some out there that have never heard this before so for their benefit we’re going to go over it again, and that takes us back to the Book of Genesis Chapter 16. Now this is written within a couple of chapters of the Abrahamic Covenant, but years have been rolling by chronologically, and so Abram, as we still know him here, has already been waiting 36 years for the promises in Genesis 12 to be fulfilled. And that is that he would have a son, and out of that son would come a special race or nation of people.
Now as we read this don’t get too impatient with the old fellow, because I think most of us would have felt the same way, that God had forgotten that He had given him this promise. 36 years is a long time in any period of time in human history, and no child. Sarai has no signs whatsoever of ever being able to have a child. So finally she’s the one that gives up first in Chapter 16. Now, I’m not going to be able to finish this lesson in this half hour so the conclusion will come in the next lesson. Now as we read, Sarai and Abram’s names will not be changed to Sarah and Abraham until some time later.
“Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. 2. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing; I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.”
Now when we teach this I always make the point, who is totally lacking in this conversation? Well God is. God hasn’t said a word yet. All God has said back in Chapter 12 was:
“And I will make of thee a great nation,”
Now all this had to start with a son. But here in this conversation in Chapter 16, God hasn’t said a word, and that’s why when we get back to Galatians this whole scenario of Hagar and Ishmael is called, “after the flesh.” This is after the flesh, and when Isaac comes along it will be the, “promise of God.” Can you see the difference? God isn’t involved here at this time. Now I know sovereignly He is. I know that the Sovereign God had to be somehow or other controlling the flow of all these events, but nevertheless so far as the text is concerned God has nothing to say about having a child by the slave woman after the flesh. Now don’t forget that. Now verse 3.
“And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. (so that she could have a child by him, and of course she does in verse 4.) 4. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.”
Now in verse 5, I guess we have to understand the female of the species, and we have to under the customs of the day, and according to the laws of the old Babylonian czar, if a wife could not have a child physically then it was perfectly moral and upright in their culture to have a child then by a servant or slave girl, and that’s what they practiced here. They were not going against morality of their day, but on the other hand God has not told them to do it this way. But they did it in the energy of the flesh, and now is with child, and looks what happens in verse 5.
“And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom: and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised (that enters into the make-up of the species) in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.”
Now all of a sudden Hagar was literally making a fool out of Sarai, simply because Hagar was able to bare a child and Sarai wasn’t. And it just infuriated poor Sarai and she said, “the LORD judge between me and thee.” Now verse 6.
“But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand: do to her as it pleaseth thee. (and bingo, what happened? Sarai kicks her out. Let’s just put it in plain English.) And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.”
Because after all Sarai was the boss I guess we’d say, she was the mistress, and so Hagar the Egyptian slave girl fled. Now remember Hagar hasn’t had her child yet. Now verse 7.
“And the angel of the LORD (this was Christ or God the Son in His Old Testament appearance) found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness by the fountain in the way to Shur. 8. And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. 9. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.”
Now that was a command from God. “Go back to Sarai and Abram.” No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Now verse 10.
“And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, (that is coming out of Ishmael) that it shall not be numbered for multitude. 11. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.”
So Hagar goes back to the tent of Abram or Sarai, and let me explain that. Iris and I had the privilege many, many years ago of visiting a Arab Sheik (I hope I’m pronouncing that right) out in the desert of the Negev and it was a very interesting situation. He served us in what he called his tent, and there really wasn’t much there. But out behind his tent were 4 smaller tents. While he was making coffee for us and we were sitting there on the ground, all of a sudden here come 24 of the prettiest little kids you can imagine. They were all pretty much the same size, and they just about smothered Iris. They tried to get the rings off her fingers and were looking at her hair, and she was just having a ball, and all of a sudden the old fellow just made one bark like a dog and those kids were gone. Well, after we’d had our coffee and we were able to roam around a little bit we saw those 4 tents out behind his tent and we found out that those were his four wives. So if you divide 24 X 4 then they had an average of 6 kids. But it just immediately set the setting for this lesson here.
Now when we speak of Hagar coming back and dwelling with Abram and Sarai, they weren’t in the same tent. The women had their own individual tent out behind Abram’s (and that’s evident when you read a little later when the Lord comes and says that they’re going to have a child). And then Sarai was standing in her tent door as the Lord was dealing with her. You know the account. Just picture that in your mind. Now come on over to Chapter 21. Ishmael is now nearly 14 years old, a typical teenager.
“And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. 2. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. (now remember Sarah is 90 and Abraham is 100) 3. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.”
Alright, do you see the difference? This child is a result of God’s promises. God has said you’re going to have a son, and you’re going to call his name Isaac which means laughter. So now we find that the promised child is finally making his appearance. The child of the flesh, Ishmael, is still with them, because that’s where God told Hagar to go, but now you see it’s coming to a head. Now reading on.
“And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5. And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. 6. And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. 7. And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age. 8. and the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.”
Now I always make a point that chronologically now Isaac has to be 5 years old when he’s weaned, and that of course makes Ishmael about 18 or 19.
LESSON TWO * PART II
WORKS ATTACHED TO THE GOSPEL FOR SALVATION SHALL PROFIT YOU NOTHING
GALATIANS 4:15 – 5:11
Now let’s pick up where we left off in the last lesson, and although we started in Galatians Chapter 4, we ended up in the Book of Genesis Chapter 21. Now Paul is going to use the two sons of Abraham as an allegory, and maybe we should go back and look at Galatians Chapter 4 for just a second as a kick-off point.
“For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; (remember God had nothing to do with that birth) but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24. Which things are an allegory; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.”
Paul is going to use this allegory now in this age of Grace so keep all this in mind as we go back now to Genesis and pick up the account in Chapter 21. First we have the conception of the boy Ishmael by the slave girl Hagar and his birth. And we find that Hagar taunts Sarai because she was with child and Sarai wasn’t, and we find that Sarai just literally kicks her out, whereupon the Lord sent her back. Why does God send her back? Because we know 18 years later she’s going to go back to that same desert. But you see God’s always got the big picture in mind. God doesn’t look at the here and now necessarily, but He can leap thousands of years in Scripture as though it were a day, and that’s exactly what He did here.
I think this whole scenario in the episode of these two sons, one by the slave girl and the son of promise was programmed by God so that Paul could use it as a tremendous lesson for you and I today. Now that’s the way I look at Scripture. None of this comes by accident. All right, as we carry on, we find Isaac is 5 years old and is weaned, and Ishmael is about 18 and again that same attitude of rebellion and taunt come in and now we find in verse 9 of Chapter 21-
“And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.”
In other words Ishmael was simply teasing that little 5 year old Isaac. And you know what teenagers can do with little `tail-enders,’ that’s what we call them. Ishmael was just making life miserable for little Isaac, and of course Sarah, who by then was 95, just couldn’t take it, and says –
“Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.”
Have you got the picture? Get him out of here. Now I always make the point – does she say move them next door? Does she say “send them down the trail a half mile?” No sir, but rather, “out of sight, out of mind.” Now we know in reality that Isaac and Ishmael did come back together for the funeral of Abraham. But spiritually speaking we know that there was no union between Ishmael. Isaac of course continues on in the spiritual line, and gets a wife from the relatives up in Syria. Ishmael on the other hand marries an Egyptian, just a total diversion of the genealogy of these two young men. But the part that I really want you to see back here in Chapter 21 is what the Scripture says –
“…Cast out this bondwoman and her son for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son even with Isaac.”
Now remember this is more than just the thought of a mother or a woman, this is now the Word of God. “Cast out this bondwoman.” Now I think we’re ready to go back to Galatians Chapter 4, and put the whole allegory into common sense interpretation. Why did all this happen? Well of course there is more than one reason. But one of which was so that Paul could use this very typical setting in that Middle Eastern desert economy of these families, and now he can bring it to such a lesson for us today. Now let’s come back again to verse 24 of Galatians Chapter 4. These two boys, one born after the flesh, the other born as a result of promise –
“Which things are an allegory: for these (2 young men) are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.”
So in reality what is spoken here as bondage. The Law! In fact come on over to Chapter 5 for a moment. We’ll be there later this afternoon in another lesson.
“…and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
Now let’s see what the apostle Peter said about the Law. Come back to Acts Chapter 15, and pick up the text at that great Jerusalem counsel. This is when the Judaisers and the Jewish leaders, and that included Peter and the eleven, were coming down hard on the apostle Paul. Remember his message for teaching the Gentile believers was faith in the finished work of the Cross + nothing. But these at Jerusalem were trying to convince him that these Gentiles also had to practice circumcision and keeping the Law for them to be saved. (Acts 15:1-5) And we know that Paul adamantly refused to accept that.
And finally Peter wakes up, and I think the Holy Spirit gave him a big push, and he realizes that – “Hey, years ago up there in Caesarea, God used me to take the Word to a Gentile by the name of Cornelius.” We know that Peter witnessed the salvation of that Gentile, and again God had the long term in view, not the near, so God had Peter all primed and ready to come to Paul’s defense by using something that took place 12 years earlier. It doesn’t say 12 years here but chronologically that’s what it was.
“And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them. Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.” Now look how Peter describes the Law in verse 10.
“Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples (the believers up there at Antioch who had become believers of Paul’s Gospel) which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?”
Now goodness sake what was the yoke? The Law! The Law was a yoke of bondage. I’ve always made the point that living under the Law was severe. For example if the poor old High Priest goofed in one little detail, what happened? He was dead! I don’t know how much truth there is to it, but you’ve all heard the account that the High Priest actually had a rope around his ankle when he went in behind the veil. Now if that be true I can see why, because if he would have goofed with any part of that ritual on the Day of Atonement, he was a dead man. And of course the Jew realized that was always a possibility so they had a rope on his feet to drag him out. They certainly couldn’t go back behind the veil and carry him out. But the point I’m making here is that the Law was SEVERE! It was like a yoke on the neck of an oxen, and a yoke is never an easy burden to bear, and that’s what the Law was. All right now coming back to Galatians Chapter 4 once again. Paul is using that same analogy, that the Law was the flesh, it was like a yoke, it only brought in bondage. Now verse 25 of Galatians 4.
“For this Agar is (typically now in the allegory) Mount Sinai in Arabia,…”
Now I guess you’ve heard me teach that I felt the apostle Paul spent three years at Sinai. What one great event do you always associate with Sinai in Arabia? The Ten Commandments. Now, that’s what Paul says. Hagar is a picture of the giving of the Ten Commandments on Sinai. Now let’s go on.
“…and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.”
Now here is where you have to know chronology. You’ve got to know history. What is the date, approximately, of the writing of Galatians? About 60 AD. When was the Temple destroyed? 70 AD. So ten years before the Temple is destroyed, what is going on in Jerusalem? Temple worship! Sacrifices every day. Hundreds and hundreds of them. The Temple was the very center of all Jewish activity at the time that Paul is writing Galatians. Am I making myself clear? So that is why Paul can say that Hagar speaks of the Law as it was given at Sinai, which was still indicative of Temple worship at the time that Paul was writing this letter to the Galatians. It all makes sense if you understand the timing.
“…and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.”
Now what is that referring to? The heavy hand of the Law! They were still under the demand of bringing sacrifices, of circumcising their children and all these things. The Law was full speed ahead in Jerusalem. Now verse 26, and what’s the first word?
One lady wrote and said, “That’s your favorite word.” Well, I guess maybe it is because it constantly shows that flip side. Whereas on the one hand Jerusalem was under the heavy hand of the Law and sacrificial worship and the Temple and all that and the flip side is what has now begun since Acts Chapter 9? The GRACE of God, without the Law. Now, you see they’re running in consort. That’s why I tell people constantly when they call me, “Look, for goodness sake don’t use the Book of Acts as a doctrinal base. The book of Acts is not a doctrinal book, it’s transitional from an historical point of God dealing with Israel to His turning to the Gentiles. That’s the Book of Acts. And just as soon as you try to go in there and dig out doctrine, you’re going to have problems. You take your doctrines for us to believe, Romans through Hebrews or Philemon, which are Paul’s letters and that’s where we get our basic doctrines. Acts is merely a book of transition. If I could just get people to see that! That answers so much confusion. The two economies are going to be running side by side for a period of time until the one drops away and the other takes over.
You’ve heard me say it on the program, I don’t know how many times, it’s just almost compared to a transition from one presidential administration to another. And I always like to use, because of their differences of ideology, Jimmy Carter’s administration and then Ronald Reagan’s. These two had totally different ideas and yet worked under the same Constitution. And so as soon as Ronald Reagan had won the election in November, up until the inauguration day in January, what’s going on in Washington? Are they passing a bunch of laws? Is there a lot being accomplished? No! Nothing! Everything just sort of comes to a standstill until we can make the transition from one administration to another.
Now, that’s the same thing that’s happening in the Book of Acts. You’re moving from that Jewish program, Temple worship, the Law, that Jesus was the Christ, the King, the Redeemer of Israel, and we’re moving over to Paul’s gospel of Grace through faith plus nothing. What a difference! Contradiction? No! Just a change of program. Now the same way, coming back to my two political administrations. Did they have to change the Constitution? No! Carter operated under the same Constitution that Reagan did. And so always take this into account that you don’t use the Book of Acts for a doctrinal book because you’re going to get thrown a curve almost every time. But you come into Paul’s letters and now that’s what follows the word “BUT” in verse 26.
“But Jerusalem which is above (not the earthly Jerusalem where the Temple is still cranking out her sacrifices, but now we have a spiritual setting in the heavenlies) is free, which is the mother of us all.” Now, come with me back to Colossians, Chapter 1 and then we’ll go to Philippians Chapter 3.
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which has made us meet (or has prepared us) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; 13. Who (speaking of the Father) hath (past tense) delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:”
Now where is the kingdom of His Son? Well, it’s in heaven. So we have now a heavenly base of operations. The Head of the Body is in heaven, and we are citizens of heaven. Now let’s go to Philippians Chapter 3. I hope you can tie all this together. The Temple at the time that Galatians is written is full speed ahead, I put it. The sacrifices are being offered, the Temple ritual is being followed, the priests are fulfilling all of the rituals every day. But at the same time since Paul has had his revelations, we have this total freedom of grace. Now let’s look at what Philippians says.
“For our conversation (citizenship. And where is it?) is in heaven;…”
How did it get there? When we’re translated into that kingdom of His dear Son, we became a what? A citizen of it. So where is our citizenship? Heaven! See the difference. It’s the Jerusalem which is above. Now let’s go back to Galatians Chapter 4.
“But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.”
For us Grace Age believers, we’re not tied to the Temple worship in earthly Jerusalem, we’re tied to the heavenly Jerusalem which is above and it’s free. FREE!! With total liberty. Now verse 27 and this where we come back to Ishmael and Isaac. After all, that’s where the allegory rested.
“For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not; for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.”
Now my idea here is that this is speaking of Sarai, because she was the one who had never had childbirth. She was the one who was barren. Now the last half of the verse I have to feel, is speaking of Ishmael as being spiritually desolate. That has to be a reference to Hagar. And then again, look at the real world. Who ended up with far more progeny. The offspring of Ishmael or the offspring of Isaac? Ishmael did! The Arab world outnumbers the Jews today 50 to 1. And so it’s perfect. She that had a husband, which would have to refer to Sarai and Isaac, had far fewer in number than she who didn’t.
“Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.”
What kind of a promise? I’ll tell you what the promise was. That when Christ finished the work of redemption, what did God promise Him? That everyone who put their trust in what He had just accomplished would be His for all eternity. And God made the promise, that every believer would be His for all eternity. He didn’t die in vain. He’s not going to get near as many as we think He should, but the multitude that have become believers are His and no one can ever take them from Him.
“But as then he that was born after the flesh (Ishmael) persecuted him that was born after the Spirit (Isaac.) even so it is now.”
Has anything changed? No. It’s still the same. The unbelieving world outnumbers us, and I’m not going to put a percentage on it, but it’s by a tremendous amount. And what do they do? They are constantly trying to put us down. We’ve seen that in just the last few months. How that when a group will adhere to the Scripture, what does the world do? They just scream and holler. It’s always been that way. And it’s not going to change.
“Nevertheless (in spite of everything) what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son; (why?) for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 31. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”
The part that I want you to remember as you go to bed tonight, “Cast out the bondwoman and her son because” what are they a picture of ? Legalism!! If I’m not known for anything else by now, it’s that I hate, I detest legalism, because God does. And so the whole admonition of Scripture now is, that once you understand this Gospel of Grace, what do you do with legalism? You cast it out, just exactly like Abraham and Sarah sent Hagar and Ishmael into the desert. It was a beautiful picture. He didn’t build them a tent next door. He didn’t say, “Well let’s have consort even though we may not be in the same building.” No Sir! There had to be a total break between grace and legalism. And if you don’t remember anything else today, remember that. Cast out the bondwoman and her son for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. Then Paul puts the cap on it in verse 31.
“So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.” Paul just kept right on writing and so after he makes his point with the allegory, what does he say next?
“Stand fast therefore (because of what he has just shown us) in the (what’s the next word?) liberty…”
We Americans understand that more than any other people on earth, don’t we? Now, liberty isn’t license. It’s turning into that, sad to say, but it was never intended for liberty to be license. But nevertheless we stand now as free men and women under Grace and never, never give in to the horrors of legalism.
LESSON TWO * PART III
WORKS ATTACHED TO THE GOSPEL FOR SALVATION SHALL PROFIT YOU NOTHING
GALATIANS 4:15 – 5:11
It’s always so nice when the mail runs, because we look forward to hearing from you. You don’t have to apologize when you can’t afford a love offering. We love your letters anyway. We don’t open our mail to see how much money is sent, although it does take money to pay these TV stations, but our first concern is what’s on your heart and mind, and we just thank the Lord for every one of you.
Now in the last lesson we had just come out of Chapter 4 and the allegory of Isaac and Ishmael. Remember Ishmael stood for the Law and legalism whereas Isaac was a picture of the freedom that we have in Grace because of the promises of God. Now that’s what it all really boils down to. God has promised that if we will believe for our salvation what Christ has done for us in the finished work of the Cross, then we are His for eternity. It’s just like the Lord Jesus said, in John Chapter 17-
“I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.”
That was a different setting than the Church Age believers, but yes that holds for us as well. We are literally God’s gift to the Son in response to His obedience to the work of the Cross. All right these next few verses are going to shock a lot of people – they have in the past and I’m sure they will again in the future if we continue on. Where Paul writes now to you and I as well as to the Galatian believers –
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty (or the freedom) wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
Because the yoke of bondage has been done away with, but yet people will just go to all lengths it seems to pull that bondage back into their lifestyles. They think they have to have some kind of a works religion to satisfy the ego. It has to be the ego because when you’re saved by Grace there’s no ego. There is no pride because we deserve none of it, and I know that I have to ask the Lord constantly, “Why have you seen fit to pour out such Grace on Iris and I?” I feel that the Lord has just blessed us so abundantly, but not because we deserve his Grace and blessing. We don’t deserve a nickel’s worth of it.
But, oh, the liberty that we have in Christ because of what He’s accomplished on our behalf. I think at this time we need to look at a verse in Colossians Chapter 2. It’s a verse that I use quite often and I love it because it just rings like a bell.
“And you, (believers as members of the Body of Christ) being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, (as Gentiles we were just as lost as anybody could be) hath he (Christ) quickened (or made alive spiritually) together with him, having (already) forgiven you all trespasses; (how many? All of them from start to finish.) 14. Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;”
Now isn’t that a beautiful way of putting it? He took the Law and all of it’s demands, and all of legalism, and just literally jerked it away and nailed it to His Cross. Picture that in your mind. As He hung there and was crucified for the sins of the world, the Law was crucified with Him. And it is now a dead system, and oh, the human race is constantly pulling it back out of the grave. Have you ever fooled with something that’s been dead for a while? It’s not pretty is it? Listen, that’s the way we must feel about legalism, and this is what Paul is trying to hammer home with these Galatians and people today. “Why do you go back with that weak and beggarly stuff that’s been done away with?” It’s been crucified. That thought reminds me of Romans Chapter 7, and let’s look at verse 4.
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; (or the work of the Cross) that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. 5. For when we were in the flesh, (that old Adam. We were spiritually dead) the motions of sins, which were by the law, (remember all the Law could do was condemn. The Law always made whoever was trying to keep it, guilty. And yet that’s the very thing that people somehow like to resurrect and bring back into their lifestyle) did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. (Remember the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. That’s the two opposites) 6. But now (as a result of believing in our Gospel) we (believers) are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”
Do you see how plain that is? We’re not to be laboring under that old system of Law which is now crucified as far as God is concerned, it’s dead, it’s gone, and oh we saw that especially in our letters to the Corinthians. You remember that veil that was never taken away for Israel? They could never understand that the Law was now finished and done and that’s why they’re still trying to keep it today. But you and I know better. We know that the Law has been satisfied, set aside, crucified and put to death. Now back to Galatians Chapter 5. Also remember when I speak of the Law I’m not just talking about the Ten Commandments and Temple worship, BUT RATHER I’M TALKING ABOUT ANYTHING THAT YOU CAN ATTACH TO THE BEAUTIFUL GOSPEL WE BELIEVE FOR OUR SALVATION. THAT’S LEGALISM! Legalism is anything that you can make up your mind that you’re going to do and then go and do it.
Now when I speak of legalism I recall that Iris and I read a little book that took place back in southwestern Missouri. In fact every time we drive out east and cross that river we say, “Hey this is the river where that little fellow was the main character of the book we read.” But I’ll never forget the little fellow in the book was about 12 or 14 years old and he’d been kind of a little rascal, and he said, “Well I guess if I really want to please mama I’d better go and join the church.” Does that sound typical?
Now we say that with a smile, but listen how many adults today come to that same place? Well maybe it’s time I quit sewing my wild oats and I’d better settle down and I’d better go join a church.” What is that? That’s legalism. That’s doing something that you can make up your mind, “This is what I’m going to do!” Others will say, “Well I guess I should go and get baptized!” That’s the same thing. It’s still something that you can do, it’s a works religion, it’s legalism, and you could just as well take your sacrifices to some imagined temple someplace, because your accomplishment is the same end. Now reading on.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2. Behold, I Paul (now he always emphasizes his apostleship. We saw that in the Corinthian letters.) say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, (for salvation now remember) Christ shall profit you nothing.”
Now you’ve always got to remember in the context, what was the point of legalism that these Galatian believers were being subjected to? Well circumcision, because that was the main point of legalism in Judaism. So circumcision was the big point then – today we’ve got other things. Circumcision is not the point today that will lead people astray, but here at Galatia this was the crowning mis-teaching that they were being subjected to. And Paul says, “If you’re going to practice the Jewish rite of circumcision as a part of salvation then my Gospel how that Christ died for you and rose from the dead for you will profit you nothing!”
Now I’ve shaken people up over the years – I know I have when I say now don’t just limit that to circumcision. You can put anything in there that a man or woman can do when they add anything to Paul’s beautiful Gospel for salvation, I don’t care what it is. I’ve had people call and say, “My pastor said that unless I speak in tongues I can’t be saved.” Well let’s just put it in there so you can see, and this is no malice toward anyone.
“Behold I Paul say unto you that if you speak in tongues as a requirement for salvation then Christ shall profit you nothing.” Now I’ve got you thinking haven’t I? All right let’s use another word, baptism! Yeah, I see heads nodding all over the place.
“Behold I Paul say unto you that if you are baptized in water as a requirement for salvation then Christ shall profit you nothing.” If you have to tell God that you have to be baptized in order to be saved, then God’s going to tell you, “Sorry I’ll have nothing to do with you.”
Now that’s strong language and I know it is, but listen that’s what the Book is talking about. If you say, “Well I’m going to go and join a church,” and if you’re expecting that to somehow be part of your salvation then immediately you cancel the work of the Cross. That’s what the Book says, it’s not my idea. It would be great if we could do things like that for salvation. I wish I could tell people, “Go join a church and you’ll make it to heaven.” I remember an old neighbor of mine years ago and we were talking across the fence, and one of the local pastors had come out and told him if he would just come in and join his church and give $5.00 a year, he’d go to heaven when he died. And the old boy told me, “Now even I know better than that.” Well thank God there are still people a little smarter than these others. But listen the world is full of these crazy ideas, but they reject the simplicity of the Gospel. Now verse 3.
“For I testify again (what does that imply? Hey, he’s said it more than once before) to every man that is circumcised, (in other words if you’re going to use this legalistic rite of circumcision as part of your salvation plus my Gospel in what Paul is implying) that he (that man) is a debtor to do the whole law.”
Now how many men have ever done the whole Law? Only one and that was Christ Himself. No one has ever been able to keep the whole Law as it’s impossible. So when people think they can, they’re just barking up the wrong tree. You cannot somehow or other gain salvation by doing something, and you’re not going to gain salvation by saying, “Yes I believe Christ died for me and rose from the dead, but I’ve also got to do this and that in order to finish the work of the Cross.”
If you do that then Christ shall profit you nothing. Why? Because God is a jealous God, that’s why. God is jealous of what He has accomplished on our behalf, and what is that? That at the Cross He finished every single demand of God on a sinful person. He would take all that guilt away from that person the moment he believes that Christ died and rose from the dead for his salvation. Now listen, when you really analyze it, isn’t it logical? When God has done so much, when God gave the very best that all of heaven and the Godhead had to offer. When God sent Him to earth, and put Him through the rigors of 33 years of life among sinful men. Then He went to the Cross, suffered and died, and then through the power of God rose from the dead, and then we say, “Well that’s still not enough!”
No wonder God gets upset, no wonder God can consign unbelievers to Hell. I had a call this morning and the person said, “How can God send good people to such a horrible place?” I said, “Look, you wouldn’t ask that question if you had a concept of how much God gave to save sinful men.” See it’s those who cannot understand the work of the Cross, and how much God literally gave up on our behalf, and then when it’s spurned He has every right that you can imagine to consign people to a lost eternity. That’s why. Now I hate to see people lost. I hate to think of a loved one as being lost, but I can’t make excuses for them because I know that God suffered to such an extent for the salvation of everyone that when they spurn it there’s nothing else that God can do. His hands are tied – He can’t come back and say, “Well I’ll give you a second chance.” That’s why it’s appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment. And we’d better take what the Scripture says and believe it. Now verse 4. Boy this just keeps piling it on doesn’t it? It doesn’t get any better, it keeps getting worse.
“Christ is become of no effect…”
Now think about that. Here we go through all these different things to somehow earn salvation by doing this and that, but we’ve never had any faith in the Gospel, and what’s the end result? Christ is become of no effect.) now that’s sad isn’t it? But it so true.
“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law;…” (or legalism, or works)
A Scripture just came to mind in Romans Chapter 3 so let’s turn there for a moment. I guess that’s where we were this morning on the Inspirational Network wasn’t it George? Oh let’s look at it again. Verse 23.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24. Being justified freely (without a cost) by his grace through the redemption (or the process of buying us back) that is in Christ Jesus.” Now I’m going to skip verse 25 because of that great big word “propitiation.” I haven’t got time to explain it again in this lesson, but anyhow come down now to verse 26.
“To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness; that he might be just, (or fair) and the justifier (or the One who will declare that sinner justified) of him which (joins the Church? Speaks in tongues? Gets baptized? All these other things? No, but which) believeth…”
Now, I’m not an easy believer, and I never teach easy believeism, but what I do maintain is that when we totally believe that Romans 3:23 is speaking about us and that we’re sinners by virtue of us being sons of Adam. And when we believe that with all our heart and that the work of the Cross has done everything we need for salvation – then at that point God justifies us, He saves us, He declares us righteous, He places us into the Body of Christ, He sanctifies us, He glorifies, He forgives, He has His own system of baptism by the Holy Spirit.
I Corinthians 12:13a
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,…”
He does all this simply because we believe the Gospel for our salvation. See there’s no legalism tied to that, that’s pure Grace. Now let’s come back to Galatians Chapter 5.
“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; (or works) ye are fallen from grace.”
Now I know a lot of people think that they’ve been in Grace and fell out. No, that’s not what the apostle Paul is talking about. You haven’t been in and fell out, but what he’s really referring to is this. If you’re going to put all these attachments and amendments on the Gospel, then you have literally turned your back on Grace. You’re saying, “Thanks but no thanks I’ll work for it, I’ll take my chances;” and then you’re not in Grace. Grace is when we just simply throw ourselves at His feet. Grace says that there’s nothing that I merit. Grace says there is nothing that I can do.
When we talk about Grace I always like to talk about Israel on the shores of the Red Sea with the Egyptians right behind them, mountains on the left and right and the Red Sea in front of them. The Israelites are trapped with no place to go. Did God scream at Moses, “Tell the people to do something.” No, but rather God said, “Stand still!” Why? God would evidence His power. And as Israel by faith stood still, and didn’t try to do anything, but rather just waited for the Grace of God to open the Red Sea. And listen that’s where we are today. We are up against impossible odds of escaping. We are surrounded by the enemy, with a formidable Red Sea in front of us, and what does God say? Do nothing but BELIEVE the Gospel and God opens everything up. God breaks the chains of satanic power. God makes us a whole new person. Now verse 5.
For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”
Now I don’t want someone to misconstrue the word “Hope.” Hope in Scripture does not mean “I hope it rains tomorrow because we could use some.” No that’s not the hope of Scripture. The hope of Scripture is believing in an absolute fact or truth. And that is that the Gospel is true, it’s secure, and when we believe it we can claim all the promises that God has given in His Word. It’s not something like, “Well I hope I can get there.” We know that we have eternal life. So this whole idea through the Spirit is not just the hope of righteousness but it is that bonafide assurance that when we believe the Gospel the righteousness of Christ was imputed to us, it literally became that clothing of righteousness that Adam and Eve experienced, and what we find in Isaiah 61:10:
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness,…”
LESSON TWO * PART IV
WORKS ATTACHED TO THE GOSPEL FOR SALVATION SHALL PROFIT YOU NOTHING
GALATIANS 4:15 – 5:11
Now let’s just get right back where we left off in Galatians Chapter 5, and we’ll begin with verse 6. Remember what we’ve just been saying, and that is you cannot attach anything to Paul’s Gospel for salvation – if you do then Christ shall profit you nothing. Now verse 6.
“For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.”
Now what love are we first and foremost talking about? The love of Christ as He poured out Himself on the Cross for us. Lets turn to Philippians Chapter 2 and look at a verse, and remember what we’re talking about – The love of Christ that sent Him to the Cross.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; 6. Who, being in the form of God, (He was God) thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7. But (as God) made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, (a bond slave) and was made in the likeness of men: (now here it comes. The word `love’ isn’t used but certainly implied) 8. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
What was the engine that drove His obedience? Love! His love for mankind, His love for the Father drove Him to be obedient to the work of the Cross. And death on the Cross was the most horrible death a person could possibly experience. Now another verse we need to look at is found in II Corinthians Chapter 5 and verse 14.
II Corinthians 5:14
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:”
But why did He die for all? Because of the love that constrains. There is another good one in the Book of Romans Chapter 13. This is Paul writing to believers, and this is one of those areas of Scripture that is so practical. There’s nothing pie in the sky about any of these things that he writes, this is everyday practicality.
“Owe no man any thing, (or defraud no one) but to love one another: for he that loveth another (under Grace of course) hath fulfilled the law.”
Isn’t that amazing? We don’t have to have Temple worship, or a priesthood, or animal sacrifices, or the Ten commandments constantly drilled into us. Once we’ve stepped under the light of Grace and the Holy Spirit empowers us, love becomes the whole motivating power behind everything that we do, and then we automatically fulfill the Law. As I’ve said so often, can you steal from somebody you love? I can’t comprehend it. Can you bear false witness, or can you gossip about someone you love? No. Can you covet something that a loved one owns and you wish it was yours instead of theirs? No. When love is operating, the Ten Commandments automatically fall away. They no longer become something that we must be taught and have drilled into us. Now reading on.
“For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery. (if your Christian love is operating you won’t commit adultery.) Thou shalt not kill, (that’s obvious. You certainly are not going to kill somebody you love.) Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness. Thou shalt not covet, and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (now here it is in a nutshell) 10. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Isn’t that simple and practical? Now let’s come back to Galatians Chapter 5 once again. Now verse 7, and don’t lose the concept of this letter. These Gentiles had come out of paganism as a result of Paul’s Gospel and now they were being deluged and undermined by the teaching of having to keep the Law – and now he says:
“Ye did run well; (your past has shown that you did become believers) who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?”
In other words Paul says, “What’s happening to you people?” Oh, he knew, but yet he’s trying to put them on the defensive by asking the questions. You know that’s what the Lord always did. He asked the question not because He needed the answer, but because He wanted to put His subject on the stump. And so here Paul is doing the same thing.
“Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth.”
I remember a gentlemen I knew down in the French area of Louisiana which I’m sure is probably 99% Catholic. And he made this statement, but it’s so appropriate in so many places. He said, “I knew somebody was down there that was not a Catholic.” And I said “Who in the world fooled with you?” Well you know that’s just exactly the way it is in so many instances. We run into a group of people and they’ve been so thoroughly programmed, and when you find one that’s different you wonder, “Who in the world blew you away?” Well that’s what Paul is saying. “Here I had you indoctrinated, I had you taught correctly.” Now who’s come along and is blowing you away? Paul knew who it was, it was the Judaisers. Do you see that? Now verse 8.
“This persuasion (to come away from Paul’s Gospel of Grace) cometh not of him that calleth you.”
Who called them? The Holy Sprit of God. Well if the Holy Spirit did not lead them away then what spirit did? The evil spirit. Remember we’ve only got two spirits in the world. It’s either of the Holy Spirit or of the satanic evil spirit. Let’s go back to John’s little epistles. I don’t like to say anything unless I can show it from the Book. Go back to I John Chapter 4, and this is what the world is up against tonight just as much as when Paul wrote to the Galatians. The human race hasn’t changed one iota, not one bit.
I John 4:1
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” And then you come on down to verse 3.
I John 4:3
“And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of anti-christ, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”
So what are we up against? The two spirits. It’s either of the Holy Spirit or of the evil spirit. Now of course Satan has his demons, but nevertheless it’s going to originate in the satanic powers, and this is what the world is up against. I mean it’s up against everything that Satan can throw at them. You know I always remind people, don’t get the idea that all Satan can promote is what we call skid row behavior. Satan will promote the most beautiful things, Satan will promote that which we think is culture and enlightening as long as he can keep people from the truth. He doesn’t care what he uses as long as people fall for it. With Satan the end always justifies the means. Satan will use good things but it will be of the evil spirit rather than the Holy Spirit that is speaking. Now come back again to Galatians Chapter 5, and look at verse 8 again.
To go back under legalism didn’t come from the Holy Spirit who brought them out of paganism, but it came from the same evil spirit that held them in paganism until the Gospel freed them. You see Satan never gives up, and we’ll see in our next taping session when we get further along in Chapter 5 that for every believer there is a constant warfare isn’t there? And it’s between the two natures. One is Holy Spirit driven, and the other is the old nature that still has its roots in the satanic power of the curse, and so those two natures are in a constant warfare. So it is between the believer community in general and the world in general. They are two total opposites. So we’re up against two forces constantly. And so, even with the believer, Paul says the spirit that is taking you back into a false gospel is not the same spirit that brought you out. Now verse 9, and here comes the warning.
“A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”
Now in common language what’s leaven? Yeast. And when you put yeast into the dough it’s not just going to leaven some of it, but rather all of it. Now it’s the same way with false teaching. If you let a little bit of false teaching in as leaven it isn’t long before it permeates the whole, one leads to another. For those of you who know your Bible, what has happened to Christendom in general? It’s been leavened. Christianity today is leavened. All the things Scripture and Christianity stood against 50-60 years ago are now part and parcel of everyday experience.
I’ll never forget a long time ago when one of our kids was at the university and we visited a church up there. And the pastor there made such a tremendous point. All of the things of the world came knocking at the Church’s door and the Church said, “Yeah we can accommodate that, we can live with that.” And then it wasn’t long that the door opened a little wider and some of the other world stuff came in and the Church said, “Yeah we can also live with that.” And now you see the doors are wide open and you can’t tell the difference between the Church and the world. What happened? “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Now verse 10.
“I have confidence in you…”
See Paul didn’t give up on these people. He’s not going to throw them to the wolves He’s still hanging in there and trusting that he’s going to bring them back to the truth. But like I said in an earlier lesson on the basis of what he wrote to Timothy what happened? They didn’t come back, because he said in II Timothy 1:15 “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me;…” And this is where these people were. They were in Galatia in Asia Minor, but at this point in time this apostle still has not given up on the fact that he’s going to bring them back into the truth of the Gospel of the Grace of God.
“I have confidence in you though the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.”
Now those are strong words aren’t they? In other words Paul is saying, “Whoever it is that is bringing in this false teaching, and is leading you away from the Gospel of Grace, his judgment is sure.” He’s going to one day stand before the Great White Throne where only lost people will stand, and he’s going to be judged, absolutely they are. I’ve said for years that preachers and theologians who mislead people are going to have the hottest corner in the lake of fire, because they are misleading multitudes.
You know when you pick up this Book, I don’t care if you’re a Sunday School teacher, or if you’re just leading a small devotional, every time you pick up this Book you are accepting a tremendous responsibility, and don’t think I don’t take it seriously. I never take teaching the Word of God lightly. I also have to understand that if I would be guilty of misleading someone to the place of missing heaven’s glory then I would have to answer for it. But so far I have never felt guilty of that. I feel as though we’ve had so many people write and call and express a joy of salvation that it just sort of puts the stamp of God’s approval on our ministry. Over and over people who have been steeped in their particular background, Sunday School teachers, and church officers write and say, “For the first time in my life I now know what it is to have a real salvation experience.”
Well if the Lord wasn’t blessing it then that could never happen. So we have to feel that we are presenting the Word as close to the truth as is humanly possibly. My, I’d be scared to death of presenting an error. Now I’m not saying that I’m above error because I am human, and I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on every thing, but on these fundamentals of Who Christ is. That He was virgin born, that He is God the Creator, and that His atoning work of the Cross, His death, burial, and resurrection has completed every bit of God’s requirement for salvation. He’s coming again, and I will never compromise those things. I’d rather go back and just simply stay on the ranch than teach any other way.
I suppose a lot of people think I should have never left the ranch, but this is why I sound bold at times. See, I don’t have to depend on some denominational retirement account. I don’t depend on a salary from any of this, and if I was booted out of all of this situation then I could just go back to the ranch full time and pet my cows a little more than usual. Iris thinks I give them more attention than they deserve anyway. But we’re going to proclaim the truth as the Lord lays it upon us even as the apostle Paul did, and he said –
“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” And listen, I’m far more fearful of God and want to please Him more than I do men. So here in verse 10 Paul says –
“…but he that troubleth you (with his false teaching) shall bear his judgement, whosoever he be.” It didn’t matter whether this false teacher was highly educated, a philosopher, or a high man in Judaism, it doesn’t matter. Paul says, “This person will one day stand in judgment.”
“And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution?…”
Well who were his chief persecutors? The Judaisers. A verse comes to mind in the Book of Acts Chapter 15. Most of you know this but we may have someone watching the program for the first time and have never seen this before. But here in this chapter is exactly what Paul was up against. And here Luke, the historian, is writing.
“And certain men which came down from Judaea (to Antioch where Paul and Barnabas had been ministering primarily to Gentiles.) taught the brethren, (those believing Gentiles at Antioch) and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.”
Do you see how clear that is? That’s what Paul was up against. See these people came down from Jerusalem with authority. I mean after all they were emissaries of the Twelve. A lot of people probably don’t like the idea that I put Peter, James and John, along with a lot of these Judaisers, but Galatians 2:7-9 indicate that. Now for the sake of time I’m going to skip the next 3 verses and now come up to verse 5. As the counsel takes place in Jerusalem with the Twelve and Paul and Barnabas.
“But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, (in other words they, like the Twelve, had believed for salvation in His name only that Jesus was the Christ.) saying. That it was needful to circumcise them, (these Gentile converts at Antioch) and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”
Now these believers at Galatia was falling for that, and this is what Paul had to constantly remind them that they had not been taught that way. Now back to Galatians chapter 5 and we’ll finish up on verse 11.
“And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? (Paul says, `If I preached what the Judaisers in Jerusalem preached then I’d have clear sailing. I wouldn’t have any opposition, I wouldn’t be under this persecution. Because that’s their main reason for hating me and fighting me. I will not give in to circumcising these Gentile believers. If I preached circumcision) then is the offence or the cross ceased.” (or brought to an end)
Isn’t that amazing? All Paul would have had to do to have an easy road was to succumb to the pressure. All he would have had to do was give in and say, “Okay, Okay I’ll teach circumcision, I’ll preach Law-keeping, just get off my back.” Now God wouldn’t have been satisfied but the world would have. And the Church would have just died a natural death and Satan would have gloated all the way into eternity, but Paul didn’t. Paul never backed off and gave in to these Judaisers.
LESSON THREE * PART I
THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVES VICTORY OVER SIN
Now before we start with the Scriptures, let’s review just a little. Galatians is a Book determining the fact that we’re not under Law but rather Grace. I know there are lots of people that don’t know what we’re talking about, and they’ll look at you quizzically and say, “Well, what do you mean?” Well hopefully what the Book of Galatians is showing is that we’re not under the system of Law, we are not under any kind of legalistic demands for our salvation. But rather salvation is all of Grace by faith only + nothing, or else any works you add to salvation takes away from the finished work of the Cross. See this is the whole concept of God dealing with us, this predominately Gentile Body of Christ in Grace, is that we have to believe that He did everything that needs to be done.
And as soon as we try to add to that for salvation then in actuality say, “Well Christ didn’t really finish it!” But he did and God has let us know in his Word and especially through the writings of this apostle Paul that it was finished and we stand in His presence justified, forgiven, sanctified, glorified, and all those good words simply because we can believe that it is a finished transaction. So this has been the whole concept of this little letter to the Galatians who were being tempted to go back under legalism, which at that time was prompted by the Jew, and that was circumcision. So Paul has been dealing with that in particular. But for us today circumcision is not so much the criteria, but it’s all these other things that people try to tell us that we have to do beside believing the Gospel, as found in I Corinthians 15:1-4. But don’t you believe what they say, because the Word says that it is by faith, and faith alone. And back in Romans Paul uses the old man Abraham as the prime example of someone who was saved by faith and faith alone. Now as we begin our study in verse 13 we find –
“For, brethren, (believers) ye have been called unto liberty; (freedom) only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh,…”
Now we need to stop there and go back to Romans Chapter 3 because Scripture has to constantly explain Scripture. Then we will also look at a verse in Chapter 6, and I think this just says it all.
“And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some (those that opposed him) affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.” (and sure.)
We sometimes hear that even in our own culture. “Well to be under the Grace of God means that I’m saved and now I can do as I please.” Listen, the Scripture never teaches that, and when Paul says, “that it was reported, it was slanderously reported.” In other words, they were trying to drag the guy’s ministry down in the mud by telling people, “Oh the apostle Paul just teaches that once you’re saved you are at liberty to do what ever you want to do.” And there have been some great men that took that line, but not the apostle Paul. Now turn with me here in Romans to Chapter 5:20, and the text is also along this same line of thinking. That, yes, we’re saved by Grace, we live by Grace, we walk by Grace, but that is not license.
“Moreover the law entered, that the offence (that sin might be seen for what it really is) might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:”
Now that tells you that no matter how far down an individual can go into sin and wickedness, yet the Grace of God is always capable of going even lower and bring that individual back up to a place of righteousness. Now verse 21.
“That as sin hath reigned (like a king) unto death, even so might grace (this liberty, this freedom) reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
All right then you come on into Chapter 6:1 I’m sure that Paul still has on his mind that he was slanderously reported in Chapter 3 to have taught that they could now do as they please.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (in other words, are we to actually test God’s offer of Grace, by seeing how much evil we can do, and get away with it?) 2. God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, (old Adam) live any longer therein?”
So this is the whole concept, that yes we’re set free, we are at liberty, and yet not liberty to go contrary to the Word of God. Now that wouldn’t make sense would it? But to have liberty as a believer is so wonderful. But this is an area where we can have a difference of opinion, because something that might not strike me as being intrinsically sinful to some one else it may be. So here is where our liberty comes into play. You have to determine between yourself and the Lord as to what your behavior is going to be in certain areas. We covered this several months ago, a good example is giving.
Someone may be led to give 30 or 40 percent of their income, well that’s great, but someone else may not be able to have that kind of opportunity, and they may give considerably less, but no one is mandated as to how much they give in this age of Grace. That’s Christian liberty! That’s what we have in Grace. Now that’s just one example. Now coming back to Galatians Chapter 5. We are not to use this liberty as an occasion to the flesh, and say, “Well I’m now saved, I’m a child of God and I can do whatever I wish.” Well I think most true believers know better than that. It’s these people who may have tasted of salvation, and had an emotional experience, but they’ve never really entered in to a genuine salvation experience. Now those kind of people may be able to take this approach, but for the true believer I think most of them know better than that. Now verse 13 again.
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”
Now you want to remember that Paul is writing to the Galatian believers who were in various congregations, and amongst themselves believer with believers, they were to serve one another through love. Now I need to come back to my definition of Biblical love, or the Agape love as we saw it in John’s gospel when Jesus said to Peter, “Peter loveth thou me?” Do you remember those accounts? And Peter never did really get the full impact of Agape love, because Peter came back and said, “I Phileo you,” Meaning I’m fond of you. It was a lesser term then agape.
My best definition for us in the English speaking world of agape love is, “Seeking that other persons highest good.” That is true agape love in practice, when in every circumstance try to seek that other person’s highest good. Now that means many times we will even sell ourselves short in order to accomplish that which is the highest good for the other person. So this is what the apostle Paul is talking about in verse 13. Rather than use our liberty for an occasion to satisfy the lust of the flesh, rather we are to let that God-given agape love, the love that always seeks the other persons highest good. Now verse 14.
“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Now let’s go back and compare what Paul writes in Romans Chapter 13. And again you need to compare Scripture with Scripture so that you don’t say, “Well that doesn’t really mean what it says.” A lot of people will say that when you confront them about something. But it does mean what it says, and if you don’t believe what it says in this one then find another place where it collaborates it and it all fits.
“…for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”
Every part of it, because love is always the answer for what the Law demands, and I’ve gone over all of this more than once. Can you steal from someone that you really love? Why no way! Can you go out and bear false witness about someone you really love and are seeking their highest good? No. And it’s the same way with sexual immorality of the day. If true agape love is functioning, the present day surge of immorality and adultery would die on the vine. Because there is no true love in that kind of sexual satisfaction. It always leaves people miserable, you all know that. Triangles do nothing but cause unhappiness and grief and sorrow, and why? Because there is no true love involved in something like that.
Coveting is another one, you don’t wish you had something that someone has that you love. So love is the fulfilling of the whole Law, and then Paul goes on to repeat them in verse 9. So when I say that Paul teaches that we’re not under Law but rather Grace, that doesn’t mean that Paul says we’re free to steal, bear false witness and covet. No way but all he means is that the Law doesn’t hang over us as a threatening punishment, that if you break it the hand of God is going to come down on you. That’s not what he’s saying. He’s saying, “That once we’ve come into Salvation through faith and under the Grace of God our whole system of want to changes.” We no longer want to do these things that are contrary to the Law. So it isn’t a matter of having to have the Law in order to maintain Christian discipline. We’re going to see when we get down to a couple of verses later that it’s that indwelling Holy Spirit that takes the place of the Law. And that’s what we have to constantly emphasize. Now if we can come back to Galatians Chapter 5, and for repetition let’s read verse 14 again.
“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Now that takes care of everything. Now verse 15 is just an admonition.
“But if ye bite and devour one another,…”
Now that will take in the bearing of false witness commandment. My, you can destroy a persons character in 5 minutes, and this is what is so sad about our political system. We love our freedoms and liberties, but you know all someone has to do is by innuendo make something of a derogatory comment and immediately that person is put on a defense, but what has happened in the eyes of the public? He’s guilty. Whether he is or not just by virtue of implication he is now guilty until he can prove himself innocent. Well Paul is telling believers that this is the same thing that they are doing to each other. Every time you say something nasty about one of your fellow believers you are by implication putting them in a place of defending their character or what ever. And so Paul is saying, “You had better be careful, because it will eat you alive.”
“…take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.”
Literally just eaten up by those to whom you are being an adversary. Now let’s move on an as you can see I have already drawn my circles on the board, to save a little time, to show the make up of mankind.
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
In other words, to keep from fulfilling the lust of the flesh you must walk in the power and the control of the Holy Spirit. Now that makes sense doesn’t it? When the Holy Spirit is operating you’re not going to go out and steal, the Holy Spirit will never tell a believer to go and steal or do anything contrary to the Word. So when we walk in the Spirit and He is in complete control then these things of old Adamic nature, which is still lurking there in the background, won’t come to the front. Now getting back to the circles that I have drawn on the board. Now verse 17.
“For the flesh (old Adam, that old Adamic nature) lusteth (or declares war on our new nature or) against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh;…”
So it’s a constant battle. The battle line are defined from the very moment we’re saved until we leave this life by death, or we trust one day soon, through the Rapture. But until one or the other happens we are in a constant warfare. Now reading on in verse 17.
…and these (two forces within each believer) are contrary (they are at total odds) the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
These two natures can’t agree on anything because the new nature has a whole new set of values that are in compliance with the righteousness, and the Holiness, and the laws of God. And the old nature, whose god is Satan, and the god of this world, this nature is bent in rebellion, and unbelief, and so they are two totally opposites, and they war constantly. Now we haven’t had a study on the circles that make up mankind in a long time so let’s go back to Genesis. I’m amused, and encouraged because in my system of teaching the two things that most people says have really opened their eyes to the Scripture are the timeline, and the 3 circles. The timeline has literally opened the Bible for so many people and the 3 circles help people understand the make up of man.
We had a gentlemen at one of our last seminars who said that when he first heard of me he hated me with a passion. He said, “My wife had gotten some of your tapes, and I hated those tapes, and if I could have gotten away with it I would have destroyed every one of them.” But he said, after arguing over the tapes he agreed to watch one of the half hour tapes just to get them out of the house and out of sight. He said, “I watched the first half hour and went about 10 minutes into the second half hour and,” he said, “you had the 3 circles on the board, and it just totally blew my mind. After watching you explain those circles I could see my problem, I was under the control of that old Adamic nature, and I had to have what my wife had and what you were talking about.”
So there is another prime example of how the teaching on the three circles has helped so many folk, and clarify our make up. Now the outer circle represents our own individual body. And as we’ve pointed out from Corinthians the body is just the exercise of the five senses, and it’s merely the temporary dwelling place for the next circle the “soul,” which I usually refer to now as the “personality,” the real you. It’s your personality, and is made up of the mind, the will, and the emotions in each person. Now that’s what really makes us click. It’s our mind that does the thinking, and formulates every thing. The will is what carries out the thinking, and then you have our make-up of emotions which is our love and anger, joy and what have you. Then we had the third part that Adam was first created with, body, soul, and spirit, whereby he had fellowship, and communion with the Creator. Now we know that as soon as Adam sinned as God had said –
“…for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
And so Adam didn’t die physically for 930 years, but his spirit, that part of him which he had been having fellowship with His Creator died, and became dormant. His spirit was still there but was dead like a car battery that has been run down, and it will remain dead until some outside power source comes in and regenerates it. Then at the same time with Adam, another thing happened to him. His personality, by which he was created, became then a sin nature. We refer to it as our old Adam. It had only one bent and that was rebellion against everything that God instructed or taught, it would say no. In fact all you have to do is just stop and think for a moment.
You look at the world around us and it’s been this way all the way back through history. Every thing that God says, “This do” for our own good what does Satan say? Well just the opposite. Satan is always telling the human race just the opposite of what God has instructed us to do. On the other hand every thing that God says we shouldn’t do, what does the Devil say? Do it. So this has been the conflict then between man and God ever since Adam became that original “sin nature” and his spirit or the place of fellowship was completely put out of commission, it was made dormant.
So now when we come into the human experience, yes we’re living in that same body of flesh, blood, and bones which operates the five senses and it’s in that body that now our old personality, this sin nature, is operating, and that’s as much as we’ve got. We’ve got no way of communicating with God while in that condition. Now people don’t like for me to say that, I know. When that poor old GI in the fox hole would cry out for God to help him, God didn’t hear that unless he cried out for salvation. That’s the prayer of an unbeliever that God hears, because you see there’s no means of communication for the lost person and God. There is none. Romans 8:7-8 makes it so plain that the lost person is an enemy of God. Well you don’t deal with your enemy if you’ve got one.
So here we are as a race of people living in the flesh with an old sin nature, a personality that is an enemy against God, and with nothing to keep us in communication with God. But now for the flip side. Here comes the Cross, and Paul teaches so explicitly for the first time in Scripture about this whole idea of a sin nature, and that is that if this sin nature can be crucified, and literally by faith committed unto God to have Him put it to death (because this old sin nature has to be declared dead, at least so far as God is concerned), although it remains a viable force in our living, but the minute God reckons old Adam as crucified, God then puts within us a new nature, a divine nature which is the very mind and nature of Christ Himself. And that’s what we mean when we become Christ-like or a Christian.
But never lose sight of the fact that even though God reckons old Adam as dead, and God sees him no more, and that’s justification. It’s just as if we’ve never sinned so far as God is concerned. So it’s just as if old Adam has been completely put out of God’s sight, but in our experience as a believer, he’s still there. The only hope we have is that God has intervened with something that will help us control this old Adam and we can keep him defeated.
LESSON THREE * PART II
THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVES VICTORY OVER SIN
Now we’re going to pick up again in Galatians Chapter 5:17 where we ended in our last lesson. This is where I like to depict the two natures of the believer. Now I know a lot of folks have no concept of the two natures. But when we become a believer the old sin nature, the old Adam that we’re born with had to be crucified, he had to be literally put to death in the realm of the spirit. Now that is done when we believe in our heart the Gospel for our salvation, that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and rose again. When we do that then Christ reckons that old nature crucified, and we’ll see that in Romans again in just a moment.
After salvation then immediately God places opposite that old Adamic nature a new Divine nature, and I maintain that new nature cannot sin because it’s divine. So when we, as believers, sin it’s just the simple matter that old Adam has taken control for a moment, and it’s through the old nature that we continue to sin, but always remember that as far as God is concerned old Adam is dead. That’s why God can declare us “justified,” and it’s just as if we’ve never sinned, because old Adam is dead and gone so far as God is concerned. But experience tells us that in our every day life old Adam is still there but we try to keep him suppressed.
The new nature is imparted by a divine act of God, so in this area between the old sin nature and the new nature, which is now receiving its prompting and its power from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit at the same time comes in and indwells and takes up residence, as well as regenerates our spirit which in Adam’s case died the moment he sinned. So with the Holy Spirit now in consort or in complete agreement with our spirit, we once again have that means of fellowship with God through the Spirit, and then, here is the crucial part. The Holy Spirit working on our spirit is going to influence the new nature and the new nature in turn is going to control the acts of the physical body. So as long as we’re led by the Spirit the body is going to find itself in complete agreement with the laws of God that are good for society, good for family, they’re good for material relationships, all of these things prompted by this God-given part of us make the difference.
Now like I said, we as humans are going to sin. We all fail, we all fall, and it’s when this part of us, the new nature suddenly withdraws and comes away from the battle line, and old Adam immediately jumps at the opportunity and immediately begins to control the acts of the body, then, of course we find ourselves as believers, sinning. I mean believers sin, and we can’t get away from that. But the whole idea is that we keep that spirit part of us literally exercised by the Word, by prayer, by Christian fellowship, and then we can pretty much control the activity of the body. Now let’s look at verse 17 and 18 and then we can go back and compare Scripture with Scripture.
“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one with 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.”
Now let’s show this from Scripture. First and foremost we cannot do the things that we would do, let’s not find ourselves beating our breast and saying, “Oh, I’m without hope, I can’t seem to win,” because the apostle Paul went through that same thing. Now let’s look at his dilemma in Romans Chapter 7 first, and maybe that will give us some comfort. You see we’re not alone when we know we should do something and we just don’t do it. We know we shouldn’t do certain things, but the first thing we know, we’ve done it. All right in Romans Chapter 7 let’s just drop down to verse 15. I mean this just says it all.
“For that which I do I allow not:…”
Well what does he mean? Well that’s what Paul is doing in the body and flesh, this new nature prompted by the Holy Spirit tells him that it’s wrong. Do you see that? So he says, “the things that I do I know better. I don’t want to do them. Now move on in the verse.
“…for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.”
Now what’s he’s saying? The things that now the Spirit and his new nature hate he’s finding that old Adam is still slipping in and getting the job done, whatever it is. But in order to control the failures of the body this new nature has to be strengthened and becomes uppermost in all of our thoughts and acts, and deeds. We have to constantly keep that old Adamic nature in suppression. Now I think you’ve all heard the expression, “Well the Devil made me do it.” Well that’s not very often the case, rather it’s old Adam who makes us do it, but let’s not leave Satan out of the picture entirely. Where does Satan work? Well through that old nature. That’s his playground, that’s where he loves to fulfill his desires. He loves for our old Adamic nature to control, and to exercise the desires of the old nature, but we have in I John, this:
I John 4:4b
“…because greater is he that is in you, than he that is the world.”
So we have that comfort to always rely upon. Now let’s turn a page to Romans Chapter 8. I like to show that Paul doesn’t just write these things in one place and leave it, but it’s a constant repetition of these things. Let’ just start with verse 1.
“There is therefore (in spite of our dilemma in Chapter 7 that the things we know we shouldn’t do, we find ourselves doing them some times, but in spite of that there is therefore) now no condemnation (how can anybody twist that? That’s what it says, that in spite of our dilemma, in spite of our failures, God has promised that there is no condemnation, but what’s the criteria?) to them which are in Christ Jesus,…”
Now remember no unbeliever is in Christ. Oh, he may try to walk like a Christian, he may try to behave like one, but unless he’s in Christ, he’s not one. But for those of us who are in Christ, and remember we get to that position by faith, and faith alone in believing the Gospel. (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4) And that’s an act of God. Now I’m going to leave the last part of that verse because I would rather pick it up in verse 4. But now for verse 2.
“For the law (remember I’ve explained that the word `law’ doesn’t always mean the Ten Commandments, but in this case it means a fact of life. For the law, or fact of life) of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from (another fact of life, and that is the) the law of sin and death. 3. For what the law (now we’re coming back to the Mosaic Law) could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God (now God takes precedence. We can’t do it but He can by) sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, (to take care of that problem of old Adam) condemned sin in the flesh:” Now here’s the verse we came for.
“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us,…”
Now we need to stop here for a moment. When we start talking about Law and Grace we can’t be confused. The Law from God’s view point was perfect! It was the very mind of God expressed so far as being the best for mankind’s benefit and his own good. But from the human standpoint the Law was weak and beggarly, it was a yoke. Now why those two seemingly contradictory statements of the same Ten Commandments? Well you see God revealed His righteousness and His Holiness when He gave those Ten Commandments. But man over here without the power of the Holy Spirit and in his own flesh couldn’t begin to keep that perfect Law.
And so it became weak and beggarly, a yoke that poor old Israel just chafed under constantly. So here’s the whole concept: Yes the Law is perfect, but we can not keep it in the flesh because it had no power to impart to man to keep it. Now I hope I’ve made that plain. The Law had no power to help mortal men to keep it. That was its weakness! And consequently man couldn’t keep the Law, in fact they couldn’t even come close to keeping it. But now under our economy of Grace we’ve got something far better. It was good under the Law but under Grace it’s far better. Now looking at verse 4 again.
“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Now that the Law might be fulfilled in us, not that we’re better at Law-keeping than Israel was, but because of our position, because of the power of the Holy Spirit we no longer walk after the flesh or after old Adam, but after the Spirit. Now here it is – Just as soon as old Adam is crucified, and in God’s eyes he’s completely dead, he’s out of the picture, but in our experience he’s still here, but he’s defeated. He doesn’t have to remain uppermost. If he remains uppermost it means we’re not fighting the battle. But with the help of the Holy Spirit empowering our spirit we can live victoriously, but always remember that old Adam is powerful and he will come to the forefront at times, and that is where the warfare exists, and there would be no warfare if it weren’t for the indwelling Holy Spirit. If we didn’t have Him helping us there wouldn’t even be a battle line. We wouldn’t stand a chance against the forces of old Adam, and forces of Satan if we didn’t have the Holy Spirit. That’s the secret.
In fact the word Pneuma Hagion in the Greek, do you know what it really means? In the English it is that Power from on High. That’s what this is. The Holy Spirit is the Person, but when He gives us that which we need to confront the old nature and his desires, and to live victoriously in the flesh we can’t do it without the Pneuma Hagion which is the Power from on High that is exercised through the Person of the Holy Spirit. And we have to understand by Faith – “But Lord I have the Holy Spirit, I can draw on Him, and I don’t have to force myself to be a law keeper.” It just simply now comes naturally to let the Sprit run the race for us. All right while we’re here in Romans Chapter 8 and this fits with Galatians so perfectly come on down to verse 5.
“For they that are after the flesh (they’re still living in the realm of old Adam, and know nothing of God’s saving Grace) do mind the things of the flesh; (now you want to remember that’s the grand majority of the world’s population. All the lost out in the world today are there for is to gratify the flesh. They have no concept of eternity, they have no concept of Spiritual things, and all they are concerned about is to gratify the flesh. Oh they may do it with pomp and circumstance. They may do it in high echelons of society, but it’s still just the gratification of the flesh. Now on the other hand the flip side of that is ) but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”
Iris and I can tell, no matter where we go in our travels, it doesn’t matter whether they’re in the upper or lower ends of the economics, we don’t care. We enjoy the whole spectrum, but we’ve noticed now over the past several years when we’re invited to come in and spend the night or have dinner, they don’t talk about the weather or sports, or politics. The minute we sit down it’s in the Book! And that’s the way it should be. Granted people have questions and maybe think that I have the answers, but nevertheless we always come away from those places just thrilled. “Now these people have only one thing on their mind, and that’s the things of the Spirit.” Now that’s not the natural person, because he’ll talk about anything but the things of the Spirit. Now let’s go back to Galatians as we need to make a little headway today. Looking at verse 18 again.
“But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”
Now that’s what the Book says. You don’t have to write and tell me that I can’t say things like that. Remember I’m not saying them, but rather the Bible is, God’s Word says it. When we’re under Grace and under the working and power of this Pneuma Hagion this power from on High, then we’re not under the Law. In other words I don’t have to check the Ten Commandants every day to see if I’ve broken one or more today. See, that’s not the way we look at it, that doesn’t even enter our minds that I have to keep the Law, because the Holy Spirit is in place of the Law. Well I’m sorry but we’ve got to look at another verse in Romans 7:6 and this says it better than I can. We’re going to keep on repeating it, and repeating it until people know it forward and backwards.
“But now we (as believers) are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”
Well what are the two concepts there? Are we going to work and live under the idea of the new nature who is being prompted and encouraged by the Person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, or are we going to still try and satisfy old Adam. See, old Adam knows enough that maybe he should try to keep the Law, as a lot of people realize that it’s wrong to steal, it’s wrong to do these things, and so old Adam can recognize that, but you see on the other hand he knows he can’t keep the Law anyway so pretty soon he gives up. But you see the new nature doesn’t have that problem. Our new nature under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, realizes that we can’t keep the law by the energy of the flesh. It’s impossible. But when we let Him lead us and guide us and direct us then the Law takes care of itself. Read that verse again.
“But now we are delivered from the law, (and that means exactly what it says.) that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit,…”
Now that word newness means exactly what it says. A whole new ball game. When we become a believer and receive this new nature it’s completely different. I don’t care what prime time of life you’re in. Whether you’re a teenager or middle age or in the advanced years it’s the whole idea that regardless where we are in our life, once we enter into this Spirit-led life, we’re not under the Law, we’re under Grace. Now back to the Book of Galatians. Now we get into the part that really gets explicit. There are no punches pulled here. There are no ifs, ands, or buts, there’s no question. Now verse 19.
“Now the works of the flesh (of old Adam, Satan’s playground) are manifest, (in other words there’s no hiding it, there’s no doubting it. It’s just like looking in a microscope again and seeing everything exposed by that bright light from below) which are these; (and what does it start with? Sexual sins) Adultery,…”
You know as you look at the world all the way back through history, what has always been the most hideous of mankind’s sin? Sexual immorality! The pagans were rampant in it as we expressed that in our study of Corinthians. We saw some of the places in the Mediterranean recently where Paul was confronted with this type of gross immorality. So it’s always been that way, and I think even going as far back as Ishmael, and Esau – in fact let’s look at Esau’s result in Hebrews Chapter 12. Even all the way back to Esau, and remember he was one of the twins of Isaac and Rebecca. I want you to see this because this has always been, I think, the most crucial shortcoming of the human race. And we’re seeing it explode all around us even here in the 1990’s.
“Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, (now the two go hand and hand. When you have someone who is immoral, he’s also profane for all practical purposes) as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.”
Now do you get the make of the man’s personality. Number one, he was destitute of faith. Those of you who were with me when we taught Genesis remember we pointed out when he came in hungry as a bear, and he smelled that bean soup cooking what did he tell old Jacob? “Give me a bowl of your bean soup.” Well old Jacob wasn’t about to give it free, so Jacob said “I will in turn for your birthright.” Remember Esau saw absolutely nothing of any kind of worth of the birthright. He’d rather have that bowl of bean soup. Why didn’t he see any value in the birthright? It was something to be appropriated by faith, and how much faith did he have. NONE! Esau was destitute of faith. Consequently what kind of a man was he sexually? Immoral!
LESSON THREE * PART III
THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVES VICTORY OVER SIN
Now we’ll go right back to Galatians Chapter 5 in our study. We were studying the works of the flesh when we closed in the last lesson. The works that old Adam promotes, the playground of old Satan himself, or old Adamic nature, which is the only nature that a lost person has, and that’s why the world is so saturated with immorality and wickedness of every sort. I know some of the lost are inhibited to a certain degree by their background and training, but they still can’t be victorious over that old Adam because that takes the power of God. So whether it’s in the life of the believer, who in a moment of weakness let’s old Adam take over, or in this case, I think, Paul is dealing mostly with the unbeliever and his lifestyle here.
The works of old Adam are made manifest. They’re obvious, and we covered the first ones in our last lesson in adultery, and fornication. In other words sexual immorality. We closed with a picture of old Esau who was a fornicator, he was destitute of faith. And the one before Esau was Ishmael who also did not have that will to be obedient to the will of God. So even Ishmael went and married an Egyptian which was contrary to what God wanted for the offspring of Abraham when he had instructed that they not marry the Canaanite. And remember Esau married two Hittite women who were already steeped in immorality and wickedness.
“And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: 35. Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.”
So this sexual immorality is one of the first things that Paul mentions, and it isn’t just here, in some of his other classification of human sins, the sexual things are almost always number one. Now let’s go into the next area because verse 19 for the most part is dealing with sexual sins of adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, but now look at verse 20.
“Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,”
Now all of those can be lumped together when you get into the area of idolatry or pagan worship. Now let’s go back to the Book of Jeremiah Chapter 44 as this is one example that I can turn to quite quickly, and I think you’ll appreciate what I’m trying to show you. This too has been plaguing the human race ever since the Tower of Babel at least, and that is that bent to worship a false god. It’s just about automatic in the human nature to want to follow that drawing power to worship a false god, idols of one sort or another. Even the Nation of Israel, who had the proof of the living God all the way back from their beginning, and they should have known better, but here they would follow after these pagans and you remember that was the controversy that Elijah had with King Ahab upon Mount Caramel with all the prophets of Baal, because Israel had also been following Baal. But here in Jeremiah it lays it out so plain. and distinctly as what the results are going to be if a people or a nation are going to go into the worship of false idol gods. Here in Jeremiah the Israelites are speaking back and say –
“But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, (that was one of the pagan goddesses) and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.”
The Israelites weren’t reckoning that God was trying to deal with them, but what were they trying to say? The reason we’re having all our problems is we have quit worshipping the queen of heaven. Imagine, the Jews were saying that. Now verse 19.
“And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?” (In other words the women were the primary culprits here.) 20. Then Jeremiah saith unto all the people, to the men, and to the women, and to all the people which had given him that answer, saying, 21. The incense that ye burned in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, ye, and your fathers, your kings, and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them, and came it not into his mind?”
Now do you see from verse 21 how far pagan worship had penetrated the Jewish community? It wasn’t just a few of them, but rather the whole. Men and women, places of authority, kings, and government people, they were all worshipping false idols and pagan gods. Now verse 22.
“So that the LORD could no longer bear,…”
The Lord couldn’t take it any more. That scares you doesn’t it? Most people can realize that America can be identified with ancient Israel over and over. I’m not the first one to say that. I mean we see so much that God has to look down on America, who at one time as a nation, was steeped in the Word of God, our founding fathers based everything on the Word of God. The Constitution was almost, you might say, Biblically oriented, and now what are we seeing? A constant tearing down of all these principles. And Israel went through these same things. Now reading verse 22.
“So that the LORD could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings, and because of the abominations which ye have committed; therefore is your land a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day. 23. Because ye have burned incense, and because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, nor walked in his law, nor in his statutes, nor in his testimonies; therefore this evil is happened unto you, as at this day.”
It wasn’t because they had quit worshipping the female goddesses. It was because they turned against the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then in verse 24 Jeremiah the prophet says –
“Moreover Jeremiah said unto all the people, and to all the women, Hear the word of the LORD, all Judah that are in the land of Egypt: 25. Thus saith the LORD of host, the God of Israel, saying; Ye and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her; ye will surely accomplish your vows, and surely perform your vows.
Jeremiah goes on to warn them that God is not going to continue to deal with them except in gross judgment and punishment. God won’t stand for that kind of behavior. Now let’s come back to Galatians. Fortunately we’re still in the age of Grace, and God is not pouring out His wrath on wicked men, but their day is coming, and we’re getting closer and closer. I think the world is getting more and more aware of the trials and tribulations that are going to come upon the planet. I think all of our weird weather is just a little bit of a fore warning of what the world has ahead of them. I think there’s no doubt about it the whole world is having a complete upset of normal weather patterns and of course the tremendous increase in earthquakes which are multiplying every year. There are many, many earthquakes that take place everyday that the press doesn’t even bother to report it. The only ones we hear about are the ones that cause damage, the real strong ones. In fact I believe that we are in the closing seconds, not minutes, not hours, of this age of Grace. I don’t believe we have a lot of time left. Well anyway back to Galatians Chapter 5, and remember all of these in verse 20 can all be lumped into false worship.
“Idolatry, witchcraft, (that’s associated again with the powers of Satan, and it’s a form of worship, a form of religion) hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies.”
Israel, who we just saw back in Jeremiah Chapter 44, was trying to elevate the worship of this female goddess. What was it? That was heresy. That was absolutely false, and yet they were falling for it. They were so blinded that they thought that it was because they weren’t doing enough to please this female goddess was the reason they were having problems. It never entered their mind that it was God who was displeased with them, because they were so steeped in idolatry.
And of course we in America are getting to that place so fast. I thank God for a few men in high places that still call upon God, but for the most part when dilemmas come upon our nation, for most of the general population it never enters their mind that maybe God’s got something to do with that particular dilemma, and maybe God’s trying to get our attention, but that doesn’t even enter their minds. God is so far removed from the thinking of the majority anymore that it doesn’t bother them. Now let’s move on into verse 21.
See this is all tied together. Just as soon as you have sexual immorality, what does it trigger? Jealousy, envying, murders and so forth. My land how many triangles have ended up in a murder or one or more. It all comes together.
Now I don’t like to quote statistics because I never know how accurate other people are. I have read already that we would probably be shocked at the percentage of our prison inmates because of alcoholism. It’s alcohol that got them in trouble in the first place. Of course now we have the drug culture that feeds in as well. I remember a long time ago I was visiting with a group of young medical interns, and at that time interns just barely had enough money to buy their toothpaste, and they were getting along on something like $25.00 a month. I’ll never forget one of those interns made this statement. “Fellows let’s face it, there’s really only one place to make a lot of money, and that would be anything that would degrade society.” And I’ve never forgotten that statement. Now you think how true that is. Anything that degrades society will create wealth for those people, it’s just one of the facts of life. And that is what Paul is bringing out here. These people thrive on these wicked activities.
“Envying, murders, drunkenness, revellings,…””
Now what does revelings imply? What do they think they’re having? A good time. Oh they think they’re having a good time and for the moment maybe they are. But oh listen what does it invariably lead to? Just the opposite. It leads to misery, broken homes, broken health, and just about anything else bad you can think of, and yet they continue on in this life style of the old Adam which remember, I’ve said over and over, it’s the playground of old Satan himself. Now Paul says-
“…revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Now let’s go back again to the Book of Romans. Chapter 1, because Galatians and Romans fit hand and glove anyway so it’s only natural that we keep going back to Romans. Here Paul, for the first time in the Biblical order of his letters, begins to lay out the picture of this Adamic nature.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, (they have no concept of the things of God. They have no concept of eternity. They’re just living for the here and now So) God gave them over to a reprobate mind, (God says `If that’s the way you want to live, then have at it.”) to do those things which are not convenient; (not normal, or natural. Now look at the picture and it fits right with Galatians Chapter 5.) 29. Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whispers,”
This isn’t pretty is it? We’d rather skip verses like this, but listen, this exposes that true sin nature of man. Now granted the vast majority of people are able to keep these things under control, but when they lose control what happens? Any of these can happen, and our newspapers and televisions are full of it. Now verse 30.
“Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things,…”
Now that reminds me of something. Keep your place here but come all the way back to Genesis Chapter 6, and as you read this for goodness sake remember what the Lord Jesus Himself said about the days of Noah. “For as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be at the coming of the Son of man.” And again all you have to do is look around you, read your paper, listen to your news, and it’s obvious. Now Genesis 6:5 Now the setting here is just before the flood.
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Now does that tell you something? Evil and unrighteous things were all they could think about, and we’re not too far from that in today’s world. Now verse 6.
“And it repented the LORD (or made Him sorry) that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” Now drop on down to verse 11 and 12 of this same Chapter.
“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. 13. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”
Well that’s what led up to Noah’s flood, but we’re also approaching the same kind of a judgment when God will pour out His wrath and vexation on Christ-rejecting men, in what we call the final seven years of Tribulation. Now another place where Paul lists all these deeds of the ungodly is in Romans chapter 3. Now I hate to deal with negatives, and it’s almost depressing I know, but on the other hand we have to realize what we are seeing in the world around us. And listen, it’s not limited to just America. I’ve always given America credit, we’re still better than most places in the world. But this whole idea of wickedness and unrighteousness is not limited to the western hemisphere whatsoever.
“They are all (the whole human race outside of salvation) gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; (that is to God) there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
Now look at the picture, and remember before salvation this is where we were in God’s eyes. I had a call this morning and the fellow said the thing that opened his eyes was that I pointed out that we must recognize that we’re sinners before we can be saved. Now this doesn’t mean we have all done these things but potentially we could have all been guilty of them.
“Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14. Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15. Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16. Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17. And the way of peace have they not known: (now look at verse 18, and doesn’t that say it all?) 18. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Now that’s the world in general. They don’t even give God five minutes of their time. Now let’s come back to our text for a moment and time will be gone. And let’s look at verse 21 again.
“Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Such wickedness we have today, and we’re so busy. If we have time there’s one more verse I want us to look at in Matthew Chapter 24.37-39. And here Jesus is speaking, and He was God, He was the Creator, He knows the end from the beginning. He knew exactly what was coming on the earth. So He says explicitly –
“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,”
Now stop for a moment. There’s nothing wrong with that is there? No, there`s nothing wrong with your daily supply of food and drink. There’s nothing wrong with marrying, and weddings and starting families. So that wasn’t the problem, it doesn’t show it as that’s what brought God’s wrath upon them, but they were so occupied with all of these human mundane events that they didn’t have time to listen until the day that Noah entered into the ark. Now verse 39.
“And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
Now you have to compare the Lord’s statements in that they were so busy with their daily, materialistic activity they did not have time for the things of God. In Luke Chapter 21 I think it says they were also building, and doesn’t that fit so perfectly with today. I think for those of us who are looking for the Rapture, we will find at that time such a world-wide economic activity as we’re seeing it even today. People are so caught up in this today and that is the reason you can’t get them interested in Spiritual things. Hey they’ve got it too good! They’re making big bucks, the stock market is roaring, who’s got time for eternity?
So that’s why I have to feel that the world economy is not going to collapse January 1, 2000 with this Y2k thing. Now I’m not going to knock the idea, and ridicule that it’s of no count, but it just doesn’t seem to fit that the world can be in the situation that Jesus described so far as their materialistic bent, and their wicked activity, which of course they couldn’t do if they couldn’t travel, they wouldn’t have all this opportunity for the sinfulness that we saw in the Scriptures. So I have to feel most of this activity will keep going up until at least the mid-point of the Tribulation. And at that time is when the sky is going to fall. Everything at that time is going to go into a chaotic condition, there’s no doubt about it. But I can foresee nothing to indicate the world is going to fall apart, or stop all their materialistic activity before the Lord comes. So keep these things in mind. Always remember that Genesis tells us that the world was filled with violence. All they could conceive of were things that were wicked. But at the same time they were doing all the things that are part and parcel of everyday living as today, and so I believe that the time is short, the Lord’s coming is seconds away in the view of the whole time period. Everything is getting ready for the Lord’s soon return. First for the Church when we meet Him in the air at the Rapture, and then 7 years later when we come back with Him at His second coming.
LESSON THREE * PART IV
THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVES VICTORY OVER SIN
We’ve been looking at all the wicked ramifications of the old Adam, the flesh, and that which was part and parcel of our past before salvation, and it’s still the mundane living style of the unbeliever, but now we’re ready for the other side of the coin, the flip side. now verse 22.
“But (here we have a total flip side. You talk about something that’s a flip side, this is. This is just a total inversion of all of the activity of those previous verses we looked at in the last lesson. And now we’ll read them all and come back and comment. But) the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Now there are nine fruits listed here, and we’re going to divide them into three segments of three each. So the first part of the fruit of the Spirit of love, joy and peace is the inner results of Salvation in the life of the believer. This is what we can experience just simply as a result of having believed the Gospel for our salvation. I’ve always made the statement that we aren’t saved as a fire escape. We’re not saved just to escape Hellfire, not at all, but we’re also saved to do as Jesus said. “to have life and have it more abundantly.”
We’re going to see in these nine fruits of the Spirit, that this is the abundant life. And that’s why Paul says, “against these things there is nothing that can oppose them.” There is no law that says, “Well there’s nothing good about love, there’s nothing good about joy, and so forth.” No way, these are all attributes of the life that enhance the believer. I always have to look at it this way. Wouldn’t it be great to live in a community where everybody lived this kind of a life, as opposed to living in a community where everybody practices what we saw in the last lesson. Well we see those other practices too often, and it’s pandemonium, the police blotters are full of people who practice those things.
You don’t see people named on the police blotters who practice these fruits of the Spirit in verse 22 and 23, at least not very often. It probably can happen, but it’s not very routine. I feel sorry for policemen and law enforcement in general. Have you ever stopped to think what it would be like to be a policemen and be confronted with this stuff? I mean they’re putting up with all these things that we looked at in the last lesson. They never have to put up with people who are in trouble because of the fruit of the Spirit. OK now here we go.
“…love, joy, peace,…”
These three things that just simply come from within when we’re a believer. We talked about the agape love in our first lesson this afternoon, and the definition of it which is “seeking that other person’s highest good.” Can you imagine living in a family, (we know that would be impossible for a whole community,) but wouldn’t it be great to live in a family where all the members of that family all the way down to the grandchildren, and maybe even great-grandchildren would do everything with the idea that they wanted to bring about their highest good for their fellow family members? Wouldn’t that be something? You wouldn’t find teenagers in the drug culture, because that doesn’t bring about the family’s highest good. You wouldn’t find teenagers dropping out of school, you wouldn’t find members of the family getting into trouble, because love, you see, when you seek the other persons highest good does nothing but enhance the things that are good.
So love is that agape love that comes as a result of the indwelling and outworking of the Holy Spirit, and it’s going to have an effect on our life style. We’re going to be fulfillers of the whole law by virtue of our operating love. Now the next one is joy. We use that word too often time flippantly. But do you know the difference between joy and happiness? Lot’s of people think it’s the same thing, and it’s not. Joy is that which comes from within as a result of the Holy Spirit indwelling us, as a result of what God has done on our behalf. We have joy unspeakable because regardless of what may happen to us in this life, we have life eternal. We have the promises of all the things that God has prepared for us. Now that is what precipitates real joy.
Happiness on the other hand is the result of our circumstances. In other words if everything is going well, and you’re healthy, the bills are all paid, and you’ve got a little money in the bank, and you’re driving a decent car, and you have a nice home, all these things contribute to happiness. But you see they are just circumstantial, they have nothing to do with that which is in the inner life. So always remember that. Joy is that which is within whether you have money in the bank, have trials and tribulations, you can still have joy. But you won’t be happy, I mean that stands to reason. When things are going wrong it’s pretty hard to be happy, but you can still have joy. Now one of Paul’s letters is just packed with this concept of joy and rejoice. Who knows what it is? Philippians. All right let’s go and look at it for a moment. Turn ahead a few pages to Philippians, and we’ll just skim through the letter right now. But some day down the road if the Lord tarries we’ll also be teaching it verse by verse. Now right off the bat in Chapter 1 verse 18 we find one. Now I’m not sure that we’ll see them all, but let’s try.
“What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”
Now remember the things Paul is talking about just ahead of this verse are that his adversaries were constantly giving him a bad time. This was not a place of happiness for Paul, but he had joy. So he could rejoice even though he had all that opposition. Now come on down to verse 25.
“And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;”
Now listen, were these Philippian believers living in a happy environment? No, but rather they were under constant pressure, and persecution, and yet Paul could say that they had joy because of their faith. It was an inner thing with them. Now moving on into Chapter 2.
“Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, (see how all these things fit together?) being of one accord, of one mind.” Now skip across the page to verse 16 and we find another one.
“Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. 17. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. 18. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.”
Isn’t that something, and the man himself was under constant pressure. We covered that in 1st and 2nd Corinthians, how he suffered for the sake of the Gospel. He was under trials and tribulations constantly, and yet the man was full of joy and was able to rejoice. Now you see we’re spoiled, and I have to tell the Lord that every once in awhile. I’m so spoiled, and I think you are also. We’ve all got it so good. What if all of a sudden the tables would turn and there would be a knock on our door at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning, and someone says, “You’re under arrest.” “For what?” “For being a Christian.” Hey what would happen? I think we’d all almost panic that our world is coming apart, but listen this was routine for these people. They and Paul were under constant persecution, and yet the man could be full of joy. Now remind yourselves of that. If all of a sudden my little world should start falling apart could I still be joyful? Now I don’t expect you to be happy, but we are to be joyful. Now looking at verse 18 again.
“For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.” Now come on over to verse 28, and let’s look at another one, and here Paul is speaking of Epaphroditus, his brother in the Lord..
“I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful.” Well then come down into Chapter 3.
“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. 2. Beware of dogs, (those that would attack them) beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. 3. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
Now come on over to Chapter 4, and I can see them again. My they just jump off the page, you can’t miss them.
“Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy (now I’ve always maintained that Paul had a special feeling for the Philippian believers. Remember it was in Philippi that he was sick in bed, almost unto death. And the Philippian believers nourished him and brought him through, so I think he always had a real tender spot in his heart for them) and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” Now come on down to verse 4 for another one.
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”
See Paul repeats rejoice again, and I’ve always said the repetition in Scripture is for emphasis. The whole emphasis in this entire Book of Philippians is that in spite of their trials and their sufferings they would still have joy. Well now verse 10.
“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.”
There may be others in Philippians as I have just grabbed them as they jumped off the page at me. But this joy is one of the fruits we saw in Galatians Chapter 5. Now coming back to the Book of Galatians 5:22. First we have love for all that we come into contact with, and especially believers. Love remember is that which seeks the other person’s highest good. Then we can have joy in spite of adversity, or persecution. and the third one is “peace.” Now in order to understand the word “peace” we’ve got to come back to Romans Chapter 5. Remember it’s why peace isn’t listed in the activities of the unbeliever. The unbeliever has never experienced this, and he can have no peace. The Scripture speaks of them like the waves roaring, their lives are filled with turmoil, but look what verse 1 says.
“Therefore being justified by faith, (that puts us back like Adam was before the fall. When we become believers, God reckons the old sin nature, the old Adam dead and gone, and God looks at us as if we’ve never sinned. Therefore since we’ve been declared as if we’ve never sinned, and the slate has been wiped clean) we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”
Now the unbeliever can never experience that peace, in fact Romans 8:7 tells us that the unbeliever is an enemy of God. You see we don’t have to be in a constant turmoil, and wonder, “Oh is God going to zap me? Is God all of a sudden going to disown me? Is He going to cast me out?” No! Because we have that abiding peace with God here in this text and now let’s go to Philippians Chapter 4 and look at the peace of God. Now justification brings about the peace with God, then we’re no longer an enemy. We are now His, and we can enjoy His fellowship moment by moment, regardless of how well we’ve been able to behave, if you want to use that word. We still have that constant fellowship because of our justification which gave us the peace with God. Now here we have the other peace that is spoken of and that is in verse 6 and 7. When someone calls with an urgent prayer request these are the two verses I give them, and you might be ready to do the same. These are the best two verses in all of Scripture for someone in need, and look what it says.
“Be careful for nothing; (or worry about nothing) but in every thing (what ever the need or circumstance) by prayer and supplication (and here’s the secret) with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God….”
Never ask the Lord something without thanking Him for it in advance. That’s one of the criteria of prayer. Always thank Him for what He’s going to do with your prayer request. I always tell my classes whether God answers yes, or no, or maybe later, whatever He says, you have an immediate answer in verse 7. The minute you get up from your prayer place you’ve got your prayers answered because of what this next verse says.
“And the peace of God, (now we have the peace with God at the moment of salvation, but now as a believer, and we enter into this Spirit filled walk, now we have the peace of God) which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Whatever the circumstances, God is there calming our situation saying, “I’m in control.” Now we all know that it’s been hot this summer where I live, and I’m getting concerned about grass for my cattle, and the only hope that I have are these promises that I have the peace with God, and the peace of God, and I can take it to Him in prayer. In fact I was talking to one of my neighbors and told him I sure hope it rains before too long, and he said, “Are you praying?” I said, “You bet I am, absolutely, and I’m quite sure that God in His own time is going to answer.” But what ever the circumstance we have that peace with God and the peace of God. Now reading verse 7 again.
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, (some of these things we can’t comprehend how He answers. Some times He says no. It may not rain, but whether it does or not what do I have? I have the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, and it) shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
He is the constant, He never fails, He’s always there! Alright now let’s come back to Galatians Chapter 5. So we’ve covered love, joy, and peace. Now the next three are more or less an attitude toward our neighbors, or maybe our families, the people around us, and that is –
“…longsuffering, gentleness, goodness,…”
Another word for longsuffering is patience. Now what do those three lead to? Well that leads to a pretty good happy family environment doesn’t it? If all family members can exemplify these three fruits of the Spirit, patience with one another, gentleness with one another, and goodness, my you talk about family – wouldn’t that be perfect? What a beautiful family relationship we could enjoy if all members of the family would just practice those three fruits of the Spirit.
Now the last three fruits of the Spirit are pretty much tied to our association with God Himself.
“…faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
And the first thing that God looks for is what? Faith. Let’s look at that for a moment in the Book of Hebrews Chapter 11, and verse 6. I think that’s why it’s listed first. Also in I Corinthians Chapter 13 the love chapter how does God end it?
I Corinthians 13:13
“And now abideth faith, hope, charity,…” You see faith has to be the first one. Do you see that? But here in Hebrews let’s look at verse 6.
“But without faith,…”
Remember my definition of faith? Taking God at His Word! Believe it from cover to cover. Now granted not all of the Bible is written to us Gentile believers. When Leviticus Chapter 5 says, “That anyone who has touched something unclean has to go through the rites of purification, and has to bring a particular offering,” Hey we don’t do that. Well why not, it’s in the Bible. See that’s what people like to say a lot of the time. “Well it’s in the Bible.” Well if that’s the case you’d better go back and practice Leviticus. Then these same people don’t know what to do with it. You have to realize that the Bible is for us, but it’s not all to us, and that makes all the difference in the world. The secret of being able to separate the Scriptures is to see what was written to the Gentile Body of Christ, the Church, us today, and that all comes from the pen of the apostle to the Gentiles, the apostle Paul. But a great majority of the Bible was written to the Nation of Israel, the Jews, and even the Jewish believers in the Four Gospels. So you’ve got to be careful in how you rightly divide the Word of God. Now looking at this verse in Hebrews again. .
“But without faith it is impossible to please him…”
In other words there is no way you can get to first base with God unless He sees faith first. How you might say, “What about a sinner seeking salvation?” The first article of faith for a lost person seeking salvation is Romans 3:23.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
And we have to believe what the Bible says, and that is “all have sinned, and come short…” Now that’s the first step of faith for the unbeliever. “Yes Lord I’m a sinner, I have fallen short!” Then the next step of faith is to believe the Gospel for salvation, that “He died for you, was buried, and rose again the third day.” But that’s all taken by faith. And that is the key, and without it –
“…it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Now back to the Book of Galatians. I see we’ve only got a couple of minutes left, and I was wanting to finish Chapter 5 today. Now the next one after faith is –
Now I’m afraid that a lot of people think to be meek is to be a milquetoast. Someone who never has enough gumption to ever take up for himself. But that not what meekness means in Scripture. The best way to explain meekness in Scripture is to look at Moses. Now was Moses a milquetoast where everybody walked on him? No. Moses was a leader, Moses was a man who was highly educated in all the schools of Egypt. He was a military leader. I think he was a civil engineer. Moses did everything, but what does the Bible call him? “The meekest man that every lived.” Moses’ attitude was such that God could use him, he was pliable, he was someone God could mold, and Moses became a great man because of him being meek. To be meek you have to be pliable and useable. Now the next one is –
Do you know what real temperance is? You know we think of in America at least, is the fight against alcohol, whisky and so forth as being temperance. No, temperance goes across the whole of human activity. And it merely means maintain a balance in whatever you do. This is something that is well pleasing in God’s sight. We don’t slip over to the far right or to the far left, but by the basis of the Word of God, you maintain a balance. And all nine of these fruits of the Spirit, Paul says –
“…against such there is no law.”
Who can fault someone who is the epitome of these nine Graces. Well no one can! You show me a person with these nine Graces and I’ll show you someone who is to be envied.
PLAN FOR HEAVEN
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his Grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what Law: of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.”
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
“For I am not ashamed of 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. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.”
I Corinthians 15:1-6
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.”
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
I Thessalonians 4:13-18
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shall be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 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. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
MANIFOLD RESULTS OF SALVATION
THE GOSPEL – Our Position – I Corinthians 15:1-4
JUSTIFIED – Romans 3:24
REDEEMED – Romans 3:24; Ephesians 1:7
SANCTIFIED – I Corinthians 1:30
FORGIVEN – Colossians 2:13
BAPTIZED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT – I Corinthians 12:13
GLORIFIED – Romans 8:17
INDWELT BY THE HOLY SPIRIT – I Corinthians 3:16; 6:19
IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS – Romans 1:18; Isaiah 61:10 (clothed with garments of salvation, covered with the robe of righteousness)
QUICKENED – New Creation (Made Alive) – Ephesians 2:1
ADOPTION – Joint Heirs – Romans 8:14
TRANSLATED and DELIVERED from Power of Darkness – Colossians 1:13-14
RECONCILED – II Corinthians 5:18
ETERNAL LIFE – Ephesians 2:5-7