[ 805 ] Les Feldick [ Book 68 - Lesson 1 - Part 1 ] But Christ - Liveth in Me |a
[ 806 ] Les Feldick [ Book 68 - Lesson 1 - Part 2 ] But Christ - Liveth in Me |b
[ 807 ] Les Feldick [ Book 68 - Lesson 1 - Part 3 ] But Christ - Liveth in Me |c
[ 808 ] Les Feldick [ Book 68 - Lesson 1 - Part 4 ] But Christ - Liveth in Me |d
[ 809 ] Les Feldick [ Book 68 - Lesson 2 - Part 1 ] But When - The Fulness of Time |a
[ 810 ] Les Feldick [ Book 68 - Lesson 2 - Part 2 ] But When - The Fulness of Time |b
[ 811 ] Les Feldick [ Book 68 - Lesson 2 - Part 3 ] But When - The Fulness of Time |c
[ 812 ] Les Feldick [ Book 68 - Lesson 2 - Part 4 ] But When - The Fulness of Time |d
[ 813 ] Les Feldick [ Book 68 - Lesson 3 - Part 1 ] But Now - You are Made Nigh |a
[ 814 ] Les Feldick [ Book 68 - Lesson 3 - Part 2 ] But Now - You are Made Nigh |b
[ 815 ] Les Feldick [ Book 68 - Lesson 3 - Part 3 ] But Now - You are Made Nigh |c
[ 816 ] Les Feldick [ Book 68 - Lesson 3 - Part 4 ] But Now - You are Made Nigh |d
BUT CHRIST – LIVETH IN ME
I Corinthians 15:20 and Galatians 2:20
Okay, it’s good to see everybody in again this afternoon, which is a beautiful, beautiful spring day in Tulsa. It’s a beautiful day to have all these people in from out of state. We’ve got people from Iowa, Minnesota, Indiana, and Ohio. It’s a good time of the year to show off our beautiful city. I love Tulsa. I have ever since I went through it the first time when I was in service, and I thought what a pretty city this is. So, we want to welcome all of you, and, again, we just have to thank you for your prayers, your support, and your financial help. We never ask for money, because we never have to. It just keeps coming in, and all we can do is praise the Lord, and thank every one of you that are so generous and so supportive of what we’re doing.
How it thrills our hearts when we read these letters. And we’re getting letters from a lot of preachers that are getting their eyes opened. Unbelievable! And we appreciate that.
Okay, we’re going to keep right on going with our “But God” and “But Now’s.” We didn’t finish the last “But Now” in the last taping. We only got as far as the Rapture. So, we’re going to turn back to I Corinthians 15, the great resurrection chapter. I’m going to do like I did at the beginning – work our way down to the “But Now” in verse 20.
I Corinthians 15:14-15
“And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.” In other words, Paul says we are lying if God indeed did not raise up Christ. But He did! Now, verse 17:
I Corinthians 15:17
“And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins.” Now, what does that tell you? What I’ve been stressing over the years. It’s not enough to believe that Christ died for you. That’s only half a Gospel. You also have to believe with all your heart that Christ arose from the dead, victorious over sin and death and Satan and all the principalities and powers! Otherwise, we still have nothing, now verse 18.
I Corinthians 15:18
“Then they also who are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” Now, I’d better stop right here and define the term asleep in Scripture, because we know there are groups that teach a “soul sleep.” Don’t you ever believe it! I made the comment when I first started on television years ago, and I’ve repeated it, maybe not often enough, that when God created Adam and Eve, He created them in His image. Not in the likeness of a human body, but in His invisible makeup.
You remember that I’ve always pointed out that God Himself, all three persons of the Godhead, have the same attributes of personality. They all have a mind, they all have will, and they all have emotion. But they’re all invisible. You know I make a point of it. You can go into an autopsy, and I used to do quite a few of them when I was in service, and you can cut that brain every which way possible and you will not find the will. You will not find the soul. You will not find the seat of emotions. Why? They’re invisible! But does that mean they’re not real? We know they’re real!
You know you have a mind. You know you have a will. You know you have a set of emotions. You laugh. You get angry. But you can’t touch it. All right, that’s God, and He is an invisible personality. All right, now we were created, then, in that invisible mode of mind, will, and emotion; and then God merely put that invisible makeup into this earthly tabernacle.
All right, so, that being the case, if the soul was created in the image of God, can it ever fall away from activity? Never! So, the soul never sleeps or dies. A soul is always a living entity. Now, the body will die. And that’s really the King James word – sleep. The body will die, but on resurrection day, it, too, will be brought back to life. That’s our glorious hope, that someday that invisible part of us that’s still in the presence of God as a believer, is going to be reunited with a new body. And then Thessalonians says it so plain, we’ll be body, soul, and spirit once again.
So, always remember, that when you see it, especially in the King James Version, the word sleep does not mean that the soul sleeps. It does not mean that it ever loses its consciousness, because the soul cannot die. It’s an eternal thing that’s going to go on into eternity – someplace. The whole teaching of the Word of God is that you and I in the invisible are going to keep right on living through all eternity.
I’ll never forget, I heard somebody, and I don’t remember who it was, but we were listening to him preach in one of our churches or something, and he said, “Our salvation will last as long as God does.” How long is that? That’s forever! God won’t ever cease. And that’s how long our salvation is going to last – as long as God lives.
But on the other side of the coin, there is nothing in Scripture to indicate that the lost person is going to cease to exist any sooner. So, we have to maintain, as awful as it is, that the lost person is going to spend eternity in their lost estate, like we will enjoy it in our saved estate. It’s a fact of Scripture that that which God created, even though it was invisible, was created with no end, because He has no end.
Okay, I didn’t intend to do that. You got that free for nothing! All right, so now let’s go on, verse 19.
I Corinthians 15:19
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” Well, what does he mean by that? Well, you can just about imagine what a disappointment it would be to suddenly realize that everything that you’ve been hanging on to was for nothing. It would just be utter disappointment. We all appreciate disappointments, because we have too many of them in this life. So here we have the assurance that we won’t be disappointed, because God is eternal.
You know, this series has been interesting. I’ve enjoyed getting ready for it. The other day, we had the couple who head up the mission to the Ukraine stop by the house. You’ve been reading and seeing a little more about in our newsletters. They use our tapes and our books, and they’re putting it all into Russian in the Ukraine. Well, anyway, the president of that mission and his wife stopped by the other day. We had no more than sat down to our old kitchen table and he was telling us some of the things, and he said, “But God!” And I said, “Hallelujah. You’ve been seeing the last programs!” Oh, he says, “I love them.” All right, “But now,” on this side of His resurrection.
I Corinthians 15:20
“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” Or again, that died physically. But they didn’t die in the realm of the soul and spirit, because that goes right on into the Lord’s presence. All right, now then, over these last several programs we took from this “But Now,” and we started looking at the resurrections of the various groups of people. We pick that up in verse 23. Here’s where we really get the meat of all this.
I Corinthians 15:23a
“But every man (Now, the word man here is generic. It means men, women, boys, and girls.) in his own order:…” Or group. It’s a military term, I think, in the Greek, which signified various organizations in the chain of command in the military. Those of you that have been in, you know what I’m talking about. You’ve got the platoon and the company and the battalion and the regiment and division and the army. Well, every address to a man in service is directed to his particular military organization.
All right, now Paul is using that same analogy, by Holy Spirit inspiration, of course, that in the resurrections, not everybody is going to be resurrected at once. There’s going to be various groups, and everyone is going to be in their own designated group. Now, you remember in our last taping, one of these last four or five programs, we showed that the first ones to be resurrected were the “firstfruits,” or the sampling, of the harvest field as Israel practiced the harvest. Let’s see, we put it on the board. I guess it’s been erased since then. But remember I put it up here as a little square forty acre patch. And according to Jewish law, when they came in to harvest the field of barley or wheat, first they would come in and pick up those earliest ripening stems of grain. They’d bring them together into a sheaf and take it to the Temple and wave offer it before the priest and so forth. Well, it was called the offering of the firstfruits, the sampling of the major crop.
Okay, after they had taken the firstfruits out, and the major part of the crop is now ripe, then they would go in and they would harvest the whole field, but they had to leave gleanings, and they had to leave the corners. That was Jewish law. All right, so we covered all that.
So, after the firstfruits were taken out, we went back to Matthew 27 and showed how that was the group of Jewish believers, no doubt, that came out of the grave after His resurrection. They went into the city, and then from there they were evidently taken up into glory. All right, we’ve been waiting 1,900 and some years for the crop itself to be taken. And we feel that that’s the Rapture of the Church, the Body of Christ. That’ll be the major resurrection of the greatest number of believers of all time.
Then, we went on to show that the gleanings and the corners would be resurrected later. We didn’t get time to cover all that. So, now we’re going to cover, in this first half-hour at least, or maybe into the next one, who comprised the corners? Who comprised the gleanings? Now, I guess I should put the orders up here. First, we had the firstfruits. The firstfruits were those samplings that came out of the grave after Christ. The second is the Body of Christ, which is by far the largest number of believers of any time throughout Biblical history. Now today, we’re going to be looking at these leftovers, or the corners and the gleanings.
Okay let’s go back, first and foremost, and pick up the resurrection of those who are not in the Body of Christ. Go back with me to Daniel chapter 12. Now, I know that there are those who teach only one general resurrection. Everybody is going to be resurrected at the same time. Well, I beg to differ. And I’m used to that. I’m used to sort of being out there in the small minority. I don’t claim to be alone. Don’t ever think for a minute that I’m the only one that teaches the way I teach. There are many, many, many, but even in the whole, we’re still a small percentage.
All right, Daniel chapter 12. Now, this is probably the, what shall I call it? The parallel Old Testament portion of Scripture dealing with resurrection as I Corinthians 15 is in the New Testament. So, Daniel 12 and we’ll start at verse 1 to keep it simple.
“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people:” Now remember, Daniel is a Jew – who are the “thy people?” Well, Israel. God’s chosen people.) and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” In other words, every believing Jew is finally going to escape the horrors of the Tribulation at the Second Coming of Christ.
Now, I guess I should show you a few of the references that refer to that. I’m debating which one to look at first. Should I look at Jeremiah 30? I think that’s the one that speaks of it. Yeah. Now again, you’ve got to realize, I do some of these things without planning to, so bear with me – Jeremiah 30. This is what Daniel is being led to write about. This last seven years of human history, the last half of which will be beyond our comprehension. Now, Jeremiah describes it.
“Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? 7. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, (Jacob here is referring to the Nation of Israel.) but he shall be saved out of it.” Now again, we have to be careful, knowing Scripture with Scripture, that Paul makes it so plain that the whole Nation won’t experience this being saved but only a small remnant.
All right, now let’s jump all the way up to Matthew 24, where Jesus is speaking of the very same identical time that Daniel is. Now, of course, the first fourteen verses all deal with the first half of these last seven years, which are going to be bad enough, but they’re nothing compared to the last half. All right, now Jesus picks it up in His own words, if you’ve got a red-letter edition, it’s in red, starting in verse 15.
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, stand in the holy place, (That is in the Temple.) (whosoever readeth let him understand:)” In other words, when they see the anti-Christ come into the Temple, to the Holy of Holies, in Jerusalem probably, and that’s speculation, because we’re going back to a Greek Premier or a General or whatever he was back in about 300 BC.
Anyway, he went into the Temple in the time that Greece was ruling Jerusalem, and he hated the Jew. And just to cause consternation among the Nation of Israel, he offered a hog on the Temple altar, and it infuriated the Jews, of course. So consequently, it was called an abomination. Well, no doubt the anti-Christ is going to do much the same thing. All right, so Jesus is putting his stamp of approval on Daniel’s prophecy. So, “when you see the abomination of desolation” desecrating the Temple there in Jerusalem, because the Temple will be rebuilt, remember, all right, when you see that happen:
“Then let them who are in Judea (the area of Jerusalem) flee into the mountains: 17. Let him who is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house: 18. Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19. And woe unto them who are with child, and to those who are nursing in those days! 20. But pray that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day:” Which, of course, according to Jewish law, would limit their walk to a half mile or so. That wouldn’t even get them out of Jerusalem today.
“For then (this midpoint of the Tribulation, this time of Jacob’s trouble) shall be great tribulation, (The first half is going to be bad, but the last half is going to be great. Beloved, it’s going to be beyond human comprehension, see?) such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Now, all you have to do is just use a little common sense reflecting on human history.
Look at the horrible, horrible days that the human race has experienced in the last 6,000 years. There have been all kinds of horrible times. Hitler’s holocaust was probably the worst, of course. But, what’s coming is even going to be worse than the holocaust. And people can’t get a handle on that. It is going to be beyond human comprehension, because when you get to the end of those seven years, there’s only going to be just a sampling of human beings left alive. It’s going to take almost the whole human race in its wake.
All right, so those are all pictures concerning these final days. Now, come back with me to Daniel who uses almost the same language in verse 1. That’s what made me think about these other two portions. That there’s going to be a time such as never was since there was a nation. Now, that’s back in Daniel chapter 12 verse 1. We just read it a little bit ago.
“…and there shall be a time of trouble, (Jacob’s trouble) such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time:…” Now, even back here in Daniel’s day, way back at about 550 BC, the Holy Spirit directs Daniel to use the same time frame that Jesus did. That right up until the end of time as we know it, there’s not going to be a portion of time so horrendous as this last three and a half years. Do you see that?
“…and at that time thy people shall be delivered,…” Well, it will be the Second Coming of Christ. All right, let’s look at another one a minute. Go ahead from Daniel, go towards the front. Go to Zechariah chapter 14 and we’ve got the same kind of a picture. We’ll start at verse 1. Now, this is prophecy, and it all fits with what Jesus said in Matthew 24. It fits with what John writes in the Revelation. So, we know it’s true. This isn’t just some idea that some men have dreamed up. This is the Word of God.
“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, (That’s the term of those final seven years leading up to His Second Coming.) and thy spoil (In other words, everything that has been left for the victorious enemy.) shall be divided in the midst of thee.” In other words, the Gentile armies are just going to come in and help themselves to everything that belonged to the Jewish people. Verse 2, but this is all part of God’s design, so He says:
“For I (This is God’s design.) will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, (In other words, they’ll just be devastated, looting like you have never seen.) and the women ravished; (That’s just another term for raped. There’s going to be more rape taking place in Jerusalem, again over time, like the world has never seen.) and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, (They’re going to be overrun by these Gentile armies.) and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.” They’re going to be trapped. But now verse 3, here is the promise at the last moment possible.
“Then shall the LORD go forth, (That’s Christ, now, at His Second Coming. He’s going to leave Heaven, and He’s going to come to the planet with all of His power.) and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle.” Now verse 4, we know this is a literal, physical, visible Second Coming. What does the next verse say?
“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives,…” Now, what does that indicate? Physical. Visible. You who have been to Jerusalem, no doubt like we do, the first thing we do is go right from the airport up to the Mount of Olives. It gives everybody a view of the whole city. Well, it won’t have changed one bit by the time Christ returns. It’s still going to be there, and that’s why it lists it in that way.
“…the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave…” And so on and so forth. Then, I always like to jump on over to verse 9. This will introduce the final 1,000 years of the planet’s history, when Christ will set up His Kingdom. He’s going to set up His throne room in Jerusalem. This is just as plain as English can make it.
“And the LORD (That’s God the Son, that’s Jesus the Christ.) shall be king over all the earth: (Not just Israel, but He will reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords over the whole planet.) in that day there shall be one LORD, and His name one.”
It’s so obvious that this is the Kingdom that He talked about all the way up through the Old Testament finally coming into fruition. There is a constant prophetic reference to this glorious Kingdom over which Christ is going to rule and reign. It’s going to be heaven on earth. Satan is gone. The curse is lifted. Sin is gone. Death is gone. It’s going to be a literal heaven on earth, and that’s what we have to understand. All right, but at the same time, that time as we know it is now going to be interrupted, and Christ sets up His Kingdom. We have to have the resurrection of all the believers from day one until that time. Well, now we still haven’t gotten far enough to get there, but we’ll pick it up in the next half-hour, where the rest of these believers will be resurrected.
LESSON ONE * PART II
BUT CHRIST – LIVETH IN ME
I Corinthians 15:20 and Galatians 2:20
Now, let’s go back to our study of the order of the resurrections. I hope you realize that there were precious few believers from Adam to Abraham, a period of time covering approximately 2,000 years. In fact, at the time of the flood there were only eight. From the flood to the Tower of Babel, there is nothing in Scripture to indicate that there was as much as one believer left. Nothing. Then from the Tower of Babel to the call of Abraham is probably another two hundred years. And how many believers are on the earth at the time of Abraham? None, that I’m aware of, so you have precious few all the way from Adam to Abraham. All right, now let’s go from Abraham all the way on up to the first advent of Christ. How many of the Nation of Israel became believers during that 2,000 year period of time? Not many.
Now, one verse I always like to use to back that up, keep your hand in Daniel, because we’re going to come right back. Turn all the way back to Isaiah chapter 1. Of course, Isaiah is one of the Major Prophets preaching to Israel at about 760-770 BC, just a couple of hundred years after King David and Solomon reigned. Now, look at the spiritual state of Israel. And you know the rest of the world had nothing. So, the only believers that we’re going to have to look for a resurrection day are these coming out of the Nation of Israel in that 2,000 year period of time. All right, Isaiah 1 verse 9, and, again, you don’t have to be a theologian. This is just plain simple English.
“Except (or unless) the LORD of Hosts (That’s Jehovah, Israel’s God.) had left unto us…” Now, remember, Isaiah is a what? He’s a Jew writing to the Nation of Israel. So, when he uses the term “us,” who’s he confining it to? Well, the Nation of Israel. He’s not talking to the whole human race. He’s talking to Israel.
“Except the LORD of Hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we (the Nation of Israel) should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.” So, what spared the nation from going the route of Sodom and Gomorrah? That small remnant of believers!
Now, let me show you another point, Jeremiah 44. We used this years and years ago, I know, but most people have probably forgotten. Now, Jeremiah writes about a hundred years after Isaiah, and the Nation of Israel has been prospering. God has been blessing them. They’re about ready to meet their doom when the Babylonians come in, but, nevertheless, how patiently God dealt with this nation with only a few believers.
Now, this is typical of the spiritual climate in Israel. Now, I’m out to prove my point that there were not that many believers all up through the Old Testament, so I can put them in the category of “gleanings and corners” on Resurrection Day. There weren’t that many.
“Then all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods,…” Well, they knew all about it. What’d they do about it? Nothing! They were no better. They didn’t put up an argument to the women and say, “Don’t so such things.”
“…and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying, 16. As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken (or listen) unto thee. 17. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, (That was one of the pagan goddesses, remember?) and to pour out drink-offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes,…”
That’s the whole nation that had now gone under abject idolatry, except that little tiny remnant. Then they go on to say that all the good things that they thought they were gaining were from their worship of their pagan gods and goddesses. Well, anyway, I hope I’m making my point that from the time of Adam until we get to the Apostle Paul, there were precious few believers. So, I can delegate them to the corners and the gleanings.
Okay, now let’s come back to Daniel chapter 12. We’re going to see the resurrection of all the people that will be in that gleanings and corners. Daniel chapter 12 and we’ll read verse 1 once again, even though we did it in the last half-hour.
“And at that time (That is at the end of the Tribulation, and we’re ready for the resurrection of these Old Testament and Tribulation believers.) shall Michael stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people: (the Nation of Israel) and there shall be a time of trouble, (You remember, I looked last program where Jeremiah called it Jacob’s trouble?) such as never was since there was a nation (That is of Israel.) even to that same time: and at that time (That is the end of the Tribulation.) thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” That is the Book of Life. All right, now verse 2, here comes resurrection.
“And many of them that sleep (or who have died) in the dust of the earth shall awake, (They’re going to be called forth in resurrection power.) some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” All right, now stop right there. We’re going to compare Scripture with Scripture.
Now, come back up into the New Testament with me to John’s Gospel chapter 5. Now remember, we’re still dealing with only the believers of all the ages. We started out with the first fruits of Matthew 27 and then the main harvest, which is the Rapture of the Body of Christ, which is still future and contains the greatest number of believers in human history.
Now, we’re looking at the corners and the gleanings, which consist of the Old Testament believers, believers from Christ’s earthy ministry, and Peter and the Jerusalem believers in the early chapters of Acts. In other words, all those that became believers before Paul comes on the scene and announces what we call the Body of Christ.
All right, now Jesus is speaking in John chapter 5 during His earthly ministry. Drop down to verse 28. Now, remember what we just read in Daniel, that those who have died, some are going to be resurrected to everlasting life and the rest are going to be resurrected to eternal condemnation.
“Marvel not (Jesus spoke) at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,” Now, that doesn’t mean that everybody’s going to come at the same instant, but there is coming a time when they are all going to be resurrected, and Paul gives us the clue that we saw in I Corinthians 15 – “every believer in his own order.”
Now, the unbelievers will all come out at once, because they’re all in the same bucket. But the believers are going to be raptured first; the first fruits came first, and then will come the Rapture. Now, we’re talking about the resurrection of the rest. Okay, now look at it, verse 29.
“And they shall come forth; they who have done good, (And you know I always define that with “faith,” the people of faith who have taken God at His Word.) unto the resurrection of life; (just like Daniel said) and they who have done evil, (Who had no faith, that’s the only way you can fulfill the true evil in Scripture, is to be destitute of faith.) unto the resurrection of condemnation.”
Now, we’re going to talk about them in a little bit, but we’re going to stop now and go back to Daniel and pick up the believing element. Then maybe in the next half-hour, or this one if we’ve got time, we’ll talk about the unbelievers that are going to be resurrected. Because after all, what we’re talking about is resurrection, so that by the time we get to the onset of eternity, we’ve got everybody that has ever lived resurrected, either to eternal doom or to eternal bliss. Okay, back to Daniel 12.
“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth (In other words, they’ve died physically. Their soul hasn’t. The soul is alive somewhere. But this is speaking of their body; the physical body is lying in the ground.) shall awake, (Resurrection power is going to call them out.) some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3. And they that be wise (almost the same language that Jesus used in John) shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; (That’s a beautiful picture, isn’t it?) and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” That’s our hope for eternity. We’re going to be something intensely unique for all of eternity. All right, reading on in verse 4. Now God comes back to the man Daniel, and He says:
“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, (this book of prophecy) even to the time of the end:…” Now, you know what that means to me? From the time that these Old Testament prophets were writing, even through Christ’s earthly ministry and on up into the Church Age, it wasn’t until about the middle 1860’s that men began to get a little bit of a grasp of end-time prophecy. It was just never mentioned. They never taught it. They had no handle on it.
And then all of a sudden, like I said, about the middle of the 1860’s, but especially at the turn of the century, men began to envision the return of the Jew from their scattered estate amongst the nations. That, yes indeed, they would be going back to their homeland. They would once again become a nation. That was unheard of until about 1900.
Well, that was the way that God really intended, because it was moot. It wasn’t going to happen that soon anyway. Even though the Church had the doctrine of imminency, the Second Coming was never taught that way. The Second Coming had to come as prophecy unfolded. So, you’ve got the same concept here. All right, Daniel closes up this book of prophecy, and it really meant nothing until we came close to the end. All right, now reading on in verse 4:
“…many shall run to and fro, (Well, we certainly know that. Oh, maybe not on their feet, but they’re going through the air and every other which way; mankind is traveling now by the millions.) and knowledge shall be increased.” Now, when I taught this verse by verse someplace in the past, we’re not just talking only about technical knowledge, although that certainly is involved.
My goodness, you buy a computer today and by the end of the month it is obsolete and it is old fashioned. Knowledge is exploding like never before in human history. But, as I’ve already mentioned, it would also be an explosion of biblical knowledge. My, we have an understanding of the Scriptures now that they never even dreamed of when I was a kid, for a lot of reasons. We’ve got technology around us so that we can see what the Scriptures were alluding to. We see the Nation of Israel back in her homeland, so, naturally, we have a better handle on all these things than they did two or three generations ago when God began to open up the understanding of the prophetic program. All right, now verse 5 – we’ve got to keep moving.
“Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood two others, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. 6. And one said to the man clothed in linen, (That makes me think it was either God the Son or one of the angels.) who was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? (or these miracles?) 7. And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and swore by him who liveth forever (That’s, in other words, an allusion to claiming the very Word of God and this is what he proclaimed.) that it shall be for a time, (one year, plus) times (or two, for a total of three) and a half;…” And all of Scripture refers to the seven years in two, half segments of three and a half and three and a half.
“…and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.” In other words, brought to an end. Now verse 8 and remember Daniel is writing clear back there at 500 and some BC, and by inspiration again, the Spirit leads him to write.
“And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?” All of these prophetic statements – “What shall be the end of these things?” Now, that makes me feel that it would have to be the Lord that he was dealing with.
“And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words (In other words, what he’s written in these twelve chapters.) are closed up and sealed until (What?) the time of the end.” Now again, we’ve got to be careful how we look at this. Even though we’re dealing in terms of a hundred years from 1,900 to now, in the light of the 6,000 years of human history, what’s a hundred? Well, it’s just nothing. So, yes, I think that God is looking at the very time in which we now live when he told Daniel that these things would be closed up “until” our day and time. All right, now look at verse 10.
“Many shall be purified, (In other words, we’re going to see the salvation of probably more people than almost any time in human history.) and made white, and tried; (or tested) but the wicked shall do wickedly:…” Is that right on? Man, I reckon! Otherwise, you’re not reading the same papers that I am. It’s just getting unreal, and I’m sure that the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and the Chicago Tribune and all the other big city papers have got just as much of this as we do in Oklahoma. Child abuse. Sexual immorality of every kind you can imagine. The papers are full of it. Murder, murder, and more murder. What are they doing? “Wickedly!” All right, it’s foretold, so we don’t really have to be too shocked, do we? All right, so:
“…the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand;” Well, we’re seeing that everyday, aren’t we? My, they haven’t got a clue of what all this means, until they find salvation, and then they write and they call and say, “Les, I never before saw that all the stuff I’m reading in the newspaper is coming right out of this Book.” It’s all foretold. It’s all prophesied. But the unbeliever can’t see that. It’s beyond them. All right, reading on in verse 11.
“And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away,…” Now, we’ve got to be careful. Come back to Daniel chapter 9. I’ve got to do this slowly or I’m going to lose 90% of my audience. Back to Daniel chapter 9 and what I always call the foundation, or the benchmark, of all end-time prophecy. This is where Daniel is laying out the time frame of “490 years determined upon thy people.” We know that 483 of those were fulfilled at the cross. Then when you come down to verse 27, this is what we are dealing with now in the end-time.
“And he (This prince that shall come, somewhere from out of the Roman Empire. This prince that shall come–) shall confirm (I feel, will make–) the covenant (or a treaty) with many…” In other words, with the whole Arab world and Israel. Yes, they’re going to finally sign a peace treaty.
But, I’ve said it on the program many, many times – the UN won’t do it. The White House won’t do it. Blair House won’t do it. The Republicans won’t do it. The Democrats won’t do it. It’s going to be a God-thing. And miraculously, this man anti-Christ, this prince that shall come, will be able to bring the Arab world into a peace treaty with Israel, which will give Israel the peace they’ve been looking for, and above everything else that’s most unbelievable, they’re going to permit Israel to rebuild a Temple.
Now, it won’t be the big, fancy gold edifice that Solomon built, but they’re going to have a Temple that’s going to be functional. They’re going to be able to reinstitute Judaism to the full, the animal sacrifices, and the whole nine yards. It’s coming. They’re all ready for it. All right, so this man anti-Christ is:
“…going to make a treaty with many for one week: (seven years) and in the midst of the week he shall cause (A week is seven years, so at the end of three and a half years of peace and relative tranquility in Jerusalem and that area, this man in his wicked role will cause–) the sacrifice and the oblation (which is part of Jewish sacrificial worship) to cease,…” (Well, I always stop and ask people, can you stop something that hasn’t started? Well, of course not. So, we know that Temple worship is going to have to be reinstituted for that first three and a half years, so that the anti-Christ can bring it to a stop at the middle. So,–) “in the middle of the week, he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,”
“…and for the overspreading of abominations he (the anti-Christ) shall make it (that refurbished Temple.) desolate, (Or useless. And it will remain that way.) even until the consummation, (That is to the end of the three and a half years.) and that (or everything) determined (or prophesied) shall be poured upon the desolator. (the man anti-Christ)” In other words, his end is going to be horrendous.
All right, so that is the promise then that Daniel is standing on. Now, come back to chapter 12 when Daniel gives us the time of the resurrection of all of the saints that we haven’t already covered. All the Old Testament believers and everybody, I think, through the New Testament until we get to Paul will be in this resurrection. When’s it going to take place?
“And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, (the middle of the Tribulation) and the abomination that maketh desolate is set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” Now, three and a half years is a thousand two hundred and sixty days, so we’ve already picked up an extra thirty days. But now go to the next verse and we get another forty-five.
“Blessed is he that waiteth,…” Now, remember who he’s talking to. He’s talking to Daniel’s company of believers who are going to be resurrected. That’s what he’s talking about. We’ve got to keep that straight.
“Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. 13. But (Daniel, He says) go thou thy way until the end be: (Until this day comes, just don’t…don’t sweat it!) for thou shalt rest, (waiting for resurrection) and stand in thy (What?) lot at the end of the days.” And that will bring in the Old Testament saints.
LESSON ONE * PART III
BUT CHRIST – LIVETH IN ME
I Corinthians 15:20 and Galatians 2:20
Okay, we’re going to keep on going with our “But Now’s” and “But…” whatever’s. And you know, as we were in the “But Now” of the previous three, four, or five programs, we’ve been talking about the resurrection of all the various groups of believers: the firstfruits in Matthew 27, the Rapture of the Church in Paul’s epistles, and in the last few programs we’ve been looking at the resurrection of the Old Testament saints back in Daniel 12 and so forth.
All right, now I’m going to jump in where we left off in Daniel 12 to pick up the fact that we’re also going to have a resurrection at the end of everything of the lost of all the ages. They will come out in one humongous resurrection. Whether it’s Cain back in Genesis chapter 4, or whether it’s the last of the unbelievers at the end of the Kingdom, all unbelievers will come out in one massive resurrection call.
Okay, so come back with me, if you will, to Daniel chapter 12. In case someone has missed the previous programs, here’s our basis for teaching a resurrection of the lost. Now, I think a lot of people think that when lost people die they go to Hell and that’s it. Not true. They are also going to be resurrected and given a body.
“And many of them that sleep (or who have died and their bodies are–) in the dust of the earth shall awake, (They’re going to be resurrected.) some to everlasting life,…” We’ve already looked at those. They’re in the lot that Daniel was part of. They’re all going to be resurrected 75 days after the Kingdom starts. All the Old Testament saints and all the Jewish believers that are not in the Body of Christ will all be resurrected 75 days after Christ returns.
Now, I think that gives time for the Kingdom to be completely established. The Twelve Apostles are going to be in their twelve thrones, ruling from Jerusalem over the twelve tribes. And then again, I think it’s almost a picture of the wedding feast in the Old Testament economy. These Old Testament believers will be resurrected to come into the Kingdom and celebrate all of the blessings of it. But it won’t be until 75 days after Christ returns. All right, now back to the lost of all the ages in Daniel 12 verse 2.
“…that sleep in the dust shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” All right, now let’s go back to the verse we saw in one of our previous programs, John’s Gospel, and if they can’t read or believe the words of the Lord Jesus Himself, then I can’t help it. But the Lord Himself is making it so plain in John’s Gospel chapter 5. That’s why I make no apology for repeating it. I dare say that most church people don’t even know these verses are in their Bible. It’s something that is always skimmed over for some reason or another. They don’t appear in Sunday School quarterlies and so forth.
“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, (He doesn’t give any hint of when it will be.) in the which all that are in the graves (every human being who has ever lived and died) shall hear his voice, 29. And shall come forth;…” In resurrection, and resurrection cannot be resurrection unless it includes the body. So, I feel that these lost people are going to be reunited with soul and a physical body. They’re going to be brought, as we’re going to see in a minute, to the Great White Throne. They’re going to have a body fit for the Lake of Fire. It has to be. And God alone knows how He’s going to do that.
“And shall come forth; they that have done good, (People of faith, they will be resurrected. We’ve already covered them.) unto the resurrection of life; and they who have done evil, (The unbelievers of all the ages. The ones who rejected everything and anything that God tried to do for them.) unto the resurrection of condemnation.” All right, now where do we pick up their condemnation? Go all the way back to Revelation chapter 20. In order to pick up the time scenario, let’s drop in at Revelation 20 verse 4.
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment (or rule) was given unto them; and I saw the souls of them who were beheaded (That ring a bell?) for the witness of Jesus.” Now, this is looking at the final three and a half years of the Tribulation. These are Tribulation martyrs.
“…that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and who had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hand; (Now, they are believers. They’ve been martyred in the Tribulation, but in resurrection life–) and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Or, what we call the millennium.) 5. But the rest of the dead (Now we’re talking about the unbelieving world. These lost of all the ages) lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” Or at the end of the millennium, which is the end of time as we know it. It’ll be the onset of eternity, because we get into chapter 21 and we see “new heavens and new earth,” and we’re now set for eternity. But for the lost this is looking forward to the end of the millennial reign of Christ and the thousand years are finished. Now this is kind of confusing. Those last closing words–
“This is the first resurrection. (That is referring to the believers. They are in the first resurrection. So, verse 6 confirms that.) 6. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power,…” Albeit this first resurrection is in three or four different segments or companies. They are all part of the first resurrection, the resurrection of the just.
Now, I always have to stop and define words. We did this years and years ago. What is the definition for death of any kind? What’s the word? Separation. Ah, some of you are well taught. Death separates. Physical death separates the soul and spirit from the flesh. Right? When we die as a believer the soul and spirit take flight to be present with the Lord. We put the body in the grave. Separation. That’s death.
All right, now for the unbeliever, not only are they going to be separated in physical death when their soul and spirit go to their waiting place in Hell, but then they will be brought back into a resurrected body, and that resurrected body with that lost person’s soul and spirit all intact is going to come to what we call the second death, and it’s spiritual.
Now, how are they going to suffer spiritual death? They’re going to be separated from God! That’s spiritual death. You got that? Physical death is the separation of the soul and the spirit from the physical body. Separated. Spiritual death is when that lost person is separated from God. Hey listen, you and I cannot imagine what that alone will do to an individual. Because even the most rank unbeliever today – he can be an agnostic, he can be an atheist to the hilt – what is he still enjoying whether he knows it or not? The presence of God. He still has a chance to find salvation as long as he’s on this planet. But once they are separated from God at the second death, there is no hope. All right, so that’s what this Scripture is teaching, verse 6 again.
“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: (The resurrection of the believers of all the ages) on such (on the believer) the second death (Or a separation from God will never touch them. Impossible!) hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
All right, now then, we understand that the lost are going to suffer a separation from God. Now, the only way we can see this scripturally is to jump across to verse 11, still in chapter 20. The thousand years are finished. Satan is cast into the Lake of Fire and then verse 11, the onset of eternity.
“And I saw a great white throne, and him who sat upon it, (which will be Jesus the Christ, the Son of God) from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away;…” All right, let’s go back and see how other Scripture defines that. Come back just a little ways in your New Testament to, I think it’s II Peter chapter 3, dropping in at verse 10.
Here the language again is so explicit and so plain. My goodness, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist or a theologian to understand it. You know, I always have to come back, I can’t help it, some things bear repeating. When old Tyndale back at the time of the Reformation was trying to get Bibles into England, now you’ve heard me refer to this time and again, because I think it is so basic. What was his final prayer before they burned him at the stake? That every plowboy in England could have a copy of the Scriptures.
Now think a minute. Back in the 1500-1600’s how much education did the average farm boy in England have? Probably just enough to read. But is that enough to understand the Scriptures? You’d better believe it! You see what that means? So, I never put anybody below the ability to understand the Word of God, if they’ll just keep it simple. But over and over I’ll have to tell my phone callers, why do you make it so complicated? It’s so simple that a plowboy can understand it. All right, now let’s look at these verses right here.
II Peter 3:10a
“But the day of the Lord (That is those final seven years.) will come as a thief in the night; in the which (Now you’ve got to remember that scripturally speaking, that thousand years of millennial reign is nothing more than a day in the mind of God. So, we’re going to skip right past those thousand years of millennial reign, and we’re going to go to the onset of eternity.) the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements….” Now, all of you have had enough chemistry, I’m sure, to know that everything we can touch is comprised of the elements of the chemicals of the earth, aren’t they? That’s what the elements are.
You’ve got your atomic table that shows all the metals that you can think of and their atomic structure. Well, that’s the elements. Same word here. Everything that the universe is comprised of, whether it’s copper or iron or cobalt or you name it, they’re all elements.
II Peter 3:10b
“…the elements shall melt with fervent heat,…” Now goodness sakes, the plowboys didn’t know this, but you do. What great force do we have today that can melt steel down to nothing? Well, nuclear fusion. Instantly. Everything can just melt to nothing.
Well, when God pulls the nuclear glue from the atomic structure of everything, we’re going to have a universe, I think, of nuclear fusion. It’s going to all melt down, and I personally think God will just pull it back into Himself. I think it will just all come back into the very power of God from which it once came out. All right, but reading on:
II Peter 3:10c
“…the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be (What?) burned up.” How else would it melt? It’s going to be melted with fervent heat. The earth and everything in it and I think it’s going to involve the whole universe. All right, now verse 11.
II Peter 3:11a
“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved,…” Now again, I don’t think there’s anybody in this room; I don’t think I’ve got anybody out in my television audience that doesn’t know that when something is dissolved, what does it lose? Come on Scott what is it? What does it lose? It loses its character. It loses its identity. You can no longer see it. If you dissolve something in a bucket of water, can you look at that water and tell what’s in there? No, because it’s all diffused through the water. You can’t tell what it was. All right, the whole universe is going to be dissolved into nothingness. All right, all these things shall be dissolved. They’re going to lose their identity. Consequently, Peter says:
II Peter 3:11b-12
“…what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12. Looking for and hasting (or being in a hurry for) unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens (See, not just the planet.) being on fire shall be dissolved, and (again) the elements shall melt with (What?) fervent heat?” It’s just going to go up in a puff of smoke and nothingness. Now verse 13, is God at a loss for what to do? Oh no! He’s in total control.
II Peter 3:13
“Nevertheless (Even though everything is going to burn up and be dissolved and lose its identity,) we (as believers) according to his (God’s) promise, (we) look for (What?) new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” Now, why do you suppose God’s going to have to destroy everything? Well, who has defiled everything that God ever created? Well, the devil has. It’s all been defiled with his filthy fingers. So God will just do him one better. He’ll just make it all new.
All right, now let’s jump back to Revelation, even before we go back to the Great White Throne, to look at the lost of the ages. Let’s jump ahead to chapter 21, the setting for eternity, and in perfect accord with what the Spirit caused Peter to write. This is why I say this with, however you want to put it, with authority or with confidence. I don’t have to think that maybe I’m seeing this wrong. It’s so plain. It all fits. Revelation 21 verse 1, now this is John writing.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; (Why?) for the first heaven and the first earth were (What?) passed away;…” They disappeared.
Again, you remember, I’ve referred to this over the years. A long time ago I read an article in a science magazine where this guy was trying to promote his theory of the origin of the universe. He had everything coming out of a single source of light. All the things that were created came out of that source of light. And at the end of his article, with all of his exposition of his scientific formulas and all of that, this is the conclusion. I’ve shared it on the program before – this is his conclusion, “Since everything came out from a source of light, I can see somewhere out into the distant future that it’ll all come back into that same source of light.”
Now the believer that I am, I was just thrilled with that statement, because I can see it happen. I can just see God pull the whole thing back into Himself and recreate it brand new! All right, here we’ve got it. He saw, “A new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.” Do you have to be a Ph.D. to understand that? No, you don’t. The plowboy can understand that. That the first passed away and in its place came something brand new. That’s what it says.
Okay, now as we’re winding down the afternoon, let’s back up to Revelation 20 verse 11 and look at the Great White Throne for those who are going to be resurrected out of Hell and given a resurrected body fit for their eternal doom. Here they come.
“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, (The Lord Jesus. He’s going to be the Judge.) from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.” That is the earth and the heavens and the planets and the stars and so forth. So evidently we’re having this Great White Throne out in nothingness of nothing. There’s nothing here now. Where God is going to keep the believers in the interim? Hey, with Him nothing is impossible. Don’t worry about it. He’s not going to lose a one of us.
“And I saw the dead, (The lost of all the ages starting with Cain and clear on up through to the end.) small and great, (The emperors and the presidents aren’t going to be any different than the lowliest of the low.) stand before God; and the books (plural) were opened: and another book (singular) was opened, (The singular book here is–) which is the book of life: (Which contains all the names of the believers of all the ages.) and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, (plural again) according to their works.” So again, you’ve got to read between the lines. Are these people’s names in the Book of Life? No. So, God can just lay that book aside. It’s of no importance.
But, oh, the books, plural, which are a record of the life and the experiences of every lost person. For years this just boggled my mind, but you know, when they can put the whole King James Bible on the head of a pen, and if man can do that, God doesn’t have any trouble keeping record of the human race. Don’t ever doubt it for a minute. He has the wherewithal to keep a record of every lost person’s every deed.
And here they come. Now again, I always have to remind everybody that when we talk about God dealing with billions of people, one at a time, don’t ever doubt it for a minute. Because you see, we’re in eternity and in eternity time isn’t even a factor. So, God can go through ten billion people one at a time in what we might call ten minutes.
They’re going to come before Him, because He said in His earthly ministry that in that day they will say, “But, Lord, didn’t I prophesy in your name? Didn’t I cast out demons?” So, what does that mean? They’re going to have that opportunity. They’re going to have a period of time before the Judge. And what’s His answer going to be? “Depart from me. I never knew you”
Okay, so don’t ever let a curve be thrown at you that this can’t happen because it would take eternity for all this. No, it won’t. This can happen in a matter of minutes or maybe hours as we reckon time, because this is eternity. Okay, now let’s move on. One minute left. Wow, I’ve got to hurry.
“…and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” Every lost person will be judged. That’s his level of punishment, and it’s going to vary. They’re not all going to suffer the same. I can take you back to Matthew where Jesus said, “It will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than it would be for Capernaum.” All right, so they’re going to be judged according to their works. Here come the lost of all the ages.
“And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” What did I say? They will be separated from God for all eternity, and then verse 15 makes it as plain as English can make it.
“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Now look, I hate the thought of it as much as anybody. I wish I wouldn’t ever have to teach it. But the Book does and we can’t throw it out. My reasoning is that if we could understand how much Christ suffered for all these multitudes that are going to the Lake of Fire, then we could see He’s just. He suffered and died for every last one of them, and if they reject it, then it’s not God’s fault.
LESSON ONE * PART IV
BUT CHRIST – LIVETH IN ME
I Corinthians 15:20 and Galatians 2:20
My, it’s been a good afternoon of fellowship and teaching. We just love to teach the Word. Again, I just want to thank our listening audience for everything. We just can’t believe how you all support us and how we never have to ask for a dime, and yet we pay the bills every month. We just give the Lord the glory.
Okay, again we’re going to remind our listening audience of a means of saving me a lot of letter writing. Instead of asking me to write answers to your questions, you can just buy the book of eighty-eight typical questions. The answers are taken from the program. I don’t think we’ve had a complaint from anybody that they didn’t enjoy it. So, if you are looking for something like that, call the girls and they’ll get it out to you for $11.00 postage paid.
Okay, let’s continue on with a little different take on our “Buts,” as this one is going to be “But Christ.” Turn with me to Galatians chapter 2 verse 20. While you’re looking for that, I want to remind our Canadian listeners that since you’re having trouble using the 800 number, call our regular number at 1-918-768-3218. Hopefully that will help you. All right, here in Galatians 2:20 we have Paul’s tremendous testimony of saving faith.
“I am (What?) crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:…” Did you get it? Oh, when we become a believer, our old Adamic nature is put to death – “But Christ!” The God of Creation. The One who went to that cross and suffered and died for our salvation. “But Christ liveth in me.” Now, think for a minute. Have you ever heard such a concept until you get to Paul? Did any of the Old Testament believers have that kind of an understanding of their God? No. They didn’t have a concept that God lived in them. Jesus in His earthly ministry never taught such a concept.
But in this Age of Grace, and let’s see, I think there’s one in Colossians. Let’s turn ahead a minute. It just came to mind. Yes, Colossians chapter 1 verse 27. This is what I want people to understand. This is why I spend so much time in Paul’s epistles. It isn’t that I’m trying to elevate Paul. That’s not the point. But it’s through this man that we receive so many things concerning God that you won’t find anywhere else in Scripture. That’s what makes it so unique. Here he’s talking about you and me as believers. Colossians 1 verse 27. Now listen – don’t miss this!
“To whom God would make known (complete understanding) what is the riches of the glory of this mystery (What is the other word for mystery? Secret! And when was it kept secret? From Adam until Paul! It was never revealed. And here it is.) among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you,…” Not just in the Apostle. We’ve got that same testimony that he had! That Christ liveth in me! Now, that’s not something you arrogantly throw at people and say, “Well, I’m better than you.” No, that’s not the idea.
The idea is that we have such a fabulous salvation. The Grace of God is so beyond human comprehension that you and I can take this as a promise. We can claim it, without any arrogance, without any pride. It’s just a fact of God’s Grace that when we believe Paul’s Gospel, then Christ enters in to dwell within us – in the person of the Holy Spirit. We’re going to look at that if we have time yet today in one of our “But Now’s.”
If you’ll come back then to Galatians chapter 2, let’s go back up, because like we’ve been doing, after showing you the “But…whatever,” then we go back up a few verses and see what goes before it. To see what caused the Holy Spirit to move Paul to write the words of this verse. So, let’s go all the way back up to verse 15.
“We who are Jews by nature, (And, of course, Saul of Tarsus was a Jew’s Jew.) and not sinners of the Gentiles,” Now again, I just have to stop. I’m afraid too many Church people do not realize this. What were the kinds of people that Paul brought into knowledge of salvation? Gentiles.
But what were Gentiles in Paul’s day? They were what we would call the scum of society. The riffraff. Oh, they may have been living elite. But morally? They were scum. They had no moral principles. None. So, the Jew looked down at those filthy Gentiles, not only with their physical inability to keep bodily clean, because that was a Jewish phenomenon.
You’ve got to remember that the vast majority of the world didn’t take a bath every day, like we do. They lived filthy. And to the Jew it was just anathema that people could live and be so dirty. But listen, they did. So this is why he used that term that these Jews looked down at Gentiles as not just sinners, but actually they were almost the off scouring of humanity in their eyes. All right, now then verse 16.
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law,…” Oh, that just flew in the face of the Jews of Paul’s day. That’s why they hated Paul so. They would put him to death in a minute, if they could, because he was flying in the face of their religion.
“…but by the faith of Jesus Christ, (Or in Jesus Christ) even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ,…” Now, I think to clarify that, I won’t do any injustice to Scripture, but what is really behind our faith in Christ? His what? His faithfulness!
Now, what do I mean by His faithfulness? Will He ever let us down? Is there any danger that we’ll slip into eternity and He’ll say, “I’m sorry, but My grace wasn’t sufficient for you?” You see, there’s always a possibility that you could walk in here some Wednesday afternoon and some joker has sawed the legs off of one of these chairs, so that they would break the minute somebody sat on it. Now, that’d be awful, I know. But it happened. I know. I’ll never forget. I opened up a lawn chair for somebody a few years ago. I didn’t do it just right, and when she sat down on it, it collapsed. Well, that’s what you call faithless. That chair didn’t hold her. Anything that let’s you down, is faithless.
Anything that you can rest on, like these chairs, are faithful. I don’t care what it is. Everything that you use, you intend it to be faithful. It’s going to do what it’s supposed to do. That’s Christ! He is faithful! He has done everything that needs to be done! We don’t have to look for something to garnish it. We don’t have to look for something to somehow prop it up. He and He alone is faithful! And when we place our faith in His faithfulness, we’re safe for all eternity! Nothing can take that from us because of His faithfulness. Now, reading on in verse 16.
“…we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified (made totally cleansed of all our sin by an act of God) by the faith (or the faithfulness) of Christ, and not by the works of the law:” And listen, the vast majority of church people today are depending on the Law – their legalism of one sort or another. And God won’t have it, because He’s done everything that needs to be done by Himself. All right, so it’s not by the works of the law.
“…for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Now, we need to turn to Romans chapter 3. Isn’t it amazing that the Spirit prompted Paul to write almost the same identical words here that he wrote in Romans? Almost identical! Romans chapter 3, these are verses that we use quite often. Drop in at verse 19.
“Now we know (Now there’s no doubt in that kind of a statement. That is something you can sink your teeth into.) that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law:…” And who was under the Law? Israel. Nobody else. Israel was under the Law.
But the Law didn’t stop at Israel’s borders, it was universal. Still is. The Ten Commandments are just as valid for Indonesia or Japan or China or Russia or any other culture that you can name. Those Ten Commandments are still God’s guidelines to live by or whatever.
“…that every mouth may be stopped, (Not just Jews. Every human being is brought up short by those Ten Commandments. That’s God’s moral law.) and all the world. (Not just Israel) may become (Ready for Heaven? That’s what most people like to think!) may become guilty before God.” Most think the Ten Commandments are somehow a stairway to Heaven. No, they’re not! They are God’s means of condemnation! Anybody who cannot keep all ten of those commandments is forever guilty! Now, verse 20:
“Therefore by the deeds of the law (or by the keeping of the Ten Commandments) there shall no flesh be justified in his sight:…” Nobody! Why? Because nobody can keep them. The little Book of James says that if you’re guilty of one, you’re guilty of – how many? All of them! Boy, now that’s a guilt trip, isn’t it? If you’re guilty of one, you’re guilty of all. So, we have to get away from this concept that the Ten Commandments are somehow a means to salvation. No. They’re simply a means of condemnation.
“Therefore by the deeds (or the keeping) of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Not life. Sin. And sin’s synonymous word is what? Death! That’s all the Law can do. Well, then I’ve got another one that I always like to use along with that. II Corinthians chapter 3 and the reason I like to use it is that so many times it brings people up short. Because when I say that Paul is talking about the Ten Commandments in Romans 3, they probably say, well…that’s Les’ idea. I can’t quite buy that. But, hey, this just puts the frosting on the cake. There’s no room for argument here.
II Corinthians 3:6a
“God; (of verse 5) Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; (That is this new concept of grace that Christ has finished the work of the cross.) not of the letter, (That’s Paul’s word for the Law – the Ten Commandments.) but of the spirit: for the letter (the Ten Commandments, they do what? They–) killeth,…” Now people don’t like that. That doesn’t sit with their theology. But that’s what the Book says. The Ten Commandments kill! How? By condemning! I can’t keep them. You can’t keep them. Neither can anybody else. So, we’d better quit trying to make headway, or make points with God, by keeping the Ten Commandments. It won’t do any good. That’s not what they’re meant for. They’re meant to convict. All right, read on.
II Corinthians 3:6b
“…for the letter killeth, but the spirit (That part we’re going to see when we get back to Galatians in a minute, the work of the Spirit and the indwelling Christ in the Spirit’s person.) giveth life.” Eternal life. Now, if you still doubt that I’m talking about the Ten Commandments, look at the next verse.
II Corinthians 3:7a
“But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones,…” Do you know of any other great document in all of human history that was placed in stone? Only the Ten Commandments. So, these engraven in stone Ten Commandments are nothing but ministrations of death! They condemn every human being.
All right, back to Galatians chapter 2 verse 17, because I want to get down to our key verse before the program is over.
“But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, (That is through our faith in Paul’s Gospel.) we ourselves also are found sinners, (In other words, we still are prone to fall.) is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.” In other words, just because we’re still human and still fail, does that mean that God promotes sin? Why, heavens no!
“For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.” But that’s not the name of the game. We’ve been forgiven. We’ve been cleansed. But we are still human, and we are still going to sin. And the blood of Christ, of course, is what cleanses us of it. All right, now then verse 19.
“For I (Paul says) through the law, (Because it is a ministration of death.) am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.” Now think about that for a minute. There’s only one thing that can set us free from the condemnation of the Ten Commandments and what is it? Our saving faith. The work of the cross. That settles it.
Now, before we go into Paul’s testimony in verse 20, come back with me to Romans chapter 7. These are almost parallel verses. I like to use the whole concept of comparing Scripture with Scripture, so that we know we’re on solid ground.
“Wherefore, my brethren, (See, he’s writing to believers.) ye also are become dead to the law (How?) by the body of Christ; (the work of the cross) that ye should be married (or brought into union) to another, even to him who is raised from the dead,…” We become part and parcel of it. In other words, let me put it this way. The Christian plan of salvation, when we become a believer, is not just embracing another religion. It’s just not another “do good” thing. When we become a believer, we establish a relationship with God Himself. He is living in us. We are in Him, and it’s a two-way street.
And that’s what makes it so unique in all the religions of the world. That we are not just a follower of a religion, we are in a relationship with the God of Creation by virtue of our faith in the finished work of the cross. All right, read on.
“…that we should bring forth fruit unto God. (Just like a marriage relationship is to bring forth children for the ongoing of the human race.) 5. For when we were in the flesh, (Lost. Commandment breakers. Condemned by them) the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.” The same death that we saw in the last program at the Great White Throne. That’s what he’s talking about. Separation from God for all eternity. That’s what every lost person is working for.
“But now (We’ve come away from that. We’re no longer under that condemnation of the Law.) we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; (past tense) that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” All right, only got four minutes left, so we’d better get back to Galatians 2, or I won’t make it. Now, back to Galatians 2 verse 19.
“For I through the law am dead to the law,…” Do you see that? Because of the Law’s condemning us, when we run to God’s saving grace for salvation, we now become what? Dead to it! It can’t touch us! The Law can’t condemn you and me anymore, because we’re dead to it, and it’s dead to us. The Law can only condemn the lost person, not the believer. The Law does not condemn the believer.
Now, we may do the things that the Law speaks against, but it’s not condemning us as such. We are immediately under the blood and the forgiveness of Christ. Here’s the reason in verse 20, Paul’s testimony of saving grace. This should be the testimony of every believer.
“For I am crucified with Christ:…” What does crucifixion do? Well, it kills. It puts to death. And the reason I think God used crucifixion for all this was that that was one death that one human being cannot do to himself. They can fall on the sword. They can hang themselves. They can shoot themselves. They can do all kinds of means of putting themselves to death, but they cannot crucify themselves. It’s impossible. It has to be done by an outside force.
All right, so here again, we can’t crucify ourselves. We can’t do anything to merit salvation, but it put us at God’s mercy. We recognize that when He died, you died, and I died, because He died in our place. This is what Paul is saying, “I am crucified with Christ.” I died when He died. That’s what faith does. Then he goes on to say:
“…nevertheless I live;…” In other words, he’s not talking about a physical being put to death. He’s talking about a spiritual thing.
All right, now we come back to the whole concept. When we’re born into the world, we are born with what kind of a nature? A sin nature. You know, I always give the example, how old does that newborn have to be before that sin nature flares up? Well, not very old. The temper shows. Give him a couple of years and he can lie like a rug. Well, you don’t teach kids to lie. That’s all part of that old nature.
“…nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: (Paul isn’t living for himself. He’s living for the Christ who died for him.) and the life which I now live in the flesh (day to day, week in and week out) I live by the faith (Here we have again, I think, the faithfulness.) the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me, and (What?) gave himself for me.” Now what is that all based on? God’s what? God’s love! Everything concerning Christianity rests on the premise of love.
God died for the sins of the world, because he loved mankind. When we become a believer, at least it certainly should show forth, we begin to love people that we probably never thought of loving before. Now, I’m not talking about physical love. I’m talking about spiritual love. We have a concern for those around us. That’s what makes the difference between a true child of God and the run-of-the-mill, everyday person. So, always remember, yes, we’re put to death with Christ, but we live because He lives in us.
LESSON TWO * PART I
BUT WHEN – THE FULLNESS OF THE TIME
Galatians 4:4; Galatians 4:9; Ephesians 2:4
It’s good to see everybody back in again this afternoon on a beautiful spring day. Again, we want to welcome our television audience, wherever you are, under whatever the circumstances. Because we realize now our programs are just about going around the world, one way or another. So, wherever you are, we just want you to be welcome to sit in with us. Letter after letter comes in that tells us they feel like they’re sitting right out there at the back row. That just thrills us to pieces. Again, we always like to thank our listening audience for your support, prayers, your letters, your financial support, and everything, because without it we could do nothing.
All right, we’re going to continue yet in these next four programs on the “But God” or “But…whatever.” Today I found one that I just couldn’t pass up in Galatians chapter 4 verse 4 – “But When.” We’ll read the verse first, and then we’re going to go back and look at that what goes before.
“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,” Now, just for introductions, if I’m not mistaken, and I could be, this is the one and only time that Paul refers to Christ’s birth or even His ministry, except one other verse in II Corinthians 5:16 where he says, “Yea, I have known Christ in the flesh, yet henceforth we know him no more.”
Now, the reason of course is Holy Spirit inspired. This apostle is kept so completely separated from everything pertaining to Israel and Israel’s Law. We’ll probably be pointing it out sometime during the afternoon that, even at the time of His going out into the desert for His three years of instruction, God didn’t let Paul get indoctrinated by the Twelve. Because He wanted Paul to be the grace Apostle for the Gentile world and be completely separated from the Twelve and Israel which were under the Law. So, Paul only preached the salvation message of Christ crucified and risen again.
All of his writing is in that vein, with only this one exception referring to His birth in Bethlehem. It’s put in a little different way, in fact, in order to be different. Whenever I teach over the Christmas period of time, I like to use this verse, because everybody else uses Matthew and Luke, you know. But what a beautiful way of putting it that “When the fullness of time was come.”
Now, we’re going to back up a little bit to chapter 4 verse 1, like we’ve done on all these others, and see a little of the background that leads us up to this particular statement. Chapter 4 verse 1, still in Galatians:
“Now I say, (Paul writes) that the heir, (Now, he’s speaking of a child in a family.) as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, (or a slave) though he be lord of all;” In other words, he’s an heir of the father’s business or wealth, whatever the case may be.
“But (again coming back to this child) he is under tutors and governors until (There’s your time word. Until when?) the time appointed of the father.” In other words, even in the secular world, the Romans and the Greeks as well as the Jews, they would hire tutors to teach their kids.
They didn’t have public schools like we do. So, from the time they are old enough to learn how read and write, the parents didn’t teach them, but they hired tutors. They were to teach those kids everything concerning manners and discipline and finances, their morals, everything was under the control of the tutor “until” the day came that the father had preset when they first started teaching. In other words, they were working forward to a goal when they could approach the father and say, “Here’s your son. This is the day that we have set. I am presenting him to you. He should be ready to come in and be a full heir in the business.” Now, that’s the word adoption that we usually see in Paul’s letters. All right, so what’s the purpose? Well, we’re leading up to it now.
“Even so we, (Remember, Paul is writing to Gentiles.) when we were children, (That is spiritually speaking, now.) were in bondage under the elements of the world:” (Now this is all leading up to this verse.) 4. But when the fullness of the time was come,…” Do you see what he’s tying it to? Just like the tutor would bring the kid up to the father when the fullness of his time of instruction was finished, so also, God has had a time of preparing the world for the coming of the Son of God. To be, first and foremost, the promised King of Israel, but so far as the rest of us were concerned, He was to be the Savior of all mankind.
All right, let’s go back and chase down some of these Old Testament references, because after all, this is what Paul is alluding to, that God is going to use a period of time to get the world ready for the coming of the Son of God in the flesh – “the fullness of time.”
All right, go back to Genesis chapter 3 and this is just after Adam and Eve have eaten of the forbidden tree. The curse has fallen. We are now entering into the time of every human being, being born a sinner. But here is the first step in God’s preparing of the world for the “fullness of the time.” Genesis 3 verse 15, and of course, God is addressing the deceiver, Satan, the one who prompted the fall, and He says to Satan:
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it (that is the seed of the woman) shall bruise thy head, (In other words, the only place where you can really kill a snake is to crush it on the head, and Christ would bruise his head.) and thou (Satan) shalt bruise his heel (the heel of Christ).” This, of course, is a reference to the suffering that He went through. But always remember that it was the work of the cross that defeated Satan and sin and death. It was total, total defeat of everything. All right, so that’s one place.
Now, let’s jump up a few chapters to chapter 12 and the call of Abraham. I’m kind of tempted to fill in the years between here, but I’m going to save that for a later half-hour when I’m going to be dealing with a portion in Ephesians. But, you’ve got to remember, now, that from the Garden of Eden until the call of Abraham is, roughly speaking, 2,000 years. Approximately. I don’t get dogmatic on these years in the Old Testament, but about 2,000 years. But never forget what the Lord promised Satan way back there at the Garden. So, 2,000 years later, this is still appropriate thinking that God is getting ready to do something to make salvation possible for the whole human race. Genesis 12 verse 1, these are verses that we’ve used over and over throughout the years, the Abrahamic Covenant.
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee: (Which we now know was the land of Canaan.) 2. And I will make of thee a great nation, I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him (In other words, the opposite of blessing) that curseth thee:…” Now, here comes the promise that’s not going to be valid until Christ makes His appearance. That’s the verse we’re looking at in Galatians – “But when the fullness of time.” All right, now read on in verse 3.
“…and in thee (in Abraham) shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” Well, now goodness sakes, we know that Abraham didn’t do anything specific for our salvation. But how is he tied to it? It’s through Abraham that the Nation of Israel makes its appearance in the human experience, and through Israel we have the appearance, then, of the Messiah, who goes to the cross and becomes the Savior, not just of Israel, but of the whole human race.
All right, now here it comes, all the way from Genesis 3 that the seed of the woman is going to defeat Satan, looking forward to the cross. And here comes Abraham. He is going to be uniquely blessed by being the father, or the progenitor, of this nation of people, through whom will come the Word of God. Every word in this Book, I maintain, is written by Jews. Then comes the Messiah and then comes the Apostle Paul. All Jews. And salvation goes to the whole human race.
But all right, we’re still building. Now, let’s jump up a little ways to Isaiah chapter 42. Again, these are verses that we have used off and on throughout the years, because they are so simply put and easy to understand. Now, there are a lot of other verses, but they’re not quite as clearly put as Isaiah 42 and 59 and 60, which we’re going to use for a minute. All right, we’ve got our timeline up here. I’m going to roughly divide it from the time of Adam until we get to the call of Abraham and the Abrahamic Covenant – 2,000 years.
Now, I’m not going to divide the timeline according to scale, because then I run out of space. But stop and think. How much, that really pertains to an understanding of all this, took place in the first 2,000 years? What are the words? Not much! Not much. It was a 2,000-year period of disaster in my book. Because you see, from the time that Adam fell, until the whole then known world became so wicked, so ungodly that God had no alternative but to what? Destroy it. That was the flood, about 1,500-1,600 years after Adam. It’s a long time, and God does nothing. He just lets them go and lets them go. Until finally it got so bad that He was going to have to wipe them all off the face of the earth, BUT! That was one of first “But’s” when we started. “But Noah (What?) found grace.” Now stop and think, after 1,500 or 1,600 years of this human experience, how many were still faithful to God? Eight! Eight out of probably four or five billion people.
Now, I always use that number when people get a little discouraged and say, “Well, why can’t we bring more people into the truth?” Hey, they never have. It’s not at all unusual for the believer to be the very small percentage. We learned years ago that whenever you see the multitudes flock to something, you can just about bet whatever you’ve got that they’re not flocking to something of the truth. The human race never has. It’s always the small.
All right, so after 1,500-1,600 years, eight people start all over. Well, then in another 200 years, now I know that compared to 6,000, we look at 200 years like sort of a month or two, but no, no. Two hundred years is a long time in any point in history. That’s a long time. That’s since 1800 until now. My goodness, look what the world has done since 1800. So, when I speak of since the flood to the Tower of Babel, 200 years, don’t think there was just seven, eight, nine hundred people. My, they were already up to hundreds of thousands, if not millions. But again, how many of them at the time of the Tower of Babel hang back and say, “No, I won’t have any part of that. I’m going to stay true to God?” How many? Now, that’s a tricky question. How many? None! We don’t have a record of a single one. The whole then known human race gathers in rebellion under old Nimrod. They’re ready to jump on whatever Nimrod’s got to offer. And what’s he offer? False religion.
The whole human race, then, within 200 years of the flood, when we only had eight believers left, has already come full circle. Again, they’re in total rebellion – 100%. But all God does this time is what? He scatters them by virtue of the changing of all the languages.
All right, we go another 200 years. It’s still a long time. Now we come to the call of Abraham. So far as I’m concerned, no believers left. They were all steeped in the idolatry that began with the Tower of Babel. But here we have one man who was willing to listen to what God had to say. So, he becomes the man of faith, Abraham. All right, now then, as Abraham continues on, he has the promised son Isaac. And Isaac has the twins Jacob and Esau. Jacob, in turn, becomes the man of faith. I hope we’ll look at him a little later on yet this afternoon. That little flicker of faith was enough to say, “Hey, I’ll buy that birthright. I’ll give you a bowl of soup, if I can have it.” So, Esau glibly gave up the birthright, which was a spiritual thing, because he had no faith. But Jacob had enough, not real faith yet, but he had enough perception that there was something to be gained by having that spiritual birthright.
All right, so out of Jacob come the twelve sons. Out of the twelve sons comes the Nation of Israel. The Nation of Israel, after their years in Egypt, comes out under Moses. They’re brought back to the Promised Land. Now, I’m doing all this hurriedly. We’re coming up to about 700 BC. Already 1,300 years beyond Abraham, so I’m moving along pretty fast, aren’t I?
All right, now Isaiah is being written 700 years before Christ, thirteen hundred years after Abraham. Look what it says, remembering now the promise to Abraham, “through thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” And yet, coming up through the five Books of Moses and early history going into the land of Canaan, I think you are all aware, what was God’s instruction to the Nation of Israel with regard to those pagan people around them? Have nothing to do with them. Don’t intermarry with them. Don’t have a lot of social intercourse with them, because if you do, you’re going to fall into their idolatry. You’ll become just as ungodly as they are. That was God’s premise.
I think it holds true today. If a godly person marries an ungodly, which direction will that couple usually go? Down. Once in a while it’ll go the other way, but nine times out of ten, it’s down. Well, Israel was no different. And God knew that. So he warned them. Have nothing to do with those nations around you, which we will now call Gentiles, because they were all pagan. They were all idolatrous. God knew that they would take Israel right down with them, which they did. We know that Israel fell into rank idolatry.
All right, so that’s what Isaiah has to deal with early on in the Book of Isaiah. But this is what I want you to see now: how that through the blessings of Abraham, God was one day going to come back and reveal Himself to the non-Jewish world. Now, unless you’ve been with me a long time, you’re probably not aware that everything throughout the Old Testament is primarily, not exclusively, but it’s primarily directed to the Nation of Israel. All the promises, all the prophecies, salvation, the worship, the temple, the priest, were all directed to Israel.
Now, there were some exceptions, and I always point them out. Rahab on the wall of Jericho was an exception. She was a Gentile, and she came into Israel’s blessing. And on and on, who were some of the others that were exceptions? Jonah went to Nineveh, a Gentile city. That was an exception. But by and large, God was dealing only with the Nation of Israel. But, now here’s the point I want to make. He hadn’t forgotten about the rest of the world.
“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment (Or righteous rule, benevolent rule. Not dictatorial, not totalitarian, but a benevolent rule.) to the Gentiles.” The non-Jewish world, drop down to verse 6.
“I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, (Now, here God is dealing with the Nation. Up in verses 1 and 2, He’s talking about the Messiah, but now He’s talking about the Nation.) and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, (In other words, He’s going to have this agreement between Himself and the Nation of Israel, but for what eternal purpose?) to be a light of the Gentiles;” Now, never lose sight of that. Because when the Lord came in, in His earthly ministry, and we’ll be looking at a verse or two there as well. When He spoke to the Twelve and He said, “You are the light of the world. You are the salt of the earth.” That wasn’t talking to us. He was talking to the Jews, of whom the Twelve, of course, were representatives. They were to be the light of the world. They were to be the salt, see? All right, and here it is, read the verse again, verse 6.
“I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and will give thee for a covenant of the people, (For what purpose?) to be a light of the Gentiles.” That’s a Jewish promise.
So, all the way up through Israel’s history, the preparation is for the coming of their Messiah and King. Now, while I go to the board I’m going to have you jump on ahead and find Zechariah chapter 14. I’m going to pursue the timeline a little further. After the call of Abraham, we go another 2,000 years. Like I’ve just said, it is predominately Jew only, with a few exceptions. I can’t leave that out or somebody is going to be calling.
Then comes what we’re looking at in Galatians, leading up to His three years of earthly ministry. But for these next 2,000 years from Abraham until Christ’s first advent everything is getting the Nation ready, like we saw those in first three verses in Galatians chapter 4. He’s getting the Nation ready for this coming opportunity of having the King and the Kingdom and then to be a light of the Gentiles. That’s Israel’s prospect. All of this 2,000 year period of time is preparation – getting them ready. But what was their problem? Boy, they were a tough bunch to teach! They just didn’t respond!
Now, getting ready for some future programs, I’ve been spending a little time back in Judges and Joshua and Ruth and so forth. Just like the Lord told them, as soon as they got into the Promised Land and started defeating all the enemies, they started dipping into idolatry. Dan, of course, if you know anything about the Tribe of Dan, they weren’t satisfied with what they were given. So, he leads all of his people clear up to Northern Israel and sets up their own little conclave of territory, but what else? An idol. So,
Dan was the first tribe that really went whole-hog into idolatry! So, God had a hard time bringing this Nation along. No doubt about it. But He keeps moving along, moving along with these promises and these prophecies put out in front of them to encourage them.
All right, here’s the one that’s about the end of – my, the end of the half-hour too, already! Okay, here’s Zechariah chapter 14 verse 9, and this sort of encapsulates everything that’s been prophesied since Abraham.
“And the LORD (God the Son, Jehovah) shall be king over all the earth: in that day (When He finally sets up His rule there in Jerusalem.) shall there be one LORD, and his name one.” He’s going to rule and reign, not only the Nation of Israel, but the whole planet earth.
All right, now in the couple or three minutes we have left, let’s go back to the verse that we kicked off from in Galatians chapter 4. After all these years, the patience and trying to teach the Nation, disciplining them with invading armies, blessing them with material blessings, He finally brings them to the place where “the fullness of the time” has arrived.
Now, it isn’t just the Nation of Israel that’s getting ready for the fullness of time, but the whole Gentiles scenario. Everything is now being made ready for the coming of the Messiah. We’ve come through the Babylonian Empire. We’ve come through the Mede and Persian Empires. We’ve come through the Greek Empire. Now we’re well into the Roman Empire, but the language of the Greeks had become pretty much the language of even the Roman Empire. It’s the Greek language that has made our Scriptures what it is, because it is so, what shall I call it? It is so explanatory. You can pick one Greek word and just expound on it. So, even the appearance of the Greek language was all preparation for the “fullness of time” – at the right moment. All right, let’s read the verse. Then we’ll be ready to close.
“But when the fullness of the time was come, (Planet earth is now ready for one of the greatest events that as ever happened.) God sent forth his Son, (A day late? No. A day early? No. In the exact hour that it was right, God sent for the Son.) made of a woman, (the virgin Mary) made (Now here’s the key part.) under the law.”
Most of Christendom won’t recognize it even to this day, that Jesus came and was born from the Nation of Israel, under the Law. His whole ministry was in accordance with the Law. He never made any hint that we’re not under Law, you’re under Grace. Everything He said was in accordance with Israel’s Law. When He healed the lepers, what did He tell them? “Go present yourself to the priest, according to the law.” And, oh, why can’t people get that understanding? That everything He said was under and according to the Mosaic Law.
LESSON TWO * PART II
BUT WHEN – THE FULLNESS OF THE TIME
Galatians 4:4; Galatians 4:9; Ephesians 2:4
Again, we’re glad to have everybody back. I see you’ve all gotten your coffee, and we’re ready to hit another “But Now.” This one is in Galatians chapter 4 verse 9.
Again, we’re just an informal Bible study. My only hope is to help people to study the Word on their own. You don’t have to just sit there and fold your arms and listen to me or listen to some preacher. Get into the Book, because after all this is where your spiritual food lies. I had someone call yesterday, and she said, “I’ve been a believer for 17 years and off and on I’ll try to read my Bible. I didn’t understand it. I would just lay it aside. But I caught your program a few weeks ago, and now I’m learning how to study.” Well, that’s the best news I could ever hear. So, that’s the whole premise for our teaching. It is to show you how to take the Word and compare Scripture with Scripture, because the cults build all their false doctrines on isolated verses. But we want to use the whole Book cover to cover, because it all fits. It all dovetails together.
All right, Galatians chapter 4 going on a little further down the page to verse 8 where Paul writes:
“Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them who by nature are no gods. 9. But now,…” All right, what’s the “But Now?” After you’ve become a believer.
Now, I always have to back up and give the historical backdrop. Before these people became Christians, or believers, what were they? Pagans. Idolaters. Gentiles. Galatia is up there in Central Turkey. Like all the rest of Paul’s churches and audiences, it was predominately Gentile. There might have been a sprinkling of Jews, but it’s mostly Gentile, and they were pagan. They were idolaters. They followed all the gods and goddesses and all the immoral and stupid ramifications of it.
You know, I can’t help but use the word, because I remember when I was reading the book by Homer, years and years ago. The whole thing is just saturated with how these sailors, including Odysseus, were all hung up on the control of the gods and goddesses. Everything, the winds that blew and the ocean and the enemy of warfare, was all resting on their gods and goddesses. Well, that’s the kind of people Paul dealt with. The same thing. They had no moral standard. They had no understanding of a One True God. They were steeped in all the foolishness of gods and goddesses, with an idol to that god, an idol to that female god and so forth. All right, so this is what Paul is saying here in verse 8 – “back when you knew not the God of Scripture, the God of Israel.” All they knew were gods and goddesses of mythology.
“Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them…” My goodness, do you have any idea how the pagan worshipped? Why, sacrifices after sacrifices if they could afford it.
I think I shared this on the program several months ago. You know I love history. So, while I was going through my hip replacement recuperation, I did a lot of sitting and reading. I read the whole gambit of Alexander the Great. All the way from when he began to when he finally died at the age of 33. I was just flabbergasted at how that young man was constantly sacrificing animals to his gods and goddesses. If he was ready for battle, he would sacrifice 200-300 of them! Unbelievable! Now, that was the mentality, then, of these people that Paul brought into the faith of Christ.
So, you have to get an understanding of that. They were slaves to their religion. They were constantly making offerings and oblations and everything to their idols. Whether it was on a high hill, or whether it was in a grove, or whether it was in their house, they were always worshipping some idol. All right, so he says:
“…ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.” They’re just wood and stone. They’re figments of somebody’s imagination. A sorry state of affairs, isn’t it? Yet the world isn’t all that much different even today. Now, I hate to say it, but it’s the truth. Now then verse 9, that’s the crux of the thing.
“But now, (Since you’ve become a believer. Since you’ve come out of all that false worship and–) after that ye have known (the one true) God, (as a result of trusting Paul’s Gospel) or rather are known of God,…” You know what I like about that? When we become a believer, we not only know God, but what? God knows us!
He knows us in a way intrinsically different than He knows the rest of the world. In His omniscience, sure, He’s aware of everybody. But when we become a believer, we are intrinsically His! He knows all about us. He knows our yesterday. He knows our today. He knows our tomorrow. All right that’s what Paul is trying to show these people, that here as believers now, not only do they know the right and true God, but God knows them. Now then he says:
“…how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements,…” Now, that takes some explanation, doesn’t it? What was the purpose of the Book of Galatians? Well, his Galatian believers were being hoodwinked by Judaizers from the Jerusalem Church. They were being told that they couldn’t be completely saved with Paul’s Gospel alone – of believing in your heart that Jesus died for your sins and rose again. The Judaizers told them they had to practice Judaism.
Now, I’ve got to show that from Scripture, otherwise people just look at it. I always go back to a large church in North Carolina. Several years ago I taught this in their Sunday morning Sunday School hour. It was a large class, well over a hundred. When I finished that morning, they just surrounded me. They said, “Les, I never knew this was in our Bible.” I’m sure that’s typical of most church people. They don’t even know this is in their Bible.
All right, here it is. Acts chapter 15 and we’ll start at verse 1. Now, this is what was behind Paul writing the letter to the Galatians. That’s why he said in the verse we looked at, that now they’ve come out of paganism, yet they’re turning back to the weak and beggarly elements which were part of Israel’s law. I’m going to make further comment on that when we get back, if I’ve got time. But anyway, Acts chapter 15, this was the crux of the problem Paul’s Gentile congregation was having, verse 1.
“And certain men who came down from Judea (that’s Jerusalem) taught the brethren (Paul’s Gentile converts) and said, Except (or unless) ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye (What?) cannot be saved.” My, that’s terrible! That would be just like if I would come in here and tell people unless you do this and unless you do that you can’t be saved. That’s what they were doing. They were doing this to Paul’s believers. And they were falling for it. That’s human nature. All right, read on in verse 2.
“When therefore (Because of what these guys were doing.) Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension (or argument) and disputation with them, they (The church people up here at Antioch where this is all taking place.) determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to (What city?) Jerusalem unto (To what group of people?) the apostles and elders about this question.” Because after all, who were the controlling element of the Jerusalem church? Well, the Twelve. You want to remember, Paul hadn’t yet had the revelation of the Body of Christ church, so there is no mention of bishops and elders and deacons in this Jerusalem church. See how obvious it all is?
You know, one of my number one rules of study is be just as aware of what it does not say as what it does say! Well, there’s nothing in early Acts, nothing concerning some of the offices that Paul teaches. I’ve already said it, and I’ll say it again. Peter and the Twelve know nothing of bishops and elders and deacons. Those are Pauline terms. See how obvious it is? So, who were the leadership? Not bishops and elders and deacons, but the Twelve apostles.
All right, so if you want to get something done, I’ve said it on the program before, and I’ll say it again, if you want to get something done even today, where do you go? You go as close to the top as you can get. You know, I get a kick out of people when they call and ask the girls out in the office about something and they say, “Well, we’ll let you talk to Les.” Well, they can’t believe that they can talk to me. Yes, you can! I can pick up the phone and answer their questions. Well, they’ve gone to the top, so far as this ministry is concerned. If you’re going to get something done, that’s the place to go. So, who are the “top”? The Twelve. So, they’re going to go to the Apostles and elders about this question. All right, verse 3.
“And being brought on their way by the church, (The Antioch, Gentile Body of Christ church) they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. 4. And when they were come to Jerusalem, (Boy, now it’s a different thing.) they were received of the church,…” Again, I’m going to qualify that. The Jerusalem church is not a Body of Christ church. It is not a church based on faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and that only.
It’s a church based on Jewish believers that had believed that Jesus was the Christ, and again, they are still under the law. They are still practicing Temple worship. Never forget this. There’s not a word throughout all of Christ’s earthly ministry, not a word in these first eight or nine chapters of Acts, which indicate they’re not under the Law. Not a word. Never is someone told you don’t have to bring sacrifices anymore. You don’t have to come to the Temple anymore. Never! They are still law keeping Jews, but they are separated from the mainstream of Judaism and Israel, and they have formed the Jerusalem Jewish church. All right, so verse 4 again.
“And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the (Jerusalem) church, and of the apostles and elders, (Now, I said they weren’t elders, not the way Paul uses it. They were probably men designated just under the Twelve for whatever role. Now then, Paul and Barnabas and others from the Antioch church–) and they declared all things that God had done with them.” With regard to what people? Gentiles! Now you want to remember, this is unheard of in Jewish thinking. The Gentiles never had any part of Israel’s religious life. Maybe an occasional proselyte, but you know I always qualify that. What did Jesus say about proselytes?
He said to the Pharisees, “You compass land and sea to make one proselyte, and when he’s made, he is three times more the child of hell than you are.” Boy, now that’s strong language. Now, you think I’m kidding! I’ve got to go back and show you! Matthew 23, I’m afraid some people may sometimes think, “Well, he acts like he’s quoting Scripture, but he isn’t.” Yes, I am! This is what it says. Matthew 23 verse 15, if you’ve got a red-lettered edition, it’s in red. The Lord Himself is speaking it. And I repeat. That’s why I don’t put much emphasis on proselytes. They had no real religious influence in Israel. I want you to see it for yourself.
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. 15. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold (I’m sorry, I said threefold but–) ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” Boy, now that’s strong language, isn’t it?
I always tell people don’t ever tell someone they’re going to Hell, but the Lord could. But I never will, because that’s not my prerogative. I can’t look on anybody’s heart. Only God knows that. But nevertheless, Jesus could tell these guys that they were children of Hell, and the proselytes they brought in were just as much so.
Well anyway, now that threw me a curve. I just about forgot where I came from. So, come back to Acts 15. We’re still dealing with what Paul is writing to the Galatian churches about the emissaries from the Jerusalem church under the, at least the permission of the Twelve, if not the direction. Paul knows that the only way to deal with this thing is go to the top, to the Twelve. It didn’t do any good to try to tell these men who are coming to his churches – be gone with you, you’re false. No, that wouldn’t do any good. So, he goes straight to Jerusalem, to the top.
“But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees who believed,…” In other words, they had come to the place of recognizing Jesus as the Messiah. They were saved by it. They were cleansed and became members then of the Jewish Church at Jerusalem. But these Pharisees still had more legalism than the rest of them, so listen to them.
“…saying, That it was needful to circumcise them,…” Now, who are we talking about? Paul’s converts. Paul’s Gentile believers. Now, it wasn’t just in Galatia. It was probably Antioch, all across Turkey. We have no indication that they got over into Greece, but it wouldn’t surprise me if their teachings got there one way or another. We’ve got much the same thing today. Even though it isn’t circumcision, there are a lot of other things that people are trying to force into Paul’s Gospel that are not there. All right, reading on in verse 5.
“That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them (Not suggest, they were commanded.) to keep the law of Moses.” Now listen, what did the Law of Moses entail? The whole nine-yards! The feast days. The Temple worship. The sacrifices. The food laws. They expected these poor Gentiles to come under all that. No wonder Paul had a fit. And he did. It just drove him up the wall that these Jerusalem Judaizers were trying to unload all of their religion on his grace believers. And that’s what they were. Remember, they were saved by God’s grace through faith and faith alone in Paul’s Gospel. But these Judaizers are trying to convince them that they had to also embrace the Law.
“And the apostles and elders (That is of the Jerusalem church now.) came together for to consider of this matter.” My, as far as I’m concerned, there was nothing to consider. It should have been a done deal, but it wasn’t. I’ll tell you what – tradition and religion is a tough nut to crack. Many of you are finding it out. I am encouraged, because we’re getting more and more letters now from pastors and preachers who are beginning to see this. I have to think of a couple in particular who called in one week. Seventy-one years old and retired. I won’t name what areas or what denomination. But what a thrill to hear these guys open up everything they had learned. Mostly off of our stuff on the internet. And I’ll never forget the one gentleman said, “Les, do you think God will give me a little more time to undo all the damage that I did for forty years preaching the wrong stuff.” Well, we’ll hope so. But listen, we are making some headway. We’re encouraged by that. That people will begin to consider what is not in here and what is.
Well, now Paul was all exercised, because they’re trying to bring some things into the plan of salvation for his Gentiles that were absolutely inappropriate. All right, now verse 7, just to show you what’s taking place in Jerusalem.
“And when there had been much (What?) disputing,…” What’s the other word? Arguing! My, I imagine the better part of a day was spent with the Judaizers trying to pummel Paul and Barnabas that this is what God had always demanded and God doesn’t change. God is still…sounding familiar? Yes, it does. We hear the same thing. Well, who are you? Who are you to change? This is what the church has been doing for 1900 years. And I realize it’s a valid argument. But look, Satan has kept a lot of good people blind. I stand here without apology to say that. They have been kept blind. As I mentioned to my class Monday night, how many millions of good church people are going to end up in the wrong place because they have ignored Paul’s Gospel? People don’t like that.
On your way back to Galatians, stop at chapter 2. Before we go back to chapter 4, here’s Paul’s account of this same meeting up at Jerusalem convincing the Twelve that they had no right trying to put his Gentile converts under Judaism. All right, I have to do this rather quickly, the time is just about gone.
“And I went up (That is to Jerusalem.) by revelation, (by God’s direction) and communicated unto them (That is the leadership at Jerusalem, the Twelve and some of the other elders, as they’re called in the Book of Acts.) and I communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them who were of reputation,…” Now again, you’ve got to be able to understand language. If you’re going to talk to some few, who evidently were more authoritative than others, you probably went into a side room or something like that. And who were the ones that were the most authoritative? Well, the Twelve, naturally. All right, so he says, we went and took them aside.
“…lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.” Now for sake of time, I’m going to bring you on down to verse 5.
“To whom (That is evidently to the Twelve.) we gave place by subjection, (In other words, we did not give in to their pressure. We didn’t give in to their arguments.) no, not for an hour; (For what purpose?) that the truth of the gospel might continue (remain) with you.” He’s writing to these Galatian churches. He’s writing to Gentile believers. He’s writing to you and me.
What do we have to be aware of? There are going to be false teachers that are going to bombard us, but you stand. You don’t give in. Because we are resting on the Gospel that alone can save. That is, of course, what Paul says in verse 2, “That gospel which I preached amongst the Gentiles.” All right, now I’m going to bring you, again, for sake of time, down to verse 8. Just for sake of time. I like to use all these verses, and I have before, but now look at verse 8.
“(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, (or the Jews) the same was mighty in me toward (What people?) the Gentiles:) (See, here we have that separation, now, of Jews from Gentiles.) 9. And when James, Peter (or Cephas), and John, who seemed to be pillars, (That is of the church at Jerusalem.) perceived (or understood) the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; (They shake hands on the deal.) that we (Paul and Barnabas) should go unto the heathen, (the Gentile, the non-Jewish world) and they (The Twelve would maintain their ministry–) unto the circumcision (Jew).”
How much plainer can English make it? Here’s their agreement. Paul and Barnabas would go to the Gentiles, like they’ve been doing, with their Gospel of Grace by faith plus NOTHING, without Judaism, without all the ramifications of the Law. Peter and the rest of the Eleven will stay with Israel, and they’ll be headquartered there in the church at Jerusalem. Plain English. I can never imagine how people can miss it, but they do, constantly. Now, come over to chapter 4 in our closing remarks, for the minute or two that’s left.
Reading in verse 9, now this is Holy Spirit inspired. This isn’t Paul with a word of vengeance or a word of meanness toward these Jewish teachers up in Jerusalem. But by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, look how he refers to the Judaistic Law. Unbelievable!
“But now, (After you have known God. You have come into this salvation by trusting the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.) after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? (And a result of those elements is what?) 10. Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.” Which is all part of what? That was all part of Judaism. Part of the Law! And what does the Holy Spirit refer to it as? “Weak and beggarly.”
LESSON TWO * PART III
BUT WHEN -THE FULLNESS OF THE TIME
Galatians 4:4; Galatians 4:9; Ephesians 2:4
We’ll pick right up where we left off. I don’t feel that I quite did justice to the end of verse 9, in Galatians 4. So, you can be turning back to it if you’ve lost it here in the studio.
For those of you out there in television, again, we’d like to invite you to open your Book and take out your pen and pad and study with us. My whole premise is, “What does the Book say? And what doesn’t it say?” And if it doesn’t say it, don’t try to push it in there, because you get in trouble when you do. Here we go, with a continuation of our last program in Galatians 4. We were in verse 9.
“But now, after that ye have known God,…” After these pagans had come out of their idolatry, it becomes not only known of God, but they knew God themselves. They come into a relationship through their salvation.
But, as we were explaining in the last program, they were being besieged by Judaizers from the Jerusalem church who were still under the Law, primarily. The Temple was still operating. I think a lot of people forget that. I think they forget that when they read these things in Paul’s letters, especially. They forget that the Temple is still going. My goodness, the Jews are having animal sacrifices every day. The mainstream orthodox Jew is still completely under the Law – the dietary laws and everything. So, the Jerusalem church is still those kinds of Jews. They had simply embraced Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Messiah. And as such they became believers in that or the believing of the Gospel of the Kingdom. So, they were separated from the mainstream of Israel. But they were still law keeping Jews.
My, I can prove that so easily. Let me show you a verse. I always do everything with Scripture. Go back to Acts. I think it is chapter 22 verse 12. Now, this was a believing Jew up in Damascus, but he was still on the same page with these Jerusalem believers. This says it all.
Acts chapter 22:12a
“And one Ananias, a devout man, according to the law,…” But what was he? He was a believer that Jesus was the Christ. That’s why he was so fearsome of Paul coming to Damascus. He was one of those that Paul was trying – or Saul – was trying to stamp out of Israel. But what was he? “Devout according to the law.” Another good one to prove that is Acts 21:20. Let’s look at it.
“And when they (believing Jews) heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, (Paul) Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:” Now, this is what we have to understand. And as soon as Paul’s Gospel becomes evident to the Gentiles, it’s “not under law.” We’re going to look at that right now.
In fact, coming back from Acts, stop in Romans chapter 6. I just have to repeat it and repeat it and repeat it, because the vast majority of Christendom is still just about in the same situation, as these Gentiles were always hearing, “You can’t be saved by just Paul’s Gospel, you also have to be baptized.” Others say that you’ve got to join a church. A lot of them now are saying that you can’t be saved unless you speak in tongues. You can’t be saved unless you give tithes and offerings. That’s all extraneous. Just like the Judaizers are pulling at Paul and his Gentile believers, but beloved, we’re not under any of that.
Romans chapter 6 verse 14. This is one of the first verses that you have to show to people.
“For sin (Or the old Adam as he’s dealing with it in this chapter.) shall not have dominion over you: (Why?) for you’re not under the law, (You’re not under demands for Temple worship and sacrifices. You’re not under any demands to do something.) but under grace.” And grace is just what it says – the complete favor of God to us who don’t merit a thing. I always like to use Saul’s conversion as the perfect example of the grace of God.
Here was this rebel, this guy who was killing people. Throwing them into prison, just because they’d embraced Jesus as the Messiah. He was all hung up in the traditions of the fathers. And as he approaches the city to Damascus, God doesn’t put him through a whole week or two of conviction. God doesn’t have somebody preaching at him all the way from Jerusalem, but instantly God stops him, and He says, “Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Of course, old Saul didn’t know who the voice was, except that it came from heaven. What was his response? “Who are you Lord?” Now you see, the Lord prompted all this by grace. He didn’t have to. But by pure grace, He stops that raging bull, is the best way I can describe him. Stops him in his tracks and saves him by a simple question. “Lord, what would you have me to do?” And there it was. So, he became the epitome of Salvation by grace through faith alone. All right, here it is. We’re not under the law, we’re under grace.
Now again, I think I almost have to bring you back to Galatians, because this is where he primarily addresses the problem of people adding to his Gospel. All right, let’s turn for a moment to Galatians chapter 3. Now, I’m continuing on last program’s approach of why the weak and beggarly things appealed to these Galatian Gentile believers.
“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you,…” Well now, we can answer it, can’t we? The Judaizers from Jerusalem were telling them they had to keep the Law. They had to practice circumcision.
“…who hath bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” How? By Paul’s Gospel. And never forget, what’s Paul’s Gospel? “That Christ died for our sins, that He was buried, and He arose from the dead the third day.” That’s Paul’s Gospel. We must believe that for salvation!! Why do people hate it? I can’t understand it, but they do. They fight it tooth and toenail. And so did the Galatians. Not because they were against the gospel itself, but they thought that now it wasn’t enough. They had to also do what the Judaizers were promoting.
“This only (Paul says) would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit (In other words, the evidence of their salvation. Did you receive the Spirit–) by the works of the law, (Is that when the Spirit came in? When you were circumcised, and you ate right, and you did everything that the Law demanded?) or by the hearing of faith?” Now, that’s a simple question, isn’t it? Tell me Galatians, tell me you Gentile believers, did you come into this relationship with the crucified Christ by keeping the Law? No. But wasn’t it when you heard the Gospel? Yes. Well then, why isn’t it still enough? Why do you now think you have to add to it? And that’s what we’re seeing all around us today.
They bombard people with you can’t be saved by faith alone, you have to do something. Well, I’m just like Paul. What’s the matter with you people? If you were saved by faith alone, don’t you think God can keep you by faith alone? I hadn’t been on television here in Tulsa but for just a couple of months. I guess it was within the first couple of months, way, way back. A guy called, and boy he jumped all over me, because I was teaching this kind of a salvation.
He said, “Les, you can be saved by that, but you mean to tell that you don’t have to worry about losing it?” I said, “Now, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Do you mean to tell me the grace that saved you wasn’t enough to keep you?” Well, I had him. He couldn’t answer it. That’s what you have to look at. If the grace of God is sufficient to save you, don’t you think it’s sufficient to keep you? Well you’d better, because that’s where it’s all at. If He saves us, He keeps us. That’s a promise. All right, read on.
“Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, (That is without the works of the Law.) are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Do you come to a full fruition of saving grace by works of the flesh? Now, what are works of the flesh? Well, the number one that’s been hoisted and foisted on the human race for the last 1900 years. What is it? Baptism. Hey, that’s a work of the flesh. Don’t ever tell me it isn’t, because there isn’t a person alive that can’t all of a sudden get the desire to want to be baptized. And he can find a preacher someplace that will gladly do it. Am I right? You know I am. But what is it? It’s a work of the flesh. And Paul says it won’t fly. It has to be the work of the Spirit.
I can go into the same thing with speaking in tongues. All right, now you can go to some preacher and say, hey, listen to me. I can speak in tongues. Are you going to accept me into your church? Oh, you bet. Come on in. That’s one of our requirements. And Paul will just fly in the face of that, because it’s by the work of the Spirit, the Gospel – the cross plus nothing!
All right, let’s go to another one, still in Galatians. Like I said, this is the letter that deals primarily with extraneous things attached to Paul’s Gospel. Come on over to chapter 5. Now, he’s made his argument in chapter 4 using an Old Testament allegory, the picture of Ishmael and Isaac. Well, Ishmael, you see, was born by the works of the flesh. God didn’t tell Abraham to go have a child by Hagar. That was all of the flesh. But the son of promise, which came 17-18 years later, was Isaac.
All right, now Paul by the Holy Spirit inspiration in chapter 4 uses those two young men as perfect examples of Law and Grace. Law is of the flesh. It’s what you can DO. Grace is all the work of the Spirit. All right, he brings that allegory to a close then, when he says:
“Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son:…” Who was a picture of legalism and have no part with it. So, if you cast out the bondwoman, what are you left with? Grace. Now chapter 5 verse 1.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty (without any demands of the Law or the flesh) wherewith Christ hath made us free, (Not Paul. Not some church. Not Les Feldick. I don’t have a thing to do with it. All I can show you is what the Scripture says. Christ has made us free.) and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Well, now back up to our verses that we just left in chapter 4 verse 9, same language. That’s what you have to learn to do. And when Scripture repeats something, it’s for emphasis. Don’t miss it. Here’s our verse.
“But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” Well, what was the perfect picture of bondage in antiquity? The oxen.
And what did the oxen have around their necks? The yoke. And what was the purpose of the yoke? To hook up the plow. And what was the plow? A burden! The poor animal tugged on it all day long. That’s the picture. That’s what people are doing religiously. They are putting the yoke around their neck. They’re hooking themselves under a plow of good works. What a waste. All right, now come back to chapter 5 again. He says don’t be wrapped up in a yoke of bondage. Don’t let somebody hook you up to a works religion. Now verse 2:
“Behold, I Paul…” (Now, why does he put that in there? The Holy Spirit, yes. But why does the Holy Spirit put Paul’s name in here? Well, come back with me now. I don’t think we touched on it in the last programs. I wanted to, but I didn’t get there. Come back to Romans chapter 11. Keep your hand in Galatians, we’ll be right back. Romans chapter 11 verse 13. The first time Jerry Pool came into my class some 20 years ago– Jerry? He’s sitting there smiling. He knows exactly what I’m going to say. After class he came up, and he said, “Les, I never saw that verse in Scripture, and I’ve been in church all my life. So use it and use it and use it.” Well, I do. Here it is, Romans 11:13.
“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the (singular) apostle of the Gentiles.”
Now, that’s not a man writing from braggadocio. That’s Holy Spirit inspired. Every word that the man writes is as the Holy Spirit wanted it written. And remember, that makes it Scripture. Anybody that doubts that Paul is Scripture hasn’t read II Peter 3:16, where Peter says that Paul’s epistles are like all the rest of Scripture. They are just as much the Word of God as the first five books of Genesis or any of the prophets or the four Gospels or anybody else. It’s all Scripture.
All right, let’s see, I thought I had another one. Back up a little ways in Romans, chapter 2. My goodness, when preachers say they won’t have anything to do with Paul, look what they’re doing with their listeners! Just stop and think of what they’re doing to their listeners. Romans chapter 2 verse 16. And again, it’s plain English. I like to make sure that you’ve found it. I want my television audience to see it with their own eye.
“In the day when God shall judge (What day are we talking about? The Great White Throne for the lost in Revelation 20.) the secrets of men by Jesus Christ (Who will be the Judge. And what are they going to be judged by?) according to my gospel.” Paul’s Gospel. Not John’s. Not Peter’s. Not even Jesus’ Himself in His earthly ministry. They’re going to be judged according to this gospel that has been revealed to this apostle. That’s scary isn’t it? Because a lot of people aren’t hearing it. But they’d better, because this is going to be the criteria.
All right, I’ve got one more and then we’re going to move on to our next “But Now.” Colossians, come all the way up past Galatians now – Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians. This is the Scripture you have to use when people confront you with keeping the seventh day Sabbath. I had a letter just yesterday that said, “Do I keep the Passover Feast?” Well, not as they were talking about it. My goodness, we certainly realize the Passover was that time of the year when Christ was crucified and buried and rose from the dead, but we certainly don’t practice the Passover Feast any more. And here’s why.
“Blotting out (What does that mean? You just simply blank it. It’s gone.) the handwriting of ordinances that was against us,…” Now, what do you suppose I think that is? I think most of you are going to agree. The six hundred and thirteen laws and rules and regulations that govern Judaism, all based on the Levitical commandments – 613 rules!
I always get a newsletter from a Jewish Mission up in St. Louis. A year or so ago, in every month’s newsletter, he had a series of those 613 laws until he covered all of them. I’ve always wanted to write and get a complete list of them. It was interesting, all 613 over a period of months that he put in the newsletter. Well, this is what he’s talking about blotting out, removing.
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordnances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” Now, come right back to the picture that we just used, the yoke. What’s the yoke to the poor oxen? Well, it’s a burden. It holds him back. He can’t walk freely. He’s got a plow behind him. Same thing here. These 613 rules were just like a plow dragging behind you. They were contrary to us. And He took it out of the way. Who did? Jesus Christ! He took it out of the way and “nailed it (Where? Oh, I love this verse! I can’t help it!) to his cross.” Can you get it any plainer than that? That’s why, when Christ finished the work of the cross, He fulfilled every demand of this Law. Every bit of it. You and I can’t. So, we back away from the Law, and we say, I’ll trust Him. He did it for me. Now verse 15:
“And having spoiled (or He defeated) principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly,…” So that the whole world could know. Well, what’s He talking about? When I speak of the resurrection power, who was defeated? Satan and all of the powers of sin and death and Hell – the cross defeated it – openly! And you and I don’t have to make any apology for it. I don’t have to follow a works religion. That did it all! All right, read on, so consequently verse 16.
“Let no man (nobody) therefore judge you (Or try to put you on a guilt trip. Don’t let anybody put you on a guilt trip.) in food, or in drink, (Here it comes now.) or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the (What?) sabbath days:” Come on you Sabbath keepers on Saturday, here’s your verse. Pitches you right out the back door, doesn’t it? The cross settled it all! You don’t keep a seventh day Sabbath anymore. They all had their place; of course they did – in the past. You know, I love the illustration, I’ve used it over and over – Verse 17.
“Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body (the real meat of the matter) is of Christ.” And that work of the cross. Now you remember when I used the shadow? Oh, I like it. I don’t know, maybe it doesn’t mean much to others, but it does to me. When that beautiful tree stands there and it casts its shadow and a guy wants to buy the tree. No, it’s too pretty to sell. It’s a beautiful shade tree, but I’ll sell you the shadow. Well, how much furniture can you made with a shadow? Nothing. All right, that’s what the Old Testament economy was. It was the shadow of the real thing to come. And what was the real thing to come? Jesus Christ and Him crucified and risen from the dead. Isn’t it glorious? Oh, it’s glorious!
We don’t have to try to pick up a shadow. That’s all done away with anyway. But oh, we can go and embrace the tree, because it’s the finished work of the cross.
Well, anyway, we’ve got a couple minutes left. I hardly dare go into my next “But Now.” It won’t do it justice, anyway. So, let’s back up a little bit and work this Law thing a little bit more. Let’s come back to Romans chapter 3 and finish the half-hour with it. Because look, I hear it from every end of the country, people think that by keeping the commandments they’re going to make it. I see heads nodding. They think they can keep the commandments and do it good enough that God will let them into His Heaven. Well, they’ve got it all backwards. The Law is not to help you get to Heaven; it’s to give you the push into Hell. That’s what it does. All right, here it is.
“Now we know (This is from the same apostle. The apostle of Grace) that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: (In other words, to Israel with their Temple worship and the whole nine-yards.) that every mouth (Not just Jews. Now it goes to the whole world.) may be stopped, and all the world (From one end of this planet to the other, every human being, regardless of their race or nationality or religious background) may become guilty before God.” That’s what the law does. Now verse 20:
“Therefore by the deeds (or the keeping) of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight:…” Nobody is ever going to make heaven by keeping the commandments. Why? For the Law only has one purpose. What is it? To convict, convict, convict and that is all the Law can do. It has no redeeming value. It has no redeeming power. All the Law can do is condemn the lost person and trigger then the first step of salvation. Then once the Law has convicted, the lost person can then go to the Gospel and have total salvation, redemption, and peace with God and all the things that are attendant to it. But you will never gain Heaven’s portals by simply keeping the Law. God will not have it, because He finished it with that work of the cross!
LESSON TWO * PART IV
BUT WHEN – THE FULLNESS OF THE TIME
Galatians 4:4; Galatians 4:9; Ephesians 2:4
Again, we would like to welcome our television audience. For those of you who may be catching us for the first time, we’re an informal Bible study. I do not pastor a church, so please don’t write and address me as pastor or reverend. I’m a layman. I prefer to just call this a, probably a little different kind of a Sunday School class. But anyway, that’s what we are. We appreciate your prayers, your financial help, and the response of all your good letters. My, it’s rare that we get a letter that is less than exhilarating. So, we praise the Lord for all that.
Okay, we’re on another one of our “But God’s.” We’re going to move now to Ephesians chapter 2 verse 4. Now again, you’ve got to realize that the Ephesian church was a far cry from the Corinthian or the Galatian. Ephesians was – what should I say – probably up a few steps in their understanding. It is one of the prison epistles toward the end of Paul’s ministry, so he deals with things in Ephesians and Philippians and Colossians that are not so much indicated in Romans and Corinthians and so forth. He certainly does not have the problem with the Ephesians that he did with the Galatians.
There’s not a single mention of them following false teachers. So, take all those things into play when you study the Word. But now Paul is dealing with some of these deeper elements of Scripture, or on a higher plain, however you prefer to put it. In Ephesians chapter 2 verse 1, right off the bat, if I may use that expression, you have a word that indicates something that Paul doesn’t refer to all the time. It’s the word “quickened.”
“And you hath he quickened,…” Or made alive, spiritually. Now, what does that mean? Well, it’s really the same act of God that Jesus spoke of in John’s Gospel chapter 3 as “born again.” Paul never uses the term, and I don’t know why. But it’s the same act of God that brings the lost person into spiritual life. Here he uses it as being quickened or made alive – spiritually.
Now, back up with me to Romans 8 so that we get a little better understanding of how he uses it in the Romans epistle. Chapter 8 verse 15 and this is what he’s talking about when he tells the Ephesians, “And you hath he quickened.”
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear;…” Now, what was that word from? Our last program. We’re not under bondage. We’re not under any of the effects of the Law. We’ve been set free from all that. All right, but instead of being under bondage, we have now received:
“…but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, (That placing as a son, as we saw it in the first program this afternoon.) whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” That’s how we can now approach God. We can call Him our father. All right, verse 16 and now the Spirit comes into play. The third person of the Trinity as we many times refer to Him.
“The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children (or the born ones) of God: 17. And if children (born ones of God), then heirs; (Just like a child is an heir of the father and the mother.) heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; (The same terminology that we associate with husband and wife. We’re joint-heirs.) if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (That is with Him.)” All right, back to Ephesians then. We have the concept throughout all of Paul’s writings of the necessity to be born from above or to receive spiritual life.
We looked at it, I think, in our last taping. When you have the resurrection of the just as against the resurrection of the unjust, what’s the basic difference? Well the just have been made spiritually alive for all eternity, never to have that spiritual life brought to an end. So, all through Paul’s teachings we have this concept that the moment we’re saved we have imputed to us eternal life. We’re going to live for eternity in God’s presence. But the unbeliever has never been spiritually reborn, so he’s going to spend his eternity separated from God.
All right, back to Ephesians chapter 2. He’s writing to these believing Gentiles, now, way at the western end of Turkey, at Ephesus. Galatia was up in the central high land. Ephesus is clear out on the Aegean Sea. He says to these Ephesians:
“And you hath he quickened, (made alive) who were (past tense. What?) dead (How dead? Spiritually) in trespasses and sin:” Just like the world all around us. It was no different then. All right, now here he explains it in verse 2.
“Wherein (That is, in those trespasses and sins.) in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, (You did everything that comes naturally, just like everybody around you.) according to the prince of the power of the air,…” Goodness sakes, who’s that? That’s Satan. He is the god of this world. Satan is the one who can glamorize sin. Satan glamorizes the evil in this world. He’s the one that makes it look like the bright lights of the entertainment world. But it’s a false facade. And it leads to nothing but darkness and doom. All right, reading on.
“…the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (the lost world) 3. Among whom…” The lost of the world, even in Paul’s day.
Like I explained in the last program, what had most of his converts been before he came along? Idolaters. Pagans. They knew nothing of the God of Israel. They knew nothing of Israel’s laws of cleanliness. I hope you all realize that back in antiquity, Israel was the only people that knew personal hygiene. You know, I’m always reminded, I just about did it the last taping and I didn’t. But I’m going to this time.
I remember reading several years ago that one of the first breakthroughs in defeating bacterial infection happened not all that long ago, probably in the 1700’s, in Vienna, Austria. It was a Jewish doctor. That’s what made it so unique. A Jewish doctor suddenly realized that all the women on the maternity ward would get an infection from one end of the ward to the other. In other words, as the doctors and nurses would examine a lady up here on this end, the next one and the next one and the next one and the next one would all procedurally get the same infection.
He finally determined that they were passing it from one to the other with their unclean hands. They knew nothing of antiseptics. (Is that the right word, Iris?) They knew nothing of antiseptic technology. They knew nothing of using rubber gloves. They knew nothing of bacterial infection. So, when this Jewish doctor began to promote his theory that infection was being brought from one person to the other with their dirty hands, what do you suppose they did with him? They just about ran him out of Vienna with tar and feathers. But see, the non-Jewish world knew nothing of hygiene. They knew nothing of cleanliness. That’s what we have to understand.
So, not only were they unclean physically, they were even more unclean morally, or what we call spiritually. It was into that world that Paul comes with the Gospel. That is one reason, you see, that the Christianized world, the Western world, was centuries ahead of the rest of the world in science and technology. It was because of this Book. That’s where it really all began, with the advent of Christianity. All right, so now then, verse 3 again.
“Among whom also (Paul includes himself with these Gentiles.) we all had our conversation (or our manner of living) in times past in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind;…” Well, now you know he was a good psychologist, wasn’t he? Before you can begin to entice lust, what do you have to do about it? You’ve got to think. It’s in the brain, in the mind, that all these lustful thoughts are fomented. Then the mind controls the flesh. Well again, that wasn’t realized until not too awful long ago. But Scripture anticipated it. All right, so the lost person fulfills the desires of the flesh and the desires of the mind, which brings them right in parallel with each other. Now, reading on.
“…and were by nature (the nature that you’re born with) the children of wrath, even as others.” Well, what’s the wrath he’s speaking of? The eternal doom when God will consign the lost to the Lake of Fire. That’s where they’re headed.
All right, now let’s go back to Galatians where Paul probably identifies these lusts of the flesh better than almost any other place in Scripture. That’d be in Galatians chapter 5. I think a lot of times, since we’re in such a permissive society today, that we somehow think this is all new. We think that the world has always been “Victorian.” No, they weren’t. The world was quite the opposite. They’ve always been steeped in gross immorality, and they had none of the biblical influence, so there was nothing to hold them back. Some of those cities in ancient antiquity were wicked beyond our comprehension.
All right, so Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, will give us a good picture of what he’s talking about – those who lived according to the prince of the power of the air. Galatians 5 verse 19. We’ve looked at these before, they’re fundamental, they’re basic. But here it is. They are as plain as day.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; (Which comes because of the mind, and here they are.) Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, (That is moral uncleanness. We’re not talking about hygienic cleanness here.) lasciviousness.” Now whenever I teach this, I always stop. All of these words are associated with what type of sins? Sexual. That’s what it is. It’s the sexual sins that plague the human race. All right, but now you move into another category.
“Idolatry,…” But what was at the peak of idolatry? Sexuality. Now, we’re approaching the Easter season. The Passover. Do you ever stop and think why the push for Easter bunnies and Easter eggs? Where does it all come from? Well, the fertility rites of the pagan religions.
The pagan religions centered on the winter equinox, the beginning of dormancy. That’s why they worshipped the evergreen tree. All right, but then you come to the next big pagan festival. What was it? It was the first day of spring. And that’s where the Passover was associated. So, the pagan world, through satanic deception, puts all of their pagan rites of the spring equinox right next to what we call Easter or Passover. It’s quite a satanic deception.
All right, but what was associated with all the pagan rites of the first day of spring? Fertility. And how do you get fertility without sex? I don’t care whether it’s in the flower or in the animal world or the human. It all has to do with reproduction. So the pagan world jumped on that. The fertility rites are beyond what you and I can even begin to imagine. Wicked to the “nth” degree. And that was what made up idolatry. That’s why the world loved it so. It was so wicked. Okay, move on.
“Idolatry, witchcraft, (Well, that’s just a kissing-cousin to idolatry, isn’t it?) hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, (Rising up against the powers that be.) heresies, 21. Envyings, (This isn’t a pretty picture, but this is the world of Satan, the prince of the power of the air.) murders, drunkenness,…” Now, I always have to stop there. Drunkenness is right beside murder in the Scripture. Boy, they wouldn’t put it in today’s society, would they? But that’s what it is.
“…drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Now, somebody else brought up a good point a while back. Does Paul ever refer to the Lake of Fire? Does Paul ever teach anything about the Lake of Fire? Come on, doesn’t anybody know? No. I can’t find it. Paul never speaks of it as such, but this is the kind of language he uses. That lost people are not going to be in God’s realm for eternity.
So, we have to use the rest of Scripture to figure it out. Where are they going? Well, if they’re not with God, they would be with the satanic forces which will be in the Lake of Fire. But it’s interesting that Paul never directly refers to the Lake of Fire. He’s always speaking in language like this, that they will not be in the Kingdom of God. All right, here in verse 22 then, he flips to the other side of the coin, the people that are Spirit controlled and not under the forces of the god of this world.
All right, let’s come back to Ephesians chapter 2. Now, all of mankind that is described in these works of the flesh, out of that will come some who have been given spiritual life through faith in the Gospel. That’s what he means by being quickened or made alive. But, he’s showing what we came from. Now, I’ve got to make a point.
When we read all of these works of the flesh, it doesn’t mean that everybody is guilty of all of them. Maybe a select few would be. But you only have to be guilty of one or two and you’re guilty of all, so far as God is concerned. But you don’t have to feel that unless you are guilty of all the things listed in Galatians 5 that, you know, you’re still okay. No. Any one of those is enough to indicate that we are not ready for the Kingdom of God. All right, back to Ephesian 2. He draws that picture in verse 3 that we are under the desires of the flesh. We’re fulfilling those desires, we were –
“…by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Now remember, who is Paul writing to? Believers! He’s writing to you and me. So, then the next verse kicks in. Yes, that was our past. Maybe we didn’t all practice all those things, but we had the potential for it. There was nothing to keep us from it, because we were under the old satanic nature.
“But God,…” That’s what makes the difference between you and me and the people of Galatians 5. God made the difference. God moved in. He opened up the Scriptures to us and gave us the opportunity to say yes or no. If we’re fortunate enough to have said yes then look what happens. This is what has followed.
This is why Paul is admonishing these Ephesian believers to realize how blessed they are that God moved into their life. You know, I still like to use Lydia. When we were in Greece last fall, I had a chance to speak at the very riverside they think she and her fellow worshippers were meeting. Come back with me, because I still think it’s so apropos for every believer, even though this is clear back in the beginning of Paul’s ministry – Acts chapter 16. I haven’t done this on the program in a long time, have I? We’ve got to show Lydia. Those of you who see our tapes, you’re going to see I’m speaking down there on the little riverside. It was quite an experience. Didn’t dream I’d ever get there.
“And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, (a business lady) of the city of Thyatira, (Which was across the Aegean Sea in Western Turkey. But she was up there evidently selling her goods in the city of Philippi. But here is this Lydia.) who worshipped God, (Now that’s typical, a lot of times, of the people that Paul deals with. She was religious, but lost. Luke is writing and he says–) she heard us. (Now, here’s the part I love.) whose heart the Lord opened, so that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.” Now be careful. She was not forced to agree with Paul. So, why did she? Of her own volition.
Of her own volition she considered what Paul had been preaching. She decided, with God’s opening up of her understanding, that this is what she could believe. I maintain that it’s not all that different today. A person can be convicted of their sin, that the commandments had been broken, and then we have that opportunity to say yes to the invitation; to believe or we can say no. God doesn’t force us, but He gives us that complete opportunity. All right, come back to Ephesians chapter 2 in the minutes we have left.
“But God, (Just like in the life of Lydia. God opened her heart so that she listened to what Paul had to say. For you and me, it’s But God!) who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,” Now, where was that love exhibited? Well, at the cross! Love is the whole energizing force of the cross. God loved the human race. He was willing to send His own Son to suffer and die, because He loved us, and He’s making a way back to Himself as easy as He can make it.
That’s why it’s so simple. That’s why this Gospel of Grace is something that I can’t understand why the world doesn’t just flock after it. But they won’t. But here it is. God in His mercy has shown His love toward us and then verse 5.
“Even when we were dead in sins, (Like we saw in Galatians 5. We were steeped in some, if not all, of those sins. But in that sinful state God opened our understanding. It’s a God thing! Absolutely it is!) he hath quickened (made us alive) us together with Christ, (by grace you are saved;)” And how have I always put it? When Christ died, we died. When He was buried, we were buried. When He arose in resurrection power, we arose to a new life! It’s just that plain.
All right, I think I’ve got time. Come back again to Romans, because after all, Romans is probably the most doctrinal of all of Paul’s letters, so far as understanding this plan of salvation. Romans 5 verse 8, because see a lot of people think, well, if I can just clean up my life. If I can just get better, then I’ll become a believer. No, that’s not where God wants you. God wants you right where you are.
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were (What?) yet sinners, Christ died for us.” That’s where He loved us. Not after we’d cleaned up our act and sort of made ourselves approachable. No. Right where He found us, steeped in our sin, He showed His love for us. He opened the Plan of Salvation where we could understand it. Then by faith we entered in, and He did everything that He promised to do. He gave us new life. He brought in the Holy Spirit who controls our every act and thought and deed. We become, then, a new person in Christ.
All right, back to Ephesians. We’ve got one minute left. Verse 6 – when He saved us, He positioned us. Now, this is a Pauline doctrine, won’t find it anywhere else in Scripture. Here it is. That’s why you should love the Apostle Paul, because my, these are things you won’t find anywhere else.
“And He hath raised us up together, (in His resurrection power) and made us sit together in the heavenlies, (Now, that’s something that the world knows nothing of.) in Christ Jesus: 7. That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (It’s all based on what He has done. Then verse 8, everybody should know this verse.) 8. For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the (What?) gift of God:” And you never, never, never, work for a gift.
LESSON THREE * PART I
BUT NOW – YOU ARE MADE NIGH
Eph. 2:13; Eph. 4:20; Phil. 2:27
All right, we’re just an informal Bible Study. We’re going to continue on with the theme we’ve had for the last several programs, picking out some of the unique “But Now’s or But God or But When.” Our next one is going to be in Ephesians chapter 2. We’re going to drop in at verse 11. We’re going to look at the “But Now” in verse 13.
Remember our system of study has been to look at what goes before, what goes after, and what are the circumstances that prompted these verses. Keep all that in mind as we pick this apart.
“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12. That at that time ye (That is you Gentiles.) were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: (Now our key verse) 13. But now in Christ Jesus ye (now remember who we’re talking about – Gentiles) who sometimes (at one time) were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” In other words, it’s a whole different program.
All right, we’re going to go back and see where it really began that God would deal with the Nation of Israel solely on the basis of the Covenant Promises, and the fact that they were a favored nation and the rest of the race of humanity would go on without God.
Now, maybe we should recap a little bit. You want to remember that from Adam until Abraham you had basically one race of people – the Adamic race. Even though they began to go into segments with the three sons of Noah, yet basically, so far as Scripture is concerned, it was one Adamic race until we get to Abraham.
Now, I think I brought it out in my seminar up in Minnesota last week. Do you realize what a disaster that first 2,000 years was – spiritually speaking? It was a disaster! From the time of Adam you have a few believers in the line that replaced Abel, in the line of Seth. They were small in number. Then after 1600 years of human history, what was it? There were still only a few people left that God could even use to build the ark. After 1600 years – eight believers. I always emphasize that we have a doctrine of the remnant from cover to cover, but that’s the smallest of all, eight people out of probably four or five billion people on the planet.
Then the next great event comes along after the flood and the sons of Noah. 200 years later you’ve got another spiritual disaster – the Tower of Babel. Wherein there was not a living soul that was not involved in the pagan false worship that arose around Nimrod and the Tower of Babel. Well, then we go another 200 years, and I maintain that there was not a believing soul left on earth. So, God calls out Abraham and begins the Nation of Israel.
All right, as soon as we start the Nation of Israel, God lets the rest of humanity go like “Old Man River to the Sea.” And as we’ve already seen in verse 12, they were without a Messiah, without the promises, without covenants, without hope, and without God in the world.
Now, don’t ever come down on God and say you’re not fair. Because remember, those folks from Adam until Abraham had every opportunity to get right with God if they’d have wanted to. It wasn’t that God didn’t give them a chance, but that they would not. It’s just like today. The numbers aren’t much different. But humanity has never wanted to succumb to God’s will.
All right, now beginning with Abraham and the Nation of Israel, we have to delineate the human race into two segments. Now we’re going to have the Jew and the Gentile. Of course we know we’re also going to have saved and lost. But, for our lesson today, we’re going to look at the two components: Jews on the one side, Gentiles on the other.
All right, now I think we can go all the way back to Exodus and pick up pretty much the first time that we see God set Israel aside from the mainstream of humanity. That they are going to be a chosen nation, a favored nation, and they are going to be above all the other nations of the world. Exodus chapter 11 and let’s see, I want to drop in at verse 6. Now remember, we’re getting ready for the Exodus. Israel has been under bondage. Moses has been brought back by an act of God to be their leader and to take them out. So, we’re preparing for the first Passover.
“And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.” Of course, that was the night when death hit the firstborn of everything in Egypt. But now look at verse 7. Here we have the power of God separating the Nation of Israel.
“But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a (What’s the word?) difference (God, starting here, is going to put a difference.) between the Egyptians and Israel.” Now, never forget that. Here, before they even come out and are set apart as a Nation of people, God has indicated that there’s going to be a line of demarcation between the Nation of Israel and the rest of the Gentile world. That will carry all the way on through even to the time of Paul, the apostle of Grace. Up until Paul is designated to go to the Gentiles, everything is going to be primarily to the Nation of Israel.
All right, now let’s come over a few pages, still in Exodus, and let’s come over to chapter 19. Now, these are all things that we’ve hit before. It’s a lot of review. But my goodness, I think we get at least one letter a day where it just admonishes us – repeat and repeat and repeat. Don’t ever stop repeating. So, bear with me for those of you who have been with me so long that we do, we repeat. I’m aware of that. I usually tell my Oklahoma classes not to accuse me of senility. I’m not quite senile yet. I repeat purposely, because that’s what it takes.
All right, Exodus 19 and again we usually like to drop in at verse 3, so that you get the situation. Israel is out of Egypt. They’ve come through the Red Sea. They’re gathered around Mount Sinai by their tribes, in complete organization, remember. Now, Moses goes up into Mount Sinai to confer with the Lord.
“And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; (Now, this is what God is telling Israel.) 4. Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. 5. Now therefore, (since God has dealt with them so intrinsically) if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye (the Nation of Israel.) shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people:…”
Now, where does that put the Jew? It puts them head and shoulders above all the other peoples of the world, by Divine decree. They can scoff and scorn at this all they want, but this Book is sure and it’s true, and we can trust it. All right, why could God do it? He gives us the reason. Next statement.
“…for all the earth is mine:” It’s His! Now, one of my listeners reminded me that I use the word Sovereign quite often and the word Sovereign isn’t in the Book. I didn’t realize that. But that doesn’t bother me a bit, because I still use it correctly. Sovereign just simply means He’s in total control. Well, this says the same thing: I can do whatever I want to do, because I am Sovereign and the earth is mine. Fair enough?
All right, now in light of that, as we looked at it not too many programs back, since God has now chosen this nation to be above all the other nations and tribes in the world, they are there for a particular role. That comes up in verse 6.
“And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” Now, there is where we have that demarcation between Israel and the rest of the Gentile world.
Now, by definition never forget that the Jew is always that nation of people that is connected to and came out of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the Twelve Tribes. That’s the Nation of Israel. Everybody else – the Arab world out of Ishmael and Esau, all the others – the Africans, the Orient, the Europeans, whatever their station in life – they’re Gentiles.
So, what’s a Gentile? Someone who’s not a Jew. Who’s the Jew? Someone that comes from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Remember to always keep that distinction.
Now, as we saw in Ephesians, the Jews put another nomenclature on it. They call the Gentile world the Uncircumcised. They referred to themselves as the Circumcised. Now there again, keep that distinction clear, because not too long ago I heard a preacher claiming that the uncircumcision was just simply a reference to the unsaved and the circumcision a recognition of the saved. Hogwash! That is totally destroying the definition. The Uncircumcised is the non-Jewish world, because even the Arab world practices circumcision. I trust you know that. The Muslim world practices circumcision. But that doesn’t make them a Jew. It doesn’t take them out of the category of Gentiles. So, always keep those terms perfectly clear in your mind.
All right, now then, since the Gentiles, all the way up through Israel’s history, were devoid of any of the spiritual promises given to Israel, it does not mean that God had completely forgotten about the Gentile world.
Come up with me to Isaiah 42, and we’ll see that God still has a program for the Gentile world. But until it’s time for Him to turn to the Gentiles, He’s going to deal only with the Children of Israel. The law was explicit that the Jews were to have nothing to do with the Gentile world around them. Of course, the main reason being that the Gentiles, beginning back there 200 years before Abraham, were already steeped in idolatry and mythology. God knew that if Israel did not maintain their separation, it wouldn’t be long and they would be embracing all the gods of the Gentile world. This of course is what happened. But that was His reason. You stay clear of these Gentiles lest you fall into the trap of their idols and their idolatry.
But, on the other hand, we always have to realize that God has still got a program out in the future for these pagan Gentiles. Isaiah 42 and drop in right at verse 1. Now, this is written about 700 years before Christ.
“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; (So, we’re talking about a person. Of course, the person is the Messiah, the Christ.) I have put my spirit upon him: he (Israel’s Messiah) shall bring forth judgment (or righteous rule) to (What people?) the Gentiles.” So, God hasn’t forgotten about them. But they cannot come into the covenant promises. It is utterly against the mind of God. The covenants were given only to the Nation of Israel.
All right, keep your hand in Isaiah 42. Before we read another verse in Isaiah, I’m going to jump you all the way up to Acts chapter 11. Just to show you that the Jews never forgot that this was God’s program for their nation. Here we come to a point in time about seven years after Pentecost. Keep your hand in Isaiah, we’re going back there. Acts 11:19, seven or eight years after Pentecost, after where most of Christendom thinks that Christianity has already begun. Seven years later. No, it hasn’t. Scripture flies in the face of that concept. Here’s one of my favorite verses.
“Now they who were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose around Stephen…” Now, stop and think. Who were they? Well, the Jewish believers up there in the Jerusalem church who had not left off law keeping. They’re still temple worshiping. They’re still keeping the Jewish law of Saturday Sabbath and the food laws, but they had embraced Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah and became Jewish believers. They had become adherents of the Kingdom Gospel. Then when Saul of Tarsus came in and began that intense persecution, followed by others, of course, those Jewish believers had to flee for their life. They’re still Jews. They’re still tied to the Jewish law, but they had accepted Christ as Messiah. All right, now these are the Jews that we’re talking about in Acts 11.
“Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, (Now watch it.) preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.” Oh, people don’t want to buy that. They don’t want to believe that. But that’s what the Book says! They would not even approach a Gentile but only Jews.
Now remember, there’s no New Testament. So, what was the Word? The Old Testament. So, on the basis of the Old Testament Scriptures, they were still trying to convince their fellow Jews that this Jesus of Nazareth, as Peter preaches in Acts 2, 3, & 4, that this Jesus whom they crucified was the promised Christ. That was the whole thrust of their message.
All right, since they had no concept of going to the Gentiles, I’ve got to bring you back to Isaiah to show that God did. But it was going to be in His own time. God did. All right, back to Isaiah 42 verse 6. All got it?
“I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, (Now, who are we talking about? The Nation of Israel. We’re talking about the Messiah up in verse 1, but now we’re talking about the Nation of Israel.) will keep thee and give thee for a covenant of the people, (For what purpose?) for a light of the Gentiles;” God hasn’t forgotten about the Gentile world. But it was going to be in His own time.
All right, now we can jump all the way up into Christ’s earthly ministry, chapter 9 of Matthew. Matthew chapter 9 and I mentioned to my class Monday night, the best way to understand the setting and the scenario of the four Gospels is to realize it’s just an extension of the Old Testament. Nothing has changed except that now the Messiah is in their midst. This is what all the Old Testament has been talking about for 2,000 years. That’s all. They’re still going to the Temple. They’re still bringing sacrifices. They’re still going to Saturday synagogue. Nothing has changed, but the Messiah is now in their midst. And what’s He proclaiming? That He’s the promised King. See?
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, (Not the Gospel of Grace. The Gospel of the Kingdom. And with it–) and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.” All right, now come across to chapter 10. This is a verse that I use over and over to make the point that you cannot bring the Gentiles into God’s economy until we get to that other apostle, because Scripture won’t allow it. All right here it is. He’s just chosen the Twelve. Now drop down to verse 5.
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, (Go NOT.) and into any city of the Samaritans (Who were half-breeds, they were half Jew and half Syrian.) enter ye not: (Why?) 6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Now, you can’t make it any plainer in any words of English that I know. They were to have nothing to do with the Gentile world. Just like coming out of Egypt they were to have nothing to do with the Egyptians. They were to have nothing to do with the Canaanites. All the way up through the Old Testament Israel was not to have any kind of social intercourse with the world around them. They were not to intermarry. They were not to get involved in their religions, because God wanted to keep them unto Himself.
All right, now let’s see when all of a sudden something drastically different happens. Now, for sake of time, we’ll go all the way up to Acts chapter 9. Remember what Jesus just told the Twelve, “Go not to the Gentiles.” In keeping with all the Old Testament covenants they were to have nothing to do with a Gentile. Now, look what God does. Out of the blue! This is what most of Christendom cannot see.
Out of the blue He’s going to do something totally different. I’m going to take you all the way past Saul’s conversion experience up to where the Lord is addressing Ananias in the city of Damascus. Ananias, according to Acts 22, was a devout Jew according to the Law. He was just like the Jerusalem church. He was a Jew who was a law-keeping Jew, but he had embraced Jesus of Nazareth as his Messiah.
All right, this man, Ananias, was scared to death when he heard that old Saul of Tarsus was coming to Damascus. We can pick that up all the way back in verse 10 of chapter 9. Acts chapter 9 verse 10, we pick up the flow here. We’ve had Saul confronted on the road to Damascus up there in verses 4 and 5, but now drop down to verse 10. While Saul is being stricken on the road outside the city gate, in the city–
“And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias;…” Now, whenever I see that word disciple I always have to stop, because I think the mentality of most believers, or church people, is that the disciples were one of the Twelve. Well, we’re not talking about the Twelve. When the word is used in this vein, it’s simply “a follower.” So, this Ananias was a follower of Jesus of Nazareth.
“And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12. And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.” Now, watch Ananias’ response.
“Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14. And here (That is in Damascus.) he hath authority from the chief priest to bind all that call on thy name. 15. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he (Saul) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the (What?) Gentiles,…”
Now listen. I’ve emphasized it before, and I’ll repeat it again. To the Jew of Saul’s day and of Saul’s caliber, that word Gentile was as foul a word as you could spit off your lips. Yet it’s to that people that this man is going to be sent, contrary to everything he had ever heard before. Can you imagine how the man must have felt? Again, I think I always have to rehearse with people, why were the Jews so despising of these Gentiles?
Well, you’ve got to remember only the Nation of Israel had been given the laws of personal hygiene. The Jews knew personal hygiene. The Gentiles knew nothing. The Jews knew the perfect food laws, cleanliness, and all that went with it. The Jews had a biblical morality, of course based on the Law, the Ten Commandments. The Gentiles had none of that. They were pagan. They were idolaters. They were worshiping the gods and goddesses of mythology. It just flew in the face of a good Jew. Now do you get the picture? Jesus said, “Go not to a Gentile” to the Twelve. But to this man He says, “I am sending you far hence to the Gentile world.”
LESSON THREE * PART II
BUT NOW – YOU ARE MADE NIGH
Eph. 2:13; Eph. 4:20; Phil. 2:27
We’re just an informal Bible study. We don’t try to push the thoughts of men or denominations. We try to show what the Book says. We find that if people will simply search it out – don’t have to listen to what I say – if they’ll just simply search it in the Scriptures, they call back. I’ll never forget one fellow who called from Columbus, Ohio, and all he could say was, “It’s awesome!” I said, “Well, what’s awesome?” He said, “The way God opened my eyes!” He said, “I’ve never seen this before.” So, that’s my whole argument. You don’t have to go by what I say, but take a look at the Book with an open mind. Get off of those denominational traditions, and maybe you’ll be just as amazed as he was.
Okay, let’s go right back to where we left off in our last program. We’re on the “But Now” in Ephesians chapter 2 verse 13. But let’s go back and review verse 12, because that’s basically what we covered in the first half-hour – Why were the Gentiles left in such spiritual darkness? Well, for 2,000 years the whole race of Adam walked everything underfoot in rebellion and wickedness. Finally God says I’m going to do something totally different. I’m going to call out one little nation of people. I’m going to bless them. I’m going to put them above all the other nations of the world, and I’ll work through them to bring salvation to the human race.
That’s what we showed, hopefully, in that last program, how that everything was Jew, Jew, Jew until, finally, on the road to Damascus God struck down Saul of Tarsus. Then as we closed our program, He went in and told Ananias, “I’m going to send this man, Saul of Tarsus, far hence to the Gentiles.” Of course, to a Jew this was anathema to have to deal with those morally pagan and physically filthy Gentiles. All right, back to Ephesians chapter 2 verse 12.
“That at that time (The time we talked about in those last thirty minutes, while God was dealing only with the Jew and the Nation of Israel.) ye (Gentiles, I’ve got to put that in coming out of verse 11.) were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, (In other words, they had no right.) and strangers from the covenants of promise, (They had nothing to do with them.) having no hope, and without God in the world:”
Someone just shared with me at break time over our coffee, that he remembers a fellow years back who has now gone on into eternity, that when somebody read this verse in a Sunday School class he just blatantly said, “I don’t believe that.” Well, we hear it all the time from our listening audience. They show some of these things to pastors or Sunday School teachers and the response is, “I can’t believe that.” But beloved, it’s the Word of God. If you can’t believe one verse, you might as well throw the whole thing away, because then it all falls apart.
But this is what it says, that the Gentiles were left destitute of anything spiritual until their day would come. All right, so they were “without God in the world.” Now verse 13, that’s one of our key phrases, “But now!” But what does it mean? This side of the cross! On this side of the death, burial, and resurrection of Israel’s Messiah it’s a whole new ballgame. All right, read the verse.
“But now in Christ Jesus ye (you Gentiles) who sometimes (at one time) were far off (spiritually) are (What?) made nigh by (What?) the blood of Christ.” Now, let’s stop and analyze a minute. What was the message that God laid upon this next apostle to take, not to Israel so much, but to the Gentile world?
All right, go ahead a chapter. Ephesians chapter 3 and you’ll see Paul is always emphasizing that he is the Apostle of the Gentiles (Romans 11:13). The Twelve were apostles of Israel. And isn’t it amazing that’s what Christendom hangs on today, for the most part? The Four Gospels, the ministry of Peter and James and John, and I call it a satanic deception, because that’s not where our Gospel of salvation lies. Our Gospel lies in Paul’s epistles.
“For this cause (In other words, what he has just been saying in chapter 2.) I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you (Whom?) Gentiles.” Now, your Bible says that just as well as mine. His apostleship was directed primarily, not exclusively, but primarily to the Gentile world. All right, now verse 2.
“If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given to me to you-ward:” Now, there’s not a word in there about the Kingdom. You remember the verse I read in the last program where Jesus went into the synagogue and He preached the Gospel of the Kingdom? Paul never does. Why? It’s a whole new program. Paul is being given the authority and the opportunity to open up the dispensation of the Grace of God!
Now, Jim and I were just talking the other day, since he’s been out here visiting, about various definitions of this word “dispensation.” Well, I gave him one that he hadn’t heard before, and he said, “Les, I like that one the best of all.” I’ve shared it at one time or another that it’s tied to the word meaning “dispensing a prescription.” Same root word. A dispensation is a dispensing. All right, now what does a dispensation dispense?
Certain directions or instructions for a particular period of time. Now, when God gave Moses the Law, it was a dispensation. God dispensed all the ramifications for that time that Israel would be under the Law, from 1500 BC until we get to the Apostle Paul in Acts chapter 9. They had their simple set of directions.
All right, now Paul comes along with a whole new set of directions, and that is what you believe for your salvation, “That Christ died for you. He shed His blood. And that He was buried and He rose from the dead the third day and you’ll be saved.” That’s the directions for this dispensation of Grace.
I made the point with Jim. How would you react if you had a bottle of medicine for, we’ll say, some heart disease five years ago. Now you have some other malady, whatever it might be, maybe a muscle or something, and you get a new prescription. Well, what good would it do you for today’s trouble if you go back and take the pill out of your heart bottle and follow those directions? Well, you’re in trouble. You have to follow the directions of the prescription that was given to you for today. See that?
All right, now that’s exactly what most of Christendom is doing. They’re taking the medications from a past dispensation and they’re trying to shove it into this one. And I stand adamantly against that. We are going to follow the instructions that God dispensed to the Gentile world, not what He gave to Israel. We’re going to follow the prescription that God gave to the Apostle Paul. All right, that’s what he’s talking about here. Now verse 3:
“How that by revelation… (A spontaneous revealing of things totally different – you’re not under Law, you’re under Grace.) How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery;…” Now, that’s a word that Paul uses throughout his epistles. What’s the other word for mystery? The secret! And it’s God’s prerogative! He’s Sovereign! You know I’m always referring to Deuteronomy 29:29. We don’t have to look at it, “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us…” So, when do they belong to us? When God reveals it and not before.
All right, now all these things that are revealed to the Apostle Paul were kept secret. Never can you find it in the Old Testament. You can’t find one iota of it in the four Gospels and the first nine chapters, or eight chapters, of Acts. It’s not in there. But these instructions now come from the pen of this apostle. All right, let’s go on, verse 4.
“Whereby, when ye read, (That is these instructions for this dispensation.) ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery (or the secrets) of Christ.” The things that God kept secret until He revealed it to this apostle.
All right, another verse comes to mind. Keep your hand in Ephesians and come back to Romans chapter 16 verse 25. I made comment of this one time at one of my large seminars. I think we had, I don’t know, hundreds of people. I asked the question, “Have you ever heard this verse in a Sunday morning sermon text?” As we read it, I want you to ask the same thing. Have I ever heard this used in a Sunday morning sermon? And you know what, out of those 700-800 people, not one had. Not one! That’s typical. All right, look what it says.
“Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, (That’s another one of Paul’s favorite terms – my Gospel.) and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, (The secret! Not according to His earthly ministry. Not according to His miracles, but according to the revelation of things that had been kept secret. And how long had they been kept secret?) which was kept secret since the world began.” Now, that’s plain English. But people don’t want to buy it. No, they’d rather stay back in His earthly ministry.
Now, I’ll show you what Paul says about that. II Corinthians chapter 5 and here’s another instance. A young man was visiting at taping here one day, not too long ago, and he came up and shared with me voluntarily that he showed this verse to his pastor. He got the same result I just mentioned a moment ago. The guy just said, “I’ll never believe that.” Isn’t that amazing? And you know why they don’t want to believe it? Because it flies in the face of what they’ve been preaching. But all right, you got II Corinthians chapter 5? Oh, we almost have to start at verse 14. Now, Jim knows that none of this was in my preparation. I’m sorry, but when I get led aside, I just can’t stop.
II Corinthians 5:14
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, (or come to conclusion) that if one died for all, then were all dead:” In other words, when Christ died for every human being, it was because every human being needed His saving grace.
II Corinthians 5:15-16
“And that he died for all, that they who live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rose again. (What’s that? Paul’s Gospel! Now verse 16, this is the verse they don’t like.) 16. Wherefore henceforth (In other words, from the time of the revelation of these secrets until the end of the Age of Grace.) we know no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth (from this time forward) we know him no more.”
Now goodness sakes, what’s he talking about? Christ’s earthly ministry! His earthly ministry, because you’ve got to remember, Paul is about the same age as Christ. At the time that Jesus was ministering to Israel with all of His signs and wonders and miracles, Paul saw the crowds. I can just see this little Pharisaical Jew almost angry to the point of exploding, standing on the perimeter of all this, and being irritated by what he heard. Because this was all flying in the face of his religion.
So, that’s what he was referring to, yeah, I knew Christ in His earthly ministry. Of course he did. But now? No. We don’t base our salvation on Christ’s earthly ministry. Most of Christendom does. But we don’t. Paul didn’t. That’s why I keep hammering away on Paul’s Gospel of salvation, and men and women don’t like it. We’ve had it evidenced over and over.
All right, let’s come back to Romans, again, if you will. Now that I’m on this track, I might as well carry on. Romans chapter 2 verse 16 and this is Scripture, Beloved. This is the Word of God. And if any verse fails to be the Word of God, then it all falls apart. But look what the Holy Spirit inspired this apostle to write in chapter 2 verse 16 of Romans.
“In the day (We’re talking about the Great White Throne Judgment day.) when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ (Who will be the judge on the Great White Throne, and with what are they going to be judged?) according to my gospel.” Paul’s Gospel. Read it again. “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” And then they’re going to ignore it and let millions of people go to that Great White Throne Judgment lost for all eternity? That’s what’s coming, because they refuse to recognize what we call Paul’s Gospel of I Corinthians 15:1-4.
All right, I think that’s sufficient in Romans. Let’s come back a moment to Ephesians chapter 3 where we just took off, that we settle it forever. That when God turned from Israel and delegated this man to be the apostle of the Gentiles, that now everything is not going to be based on Temple Worship and the Mosaic Law and baptism and you name it. It’s going to be according to Paul’s Gospel, which is the work of the cross: how that Christ, the Son of God, the Creator of everything, went to that Roman cross, died, shed His blood, was buried three days and three nights, and arose from the dead. That’s the Gospel, plus nothing. But, oh, people don’t want to buy that. They want to work for it. No, you don’t. God won’t have it. All right, come back to Ephesians chapter 3 verse 5.
“Which in other ages (or in other generations) was not made known…” See how plain this makes it? It was never mooted (debatable) that God would one day go to the cross and bring in salvation for the whole human race.
“…was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;” Now you’ve got to remember, Paul had other men that became prophets and so forth. You had Timothy and Titus and Barnabas and Silas. He’s not talking about the Old Testament prophets here. He was talking about those who were in consort with him in this revelation of these things kept secret. All right, verse 6, here it comes again.
“That the (Who?) Gentiles…” See the difference? For 2,000 years it was “Behold the Lord saith to Israel.” But now, it’s all flipped over, but now – it’s Gentiles, verse 6 again.
“That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs and of the same body, (the Body of Christ) and partakers of his promise in Christ (Not by works, not by a baptism, not by a tongues, but–) by (What?) the gospel.” Well, I guess that’s the place to stop, isn’t it, Sharon?
Go to The Gospel of Salvation in I Corinthians chapter 15. I’ve said it over and over. I am just amazed. I can’t understand it, why you hardly ever hear or see people use this definition of the Gospel. It’s the plainest in all of Scripture. I can read tract after tract after tract and they don’t use it. I can read church bulletins and on the back page they’ll say “How to be saved.” They never use it. Why? I can’t comprehend it, but here it is. I share it every chance I get.
When we were in Greece, I was just looking at the travel log last night, and I shared with Jim, I had a chance to share the Gospel with two of the female guides we had. They were secular. They had no religious background. The one girl actually started crying. She said, “Why are you sharing this with me?” I said, “Because I don’t want you to go to a lost eternity.” That’s all. It isn’t any notches in my gun that I’ve won a Turkish girl, but I said I want to keep you from an eternal doom. I shared this Gospel. All right, here it is, I Corinthians 15 starting at verse 1.
I Corinthians 15:1
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, (Now this is Paul speaking.) which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;” That’s why he could call them brethren. Now, these were pagan Gentiles not too far back, but he’s calling them brethren. Why? Because they’re believers of this Gospel, verse 2. Now, you can’t get it any plainer than this.
I Corinthians 15:2
“By which also you are (What?) saved, (Is that a biblical word? It is all the way through – salvation, being saved. All right, this Gospel saves.) By which also you are saved if you keep in memory (or understand) what I have preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain.” You have to know what you believe. You have to take it by faith. Now, here comes the Gospel. This is the heart of the matter.
I Corinthians 15:3& 4
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, (In other words, on the road to Damascus and then later on in his three years in the desert–) how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; 4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures:” That’s what we must believe for our salvation. That’s Paul’s Gospel.
And then some write once in a while, “Well, you make too much of Paul.” Why? Because I lift up Paul’s Gospel? Like Paul said in one place, “I didn’t die for you.” Of course not! But he lifts up that crucified, buried, and risen Savior, over and over. You can’t read much of Paul without seeing a reference to Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
All right, back to Ephesians once again. Our hour is just about gone, isn’t it? Back to Ephesians where we just were, chapter 3. I’m still on the concept that on this side of the cross, but especially after the revelation of the mysteries to the Apostle Paul, the Gentile comes full flower into the opportunity for eternal salvation with no strings attached. And again, when the vast majority of Gentile-dom comes before the Great White Throne, will they have an excuse? No. God hasn’t withheld salvation from the Gentile world ever since the Apostle Paul. But are they rejecting it just as much? Sure they are! It’s no different.
My, I made a point of it I think in my seminar in Minnesota last week. Do you realize that all through Scripture it’s only a small percentage that God keeps for Himself? In Isaiah chapter 1, in the midst of Israel, the Covenant People, Isaiah says, “It’s only a very small remnant of righteous.” And poor old Elijah thought he was the only one. But God said, “No, Elijah, I’ve got 7,000.” You’ve heard me say it a hundred times. 7,000 on the surface sounds like a good bunch of people, but what was it out of seven million? One tenth of one percent. One out of a thousand, that’s all.
Then I put the frosting on the cake, if I can use that expression, when Jesus came along and He said, “Broad is the way and wide is the gate that leadeth to (What?) destruction. And narrow is the way and straight is the gate that leadeth to life, but few go in thereat.”
Listen, that’s a fact of Scripture. The multitudes are missing it. And it’s not God’s fault, because this Gospel is so simple. It’s so free. It’s so available. But they’ll do everything but preach it. Unbelievable! All right, now back to Ephesians verse 8 again.
“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given,…” Now, when they say Paul is arrogant and puffed up, that’s not what this verse shows. He didn’t claim to be the greatest, although he was. He claimed to be the least.
“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9. And to make all men see (including the Jew) what is the fellowship of the mystery, (Or the secret. And here it is again. How long has it been kept secret?) which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:”
God never reveled this back in Genesis or through any of the rest of the Old Testament. It was absolutely kept secret. That’s why Peter, James, and John didn’t understand it, and if they did, then John 20 is a lie. Because in John 20 it says that John as yet understood not that Christ should be buried. Well, if it was all the way back in the Old Testament, why didn’t he know it? Well, it wasn’t. The whole thing was kept secret until it was revealed to this apostle.
All right, so again, I guess we’ve only got a few seconds left, verse 10, “To the intent (or to the final purpose) that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places (not Satan’s principalities and powers) might be known by the church (Which of course is the Body of Christ according to Paul. That all these things might be known by the Body of Christ.) the manifold wisdom of God,”
LESSON THREE * PART III
BUT NOW – YOU ARE MADE NIGH
Eph. 2:13; Eph. 4:20; Phil. 2:27
It is good to have everybody back after your coffee break. Again, we would like to welcome our television audience and thank you, again, for all your kind letters, your financial help, your prayers, and everything. I’ve said it over and over how we appreciate your letters. My goodness, what a compensation it is for the ministry.
Before we go any further, I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. We’ve got two people that are so intrinsic to our ministry. They do all the transcribing for the closed captioning as well as for the books. The first one over here is Sharon Martin. She’s the gal that’s usually got the “red” hair. Everybody comments who’s the lady on the front row with the red hair? Well, that’s Sharon Martin. Jerry Pool is the second one. Where is he? Jerry’s back over there. Sharon does the closed captioning, and then Jerry and his wife Lorna put the little book together out of it.
This is what made me aware of it. I’ll just share this with all of you in television. I just happened to be someplace where the program had the closed captioning. I just sat and that’s all I watched. And it was letter perfect. I was just flabbergasted. Most closed captioning, you know, makes some goofs here and there, but these two people have just done a fabulous job. I wanted to give them their due.
Okay, now we’re on the same verse we’ve been on. I thought we’d do that in half of a program, and here we’re going into the third. But anyway, that’s the way we teach, and I trust that’s what the Lord has blessed. So, we’re going to come back to Ephesians chapter 2 once again. We’re on that “But Now” where everything had been Jew only, and the Gentile world was without Christ, without the covenants and without hope. “But Now” on this side of the revelation of the mysteries, verse 13 again.
“But now in Christ Jesus ye (Gentiles, you and I) who sometimes (at one time) were far off (because God was dealing only with the covenant people) are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” This, of course, is another reference to the work of the cross, and His glorious resurrection.
Now, let’s just carry on here in Ephesians chapter 2 on this side of the “But Now.”
“For he (Christ) is our peace,…” That is that peace with God. Remember Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God.” God has no controversy with the believer. If suddenly the Lord should come this afternoon, I’ve said it over and over and over again, you’re not going to come before Him shaking in your boots because of some sin. That’s all been obliterated. You’ve been forgiven! All right, so we have peace with God. We don’t have to fear being brought into His presence.
“For he (Christ) is our peace, who hath made both one, (Well, who are the both? The Jew and the Gentile, the only two groups of people that Scripture deals with, and He has brought them into the one body.) and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;” Now that, of course, was a reference to the Temple complex where there was a wall that Gentiles did not dare go beyond. But that’s been broken down. Now both Jew and Gentile have access. All right, verse 15.
“Having abolished in his flesh (This is all in reference to the cross.) the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of the two one new man, so making peace;” Now, we always have to recognize that Israel was so involved with the Mosaic Law that that in itself kept them separated from the Gentile world. The Gentile had no concept of living according to the Law of Moses. But, that Law of Moses was such that–, now come back with me to Acts chapter 15. Boy, I thought for a minute I wasn’t going to find it, Acts 15 verse 8.
Now, I guess I should go back to verse 7. This is Peter rehearsing his time at the house of Cornelius. And again, I always like to point out that Peter didn’t go to the house of Cornelius until after Saul’s conversion, so it was already opening the door, now, to the revelation of the mystery to the Gentiles. But the Jewish believers remember, from Jerusalem, were still undermining Paul’s Gentile congregations by demanding circumcision and keeping the Law of Moses. So, they had to set up this big meeting in Jerusalem, which is also covered in Galatians 2 in about 51 AD. That’s about what? Twenty years after Pentecost, twenty-two to be exact. All right, but now Peter is finally recognizing that Paul was right by claiming to be the Apostle of the Gentiles.
“And when there had been much disputing,…” Arguing over the fact. Paul said my converts don’t have to keep the Law. They don’t have to be circumcised. And Peter and the Jews at Jerusalem said yes they do. Well, they finally settled it, and Peter comes around to Paul’s line of thinking.
“And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, you know how that a good while ago (Now, from this point in time, it was 12 years already that Peter hadn’t said a word. He just sort of put it back in the recesses of his memory.) God made choice among us, (That is among the Twelve ruling there from Jerusalem.) that the Gentiles (See, here we come.) by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.”
“And God, who knoweth the hearts, (That is of Jews as well as the house of Cornelius.) bare them witness, giving them (the house of Cornelius) the Holy Spirit, even as he did unto us;” (Here it comes.) 9. And put no difference between us and them, (Jew and Gentile) purifying their hearts (Not by law keeping, but how?) by faith. 10. Now therefore (Now, this is Peter.) why test ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, (Or these Gentile believers, now watch this.) which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?”
Now, what does that tell you? The Law was a burden for the true believer. They could hardly breathe for the yoke that was around their neck. So, Peter is recognizing that it’s good riddance to get rid of that yoke that had been on the neck of the Old Testament fathers as well as Peter’s generation. So, that’s what he means when he says, “which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear.”
“But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” Well, there’s Peter now addressing the Gentiles with regard to the house of Cornelius.
All right, come back with me now to Ephesians chapter 2, again, where Paul now is alluding to that same breaking down of that wall of partition between Israel and the Gentiles. But the Gentile is not forced into the law-keeping that Israel tried to put upon them. All right verse 17 of Ephesians 2. The same God in verse 16, or the same Christ up in verse 13, the same God–
“And came and preached peace to you who were afar off, and to them that were nigh.” Well, that doesn’t need a theological explanation, does it? The Gentiles were the ones that were way out there without any hope. The Jews had always been next to the covenant promises. All right, but now this Gospel is going to go to both Jew and Gentile.
“For through him (That is through this Christ who finished the work of the cross. Through him Jew and Gentile–) we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” Now verse 19, we’re going to pursue this to the end of the chapter.
“Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners,…” Now remember, what are we referring to? Go back up to verse 12. It’s been a half-hour, now, since we talked about it. Let’s go back up there, verse 12. This was the lot of the Gentile before Paul came along,
“That at that time you (Gentiles) were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13. But now…” See? On this side of the cross. I constantly ask people, why do you stay on the front side of the cross? That’s not where it’s at. You’ve got to come on this side of the cross, after the death, burial, resurrection, and the shed blood. But, oh, they just insist on staying in His earthy ministry, which Paul said he no longer has a thing to do with.
Oh, it’s just…I can’t understand it. I can’t comprehend it. Why do they want to stay on the front side of the cross, when on this side is where all has been supplied. All right, reading on, back to verse 20.
“And are (you’re) built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone;” Now, that again isn’t hard to explain. This whole Book is the inspired Word of God from cover to cover. Does that mean that just because Paul is the Apostle of the Gentiles we don’t use the rest of it? Of course we do! It’s a progressive revelation, and the more you can understand of the Old Testament promises, the easier it is to accept Paul’s revelation. It all unfolds step by step. All right, so we’ve been built on that of the apostles and the prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the cornerstone of everything.
“In whom (in Christ) all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord: (Now verse 22 and we’re going to chase down some references.) 22. In whom you also (Now don’t forget, who’s he writing to? Gentiles. You and I. Who at one time had nothing to do with the Temple at Jerusalem. We had nothing to do with the law-keeping worship of Israel.) In whom you also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” That is the Holy Spirit.
All right, come back to I Corinthians chapter 3. Let’s just see how this all fits so beautifully. Oh, my goodness, we have to start at verse 10. And again, this is repetition. We touched on these, I think, not too many programs ago. I Corinthians chapter 3, now I guess I should use verse 9.
I Corinthians 3:9
“For we are laborers together with God: (Why?) you are God’s husbandry, you are God’s building.” Now, it’s the word building that we’re going to look at, because what did Ephesians say? We are the habitation of God. Well, what does habitation refer to? The place where you live, your dwelling place. All right, now here it comes, verse 10.
I Corinthians 3:10a
“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder,…” Now, what does that refer to? Building something. A home. An office building. Whatever the case may be. We’re talking about building something.
I Corinthians 3:10b
“…as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation,…” This is the basis for anything that is going to be worthwhile.
You can go back to Jesus’ illustration of building on the sand. What good is it? Nothing. The first time the wind and the water come, away it goes. The foundation is everything. That’s where we start.
I Corinthians 3:10c-11
“I (Paul says) have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereupon. But let every man (that means every one of us) take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Now see, Paul isn’t claiming to be the foundation. He’s the builder who lays it. Then we’re going to start building on that foundation which is Jesus Christ, of course crucified and risen from the dead. All right, now verse 12, here come the building products.
I Corinthians 3:12
“Now if any man build upon this foundation (As a believer, you’ve placed your faith in that finished work of the cross. Now, you’re given opportunity to work, to build. And here are your materials.) gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;” Now, I always like to stop and make a comparison. You take someone who is out there looking for gold, silver, and precious stones. He’s out there facing the elements. He’s probably climbing the mountains.
In fact, we were just rehearsing last night the time we had a lunch with a gold prospector in Colorado. It was a unique experience. He was up there in those rugged mountains all by himself, because that’s where you have to go if you’re going to get the things that are worthwhile.
Now, the other three materials, I always make people smile. Sharon knows. I always refer to the little old grade school story of the three pigs. What did they use, the first two? That which was easy: sticks and straw. I wonder sometimes, if the guy that wrote that story didn’t have this in his background. But see, that’s what most believers are doing. They’re just like the three pigs. They’re out there just doing what little bit they can, and they think that God’s going to be satisfied. No. God expects you to get out there into the mountains and grub out the gold and the silver and the stones, the things that are worthwhile. All right, read on.
I Corinthians 3:13
“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: (It’s going to be put in the spotlight of His fiery eyes.) for the day (the Bema Seat day) shall declare it, (Now, we won’t be at the Great White Throne with all the lost people. We’re going to be at the Judgment Seat, the Bema Seat. So, the Bema Seat day, if I may put it that way–) shall declare it, (It’s going to declare what our rewards are.) because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”
Now, I guess I’d better show Scripture. Come back with me to Revelation chapter 19. Keep your hand here in Corinthians, because you’ve got to compare Scripture with Scripture. Revelation 19 verse 11, and don’t forget what we’re here for. At the Bema Seat Judgment the Lord Jesus is going to examine the works of every believer. Now again, don’t forget that’s in eternity, and in eternity there’s no time. So, He can examine millions of people in what we would call ten minutes. Because otherwise, you wonder, well, how can he examine every individual believer and still have it all done before the Second Coming. Okay, here it is.
“And I saw heaven opened, (That’s the Second Coming, remember.) and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. (But here’s what I want you to see.) 12. His eyes were as a flame of fire,…” Now, come back to Corinthians. With these fiery eyes He’s going to penetrate the works of every believer. Now, when those fiery eyes hit wood, hay, and stubble, what’s going to happen to it? Up in a puff of smoke, figuratively speaking. But, when it hits the gold and silver and precious stones, what will it do? It will just magnify it, because heat purifies, if anything.
So, the whole name of the game as a believer is, are you building on your salvation that which amounts to something? Are you putting in gold, silver, and precious stones? Are you making an effort to build, or are you just going out like the three little pigs, or the two, and picking up straw and sticks and thinking it suffices? Oh, listen! Millions of believers are going to be so disappointed when they come to this Judgment Seat. They’re going to have remorse, I think, to a degree. I know it is heaven, but nevertheless, why didn’t I do more? Why didn’t I do more? So, this is the admonishment. Get out there and get out the gold and the silver and the precious stones.
I Corinthians 3:13-15
“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall test every man’s work of what sort it is. 14. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, (can survive the fire) he shall receive a reward. 15. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: (Of reward. Not salvation, but rather loss of reward.) but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” All right, now here’s the verse that brought me back here. Here’s the verse, we’re building a temple, verse 16.
I Corinthians 3:16-17a
“Know ye not that ye (Now, he’s talking about individual Gentile believers at Corinth. He’s talking the same to us.) are the temple (the dwelling place) of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17. If any man defile the temple of God, (that is this body) him shall God destroy;…”
Now listen. Do you wonder what he’s talking about? You smokers out there. What are you doing? Every time you inhale, I always say you’re choking the Holy Spirit. He’s indwelling you. But not only that, you are destroying your temple. I just had a letter yesterday from a fellow in the last stages of emphysema, having smoked three packs a day all his life. Well, he asked for it, and he admitted that he did.
We had a fellow out in our Albuquerque seminar who was running around with a little oxygen tank. He said, “Les, whenever I see kids smoking, I walk up to them unannounced and I say, “Look, kids, this is where you’re headed.” Carrying that oxygen tank. Well, that’s what this verse is saying. If you’re going to misuse your physical body, you’re going to see the consequences.
I Corinthians 3:17
“If any man defile (or does damage to) the temple of God, (which is your body) him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, (Now watch that next few words.) which temple ye (What?) are.” Okay.
Go over to chapter 6, still in I Corinthians. Now, these things are repeated for a reason. This is what we have to be aware of, that we are building on the foundation of the Gospel with works of gold, silver, and precious stones, because the Spirit of God is indwelling us. This is His dwelling place today. All right, chapter 6 verse 19.
I Corinthians 6:19-20
“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple (the dwelling place) of the Holy Spirit who is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (They both belong to God.)”
All right, I think there’s another one in II Corinthians chapter 6 verse 14. Now this is just as valid for us today as it was for the Corinthians.
II Corinthians 6:14-16a
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? 15. And what concord (or what agreement) hath Christ with Belial? (This is a reference to one of the Old Testament idols.) or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? (or an unbeliever) 16. And what agreement hath the temple of God (Hear that? What’s it a reference to? Your physical body.) with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God;…” It’s been a while since you’ve heard that, hasn’t it? But that’s what you are. If you’re a believer, for you out in television, if you’re a believer, you are the dwelling place of God Himself, in the person, of course, of the Holy Spirit. All right, reading on.
II Corinthians 6:16b-17a
“…as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Now then, verse 17, here’s the admonition. Again, you don’t hear this much anymore.) 17. Wherefore (since you are the temple of the Living God) wherefore come out from among them, (Who are the them? The infidel’s of the world, the unbelievers.) and be ye separate, saith the Lord,…” And so on and so forth.
All right, our time is just about gone. Let’s come back for our closing seconds to Ephesians, once again to chapter 3. I’m going to take this right in to where we were a couple of programs back, because it’s so appropriate. Chapter 3 verse 1 of Ephesians and then it will be time to quit.
“For this cause…” What cause? What we’ve just been looking at. That as a member of the Body of Christ, you’re building on the foundation, which is the work of the cross. And as a believer, you are to be building up for reward with gold, silver, and precious stones. You are to be separated from the unbelieving world in your lifestyle and in your everyday behavior, because you are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit today.
And you know, I always say, what’s important is not the past, but today and tomorrow. The past you can’t do anything about, but be ready to show your colors from hereon if you haven’t before.
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,” So, the whole afternoon I’m going to be emphasizing that this is what happened when God turned from Israel and raised up that other apostle and sent him to the Gentile world.
LESSON THREE * PART IV
BUT NOW – YOU ARE MADE NIGH
Eph. 2:13; Eph. 4:20; Phil. 2:27
Okay, it is good to see everybody in. Once again, we’re on program number four. We’ll keep right on going, and then we can all head out to our various places. But, before we go any further, I want to again remind folks of all the books available. We’re finishing up book number 68 and then take note of our webpage – www.lesfeldick.org. It is really easy to find. For the Canadian folks out there, call our regular phone number if you can’t get through with the “800” number, 918-768-3218. Again, we want to make mention of how we appreciate your prayers and your letters and your financial help.
All right, this is a Bible study. Our primary concern is to help you study on your own. I don’t want anyone to just sit back and hear what Les has got to say about it. I want people to study. And we’re getting response aren’t we, Honey? Jim, you probably even saw a few letters that said the same thing, how that they are getting into the Word and studying it on their own.
Okay, we’re going to move on to a different “But Now” or “But…whatever.” We’re going to move on, still in Ephesians, to chapter 4, verse 20. And again, not so much because it says “But Now” or “But God,” but it is a great turning point from what went before to what comes after. That’s what we’re trying to stress on all these series of lessons. All right, Ephesians 4 we’ll read verse 20. Then we’ll go back and see what went before.
“But ye have not so learned Christ;” Now, what’s he talking about? Go back up to verse 17. What were we before we became a believer? What were these Ephesians before they became believers?
“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth…” Paul uses that word over and over to mark a time of something stopping and something beginning. And over and over he’ll use that. We used it, I think, a few programs back. Keep your hand here in Ephesians.
We’ve got to go to I Timothy chapter 1, where Paul identifies himself as the beginning of the Body of Christ. There couldn’t have been anybody before Paul, because he was the first one who was a result of the Gospel of Grace. He makes it so plain here. I Timothy chapter 1 dropping down to verse 15, where before we even read the verse, I’ve got to define the word chief found in this verse. It never means the worst, like most preachers make it. It always means the head man, or the first man, or the leader, or the primary reason. Now, I’ll give you one verse for example. Romans 3 verses 1 and 2, where Paul asks the question:
“What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there in circumcision? (He answers in the next verse.) 2. Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them (the Nation of Israel) were committed the oracles (Word) of God.” Now, what does that mean? Well, the main number one reason that they were set apart, was that unto them were revealed this Book. So, the word “chiefly” means first or primarily or whatever. With that in mind, now look at verse 15 in I Timothy chapter 1.
I Timothy 1:15
“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.” He was the first, the leader, the uppermost. Not worst. And we’ve done this before; wherever the word “chief” is used, it never refers to someone sinful or wicked. It always refers to someone who was number one.
He gives an example back there in Acts when he was shipwrecked on Malta. The “chief man” of the island took them in and was good to them. Well, I asked the question then, and I’ll say it again, was he the worst on the island? No! He was probably the governor. He was the head man. So, all the way through the Scriptures that word “chief” never means worst. It means the first, the leader, the best, and so forth. All right, now the next verse and this is why I came here, the “hereafter.”
I Timothy 1:16a
“Howbeit for this cause (because he’s the first sinner saved by grace) I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, (or patience) for a pattern (That’s what he is. Paul is the pattern.) to them which should (Now here’s the word.) hereafter…” Okay, we’ve got a point in time before which people were saved by something other than the Gospel of Grace and after when they are saved by this Gospel of Grace. Plain as English can make it. All right, back to Ephesians then. So, verse 17, now, from our salvation point forward.
“…that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,” All right, now Paul is going to give us a just a brief description of the Gentile unbelieving world. And it’s just as evident today as it was in Paul’s day. We’re getting closer and closer to the horrible moral depravity of Paul’s day as we see the things going on in our own world today. All right, now verse 18, this is the unbelieving world.
“Having the understanding darkened,…” Wow! Do I have to go any further? What’s this whole garbage with the DaVinci Code? It’s just simply smattering the understanding of the masses. A lot of this other stuff would fall into the same category.
“Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:” Well, that’s one way Paul puts it.
Let’s look at another way in II Corinthians chapter 4. I have to look a minute. I think it’s three and four, II Corinthians chapter 4: 3 and 4. This is another reason why the masses do not come to salvation. And you know I’ve said it over and over. Why don’t they? It’s so simple. It’s so free. It is so life enhancing. But they won’t. They refuse to. All right, here’s the reason.
II Corinthians 4: 3:4a
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4. In whom (the lost of this world) the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them who believe not,…” Who’s blinding them? The god of this world. Did you use that verse, Jim? Jim had – can I share it? He passed one of our books on to someone, and after they read a little bit, they said, well, they couldn’t quite agree with me about who the god of this world was. Jim used the illustration of when Satan offered the kingdoms of this world to Christ. Well, how could he offer the kingdoms of this world, if he wasn’t the god of this world? Well, the individual bought that much. But here’s another verse. It’s the god of this world. And who is it? It’s Satan.
II Corinthians 4:4b
“..hath blinded the minds of them who believe not, lest (here it comes now) the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” But they don’t want it. They just don’t want it. So, we have to rely on the working of the Holy Spirit to energize them, to convict them, and to reprove them as John 16 says.
But anyway, back to Ephesians chapter 4, verse 18 again. Now, after just reading of who blinds them, verse 18 should make a little more sense.
“Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:” And who puts that blindness in there? Satan does. And the Holy Spirit is the only thing that can overcome it.
“Who (the unbelieving Gentile world in particular) being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness (Now, this is moral uncleanness.) with greediness.” But here comes the breaking point. That’s not where we are. We have come to the verse that follows.
“But you have not so learned Christ;” You’ve got a new beginning. Some of you had been on that side for a long time, now you are on this side. All right, verse 21, how do you know you’re on this side of this statement?
“If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: (Now, here comes what becomes part of our salvation experience.) 22. That ye put off (You lay it aside with no more desire to energize it.) concerning the former conversation (or manner of living) the old man, (That old satanic nature that is in control of the lost person. We have put that aside.) which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;”
All right another verse comes to mind – II Corinthians chapter 5 again, where we’ve been before. II Corinthians chapter 5 verse 17 – I’ve got to wait until you all find it. Then they all get it out in television.
II Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, (I could also add, and Christ in you, as we saw in the last program.) he is a new creation: (It’s a work of God.) old things are passed away; (See what Paul just said in our Ephesians letter? They are the things that are of the corrupt mind.) behold, all things are become (What?) new.” It’s a different life. Again, I wish you could read our mail. Over and over they say that it’s just like somebody has taken a sandbag off of my back. It’s just like a big load has been lifted. All my guilt is gone. I’m at peace with God. That’s what it is! And then the world shrinks from it? I can’t understand it, but that’s where it’s at. It’s a new life. “Old things are passed away, all things become new.” All right, back to Ephesians chapter 4, verse 23.
“And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; (It’s a whole changeover) 24. And that ye put on the new man, (Now, that’s a Pauline term. You won’t find that anywhere else in Scripture that you become a new person.) which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Now then, if you’ve experienced God’s true saving grace, here’s part of the change in your lifestyle.
“Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another. (Now he’s speaking, of course, of fellow believers in the Ephesian church.) 26. Be ye angry, (We can be upset. Paul was. But don’t let it bring you to a place of anger that becomes dangerous.) and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”
“Neither give place to the devil. (Who is our adversary, remember. These are all just simple admonitions for the believer.) 28. Let him that stole, steal no more:…” Now let me ask you. Do you suppose these converts of Paul, coming out of paganism, think stealing was something strange to them? Are you kidding? That was their normal lifestyle.
I remember a missionary, years ago, and Iris, remember? They had been down in South America someplace, and in that particular culture it was not wrong to steal anything less than $300. That was the limit. If you stole over $300 worth, then you were committing sin. But see, that’s man’s approach to all these things. But the Bible says you don’t steal at all!
“but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he have to give to him that needeth. (Now verse 29, my, if this isn’t appropriate for movies and television today.) 29. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
Now verse 30, remember we just saw in the last program how the Holy Spirit is indwelling. So now the admonition is:
“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; 32. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, (Now, I like this one.) forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath (Already what?) forgiven you.” If you’re forgiven, then who are you to say I can’t forgive my neighbor.
All right, I think we’ve got time for our next one which will jump into Philippians chapter 2, verse 27. And this will wind up the fourth program this afternoon. Philippians chapter 2, verse 27, and we’ll go back again the same way. We’ll go to what went before and then hopefully, if we have time, we’ll pick up what goes after. Now, when we come back and read it, we’re talking about Epaphroditus up in verse 25, but indeed, Paul says–
“For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; (But God! Otherwise Epaphroditus would have probably passed on.) and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.” All right, let’s go back and see what leads up to this man Epaphroditus being sick nigh unto death. All right, let’s jump all the way up to verse 17. I want to bring it, if I have time, into our everyday situation of prayer requests on behalf of those who are sick or maybe injured or whatever the case may be.
“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.” In other words, it was that fellowship between the Apostle and these Philippian believers.
“But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state.” In other words, you’ve got to remember, back in antiquity, he couldn’t pick up the cell phone and call Philippi could he? Here he is down in a far off place. It’s a prison letter, of course, so it was written from prison in Rome.
He’s in prison in Rome, and he’s concerned about the fate of all of his little congregations of Gentiles. And the only way he can find out what’s going on up in Philippi is to have Timothy go up and report back to him how the believers up there were doing. All right, now then verse 20.
“For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.” See what he’s concerned about? How are the believers up there in Philippi faring? He’s in prison. He can’t go and see them, so he sends Timothy. All right, now that’s the man that he means when he says, who is like minded. Verse 21:
“For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. 22. But ye know the proof of him, (They knew all about Timothy.) that, as a son with a father, he hath served me in the gospel. 23. Him (Timothy) therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. 24. But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.” In other words, he was hoping to get out of prison and be able to continue his journeys. Now verse 25:
“Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labor, and fellow soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.” In other word, Epaphroditus was a member of the Philippian congregation. He had come down to visit Paul in Rome, and evidently in Rome he had gotten sick nigh unto death. And when the Philippians heard about it, my, their heart was just poured out to God on his behalf.
“For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he (was or) had been sick.” Now see? That’s common everyday experience, isn’t it? We’ve all had it. We all have someone that we love getting sick. That’s why we have prayer time before we start the television. We like to be able to share our needs and corporately bring them into the Throne Room. Well, this is a good lesson in that. Paul is commending the Philippian church for remembering one of their fellow people in prayer because of his sickness.
“For indeed (Paul says) he was sick nigh unto death: (Now, here’s the But God. Why? Because of their prayer, they had prayed for the man and God heard their prayers.) but God had mercy on him;…” Not only for healing the man from his sickness, but to spare Paul the grief of losing him.
Now, you’ve got to remember the man’s circle of friends in prison in Rome was not all that large and to have lost one of his closest workers, it would have been devastating. But oh, “But God” moves in. You know I’ve had such response to this series of programs on the “But God’s and But Now’s,” because I think it’s pointing out that it makes a difference. When God moves in, it’s going to make a difference. So, this is the whole thing here. All right, now then verse 28.
“I sent him therefore the more carefully, (Now, I think by that he means he had trepidations for whatever reason. He says, I sent him…carefully.) that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful.” Because he is removing himself from Paul’s companionship in Rome in prison. He’s evidently going back to Philippi.
“Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold him in reputation: 30. Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, (No, we don’t know what the situation was.) not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.”
All right, now with that I’m going to end up the program here with chapter 4 verses 6 and 7. I’ve used them over and over when people call in on the phone or write for prayer for whatever the need may be: a job, maybe a family member is in trouble with the courts, or whatever. Oh, you’d be amazed the problems that people have to endure. It’s unbelievable. All right, well here is a concrete Scripture that we can share with every one of them and you can.
“Be careful (or worry) for (about) nothing; (Here’s the other flipside again.) but in every thing (God doesn’t limit you to what you can bring to the throne room, as long as it isn’t frivolous and silly, of course. But you can come into the throne room with whatever prayer need you may have. Whatever it is.) by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving….” Do you know what? That’s the key to the successful victorious Christian life. Thankfulness.
Thank the Lord everyday, Beloved, for whatever you’ve got: your health, your home, your family, your fellow believers, your relationship with God, everything. Be daily thankful. That’s what God expects. And when you have a specific request, you thank Him ahead of time for what He’s going to do. Okay, reading on:
“…by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Well, what does that tell you? You verbalize it. Don’t take the attitude – well, God knows. Well of course He does. But what does Scripture admonish? You tell Him. You verbalize it. You communicate with Him. Don’t just go on your way and think, oh well, God knows all about it. No, we pray. That’s the whole idea. All right, let it be made known unto God. And then verse 7 is where we always leave everybody we talk to, whether God answers specifically, immediately, or whether He says maybe later, or whether He says no. The answer to every prayer is verse 7.
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Could you ask for anything more? My, we can pray. We can leave it in the throne room. Then we can rest assured it’s in His care. We’ve verbalized it. We’ve told him our needs. And then we thank Him for what He’s going to do. And we can go on with the “Peace which passeth all understanding.”