[ 421 ] Les Feldick [ Book 36 - Lesson 1 - Part 1 ] You Are Sealed w/ the Holy Spirit of Promise |a
[ 422 ] Les Feldick [ Book 36 - Lesson 1 - Part 2 ] You Are Sealed w/ the Holy Spirit of Promise |b
[ 423 ] Les Feldick [ Book 36 - Lesson 1 - Part 3 ] Ephesians 1:13-23 |a
[ 424 ] Les Feldick [ Book 36 - Lesson 1 - Part 4 ] Ephesians 1:13-23 |b
[ 425 ] Les Feldick [ Book 36 - Lesson 2 - Part 1 ] The Invisible Make Up of the Lost and Saved |a
[ 426 ] Les Feldick [ Book 36 - Lesson 2 - Part 2 ] The Invisible Make Up of the Lost and Saved |b
[ 427 ] Les Feldick [ Book 36 - Lesson 2 - Part 3 ] Ephesians 2:1-10 |a
[ 428 ] Les Feldick [ Book 36 - Lesson 2 - Part 4 ] Ephesians 2:1-10 |b
[ 429 ] Les Feldick [ Book 36 - Lesson 3 - Part 1 ] Once You Were Separated From God |a
[ 430 ] Les Feldick [ Book 36 - Lesson 3 - Part 2 ] Once You Were Separated From God |b
[ 431 ] Les Feldick [ Book 36 - Lesson 3 - Part 3 ] Ephesians 2:10-19 |a
[ 432 ] Les Feldick [ Book 36 - Lesson 3 - Part 4 ] Ephesians 2:10-19 |b
YOU ARE SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE – EPHESIANS 1:13-23
Now as we begin book 36 we’ll pick up in verse 13. Now the Book of Ephesians is a doctrinal Book – that is a step up from Paul’s earlier Books of Romans, Galatians, and Corinthians. Ephesians comes into that deeper area of our position in Christ. Few believers realize where we are positionally, and how we can rest on it that it’s not just for this life, but for all eternity. And I’ll remind you that the prepositional phrase “in Christ, in Whom, in Him,” that I’m always referring to, is recorded over 90 times in Ephesians, and is always in reference to our position.
So as we’ve been coming through these first 12 verses, this is what Paul has been showing. As a result of our glorious salvation by faith, and faith alone, God has not only placed us into the Body of Christ, but He has also positioned us in the heavenlies. My oldest son once asked, “Well how do we know that’s where we are?” Well it’s by faith, because we don’t have a diploma on the wall, or anything we can put our hands on, but rather we go by what the Word says. And the Word tells us that this is where we are. So by faith we understand our position is now in the heavenlies, and we’re just pilgrims passing through. As the song writer once wrote, “This world is not my home, we’re just passing through.” Paul tells us in Philippians –
“For our conversation (or citizenship) is in heaven;…” For all eternity our position is in the heavenlies. Now as we begin today’s study, just for a little review let’s come in at verse 11.
“In whom also we have (already) obtained an inheritance, being predestinated (God’s sovereign way of doing things) according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:” And of course we digressed on that quite a bit in one of our previous lessons. Now verse 12. All of this has been done on our behalf –
“That we should be to the praise of his glory,…”
In other words none of this is for our benefit is it? None of this has been done to glorify us. This has all been done that we in turn might glorify Him. I always like to go back, and I’m not much of a catechism expert, but I remember one of the questions of one of the old Heidelberg catechism which started out with this question. “What is the chief end of man?” And the answer to that question was what? “To glorify God, and enjoy Him forever!” Now I like that answer, because absolutely that’s the whole purpose of man being on the scene. And so Paul puts it in verse 12 then –
“That we should be to the praise of his glory, (we) who first trusted in Christ.” Not a ritual, not a denomination, but rather “in Christ.” Now in verse 13 we’ll start with some new ground.
“In whom (Christ) ye also trusted,…” Now in the newer translations the word trusted is italicized, which means it’s been added. I checked with the original, and sure enough the original does not have that word in there. Neither does it have the two words after `trusted.’ So from the original let’s just read like it says, and then we’ll come back and look at the KJV.
“In whom having heard the word the truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom having believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” Now that’s the way the original Greek was written. Now in the King James Version they’re not destroying the concept by any means, but when they say then, “In whom ye also trusted,” or as it was implied in the original, having heard.
“In whom ye also trusted,…” Always remember these words that are synonymous in Scripture. Trust is usually used in the Old Testament, but it’s the same thing as believing. Then you also have the word faith which is believing. So I always make the point that trust, faith, and believe all basically mean the same thing, so you can use them synonymously. Verse 13 again.
“In whom (Christ) ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth,…”
Now you see we’re living in a day and age where truth is almost being stomped into the ground as irrelevant, and that there are no absolutes. We’re more or less living in a society of instant gratification, and the whole concept that as long as you don’t kill someone in the process then go ahead and enjoy it. But you see that’s not what truth declares. Truth of course is manifested by the Word of God, and it’s to that Word we always have to fly to when we see these things coming upon us. So having heard –
“…the word of truth…”
Not from some TV preacher, not from Les Feldick, not from somebody else, but having heard God’s Word. Now that reminds me of a verse in Romans. I didn’t intend to do this, but that’s not unusual, as I never know where I’m going to go next, because I just depend on the Holy Spirit to lead in these lessons. Come back to Romans chapter 10 for a moment, and this is in the light of having heard the Word of truth. Here Paul puts it so explicitly. Drop on down to verse 14, and we may have even looked at this in the last lesson.
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?…” Do you see the connection? Flip back to Ephesians again, because this is real Bible study. Ephesians says-
“In whom ye have trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth,…” And how flip back to Romans where it says –
“…and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? shall they hear without a preacher?” (or proclaimer)
“And how shall they preach, (proclaim) except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! Now verse 17 –
“So then faith (trust, believing) cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
I always make the comment, can you believe something you have never heard? Can you hear something that’s never been said? This seem mundane I know, but listen, this is foundational. God did not say everything we need to know back in Genesis. You have to realize that as these Old Testament patriarchs were coming up through Scripture, they never heard some of these things that we’re hearing, because God hadn’t spoken it yet, but rather He had kept it secret as Paul said. So always be reminded that you can’t believe something that God hasn’t said. And when you do hear it, He expects us to believe it. Now back to Romans for a moment. Looking at verse 17 again we find.
“So then faith (or believing) cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Or in simpler terms, “When God Speaks It!” Now we know that God speaks through the printed page, through the writers, and in this case, through the apostle Paul. Since Paul is the apostle to us Gentiles, then he’s the one we’d better be listening to. You know we’re getting a lot of people that are now able to see that, and there’s still a lot that are confused as to why I constantly empathize Paul. Always remember that Paul is the apostle of the Gentiles. While we’re here in Romans we might as well show you that in chapter 11. So this is the basis of my constantly emphasizing that for you and I today we have to go by what Paul writes, not what Peter says, not what Jesus said in His earthly ministry, but what does Paul write. And remember Paul gets this by revelation from the crucified risen Lord in glory.
“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles,…”
Now if Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles, and Peter and the eleven were the apostles of Israel, and Israel was under the law, 2 + 2 makes 4, this and this makes that, so we’d better understand that we don’t go by what Peter, James and John said to Israel under the law, but rather we’d better go by what this man says to us under Grace. Can you see that? That’s where the difference come in. We are totally under Grace. Now Ephesians verse 13 again, Paul says –
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, (and what is the word of truth?) the gospel of your salvation:…”
And where do we find the Gospel by which we are saved? Turn with me to I Corinthians 15:1-4. I’m constantly using this for people who call. Now this is the Gospel, and you have to know that this is what God has now said. This is the Word that has been proclaimed by Paul, and we’d better believe it, or we’re in trouble. You can’t go around this, you can’t go over or under it, but rather face this head on, and for goodness sake don’t try to add anything to it, just believe it for salvation!
I Corinthians 15:1
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;” Now that’s our position. You’re not out there floating around from one doctrine to another, or like a ship without a rudder. We are positioned by virtue of our having believed the Gospel. Verse 2.
I Corinthians 15:2
“By which (the Gospel) also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory (or understand) what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” You have to understand what the Word of truth is all about. Now here comes the Gospel of truth.
I Corinthians 15:3-4
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, (we understand that from Galatians chapter 1, Paul received this Gospel from heaven. It had been kept secret in the mind of God until Paul received it. He received our Gospel from the ascended Lord in Glory. He received these basic truths, and here it is.) how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, 4. And that he w was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to scriptures;”
Now that’s the Gospel. That’s the truth, and anything that compromises the Gospel is no longer the truth. And if that happens then Paul says in Galatians chapter 1, it becomes a perverted Gospel. But we stick to the truth, and let the chips fall where they may. Now coming back to Ephesians chapter 1, and verse 13 again. This is such a powerful verse and has so much in it, especially in light of what’s out there in Christendom today. This just blows so much of it right out of the saddle. Why? Not because of so much as what it says, as what it doesn’t say! As you read this verse constantly ask yourself this question. “Is what I’ve been taught growing up in this verse?” And I’m sure most of you will have to answer no. But this verse just says, “after you believed.” I’m not going to say all the things that most denominations tell us we must do for salvation, but rather I’ll let you think back and see if they have taught you correctly. If what you’ve been taught isn’t in this verse then it’s superficial, it’s chaff, and you’d better just blow it away. Here is the basic truth –
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: (as we looked at in I Corinthians 15:1-4 in which Christ is the center. He’s the one who died. He’s the one who was buried, and He’s the one who rose from the dead.) in whom also after that ye believed,…” (you placed your trust, your faith in that Gospel, and that was it.)
You see everybody tries to complicate it, and that’s what happens when you try to mix what Peter taught and what Paul taught. Law and Grace cannot mix, and I think that’s a Satanic ploy. Oh there’s nothing the Devil likes better than to make you think, “Well it’s so difficult.” I remember when I was teaching down in San Antonio several years back there was a lady in attendance that I knew was having a lot of problems. She wanted the assurance of salvation, but her religion had just so put her in bondage that she just couldn’t see it. So after one of my classes she came up and talked to me all alone, and I’ll never forget our conversation. I told her all she had to do is believe that as a sinner Christ died for you, and rose from the dead! And when you believe that, God does everything else. Well she looked at me with the most exasperating look, and said, “But Les that’s too simple.”
And isn’t that exactly what most people think? “Hey it’s got to be tougher than that.” But you see it isn’t. It is so simple that even a 5 year old can understand it. 90 year old people can understand it, and every body in between can understand it, but oh you see the religionist, and the theologians, and the powers that be have just loaded it all down with all these other requirements, you’ve got to come this way, you’ve got to come that way, you’ve got to do this, you’ve got to do that, but listen, this verse exposes all that. This verse says it’s just as simple as ABC. That when you come as a lost sinner and you believe the truth of the Gospel then God does everything else, we don’t. Now let’s finish the verse, and we’ll see the first thing that God does when He sees us believe the Gospel.
“…ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,”
Now this word sealed, and again I’m not a language expert, I’m not a Greek scholar, but I know this much from my little feeble attempts of studying language that this word “sealed” goes all the way back into antiquity, and it was a mark of ownership. If a king put his seal on something, it meant it belonged to the empire. If someone bought a piece of land, they would put their seal on that title deed, it denoted ownership. This seal never lost it’s meaning all the way back through Scripture, or ahead through Scripture. In fact let’s turn to Jude for a moment. Here you have almost the same word, at least it comes out of the same root if I’m not mistaken.
“Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:”
See nobody knows better than women who can fruit and vegetables what that word means. That means that once that jar or can is sealed, my that food is good for who know how long. It’s preserved, it’s sealed. So once God has sealed us, we are not just His for a week or two, but for how long? Forever! Now I know some people don’t like that, but I can’t help it because the Word declares it. We are sealed forever, but we do have to make sure we get into that believing position to be sealed. So looking at verse 13 again in Ephesians.
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,”
Being a cattleman, I like to use the Word, “branded.” When that critter is branded, there’s a mark of ownership that you cannot take away. You might be able to mark it up a little bit, but you can’t take it away. And here it’s the same thing, the moment we believe the Gospel the Holy Spirit made us a mark of God’s ownership. Now it’s interesting that in the Greek the word “Spirit” is the Pneuma. And the moment we believe we receive the “Pneuma,” the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is the One who has become our brand, He is the One who denotes ownership that we belong to God. Now in the short time we have left let’s begin verse 14. Once the Holy Spirit has been placed within us as God’s mark of ownership, then it goes into the other part of the Spirit works, and He becomes the earnest money or the down payment of our inheritance.
“Which is the earnest of our inheritance…” Now in order to compare Scripture with Scripture let’s compare verse 14 and 11, this is essential for good Bible study.
“In whom also we have (already) obtained an inheritance,…” Well what’s the inheritance? Now that requires us to go all the way back to the Book of Romans chapter 8, and dropping down to verse 14. It says the same thing only in a little different way.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, (the Pneuma) they are the sons (or the children, or born ones) of God. It doesn’t say they might be, but rather they already are. Now verse 15.
” For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16. The Spirit (the Pneuma) itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;…”
Now come back to Ephesians. So what is our inheritance? For that which is a part of the One who has purchased us and made us His own. In other words everything that belongs to Christ also belongs to us, and that’s our inheritance. And it’s all because we believe the Gospel. That’s where it starts, then God moves in, and He seals us with that Holy Spirit of promise, and then as a gift of that Holy Spirit He gives us the inheritance. Now the next word for that next verse is the Pneuma Hagion. The Pneuma Hagion to be translated over into English means? That power from high.
LESSON ONE * PART II
YOU ARE SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE – EPHESIANS 1:13-23
Now let’s get ready for this next lesson, and let me say that we covet your prayers every day. We’ll start this lesson in verse 14, but to show you where we’re coming from we need to read verse 13 again.
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: (and remember that Gospel is that Christ died for your sins, was buried, and He rose from the dead.) in whom (Christ) also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with (or given that mark of ownership) that Holy Spirit of promise.”
The moment a person believes then God’s Spirit enters that individual, and then becomes the mark of ownership as well as the source of power for living. Now a lot of times when I make the point that we’re not under Law, but rather Grace, we’re under no demands to keep the commandments. When I say that, I get people saying then, “Well what are you, just sort of set loose, and set free?” No, here’s the difference. We now have the Holy Spirit that comes in, and he becomes our rudder He becomes what the Law was before. And so it doesn’t give us freedom to steal and covet, and all these other things that the Ten Commandants dealt with, because the Holy Spirit Himself takes care of that. I think that the moment we’re saved our want to is changed. Our whole design on life is changed, and this is what the world around us can not understand. Now coming into verse 14 the Holy Spirit of promise of verse 13 –
“Which is the earnest…”
Or another good word for earnest is down payment. The word earnest here means exactly as we use it today in a transaction when we put down earnest money. In other words, we put enough down to guarantee that neither party is going to back out So that’s what the Lord has done here with the Holy Spirit, He has declared us as His, and to make sure that neither one of us backs out He has given us the mark and the power of the Holy Spirit –
“Which is the earnest (or down payment) of our inheritance (which we looked at in the last lesson) until…”
There is going to come a point in time when the Holy Spirit’s indwelling us will no longer be necessary, and when will that be? When we come into His presence. In fact maybe we’d better look at it for a moment in II Thessalonians chapter 2. This is a long way from Ephesians I know, but we’re having so many questions at this time about this verse that it’s probably a good time to go ahead and explain it. The moment we’re saved as we saw in our last lesson, the Holy Spirit baptizes us into the Body of Christ, He indwells us, and becomes our mark of ownership. He will remain with us until we either leave this life or are taken out in the Rapture. This chapter in II Thessalonians is referring to that point in time when those who are alive and remain will be “Raptured” or caught up as the Scripture says in I Thessalonians chapter 4:17, to meet the Lord in the air. Now the question that keeps coming up all the time then is about verse 6.
II Thessalonians 2:6-7
“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth (hindereth) will let, (hinder) until he be taken out of the way.”
So the question is always, “Who is the he that hinders? Some think it’s the Church, and some think it’s the Holy Spirit, well it’s both. Now let’s look at it by breaking the verse down.
II Thessalonians 2:6-7
“And now ye know what withholdeth (or is a dam in the river of iniquity) that he might be revealed in his time. 7. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth (hindereth) will let, (or continue to hinder) until he be taken out of the way.”
The Holy Spirit has always been the Omnipresence of the Godhead. Way back in Genesis 1:1-2, and in creation the Spirit moved upon the face of the water. So the Holy Spirit was there all the way up through the Old Testament, even though there’s not a lot written about the Holy Spirit. Then of course in Christ’s earthly ministry nothing is said about Him until He breathes on the Twelve when it was said, “receive ye the Holy Spirit.” Then He promised the Holy Spirit in John 14, that when He ascended the Holy Spirit would descend.
But we don’t get that concept of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit until it’s revealed in Paul’s writings. Then Paul makes it so plain as we saw in Ephesians that at the moment of salvation the Holy Spirit literally comes in and dwells within us. Now listen, no lost person can ever come to a knowledge of salvation without the work of the Holy Spirit. You know there can’t always be a Christian every time that someone is ready to be saved. So the Holy Spirit, even though He is indwelling us, is still Omnipresence around the earth. So in verse 7, “the until” is when the Body of Christ, the Saints are taken up in the Rapture.
II Thessalonians 2:7b
“…until he be taken out of the way.”
At that time the role of the Holy Spirit indwelling us ends because it’s no longer necessary, because when the Rapture happens we’ll already be in the presence of the Son. So what happens to the Holy Spirit? He remains on the earth as the Omnipresence Spirit of God, because you want to remember during those 7 years of Tribulation the 144,000 young Jews are still going to be proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and that also will need the power of the Holy Spirit. So now look at this verse again, but now more carefully.
II Thessalonians 2:6.
“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.”
It’s the power of the Holy Spirit that is holding back the forces of iniquity through the presence of believers. Now just stop and think, “What if all of a sudden the Christians were totally removed from the scene?” There would be nobody to oppose the wickedness. Nobody to oppose the breakdown in society, now can you imagine what it would be like? So it’s the Christian influence that still keeps the semblance of sanity on the world. So we are a withholding power because of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling. Now verse 7:
II Thessalonians 2:7
“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth (or hinders) will let, (or hinder) until he be taken out of the way.”
In other words, when we go up in the Rapture, then the restraining power of the Holy Spirit ends, and we go on into the presence of the Lord, no longer needing the indwelling Spirit, and He remains as the Omnipresence Spirit on God on the earth even during the Tribulation. It has to be that way, or the 144,000 would never be able to win the multitudes that we know that they’re going to. So remember that you and I as believers are the restrainers with the Spirit’s power. But when we’re taken out, the Holy Spirit can withdraw from us, because we’ll be then in the Son’s presence, but the Holy Spirit will remain on the earth to fulfill the work of the Spirit during those 7 years. Now that was all free for nothing. Now coming back to Ephesians chapter 1, looking at verse 14 again.
“Which is the earnest of our inheritance until (that moment in time when) the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
Now what’s going to happen the moment Christ returns in the Rapture to meets us in the air, and we suddenly have a new body? Well all of a sudden we’re going to have a redeemed body, because this old body we now have is the one that Christ paid the price for, but it will be changed and it will become a glorified body like His resurrected body. Now on ahead with me to the Book of Philippians chapter 3, and let’s look at this new body, because it’s all part of the redemption process. Now at salvation this body of flesh was not redeemed. Now that may shock a few people, but this old body of flesh as a believer is just as prone to sickness and disease as it ever was. Christians get sick, Christians die, I mean a lot of people think that you should be able to heal them and they’d live forever. But you see that would fly in the face of everything in this Book. Everybody except those in the Rapture is going to have to die! But we are redeemed in the area of the soul and spirit the moment we’re saved. That has been purchased and it belongs to God, and of course the Holy Spirit is the down payment of that, but the body will not be redeemed until we get the new one. Now come back to Philippians chapter 3, and dropping down to verse 20 and 21. These are verses that we’ve looked at several times in the past.
“For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21. Who (Christ will) shall change our vile body, (this body of corruption and flesh) that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, (isn’t that plain?) according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
It’s not going to be a problem for God to suddenly gives us a brand new resurrected glorified body like His was after His resurrection. Now let’s go even further and see what John says about this new body back in his little letter of I John, chapter 3. Now this reference is also so plainly put.
I John 3:1-2
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons (or children. I personally like born ones) of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2. Beloved, now (that is in this like now on the this earth) are we the sons of God, (John is writing to believers also) and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: (in other words there’s a lot of things out there that we don’t understand.) but we know that when he shall appear, (in other words when we meet Him in the clouds of the air) we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
Now what does that say? We’re going to have the same kind of body that He left from the Mount of Olives with, the same kind of a resurrected, glorified body. Now let’s come all the way back to Romans chapter 8, and this backs up what I’ve just said. At salvation we were redeemed in the soul and spirit, that’s all settled. In the realm of the invisible, yes we are redeemed we’ve already been bought, we already belong to Him, we’re already settled in the heavenlies, but only in the realm of the invisible. This old body is still here. We’re still putting up against all the things of this life. But at the final redemption when the body the redeemed then of course we’re fit for eternity. Now let’s begin at verse 18.
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Now of course the apostle Paul knew what it was to suffer. Probably like no other human being except Christ Himself. Paul suffered, and suffered, and suffered some more all for the sake of the Gospel. So Paul could say with a clear conscience, “That it was nothing compared to the glory that’s coming.” Now verse 19.
“For the earnest (sincere, down right) expectation of the creature (creation) waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20. For the creature (creation) was made subject to vanity, (that is the curse) not willingly (in other words, creation didn’t cause the fall, but rather Adam did. So when that happened creation fell with him.) but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,” (by virtue of the Redeemer)
Now always remember when you read a verse like this, just flash back and realize how soon after the fall did God already announce the remedy of the curse? Well the next verse almost. In Genesis chapter 3 we have the fall, but in Genesis 3:15 we have the promise of the redeemer immediately. Just as soon as Adam fell the curse fell, and God came right back with the promise of a remedy, “The Redeemer!” the seed of the woman that would come. Now that’s what Paul is talking about here. Now verse 21.
“Because the creature (creation) itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption (the curse.)
Yes one day the planet is going to be free of the curse, it’s all going to revert back as it was in the Garden of Eden, and all you have to do is just read Isaiah chapter 11. Especially you animal lovers. I’m not going to see the animals I’ve had down here, but there’s going to be new one in that wonderful kingdom. And those animals are going to be just as easy to love as they were. Now looking at verse 21 again.
“Because the creature (creation) itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. (under the curse) 23. And not only they, but ourselves also, (even we as believers.) which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit the redemption of our body.”
So see we’re waiting for the redemption our body. Now for a moment let’s go to I Thessalonians chapter 5, and we’ll drop down to verse 23.
I Thessalonians 5:23
“And the very God of peace sanctify (or set you apart) you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In other words does any part of Scripture recognize a human being that is not in all three parts? No. We are never a valid enmity without all three of them together. That’s why when a person dies he becomes useless, because the three become interrupted. The two go on up into glory, the soul and spirit go into the presence of the Lord. Where’s the body? In the grave, it’s useless, but in resurrection that new body that comes out of the grave is reunited with the soul and spirit, and so once again what are we? A complete entity, we are then a complete person, we’ll be body, soul and sprit. But at that time it will be a new glorified body like the Lord Jesus’ body of His post resurrection. I’ve always said, that if you want to know what our new body is going to be like then just read about the Lord in those 40 days after His resurrection, and until His ascension.
The Lord looked like anybody else, He didn’t look like some weirdo from outer space. He walked with them, He talked with them, He ate fish with them on the shores of Galilee. And as He stood on the Mount of Olives they were standing there conversing with Him, and unbeknown to the eleven, of what was going to happen, He suddenly took off and they watched Him go. Well they didn’t watch some ghost, or some spirit, but rather they watched Him go bodily. Now for a moment turn to Colossians chapter 2 and verse 8 and 9.
“Beware (be on guard) lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiment of the world, and not after Christ. (why?) 9. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”
In other words, when He left, and went into glory, He went in that resurrected body, and the disciples saw Him go. When He returns, the Book of Zechariah says, “and His feet shall stand on that same Mount of Olives.” Now ghosts don’t have feet, an invisible spirit wouldn’t have feet, but He has been up there for now 2000 years in that resurrected body, and He’s going to return bodily. We’re going to have a body like Him when He returns, we’re going to see him John tells us, “as He is” and that’s what we’re going to be like. So if you ever wonder, “Am I going to float around in some invisible state?” Heavens no! And on top of that we’re all going to recognize each other in our new bodies. Now I don’t know how, because I don’t think we’ll look like we do now, but we’re going to know each other, and it’s going to be a full knowledge, a full understanding that we’ll know every believer that’s up there by name.
Now let’s close this lesson by coming back to Ephesians, and remember the Holy Spirit, the Pneuma, becomes the earnest which now is the Pneuma Hagion, and I guess I should put it this way – The Pneuma is the giver, and the Hagion is the gift. I like that concept, because you have to keep them sorted out when the Scripture talks about the Holy Spirit. If it’s the indwelling person, then it’s the Pneuma the giver. If it’s talking about something that is the power of the Holy Spirit then it’s the Hagion the gift.
LESSON ONE * PART III
YOU ARE SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE – EPHESIANS 1:13-23
Now let’s look at the next verse in Ephesians chapter 1. Here the apostle Paul is going to utter a prayer on behalf of the believers. He is praying for them, and as such he is praying for us today. I think it’s also a lesson on how we can pray for ourselves as well as for others. Now when we think of the Lord’s prayer back in Matthew 6, which the Lord Jesus gave as an example to the twelve, so this prayer is an example for us today, and is so appropriate. The prayer starts out with “Wherefore…” Now what have I told you over the years about wherefore? When the apostle Paul says “Wherefore” what is he reflecting on? Well what he’s just said in the previous few verses, and here he’s just proven that here we are positioned in Christ, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who leads us and reproves in all the things that we need. And we’re waiting for the day of redemption when this old body will disappear, and we’ll have a new body, but until that day of redemption-
“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith…”
I want to make people aware, when you read Paul’s letters, how he’s always referring to believing and faith. Not what we can do, but rather that we trust in what God has already done. And then on that basis we can move into what he’s now asking for on our behalf.
“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints.” Now that reminds me of a verse in I John chapter 3. Let’s just start at verse 11, because I don’t like to just jump on one verse. I think most of you realize that by now.
I John 3:11-12
“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.” Boy now that’s plain language isn’t it? And it’s never changed. The unbelieving world hates the believer. He might not always show it, but he would if he had a chance, and so Cain had his chance, and sure enough he showed it. Verse 13.
I John 3:13
“Marvel not my brethren, if the world hate you.”
A lot of people have the idea that since Christianity is such a tremendous experience, and lifestyle, because there isn’t another lifestyle on earth that can come close to it. You look at a good Bible based Christian home, and you couldn’t ask for anything better. But you see, the world can’t see it that way. The world thinks we’re a bunch of kooks, and we’ve got our heads in the sand, and all these other things. So don’t be amazed if they don’t like your lifestyle, and that’s what John is saying here.
I John 3:13-14a
“Marvel not my brethren, if the world hate you. 14. We know that we have passed from death unto life, (from an unsaved state to a saved state) because we love the brethren.”
John is speaking of fellow believers. The world won’t necessarily, but we have that affinity to other believers that no matter where we go we can have a love for them, and it’s an immediate love. I’ve shared this with you before, wherever Iris and I travel, and spend the night with believers, you’re not strangers for 5 minutes, why is that? Because there’s that affinity, you can’t see it or put your finger on it, but it’s there. And the moment we sit down at their table and have a cup of coffee, we don’t talk about sports or the weather or politics, but rather we talk about the BOOK! And that’s the way it should be, because “we know we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren.” Now back to Ephesians chapter 1.
“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints. 16. Cease not (I never stop) to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;” (now here’s his real prayer) 17. That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit (the Pneuma) of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:”
Now what’s the purpose? Well you see the more we love Him, the more capable we are of serving Him. And it’s the same way in a marriage relationship. The more that husband and wife love each other, the better influence they’re going to have on family, relatives and everybody else, it spreads. And it’s the same way here. Paul prays that we might have such a God given wisdom and knowledge. Now I’ve learned from my class people here in Oklahoma that they were always afraid to share the Gospel with people because they just didn’t have enough knowledge of the Scriptures to be able to answer questions, or confront, rebuke, and so forth. But after they’ve been in our class for a while and get skilled in the Scriptures, they love to witness, they love to talk about the Scriptures. And that’s the way it should be, as we grow in Grace and knowledge it becomes easier to share with people.
You can talk to people in any kind of an occupation, and I like to use an auto mechanic as an example. You talk to one about engines, and cars, is he bashful? Is he shy to talk about his trade? Is he going to put his head down, and act like he doesn’t want to talk about what he does best? Heavens no, because you’re in his bailiwick now, and he’s ready to tell you everything he knows, and that’s as it should be. Now that’s the way we should be with the Book. We have to be so skilled in our knowledge of it that we don’t have to back away when someone comes up with a question or rebuke. We can say, “look this is what the Book says.” This is always my best argument. It’s not what I think, or what my denomination says, but rather it’s, “But what does the Word of God say.” Now this is what Paul is praying even for these early believers, that their wisdom and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ might be so great. Verse 18.
“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened;…”
Now listen that takes time to accomplish. I mean the moment we’re saved we don’t have a full knowledge of all these things, but rather it’s a growth process. In fact that’s the whole idea of the early chapters of Romans, and we call it those 3 chapters on sanctification. Now you want to remember that at salvation, yes we’re sanctified, we’re set apart, but in our everyday experience it’s a process of sanctification. It’s a continuous growth in our Christian experience, and in our knowledge of the Scripture. Now that comes with continuous effort on our part. We have to put something into it. Now that doesn’t add to our salvation, because that’s complete. But if we want to really gain the knowledge and wisdom of God, now we’ve got to put some feet to it. We’ve also got to put some time into the Word of God. Another thing that just thrills Iris and I is when we get letter after letter from people saying that for the first time in their lives they are studying their Bible. Some of these people have been Christians for over 50 years. Well, listen nothing could thrill us more, because this is what we want people to do. You don’t go by what I say, but rather get into the Word of God.
And once you understand this graphic difference between Law and Grace, between Peter’s preaching and Paul’s preaching. when you’re able to separate those two, then studying this Book gets so exciting. When you’re able to see that, then you’ll see how it all fits. There won’t be anymore contradiction, there’s no more gobbledy gook to it, and I say that reverently. It’s not confusing, it’s all laid out so perfectly, but you have to learn to discern these things. So that’s all part of what Paul is talking about.
“The eyes of your understanding, being enlightened; (or opened up) that ye may know (you don’t go through this life groping and wondering and hoping, but rather) what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,”
Now again I dare say if we ask the average believer, “What’s in store for you after this life?” And they’ll reply, “I’m going to go to heaven after I die.” Well that’s great and that’s nice to know, but is that all you can tell me? Well for most of them they will say, “Is there more than that?” Yeah there’s a lot more than that. It’s not enough to know that we’re going to go to heaven when we die, which will be great, but God wants us to get at least as much as He has revealed of what’s out there. I mean, it’s not just an empty darkness. God is getting something fantastic ready for us, and there’s a lot the Scripture doesn’t tell us, but on the other hand He’s already revealed some of what’s in store for us. We’re going to have a glorified body, like Christ’s glorified, resurrected body. Never again an ache or pain, never again an injury, illness, or disease. In the next life we’re going to have power to go from one place to another in that split second of time as He did. We’re going to be able to go through walls like He did, in fact it says so in I Corinthians.
I Corinthians 2:9
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
Eye has not see nor ear heard. Now what does that tell you? There is nothing in our earthly experiences that can even come close to that which God is preparing for us. And again I’ve had men who just love to fish? They just think that’s the epitome of living, and they’ll say, “Well what greater thing can there be than fishing?” And I say, now look when you get to eternity, I don’t know exactly how it’s going to be, but God has something in store for you that will make your fishing experience pale in comparison. And it will be the same way with anything else that we may think is great in this life. Once we get into the realm of glory, what God has prepared for us is going to be so much greater that it’s beyond human comprehension, and this is what we have to get excited about.
We’re not just going to die and go to heaven, and what will be will be. No, God wants us to get a glimpse of glory, and a glimpse of what it’s going to like to be in His presence forever and ever. You know I never set dates but I believe that we’re getting so close to the time we will find ourselves in heaven with Him. Now coming back to Ephesians chapter 1, and now verse 19 as Paul continues his prayer. Not only does he want us to understand the inheritances that waiting for us, but also that we’re to understand.
“And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe,…”
Salvation always come down to believing doesn’t it? It’s not what our denomination demands. Oh you ought to hear some of the things that we hear on our telephone from people who have been told wrong. We hear, “Well someone says I must do this, and someone else tells me I’ve got to do that. I just say to all that, “Forget it!” There’s only one requirement and that is faith, and believing, but it must be genuine, and not just a mental accent. Oh I could show you over and over how many verses that it’s all faith on our believing the Gospel + NOTHING! And remember the only way you can do that in Scripture is rightly divide the Word. Keep Peter’s teaching and the Law separate from Paul’s teaching and Grace. If you don’t separate the two then you will wind up with a mixture of Law and Grace, and God won’t have any part of it.
You know we’ve got some pins or buttons that say, “Faith + Nothing = Salvation!” And while we were in Israel we had just enough buttons for the number of people who were with us, so everyone received one to wear. While coming out of Jordan, I’ll never forget my own experience, as we were waiting in the passport line, and a gentlemen in another line probably 15 or 20 feet over from us was looking at the message on the buttons and finally he couldn’t take it any longer. So he comes up to me and read the button, “Faith + Nothing = Salvation? ” he said. Now this man was a middle easterner I’m sure, but he talked perfect English. So he said, “You mean it’s not work, work, work like my religion teaches?” I told him no, and he said, “What?!” He then went back and got in line.
Well we had several experiences like that all over Israel, those people have never heard of such a thing. But we’ve got millions right here in our own country who have heard it and read it, but refuse to believe it. Well those buttons are a good conversational piece anyway. But you see that’s where it’s at – “Faith + NOTHING!” But that faith has to be in that finished work of the cross as Paul describes in I Corinthians 15:1-4. When Christ said while on the cross that, “It is finished” how in the world can people then say, that you have to do this and that? If that’s the case then our Lord lied! If He said it was finished, and it wasn’t, then Christ lied. But we all know that our Lord did not lie, because He did finish it! And all He’s asking us to do is to believe it with all our heart, and then let these other work things follow. That’s all well and good, but don’t try to tie them to salvation. So looking at the verse again.
“And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20. Which he wrought in Christ, (not only when He died on that Roman cross, but it was epitomized, it was crescendo) when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,”
You don’t hear about Him being raised from the dead much any more do you? You don’t hear much about resurrection power, but listen that where it’s at. Had Christ, as Paul says in I Corinthians 15, not been raised from the dead, we’d be as lost as dogs. I mean we wouldn’t have any hope at all, but He was raised from the dead. In fact let’s look at a verse in Romans chapter 1.
“Paul a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2. (Which (Gospel) he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) 3. Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh. 4. And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by (what event?) the resurrection from the dead.”
Had He not been resurrected there would have been no power. Had He not been resurrected we would yet be in our sins. Satan would yet be in total control, and death would still be an absolute. But on the flip side, since He did resurrect, since He was raised from the dead, now we know Satan is defeated, we know death is defeated, and we know that we have an eternity where He is alive forever more. And it was because of the power that was manifested in His resurrection. Now then, what does Paul also teach? That as Christ was resurrected from His earthly tomb, we have been resurrected from our deadness in transposes and sins. We’ll be coming to that real soon in Ephesians chapter 2. And what has happened? Well let’s just take a quick look see right there in verse 1.
“And you hath he quickened, (made alive) who were (past tense) dead in trespasses and sins:” Well what kind of power did it take to make us alive from being dead? Resurrection power. The same power that raised Christ from the dead. Look at Romans 8 for moment to compare. Now this is Bible study. We’re not here to preach at you, but rather just show you what the Bible says. These verses all fit so beautifully together.
“And if Christ be in you, (by the person of the Holy Spirit) the body is dead because of sin; (we were born in sins, and we’re sons of Adam) but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (or make alive) your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
Is it all ringing true? Oh I hope so. The indwelling Holy Spirit is the mark, the ownership of God. It’s also that power that raises us out of our lost condition, and gave us life. It’s that same power that’s literally going to propel us on up until we meet the Lord in the air. And it’s that power of the Holy Spirit that guides us and directs us every moment of our existence. That’s why I don’t have to have, “Thou shalt not, and Thou shalt.” I have never ran across a true believer who says, “Oh I can go ahead and steal from my neighbor, it doesn’t bother me a bit.” Can you imagine a believer saying something like that? No. If that happened, then I’d have to say, Well I don’t think you’re a believer, because the Holy Spirit would never give you that kind of freedom. The Holy Spirit absolutely forbids those kinds of activities, and when we’re under His control, it’s going to effect us. Now back to Ephesians chapter 1.
“Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead,…”
In order for God to raise Christ from the dead, what powers did God have to over come? Satanic, didn’t He? He had to defeat Satan on his own ground, and all the powers of Satan, and hell itself had to be overcome in order for Christ to be raise from the dead. Remember that’s the last thing that Satan wanted to happen. If Satan could have kept Christ in the grave, then he would have finally gotten what he wanted, and that is to be God. But Satan couldn’t hold a candle to God, because all the power of heaven was released for you and I when God raised Him from the dead. Let’s look at the second part of that verse.
“…and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.”
For us Christ is not the King sitting on the throne of David on Mount Zion. He will be for Israel yet someday, but for us He ascended back to glory, sat down figuratively speaking, at the right hand of the Father to become now the Head of the Body, which is you and I, the Church here on earth. We have that union with Him that Israel knew nothing of, we have a union that no one in antiquity knew nothing of, but it’s only unique to the Church Age believer that as we live and move on this earth we are connected to our Head who is in heaven.
LESSON ONE * PART IV
YOU ARE SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE – EPHESIANS 1:13-23
We just trust the Lord will bless you as we open the Word for this lesson, and trust that you will get your Bible and study right along with us. Now let’s get back to where we were in Ephesians chapter 1, and I would remind you again that the Book of Ephesians is a deeper doctrinal Book than Romans, Galatians, and the Corinthians. It is constantly teaching us of our exalted position “In-Christ” as members of the Body of Christ, of which He is the Head. Now let’s start with verse 20.
“Which he wrought in Christ, (that is the power of resurrection) when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places. (here’s His position now during this age of Grace) 21. Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion,…”
In other words, there is no power on earth, or heaven or in hell that He is not far above. That’s His power, that’s His Sovereignty. Now I constantly run into people who never understood until I taught it that Jesus Christ was the Creator of Genesis 1:1. When people hear this it just blows them away, and yet Paul makes it so plain, as well as John’s gospel, that it was God the Son, the One who became flesh, who spoke the Word of creation. So we have to recognize that He has the power of creation, He has the power over everything He ever created naturally, and so there is nothing to compare with the power of Jesus Christ. That’s why we can trust Him, we can place our faith in Him, because He will fulfill that which He has promised.
Maybe we should stop for a couple of minutes and show you that He was the Creator. I teach someone who’s been in Church 50 years, and he very educated man, and he was just blown away by these verses that showed Jesus was the Creator, so maybe we need to show that more. He also told me that when he took that into his Sunday School class, they just about threw him out. I said, “Well who in the world do think did the creation?” “Oh they think God did.” I asked Him, “Well who do they think Jesus is?”
But listen, we have to remember that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, He was a member in the Godhead, and according to the New Testament He was the Creator of Genesis 1:1, even though it’s just referred to as God. So let’s just take a brief look at these verses. I hadn’t intended to do this either, but I’m being prompted by the Holy Spirit to do it, so let’s turn to John’s gospel, chapter 1. And remember this still fits with what we’re seeing in Ephesians, that He is above all powers, dominions, and principalities. Why? Because Jesus Christ the Creator created them. I’ve always made the statement, that while they were nailing Him to that Roman cross, what was the real situation? “The created beings were doing it to their own Creator!” Have you ever thought of it that way? And with one word He could have just zapped all of them, they could have all been wiped off the scene, but why didn’t He? Because look at what Philippians says.
“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” He did this in order to purchase man’s salvation, but He didn’t have to do that, because He was the Creator. Now let’s look at some of these references.
“In the beginning was the Word, (that’s capitalized) and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (He’s one in the same) 2. The same was in the beginning with God. 3. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Then you come all the way down to verse 14 and it explains who the Word was.
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,…”
Now that’s not so hard to comprehend is it? Who dwelt among the Jews? Jesus of Nazareth. And what was the purpose of all of His miracles, signs, and wonders? To prove to Israel that He was the Son of God.” Now let’s leave John, and let’s run quickly over to Ephesians chapter 3:9 where Paul tell us “the purpose of his apostleship.”
“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:”
So the triune God as we saw back in Acts chapter 2, in counsel, predetermined everything that would happen, before anything was ever created. They determined that Jesus the Son would be the one, to call everything into being. And that’s why Paul writes, “God created all things, but by Jesus Christ.” All right, then the next one is in the Book of Colossians chapter 1. And my goodness I don’t see how people can argue with the Word. I don’t care what their opinion is they simply can’t argue with what God has written, and this isn’t interpretation. I mean, this is exactly what it says, I’m not twisting it, I’m just reading it as it sets in the King James version, and I don’t think any of the other translations can foul this up. I mean this is pretty obvious.
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (now only one person of the Godhead shed His blood, and that was Jesus Christ) 15. Who is the image of the invisible God, (the Godhead which implies the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. And God the Son is) the firstborn of every creature: (because He was God in pre-existence. Now verse 16 is just plain English.) 16. For by him (the Son) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:”
See those are the same words we looked at in Ephesians. So Jesus the Christ created everything, and that’s why God could set Him far above everything, because our Lord created them. Christ is the Creator! He was the Creator! They were created for Him. Let’s see what the next verse says.
“And he is before all things, and by him, (His power) all things consist.” (are held together.)
I mentioned in one of the previous programs that out of all the billions and trillions of bodies in outer space, have you ever seen the astronomers record one of them crashing into another? Why of course not. Now there may be explosions of new ones being made, but you never read how two of them banged into each other, and caused a turmoil out there. Why? Because the Creator has perfect control of every one of them. I mean every one of them, He knows exactly where they are at any given moment in time. Why? Because that’s the only way they can keep from crashing into each other. If that happened then it would be like a nuclear fission out in space. Let’s look at one more in the Book of Hebrews. I could also take you to Revelation, but we won’t take time to look at that one, because Revelation says the same thing that all the rest of these do. “That He created everything by Jesus Christ!” But let’s look at this one in Hebrews chapter 1:1
“God, (just like in Genesis 1:1. It’s the same word) who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers . (that is the nation of Israel) by the prophets 2. Hath in these last days (the last days of Scripture is from His first advent until the end, and we’re in the last days. Now we’re also getting close to the latter days, which means the end of the last days. But in these last days which began with His birth at Bethlehem He hath) spoken unto us by his Son, whom he (God, the Trinity) hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;”
Now you put all those together, who’s the Creator? Jesus of Nazareth! Think for a moment, where did Christ get the power to calm the waves of the sea of Galilee? Well He was the Creator of them. And where did He get the power to raise dead Lazarus? He was the Creator of him. He’s in total control. There is nothing that He doesn’t supersede. Do you see how all of this fits together? Now come back to Ephesians again in chapter 1. So Paul fits right in with all that by declaring then that when God set Him at His right hand up in the heavenlies –
“Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, (that covers everything. Heaven, Hell, earth, space, everything is under His control) and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.” Now verse 22. And because of that exalted position God –
“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,”
Most people think that last verse should read, “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the King over all things to the church.” But you see that’s not what it says. But rather “God hath set Him to be head of all things to the Church, which is His Body.” Now if we are the Body, are we decapitated without a head? No! Now let’s come back to I Corinthians chapter 12, and look at that. In these verses we’re going to look at, he gets down to such simplicity that it’s almost ridiculous, but Paul is trying to drive the point home. What is the Body of Christ? Well it’s just like this human body, it’s composed of billions of cells. And every cell whether it be a fingernail, or an eyeball, or an ear drum has a different make up and each is important. So you see Paul is using the analogy of a human body as an example of the Body which is His Church. Now let’s look at it.
I Corinthians 12:12
“For as the body (the human body) is one, and hath many members, (hands, feet, eyes, etc.) and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: (before we go any further, what controls the body? The head!) so also is Christ”.
Paul is making that same analogy. You and I as believers are members of a Body of which Christ is the head. And we’re just as connected in this Body of Christ, as our head is to our own human body. Looking at some more of the analogy in verse 15.
I Corinthians 12:15
“If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16. And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body: is it therefore not of the body?” Then let’s see what Paul says in verse 18.
I Corinthians 12:18
“But now hath God set the members (that is you and I as believers) every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.”
Now in our mother’s womb, and I’ve used this analogy often. One of the miracles of reproduction is that as the mother prepares that little baby in the womb you don’t have fingernail cells going any place but to the fingers. And all these separate cells go exactly to the right place. And at the end of that 9 months whenever the baby is complete, then you have birth. That’s miracles of miracles. Well God is doing the same thing in a Spiritual realm. He is building the Body of Christ of believers from every walk of life from around the planet. The Chinese, or Jew, or any other nationality when they become believers are just as much a part of the Body of Christ as we are. And we’re all connected to that one source, which is Christ the head. Now come on down to verse 27.
I Corinthians 12:27
“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”
God never loses sight of our individualism. God hasn’t lost us in the crowd, we’re not just a number in God’s mind, He knows us as an individual. Now that’s the Body of Christ. Now come back again to the Book of Ephesians chapter 1.
“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23. Which is the body, the fulness…”
Now if you have a marginal Bible, the other word for fullness is complement. As members of the Body of Christ we have become a complement. Now the best way to explain that is to go all the way back to Genesis where everything begins. We’ll start in chapter 2.
“And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”
Now you take the Hebrew root, and what do you suppose that word help meet is in our English? Complement. Or a better definition for it would be, “Someone called along side to help.” Do you see that? That’s the whole idea of a husband and wife relationship even to this day. The wife is that complement to the man that really completes him and brings the help that he needs, and that’s what Eve was to Adam. This was all set in type of course looking forward to the greatest union that could ever take place which was the marriage between Christ and the Church. Now for a moment let’s go back to the Book of Romans chapter 7. My how these verses just drop into place. Remember Paul is writing to believers.
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; (His physical body that was crucified) that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, (not just to escape hell fire, but also) that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”
We’re to be worth something to God, we’re not to be deadwood. We’re to be working, and bring forth fruit for His honor and His glory. Now coming back to Ephesians chapter 1.
“…and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23. Which is his body,…”
And that’s a concept that few believers, I think, have any idea that we’re members of a living organism. Now you know as well as I do that as long as we’re living our body is a composite of living things. Our cells are alive, our enzymes are alive, and as soon as they die, we dead. All right it’s the same way with the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is not an organization like the country club. I know that’s what most Churches are getting to be like I’m afraid, but that is not the true scriptural definition of a local Church. We are to be a living organism, with life. Not physical life, but rather spiritual life. And that life is enhanced by fellowship, by the Word, by prayer, and all because we’re connected to the head who is in heaven. God knows we’re waiting for the day when there won’t be that huge space between the head and the Body. Why? Because one day we’re going to be brought into union with Him, and we’re going to revel throughout all eternity in His presence, and that’s something to glory in.
LESSON TWO * PART I
THE INVISIBLE MAKE-UP OF THE LOST AND SAVED
In our last lesson we finished chapter 1, so today we’ll start chapter 2. Personally the way I look at Ephesians chapter 2 is the same way I look at what chapter 8 is to the Book of Romans, and most people know what I’m talking about. Romans chapter 8 is just the highlight of almost all of Scripture, but especially of the Book of Romans. And here chapter 2 is also the highlight of this short little letter to the Ephesians. It’s a tremendous chapter, and if we get past the first 3 or 4 verses today I’ll be surprised because there is just so much in here that we can’t gloss over, and we’re going to take our time with it.
I’m constantly urged to repeat things as we study, and I was looking this morning at the verses we’ll probably cover today, and here again in just a few verses, the Holy Spirit repeats things two or three times. Well if the Holy Spirit, the author of the Book, uses repetition, then who am I to say, I can’t repeat something. So let’s just start with verse 1. And remember Paul always writes to believers, because you see the whole concept is if we know what we believe, then we can share it with those who are lost. God doesn’t expect the Church to save the lost, but rather the individual believer to do that, and then bring them into the fellowship of the Church. We’ve got to teach the believers of where we are positionally, and why we’re there so that we can be free to share it with those who are still out in darkness.
“And you (the believer) hath he quickened, (made alive) who were (past tense) dead in trespasses and sins;…”
Now as you know I always like to define words so that anybody can understand. What really is death? Well we normally think of when something dies, it’s dead! Well what happens when something dies. Let’s keep it in perspective by using the human race as an example. What happens when a person dies? Well their soul, the invisible part of them is separated from the physical body. Now that’s all death is. Now that’s probably over simplifying, but death is simply the separation of the invisible part of us, for believers it’s soul and spirit. For the unbeliever it’s only the soul, his spirit hasn’t become an entity.
Spiritual death is also a separation, but it’s a separation from God. So the person who is spiritually dead has been separated from the Creator God. And Paul is saying here, “This is where we were before salvation.” Let’s look at what he says.
“…who were dead…”
You were separated from God. Now we’re going to go all the way back to Genesis chapter 2. As you know I’m always stressing Paul’s epistles for the basis for most of what we believe, but that doesn’t mean we don’t use the rest of Scriptures. Remember all Scripture is inspired of God, and is profitable. So when Paul says you were dead in trespasses and sins, what was he talking about, when did it happen? Well spiritual death or this separation from God was an event, it wasn’t a process, but rather an event.
We find that God has now created Adam, he’s still alone. Eve is still in Adam, but she hasn’t been brought out of him to be his help mete. And you pick it up in verse 16
“And the LORD God (which was God the Son on this occasion) commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
Or he would be separated from God. There will become a gulf between them. That’s what’s going to happen Adam if he eats of this one tree Now let’s go over to chapter 3 and see what happened. And again you all know this, but there’s some that don’t. Let’s jump in at verse 2. Now Eve is now on the scene.
“And the woman said unto the serpent,…”
Remember back there in verse 1 he was called the most subtle of all the creatures that God had created. If you ever wonder what that word means, look in the dictionary. It means to be sly, cunning, deceitful and so forth. So all these things were wrapped up in this creature that Satan is using. Let’s see what Eve says to the serpent.
“…We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:”
Now Eve wasn’t with Adam when he got his instructions from God back there in chapter 2. So where did she find out what God had said? From Adam. And I’m bringing that out to point out Adam’s headship. God told Adam, and that’s where He left it, and then it was Adam’s responsibility to instruct Eve, and he had. So she has the right answers.
“But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”
I’ve had people ask me, “Well did they have a concept of death? Well it’s kind of hard to say yes or no, but I believe they did, or otherwise God would have just been speaking empty words. So they understood what He was talking about. They knew that if they disobeyed Him they’d be separated from Him. Now verse 4. Here comes the very first lie in Scripture. First turn quickly to John chapter 8 and verse 44.
“…for he (Satan) is a liar, and the father of it.” Now let’s see what Satan says to the woman. Turn with me to Genesis 3 and verse 4 and following.
“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5. For God doth know (doesn’t that sound like the false teachers of today using the Scriptures? Oh they give credit to the Holy Spirit, and make it sounds so official, but it’s just as much the power of Satan as this was. So Satan can say) that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, (small “g” of course) knowing good and evil.” Now is that what God had said? Come back to chapter 2 again for a moment, we’ve got to compare Scripture with Scripture. God is speaking.
“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it:…”
See that’s exactly what God called that tree. Do you see how meticulous Satan can be when he gets ready to deceive somebody? Oh he didn’t goof it up, but rather Satan said it to Eve just exactly the way God said it. Now coming back to chapter 3 and verse 5
“For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (this is why God had told Adam not to eat of the tree.) 6. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, (remember knowledge leads to wisdom) she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”
OK the moment Adam ate, what happened? He died. Oh not physically, but spiritually, and he was separated from God. He could no longer expect Him to come and fellowship with him, and walk with him, because that had been totally destroyed, because of sin. Now remember sin in it’s simplest definition is what? “Disobeying the revealed Word of God.” That’s what sin is, and they disobeyed the will of God by eating. Now if you’ll just look at the end of verse 6 where it says, “and he did eat.” Immediately what happens in verse 7? Well the results of their sin.
“And the eyes of them both were opened,…”
That’s exactly what Satan said would happen. But not to have their eyes opened for a greater appreciation for their Creator, but rather to know good and evil. So immediately, the moment Adam sunk his teeth into that fruit, their spiritual eyes were opened to know good and evil, and their relationship with God was immediately broken. So spiritually they died. Now physically of course Adam lived 930 years, but when did the seeds of death begin? The moment he took part of that fruit. Now do you see all of that?
Now I had Mark Wood a young man in our audience who is an artist draw three circles on the chalk board before the class began. And now I would like to go back like we did when we were teaching the Book of Genesis, and I use these circles to just simply indicate the three parts of man. The outside circle represents the tent in which we live which is what we call the “body.” That’s just the simple exercise of the five senses. Now within this body, we also a smaller circle called the “soul,” and within the soul is a still smaller circle called the “spirit.”
Now when I was teaching Genesis I defined the “soul” as the “mind, the will, and emotions,” all of which are invisible. But these make up the personality, and it’s in the area of the “soul” that we were made in the likeness and image of God. Now I’m going to have you turn all the way up to the Book of I Thessalonians chapter 5, and then we’ll come back to Genesis. I think it’s interesting to note how much in Scripture is tied to the number three. Beginning with God Himself, a Trinity. Here Paul is signing off his letter to the Thessalonians, and let’s see what he says.
I Thessalonians 5:23
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; (or completely) and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
So what are we? We are a three part being. Now I guess the theologians would call it a trichotomy, but that’s too big a word for me. We are just simply a three part being. We are body, soul, and spirit, and that’s the way Adam was created. He was created with that perfect body that could have lived forever. He was created with a personality, patterned after the personality of the three persons of the Trinity, a mind, a will and a set of emotions. But he also had the third part which is what we call the spirit. So this first circle completed with all three parts of body, soul, and spirit represents Adam as a perfect three part being.
Normally I like to put it this way. The spirit is the area where Adam had fellowship with his Creator God. The spirit was also intrinsically united with the soul, and we still look at it that way. So that Adam in his purity, in his original state, through his spirit fellowshipped with his Creator, and through that fellowship with his Creator, it had an effect upon his very personality, his mind, his will, and his emotion, and that in turned exercised the body. Now we don’t know how long Adam and Eve were in the Garden before they fell, but however long it was it was perfect. It was a glorious experience, and they could look forward to their Creator coming down, maybe once or twice a day to walk with them, and commune them.
Now naturally I’ve still got lots of questions about Adam and Eve for example, where did they sleep at night? Where did they experience their days of habitation? Did the Lord also have a beautiful home for them? I’d like to know that. I’m sure they didn’t wonder around in the Garden of Eden 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, what did they do to occupy their time. I’ve always told people that the Bible tells us everything we need to know, but it doesn’t tell us everything we’d like to know. This we do know though, Adam and Eve lived in perfect communion, and fellowship with their Creator. Sin hadn’t even showed it’s ugly head.
Now then, the next thing we know is that Adam sinned when he ate, and for that I want to move to the second set of circles. Remember over here in the first set of circles before Adam ate we have Adam complete. So in this next set of circles, again this outside ring represents the human body. Adam is still living just like he was in the first circle. He is still a body, he’s still has his soul, the mind, will, and emotion, none of that has changed since he ate, but the moment Adam ate of the fruit, he lost that third part, the spirit, and he becomes nothing now but a body, and a soul, and now the spirit is dead!
Now, from Adam and Eve on every person that is born, comes into the human experience with only a body and soul. That spirit part of each is dead. It has no fellowship with God, it has no communion with God. Also remember the moment Adam sinned the soul became a sin nature. So now Adam and Eve have become sin-natured creatures, and that’s the way each person is when they come into this world. That’s the best way I can explain it. They are now operating under a sin nature, and this sin nature is separated from God, and it’s going to influence the physical body, not for good, but rather for evil. That’s the whole concept of the spiritually dead individual.
Now this is exactly what Paul talks about when he says in Ephesians 2. Let’s look at that and start at verse 1.
“…who were dead in trespasses and sins;”
We weren’t dead because of what we did, but rather we started there at birth. Every baby that is born is born in sin, dead in trespasses. Let’s go back to Romans chapter 5 for a moment and let me show you. Do you realize that all the way from Genesis chapter 3 to Romans chapter 5 there is not a word of Scripture that deals with Adam, with the exception of one or two places as a name in a genealogy. Not one word of Adam being the cause of sin and death. Not one word of how he at one time was a spiritual being in fellowship with God. We don’t find this until we get to the apostle Paul’s writings. Now in this chapter here it comes.
When you think about these things it is amazing that Jesus in His 3 years of earthly ministry never revealed this. Have you ever thought of that? Why didn’t Jesus take the time with the twelve or during His teaching, and say “Now look folks, the crux of your problem was Adam. And it was with Adam that sin and death came into the world.” But you see Christ never mentioned that. And the closest you can come to that in the Old Testament is found in Jeremiah. Let’s turn to Jeremiah 17 and start at verse 9.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked:…” But that as close as you can get to the problem, and you can’t build doctrine like Paul does on that one verse. Now let’s look at what Paul says in Romans chapter 5 and verse 12.
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death (entered) by sin; and so death passed upon all men,…”
Death passed upon all men. And the reason is that every person that has ever been born, that spiritual part of them is dead. Death and sin are almost synonymous. If there never would have been sin, there never would have been death. So death and sin almost become partners. When Adam sinned that spirit died, his soul became a sin -natured thing that can think nothing but evil, and it was contrary to the will of God, and the reason is because the spirit is dead. So this is where the human race is as Paul says in Ephesians chapter 2 and verse 1.
“… (you) who were dead in trespasses and sins.”
Even good people are walking around spiritually dead. They have no connection with God whatsoever. They can’t have because they are spiritually dead. Now reading the last part of Romans 5:12
“…and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” And you come on down to verse 14.
“Nevertheless death reigned from Adam (do you see how Paul puts the finger on it? Death didn’t come in some place along the line, but rather it came in when Adam ate from that forbidden tree) to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression,…”
Now let’s turn over to I Corinthians chapter 15 where again Paul brings out this same problem. Paul lays it right out here just what the crux of our problem is, and how we can overcome it one day. My goodness, it looks like our time is gone already for this lesson, and we won’t have time to read all the Scripture I had intended.
I Corinthians 15:45
“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made (or created) a living soul: (that was back here in this first set of circles when Adam was complete) the last Adam (speaking of Christ) was made a quickening spirit:”
And how does man become complete? Believe Paul’s Gospel found in I Corinthians 15:1-4.
LESSON TWO * PART II
THE INVISIBLE MAKE-UP OF THE LOST AND SAVED
Now for starters let’s get right back to Ephesians chapter 2 and verse 1 and Paul is speaking to us believers.
“And you hath he quickened, who were (past tense) dead in trespasses and sins:”
In the last lesson we went back and reconstructed Adam as he was created. Remember we had the three circles on the board, and in that first circle we had the makeup of Adam as he was created with a perfect body, with no seeds of death. Adam could have lived forever. God gave him a personality of a mind, will, and emotions patterned after the very personality of God Himself. Also in that first circle we found Adam also had that third part the spirit that made him complete so that he could fellowship with God. And with his spirit operating correctly it had an influence on his personality, and it in turn had an influence on the body. So Adam was under a perfect set of circumstances in a perfect body, and with perfect soul and spirit.
But then we went and looked in the second of the three circles at how he ate, and immediately the body begin to die even though he lived 930 years, he still died. We’re talking about physical death with his soul being separated from his physical body. He also lost that third part, the Spirit. Then we pointed out in our last lesson how the moment Adam ate of the fruit became a sin nature. Now the reason I’m using that word is because so often Paul uses the terminology that “we are sin -natured.” The things that we do naturally are not Godly, but rather ungodly. Now that’s just the bent of the old Adamic Nature, but remember the spirit part of Adam died and completely became inoperative, and so every child born from Adam and Eve on are now only a two part being of physical body with a soul, of mind will and emotion, but that soul is a sin -natured creature.
Now we’re going to pursue the lost person a little further, because that’s the format of Scripture. The natural first, and then the spiritual. So we’re going to look at the natural for a little bit yet. This is the person who is living but is spiritual dead, and what is his future if he does not come into God’s saving Grace. Let’s go back to John’s gospel chapter 5, and we’re going to jump in at verse 28. Now this is Jesus speaking during His earthly ministry, and they’re asking Him many questions. But here again Jesus doesn’t give us any doctrine on how all this is brought about, but rather He leaves that for the apostle Paul to reveal. But Jesus does tell us the end result of a person who is nothing more than body and soul.
“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming (He doesn’t put a date or year on it, but it’s a future point in time) in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice. (that is the voice of God to come forth.) 29. And (they) shall come forth, (there will not be anyone that won’t hear that call to come forth from the grave, whether they’re lost or saved. They will come forth, not the saved and lost at the same time, but all will come forth.) they that have done good,…”
Remember there’s only one way we can please God, and what is it? BY FAITH! Jesus doesn’t come right out and say it here, but the scriptures are so plain that there’s only one way of doing good in God’s eyes, and that is by exercising Faith.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him:…” So those who are of faith will come forth.
“… unto the resurrection of life;…” Now the word eternal is not in there, but it’s certainly implied, because what does John 3:16 say?
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” So that’s always implied that the believer is looking forward to an eternal life situation. Now let’s look at the next part of the verse.
“…and they that have done evil, (or having no faith) unto the resurrection of damnation.”
Now I could stand here the rest of the afternoon and give you scriptural instances of lost people who were lost only because they would not believe what God said. I can start with Cain. I wouldn’t doubt a bit that Cain was probably a nicer man than his brother Abel. He was probably the kind of guy that people would say, “Isn’t he a swell guy?” But what was his problem? No Faith! He couldn’t believe what God had told him to do, so Cain goes out into eternity lost.
The next person we could use as an example is Esau. Jacob and Esau were twins, they had the same parents, the same environment, and again I wouldn’t doubt that Esau was probably a more likable fellow than Jacob, in fact from a man’s point of view, he was. Because which one of the two did their father Isaac prefer? Esau. Nice guy, good fellow, but what was his problem? No faith! Whatever God said didn’t mean a thing to him, and that’s why he was willing to sell his birthright for a bowl of bean soup. Oklahoma people know all about bean soup. So Esau gave it all up for a bowl of soup, and the reason is no faith, and he’s lost for all eternity. So you can find that all the way up through Scripture, the ones without faith may have been better people, they may have been more moral, but they were destitute of faith, so God calls them evil.
“…and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
A better word for damnation would be condemnation. In other words every lost person from Cain, who left this life when their body died, their soul continued to live. So many times Paul uses the word “sleep” when he refers to those who have died. In fact let’s look at the Scriptures so you’ll know what I’m talking about. So turn with me to I Corinthians 15, he also uses it in I Thessalonians chapter 4. Let’s just drop down to verse 51.
I Corinthians 15:51
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not sleep, (to die physically) but we shall all be changed.” Now let’s take time to also read the one over in I Thessalonians.
I Thessalonians 4:13
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as other which have not hope.”
And all Paul is talking about is believers who have died. Now there are cults who have taken that to mean that when a believer dies he goes into an unconscious state, and some cults even feel that the soul stays with that body in the grave, and it is merely asleep. Listen the soul never sleeps! The soul of a lost person, as we’re going to see here in a minute, goes immediately to Hell.
Now people don’t like to hear that expression anymore, but you see I’m not afraid of that. I’ve always said the if people don’t like the way I teach, then they can push the off button. If the money stops coming in for our television time, then I quit coming up here each month to record these lessons, and that will give me more time with my cattle. Now I’m sure the Lord doesn’t want it that way, but I’ve got that option, so it doesn’t scare me that I’m going to lose a retirement if I can’t keep doing what I’m doing like it would other preachers and teachers who are depending on a denomination retirement pension. So I’m going to teach it just like the Bible puts it, and if people don’t like it, then that’s tough. The lost person is going to go to Hell!
All right, the soul never sleeps, but what about the body? We can refer to it as being asleep because what’s going to happen one day? It’s going to be resurrected, it’s going to be waked up, it’s going to be changed. I guess the best example I ever had of that, and it’s only happened once in my life. I came in one noon hour, and I was so exhausted, but yet I had a lot of work to do that afternoon. So I told Iris that I was going to take a 30 minute nap, and then I’ve got to get going again. You know from the time my head hit the pillow until Iris woke me it seem like it was only a split second.
Have you ever had that happened? Now that’s exactly what physical death is. The old body is put in the grave, and it’s really asleep. But before it knows that time has even gone by, what’s going to happen? The Lord’s going shout, and the trumpet of God is going to sound, and that body is going to be raised from the dead, and will be awake in a split second. But always remember, “the soul never sleeps” OK so let’s deal with the lost person first and then we’ll come back and look at the believer.
So the lost person’s body dies, his old sin nature, which has never gotten right with God, goes out into eternity, to Hell, the place that is waiting for the resurrection of the lost person. Now let me take you back to Ephesians chapter 2 for a moment and then we’ll go to Matthew.
“Wherein (that is in trespasses and sins) in time past ye (believers) walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, (Satan) the spirit (small s so it’s not the Holy Spirit) that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3. Among whom also we (including ourselves) all had our conversation (manner of living) in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
Now turn with me to Matthew chapter 7. These are verses that you don’t hear much any more. Most teachers and preachers just skip over them. My, when I was young I heard this quite often. I haven’t heard about this for a long time, but these verses are still in the Book. And on top of that this is what the Lord said Himself.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, (not eternal life, but rather eternal condemnation) and many there be which go in thereat: (why do many take the broad way?) 14. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, (eternal life) and few there be that find it.”
Years ago I had a fellow who did a lot of buying from me and so forth, but he was a member of one of the largest religious systems in the world, and he was trying to implore me to become a part of his religious system. And I said to him, now wait a minute, my Bible tells me that based on numbers alone you’re going the wrong direction, and I don’t want to be part of it. He said, “What do you mean?” I said, “Have you ever heard about the verse in the Bible that says, “broad is the way, and many go in thereat, but narrow is the way that leads to eternal life, and few there be that find it.” I said, “Tell me something, does your particular religion qualify for many, or few?” He said, “Well we’re many.” I said, “Then according to that where are you?” He said, “On the way to destruction?” I said, “You named it.”
Because you see all through, has God ever had the “many?” Never! That’s a doctrine that you can follow all the way from Genesis to Revelation, and I call it the “Doctrine of the remnant.” Now those women who go to the fabric shops, what do you like to find? A remnant.” It’s just a little bit left of the whole bolt. Well you see that’s what God has kept all the way through human history, is that little remnant. Once it got so small He could hardly see it, like at the end of the first 1600 years of human history, we had the event of the flood. How many were saved from the flood? 8 out of probably 4,000,000,000.
Then you come to the next graphic description and that is when Elijah was confronting the prophets of Baal up there on Mount Carmel. And then Elijah ran scared from Queen Jezebel clear down to the south end of the Sinai peninsula. He hid under a Juniper tree, and what was his graphic statement? “Lord I’m the only one left.” But what did God say? “Elijah I have 7000 who have not bowed their knee to Baal.” In other words these 7000 were still believers. Now that sounds pretty good, but you see Israel has always had a population coming out of Egypt running between 7-10 million. Do you know what the percentage is of 7000 out of 7 million? It’s .01. Not 1/10th, but rather it’s one, one hundredth of one percent. It’s a pretty small remnant isn’t it? And it’s always been that way, and it’s that way today. We’re getting down to a smaller and smaller percentage everyday. But is God surprised? Why of course not, because it’s always been that way. So this is what Jesus meant when He said this is Matthew chapter 7 and verse 13.
“…for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:”
And that’s where most people are headed. Because they’re going out into eternity with nothing more than that physical body that’s now been laid in the grave, it’s asleep waiting for the resurrection that Jesus talked about in John chapter 5. And they went out with a rebellious sin -natured soul that is one day going to be called up to the Great White Throne Judgment, and that judgment is only for the lost. Now in the few minutes we have left let’s come back to Revelation and follow these lost people.
Now if you doubt me that lost people go to Hell consciously just read Luke 16 about Abraham, Lazarus, and the rich man. The Scripture gives us just one little window of opportunity for information, and it’s the only time we have this account in Scriptures, but again the Lord Himself refers to it. And through that little window we found Abraham conversing with the rich man who was in Hell. The rich man was in torment. The rich man was conscious even though he wasn’t there in body, but rather only in the area of the soul, the mind, the will, and emotions. Yet the conscience was so real that what did he ask Abraham to do? Somehow dip his finger in water and cool his tongue, because he was in torment in the flames. Now the Lord Jesus Himself used that. That didn’t come from story tellers.
So we know that the lost is in a torment situation, but that’s not the end, because they’re going to be resurrected out of Hell, because Jesus said they would. After they’re resurrected out of Hell, they’re going to be given a body, not fit for glory, but rather a body fit for their next abode which is found in Revelation chapter 20.
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment (or rule) was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” I think this includes the believers of all ages, as well as the Tribulation believers who will have been martyred. Now verse 5. Now we look at the lost being resurrected.
“But the rest of the dead…”
Well if you’ve got all the believers involved up here in verse 4, then naturally who are the rest of the dead in verse 5? Lost people all the way from Cain, and Esau, and all the way on up through when there was a time of opportunity. Now continuing on.
“But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished…” So there’s coming a day when they’re brought back on the scene to have their day before our Lord to see what degrees of punishment they will receive in the Lake of Fire.
“This is the first resurrection.”
Now this is always confusing, because it’s not talking about the rest of dead in the first part of verse 5, but the ones up in verse 4. They were in the first resurrection which was the resurrection unto life.
“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: (the believers) on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priest of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” Now come on down to verse 11.
“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, (which will be Christ) from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12. And I saw the dead, (the lost who have been down in Hell in torment ever since they died) small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead (those spiritually dead who never entered into salvation) were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13. 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. (remember a believer will never face second death, because we experience our second death when we identified with Christ when He died on the cross. Remember Paul says, `we are crucified with Christ!’) 15. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
So these unbelievers will be resurrected out of Hell and given a body that is fit for the Lake of Fire. That sounds horrible doesn’t it? But that’s what the Book says.
LESSON TWO * PART III
THE INVISIBLE MAKE-UP OF THE LOST AND SAVED
As we begin this lesson let me say that we try to reach across all denominational lines and get people to study the Word of God. I had a phone call from a gentlemen yesterday who was 69 years old, and he hadn’t been to church since he was 9 years old. He hadn’t even listened to anyone on television, but he happened to have caught our program, and said, “You have totally turned me around, and now this Book is consuming me. I can’t get enough of it.” Well we just praise the Lord for things like that, and continue to covet your prayers. Our goal through the Holy Spirit is to continue to open the Word where anybody can understand it. Now let’s go back to Ephesians chapter 2, and begin this lesson with verse 6. However to pick up the flow we will begin with verse 4.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us. 5. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ. (by grace ye are saved;) 6a. And hath raised us up together,…”
That is, after God, who is rich in mercy hath made us alive with Christ, by virtue of the work of the Cross. Remember when He died, we died, and when He rose from the dead it was by that same power we’ve also been raised out of deadness. In the first two lessons we showed you the 3 circles on the board that shows our makeup. Remember in our center circle we are born into the human family dead spiritually, with a sin nature which is the engine of all carnal activity. Now looking at the third circle we find that now as believers the old Adam has been crucified, we have been given a new nature. We have been generated by the Holy Spirit, and now we’re a completely new person.
Now in our closing remarks last lesson I pointed out that we still have the old nature to fight with, and we have to keep him under control, and let the new nature control our activity. That’s why from time to time Christians fail and behave like they’re not Christians. That’s when they let that old sin nature, that old Adam, raise his ugly head and take over their lives for a little while. That can happen to any of us, but that doesn’t mean that we have lost our salvation. Now reading verse 6.
“And hath raise us up together, (he has given us resurrection power, and eternal life) and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”
Now when we first started teaching this Book of Ephesians what did I tell you the prepositional phrase was throughout this whole little book? In Him, In Whom, In Christ, which was a positional thing.. We are in Christ as a result of our salvation experience, it’s a work of God. Along with everything else that happened the moment we believed such as He has redeemed us, justified us, sanctified us, but He has also placed us positionally into the Body of Christ. It’s a work of God, and we take it by faith. I mean, you can’t lay out a diploma and say, “See this is what God gave me.” But rather we just simply take it by faith. The Book says that it has happened and we believe it. So in verse 6 we find that Paul writes that we’re in the heavenlies, but we’re still on the earth. But positionally we are in Christ Jesus in the heavenlies. All of a sudden a verse just comes to mind. We’re living in such crucial days, and let’s let some of the Scriptures just thrill your heart. Turn to the Book of Titus chapter 2 for a moment, and let’s look at verses 12 and 13. This goes right along with what we’ve been saying in these last 3 lessons, that now because of the Grace and mercy and love of God we’ve been brought out of that life of desire to live in the nature of Old Adam. Now this is what we’ve been translated to.
“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, (desires) we should live (instead) soberly, righteously, and godly, (not when we get to heaven, but where?) in this present world: (that’s to be our lifestyle. Now here’s the verse that came to mind. We are at the same time) 13. Looking for that blessed hope; and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”
Now here Jesus Christ is claiming to be the great God, and I know this flies in the face of people who claim that Christ never claimed to be God. Yes He did. Paul claims He was by inspiration, and this is what we can be looking for. “The glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” What a hope we have. And why can we do it? Because in verse 14 it tells us that.
“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Now coming back to Ephesians chapter 2, and we’ll read verse 6 again.
“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
We’re in the Body of Christ, although we’re living here on the planet. But now look at verse 7. See this life is just a little snap of the finger compared to eternity. Oh eternity is beyond our comprehension, and I’ve said before and I’ll say again, the Bible doesn’t really tell us that much of what we’re going to be doing. But this much we know, that when we get to glory it’s going to be beyond human comprehension. All the things that we think are enjoyable on this earth will be as Paul says, “Dung” by comparison. So this much we can rest on.
“That in the ages (eternity) to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” God didn’t have to save the human race, but rather He did it out of love and Grace. Now verse 8 is one of the super, super Pauline verses.
“For by grace (unmerited favor) are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: (not something that you’ve worked for, not something you’ve decided to do, but) it is the gift of God:”
Now I don’t have to tell you what a gift is. It’s something that you do not work for. A gift a lot of times is something that we don’t deserve. I can look at some of you and say, “You’ve given Iris and I things that we don’t deserve.” But salvation was a gift of God that none of us deserves. Now the next verse tells it all.
“Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Now that flies in the face of probably 90 % of Christendom tonight. They are somehow either blatantly or by innuendo making people feel that they’ve got to do something, and some more than others. But let’s look at what Paul says.
“Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Faith + Nothing = Salvation. Let’s go to Romans chapter 4. And here Paul uses Abraham as his prime example, but of course it’s prompted by the Holy Spirit.
“For if Abraham were justified (or made right with God) by works, he hath whereof to glory; (or boast) but not before God. 3. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, (+ nothing) and it (his believing) was counted unto him for righteousness.” And then jump down to verse 5. I’ve used this verse to lead quite a few to the Lord.
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
As soon as someone says, “I’ve got to do this or that”, then that cancels the work of the cross. But if you just believe then God will justify the ungodly. God doesn’t justify Godly people. You remember in His earthly ministry, what did Jesus say? Who needs the physician? Not the well person, but rather the sick. If there were such a thing as a Godly person he wouldn’t need salvation, but there is no such thing as an Godly person. Let’s look at Romans 3:23.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
To the unsaved person, all are ungodly whether they’re well behaved or not. God sees everyone potentially as fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and we’re children of wrath like everybody else regardless of how we have been inhibited in our training. So let’s look at Romans 4:5 again.
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
And we could just go on and on, come back a page to Romans chapter 3 for another one, and let’s just drop down to verse 24. The language throughout all of Paul’s writings are the same. It’s not by works, it’s by faith in that finished work of the cross.
“Being justified (made just as if I’ve never sinned. That’s what God does when we become a believer.) freely (without any works) by his grace (and how does He justify us?) through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Then come on down to verse 26.
“To declare, I say, at this time his (Christ) righteousness: that he (God) might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
Do you see how simple all of this is? And oh my goodness, the world of religion is just putting people under all kinds of pressure and superstition. They look for this and they look for that, and all they’d have to do is just say, “But God did it all.” It’s finished, and we are expected to believe it. Now go back to Ephesians chapter 2.
So like Abraham he couldn’t be saved by works or he would have boasted, and you’ve heard me use this before. “Can you imagine what a horrible place heaven would be if everybody could boast of how they got there. Why we’d cross one side of that golden strand to the other rather than listen to someone tell it again, and again how they got there.” But it’s not going to be that way. Not a single person in glory is going to be able to boast of what they did to get there. No not a one. And we’re all going to sing the same song, “Nothing but the blood Christ!” That’s the only way. People think that we’re kind of a know-it-all when we say, “I know I’m going to go to heaven when I die,” and they say, “Who do you think you are anyway?” “Well I’m a nobody, but the One I’m trusting is Somebody! He’s the Creator of the universe, He did it all.” Now verse 10.
“For we (who have been made alive out of deadness in trespasses and sin) are his workmanship,…” Now that doesn’t sound like much in the English, but do you know what that is in the Greek? It’s the same word from which we get the word poem, and you know what a beautiful work of art a poem can be. Do you know how our English has come down through centuries from various Greek words and do you know what word we use commonly that comes from this same Greek word translated “workmanship?” Symphony.
Now maybe some of you don’t like symphony music, but that’s beside the point. What makes a symphonic rendition of music? A putting together of all the various instruments. The bigger the orchestra the better it sounds. But what did it take to get the trumpets to play that note, and the French horn this one, and the violin that one, and the drums this one? Just what did it take? It took the fantastic mind of these composers, and do you know what blows my mind? A lot of those composers back in the 1800’s wrote those scores of music for every individual instrument in that symphony without ever touching one themselves. Now think about that. Think of a man with the wherewithal of music that he could write the score of every instrument in that huge orchestra without playing one of them himself. Now that’s what this word says that we have become in God’s hand as believers. We are like a grand symphony, and God has put everyone of us in exactly the right place, and we are to strike exactly the right sound if I may use that expression. Why? Because of His Sovereign way of putting us all together. Now let me show you another verse I like to use here. When we receive a larger offering than normal, I try to write back, and this is the verse I use so often. I Corinthians chapter 3, but it also applies if it someone who give $1.00 or a $1000.00 it doesn’t make a bit of difference, it still applies. This is again only talking to believers.
I Corinthians 3:9a
“For we are labourers together with God:…”
Do you see what a royal vineyard you and I are working in? We’re all working for the same cause. I’ve told everyone that’s been part of our ministry whether it’s our class people here, or whether it’s the people who contribute out in TV land. When I come up before the Bema Judgment Seat for rewards, it’s not going to stop with me. It’s going to be funneled out to everybody who’s been a part of my ministry, because we’re all laborers together with God. So again:
I Corinthians 3:9
“For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” Then he goes on as we’ve studied before, how God will reward us for all of our laboring. Remember not for salvation, but as a result of salvation. Now back to Ephesians chapter 2.
“For we are his workmanship, (God has intrinsically in His Sovereign Grace brought every believer into his place in the Body of Christ. Whether we’re rich or poor, black or white, or regardless what country we live in. We’re all working together to bring about the fruition of the completion of the Body of Christ. So we’re His workmanship, we’re like a poem, we’re like a symphony. Now what’s the next word?) created in Christ Jesus unto good works,…”
Now another verse just comes to mind in II Corinthians chapter 5. You know too many people think salvation is just a fire escape to keep them from going to Hell. Oh listen, that’s just a small portion of it. But God has created us to be something in His vineyard. We are to be something in that great symphony that He has constructed and created. Let’s start with verse 14.
II Corinthians 5:14-15
“For the love Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, (or conclude) that if one died for all, then were all dead: (we’ve already come to that conclusion) 15. And that he died for all, that they which live (have been raised out of their deadness in sins and trespasses) should not henceforth live unto themselves, (in other words, the attitude shouldn’t be, well I’m safe from going to Hell, and that’s all I have to worry about. Oh no, that’s not it. Once we become a believer we don’t live unto ourselves) but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
See, that’s the Gospel. Every time you turn around in Paul’s letters you get the Gospel, how that Christ died for our sins, how that He was buried, and how that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. We must believe that for eternal life, and there it is again at the end of verse 15, it just keeps popping up. Now verse 16.
II Corinthians 5:16a
“Wherefore (since Christ died for our sins, and rose from the dead) henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have know Christ after the flesh,…”
I’m sure that Paul is making reference here to Christ’s earthly ministry. That’s not our salvation today. Although it’s good in application, it’s certainly good to know of all the miracles He performed, and all that He taught, but that’s not the Gospel to get us to heaven. Remember Paul and Christ were about the same age, so if Jesus was 30 years old when He began His ministry, then the apostle Paul was about the same age, and beginning his activity in the Sanhedrin. So they were contemporary with one another. So Paul could say, “Sure I knew Christ in the flesh.” Now I don’t think they ever had a face to face confrontation, but old Saul of Tarsus knew all about Him. Now continuing on with verse 16.
II Corinthians 16b
“… yet now henceforth know we him no more.”
Now that’s just plain English. What’s Paul saying? I’m not lifting up Christ’s earthly ministry, and remember this is Holy Spirit inspired, but what does Paul lift up? His death, His burial, and resurrection, His shed blood. See that what Paul knows, that’s what been revealed to Paul from heaven. Now verse 17 is the verse I wanted.
II Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, (if we’re in the Body of Christ) he is a new creature: (or creation) old things are passed away: behold, all things are become new.”
Now who alone can create something like this? Only God! That’s why as you look at this, can you see now that works can never have a thing to do with our salvation? Because all the areas that we’re working on are the invisible. Now they’re real, but invisible. The old Adam has been crucified, and who but God could do it? It’s impossible to do that, but God can. Who but God can give us a new nature? Nobody. And that’s why it has to be all of God. You can join 15 churches, but it’s not going to give you a new nature. You could join as many churches as you want and do all the things they require for salvation, and it’s not going to take care of old Adam.
But when we let God do it, by us simply believing the finished work of the cross, then He moves in and does it all. He regenerates our spirit, He baptizes us with the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ, He gives us a new divine nature that controls the body, and we’re in fellowship with Him, and it’s all because of what He accomplished on our behalf at the cross. Oh the world thinks we’re crazy, but I don’t. I wouldn’t trade places with the world for anything.
LESSON TWO * PART IV
THE INVISIBLE MAKE-UP OF THE LOST AND SAVED
Now we trust you will just get your Bible and study along with us. I guess one of my favorite expressions is, “now that’s what the Book says.” After all His Word is all we can go by. It doesn’t matter what I think, or what somebody else thinks, or what some denomination thinks, but what does God’s Word say about it. We know a lot of people try to twist some of these things and make an argument out of it, but usually the Word is so plain, and we can just take it for what it says. As we saw in our last lesson, what God is looking for more than anything else is “Faith!” Just believe what He has said with all your heart.
I guess we had better take a minute and explain “believing.” I’ve had 2 or 3 questions come up in the past week where people will ask, “Les what do you mean when you say believe?” I suppose everyone thinks about that sometime. I said, “Well it’s not just a mental accent to an historical fact.” That’s not believing. Just because somebody says, “Oh yeah I believe that Christ was crucified, yeah, I believe that He probably arose from the dead.” Hey that’s not what the Bible calls believing. Believing is when with our whole being, this whole mind, will, and emotion, recognizes that it’s hell bound, it’s hopelessly lost, it’s without God. And then it can say, “Yes I believe with all my being, “That Christ didn’t just die a historical death, but rather He died for me, and He arose from the dead for me,” and that’s why we call salvation personal.
We have to come to the place and understand and believe with all our heart that He died for me. Not in a wholesale number, but for me, and for you. This may be hard for some people to believe that He knows everybody individually, but I compare everything again to the stars in space. Out there God has trillions of them, and God has never lost track of a single star. Not only that but God also knows everyone of them by name, so if He can keep track of all those stars. then He can keep track of a few million believers. So when I maintain that it’s by believing, and believing alone, it’s not just a mental accent to something, it is literally saying, “God I am casting my whole eternity on what you have done for me.” That’s what I mean by believing, and that’s faith, because God has said in His Word what He has done.
Now let’s go back to Ephesians chapter 2 again, and it looks like we’ll be a long time in this chapter, because it’s so loaded. I compare it, like I said in an early lesson, to Romans chapter 8. I would like to start with verse 3. This is the lifestyle of a person who has never entered into salvation. They are under control of the old Adamic sin nature. Satan is the god of this world to them whether they know it or not, and so this is what happens:
“Among whom also we all had our conservation (manner of living) in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
Now let’s go back to Romans, and again let Paul give us a graphic description of the lost person’s frame of mind. Remember at one time that’s where you and I were. Naturally when we believed we were saved out of it. But for the person who has never been saved, he’s still in it and whether they practice it or not is beside the point. God sees they have the potential for it, the old sin nature has the potential for it. Have you ever wondered, how can people do the things they do? We read of the horrible murders, or we hear of the horrible carnage that soldiers will bring upon countries that they’re over running, and we wonder, how can they do that. Well because that’s just exactly what the old sin nature revels in. The only reason there’s not more of it is because society has inhibited it, and kept it under control to a certain degree or we wouldn’t have a society. But you turn society loose without government restraints in what we call anarchy, and this is what you’ll have. Now I hope you’ve found Romans chapter 3, and let’s just start with verse 12. Now this is the manner of living that Paul is referring to in Ephesians chapter 2, out of which everyone of us have come.
“They are all gone out of the way, they are together (Jew and Gentile) become unprofitable: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit, the poison of asps is under their lips: 14. Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15. Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16. Destruction and misery are in their ways:”
Now stop a minute, go all the way to World War II, what is usually the result of war? Destruction, and misery. My, I was reading yet the other day of how Germany, as a result of the allied bombing, was totally demolished. Those beautiful cities just reduced to rubble. But that was only the half of it, and I had never read it before. When the Russians came in from the east they literally raped the German women by the thousands. Now that’s war and destruction, and misery. It’s the very makeup of this very individual we read about in the preceding verses. If you give that person the license to do, he’ll do it. Now reading on with verse 17.
“And the way of peace have they not known:”
A lot of time young people will say, “Why does God sanction war?” God doesn’t bring it on, it’s the work of the curse. It’s the work of mankind in his satanicly inspired sin nature. Now read verse 18..
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
It’s a wonder the world has lasted as long as it has isn’t it? Now let’s go on over to the Book of Galatians chapter 5, and this again describes the life style of the lost person under this sin nature personality given no inhabitation. Now granted, in a society like we’ve enjoyed up until the last few years we have inhibited this kind of behavior just by simply influencing kids, and teaching them how to behave and so forth.
But whenever a kid jumps the traces, and goes against what maybe his good parents have taught him, what does he do? Here it is in this chapter. This is the life style of a person who has shown restraint to the wind. Let’s start with verse 19, and it’s not a pretty picture. Every now and then my pastor will begin his sermon on Sunday morning by saying, “Now folks I’m going to warn you before I ever start, I’ve got a negative sermon this morning, and you’re not going to like it, but hopefully I can turn it around and something positive will come of it.” But there is a lot of negatives in Scripture, and here’s a bunch of them, it’s not pretty, but it’s true.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; (looks like our every day newspaper doesn’t it?) Adultery, fornication, (gross immorality) uncleanness, (moral uncleanness) lasciviousness, (making light of these things) 20. Idolatry, (something to worship other than the Creator God) witchcraft, hatred, variance, (constant arguing) emulations, wrath, (have you ever wondered why the world just constantly erupts in demonstrations of one sort or another? And they get so angry, well here it is) strife, seditions, heresies. 21. Envyings, murder, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Why? Because these are the results of living for the flesh. Now you can’t make it any plainer than that. That’s what the Book says! I didn’t make it up, that’s what God’s Word says. This is the life style of the natural man, and unless he’s inhibited, these things are going to run rampant, and of course we see it everyday. Our newscasts, our newspapers are full of it, because restraint is being taken away, and consequently we’re seeing the results. Now let’s come back to Ephesians chapter 2, and we’re going to turn from the negative to the positive. And again it’s going to hinge on my favorite little three letter word, and what is it? “But.” Now let’s finish the last part of verse 3 so that but really comes out.
“…and were by nature the children of wrath, (headed for eternal doom, and the second death, and separation from God forever) even as others. 4. But (not I, not you, not some denomination, not some church, but who?) God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.” When did He show His love? At the cross. Love put Him on the cross, not the Romans. So let’s see what the last part of that verse says.
“…rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.”
Oh goodness, in the next verse, here comes the repetition I warned you about in the first lesson this afternoon. He’s going to say the same thing he said in verse 1. Well what happened? Well the Holy Spirit didn’t lose His mind. The Holy Spirit is emphasizing. Do you see that?
“Even when we were dead in sins, (God) hath quickened (or made us alive) us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)”
It’s by Grace. We didn’t deserve it, we didn’t work for it, we didn’t do anything for it. Now let me take you back to Exodus chapter 32 and 33 for a moment. I hadn’t intended to use this verse, but it comes to mind, so we’ve got to use it. You know back in chapter 32, the children of Israel worshipped the golden calf, and there was a lot more there than met the eye. There was wickedness there, it was awful. God and Moses were up there at an altitude where they could have looked right down on them and still they did it. Here in chapter 32 Moses and the Lord are now conversing over these horrible things that the Israelites are doing around that golden calf.
“Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: (and in so many words God is saying, “Moses I’ll start over with you.”) and I will make of thee a great nation. 11. And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? 12. Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. 13. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.”
Moses said, “Lord you remember saying all that, don’t you? Now don’t destroy them.” But you see it wasn’t the words of Moses that changed God’s mind. Now go to chapter 33, verses 18 and 19.
“And he (Moses) said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. 19. And he (the Lord) said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee;…
Now here comes the mind of God, and that’s why I brought you back here. This is exactly what Paul is proclaiming in Ephesians, when he said in verse 4, “But God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.” How could God do it? Well here it is, and don’t you forget it.
“…and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will show mercy.”
What is God declaring? His Sovereignty. He is absolute, and if He wants to spare the nation of Israel in spite of all their sins, He can because He’s Sovereign. It wasn’t just because Moses pleaded with Him to spare the nation He could show mercy and spare the nation because of His Sovereignty. Remember there at the cross as those Romans were driving those spikes into Him, what could God have done? He could have zapped the whole lot of them. He could have said, “Enough, I’m going to start over.” But what withheld that kind of action? His mercy. What nailed Him to cross? His love, and His mercy, all because He is Sovereign. If He was not Sovereign He could not do this, but it’s His universe, it’s His world full of people, it’s His cattle on a thousand hills. He can show mercy if He wants to show mercy.
But what’s His other prerogative of being Sovereign? He can pour out His wrath, and one day He’s going to. One day He’s going to say, “I’ve had enough!” And I think we’re getting close to that day. One day He will say, “I’ve poured out My mercy, but now I’m going to end it.” At that time God will pour out His wrath, and it’s coming. The world is getting ready for it. My goodness, one of the big things took place this past Monday that I think very few people realize is just exactly what this Book was telling us was coming, and what was that? The introduction of the new currency in Europe, the Euro. Oh it’s bringing this Book right up into the spotlight.
I told Iris when I read about the Euro, “I told them so.” A couple of years ago I was telling people, to watch western Europe, they are coming to the fore. Their population is already beyond Americas. Their gross nation product is catching up real fast, and one of these days it will surpass ours, and what I’m about to say, I say with all the love for our country, that a person can have. But I can see the day coming when this new European currency is going to make the dollar blush with shame. Why? Because that’s where prophecy has to be fulfilled. It’s going to be out of the western European or the old Roman empire revived. Now coming back to Ephesians chapter 2.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.”
Now there again I don’t think we’re going to comprehend the love of God until we get to glory. We’re human, and everything is so limited for us. But oh when we enter into the realms of glory, then we’re going to have a full understanding of all these things. We’ll be able to understand at that time what love He really had when He poured out His mercy.
“Even when we were dead in sins, (and were living in that sinful lifestyle, God reached in and, what did He do? He) hath quickened us…”
But first what had to happen? Now come back with me to Romans chapter 6. This is really a review of some of the things we’ve taught in months gone by. After we look at that portion of Scripture, then we’ll get back to our three circles on the board. Some people told me at break, “that they had to leave after this lesson, but please finish that third circle. dealing with the invisible make up of mankind.” So I’m going to try to do that. But for now Romans chapter 6, and verse 5.
“For if we have been planted (buried) together in the likeness of his death, (we identified with it) we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:”
Now to put that in plain English, what is it? “If we die with Christ, we’re going to be raised at the trumpet sound with Him in the Rapture.” Now verse 6, and this comes by faith, because the Word declares it.
“Knowing this, that our old man (old Adam sin nature) is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
Now let me get back to the third circle if I may. Now to begin with we have this old sin nature dwelling within the body of flesh with no Spirit, but now when we have taken this old Adam, this old sin nature, and by faith we have let him be crucified by an act of God which is precipitated by our faith. The moment we believe the Gospel that Jesus died for sins, was buried, and rose again, and that all of that was done on my behalf, then God reckons old Adam, that old sin nature as crucified. That old sin nature is striped of his power, and control over the acts of the body, and as soon as he is reckoned as crucified, God moves in and supernaturally gives us a new nature, a Divine nature. This new nature now has eternal life, and it’s not going to go to Hell.
When the believer dies, the moment the soul separates from this body, it goes up to paradise into the presence of the Lord. But until we die we are functioning in this 3d circle. We’re still in the body of flesh with all of it’s passions and desires, but the new nature combats that, and we keep the old nature under control, by virtue of the regenerated Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit now has fellowship with our sprit, and so this new regenerated Spirit, working with the new nature is going to control this old nature. So this third circle completed now represents a saved person walking on the earth today. Now for just a moment let’s go to Galatians chapter 5. A lot of people don’t realize that when we become a believer, we are left here on the earth with two natures. A new Divine nature that wants to please God, but God still leaves the old nature and He expects us to deal with him. And here it is in Scripture in verse 17.
“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these (these two nature) are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (and the reason is, you’re in a mode of spiritual warfare, and we have to keep that uppermost in our thinking.)
LESSON THREE * PART I
ONCE YOU WERE SEPARATED FROM GOD
Now to get right back into the Book where we left off in our last lesson and that was in Ephesians chapter 2 and we’ll begin with verse 11. Now again Paul is going to use that word which is almost one of his favorites, and it is “wherefore”.
And the thing I always point out is that when Paul uses that word “wherefore” it’s a flash back of what he has just covered. Paul repeats himself, not as much as I do, but almost as much, so what he’s referring to is what he’s just covered in these earlier verses of chapter 2. And he is dealing primarily with the whole concept that we become new persons in concept, we become a new creation, not by virtue of anything we have done, but rather it’s all by faith + nothing. Now I know that rankles a lot of people because they are still under the impression that you’ve got to do something in the energy of the flesh to merit salvation. But if you would just study Paul’s emphasis of how we enter into that salvation, it’s not by what we do, but by believing what Christ has already done. So looking back for a second at these previous verses and see what he says.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith: (see, there is nothing else listed in there. It’s just by our faith, and made possible by the Grace of God) and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God:”
Then Paul goes on to say, “we are then as believers to serve.” Because after all God didn’t just save us as a fire escape, as I’ve put it so often, but He saved us to serve Him while we’re here on earth during this earthly pilgrimage. Now then coming into verse 11, and I imagine these are a couple of verses that are almost unknown to most Church people and yet these are two verses that have made such an impact, at least on me. Remember I was just like everyone else. At one time I just saw this whole Book thrown into a blender and mixed up, and spooned out like it is done in most congregations today.
Then I started teaching, and begin to realize that God was dealing with the nation of Israel on covenant ground all the way from Genesis chapter 12 until we get to the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. in Acts chapter 9. And then when Israel rejected the Messiah, He chose Saul of Tarsus to go to the Gentiles. That’s when these verses became so important to me, and I’ve used them a lot in past programs, and I’m sure a lot of people will recognize them. They are so important because they point out that for over 2000 years from Abraham to Paul, that Gentiles had little or no opportunity for salvation. Although these 2 verses are oh so important, there are still many people who can’t believe what they say.
“Wherefore remember that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh,…”
Now immediately that reminds us then to whom is the apostle writing? To primarily Gentile believers. Now when I teach this facts of Gentiles, the non-Jews, being so completely different than anything that had happened before, you want to remember that at the time that God called Abraham every last human being on the face of the earth was pagan, idolater, Gentiles. At that time there had never been any Jews, and these pagan, idolater, Gentiles knew nothing of the one true God. It was at that time God decided to do something different and appeared to Abraham, and pulled out the Jewish race, and the nation of Israel. So Scripturally, we now lump everyone who is not of the twelve tribes, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, a Gentile. So that includes most of us. Then the Scriptures also refers to us Gentiles as we see here in verse 11, as the uncircumcision. Now let’s read it.
“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision (Gentiles) by that which is called the Circumcision (Jews) in the flesh made by hands;”
Now the only reason I’m going to take the time to do this, is believe it or not, I’ve had people tell me, “Well I mentioned some of this that you teach to my pastor or Sunday School teacher, and they’ll just say, “Well circumcision doesn’t mean anything so far as identifying one group of people, but rather it was just a matter of the surgical process of the flesh. So that doesn’t mean anything.” Well I beg to differ with anyone who has that mindset. When teachers and preachers do that then they’re putting everything back into that blender again and mixing it up real good to spoon out, and God never intended it to be that way. Now come back with me to Acts chapter 10, and I’m doing this just to show that when the Bible refers to the uncircumcised it’s Gentiles, and when the Bible refers to the circumcision, then it’s Israel, the Jew. Right here in a few verses I think I can prove that point. As I tell my classes here in Oklahoma all the time, “The main reason I teach is not just for you to learn, but for you to teach others.” We’re finding that’s coming to fruition in so many areas of the country. People are actually taking what they’ve learned and using the Scriptures, and going out to teach others. This is the way it has to work.
Now before we look at the verses in Acts chapter 10 let me give you a little back drop. This is where Peter went up to the house of Cornelius. It was the first time that Gentiles had been approached at all, and we’ll see in another lesson how even the Lord Himself went only to the lost sheep of Israel. But here Peter has miraculously been led by an act of God up to Caesarea on the Mediterranean Sea coast to go to house of Gentiles. Remember Peter had a lot of trepidation about this. I’ve always put it this way, that trip for Peter was like “Heel prints in the sand!” All the way from Joppa to Caesarea Peter did not want to go to this Gentile household any more than Jonah wanted to go to the city of Nineveh. It was the same kind of a mindset. “Surely God you don’t have anything to do with Gentiles”, but God says, “Peter get going.” All right when Peter got there, here’s where you see that the circumcision is Jewish, and the uncircumcision are Gentiles. Now verse 44 of Acts chapter 10. And remember all I’m trying to show here is the definition of these two words.
“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45. And they of the circumcision…”
Now to find out who was in the house that were of the circumcision other than Peter, you jump across the page at least in my Bible to chapter 11, and look at verse 12.
“And the spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting, Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house:”
Well who were the six brethren? They were Jews that came up from Joppa with Peter to Cornelius’ house. I mean Peter was in no mood to go to a house of a pagan Gentile by himself. So I guess for spiritual protection or what ever he took these six Jewish believers with him. Now coming back to chapter 10 and completing verse 45.
“And they of the circumcision (Peter and these six other Jews. The Scripture calls them circumcision. Do you see that?) who believed were astonished, as that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Now come all the way down chapter 11, and verse 1. Now this was after the fact and Peter was heading back home.
“And the apostles, and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2. And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision (the Jewish believers) contended with him. (why? Next verse) 3. Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.”
What were they called up in chapter 10, verse 45? Gentiles! Do you see that? Now that’s all I’m trying to show you. The Jew over and over in Scripture is referred to as the circumcision. The Gentile on the other hand is referred to as the uncircumcision. We refer to them as Jew and Gentile. Now if you come back to Ephesians chapter 2, I hope I’ve made my point. It’s just a matter of definition, that when we speak of the circumcision, it’s the Jew, it’s Israel. When we speak of uncircumcision, it’s the non Jew, and that’s all the Bible puts on it. A non Jew is anyone not born out of the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the twelve tribes of Israel. Now verse 12, and we find Paul writes to these Gentiles, and to you and I where we came from, and what the situation was concerning our Gentile forefathers. Now of course now we’re about 2000 years removed from when Paul wrote, but nevertheless as we look back through human history it’s still the same.
“That at that time…”
Well at what time? When God was only dealing with the covenant people of Israel from Abraham to begin the nation of Israel, until the fork in the road when Paul was called to go to the Gentiles. I guess we’d better stop and put it on the board. I probably should have put my timeline up already, but I didn’t know I was going to do this. You want to remember from the time of the call of Abraham, and we’ve had this on the board over and over through the years. That was 2000 years before Christ was born, when God pulled off of this main stream of humanity, He pulled off what we now call the nation of Israel, by virtue of the Abrahamic Covenant.
We’ll be looking at that probably in the next lesson. We always refer to this time as Jew only, but of course there were exceptions. I have already referred to Jonah going to the city of Nineveh although he didn’t want to because they were Gentile dogs. And Rahab on the wall of Jericho, and Ruth out of Moab. But by in large all the way from Genesis chapter 12, which was 2000 BC, it’s all God dealing with Israel, and not a Gentile except these few exceptions. Now as we finally came to Christ’s earthly ministry, it was really pointed out by Christ Himself that God was only dealing with the nation of Israel in Matthew 10:5. Now if he was only dealing with the nation of Israel, then where does that leave the Gentiles? Well read on here in chapter 2.
“That at that time (from 2000 BC until Paul is sent to the Gentiles) ye (Gentiles) were without Christ, (now we don’t have the word Christ in the old Testament, but what is it? Messiah! But remember the Gentiles were never promised a Messiah, so these Gentiles) being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel…”
Now if you’re an alien what are you? You’re a non citizen, and you don’t have any rights. You take even today, even with the laxness that we’re showing toward immigrants, basically according to our laws and constitution, how many rights does an alien have? None! So by right of law he has no reason to expect governmental help, he can’t vote, and all because he’s a non citizen. Now this was the lot of the Gentile all during this 2000 year period of time, with these exceptions. I don’t want anybody to come at me and say, “Well what about Nineveh?”
Now that was an exception, but the rest of the Gentile world was out there in their pagan darkness. They were worshipping all of their gods of silver, gold, and wood, and what have you. All of that was tied to that same concept of gods and goddesses that begin at the tower of Babel. That was the lot of the Gentile world. “Only Israel had a knowledge and a contact with, and a belief in the One True God from Abraham to Paul.” “And this is what we have to understand before the Scriptures open up and begin to make sense. You simply can’t lump them all together” Now read on in this verse 12. So not only were we (our Gentile forefathers) without a Messiah, the Christ. Not only were we aliens of the commonwealth of Israel, but what were we?
“…and strangers from the covenants of promise,…” As soon as God begin to deal with Abraham He made all these promises. In fact let’s go look at it for a moment, and you’ll see why Paul uses the word “promises.” Remember the Gentiles were outside the covenants of promise. Genesis chapter 12, verse 2. Now just look at the promises, and since God is speaking these are promises.
“And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shall be a blessing:” These were all future tense. There was no way Abraham could see how all of this would happen, but it was a promise from God. And then the greatest promise of all was in verse 3.
“And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: (Why? Because through this man that all the promises were given would come the redeemer for the whole human race. Read on) and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Not just for Israel, although that will come first, but it’s going to end up being the plan of salvation for the whole human race, but it began with Abraham. See that’s why I’m always reminding folks, you take our Bible from cover to cover, who wrote it? Sons of Abraham. That’s what we call Jews, “The sons of Abraham wrote this Book to the last man.” I’m seeing more and more proof everyday from various articles and writers that even the one that a lot of people try to say is a Gentile, and he was no Gentile at all, and that was Luke. Luke the physician was not a Gentile, but rather he was a Jew that had taken on a Gentile name, but so did Saul of Tarsus when he was given the name, “Paul” so that wasn’t so unusual. When Paul was out in the Gentile ministry he was given a Roman name. And it was the same way with Luke. So I still stand on the premise that this whole Book came through the sons of Abraham. Now come back to the Book of Ephesians chapter 2. So the Gentiles during this 2000 years before Christ, when God was dealing only with His covenant people the non Jewish world were what?
“…strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:”
Now I know that sounds awful. It sounds like God was cruel, and unforgiving, but that’s not the case at all. Because you see for the first 2000 years from the creation, all the way past the flood, and Tower of Babel, and up until the call of Abraham the whole human race had opportunity for salvation. The whole human race had access to God, it wasn’t just one group of people. And what did the whole human race do with it? Well they rejected it. And if you don’t believe me, you’ll certainly all believe the account of the flood, and I personally think there were 4 or 5 billion people on the earth even at that time, and how many were true believers? Eight! Now we think we’re getting pretty small in percentage today, but we’re not that few yet. It may get to that, but I sure hope not. But nevertheless that’s what happened those first 2000 years of human history, for the most part they just walked it under foot like they’re doing today. They just didn’t care. Most people have absolutely no interest in the things of the spirit. Why? Because it’s always been that way. So looking at the end of that verse again and let’s see what it says.
“…no hope, and without God in the world:”
Our Gentile forefathers up until Paul had no knowledge of the One True Creator God. They had no concept of Him. All they had was their gods, and their goddesses, and their temples, and what have you. But so far as the True God of Creation there wasn’t a Gentile that knew anything of Him whatsoever. So this was the lot then of the whole non Jewish world until we get to Acts chapter 11. A lot of times people have a hard time believing me when I say that Christ in His earthly ministry had nothing to do with Gentiles with two exceptions. The Canaanite woman and the Roman centurion were the only Gentiles in Scripture that Jesus had anything to do with, and that’s all we can go by.
I know a lot of people try to say that Galilee was Gentile, and since He performed so many miracles, He must have done it on behalf of the Gentiles, but the Book never says that, and you can’t read that into the Book. Always let the Book stand on what it says. In fact Matthew 10:5 says that He came only to the nation of Israel. So this Book says that they were only Jews that He dealt with! Now here in Acts this is a recap of everything that took place when they were stoning Stephen, which I maintain was about 7 years after Pentecost. And look what it says in Acts 11:19.
“Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word (Old Testament) to none but unto the Jews only.”
Remember only the Jews had the Old Testament at that time. Do you see how plain that they preached only to the Jew? How can anybody miss that, but I know they do. I had a friend of mine try to show one of his friends something recently, the guy read it, look him in the eye and said, “I don’t believe that.” So my friend said, “In other words you’re calling God a liar?” Now isn’t that sad, but you see there are multitudes of men with many degrees behind their names that would just literally say, “But I don’t believe that.” They say that Jesus ministered to Gentiles, and Peter ministered to Gentiles, but our Bible says that all the way up to the stoning of Stephen they ministered to none but to Jew only. Now how did it come about that all that changed and finally God sent someone directly to the Gentiles? Just back up to Saul’s conversion in chapter 9, and drop all the way down to verse 15.
“But the Lord said unto him, (Ananias) Go thy way: for he (Paul) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles,…”
Now if you want to see what the Jews thought of Gentiles turn quickly to Acts chapter 22. In this chapter Paul has already been out in the Gentile world establishing little congregations, and he’s back in Jerusalem, and he’s trying to explain to his Jewish listeners what God had been doing though him with the Gentile people. In verse 17 we find Paul in a trance while praying in the temple in Jerusalem, and now let’s look at verse 18.
“And saw him saying unto me Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem; for they (the Jews) will not receive thy testimony concerning me. 19. And I said, Lord, they (the Jews) know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them (the Jewish believers) that believed on thee: 20. And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him. 21. And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles. 22. And they gave him audience unto this word. (what word? Gentiles at the end of verse 21.) and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.” Can it get any plainer how the Jews felt about the Gentiles?
LESSON THREE * PART II
ONCE YOU WERE SEPARATED FROM GOD
Now as we begin I just want to say that we’re just an informal Bible Study, we try not to preach at anybody. We don’t twist any arms to make you come over to our way, but rather we just want to show you in context what the Scriptures says. We just try to get people into the Word of God and let them see what the Book really says. Our favorite type of letter we receive, and that is 90% of them, people tell us, “For the first time in my life I am studying my Bible, and I’m enjoying it.” Now that’s the main reason we teach We do not adhere to anyone particular denominational line, and that way we can reach people regardless of where they’re coming from. I know there are a lot of differences out there, but I always maintain you don’t have to agree with me on everything, however I think when it comes to the plan of salvation, that plan is set in concrete, and you simply can’t fool with that.
I teach what Paul the apostle to the Gentiles teaches that for salvation – “You must believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, that He was buried, and rose again the third day.” He teaches that in several places, but the three I like to share with people is I Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 10:9-10, and I Thessalonians 4:14.
So now let’s just pick up where we left off in the last lesson, and that will be in Ephesians chapter 2. We’re going to take a couple of moments to review what we covered in the last lesson in verse 12, how that Paul points out of graphically that our Gentile forefathers, before Paul was sent to the Gentiles as we saw in our closing statement in the last program, were without hope, they were without God in this world, they were strangers to the covenant of promise. They were alien to the commonwealth of Israel. And so consequently God had no dealing with the Gentiles unless it was one of those exceptions we mentioned.
I think I should have even – I think I’ll do it now. Let’s take you back to Matthew chapter 10, because this is a verse that has shocked a lot of people, and when folks have heard me teach it on television, and then they take it into their Sunday School class, and normally the Sunday School class will come right back with, “Where in the world do you get this stuff?” When that happens all one has to say, “That’s what the Bible says!” It’s as plain as day, and the Lord Jesus Himself said it. Jesus of Nazareth has just begin His earthly ministry, and in the opening verses of chapter 10 He’s calling the Twelve to be His disciples. Then they’re named in verses 2, 3, and 4, but now look at verse 5. Now for most of you who have heard me teach over the years, this is all old hat, but you want to remember we’ve got a lot of new listeners everyday, and most of them have never seen this. But look what it says.
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Do you see how plain that is? It’s just as plain as daylight from dark. “Don’t you go to Gentiles, don’t you bother with the Samaritans, but rather you go only to the lost sheep of Israel. But you see Christ’s earthly ministry was confined to the nation of Israel. I always have to remind people, can you find one instance in Scripture when He took His ministry down into Egypt? No! Did He ever go up into Syria? Of course not. So where did He spend all of His 3 years? Right in that narrow neck of geography between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, and no farther, and neither did the twelve.
They knew they couldn’t because the commandment was, “Go only to the lost sheep of Israel.” Why? Because of that covenant promise that we read in our last lesson in Genesis chapter 12. Remember only the nation of Israel was under that covenant promise, and He couldn’t abrogate that. He couldn’t break that covenant that He had made with the nation of Israel, so that is why He gave that command. Then the next one I use always so well in the same regard, is found in Matthew chapter 15. Here He’s confronted by a Gentile lady out of the coast of Tyre and Sidon , and let’s just drop down to verse 21.
“Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 22. And, behold, a woman of Canaan (a Gentile, a non Jew) came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
Oh what a perfect opportunity for Jesus to show His power. Wasn’t it? Yeah it was. But did He? No, not at first. So what was the answer Jesus gave her?
“But he answered her not a word….”
He ignores her. Now we find that hard to believe, but you had better believe the Word for that’s what it says. And the reason He ignores her again, is because He was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel. You all know the verse in John’s gospel, we don’t even have to look at it. “He came unto His own, (which was Israel) but His own received Him not.” And then of course that opens the door for the Gentiles. But in His earthly ministry He ministered only to His covenant people. Only those who were citizens of the commonwealth of Israel. Only those who knew what it was to have a Messiah, as we saw in Ephesians chapter 2. Now reading on about this lady who was crying after them.
“… And his disciples (the same twelve that He commanded not to go to the Gentiles) came and besought him, saying. Send her away, for she crieth after us.”
Send her away because you’ve commanded us not to minister to the Gentiles. See, that’s what all this boils down to. Send her away she’s a nuisance, she’s a pest, everywhere we go here she is crying after us.
“But he answered and said, (unto her) I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Now isn’t that plain? And most people don’t know why He said that. He said that because He came to fulfill those Old Testament covenants, and He couldn’t break those covenants. But being the God of creation, the One who wouldn’t bend to pressure like most people would, He could tell it like it was. “I am not sent but unto (My covenant people) the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Of course this lady wouldn’t take no for an answer, and I guess we can take a lesson from this. Then let’s look in verse 25.
“Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.” And He answered again in so many words, “I can’t do anything for you.” Looking at the Scriptures, what does He say?
“But he answered and said, It is not meet (right, and proper) to take the children’s (Israel’s) bread, and to cast it to dogs.” (Gentiles)
Now in Jewish sight the uncircumcised Gentiles were the same as dogs. So the Lord, says, “I can’t take that which belongs to my covenant people, (the children of Israel) and give it to you Gentiles.” He just couldn’t do it, because it would run contrary to the very mind of God when He made the covenant with Abraham. So He couldn’t, His hands were tied. But on the flip side, like he did when He sent Jonah to Nineveh, and He brought Rahab off the wall of Jericho, He could, being Sovereign, make an exception. But He couldn’t make it a blanket act and include all Gentiles. If He had it would have just simply destroyed the Scriptures, but He could make an exception. And so He finally gives in when she comes back in verse 27.
“And she said, Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
Now several lessons back we commented on this verse, and I made the allusion to Psalm chapter 23. And what is in Psalm chapter 23 in regard to a table.
“Thou preparest a table before me…”
Well what was the table? Well it was God’s table from which Israel feasted. It was a spiritual allegory, but nevertheless only Israel could feast at God’s table. And it’s the same analogy here. She says, “I know I can’t eat from Israel’s table, but can’t I have some of the crumbs that fall off the edge?” And that of course got to the Lord, and let’s look at what He said.
“Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt, And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”
Now that was one of the exceptions that the Lord made concerning ministering to Gentiles. There was only one other throughout His whole three years of ministry, and that was the Roman Centurion. He also gave into that one, but other than those two, you can’t find one instance in this Book that Jesus ministered to Gentiles. In fact, while we’re on that subject, come on over to John’s gospel chapter 12, and we have much the same kind of situation. The crowds of Jews are gathering from all over the then known world for the feast of Passover. The very same Passover at which He’s going to be crucified, and these are the days leading up to it.
“And there were certain Greeks (still another word for Gentiles) among them that came up to worship at the feast: 21. The same (these Greeks) came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, (one of the twelve) and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.”
“Now just stop and mull these things over. People are no different today than they were then. It was common knowledge of all these miracles that this Jesus of Nazareth was performing. I always remind my classes here in Oklahoma that all the miracles that are recorded in Scripture are just the sampling. Goodness sake don’t think for a moment that that was all of His miracles. Because as John ends his gospel what does he say?
“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. A-men.”
But here these Gentiles had no doubt been hearing about this man Jesus, and all of His miracles, and so they were curious. So they wanted to see this One who could do these things. Philip remembered what the commandment had been concerning Gentiles, and had second thoughts. But on the other hand nobody likes to take full responsibility for something like this so Philip sort of passes the buck over to Andrew. Let’s look at the next verse.
“Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: (and can’t you just read between the lines their conversation, because they both knew the commandment that Jesus Himself had given in Matthew 10:5 So they say to each other well let’s at least ask Him) and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.”
Well what do they tell Him? There are Gentiles out there and they want to talk to you. Now does Jesus say, “Bring them in? No way! What does He do? He gives them the reason why they can’t. It’s just that simple as you’ll see in the next verse.
“And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, (remember there’s only a day or two before the crucifixion) that the Son of man should be glorified. 24. Verily, verily, I say unto you, (and here comes the whole format of salvation for Gentiles.) Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground, and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
What was He talking about? His own death, His burial, like planting the seed, and when the seed is in the ground, what does it do? It dies! And as a result of the death of that seed, new life comes forth. It’s the whole format of salvation. That when Christ died and was buried, and rose from the dead, that’s when new life erupts. In fact now let me take you to Romans chapter 6. I didn’t intend to do any of this, but one thing leads to another, so we’d better just follow. And this ties so beautifully with what Jesus just said in John chapter 12, at least it does in my mind. Remember what it said in John?
“Verily, verily, I say unto you. Except a corn (kernel) of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” Now look at the language Paul use concerning our salvation.
“For if we have been planted…”
What’s that planting a reference to? Burial. When we plant seed we bury it. Oh not six feet, but nevertheless we bury it, and as a result of that seed being buried, and the moisture, and warmth of the sun, what happens? New life! But if you’ve got a seed that can’t die by germination, it’s not going to reproduce. All right so Paul is using the same analogy that Jesus used in John chapter 12. Now let’s look at what he says in the last part of that verse.
“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, (if we’ve identified with His death, and His burial, then it’s an assured fact that we can identify with His resurrection) we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:”
Do you see how beautiful all of this is. At His resurrection, of course that’s when He experienced the glorification. There wasn’t anything glorious in that cross. It was anything but. It was awful! But when He rose from the dead in power and glory, then that’s where we are. Oh to die to self, there’s noting glorious about that, but to rise to newness of life, and all that goes with it – Oh listen the last few weeks we’ve had more phone calls when the folks say, “our whole life has changed.” We had a call from a person in Pennsylvania last week, and he said, “You’ve changed my life” I said, “I can’t do that.” He said, “No but the Lord used you. He opened up the Scriptures to me, and now I just can’t get enough of it.”
Well within an hour a lady in Georgia called, and it almost gave me goose bumps because you would have sworn that they were reading from the same script. This lady said the same thing. “You have just changed my life.” Now I won’t tell you what group they came out of, but it was a group that is just about as hard as nuts to crack, and if you’ve ever dealt with them you know what group I’m talking about. But the Lord opened their heart so that they might believe the Gospel, and be gloriously saved. And that’s what you have to experience. You have to die to self, and experience resurrection power and it is a glorious power. I’ve never had anyone call and say, “Well Les, I wish I had never listened to you.” Never! But it’s always, “How God has just changed my life completely.”
There was another couple, they were in a horrible situation, and they wrote, and it was so bad that I didn’t even know how to answer their letter. In fact I just let the letter lay there for two or three weeks, and I started feeling guilty for not answering it, and I finally wrote to them and told them how to come out of their sin and horrible situation, and we met them a year or so ago and it was the same. “The Lord had totally changed their life, He had cleaned up the mess they were in, and they just can’t get enough of this.” Well that’s what the new life does, and that’s what makes us the glory of the power of His resurrection. Now while we’re in Romans chapter 6, we might as well take the next verse, because this just builds on it. If we’ve been planted, and have experienced the likeness of His resurrection, let’s see what it says.
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, (well what does crucifixion do? It kills, it puts to death) that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (that old sin nature)
Now let’s come back to Ephesians chapter 2. And again remember what he said, “that as Gentiles our forefathers were without hope, and without God in the world.” Now we’ll just be able to start verse 13, and we’ll pick it up in the next lesson. And look what the first word is in verse 13.
Everybody from coast tells me now that’s the flip side. The flip side got started I think with the juke box. For a nickel you could play one side of the record and flip it over to hear the other side. It’s just another whole new song. Now the flip side. Yes our forefathers were without hope, they were without God, but there’s a flip side, and what is it?
“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off (How far off were our forefathers? So far off that they were without God. They had no knowledge of Him, and they had no access to Him because they were Gentiles, they weren’t Jews. But God didn’t leave it that way, but now) are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”
Not by some decree, but by what? The blood of Christ. The blood of Christ is what makes us nigh to God. Let’s go back for a moment to the Book of Hebrews chapter 9. Those of you who have been with me since Genesis remember we’ve used this verse so often as one of the two basic absolutes of Scripture. In our present society they try to tell us that there are none. Oh yes there are. The Scriptures are absolute, and this is one of the primary ones.
“…and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
You can’t get around that, you can’t build a bridge over, there’s just nothing you can do with that verse, but face it head on. What does all this mean? Well I can’t really explain the whole thing myself. Come back to Exodus chapter 12, and if we don’t finish the thought there we’ll pick it up in the next lesson. And what is in Exodus chapter 12? Well the night of the Passover. Verse 13.
“And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.”
There was only one thing a Jewish family could do to avoid the death angel and that was what? Put the blood on the door! And when God saw the blood the death angel passed over. Now there wasn’t a whole bunch of rules and regulations, but rather just one simple requirement. “Place the blood of that Passover lamb on the door post and lentil and when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” Now I always like to ask my classes, when those Jews were behind that blood touched door, did they stand there in fear, and trepidation? No! Because by faith they were eternally secured.
LESSON THREE * PART III
ONCE YOU WERE SEPARATED FROM GOD
Now, let’s look again at Ephesians chapter 2. We looked at verse 12 quite in depth in the last lesson, that the lot of the Gentiles before the age of Grace, was they were without God in this world. They could not be partakers of the covenant promises of Israel, but now it’s a whole new ballgame. God has now fulfilled the last part of the Abrahamic Covenant through Abraham, through the nation of Israel, through the Messiah, through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, by now the letters of Paul in particular. The Gospel has gone out to the whole world, and it’s free for nothing. Every thing that needs to be done has already been done. So that’s what the next verse talks about then when it says were without God in this world.
“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”
In our closing remarks in our last lesson I took you back to the night of the Passover in Exodus. The nation of Israel was instructed to apply the blood of the Passover lamb on the two side posts and the lentil of the door, and I think my closing statement was, as those Jews stood in their little huts around their kitchen tables, did they shake in their boots with fear? No. Because they knew they were safe with the blood on the door. But, what was the heart attitude behind the door with the blood applied that God based Him saving them? Their faith! See it’s always been by faith. Hebrews chapter 11, beginning with Abel – let’s see what it says.
“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous,..”
All the way up through history it’s always been by faith. But you just can’t say, “Oh I have faith.” That doesn’t amount to anything. But where is your faith placed? Now for that answer come back to Romans chapter 3. And remembering what Paul said here, in Ephesians 2:13b “That we’ve been made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Also remember in our last lesson I used one of the absolutes in Scriptures, and what was it?
“…and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
Denominations can throw the blood out of their doctrine, and they’ve got nothing. They can take the blood out of their hymn books and again they have nothing to sing about. Because it is still an absolute that without the shed blood of Christ, there is no remission. Now let’s turn to Romans chapter 3, and start at verse 23.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Everybody is in that boat, Jew and Gentile, black and white, Oriental or western, it makes no difference. The whole human race has fallen short of the glory of God. Now verse 24.
“Being justified freely (without any demands) by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (our everything) through faith in his blood,…”
Now His blood couldn’t be shed until He died for the sins of the world. His shed blood and His death are synonymous, they mean the same thing. So we have to place our faith in the fact that the blood of Christ literally became our Passover. We are now free from the fear of death and eternal doom, because now we’re under the blood. But it isn’t just the blood by itself, it’s coupled with our faith in it. And that’s why we have to know what the Bible says in order to have faith. “What has God said? God has said in so many words “When I see the blood I’ll past over!” And death can’t touch us, and it hasn’t changed. The whole Old Testament format just comes marching along and comes to fruition then when we get to Paul’s Gospel based on His death, burial, and His resurrection.
“…through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;”
All the way up through the New Testament Scriptures we have that constant reference to the blood. Now I’m going to take you all the way over to even Peter’s little epistle.
I Peter 1:18-19
“Forasmuch as ye know (it’s not “I hope so”, it’s not “I think so”, but rather it’s a “I know so”.) that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conservation (or manner of living) received by tradition from your fathers; (and my how many people are soaked with tradition today, and I guarantee you it’s going to fail them) 19. But with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot:”
What was the whole process leading up to the killing of the Passover lamb? They had to take it out of the flock, and isolate it for three days. And in that three day period they were to look at the lamb real good to see if there was any kind of a flaw or blemish. And if the lamb wasn’t perfect they couldn’t use it for the sacrifice. Well the analogy again is, How long was Christ on public view? Three years. And there was no sin found in Him, so what could He fulfill? The Passover lamb. And as His blood was shed and applied to the door of our hearts the death angel passes over us. We don’t have to shake in our boots when death faces us. We don’t have to wonder, “Am I going to make it?”
My goodness I’ve heard some of the most horrible stories about that. One gentlemen told me that his father-in-law was an evangelist for a particular denomination for twenty-five years, and yet as he faced his own death, he paced the floor worrying out loud, “Am I going to go to heaven when I die?” Now isn’t that sad? Oh that’s so sad, and then I have to think about the people that he preached to. They must have been left with that same dilemma. But oh listen, that’s not what the Scripture teaches. The Scripture says, “that we know” John writes in his little epistle, “we know we have passed from death unto life, when we love the brethren.” There’s that change in attitude. Now let’s come back to the Book of Ephesians chapter 2.
“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”
The blood of Christ makes all the difference in the world, and it’s our faith in that shed blood, as well as we saw in our last lesson, The power of His Resurrection, which brings about new life, and from that new life God is looking for fruit. Now verse 14.
“For he (Christ) is our peace,…” Oh you see the world is so hungry for peace tonight, personally, as well as between nations. That’s the whole scope of all the politicians, the United Nations, the efforts in the middle East is peace. Hey on the world front there will be no peace in this world until the Prince of Peace Himself returns.
But to bring it down to the individual’s quest for peace, the same thing applies. There can be no peace until we have peace with God, and that can only come by believing the Gospel found in I Corinthians 15:1-4. After all that is where the controversy lies, Man has been alienated by his sin, and this whole Book has been written to bring us back into favor with God, to be reconciled to God. When we’re talking about peace, you have to go back to Romans. Romans is the foundation of our Christian doctrine, and that’s why I’m sure the Holy Spirit placed the Book of Romans exactly where it’s at.
While you’re turning to Romans let me also remind you again as we’re studying the prison epistles of Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians you won’t find a single quote from the Old Testament, or a direct reference to the nation of Israel or the Jew. All that is now behind and we’re in whole new territory of basic doctrine concerning God and salvation. It’s not just Israel, it’s not just Gentiles, but rather the whole human race. As we believers are united in Christ and become members of the Body of Christ, as a result of that finished work of the cross. Now that was all free for nothing. So let’s turn to chapter 5 verse 1 of the Book of Romans and look at “peace” the reason we’ve come to Romans.
“Therefore (because of what he had written in the previous chapter) being justified by faith, (that’s all Paul knows. Faith + Nothing, and as soon as we’re justified by faith) we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”
That’s what the world is looking for. “Peace with God.” When you have peace with God then you have peace with everyone else. Now verse 2.
“By whom (the Lord Jesus and His finished work of the cross) also we have access by faith (taking God at His word) into this grace (or this condition of unmerited favor) wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
Now that’s our future. Now coming back to Ephesians once again. We’re making a little headway this afternoon. So here in verse 14,
“For he is our peace, (by faith having entered into that relationship of being redeemed, and justified, and declared righteous, and all those things that accompanied our faith) who hath made both one, (now who are the both? Jew and Gentile do you see that?) and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;”
The Jews and Gentiles, during this Church Age have lost their separateness, they have lost their individual identify as Jews or Gentiles. Paul never again refers to that, but here they have come together and Jews and Gentiles are now one. In fact let’s turn to I Corinthians chapter 12 for a moment. It says almost the same thing, only a little more basic language, and that’s why, again, all these early letters were ahead of Ephesians because Ephesians is simply building on these original foundations of Romans, Corinthians and Galatians. Now starting with verse 12.
I Corinthians 12:12
“For as the body (the human body) is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. (or the Body of Christ, The One True Church.)
Now verse 13, and I always make the emphasis here. This is the only Holy Spirit baptism that we as believers enjoy today. In fact Paul says in Ephesians 4:4-5 that there is only one baptism. This is the only one and here it is.
I Corinthians 12:13
“For by one Spirit are we all (not just some of the elite, but all are) baptized into one body, (the Body of Christ) whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all (whether he’s at the bottom or the top of the social totem pole, we’ve all been) made to drink into one Spirit.”
So each of us who are the Body of Christ have been baptized by the Holy Spirit into that Body. There is no water involved in this process, but placed only by the Holy Spirit into the Body. We’ve been placed into a unique position that God reserved for us from eternity past. Knowing that we’d be saved, He had this place ready for us. That’s why when we get a little further in Ephesians we’re going to see that we are a building that has been fitted, and fitly put together. Now coming back to Ephesians, looking at verse 14 again.
“…and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;” (Jews and Gentiles)
Now we know that in the temple in Jerusalem before it was destroyed in 70 AD there was a dividing wall that would keep the Gentile proselyte from worshipping in the same area as the Jews. I always say a proselyte is best described in the word of the Lord Jesus Himself when He told the Jews this is Matthew 23 and verse 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 more the child of hell than yourselves.” But nevertheless they embraced the religion of Judaism, but they were separated from having any contact with the Jew by that dividing wall. Now look what Paul says happened to that wall. “That dividing wall has been totally dismantled. It’s destroyed, it’s broken down – now verse 15.
“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity,…”
Now we know Romans chapter 8 speaks of enmity with God, but I don’t think Paul is speaking of that here. I think here he’s talking about enmity between Jew and Gentile. I think it was a couple of programs ago, but I’m not sure everyone caught what I was talking about, when Paul was addressing the Jews in Jerusalem in Acts chapter 22, and rehearsing his conversion experience.
“And he (the Lord Jesus) said unto me, Depart for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles, 2. And they gave him audience until this word, (Gentiles) and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.”
I mean these Jews wouldn’t even say the word Gentile. But now when a Jew becomes a believer he is as much in fellowship with a Gentile as a Gentile with a Gentile, or a Jew with a Jew. It’s all been broken down, because you see it’s because of the work of the cross. Now looking at verse 15 again.
“Having abolished in his flesh (the death of the cross) the enmity, (that was between Jews and Gentiles) even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;”
Paul speaks of the new man often as a believer. When we become a believer we are a new person in Christ. But that’s not what he’s talking about here. Here Paul is talking about the new person, the Body of Christ, a whole new concept made of Jews and Gentiles. So that He could make by virtue of the work of the cross, twain one new man, and consequently making peace. Alright turn to Colossians chapter 2. I like the way this says it. And remember the Colossians were what kind of people? Gentiles. So the language is the same as it was to the Ephesians as he writes to these Gentile believers.
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, (what did He do with it?) and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross:”
Can you imagine what it would be like for a Gentile to live under the rules and regulations of Judaism? There was no way they could cope with that. Because you see that was one of the problems that Paul had with his new believers. They were used to the immoral activity of the pagan idolatrous community. They had no compunction about the dietary laws of Israel and so forth. And so for a Gentile to come under that, man that was something they couldn’t even think about. So what does Paul say? “All of that was nailed to His cross.” And like I said in the last lesson, “What did the cross do? It killed. So His cross killed all of these demands of the law. It was put to death, it was ended there.”
We always have to be careful saying that, because since we are now under Grace that doesn’t give us a license. Come back to Romans chapter 13 for a moment. Just because we step into the Grace of God does not mean that I’m free to do as I please, for after all God will wink at my sin. And after all I’m under the blood, and I’m forgiven. No. No. You see that kind of thinking goes contrary to the Word. And if I understand the Greek here, it doesn’t mean that you can’t borrow money to buy a home, or car, but rather it means to defraud no one. Don’t take advantage of someone and cheat him.
“Owe (or defraud) no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” (that is the Ten Commandments! And Paul goes on to list them.) 9. For this, (since love is now the key) Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shall not kill, Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness. Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Who in the world can do that but a believer? The unsaved world can’t. They can try, but they will fall flat on their face before too long, but the believer is empowered to do that. We are empowered to love our neighbor. We have the capability now to love the neighbor because that is the fulfillment of the Ten Commandments.
Always remember the law as Israel practiced it was always under the terrific threat of punishment if they broke them. We don’t have to worry about death if we break the law for stealing. Does that mean we go ahead and steal? No way. We are still under these moral laws that the Holy Spirit empowers us to keep, but the basis for it is love. After all what put Christ on the cross? His love for the human race! He loved us so much that He died for us, and that love is supposed to be promulgated through you and I as believers in the everyday world. So as we enter into this complete freedom of Grace, that doesn’t mean that we can be lawless, but it’s that the Ten Commandments are not hanging over us like a noose or like a yoke, which the Scriptures says was too heavy to bear.
LESSON THREE * PART IV
ONCE YOU WERE SEPARATED FROM GOD
Now as we begin the last lesson in Book 36 let me just say what a joy it is to be able to share the Word of God with each of you. When I was first approached about teaching on television, the first thing that struck my mind was a program on public television that I used to watch many years ago. This Algebra teacher had a program with a classroom setting, with students, tables, and a black board, much the same way we have here. I used to just love that program, and I thought when I was approached about a Bible study, well if it works for Algebra, maybe it will work teaching the Word of God.
So that was the approach I took when I came up here to channel 47 in Tulsa to begin this ministry. They were agreeable with that approach, and it has all just sort of evolved from there. It doesn’t seem possible, but that was 8 years ago when we started in the Book of Genesis. So we just give the Lord the praise and glory that He has blessed us so richly. Now back to Ephesians chapter 2, and we’ve just left off with verse 16. The Lord has made this new Body of Christ the Church comprised of Jew and Gentile.
“And that he might reconcile both unto God,…”
Now I suppose the average Church or Bible people probably wonder, “well what’s the enmity that Paul is talking about when he says “that He might reconcile both unto God?” Well you have to realize that from day one, as soon as God separated the Jew from the Gentile there was enmity between the races. Now let me take you all the way back to the Book of Exodus, chapter 11. And here the nation of Israel is getting ready to move out of Egypt, out of their slavery, and here again this is really the beginning of miracles so far as Israel was concerned. Just look at what it says.
“But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: (anything that belongs to the nation of Israel) that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.”
You see a lot of people don’t understand this difference. Did that difference ever stop? No! It carried all the way through. Now come on up to chapter 19, and now the children of Israel are gathered around Mount Sinai. Moses is up on the mount and is conversing with God, and he’s going to be coming down with Ten Commandments before long. But look at the conversation between God and Moses. Let’s begin with verse 3.
“And Moses went up (that is up into Mount Sinai) 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; 4. Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.”
Now right there anybody who knows anything at all about the Old Testament, what happened to the Egyptians at the Red sea? They were drowned. What happened to Israel? They came through unscathed on the other side. What did God do? He put a difference between them. I mean He separated them but good.
“Now therefore, (because God has already shown how He can put a difference between Israel and the rest of the world) if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye (as a nation) shall be a peculiar treasure (something of tremendous value) unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:”
Now, where does that put Israel? Just like it says. “above all people.” What was that? Separating them. And of course Israel was very human, and when they begin to realize that they were in an exalted position above all the other people of the earth, then they became bigoted. They got to the place that they just despised those uncircumcised Gentiles. Now I’m not saying that God expected them to, but they did it because they were human. You know people still do that today. As soon as someone can get the upper hand over somebody, what do they usually do? They show how despicable they are. So the Jew came to that place where all through their history they are understanding that they were exalted in God’s eyes, and these uncircumcised Gentiles meant nothing to them. So all of this had an effect on their whole outlook toward the non-Jewish world. Now reading on, and remember the whole idea of the Abrahamic Covenant, and being enlarged upon to Moses was what?
“And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation,…”
Now when we were teaching this back years ago when we were in Exodus, I always asked the question, “What even today is the role of a priest?” Well he’s a go between. In the future every Jew was someday to be a go between for Gentiles and Israel’s God. Now that was the whole idea, but Israel lost sight of that, and so Israel almost begin to look within themselves, and had no time for the Gentile world. All right but now come back to verse 6.
“And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation….”
Now the word holy does not mean sinless, does not mean like God is Holy, but rather it means “Set apart.” And that’s what the nation of Israel understood. They were a set apart nation of people, and this is what God told Moses to say to the people. They were to be a set apart people, but on the other hand stop with me in the Book of Isaiah as we go back to Ephesians and I’ll show you what I’m talking about. These are some verses we haven’t looked at in a long time. But in chapter 42 we’ll see this is what the Jews lost sight of.
As you know I get the Jerusalem Post, and I clipped an article a year or so back written by a Rabbi where he was speaking of the coming of their Messiah. The Messiah would be a God King who would not only just bring goodness and prosperity and peace to Israel, but to the whole world. The Rabbi had the right idea, because that is the purpose of Christ’s return. He’s going to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Yes, first and foremost over the nation of Israel, but to the whole world, not just Israel. Now here’s where prophecy alluded to that here in Isaiah.
“Behold my servant, whom I uphold mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: (upon the servant) he (the servant) shall bring forth judgment (or rule, government) to the Gentiles.”
Well who’s the servant? The Messiah, the Christ! But you see Israel lost sight of that. But nevertheless in the divine purposes, God was going to use Israel as a nation of priests to bring all these Gentile nations to a knowledge of Himself, so that He wouldn’t be just the King of Israel, but that He could rule and reign over the whole world. Now the next verses I like to use to go along with this are over in chapter 59 of this same Book. Now this is prophecy. This is all going to be out in the future from Isaiah’s time, and it’s still in the future from our time, but we feel we’re getting awfully close. I just don’t see an awful lot of time left.
“And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, (Jerusalem) and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. 21. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD;…” Then the Lord repeats the new covenant that Jeremiah 31:31 expresses, but now to complete the thought about Israel being a light to the Gentiles let’s drop on down to Isaiah 60:1
“Arise shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. (Now here we’ve got to watch our pronouns. Who is the thy to whom the LORD’s glory is coming? Well the nation of Israel. And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you, Israel, the nation.) 2. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, (a spiritual darkness) and gross darkness the people: (Israel. And did it? Sure it did.) but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” Remember this is all future, but again, we’re getting close.
“And the Gentiles shall come to thy light,…”
And who was Israel’s light? The Messiah, The Christ! Now this of course is still future when Christ sets up His Kingdom. For you and I living in this day of Grace have entered into this simply because of the Gospel, and not because of the covenant promises made to Israel. Now coming back to the Book of Ephesians, verse 16 again.
“And that he might reconcile both (Jew & Gentile) unto God in one body (the Church) by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17. And came and preached peace to you which were far off,…”
Who was far off? Gentiles. Do you see that? It was those people who were out there without a Messiah. They, our forefathers didn’t have the Word of God, they didn’t have a knowledge of the one true God. They knew gods, but they didn’t know the God of Israel. But now as we saw in an earlier verse because of the finished work of the cross, God can do all of this on behalf of the whole Gentile world. Always remember when God sent the Gospel, as we find in I Corinthians 15:1-4, to the Gentiles predominantly through the apostle Paul, where did that put every Gentiles with relationship to God? He had access to God just like Israel did in the past.
Remember from Abraham all the way up to Paul’s conversion, a period of 2000 years, it was only Israel who had access to God with just a few Gentile exceptions. Then Israel dropped the ball, and God turned to the Gentiles through the apostle Paul. And now for the past 2000 years on this side of the cross it’s been Gentiles that have access with God with a few Jewish exceptions.
Do you see how God always evens things out? Do you remember in Romans chapter 11, you have the analogy of the rootness and fatness of the olive tree which was setting on the promises and covenant made with Abraham? But Paul tells us, “because of Israel’s unbelief, God broke off their branches, and put the Gentiles in their place.” When I was teaching that I told you that for 2000 years the nation of Israel was literally living in that place of privileges, on the promises God made to Abraham. I mean every Jew had access to God. But did that make every Jew a believer? Oh heavens no! Now I suppose the Jewish people would argue with me on that point, but nevertheless only a small few were true believers.
All right now come on this side of the cross. The Jew has been broken off of that root & fatness of Abraham, and who’s been grafted in? The Gentile world. Don’t just look at Romans chapter 11 as for believers. I feel it’s the whole Gentile world that has been put in that place of privilege. And my what a privilege. They can have a knowledge of salvation if they want it. But does that make every Gentile a believer? Of course not. It’s still has to be a choice by faith. Do you see that?
One of the beauties is now that the Body of Christ is being formed even though they’re resting on the root and fatness of Abraham, it’s now a combination of Jewish and Gentile believers. Oh the Jew must come the same way as the Gentiles now and that’s faith in the finish work of the cross for salvation. But now, in this age of Grace there is Jew and Gentile coming together into the Body of Christ and there is no enmity.
Iris and I know a Jewish couple who are believers that live in St. Paul, MN. When we have a seminar up there we usually spend that Friday night in their home. My, when we’re with them we have such sweet fellowship. They believe like we do, and we’re one in the Body of Christ. I’ll never forget a conversation I had with her the first time we went up there for a seminar. She came up to me and said, “Now Les, I’m a Jewish believer, does that mean I won’t go in the Rapture when you go because I’m Jewish? I said “Heavens no! I mean if you’re in the Body of Christ then we’ll all go together whether you’re Jew or Gentile.” There is that immediate affinity between Jew and Gentiles when we’re in the Body of Christ, it’s just that simple. Now coming back to the text here in Ephesians, and this is what Paul is hammering home. Once we enter into this salvation experience, we enter in under the blood of Christ. We enter in into that resurrection power, we can be united with all races of people from every country in the world, it doesn’t matter because we’re one in Christ. Now verse 17.
“And came and preached peace to you which were afar off,…”
Who was far off? The Gentiles. Oh they were so far off they couldn’t even comprehend God. But all of a sudden they’re brought to a place where they have access and an opportunity at salvation. Now they have the same opportunity as the Jew had at salvation in the Old Testament economy. So let’s read the verse again.
“And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, (that’s Gentiles) and to them that were nigh.” (the Jews)
You see He doesn’t ignore the Jew during this age of Grace. The only thing the Jew now must come to salvation the same as the Gentile, and that’s by believing Paul’s Gospel. Now verse 18.
“For through him we both have access by one (Holy) Spirit unto the Father.”
Now I’ve got to go back to one of my favorite verses, and you’ll find that in Acts chapter 16. Almost every morning I ask the Lord, “Give me hundreds if not thousands of Lydia’s today.” Now I think it’s possible for him to do that. And here’s what I’m talking about in verse 14. Remember Paul had been up there in Northern Greece in Troas, Samothracia & Neapolis, and he’s establishing little Gentile congregations. Now he has come down to Philippi, and evidently there wasn’t a synagogue there, because he comes up on a few Jewish women meeting at a river side. They evidently are having their devotion. Anyway Paul had the opportunity to address them, and look what he says in verse 14.
“And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, (so that makes me think they were Jewish) heard us:…”
Now I have to think every time that the apostle Paul had an opportunity, he stopped and put forth the Gospel. It didn’t matter whether it was group like these that he was sharing with, or pagan Gentiles coming out of their temple, Paul was at them with this Gospel of Grace. So in the first part of verse 14 the Scriptures tells us that these women heard us. But oh now is the part that I love to teach, I revel in, and I pray for.
“…whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.”
Now we want to remember that the Holy Spirit is a member of the Godhead just as well as God the Son, and God the Father. So I have to feel that the Lord in this case is the Holy Spirit that opened the heart. So the Holy Spirit opened the heart, and understanding of this Jewish lady of Thyatira. And as soon as that happened she believed the message that Paul was proclaiming.
You know it’s no different today. You can have the greatest evangelist just preach his heart out, is he going to get any fruit without the Spirit? No way! I can teach until I’m blue in the face, but won’t get any response until the Holy Spirit opens understandings. Now back to Ephesians chapter 2. Let’s look at verse 18 again.
“For through him (what Christ has done on our behalf) we both (Jew and Gentiles) have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;”
Now just look at that verse we just read for a moment, and compare it again with verse 12. Because you have to compare Scripture with Scripture. Read verse 12 again if you will.
“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:”
Now look at verse 19 where we just left off. and oh what a difference. You can see we’re not like our forefathers up there in verse 12 any more Now we have a chance.
“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;”
Now what a position, and we don’t work for it. We don’t strive, we don’t brow beat ourselves, we don’t grovel in the dirt, we don’t somehow cause physical misery. My we just step in by faith, and God does it all! Always try to remember that it’s not what you and I do, but rather it’s the fact that “GOD DOES IT ALL.”