[ 661 ] Les Feldick [ Book 56 - Lesson 1 - Part 1 ] Comparing Kingdom and Grace Doctrines |a
[ 662 ] Les Feldick [ Book 56 - Lesson 1 - Part 2 ] Comparing Kingdom and Grace Doctrines |b
[ 663 ] Les Feldick [ Book 56 - Lesson 1 - Part 3 ] I John 1:1-9 |a
[ 664 ] Les Feldick [ Book 56 - Lesson 1 - Part 4 ] I John 1:1-9 |b
[ 665 ] Les Feldick [ Book 56 - Lesson 2 - Part 1 ] The True Light |a
[ 666 ] Les Feldick [ Book 56 - Lesson 2 - Part 2 ] The True Light |b
[ 667 ] Les Feldick [ Book 56 - Lesson 2 - Part 3 ] I John 2:1-29 |a
[ 668 ] Les Feldick [ Book 56 - Lesson 2 - Part 4 ] I John 2:1-29 |b
[ 669 ] Les Feldick [ Book 56 - Lesson 3 - Part 1 ] Love Not The World |a
[ 670 ] Les Feldick [ Book 56 - Lesson 3 - Part 2 ] Love Not The World |b
[ 671 ] Les Feldick [ Book 56 - Lesson 3 - Part 3 ] I John 3:1-24 |a
[ 672 ] Les Feldick [ Book 56 - Lesson 3 - Part 4 ] I John 3:1-24 |b
Comparing Kingdom and Grace Doctrines
I John 1:1 – 1:9
We’re ready to start I John. Now these little epistles (James, Peter, John and Jude – and you might as well throw in Revelation as well) are all Jewish epistles. They are all addressed to Jewish believers – never forget that.
Now I’m going to go contrary to tradition (as I am prone to do), but I do not feel that John wrote this letter in 90-some AD. I think these little epistles were all written about the same time that Paul was probably writing the Church-Age epistles. And my number one reason for that is that there is not one word in these little Jewish epistles concerning the resurrection, which is central to our salvation. Not a word about salvation by faith and faith alone. And not a word about the Body of Christ, which we have been placed into.
But, rather, it is all still primarily (not exclusively) the “Kingdom” message. And you’ll see it as we come through here. It is so plain they are not preaching Paul’s Gospel which we, in the Church Age, must believe for salvation. Now, when I refer to Paul’s Gospel, I’m referring to what he said in I Corinthians 15:1-4. “That it’s by my gospel,” Paul says, “that you are saved.” And what is Paul’s Gospel? “How that Christ died for our sins. That He was buried and that He arose again the third day according to the scriptures.” That’s Paul’s Gospel, and you must believe that with all your heart! And if you can’t find that in these Jewish epistles (which you can’t), then you have to recognize that they’re not proclaiming Paul’s Gospel, because they’re in the “Kingdom” economy, and you cannot mix the two, because one was under Law and the other is under Grace!
The “Kingdom Gospel” starts out probably the plainest when Jesus asked the twelve disciples back in Matthew 16, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” And, of course, some said, “You’re John the Baptist, some think you’re one of the prophets.” Then He came back and said, “But whom do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God.” Period. And that’s all these Jews back here in the Four Gospels had to believe for salvation.
Of course, he couldn’t mention the death, burial and resurrection because it hadn’t happened yet and they didn’t know it was going to happen. They had no idea that they would be going up to Jerusalem for a crucifixion. So the Kingdom Gospel is that Jesus was the Christ. He was the Son of God. And He was offering Israel the glories of the earthly Kingdom, promised all the way up through the Old Testament.
So as you come into these little epistles, everything is directed as yet to Jewish Kingdom believers. They had simply believed Jesus was indeed the Messiah. And they’re still under the Law and you’re going to see language that indicates that, even in I John. So, be aware there are things in here that we can apply but, by and large, all of these little Jewish epistles are written to Jewish Kingdom believers who had probably been scattered out of the Church at Jerusalem and are still under pressure from the Romans.
They’re also under the pressure of orthodox Jews who were aghast that these people were ignorant enough to accept this Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah. So, they’re under tremendous persecution and the whole theme of all these little epistles, James, I & II Peter, I, II & III John, and Jude is to prepare these Jewish Kingdom believers for the Tribulation that’s right out in front of them. And they would have to go through that Tribulation pressure before their Messiah could come and set up the Kingdom – where we in the this Age of Grace are promised we don’t have to go through the Tribulation, but will be Raptured out before that takes place.
So, watch for those scenarios as we come through these epistles. There’s not a word about the Body of Christ in any of these little Jewish epistles. There’s also not a word about the resurrection. Now there is some indication of His shed blood, and I won’t deny that. But there is nothing pertaining to the death, burial and resurrection that we are to place our faith in as the means of salvation in this Age of Grace. But their means of salvation was to believe Who Jesus really was. And I think you’ll see it if you understand it from that direction as we begin in chapter 1 verse 1.
I John 1:1a
“That which was from the beginning,…” Now this is the same John that wrote the Gospel of John and what does John 1:1 say?
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” That’s the same kind of thinking that John is still practicing here, see? That which was from the beginning (in other words, from eternity past – out of eternity past, the Triune God; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), brought about creation. And the only difference is that God the Son was the One Who was assigned the role of calling it into being. They were all three there, they were all three a part of it. But God the Son, Whom John calls The Word, was the One Who spoke, and creation happened.
God the Son spoke, and all of these things happened in order to make everything ready for the ongoing human experience. All right, so John is taking us right back to the first thought he had in his Gospel, that which was from the beginning.
I John 1:1b
“…which we have heard,.…” Now stop and think – who is this John? He’s one of the Twelve. He spent three years with Him. And so he heard Jesus speaking in the flesh and he says:
I John 1:1c
“…which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;”
Now go back to Luke 24, and verse 39, but let’s start with verse 36 to pick up the flow as I so often put it. Now this is after His resurrection and Jesus is appearing to them.
“And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 37. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.” Were these men just as human as we are? Well, of course. Even though they had spent three years with Jesus in His earthly ministry, they were just as ordinary as you and I.
How would you feel if all of a sudden Someone that you had seen on a Roman cross a matter of hours before is all of a sudden standing in front of you? They didn’t know anything of the resurrection. They couldn’t comprehend that this was the risen Christ standing in front of them and it just scared them. And so Jesus sensed it:
“And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? (Now he shows them) 39. Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” He’s standing in front of them in that physical body with which He was, crucified and then laid in the tomb, and now resurrected, of course, into the resurrection power. But, nevertheless, He still shows them His hands and His feet. “Touch Me and see for spirit hath not flesh and bones as you see Me have.” See how sensible this is? And this is after His resurrection. Verse 40:
“And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. (He showed them the wounds) 41. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, (and now to prove it a little more:) he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?”
Now verse 42, and here is Christ in that resurrected body standing before them, as any other normal being, and yet He’s in that resurrected body that, in a split second, can go from there to who knows how far away. But now He’s going to prove a point. Not only is He the One that was crucified; not only is He the One that was in the tomb; He’s the One that’s resurrected and He’s going to give us a little inkling of our eternal state. What can we look forward to?
“And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. 43. And he took it (and what did He do with it?) and did eat before them.”
Now, many people don’t understand that. Jesus, in His resurrected body, “ate”? Yes, of course He did. Right in front of them to prove the point. He ate. All right, now I’ve got to stop there a minute. Go to Philippians chapter 3 because you’ve got to compare Scripture with Scripture in order to put this whole scenario into an understandable state. Now, remember when Jesus ascended back into Glory – it was in that body that’s standing in front of the men there, I think there were only ten of them, not all twelve. But He’s standing in front of those disciples eating and it’s that same Christ that will ascend from the Mount of Olives in a matter of forty days. All right, and it’ll be that same Jesus Christ that’s going to return for us one day and give us an inkling of our future state. We’re not going to be floating around up there in some invisible ethereal state; we’re going to have bodies. All right, here it is.
“For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; (if you’re a believer here today, your citizenship is already registered in the Glories) from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:” Now remember this is Paul writing. And so Paul is going to use Pauline language. So “We’re looking for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Who (the Lord Jesus Christ, the One Who’s standing back there in our verse in Luke – eating meat and honeycomb) shall change our vile body, (this body that’s prone to death and corruption. Look at this. This is enough to make you hit the ceiling, isn’t it!) that it may be fashioned (or made) like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Now what does that mean? Just exactly what it says! That one day our eternal body is going to be fashioned after this resurrected body in which Christ is now appearing to His disciples after His resurrection, after His death. Let’s read it again, “Who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body according to the working whereby he (Christ) is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” What does that mean? Every believer is going to be suddenly changed and made into a body like His eternal body for all eternity.
Now what we’re going to be doing, the Bible doesn’t really tell us – but it tells us this much; this is the kind of a body that we’re going to have and yes, we’re going to eat and not have to worry about pounds! And you won’t have to worry about pollution, and you won’t have to worry about tainted food, or anything like that. But we’re going to be able to eat.
All right, now let’s come back to I John. I hope I made my point regarding when John says, “We’ve heard Him, we’ve seen Him, we’ve handled Him,” Even the post-resurrection Christ – they had seen the nail-prints in His hands.
I John 1:1b
“…which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;” Noticed the Word is capitalized. The same Word that you see in John’s Gospel verse 1, “In the beginning was the Word.” And when we teach John 1, what do we always associate with words? Communication. And so when it was time to create God the Son, the Word of God spoke and He communicated with that which was seemingly nothing, and out of it came everything. And that’s how He’s always done it. And that’s why we make so much of The Word, God the Son, as the great Communicator.
I John 1:2
“(For the life [that is that life of the Messiah, the Christ] was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)”
Now, you know, I try to be so careful and yet once in a while (fortunately not very often) someone will totally, totally hear me wrong, and they’ll write and say, “Well you said….” “NO, I didn’t say.” They say, “You said that Jesus never existed until He became the only begotten,” Now that one was just a few programs back. I never said such a thing. And so I had to reply, “Of all the thousands of people we know are listening now, you are the only one who heard me wrong! And you heard me wrong!” And they were trying to put it that I had said that Jesus Christ, or the Son, never existed until His resurrection. No, the point I was making was that the terminology “the only begotten Son of God” applied to His resurrection. But people can get it so fouled up, so I try to be very careful.
All right so here again, “the life that was manifested” (or brought into the spotlight) is speaking of those three years of earthly ministry. Because, remember, this is written to Jews. John was one of the Twelve. He was one who had spent three years with the Lord up and down the highways and byways of ancient Israel.
I John 1:2b
“(…which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)”
You see, all three Persons of the Godhead are from eternity past, all three. Not just one or not just two. They’ve all been part and parcel of the God from eternity past and “that life was manifested (he says) unto us.” How? Through His earthly ministry when He came in the flesh at Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth and then began His three years of earthly ministry to prove to the Nation of Israel that He was that Promised Messiah. Now verse 3.
I John 1:3a
“That which we have seen and heard.…”
Again, John is referring to Christ’s earthly ministry and that’s what makes me think that he had to write this in the early part of the Scriptures, like in maybe the 50’s AD instead of way out there almost at 100 AD. But here he is, writing at the same time that the rest of the New Testament is being written and so the earthly ministry wasn’t all that long ago. Fifteen, twenty years at the very most.
I John 1:3
“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
Now remember when we taught Hebrews how I emphasized “the Son-ship” of Christ and how that that was His title? And that He was a part of the Godhead?
I John 1:4
“And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”
Now, I have to go back (it’s running through my mind constantly so that’s usually, I think, a prodding of the Spirit) to Matthew 16, and I’ve already quoted a portion of it. Remember, the vast majority of church people in Christendom still do not understand the difference between the Gospel of the Kingdom, which Jesus and the Twelve preached to Israel, and the Gospel of the Grace of God, which is preached to us Gentiles. But they are two totally different scenarios under the same Headship of the same God.
But here in Matthew 16, it’s at the end of the three years. And they’re about to go up to Jerusalem for the crucifixion. Three years Jesus has been performing signs and wonders and miracles. What percentage of Israel has responded? Very few. Just a small percentage have responded to all of His signs and wonders and miracles.
Now then, He comes to the heart of the matter as He approaches the Twelve up there in Northern Israel – just a matter of hours before Passover and His crucifixion. Remember, this is to the Nation of Israel and Israel was under the Law. The Temple is still going full speed. Animals are sacrificed every day. Every good Jew is still going up to the Temple at the hour of prayer. Every good Jew is still keeping the feast days. Every good Jew is still eating kosher. Every good Jew is keeping the Sabbath. Every good Jew is keeping the Commandments. Now, He approaches the Twelve after three years of miracles and signs and wonders to prove Who He was.
“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, (up in Northern Israel) he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” Why did He ask that particular question? Because this is what He’d been proving. This was the whole purpose of His signs and miracles – to prove that He was that Promised Messiah.
Now, you come into Isaiah chapter 4, and here we come to a term of Christ that is unique. He’s called the “Branch” – out of the stem of Jesse – and He’s referred to as the “Branch,” more often than not, in the Old Testament. But every time He’s referred to as the Branch, He is referred to as another aspect of the four views of Christ in the Four Gospels. They all fit. One of the Branches is that He’s to be the King in Matthew. One of the Branches is that He’s to be the Servant in Mark. Another one of the Branches depicts Him as the Son of Man in Luke. And another one of the Branches depicts Him as God, Deity; that’s John. So all through Scripture you have, especially the Old Testament, all the things that are pointing to this coming Messiah Who would be the King of Israel.
And when He came and John the Baptist announced Him, what did John the Baptist go out and preach? “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” But was he just spitting out empty words? Of course not. The King was about to appear and the Kingdom was within the grasp of the Nation of Israel. And that’s why we call it, then, the Gospel of the Kingdom.
Matthew 16: 13b-15
“…Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14. And they (the twelve) said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. (and He stops and He says, okay,) 15. …But whom say ye that I am?” Have you learned anything in three years? And here’s Peter’s answer,
“…Thou art the Christ, (the anointed, the Messiah) the Son of the Living God” Did Peter finish that by saying, Who’s going to die for our sins and be buried and raised from the dead – NO, he doesn’t know that. And God doesn’t expect him to.
Peter simply gives us the heart of the Gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus was the Christ. And that’s what Israel was to have believed for their salvation, but they couldn’t. They couldn’t swallow it. All right, now I haven’t got time to go any further, but we’ll pick it up in our next program. But, here in Matthew then, when Peter says “Thou are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” – how does Jesus answer? “Peter what’s the matter with you?” No. He says:
“…Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”
And that’s what we have to understand – Who Jesus was, was the heart of the Gospel of the Kingdom, which is totally different than the Gospel of Grace, the finished work of the cross – which we believe today for salvation in the Church Age.
Lesson One • Part II
Comparing Kingdom and Grace Doctrines
I John 1:1 – 1:9
All right we’ll be comparing the difference between the salvation message of the Gospel of the Kingdom that we have in these little Jewish epistles, and the Gospel of Grace we have in Paul’s epistles.
All through these little Jewish epistles, we’re still dealing with Jewish Kingdom believers. And when I speak of Kingdom believers, I’m talking about Jews who had simply realized Jesus of Nazareth was their Messiah and King. They’re still under the Law. They’re still practicing Temple worship. There’s nothing that indicates they stopped that. But, along with it they have now recognized Who Jesus really is.
All right, so to pick up the terminology (and for that reason only), I’m going to back up for a moment to Matthew chapter 9, where we see it put so plainly. Matthew 9, dropping down to verse 35. This, of course, is at the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. He’s going to pick the Twelve disciples in chapter 10. But let’s start here in chapter 9, just for the sake of getting the terminology that I’m using:
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, (that’s all Jewish) and preaching (or proclaiming) the gospel of the kingdom,.…” The Good News of the Kingdom. And remember, everything is in fulfillment of all these Old Testament promises.
Now maybe we’d better back up a few pages to Zechariah chapter 14. Back into the Old Testament, and this is just one. My goodness, I could spend the rest of the day pointing out these verses talking about this future Kingdom on earth, with the capital in Jerusalem and with Jesus the Christ, the Messiah of Israel as the King of a glorious Kingdom. All right, now just for sake of simple language, Zechariah chapter 14 verse 9 and this is so simple a third-grader can understand it. It’s plain English.
“And the LORD (now remember the LORD in the Old Testament is Jehovah and Jehovah is God the Son, the Messiah of Israel) shall be (future, that’s prophecy) king over all the earth:.…” Now that’s not gobbledy-gook. That’s not something that takes a theologian’s education. It says what it means and it means what it says, that the day is coming when God the Son will actually be the King of kings and Lord of lords over the whole earth.
Now then, as we closed our last half-hour program, we were in Matthew 16 and Jesus had asked the Twelve Who people thought He was. And they had all their crazy notions and finally Peter nailed it down and he said, “Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God.” All right, let’s just pick that up so someone won’t say, “Well that’s just one instance.” Come on over to John’s Gospel chapter 11. Now for some of you, You may sit there right now and say, “Les, you’ve covered this before.” But, if tomorrow, over a cup of coffee, the subject comes up, can you turn to Matthew 16? Can you turn to John chapter 11? Can you turn to Acts chapter 8? Can you turn to Acts chapter 9? If I can, anybody can!
All right, it takes practice. I remember back when I was a kid. We had a pastor who would just literally take someone up on the stage with him and sit him in a chair opposite him. And he would show us, the congregation, how to practice sharing the Scriptures with somebody. Now I suppose some people out there thought he had just sort of lost his marbles, but that’s what people should be doing more of. I tell husbands and wives all the time, just sit across the table from each other and practice. Just pretend that your wife is a seeking lost person, and practice using the Scriptures – it takes practice. My goodness, I’ve been doing this almost every night, five nights, six nights a week for thirty years. And then people wonder why I can do it. Well, this didn’t come overnight. But if you’re going to do it, you’ve got to practice. You’ve got to get out there and do it.
All right, so now then, here in John is the next instance where we have this declaration of the heart of the Gospel of the Kingdom. John 11:23. Jesus has come back to Bethany and Lazarus is dead. And of course Martha’s all upset knowing that, had He been there a few hours earlier, He could have healed him.
“Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” In other words, faith would be the source of eternal life. But see and understand – He doesn’t say a word about death, burial and resurrection. These people weren’t expected to believe that He was going to die for them. And I have totally rebelled now in recent years; that the teaching that I used years and years ago, I won’t any more – that everybody saved before the cross was saved by faith in His coming death, burial and resurrection. Nobody knew that He was going to die. The Old Testament writers that wrote it in such veiled language; and Peter said it so plain that they “searched diligently” and they couldn’t find it. But, how many times throughout the past hasn’t most of Christendom (if they have any theology at all) will try to tell us that everybody before the cross was saved by their faith in this coming death, burial and resurrection. No they weren’t! They didn’t know He was going to die. And the same way here. Jesus doesn’t mention anything about the cross. All they’re expected to do is to believe for salvation Who He was. That’s all God expected. Whereas, today, we must believe that finished work of the cross for salvation..
“And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” Now He says to Martha “Do you believe this?” Now watch her confession of faith, and compare it with what Peter just said:
“She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” Now Jesus doesn’t upbraid her. He doesn’t criticize her. He accepts that statement of faith. That’s all they were supposed to believe during that era. All right, let’s go on a little further. Acts chapter 8, the Ethiopian Eunuch. Remember this is all before Saul’s conversion. There’s not a word now that salvation is going to be based on believing in His death, burial and resurrection. It’s all still based on believing Who He was.
Before going to Acts chapter 8:35, remember I like to quote the verse over in Romans chapter 15, to back these things up.
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, (for what purpose?) to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” That’s why He came – to fulfill the promises found in the Old Testament concerning this glorious Kingdom that was being offered to Israel.
All right so now turn to Acts chapter 8, and Philip has gone down on the way to Gaza, the way to Ethiopia where the Spirit has led him and he comes across this Ethiopian eunuch who is reading the book of Isaiah. You all know the account, I trust. And so verse 35, Philip joins with this eunuch up on his chariot.
“Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, (that is Isaiah 53) and preached unto him Jesus. 36. And as they went on their way, they came to a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?”
Now remember what also was implied in the Gospel of the Kingdom? What did John the Baptist require? Repent and be baptized. What did Peter require in Acts chapter 2? Repent and be baptized. And so, evidently, and I say evidently because you’ve got to read between the lines a lot of times – evidently Philip has preached that same message to this Ethiopian eunuch that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah and for those who were going to put their faith in that, they had to repent and be baptized. That was all part of the Gospel of the Kingdom. So here comes Philip’s response.
And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he (the eunuch) answered and said, (now watch his confession of faith) I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” Remember this is several years after the cross, but did the eunuch also add, “…who died for me and rose from the dead?” No, it doesn’t say that. And we can’t put that in there. All the eunuch understood was Who Jesus was. He was the promised Christ – period!
All right, next one across the page – Saul of Tarsus has now been converted on the road to Damascus. Now goodness sakes, Saul’s a good Jew, he’s still under the Jewish economy. The Gospel of Grace hasn’t been revealed yet. He hasn’t gotten any mysteries and revelations from God yet. So, if God is going to save him, on what basis is He going to have to save him? The Gospel of the Kingdom. That’s the only Gospel that is being used at that time.
Let’s look at Saul’s profession of faith. We’re still calling him Saul (he’s going to later be called Paul) – Acts chapter 9 verse 20. This is after his meeting Christ on the road to Damascus, when Saul asked the question, “Who art thou Lord?” And the Lord said, “I am Jesus.” And that’s all old Saul needed to know. Who He was. And he was instantly saved by believing that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ.
“And straightway he preached Christ (Messiah, the Anointed) in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.” He has gone right straight into the synagogues in Damascus, proclaiming that Jesus the Christ is the Son of God.”
Now put that all together and what have you got? Paul is saying the same thing the others said – that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah, the Son of God. That’s the Gospel of the Kingdom message. Now he won’t be preaching that message long, as he will be going to the desert and receive those three years of instructions from the risen Lord for us Gentiles, as we see over in the Book of Galatians.
All right, now then, let’s go back again to our little Jewish epistles, James and Peter and John, and that’s all they’re going to bring out – that these Jewish believers are trusting Who Jesus of Nazareth was. All right, I John chapter 1 and I guess, we’re about at verse 5.
I John 1:5a
“This then is the message which we have heard of him,…” Stop and ask yourself constantly, heard of who? Jesus. The Word. The Son of God, who had ministered with them for three years, see?
I John 1:5
“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” Now we’ll take the next couple of verses and then we’re going to come back and look at the Light.
I John 1:6-7
“If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7. But if we walk in the light, as he (The Word, the Son, the Christ) is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Now there is certainly a reference to the work of the cross, the shed blood, but that’s all. That’s as far as it goes. It doesn’t say a word about His resurrection. It doesn’t say a word about becoming a part of the Body of Christ. It’s only that that shed blood – now I think that is a fitting time to go way back to when John the Baptist saw Jesus coming: how did he announce Him? “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.”
So they knew that there was that part and parcel of it – but you see, as you analyze these things and compare them with what Paul is going to proclaim, there is nothing of the Grace Gospel message; it’s all associated with the Gospel of the Kingdom, which was given to the Nation of Israel.
Now back to verse 5 and we’ll pick these three verses apart. This is the message, “that God is light and if He is light then there can be no darkness.” All right, let’s go back to John’s Gospel. The same John who wrote this little epistle also wrote the Gospel account. And in John’s Gospel chapter 3, he makes a big deal over the “Light” part. In fact, let’s go back to chapter 1, and begin with verse 6. What I’m always trying to show is that when you’re in the prophetic program, which began primarily when God made the promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all these prophecies flow up through human history all dealing with the Nation of Israel, and we come to Christ’s earthly ministry still dealing with Israel.
We come to the Acts of the Apostles, still primarily dealing with Israel. We skip over Paul’s epistles and we jump down into these little Jewish epistles; it is still all basically God’s dealing with the Nation of Israel. Everything is on that plane if you will take it in that light. In fact if all of Paul’s epistles were removed from the Bible, there would not be a Gospel of Grace message.
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. (I’m thinking that this is John the Baptist. It has to be.) 7. The same came for a witness, (he’s the one who proclaimed ‘Behold the Lamb of God’) to bear witness of the (what?) Light,.…” Now what’s the purpose of light? Now you think I’m tricking you, don’t you? Why do we have the lights on? To remove darkness. It’s just that simple. When you bring in light, darkness flees. You take away the light, darkness comes in.
Now to follow up on this light concept, let’s go to Isaiah chapter 42. This light concept is nothing new, and let’s just drop in at verse 6. Now look, this was written 700 years before Christ. It’s a long time, but it’s written as if it was only twenty-four hours ahead of Him.
“I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a (what?) light of the Gentiles; 7. To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” In other words, the whole idea was to bring even the Gentile world out of their spiritual blackness and darkness and bring them into the light of Israel’s Messiah, or the God of Creation. All right, go to chapter 60 and you’ve got this “light” concept all the way through. Isaiah 60 verse 1, and again this is plain English.
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come,.…” Now stop a minute. To whom is Isaiah writing? Israel – in view of their falling headlong into rebellion and idolatry. And the whole idea of Isaiah and the prophets is to warn them that God is going to bring judgment in short order. He’s going to bring in foreign nations. And he makes the language so plain, they’re going to have sharpened arrows and they’re going to have horses’ hooves of flint. All to bring in chastisement on the people of Israel. But before it comes, he’s giving them this opportunity to turn around. All right, so now in chapter 60 of Isaiah, written now, like I said, 700 years before Christ, the prophet writes:
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. (even though it’s 700 years out in the future) 2. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. 3. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” Well Who is the Light? The Messiah. See, the Christ would be the Light of the world and “even the Gentiles shall come to thy light.”
Acts chapter 9; we were talking about Saul and I guess I could even carry that light a little bit further. What happened to Saul on the road to Damascus? What hit him? That bright light. It just knocked him to the ground. The Light from Heaven. Well goodness sakes, Who was the Light? Jesus, the Christ. And old Saul of Tarsus immediately knew that it was God dealing with him and that’s why his response was, “who are you Jehovah?” And Jehovah says, “I’m Jesus.” One and the same.
So, you have that dramatic conversion of the Apostle Paul. But, before he receives his revelations out there on the back side of the desert (verse 20 again, shortly after his conversion), he gets his strength back; he gets his sight back. “Straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues.” And I can’t emphasize that enough. It’s still all Jewish. Nobody has told him to go up to the marketplace and preach to Gentiles.
But all that heard him were amazed,.…” Why? Because this Jew who had so hated these followers of Jesus of Nazareth was now proclaiming that, yes, He was the Anointed. He was the Light. Okay, now then let’s come back to I John again, and verse 6. Remember, John is writing to Jews under that Kingdom economy.
I John 1:7
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, (just recognizing Who was the cleansing power of) and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Now jump back up to verse 6.
I John 1:6
“If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:” If they would say they had fellowship and were walking in darkness, then they had no salvation. They were just simply mouthing something that had never affected their lives. Well, that’s the way church people are even today. Nothing has changed. You know how they say “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Well that’s just about the way it is, even scripturally.
So when these Jewish believers walked in the Light, they had fellowship one with another, in spite of all the pressure. Now don’t forget that these three men are writing to fellow Jews under the horrors of persecution, but that’s going to get worse. The Tribulation is just out in front of them and things are going to get worse.
I John 1:8
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Well, now, how does the Apostle Paul put it? Let’s go back to Romans 3:23 because a lot of these scriptures overlap and one means just as much to one group of people as it does to another – not always – but here’s one that does. This has always been the case, ever since Adam and Eve fell. And the Old Testament says that the heart is desperately wicked; who can know it?
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” What does that mean? Every human being who is ever born comes into the human race a born sinner. And that’s what so many people cannot comprehend. They think, well I’m good enough. I’ve never done anything that bad. I’m not a sinner. Yes we are – by virtue of the fact that we’re children of Adam.
Lesson One • Part III
Comparing Kingdom and Grace Doctrines
I John 1:1 – 1:9
We had been looking at the “light” over in Isaiah, and I was intending to go back to John’s Gospel, and look at that “light” concept again, but rather I had you come back to Acts. So come back to John’s Gospel chapter 3 verse 17.
“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already,.…” And that’s what we saw in our last program – how that every person born into the human race as a son of Adam is a born sinner. Remember in our last lesson we read – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” All have sinned! Every last one of us. So the unbeliever is condemned already. Now finishing verse 18.
“…because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19. And this is the condemnation, (here’s God’s point of controversy) that light (that can expel darkness) is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light,.…” I’ve often wondered why barrooms are almost totally dark. I’ve only been in one once in my life. I went with a buddy of mine in the service because he had to meet someone and, my, I got in and that’s the first thing I asked him, “Why don’t they turn on the lights?” Well, evil loves darkness and they’d rather be in their darkness than to be out in the light.
“For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. (or revealed) 21. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” Now, all the way through here then, you have not seen one word about the cross. And, of course, that’s to be expected because it hasn’t happened yet. And, again, in that light (lest someone wondered in the first two half-hours when I make mention of the fact that these twelve disciples had no idea that Christ was going to go up to Jerusalem to be crucified), come back with me to Luke 18 since you’re already in John. Now I had one old fellow tell Iris and I, and we were kind of shocked – he said, “You speak extemporaneously don’t you?” Well, I guess I do. Now I wasn’t intending to come back here to Luke, but I just happened to remember I’ve been speaking a lot now about the fact that these Jews, and especially the Twelve, had no idea of the crucifixion.
Now we know it was prophesied. That’s what Paul said in I Corinthians chapter 15:1-4, as he shared with us what we must believe for our salvation today. That “Christ died for our sins, and that He was buried and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” So yes, it’s back there, but it was in such veiled language that nobody understood and they weren’t supposed to. The whole thing was that now we’re supposed to be enlightened enough that we can see it. All right, but Luke 18 – and if somebody gives you some argument on this (that everybody knew that Jesus was going to die), just tell them, “No they did not!” Luke 18 verse 31; and this is at the end of His earthly ministry. Again they’re still there in Northern Israel, but they’ll be making their way up to Jerusalem for the Passover in short order.
“Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.” This was all tucked away back in the Old Testament. And Jesus knew what it meant, but nobody else did. And so He tells them, verse 32:
“For he (speaking of Himself) shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33. And they shall scourge him, (and we know the Romans did this) and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.” And He had it all right. He knew exactly what was coming. But did the Twelve? No. Look at the next verse. I’ve shown this to people and they just shake their heads. They don’t believe it. I say, “But that’s what the Book says!” And they’ll come back with “Ah, they must have known.” But the Book says they didn’t.
“And they (the Twelve) understood none of these things: and this saying (that which He had just said) was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” They had no clue. Use common sense. When He had been crucified and laid in the tomb – if they’d have understood that the third day he would rise again, where should have all those followers have been? They should have been camped out around the stone waiting for it to roll away. They should have been waiting for Him to come out. But were they? Not one.
And when Mary runs and tells Peter and John that the tomb is empty, were they expecting it? No, they were totally surprised. Now, while I’m on that subject, I guess I might as well do this as well. Turn to John chapter 20 because we have to understand that (these Jewish believers) all they understood was that this promised Messiah was now in their midst in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth. That’s Who He was. But they had no idea that He was going to be going to a Roman cross. And when He hung on the cross, they had no idea that three days later He’d be in their midst. And that’s why they were so shook up when they saw him.
All right, but here in John’s Gospel chapter 20, you all know the account – how that Mary Magdalene came early and was going to anoint the corpse with the spices according to custom. And the tomb is empty! And she ran back and told Peter and John, wherever they were. And then Peter and John run forth and John gets there first – and we’ll skip all that, and begin with verse 8:
“Then went in also that other disciple, (John) which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. 9. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” That’s what the Bible says; so how could they preach a Gospel of salvation based on the death, burial and resurrection that you and I must believe today? They didn’t. All they could preach for salvation to the Nation of Israel was to believe that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God!
The salvation based on death, burial and resurrection that we believe is going to have to wait for that other apostle (Paul) who is going to have what we call now the revelation of the mysteries and those revelation of the mysteries are a preaching of Christ crucified, buried and risen from the dead. And that’s where we are.
That’s a good introduction for the next verse in I John chapter 1. I’ve used this verse, I think now, wrongly over the years. I don’t use it this way anymore. I John chapter 1 verse 9. How do you suppose I’ve always used it? Well that if the believer sins, he comes to the Lord and confesses it so that he can be forgiven. Now that’s the normal approach, but now stop and think. Doesn’t Paul teach that the moment we’re saved, we are already what? Forgiven!
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath (already) he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;” Past, Present, and Future! Paul’s Gospel teaches that the moment you believe, you’re forgiven all trespasses – past, present, and future. But that’s not the way this verse 9 in I John approaches it. So what’s the problem? Well, this verse in I John is still Kingdom ground. Now a lot of people are going to disagree and that’s fine; it won’t hurt my feelings a bit – but we’re still on Kingdom ground, otherwise there would be a conflict in Scripture. But there are not conflicts, just different administrations, or dispensations. Remember Law and Grace do not mix.
John has no concept of the Gospel of Grace. John has no concept of our relationship with Christ as the Head of the Body. He’s dealing with Jews in the Kingdom economy. And what was the first step toward salvation for a Jew in the Kingdom economy? Repent and be baptized. What’s repentance? A begging for forgiveness. In this Age of Grace, we don’t beg for forgiveness! Our instructions are that we believe in our heart the finished work of the cross for our salvation! And I’m going to show you that in just a moment. Verse 9 again.
I John 1:9a
“If we confess our sins, (if we repent, then) he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,.…” Now I don’t doubt that one iota. This is exactly what happened when a Jew under the Kingdom economy recognized his failures and he confessed or repented of his sin. God forgave him. Of course He did, He promised to. And that’s what we’re talking about here. That if we confess our sins – if we repent of our sins as a lot of people are still preaching today, then of course, He’s faithful and just to forgive. But, listen, that’s not where we are.
All right, let me show you. Now we’ve got to compare how Paul approaches this whole thing under Grace – Paul, our Apostle of the Gentiles. And that’s why, of course, I’m always bringing people to the church letters – Romans through Philemon. Romans chapter 3, where we ended up in the last program, that we’re all sinners – Jew and Gentile. Black and white. Rich and poor. Doesn’t make any difference. We’re all sons of Adam. And we’re sinners. Romans 3 verse 23; a verse I think that just about everybody knows from memory.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” That’s what verse 23 says. For everybody has sinned and come short of the glory of God, but oh, now read on, verse 24.
“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (or the One Who has offered the sacrifice, Who is the place of sacrifice, He is the all-sufficient now) through faith in his blood, (has been shed for the payment of all sin. That was the payment that God demanded) to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;” Remember Hebrews tells us, “For without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin.” All right, so it’s through faith in His blood which, of course, is incorporated with His death, burial and resurrection. Now verse 26.
To declare, I say, at this time his (Christ) righteousness: that he might be just, (totally fair, He’s not showing favoritism for some over others) and the justifier of him.…”
Now get your words straight. Jesus the Christ, because of His finished work of the cross, is going to be totally fair in calling any sinner, regardless of how far down he’s gone or how good he’s been – doesn’t make any difference to God. He’s not a respecter of persons, but He’s going to be totally fair in justifying. In other words, wiping the slate clean to everyone that confesses his sin? Is that what Paul teaches here? NO!! Look at how he finishes that verse.
“…which believeth in Jesus.”
It says that God is going to justify the person that what? Believes! Now you’re looking at me as though you’re awe-struck. What do they call it? Shock and awe? Hey, this Book can do it to you, too. It’s shock and awe because this isn’t what most people think. Most people think before God can save us we’ve got to get down and grovel in the dirt and repent and cry out and beg for forgiveness. NO! We simply suddenly realize, yes, that we’re sinners, that’s number one. God can’t save anybody that doesn’t realize they’re lost, but the minute we realize we’re lost and we believe that the work of the cross is accomplished, it’s done. God justifies us.
Now let’s go on to I Corinthians, because there is a verse there that is ringing in my mind, so I’ve got to use that one. I Corinthians chapter 1 verse 17 – now what a difference and it’s supposed to be. We’re a whole different economy with Paul’s preaching. We’re not under that Kingdom economy (that was Israel). And you can go all the way through the Old Testament, especially since Genesis 12, the call of Abraham – you come all the way through the Old Testament. We did this when we introduced the Book of James. You come all the way through the Four Gospels; you come through the book of Acts until the Apostle Paul comes back from his desert experience (which takes you about up to chapter 11 of Acts). Everything is Jewish, it’s the Kingdom economy, it’s Law.
Then leap over Paul’s epistles and the Age of Grace, and drop back down again and (especially in James; to a degree even Hebrews; but especially in James and Peter and John and Jude and Revelation) what have we got? The Kingdom economy again. (Law) Nothing of Paul’s Gospel of Grace. See? And this is what we mean by rightly dividing the Scriptures. What applies to us? Paul’s epistles.
What Peter and John were preaching applied to Israel. Now we can go in there and take some nuggets. But basically, fundamentally, they are proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom and all the things associated with it. We’re under the Gospel of the Grace of God, which He gave to Paul for us. (Ephesians 3:2) All right, I Corinthians chapter 1 verse 17 where Paul writes:
I Corinthians 1:17a
“For Christ sent me not to baptize,.…” Well goodness sakes, what did he send John the Baptist to do? To baptize. What did the Twelve go out to do? Repent and be baptized. By inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul says in so many words, “That’s not my bag.”
I Corinthians 1:17a
“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel:.…” And that Gospel of Salvation according to I Corinthians 15:1-4 is, “Believe in your heart that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again.”
I went through these Jewish epistles early this morning and, do you know, I did not find one reference to the cross or the resurrection. Now maybe I missed it but I don’t think so. And that’s all this man Paul knows – the cross, the cross, the cross. Now verse 18.
I Corinthians 1:18
“For the preaching of the cross (not the Messiahship of Christ, it’s the cross of Christ) is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved (those of us who have now been declared justified by our faith in the finished work of the cross) it is the power of God.”
And, oh, I wish people could see that. But Christendom has mixed this all up. Yes, I will repeat it again – they’ve put it in the blender, they’ve turned it up on high, and they ladle it out and wonder why people get sick to their stomach. All you have to do is keep it separate. Just separate it. Leave the Kingdom economy with Israel and believe this Gospel of Grace that’s appropriate for us today (that we receive from the Apostle Paul’s writings).
Well, where’s another good one that we can compare with. I Corinthians 15. This whole long chapter has 58 verses. And what does almost every verse deal with? The resurrection. James and Peter and John never mention it. The only reference they make is to the blood and I’ll give them that quarter. Peter says, “We have not been redeemed with silver and gold but with the precious blood of Christ.” We just saw where John said that “If we have fellowship one with another and walk in the light then the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us.” That’s the only reference those men make to the work of the cross.
But the Apostle Paul – that’s all he knows – that everything was consummated when Christ went to that cross, shed His blood, was put to death and rose victorious over everything that opposed. And, by that, we now are offered a salvation and the power of it. So now then, I Corinthians 15 – oh my goodness, you should all know this by memory now, too:
I Corinthians 15:1a
“Moreover brethren (he’s writing to believers – Corinth – Gentiles – You and I) I declare unto you the gospel.…” Not ‘a’ Gospel of salvation, but ‘the’ Gospel of salvation. Which means you and I can’t use any other method to get to heaven.
I Corinthians 15:1-2
“Moreover brethren I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2. By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” So you don’t have a choice to choose either the Gospel of the Kingdom which was preached to the Jews by the Twelve, or the Gospel of Grace which was preached by Paul. Because when God saved Paul, and gave him these revelations for the Gentiles in this Church Age, the Gospel we must believe was complete once and for all. So, people that don’t believe Paul’s Gospel are believing in vain. It’s going to do them no good whatsoever, because they’re not believing the true Gospel of Grace!! All right, here it is, this is the Gospel in a nutshell: Now here is what you must believe for salvation!
I Corinthians 15:3-4
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, (in that hiatus in the desert; three years, and here it is) how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: ” Now, a few minutes back, where did we have that same connotation? The words of Jesus in Luke 18, what did He say? How that according to the Scripture, He would rise again the third day – and Paul uses the same thing. See, you can tell the same Holy Spirit is the author. All right, “How that he died for our sins according to the Scriptures, the Old Testament. And that he was buried (He was dead. Three days and three nights.) And that he arose again the third day according to the scriptures.” This wasn’t an afterthought. This was all preplanned from eternity past – long before Adam and Eve.
You know I’m always stressing – I don’t want people to forget for a moment – here we are 6,000 years since Adam and Eve got the ball rolling. And in that 6,000 years, God has let men and nations pretty much do their own thing. Build navies, armies, air forces, create technology, set up empires, destroy empires. And here we are exactly on the twenty-four hour day that God planned everything to be. Nothing is a day late. Nothing is a day early. It’s all on His schedule. And for proof of that, Galatians chapter 4, “When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son” (speaking of Bethlehem). Was it a day late? Was it a month early? No – the exact day.
All right, and the same way with the future. Whatever is still out in front of us, God knows the exact minute that things are going to happen, so we have to be constantly aware that all of these things were foretold long before they happened. But see, at the heart of all of Paul’s preaching is the death, the burial and the resurrection of Israel’s Messiah. Not the fact that He’s the King, although He’s still going to be. But our Gospel is that the King of Israel, the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth went to that Roman cross and purchased our salvation and all we have to do to appropriate it is BELIEVE IT!
You don’t have to go across the ocean. You don’t have to put up a ton of money. All God wants us to do is believe it. Believe it!
Lesson One • Part IV
Comparing Kingdom and Grace Doctrines
I John 1:1 – 1:9
Okay, let’s go back to I John chapter 1 verse 9:
I John 1:9
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
As I said in the last program, for years and years I (and I imagine most of Christendom still do) used this as a verse for believers who’ve sinned. But, when you really analyze it, this is a salvation verse for the Kingdom Jewish believers to whom John is writing.
Now never lose sight of that fact as we’ve been repeating and repeating that James and Peter and John are all writing to Jews. Now Galatians chapter 2, because I know this flies in the face of a lot of Christendom. They say, “Now where do you get that this is all to the Jew?” Well, I’m going to base it on the character of these men. Galatians chapter 2, and this is Paul rehearsing what had happened at the Jerusalem counsel of Acts chapter 15. And for those of you who may not be aware, the Jerusalem counsel was held about 51 AD, which is about 21-22 years after Pentecost or after the cross.
The problem that has arisen is that the Jewish Law-keeping Kingdom believers were still trying to convince Paul’s Gentile believers, under his Gospel of Grace, that they had to practice circumcision and the keeping of the Law and the Commandments. (Acts 15:1-5) I know this is hidden from the average congregation by most denominations, but it’s in the Book! And of course, finally it came to a point of such controversy that the Lord was in it – that Paul and Barnabas, who were ministering to the Gentiles, should go up to Jerusalem and deal with this problem with the Twelve and the Jerusalem leadership. And you all know, if you’ve heard me teach very long that, at this Jerusalem counsel, it was finally agreed that Paul and Barnabas would be apostles of the Gentiles and that the disciples would confine their ministry to Israel.
Now here’s the verse that shows that. I’ll just come down to where Paul was able to get through to these men that he was not on the same page as they were. They were the apostles of Israel and he was the apostle for the Gentile and the twain can never be brought together. They were preaching two different messages. One of Law– believing in His name, repentance and baptism; and the other of Grace – just faith in the fact that Jesus died for your sins, was buried and rose again.
Now come back to Galatians 2 verse 7, and remember the setting. Paul has now been out amongst the Gentiles, establishing these little congregations of Gentiles on his Gospel (the Gospel of Grace, the preaching of the cross). But these Jews out of the Kingdom economy in Jerusalem are still under the Law. (Acts 15:5) The Temple is still operating, and hasn’t been destroyed yet. And so these Jews are still practicing Temple worship and Paul, of course, has now gotten his Gentile believers separated from all that – and so here’s the agreement.
“But contrariwise, (Paul writes) when they (the Twelve) saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision (that’s Gentiles) was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision (Israel) was (committed) unto Peter;” Now that’s plain language. Two totally different concepts. The Gospel of salvation for the Gentile had been committed unto the Apostle Paul. The Gospel of salvation for the Jews had been committed to Peter and the Eleven. All right now then, verse 8.
“(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, (Israel) the same (that is the same Christ, the same God) was mighty in me toward (what people?) the Gentiles:)” Now that’s as different as daylight and dark. There’s no amalgamating them. Peter’s the apostle to Israel. Paul’s the apostle to the Gentiles.
“And when James, Cephas, (Peter) and John,.… ” The same three writers that we’re studying at the end of our New Testament in that order. Not Peter, James and John; it’s James, and Peter, and John.
“…who seemed to be pillars, (that is, of the Kingdom economy up there at Jerusalem) perceived (or understood) the grace that was given unto me,.…” When they understood, yes, Paul is the apostle of the Gentiles; we’re the apostles of Israel.
“…they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; (all three of them shook on it. And here is that gentleman’s agreement) that we should go unto the heathen, (Gentiles) and they unto the circumcision.” (Israel, the Jew) That was a gentleman’s agreement. No more subterfuge; no more undermining Paul’s ministry. We’re going to leave you to the Gentiles and now look what it is. They agreed with the right hands of fellowship that Paul and Barnabas should go to the heathen, the Gentiles; and they, James, and Peter, and John, and the rest of the Jerusalem leadership (the Kingdom economy), they would stay with the circumcision, with Israel. Now I’m going to take a minute and let that soak in. In 51 AD, this was the gentleman’s agreement, that Paul would be the apostle to the Gentiles with Barnabas’ help, of course. And that the Twelve would confine their ministry to Israel.
Now, had the Holy Spirit inspired James and Peter and John back here in our New Testament to start mingling their message to the Gentiles, what would that have done to that agreement in Jerusalem? That would have blown it out of the water. Somebody would have been less than honest. But it was an honest agreement and they all held to it.
Now I can show you in Acts chapter 8, because tradition is a tough thing to overcome. But Acts chapter 8 – and this is about seven years after Pentecost, and they have just stoned Stephen – and Saul of Tarsus is heading up the persecution. And it’s intense. And the Jerusalem Jewish church is under such pressure that they’re starting to scatter like a flock of quail.
“And Saul (the persecutor, that Orthodox Jew, Pharisee of the Pharisees, before his salvation) was consenting unto his (Stephen’s) death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church (the Jewish Kingdom church) which was at Jerusalem; and they (these Jewish Kingdom believers, the ones that James and Peter and John are addressing in their little epistles) were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, (what are the last three words?) except the apostles.”
Why? Well they weren’t about to leave their home base. They weren’t about to leave Jerusalem because, after all, once Israel should repent and come to a knowledge of Jesus as their Messiah, to what place on the globe would the Messiah return? Jerusalem. He’s going to come to the Mount of Olives when He returns. And they weren’t about to leave because they still had high hopes that somehow or other, in spite of all this persecution, that the Jews would be able to convert the whole nation and that the Messiah could yet come. That’s their whole premise.
But you have to understand that when these three men are writing these epistles at the end of our New Testament, they were under that agreement of Galatians chapter 2, and they could not have gone against that. It wouldn’t have been gentlemanly. It wouldn’t have been Christian. And so I maintain they did not. And they kept their ministry on the Kingdom ground to Israel.
“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 to none but unto the Jews only.” Do you see that? They preached to none but the Jews! And they’re letting Paul fulfill his ministry then among the Gentiles.
All right, now let’s pick up some of Paul’s statements to show that he was totally removed from anything concerning the Kingdom economy and the Twelve in Jerusalem. Let’s see, I believe you’re still in Galatians 2, so go to Galatians 1 and verse 11 for just a moment. Now remember, Paul is writing to Gentiles. And he’s writing to Gentiles who were succumbing to the false teaching of these Jerusalem people that they had to keep the Law. Do you see how all this ties together? And so the whole book of Galatians is written on that basis. Paul had to keep telling his Gentile believers, “You’re not under the Law. You don’t have to keep kosher food. You don’t have to keep the Commandments as such and you don’t have to do all the things that the Law required because you’re under Grace.”
“But I certify you brethren, that the gospel (of salvation) which was preached of me is not after man. (Why?) 12. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, (by other men) but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Now, what’s he telling us? And I always put it this way – under normal circumstances, here someone comes to a knowledge of Who Jesus was, like Saul of Tarsus. Years after the fact, wouldn’t it have been normal for him to go right back to Jerusalem, find Peter, James and John and say, “Well now look, I now recognize that I was wrong. I now know that the Jesus that you preach was the Messiah. Tell me everything you know.” Wouldn’t that have been logical? Of course it would have because old Saul knew that these men had been with Jesus for three years. He knew they’d been preaching the Messiahship and the Kingship of Christ for these intervening six/seven years. They would have been the logical place to go. But the Spirit forbade him.
The Spirit, instead of letting him go southwest to Jerusalem (I’ve done this on the board, on the program) sends him southeast into Arabia. Opposite direction basically. Why? He didn’t want Paul’s teaching to be muddled with anything that the Twelve had to offer. He had to have a total revelation of things completely different. Oh, based on the same Christ, of course. The same God. But it’s going to be a whole new revelation. So what’s that revelation?
Now back to Romans chapter 16 verse 25. You know, I’ve asked in my seminars around the country, “Have you ever heard a Sunday morning sermon with the text Romans 16 verse 25?” Well, finally last fall up at our Concordia seminar in Minneapolis we had two or three hands. That’s the first time. I’ve never had anybody admit that they had a Sunday morning sermon with the text Romans 16 verse 25. Preachers avoid it like a plague. Look what it says.
“Now to him (the Christ) that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel,.…” What’s Paul’s Gospel? “By believing in your heart that Christ died for your sins, was buried and rose from the dead.”
“…and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, (A revealing of something that’s been mooted before. Something totally different. And what is it?) which was kept secret since the world began.” Now what was kept secret? That when Jesus of Nazareth was rejected as the Messiah of Israel, God in His eternal purposes brought about the work of the cross, and the work of the cross – His death, burial and resurrection and His shedding of blood – was now going to open up salvation, not just to Israel, but to whom? The whole world.
Now go to II Corinthians chapter 5, and see this is just a whole different concept than what Peter, James and John understood. They were preaching to Israel on the basis of the Old Testament covenant promises. They had no concept that God was now going to save the whole human race. They were stuck with the idea of Israel. But look what Paul writes in II Corinthians chapter 5 verse 14. I know it takes a little bit to see it but once people see it, oh, it is so plain – it just lights this Book up like a three-hundred watt bulb.
II Corinthians 5:14a
“For the love of Christ.…” See, now sometimes people will write and say, “Les you make too much of Paul.” No I don’t make too much of Paul. Paul was merely the one who points us to the Christ. And that’s what he’s always saying. He preaches “Christ crucified, and risen again.” Paul is that eminent apostle of the Gentiles to whom was revealed this tremendous Gospel of Grace that’s beyond human understanding. We just simply take it by faith.
II Corinthians 5:14
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; (drives us) because we thus judge, (or conclude, now watch this) that if one died for all, then were all dead:” Now, you know there is teaching about there being limited atonement – that Christ only died for the believer. Don’t you believe it! He died for ALL! He died for the whole human race. All right, and if He did die for all, then it’s a natural conclusion then that all were dead, spiritually, like we saw in the last program. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Now verse 15.
II Corinthians 5:15
“And that he died for all, that they which live (spiritually and get eternal life) should not henceforth (from the time of their salvation, when they’ve been justified and they’ve been granted eternal life, that from that point on) live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and (what?) rose again.” See that? Paul never shuns the resurrection, it’s everywhere. But, you see, the Jewish writers don’t mention it because that wasn’t part and parcel of the Kingdom Gospel. The Kingdom Gospel was to believe Who Jesus was, followed by repentance and water baptism. The Grace Gospel is to believe that not only did Christ die for our sins, but He rose from the dead. I know many people try to make them all the same, but you see the Bible says they’re different, and that’s why Paul says, we should be “Rightly Dividing the Word of God.”
II Corinthians 5:16
“Wherefore (because of the death, burial and resurrection) henceforth know we no man after the flesh: Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, (according to His earthly ministry and before He was crucified.) yet now henceforth know we him no more.” And Paul is saying he lived contemporary with Christ. He was already that fanatical Jew and was probably burning at the fringes when he saw the crowds following Jesus of Nazareth. He knew His ministry. He knew what He was doing. He knew about those three years of Christ in the flesh.
But, it was the crucified, buried, risen and ascended Lord that confronted Saul on the road to Damascus, not Jesus of Nazareth in those three years. See the difference? Oh, what a difference! Jesus chose the Twelve in His ministry of the flesh inside the borders of Israel. This man He confronted, after His death, burial, resurrection and ascension, outside the borders of Israel on Gentile ground. And that just separates them.
And that’s why they had to come to the conclusion; yes, they would maintain their ministry with Israel up until finally it all fell apart, but this man would go to the Gentiles. And now, even archaeology supports that, by the end of the first century, that element of Jewish believers, of what I call the Kingdom believers, disappeared. They just disappeared. You don’t see any evidence of them anymore in archaeology or history, or anywhere else. But for those seventy years from the time of the cross until about the end of the century there were these little Jewish congregation scattered throughout the Roman Empire. But they never entered into this Gospel of Grace. All right, one more verse in II Corinthians 5. And, oh, what a verse!
II Corinthians 5:17a
“Therefore (and what’s that ‘therefore?’ Because of the death, burial and resurrection) if any man be in Christ,…” See, now that’s another terminology that is uniquely Paul. The Jewish Kingdom believer had no concept of being “in Christ.” That’s the body element, and it is a Grace Age doctrine; that, the moment we become a believer, we are placed into the Body of Christ, we’re in Christ. In fact I think Paul uses that term 93 times in the Book of Ephesians alone.
I had a gentleman say, “Les I hear all the time about being ‘in Christ,’ but nobody ever tells anybody how to get there.” And I said, “You know, you’re right.” So how do we get “in Christ?” By believing Paul’s Gospel of salvation. Because as soon as we become a believer of Paul’s Gospel, the Holy Spirit places us into the Body of Christ. And we become members one of another, as fingers and toes and eyes and ears are members of this body, every believer is a member of the Body of Christ. That’s a Pauline concept. It was never revealed before. And this is all part of the revelation of the mysteries.
II Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” We’re a whole new creation. God has worked a work within us that makes us different.
II Corinthians 5:18
“And all things are of God, who hath (already) reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;” We are to tell others to be reconciled. Oh, this is all Pauline truths and you don’t pick this up in the Kingdom economy. Well, let’s look at a couple of verses in Ephesians in the short time we have left.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,.…” Rarely does Paul us the term “Jesus” alone. One or two places he does, but as a rule, he puts the full title and I think it’s appropriate even for us, we refer to Him as our Lord Jesus Christ.
“…who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings (not here on earth. Not name it and claim it. But where?) in heavenly places in Christ.” That’s where our riches are, in the heavenlies. We may go through this life poor as paupers. Most Christians down through the centuries have. It’s only been in the last few years where Christians have enjoyed the wealth. For most of Church history, they were the poverty stricken element and that’s, of course, as Paul teaches. We are not promised earthly blessings because we’re a believer. Ours are heavenly. Ours are waiting for us. We’re laying them up in Glory. All right, so He’s already “blessed us in the heavenlies, in Christ.”
“According as he hath (already) chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” In other words, before anything was ever created, God already knew we’d be believers today.
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” But let’s go down to verse 13. Ephesians 1 verse 13. My, all these verse are so wonderful!
“In whom (he says) ye also trusted, (believed) after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye (What?) Repented and were baptized? No, that’s not what it says. After you what?) believed,.…” That’s the whole crux of Paul’s message – that we believe that everything that needed to be done was done in that work of the cross.
Lesson Two • Part I
The True Light
I John 2:1-29
All right, getting back into The Word now in I John chapter 2, and we’re going to jump right in at verse 1, as we pretty much finished chapter 1 in our last taping. But, I guess I’d better keep reminding everybody these little epistles at the tail end of our New Testament are just a continuation of the Old Testament prophecies. And it’s all in view of the coming wrath and Tribulation, the Second Coming and then the one-thousand-year Kingdom Age. In these little Jewish epistles there is not one word in here about the Church, the Body of Christ – but rather it was written to these congregations of Jewish believers that were part of Christ’s earthly ministry and that of the Twelve.
I was so encouraged when someone sent me a commentary a while back that I had never seen or heard of before – and it says the exact thing that I’ve been saying – so I know I’m not coming out of the woodwork all by myself. But remember that these little epistles are written by James and Peter and John, who were part of the Apostles of Israel. And remember, at that Jerusalem counsel that’s recorded in Galatians chapter 2, after all the arguing and after everything had finally settled, they all shook hands. A gentleman’s agreement that Peter, James and John would stay with the Nation of Israel and Paul and Barnabas would go to the Gentiles, or non-Jewish world.
Well then, as a result of that handshake, I have to hold these people’s feet to the fire. If they shake hands on this, and then come right back and write something for Gentiles, then they didn’t keep their word. But they did keep their word, so everything in these little epistles (written now by James and Peter and John and then Jude slips in between there, but it’s the same format, this) is all written to the Nation of Israel. Now, when I say “written to,” that doesn’t mean you tear it out and throw it away, or that it’s of no use to us. Paul himself says, “all Scripture is profitable” but not all Scripture is written directly to us for our practice. In this Age of Grace we’re in, we go primarily to Paul’s epistles as they were given to him by the risen Lord for us, as he tells us in Ephesians 3:1-2.
And that’s where people get all mixed up. So, here again, these little epistles were written primarily for the Jew’s benefit. The Kingdom believers were, I feel, in little congregations there between Pentecost and when these things are written – and, of course, it all ends with the destruction of the Temple just a year or two after the New Testament is finished. And Israel is then dispersed into the nations of the world. And now then here we are, as I’ve been stressing ever since we’ve been in James, full circle, 2,000 years later and the scenario is almost the same once again.
Today, Israel is back in the land waiting for all these end-time things to take place. The Roman Empire is ready to make its appearance again in the nations of Western Europe and so everything that was in place here in the late 50’s AD and early 60’s AD is now in place once again. And so these letters were so appropriate for the Jewish believers, the Kingdom believers – they know nothing of Paul’s Gospel yet. They’re Kingdom believers looking for the return of their Messiah.
Now I emphasized that when we were introducing the little book of James, but never lose sight that the prophetic program is coming right straight through with no indication that it’s going to be interrupted. And I pointed out in a past program the only hint we had is what the Lord Himself, the God of Creation, knew, and that was in Luke 4, when He stopped in the middle of the verse in Isaiah 61 verse 2. And He said, “this has been fulfilled in your ears.” But remember He stopped in the middle of the verse and sat down. Because the rest of the verse made reference to the Tribulation, and the next verse made reference to the Kingdom. Age. But the Lord knew that that wasn’t going to happen at that time, so He stopped.
Peter, on the other hand, in the book of Acts, also uses an Old Testament prophecy and he tells the people, those Jews, on the day of Pentecost that what they’re seeing is what was foretold in Joel. And he quotes the whole prophecy. “The sun and the moon turned into blood. And the great catastrophes associated with the Tribulation and then the Kingdom would come” So remember that these letters were written to Jewish believers in view of the soon-coming Tribulation and the Second Coming and the Kingdom, with no hint of the Age of Grace, or of Paul’s Gospel of Grace.
Now that doesn’t mean that we don’t take good things out of these Jewish epistles. Of course, there are many things because the God of the Jewish economy is the God of Grace, and so this whole Book all fits together – but what’s written to Israel is intrinsic to Israel. What’s written by the Apostle Paul to the Church or to the Grace Age is intrinsically written for us. All right, so remember now this little Book is written to Jewish believers by the Apostle John.
I John 2:1a
“My little children,.…” Now that’s a term of endearment. And what is the main theme of John’s writing back in the Gospel as well as in his letter – what’s the four-letter word? Love! John is the Apostle that is always epitomizing love. He must have been the kind of an individual that just had a soft heart. I don’t think he was the blundering type that Peter was and that shows up so clearly in John 20. John is just a heart of love. And so this is a term of endearment that fits his personality, even though it’s inspired by the Spirit.
I John 2:1a
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not….” Can’t you hear the begging in his voice? Now Paul says much the same thing. Let’s go back and look at how Paul puts it. Go back to Romans chapter 12, and verse 1. It’s almost the same kind of language but, you see, Paul doesn’t exude that softhearted love that John does, I don’t think. Paul just comes right out and says it.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2. And be not conformed to this world:.…” What’s he saying? Basically the same thing – that you “sin not.” Because if you’re not going to be conformed to the things of this world, then you’re not going to be living a life of sin. You’re going to be living a life set apart for Christ. Now, back to I John, so John puts it this way.
I John 2:1a
“My little children these things write I unto you, that ye sin not….” Live lives that are beyond reproach. But what are we, and what were these Jews? Human. And as humans we’re prone to sin. We may not go into the gross sins, but we’re all capable of sinning. Whether it’s a silent coveting of something or somebody, or maybe we just slip out a bad statement about someone that we know is not going to help them. Well, that’s sin. And I think those are the areas where most believers have to confront their sin. I don’t think that many of us are going to be confronted with gross adultery or murder or thievery or anything like that. But nevertheless, sin is sin.
I John 2:1b
“…And if any man sin,.…” See? “If a man sin.” Now isn’t that comforting? And does the rest of the statement say, “If you sin, you’re out? If a man sins, he’s lost or on his way to hell?” No. It doesn’t say that.
I John 2:1c
“…And if any man sin, we have an advocate (or a lawyer, or an attorney) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”
I don’t like to visualize the spiritual any more than necessary. I don’t think that’s always appropriate but, nevertheless, there are times when we just have to sort of get a mental picture of things. Here we have God the Father, the invisible Spirit God – God of holiness and righteousness; and right there at the right hand of the majesty, the Scripture says we have our crucified, buried, ascended Lord now doing what? Interceding for us. He’s our advocate. And so every time the believer sins, what does the advocate do? He says, “Father they’re mine. They’re under the blood. They’re washed.” And that’s comfort and I think this is to a certain degree for us as well as it was for those Jews.
I went through most of Paul’s epistles again and I can’t find a single place where Paul directly addresses how we are to deal with our failures in this Age of Grace. Paul doesn’t use this kind of language. The closest I can come to Paul telling us how to deal with our daily sin, is in II Corinthians, chapter 7. This is kind of amazing. Now he certainly draws that line of demarcation between the works of the flesh and the works of the Spirit, but he does not address the problem of a believer sinning. And I can’t quite understand why, unless the Holy Spirit intends for us to go into verses like I John which, like I said, can certainly be applicable. But this is as close as Paul comes to telling us how to deal with our daily sin.
II Corinthians 7:1
“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting (maturing) holiness in the fear of God.” Quite a statement isn’t it? How are we to be cleansed? Turn to Ephesians chapter 5 verse 26. Now he’s speaking of the corporate Body of Christ – but nevertheless, as the corporate Body, we are individually a part of it. And look how we’re cleansed.
“That he (that is Christ is verse 25) might sanctify and cleanse it (that is the Body, but that would also splash over to the individual believer, so He’s going to cleanse us) with the washing of water (not H2O water, but what?) by the word.”
The Word! So, now then, how do you and I as Grace-Age believers deal with our sins from day-to-day? Well, let’s just take an example. Come back with me to Galatians, chapter 5 verse 16, and I think this is one way of doing it. Because we know that Paul makes it so plain that we never again have to pray for forgiveness. And I’ve taught that for years. The believer does not have to constantly come back and say, “God forgive me.” You’re forgiven. That’s a one-time deal. But we do need daily cleansing.
“This I say then, (now remember this is Paul writing in the Age of Grace) Walk in the Spirit, (that is in the Holy Spirit’s control) and ye shall not fulfill (or give in to) the lust (or the desires) of the flesh.” There’s the whole idea. That we, with the indwelling Holy Spirit, are now empowered not to sin. And that’s why John had to plead that they sin not – but Paul, on the other hand, says that, if we’re walking in the Spirit, we won’t. All right, verse 17:
“For the flesh (the old sin nature) lusteth (or wars) against the Spirit, (the new nature) and the (new nature in the power of the Holy) Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Well, that’s obvious. In other words, you can’t just drift. There has to be some energy put into our living the Christian life. All right, verse 18.
“But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” Now he shows exactly what you and I are to be aware of. These are the things of the flesh. These are the things that the Spirit will keep us from committing if we let Him.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,”
Now we always put those four in the category of sexuality. That’s where the world is just getting almost awash.
“Idolatry, (and it doesn’t have to be an idol of wood or stone. Anything can become an idol) witchcraft,.…” Now, believe it or not, the first thing we heard about, when we were out East, was the tremendous rise of the practice of witchcraft. And they were giving us evidence of it. And so most of us think, “Well, that’s something that took place eons ago.” No. It’s right here in America and it’s exploding all around us. So it’s no longer something to just wink at.
“Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, (we’re hearing a lot about that lately. My, they can exude hate) variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21. Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Now that is what the Book says – this isn’t what I say. People who practice these things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. They’re lost. They’re of the world. They’re of the flesh. They’re doomed. And then you see the other side of the coin, which is the life of the believer, under the control of the Holy Spirit:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
All right, there I think it’s defined that when some of these things of the flesh enter into our life (and they’re not all going to hit us at once), I don’t think any of us have to worry about that. But, if any of this stuff happens to come into our thinking, or whatever, how are we going to cleanse it? Get into the Book!
You know, somebody out in Virginia the other day gave me a thought that I had never considered before, and I just can’t get it out of my mind. He said, “You know, you can take an alcoholic and you can rehabilitate him; and with some ongoing help, he can go back to a normal lifestyle. You can take a drug addict and bring him into rehabilitation and, of course, with some help you can bring him back to a normal lifestyle. And it’s behind him. But take someone who has watched pornography – and that is something that you can never wipe off the brain.”
Now think about that. These people or these kids watching pornography – that’s there until the day they die. Nobody can take it out and the only way we can overcome it, of course, is saturating our mind with the Word of God. Otherwise, that stuff just keeps coming up and coming up and coming up. That’s something to think about isn’t it? And it is a problem. My, you’d be surprised, in our little ministry, how many letters we get where a spouse is tied up in pornography. And it ruins a marriage. And it’s something that you can’t deal with. You can’t rehabilitate them because, just as soon as anything triggers their thought processes, there it is. Well, you know that. Remember all the stuff you heard when you were in junior high and high school, it’s just as sharp today as the day you heard it. It never leaves. And the only thing we can do is just simply combat it by saturating ourselves with the Word of God. That’s how we’re to be cleansed in this Age of Grace.
All right, coming back, and like I say, we can take some of these things even from these little epistles and use them for our profit, because all Scripture is profitable. So coming back to chapter 2 now. So, if we sin, we do have an advocate with the Father, and it’s, of course, Jesus Christ the Righteous One. All right, now verse 2 – here is again where John and Paul are on the same ‘page.’ They use the same word.
I John 2:2
“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
And that of course, I taught years ago – that when Christ finished the work of the cross, He was able to forgive the whole human race. They’re forgiven. But it does them no good until they appropriate it by faith. God has reconciled the whole world. He has told every human being that has ever lived everything that needs to be done to bring them back. It’s finished. But, it can’t be done until they believe. And never forget that. The work of the cross was total in the forgiveness of mankind’s sin.
But it does them no good until they appropriate it by faith. And that’s what must just tear the heart of God – that His love was so great, His suffering beyond human comprehension to pay the sin-debt for every human being, and yet so few cash in on it. Now that must be heartbreaking to think that He has done so much and only so few respond. But for those of us who are responding, we can go to this One Who is the propitiation for our sin. Remember for salvation today, in this Age of Grace, a person must believe in their heart that Jesus died for their sins, was buried, and rose again. God calls it a free gift, and the moment we believe that for salvation He saves us. Now I can prove that Paul uses this same word “propitiation.” Come back with me to Romans, chapter 3, and verse 25. Christ Jesus again in verse 24.
“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood,.…”
The Lord Jesus Himself is the propitiation and it is again accomplished through our faith. That’s what appropriates it. Now when I say ‘appropriate’ I guess I should use an everyday example. Congress will pass a law and they will put so many billions of dollars into – we’ll say a highway building fund. It goes into a fund and it sits there in Washington UNTIL… What does the individual state have to do? Well, they have to make application. They have to appropriate money for highways out of that fund in Washington. But until the state asks for it, and makes application for it, it stays there.
Well, it’s the same way with the plan of salvation. God has done it all. It’s just sits there waiting for the appropriation of the individual by faith. And oh it’s so simple, it blows people away, and they can’t buy it. But that’s where it is.
All right, now this word propitiation is that total work, as well as place of sacrifice, that was probably pictured the best back there at the Tabernacle where they had the brazen altar. And as that sacrificial animal was laid on that brazen altar, the animal was the sacrifice. The altar was the place of sacrifice. Christ is all of it. The Lord Jesus is all of it! He is not only the sacrifice, He is the place of sacrifice. He’s the mercy seat. He’s the Ark of the Covenant, He’s everything and we appropriate it all by faith when we believe Paul’s Gospel for salvation.
Now I can’t understand it all, and I don’t expect anybody else to, but what little I understand, I take by faith. “God, You said it, and I believe it.” And that’s why it is so thrilling, and that’s when you can pass it on to others. That’s the only reason I teach. My, there’s nothing more thrilling than to be able to see somebody come to a knowledge of all this and accept it by faith. The Lord Jesus became our everything in that finished work, and that’s why no one is going to come up before the Great White Throne and have an argument. They will immediately recognize that they deserve the eternal doom to which they’re going – because then they’ll recognize that, yes, their sins have been paid for, but they never appropriated it. They never cashed in on what our precious Lord had done on their behalf.
Lesson Two • Part II
The True Light
I John 2:1-29
We invite you to just search the Scriptures with us. Compare Scripture with Scripture and remember that someday you’re not going to stand before the Lord and plead that you were loyal to your denomination. That’s not going to hold water. But, you’re going to be judged as Romans says, according to Paul’s Gospel. A lot of people don’t know that verse is in the Bible, either. That’s what Paul says in Romans 2:16 that “every man will be judged by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” And what is Paul’s Gospel of salvation? To believe in your heart that Jesus died for you, was buried and rose again. As Paul declares in I Corinthians 15:1-4. If you believe that, and that only, for salvation, then God saves you to the uttermost, and forever!
And of course, that’s why we hold forth the Pauline Scriptures as paramount (not them only, but they are paramount because of course, they are written to the Gentiles in particular, the Jews of course as well, during this Age of Grace). So, this is our ministry – to just simply teach the Book and help people to understand it, and see how it is divided, so that you will know what Scriptures you can claim for doctrine in this Church Age.
All right, we’re in I John chapter 2 and we’re ready to go into verse 3. Now again, I’m going to constantly be showing you how Jewish, and in accord with the Four Gospels, all these little letters are. Now this next verse just rings a bell. This isn’t Paul. This is John.
I John 2:3
“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.”
Now goodness, where does that ring a bell from? Well, go back with me to Matthew chapter 19 – and every time I use this verse I have to remember a phone call several years ago where a lady called and said, “Les I’m totally confused.” I said, “What’s the matter?” She continued, “Well, yesterday morning my priest’s subject was Matthew 19,” (Matthew 19 verses 16 and 17, and that was his sermon.) And she said, “This morning on your program, you’re telling us we’re not under the Law and the Commandments; we’re under Grace. Now I’m confused.”
Well now I didn’t bring you back here to confuse you – I brought you back here to see how this is exactly the same language that John uses in his little epistle as is used in the Four Gospels. All right, Jesus is speaking in Matthew 19.
“And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17. And he (Jesus) said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: But, if thou wilt enter into life, (that is eternal life) keep the (what?) commandments.”
Keep the Commandments. That was His answer. All right, now come back to I John and the Spirit now inspires John to write (since we’re dealing with believing Jews, not Gentiles), and he says, “If you really know the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, then you’ll ‘keep his commandments.’” Now I’ll be the first to admit that he’s not talking about just the Ten – he’s talking about all the ramifications of the Law. But it’s still the Law that he’s dealing with. Now verse 4.
I John 2:4-5a
“He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (well, that’s basically what Jesus told the Jews of His own day) 5. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the (what?) the love of God perfected:.…”
Now remember what I told you in the last program? John is the Apostle who is the epitome of love, and you’re going to see it throughout his writings. The love of God as it’s brought out through this disciple of love. Now finishing the verse.
I John 2:5b-6
“…hereby know we that we are in him. 6. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
Well, now I know somebody’s going to jump at me and say, “Wait a minute. John is using the same language of Paul, of being ‘in Christ.’” Well, it’s not in the same connotation.
Come back with me to John’s Gospel again, chapter 15, the chapter on the vine, and you’ll see it’s the same kind of language. Now that’s what I’m going to be doing from these little epistles. I did it with Peter, you remember, several months back. I took the very same words that Peter used and showed you that it was what God told Moses in Exodus, that “you are a kingdom of priests. You are a peculiar people.” All those same words Peter used in his little epistle. Well, it’s the same way with John now in his epistle and in his Gospel. Remember there’s nothing of the Gospel of Grace here yet. This is all Kingdom economy. John writes:
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide (where?) in me. (do you see the language?) 5. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” And so on and so forth. And so the whole concept of these Jewish believers being in Christ, or in Jesus, and Jesus in them, that was nothing new. But it’s on a whole different plane than what Paul teaches as being members of the Body of Christ. So let’s read that verse in I John again, just to ring the bell coming out of John’s Gospel.
I John 2:6-7a
“He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. 7. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning….” Well now goodness sakes, as John’s writes, what’s the beginning? His earthly ministry. As He begins his earthly ministry, this is what they’d been hearing. Love. And love is the fulfilling of everything.
I John 2:8-9
“Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. 9. He that saith he’s in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness, even until now.” All right, let’s go back to John’s Gospel again and let’s go back to chapter 1. My goodness, the whole Gospel of John is full of these things, ‘the Light and the Love.’ All right, John’s Gospel chapter 1, and here, John in agreement with Paul, is giving creation, or giving the credit for creation, to Jesus the Christ.
“All things were made by him; (By the Word, Christ, up in verse 1, He’s the Creator.) and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4. In him was life; and the life was (now here it comes. Was the what?) the light of men. 5. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John (and, of course, that’s the Baptist.) 7. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the (what?) Light, (L-i-g-h-t capitalized. The Light of the world.) that all men through him might (what?) believe.” There you have the potential again, see? It’s all there to be appropriated if they would just believe it.
“He (John the Baptist) was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.” And of course that came out of the Old Testament prophecies didn’t it? Malachi wrote that there would come an announcer, a proclaimer, that the King was coming. All right, that was John the Baptist. But now verse 9.
“That, (that is Jesus) was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”
Now there’s a verse I’ve said before – I can’t comprehend it. I don’t expect any human being to comprehend it. I don’t know how He did it, but He did because the Book says so. And there again, this fits right with what I said in the last program. When Christ finished the work of the Cross, He was able to offer forgiveness to the whole human race. A done deal. He was able to offer reconciliation to the whole human race. It was done. But it didn’t do them any good until they appropriated it by faith. Well, the ‘Light’ is the same way. This Light lighted every human being that has ever lived. And don’t ask me how, but that’s what the Book says. Read it again. Speaking of Jesus Who was the True Light “Which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”
Now that doesn’t take away our need for missionaries. But on the other hand, it explains why Paul says what he says in Romans chapter 1. Now I guess I’d better go there. Keep your hand in John, I’m not through there. Come back with me to Romans chapter 1 where, before I saw John 1:9, I again was up against it with this verse. Romans 1 verse 20. And I still can’t explain it except for what John says.
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead;….” Every human being has some sort of an understanding of that. I couldn’t understand for the longest time, consequently:
“…so that they are without excuse.” Awesome, isn’t it? That’s why the masses of humanity out there in darkness are lost. They’re going to eternal doom. I don’t care what the Universalists say – I don’t care what anybody else may say. The Scripture teaches that they’re going to an everlasting doom. But they don’t have to! Because they’ve had the Light. And since they’ve had the Light, God, in total justice, as Paul says, can send them to that doom and they don’t have a word of excuse.
Now let’s go back and see how it happens in Revelation chapter 20. Revelation chapter 20 verse 11. These things aren’t proclaimed much from the pulpits anymore. Most people are afraid to. But look what it says:
“And I saw a great white throne, and him who sat on it, (Jesus the Christ) from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. (now at this Great White Throne) 12. And I saw the dead, small and great (all the way from Cain, who I think is the first lost man in the human race, to the very end) stand before God; (now God in this case will be Jesus Christ.) and the books (plural) were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead (the lost, all the way back to Cain) 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.”
The first death was physical when they went from this life into the tomb. The second death is when they will be removed from God’s presence for all eternity. And then verse 15 settles it. This drives the final nail into it.
“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the lake of fire.” Now that’s plain English. There’s no gobbledy-gook to it. All right, so now then, when you come back to John’s Gospel, the reason God can cast them into that eternal doom is because they had received enough Light to have escaped it, but they rejected it. And we’re seeing it all around us. My goodness, you try to talk to people about the truth of Scripture and they either turn away or they get mad. But let God be God. All right, back to John’s Gospel, chapter 1 again.
“That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (now then, speaking again of Christ the Light) 10. He was in the world, (in His earthly ministry) and the world was made by him, (He’s the Creator) and the world knew him not.”
And I’ve said it on the program– do you ever stop to think that the Roman soldiers that drove the spike into His hands were created by the One Whom they were killing? The cross came out of a tree that was made by the One Whom they were killing. The hill on which it stood was made by the One Whom they were killing. Can you feature that? And yet He never lifted a hand against them.
“He came unto his own, (the Nation of Israel. Proclaimed that He was the One they were looking for, but in their unbelief they what?) and his own received him not. 12. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” In other words, recognized Who He was, which was the heart of the Kingdom Gospel, to believe that Jesus was Who He claimed to be. And so, throughout John’s Gospel then, you have those two concepts.
In fact let’s go to chapter 3 verses 19, 20 and 21. This is still that ‘Light’ concept. That’s why I came back here. Verse 19.
“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”
All right let’s go all the way back to the Old Testament to Isaiah chapter 42. This is just to show you that this is a total continuation of my timeline that we had on the board here several programs back – that everything (from Abraham all the way through the Old Testament, into Christ’s first coming, His earthly ministry, His death, burial, resurrection, His ascension and then the seven years of Tribulation and the 1,000-year Kingdom) was all part and parcel of the prophetic Scriptures – prophecy. So this is prophecy.
“I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, (now I think here it’s speaking of the Nation of Israel) and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, (for what purpose?) for a light of the Gentiles.” And so this whole concept of God’s light being shed abroad is nothing new. It came up through all the prophecies of the Old Testament. It was part and parcel of His earthly ministry. And now with that past, now these little epistles (especially John back here), is again going to epitomize the ‘Light’ factor. All right, I John again. Verse 9, repeating it, as that’s where we just left off:
I John 2:9
“He that saith he is in the light, (in other words, he is a believer. He has recognized that Jesus is indeed the Light of the World. Now if he says he’s in the light) and hateth his brother, (well then he’s a liar, and) is in darkness even until now.” He’s not in the light, he’s still in darkness if he hates his brother. Now verse 10.
I John 2:10-11
“He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 11. But (now here’s the other side of the coin again) he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.” All right, now John speaks of a blindness. Come back with me again to II Corinthians chapter 4, where Paul also speaks of a blindness, and a light, both.
II Corinthians 4:3-4
“But (Paul writes) if our gospel (the one of I Corinthians 15:1-4) be hid, it is hid to them that are (what?) lost: (the lost person is stumbling in a spiritual darkness. He can’t see to put one foot ahead of the other, spiritually speaking) 4. In whom (these people walking in spiritual darkness) the god of this world (Satan) hath blinded the minds of them who believe not, lest the (here it comes now) light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
So who keeps the Light from shining into the heart and mind of the unbeliever? Satan does. And he’ll use anything and everything at his disposal. Now today I think people are being blinded with activity. Everybody is busy, busy, busy. Materialism is all they can think about. And then on top of that we have all the smut and the rot of an immoral society. And all of this is part and parcel of Satan’s veil of darkness to keep people from seeing the Light of Truth. All right look at I John verse 11 one more time. Let’s repeat it in light of what Paul just wrote the Corinthians. I think this is so apropos.
I John 2:11a
“But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness,.…”
Now have you ever walked in pitch dark? Boy, it’s just about enough to drive you inside out, isn’t it? And you just don’t know what to do next. Pitch darkness – well, that’s where the lost person is. He is just constantly fumbling and stumbling, not knowing which way to go next. Well, so is the brother in darkness. They have no concept of eternity. They have no concept anymore of right and wrong. My, I think with every passing week it’s getting truer that these people are calling white things black and black things white. Right things wrong and wrong things right. It’s just compounding. Why? Because they’re stumbling in the dark. Now we’ll close with a couple of more verses.
I John 2:12
“I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.” Now remember he’s writing to Jewish believers still in the Kingdom economy, but they had experienced forgiveness because they recognized Who Jesus really was.
I John 2:13a
“I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning,.…”
Now that, I think, you can take it back, either from the beginning of His earthly ministry to the Nation of Israel, or you can take it all the way back to Creation. However you want to do it. But He’s from everlasting to everlasting.
I John 2:13b-14
“…I write unto you, young men, (now he’s speaking in terms of family ages, the fathers to the sons) because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you little children, (now we’re coming down to the younger element of the family) because ye have known the Father. 14. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.” How did they overcome him? By their faith.
Lesson Two • Part III
The True Light
I John 2:1-29
Now let’s get right back into our study in I John chapter 2.
I John 2:15
“Love not the world, (now the word world here is the Greek word ‘cosmos’ which means the whole world system. Don’t fall in love with this world system) neither the things that are in the world. (in other words, if that’s preeminent in our thinking and all we work for are these things of the world, then) If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
I’m going to stay with Christ’s earthly ministry for the most part because that’s where John is tied to, and the Lord Himself put it how? “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and then all these other things can be added unto you.” So it’s a matter of priorities. Where are your priorities? Are all your concerns wrapped up in a better home, or a better car, or better business? We were talking again this morning around our breakfast table, about the wealth that is seemingly out there and the pursuit of it. All people are concerned about is how many millions they seemingly can put together. Well, as long as the Lord is first, sure the Lord can bless a believer. But for the most part we should be concerned with spiritual things first.
There was a young lady who told me here just the other day, after just suddenly realizing, “You know, this life of 70 or 80 years is a blink of the eye compared to eternity. Just a blink of the eye.” Well that’s so true. And then they work and they labor and they connive – I even think about the world leaders. Oh, they can almost lay their lives on the line. They let their health almost be ruined and yet, when their 70 or 75 years are up, where do they go? Off the scene. Unbelievable isn’t it? And yet they act as though they’re going to run it for eternity. No they’re not. Just a little while.
All right, so “Love not the world nor the things that are in the world because if the love of the world is preeminent, then ‘the love of the Father is not in him.’” Now here it comes, verse 16.
I John 2:16
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, (now remember the lust of flesh isn’t just sexual, but rather anything can take our desires) and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
Now we get the very first instance of this, where? Genesis 3. Right at the beginning of the human experience. So let’s back there, where poor Eve, and I do I feel sorry for her; she got caught in a moment of weakness and was bamboozled before she knew what had happened. And she got hit with all three of these at one time. Most of us get them one at a time, but she got all three of them. All right, remember what they are now. “The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life.” All right, now let’s see how Eve had to deal with it. Dropping down to verse 5.
“For God (Satan says) doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, (that is of the forbidden fruit) then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” You’ll go beyond your innocence and you’ll become knowledgeable of other things that you now know nothing of. Now verse 6.
“And when the woman saw (what did that involve? Well, her eyes) that the tree was good for food,.…” Now I don’t know whether Eve was hungry at the moment, maybe she was, to compound things. And so, as her appetite was ready to be satisfied, the eyes saw something that was appealing and I’m thinking that the fruit on that forbidden tree wasn’t an apple, but whatever it was I think it had an intrinsic beauty to it. I think it was just something that looked luscious. And as that eye beheld it and Satan is now tempting her that this is good for food, her appetite began to be compounded and so now with the lust of the eye and the lust of the flesh to satisfy her appetite – and then the crowning one would be the pride of life, if she would eat she could become what? ‘A god.’ And she would be up in a higher plane even than what she and Adam were enjoying in the Garden. So you put those three things together, her eyes saw that beautiful fruit, her appetite hankered for it, and then on top of that if she’d eat it she’d become like a god – it was more than the poor girl could handle and she succumbed. And so she ate.
All right now, it’s interesting then that when you jump back up to the Gospel’s account in the temptations, Jesus faced the very same things. And you start right out with Matthew chapter 4 and verse 1. And so we have these two primary examples of what John calls ‘the things of the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.”
“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God (“and since you’re hungry” – I don’t think I do any violence to Scripture to put that in there) command that these stones be made bread.”
Now remember when I taught this a long, long time ago? I think all of us will agree there is no more tantalizing aroma than the aroma of fresh baked bread. Am I right? I mean it is tantalizing and it’s never been any different. We can go to the Middle East, and when you smell those bakeries putting out that bread, it just makes your mouth water. All right, now Satan knew that. Jesus is hungry, He’s coming off of a forty-day fast. And so he tempts Him with the thought that, “Well now, instead of waiting until you get to somebody’s home and they offer you a piece of bread and a fish or something, just command that those stones be made bread and you can have your appetite satisfied right here and now.
Well now, could Jesus have done it? Absolutely! With a thought. And He could have had a loaf of hot bread. What was it? It was temptation to fulfill the lust of the flesh, to satisfy His hunger. But you see, He didn’t give in and He answered:
“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” So He overcame that temptation with the Word of God. All right, but now you go on:
“Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6. And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, (do you see that tantalizing? If you’re who you say you are) cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: (see how Satan knows Scripture. Sure he does and here he’s quoting it) and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt (or test) the Lord thy God. 8. Again the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9. And saith unto him, All these things (remember – things of the world, they’re part of the world system) will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.”
All right now, back up at the pinnacle of the Temple – and if He would have done what Satan said, just to get the acclaim of the multitudes down below (now it’s a little bit harder to comprehend this than it would be Eve looking at the fruit, but nevertheless), what lust is Satan trying to get Him to appeal to? The eye. My what a show that would have been for the multitudes down on the streets of Jerusalem if Jesus could have just jumped off the pinnacle of the Temple and then had the angels snatch Him up at the last minute. Now that would have been show fit for anybody and it would have just satisfied the desires of the eyes of the multitudes, but Jesus withstood it. All right, then the third temptation is, same way with Eve, you could become as god, only here Satan tempts Him with having all the kingdoms of this world. Now when I taught this several years ago, I asked the question, “Were these kingdoms Satan’s to give?” Sure they were. The kingdoms of this world are under the control of the god of this world, and he could offer them.
But isn’t it ridiculous when we think about this. Satan – you know there’s something I can’t understand – how much knowledge Satan does have and doesn’t have. Have you ever thought of that? How could Satan be naive enough to offer Him the kingdoms of this world, if he truly knows that one day Christ is going to have them anyway? Ever thought of that? So he must not know as much as we sometimes think he does. And so here he tries to offer the world’s kingdoms as a part of the temptations of all these three, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life.
And so the Lord could just simply ignore him and reject it knowing that one day, these kingdoms of the world are going to be under His control and He doesn’t have to wait for Satan to give them to Him. Well anyway, back to I John then – this is simply to tell us that all of these temptations are part and parcel of our everyday experience. Every one of us believers (or unbelievers alike, makes no difference), we’re all constantly beset with these temptations, which involve the lust of the eye, the pride of life and the lust of the flesh.
So on the way to I John again, stop at I Corinthians chapter 10 verse 13. Now this is Paul. But nevertheless, Paul knows that we’re dealing with these same three categories of temptation. They started in the Garden, and they have continued with the human race right up until our present time. Every sin that you can imagine, everything, will be in one of those three categories. It’ll either be the pride of life, the lust of the eye, or the lust of the flesh; but here’s our rescue.
I Corinthians 10:13a
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:.…” No one can say, well I was tempted with something that no one else has ever been tempted with. Impossible. We have all faced these same categories of temptation. But, here is our loophole.
I Corinthians 10:13b
“…but God is faithful, who will not suffer (permit) you to be tempted above that ye are able; (that is to withstand) but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
Now you rest on that. Temptations are going to come. We’re in the world and they’re all around us. But the promise is that if a temptation comes, God will provide the way of escape if we will take it. And that’s why again God’s going to hold us responsible. So with the temptation, He will make a way to escape, “So that we will be able to bear or deal with that temptation.” That’s why we can live victoriously. We don’t have to fall. And of course, we shouldn’t fall.
All right, now that’s Paul. Now come back to I John again, chapter 2 verse 17. All these three categories of temptations are going to come our way day in and day out. Maybe not all three at once like poor old Eve, but we’re going to have a temptation of one sort or another, in these three categories. But, now go to that next verse.
I John 2:17a
“And the world passeth away,.…”
Now for the average individual, after how long a period of time? Seventy, eighty, ninety; for a few, a hundred years – and it’s nothing. Except when I put it with Iris, you know we celebrated our 50th anniversary here a while back, I said, “Honey, do you realize that’s only forty segments of time since Christ? Not very long is it? But, on the other hand for someone who can live to be a hundred that’s only twenty segments of time since Christ. But nevertheless, in the light of eternity, whether it’s fifty or a hundred or something in between, it’s nothing compared to eternity. Eternity is forever, and forever. It’s beyond us, and we can’t comprehend it.
I John 2:17
“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: (Naturally, dead people don’t have the desires of the flesh. Dead people can’t have any desire of the eye. Dead people no longer have any need for pride. It’s gone) but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”
Now, you know I get questions all the time, “What are we going to be doing in eternity?” We don’t know. And I’ll just tell them, “You’ll think of this as a cop-out but I can’t tell you what we’re going to be doing in eternity. I don’t know whether we’re going to be living in houses or sleeping in beds. Are we going to be eating three meals? I can’t tell you. The Bible is silent.” All I can tell anybody is that eternity is going to be Glorious! Eternity is going to be glorious!
Now, use your own imagination as to what glorious is, but that’s as far as we can go because the Scripture is silent. We just do not know how we’re going to be functioning in that eternal state. Now I suppose some people will write and tell me what they think, but that doesn’t mean anything. Because the Book doesn’t tell us.
All right, now I guess we’re ready to go on to another thought. Verse 18, and again he uses that “term of endearment” as I call it.
I John 2:18a
“Little children, (oh, he loves these Jewish believers. And so he says) it is the last time:.…”
Now, remember when we started James and I went on into Peter. I kept emphasizing that all three of these writers are writing as if the Lord is going to be coming in their lifetime. And you remember I went back and showed you all the verses that we used concerning the Rapture, written by the Apostle Paul – and who did he include in the Rapture? Himself. Remember? Such as, “And we who are alive and remain shall be caught up to meet the Lord and so shall we ever be.” Well, the same way with these Jewish writers, as it’s inspired by the Spirit – there is nothing yet to indicate a break in the timeline with the Church Age. As far as Scripture goes, it’s going to flow right on through to the Second Coming and the Kingdom. All right, so here he says it:
I John 2:18
“Little children, it is the last time: (the days are short) and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now there are many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” All right, what’s the Anti-christ? Well it really has two connotations. One, of course, can mean he’s against Christ. But I put that way down the list.
The primary meaning of the word ‘anti-christ’ is a ‘counterfeit’ Christ. He’s going to be so much like what the world thinks the true Christ will be that they’re going to be taken in. And they’re going to think that he is indeed the promised Messiah. Remember he can perform miracles also. And so he’s called then, the Anti-christ. Now if I’m not mistaken, John is the only writer of Scripture that puts this name on this coming world ruler, the Anti-christ. Paul calls him the son of perdition, and the wicked one. But John here refers to him as the Anti-christ.
All right, now just to show you that Jesus was speaking in this same vein, come back with me again to Matthew 24. I call this chapter the Tribulation chapter because everything that Jesus is referring to is concerning this coming seven-year holocaust or horror that’s coming on the world. And let’s just start at verse 1. Now this is toward the end of His earthly ministry and remember the Twelve are convinced that He’s the King, or at least the Eleven do, I don’t know about Judas. But the Eleven are convinced He’s the promised Messiah, He is the King and He will shortly be setting up His Kingdom – driving the Romans out. That was their hope. But they didn’t know when.
“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples (the Twelve) came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.” In other words, the complex. The Temple was more than just the little edifice, it had apartments for the priests and so on.
“And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Now what does Jesus know is coming? Seventy AD. He knows that Titus is going to be coming in and destroying the city. But He doesn’t reveal that beyond saying that it’s going to be destroyed. Now verse 3.
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, (in other words, no crush of crowds, no other onlookers or listeners, it was just Jesus and the Twelve) saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? (that you’ve been talking about?) and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and the end of the world?” (or this age) What’s going to be the sign. Now remember what the Scripture tells us? The Jews require a sign, as we see in I Cor. 1:22. They were always asking for signs. So again they say, “all right, what’s the sign of all these things that you’ve been talking about?”
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man (and I always tell people, underline that next word) deceive you.” So what is one of the first signs of the end-time? A mass deception. Are we seeing it? Oh, you’d better believe it! The world is just simply being hoodwinked with deception of one sort or another. It’s a sign that we’re close to the end. Now we don’t set dates. And in God’s thinking you know, a hundred years is nothing. But in our view of time and Scripture, we have to feel we’re getting close. The world is just getting taken with deception today. And that’s one of the signs.
“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”
Now, if you kept your finger in John, just flip back to it. What does John say? “That there will be many ‘false Christs.’” There will be many false Christs and what does Jesus say? “There’s going to be many claiming to be the Christ.” Well what are they? False Christs. See how they fit?
All right then, you come back to John’s little letter, and he says, “you have heard that there are many false Christs whereby we know it is the last time.” We’re at the end, John thinks. And I still maintain these fellows all thought it was going to happen in their lifetime. All the language supports that. And so he says in I John 2:19.
I John 2:19
“They (that is these false Christs, these deceivers) went out from us, but they were not of us: For if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”
Well now, you remember when we were back in II Peter and we were dealing with all the false teachers that Peter was warning those believing Jews about? And now John comes right back and he says the same thing. A sign of the soon coming of their Messiah was the fact that there were so many false Christs appearing. And it should be a sign for us today.
Lesson Two • Part IV
The True Light
I John 2:1-29
Alright, I John chapter 2 and just for the sake of bringing us back up to date where we left off, John is now dealing with the signs of the soon coming of the Messiah. Now, again, I’m going to keep repeating it and repeating it (in case somebody has missed it or if you’re just new in tuning in), that these little Jewish epistles now are just a continuation of the Old Testament prophecies. They have no concept that the Church Age is going to intervene. There is nothing of church language in these little epistles, even though we’re dealing with the same God.
There are certain things, as we’ve been showing now that will probably correlate with what Paul says. In fact, John’s Gospel does to a certain degree, but it is still the kingdom economy dealing with Israel and presenting the coming of their Messiah. Christ came the first time, but the Nation of Israel rejected Him, but in the near future, we feel, as did John, that He is going to return and yet give the kingdom to Israel. And so in verse 18, as we saw at the end of the last lesson, John reminds them, “it’s the last time, and since it is the last time many false Christs will be appearing.”
And that’s where we left off – that even in our own time now, as we have come full circle, the 2,000 years, the time that these people were living in didn’t bring in the Tribulation. God stopped the timeline and He went to the Apostle Paul to go to the Gentiles to call out the Body of Christ, and that’s where we are today. And when the Body of Christ is complete and removed from the earth, the seven years of Tribulation will then take place, and He will come back and finish the prophetic program with the Nation of Israel. That means that everything that was in place back here is now getting in place once again.
Now, just as surely as when John and Peter and James were writing these little Jewish epistles, Israel was in the land, the city of Jerusalem was their capital. The Temple was operating and the Roman Empire was the empire that was over them. And here, 2,000 years later, we have it again today. Israel, after the dispersion, is back in the land; they’re back in the city. Oh, they haven’t got the Temple yet, but hopefully they will get that once the Tribulation starts. The Roman Empire is now being revived with the ECU, as Daniel tells us it would, and so everything is now reset and ready for the fulfilling of those final years. So let’s start at verse 19.
I John 2:19
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” They turned their back much like in Hebrews chapter 6, “That they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” Now verse 20, and here we’re picking up on new ground.
I John 2:20
“But (John writes) ye have an unction (or you have a directive) from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” As God reveals it. And again the Apostle Paul makes the same point that it’s our indwelling Holy Spirit who makes the difference. In fact, I guess I’d better go back and use the Scriptures. Come back with me to Romans chapter 7, and verses 4, 5, 6 – these key verses that we need to compare with.
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also (Paul writes) are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; (by His crucifixion) that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead,.…” Now Paul is always emphasizing the resurrection. It’s not enough to believe that Christ died; it’s not enough to believe that He was the Messiah; we have to believe that the Messiah, the Son of God, the Christ that died for our sins, rose from the dead. Otherwise Paul’s Gospel of salvation is not complete. Now we see the reason we are saved is:
“…that we should bring forth fruit unto God. (that is because of our union with Christ, we should become soul-winners. Now here it comes) 5. For when we were in the flesh, the motions (or the acts) of sins, which were by the law,.…” In other words, the distinct things in the Ten Commandments that the unsaved people are guilty of doing day in and day out. And you know them as well as I do. “Thou shalt not covet. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not commit adultery” etc. Those were the acts of sins according to the Law and we all practiced those things in one way or another before our salvation.
“For when we were in the flesh, (before we were saved, before we had the indwelling Spirit) the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.” That is Spiritual death as we saw in the first program this afternoon, which of course, will culminate with the Great White Throne. Now verse 6.
“But now (in this Age of Grace) we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held;.…” In other words, the Law could do nothing but condemn us. And Romans 3 makes that so plain that all the Law could do was show us our sin. All right, so we were dead when the Law was constantly condemning us, but now:
But now (in this Age of Grace) we are delivered from the law, that being dead, wherein we were held; that we should serve (alive as believers) in newness of spirit,.…” What Spirit? The Holy Spirit – and so, you see, as soon as we come out from under that heavy hand of the condemning Law and we’re saved by Grace, then instead of the Law condemning and holding us, we now have the Holy Spirit lifting us up and leading us and guiding us and keeping us from breaking that old Law. And that’s the part we have to understand that now we:
“…serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” (or the Law) It’s a whole new ballgame if we can put it in present day vernacular. All right, come back with me to I John, chapter 2. So we have as well, this power and this leading of the Holy Spirit that gives us the knowledge that we need, but now in verse 21, John says:
I John 2:21-22
“I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. (the two cannot mix. You can’t have lying and truth) 22. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is anti-christ, that denieth the Father and the Son.”
Now let’s compare. When I say that this is Kingdom ground, and that these are Kingdom believers, remember now that John is talking about recognizing Who Jesus really is, for salvation. All right, come back with me to Matthew 16. Matthew 16, and this was the heart of the Gospel of the Kingdom. This is the heart of the kingdom economy. Now, they were under the Law, the Temple was still operating. Nobody had said, forget the Law. But the crux of the moment was, “Who is Jesus of Nazareth?” Who is He?
It’s at the end of the three years, and they’ve been performing miracle after miracle, and the multitudes have been addressed and have been fed, and now Jesus asks the question –
“…Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14. And they (the Twelve) said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some Elias (Elijah); and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? (And Simon Peter, the spokesman, comes to the front. And watch this) 16. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” So always be ready to share this with people, this was the heart of the kingdom economy. “And Peter said, Thou art the Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah the Son of the Living God.” Now does Jesus upbraid him? Does Jesus scold him? No. He commends him and says:
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Now that’s the way it’s been down through the ages, no man can believe the things that God says, except the Spirit gives him understanding. And the same way today. You know the question comes up all the time, “What happens first? Does a person become a believer and then the Holy Spirit enlightens?” No. The Holy Spirit has to enlighten enough for that believer to see his sin, and to see the truth of the Gospel of salvation, and then the Holy Spirit comes in and gives us a full revelation and we have salvation. But here, even Peter would have never understood Who Jesus of Nazareth was had not God Himself revealed it. And we see this throughout all of Scripture.
All right, now go to Acts chapter 8 – we’ve got the Ethiopian eunuch reading from Isaiah 53 and, again, the Spirit comes into the picture, tells Philip to get up alongside this fellow and show him what the Scriptures are talking about. And so he does:
“Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias (Isaiah), and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31. And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.” That told him all about Isaiah 53, and how that was Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God.
“Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.” However Philip knows nothing about faith in the death, burial or resurrection for salvation. So he just preached Jesus. In other words, Who He was. And that is obvious in the following verses.
“And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water; and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” Along with the preaching that Jesus was the Christ, what did John the Baptist begin with? “Repent and be baptized.” That was also the message Peter uses at Pentecost. And so Philip, no doubt (you’ve got to read between the lines), put that same premise before him that had been part and parcel of Christ’s earthly ministry. All right, so now then, they come to water and he says, “What doth hinder me to be baptized?”
“And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Now read on and it’s so clear. “And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Period. Not a word about the cross. Not a word about resurrection. This is kingdom ground and they were to believe that Jesus was Who He claimed to be. He was the Christ.
Lets back up to Acts chapter 3, and here Peter has just healed the lame man. And you don’t have to have ten years of seminary to understand this, this is plain English. And they’d healed the lame man and the Jews of the day were all upset about how in the world Peter and John did it. Now that’s enough to make you wonder isn’t it? This is only about seven weeks after the crucifixion. The crucifixion followed all His signs and wonders and miracles. So here these Jewish people are all uptight – how did Peter and John perform such a miracle, and they couldn’t remember eight weeks back? Unbelievable isn’t it. But then, in chapter 3 verse 16. Peter is explaining to these Jews by what power they healed this man.
“And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” And it was His name, not His work of the cross, not His death, burial and resurrection, but it’s His name through faith in His name. Now the name only implied what? Who He was. And Who was He? The Anointed One. The Christ. The Son of God. Not a word about His death, burial and resurrection, but it was through “faith in His name that makes this man strong. Yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness.”
Let’s come back now to I John chapter 2. And so it’s the same thing – if these Jews recognize that the One Whom they’d crucified was the Anointed One, God imparted salvation to them. All right, but now verse 23.
I John 2:23
“Whoever denieth the Son, (anyone who would deny that He was Who He said He was) the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.” That Jew who could embrace Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ became in God’s eyes a righteous individual. He was a believer and he was in the Father. Now verse 25.
I John 2:25-26
“And this is the promise that he hath promised us, (that is the Nation of Israel) even eternal life. 26. These things I have written unto you concerning them that seduce you.” Now what does that mean? Lead you astray. So John is writing to these little groups of believers, these synagogues as James calls them, these synagogues of Jewish believers who had recognized that Jesus was the Christ – but, oh, there were just as many elements trying to lead them astray. Sound familiar? Of course. Same thing today. My, today you’re getting hit with everything but the kitchen sink – if I can believe what I hear.
Now Iris and I don’t have satellite TV and we don’t have cable – so we’re immune to all that stuff. But I hear it from our listening audience. And I’m just aghast at what’s out there and it’s 90% false. They’re seducing people. Well, they were up against the same thing here. “And the things I have written that concern them that seduce you.” These false teachers as Peter laid them out – and when we get to the little book of Jude in a few tapings, he’s going to do the same thing – warn people about these false teachers. Now the flipside:
I John 2:27
“But the anointing which ye have received of him (not the false teaching of the seducers but) abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” Now does that sound like Paul? Does Paul ever say you don’t need to be taught? Let’s go back and look in Hebrews chapter 5 for a starter. And I would remind you this isn’t a contradiction. This is a change of modus operandi. John is talking to believing Jews who knew the Old Testament Scriptures – they had been steeped in them. And as he could say, “they don’t have to be taught.” But look what Paul says:
“Oh whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing you are dull of hearing. 12. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again, which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.” Paul says, “You don’t know that much and so you have to be fed like a baby.” Now let’s back up further to I Corinthians chapter 3, and drop in at verse 1. Now Paul says to these Corinthian believers, up there in Corinth (Gentiles primarily):
I Corinthians 3:1-3a
“And I brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, (in other words, they had never come very far beyond their salvation experience. Paul says I have to write to you) even as unto babes in Christ,. 2. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3. For ye are yet carnal:.…” Does that sound like John when he said, “you know all things?” Why, anything but. These Corinthians had a long ways to go. They had a lot to learn and so Paul says:
I Corinthians 3:3
“For ye are yet carnal; for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, (doesn’t that show that you’re carnal?) are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” Well, anyway, I just like to show these comparisons from time to time and make the difference between these Jewish epistles and Paul writing to Gentiles. All right, come back with me again to I John. Now verse 28.
I John 2:28a
“And now, little children, abide in him;.…” Now remember we went back to the vine and the branches – how that the believers in Christ’s earthly ministry were already abiding in Him and God was in them but in a different way than when Christ indwells a believer in the Church Age.
I John 2:28b
“…that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” That’s the Second Coming and they’re expecting that in their lifetime. And John is telling his flock, “be ready because he’s coming back soon.” Well, I could take part of His Second Coming out of chapter 3, but we’ll get to that at a later date. So for now, come back with me again to Acts chapter 1. Now the disciples here know nothing of the rapture of the Church for the Gentile Body of Christ, as it was revealed to Paul. They know nothing of that sudden silent disappearance of believers that is yet to come for us.
They’re waiting for the Lord to come down to the planet to the Mount of Olives, there in Jerusalem, at His Second Coming, and they’re going to be seeing Him face to face. And John is preparing them for His coming. All right, Acts chapter 1, verse 10, and this is at the ascension off the Mount of Olives.
“And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up,.…” Now He went up bodily. They saw Him go. Not in some invisible spirit. He left bodily in that resurrected body with the nail-prints on his hands, that you remember Thomas touched and said, “oh my Lord and my God.” So, in that body He now ascends back to Glory.
“…two men stood by them in white apparel; 11. Which also said, ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” He’s going to return bodily to the same place from where He left. All right, now let’s go back to the Old Testament prophecies – Zechariah chapter 14, and verse 4. And this is exactly what John is preparing his fellow believers for.
“And his feet shall stand in that day (the Second Coming) upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, (the same Mount of Olives that we visit whenever we go to Israel – it’s the same place) and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west,.…” All right this is what John is preparing them for. His Second Coming! And they had no idea it was going to be pushed out into the future for 2,000 years.
Lesson Three • Part I
Love Not The World
I John 3:1-24
Every day somebody calls and says, “I just caught your program for the first time.” Well, if you’re one of those, just remember we’re just a simple Bible study. We don’t claim to have all the answers, but we just pray that we can stay centered on the truth of Scripture, and rightly divide the Word of God – because that’s the secret of real Bible study, being able to see what actually applies to the Church Age we are living in even as I speak. We’re finding out many don’t have a clue that God chose the Apostle Paul to write the instructions and doctrine for this age we are living in today.
I prefer to keep our study non-denominational because people will get so hung up on denominationalism that they get a closed mind to anything else. Well, what if their denomination is wrong? Ever think of that? What if your denomination isn’t exactly on the truth? Hey, you’re out of luck because I think God is absolute. I really do.
I know we can’t judge hearts, but God’s Word is absolute and as we’ve stressed so often, you’re either on it or your missing it. And so we just try to help people see what the Book says. It’s not what I think nor what some denomination thinks, but what does the Word of God really say about it. And again, when I get to this place, I always have to thank our listeners for their letters, prayers, and financial help. My, the letters the last few days have just been so encouraging, and we find it hard to believe that the Lord is using us the way He is. Because (I think I’ve said it before on the program) for the longest time, I felt that if I had any ministry at all, it was to teach believers. But I never considered myself evangelical or a soul-winner per se, but oh my goodness, the numbers of people that are coming out of just total lostness! And what a testimony over and over, how their lives have been changed.
Okay, that’s enough for introductions, and now let’s get right into our Bible study here in I John. chapter 3 and we’ll start right at verse 1.
I John 3:1a
“Behold,.…” Well the very first word, what does that word “behold” really tell you? Hey, wake up! Pay attention. We’ve got something important to say.
I John 3:1a
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us,.…” (as believers) Now again I always have to keep reminding people, these little epistles of James and Peter and John and Jude and on into Revelation are written primarily to what people? The Jews! The Nation of Israel. Now that doesn’t mean that we just close it up and say, “Well this isn’t for us,” because all Scripture is profitable.
Paul’s epistles of course are written to us. And that’s where we have to find our basic doctrines. But all the rest of Scripture still is applicable in one way or another. So even though John is addressing Jews here, you and I can revel in this just as much, that God has loved us so much:
I John 3:1b
“…that we should be called the sons (or the children) of God:.…” Now you see Paul uses that same language. Paul says that “we’re the children of God.” That doesn’t make it all in the same kettle, not by any means, they are still on two different platforms – but, nevertheless, under the same God, and the Word of God is profitable.
I John 3:1c
“…therefore the world (around us) knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” Now I’m sure that every one of you, if you really live and walk and practice your Christian life, once in a while will run up against somebody that thinks you’re a little bit odd. They think you’re out of it. There’s something wrong with you! Well, don’t be disheartened; it’s always been that way from day one. In fact I’ll probably go back to it sometime along in here, but just as soon as Abel was accepted of the Lord, how did Cain immediately begin to feel about him? Well, he hated him. Why? Because he was a righteous man and Cain wasn’t. That’s basically what it was. Well, it’s the same way here. And you ought to see the letters we get about how when people in the Sunday School class realize that folks like you now have an understanding of Scripture that the quarterly hasn’t even come close to – they look down the row at them as though they’ve lost it, like they’re out of their cage. But that’s the way it’s always been, and I’m sure many of you have experienced that.
And the Lord Himself was detested by the religious leaders of the Nation, because it just rankled them. All right, so the world doesn’t know who we really are, they don’t understand us, but they didn’t understand the Lord either. And they “knew him not.” Now verse 2.
“Beloved, now (right here in this life, not what we hope to be, but we know that we) are we the sons (or the children) of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:.…” Now stop a minute. Do you realize that this Book tells us very, very little about our eternal state? You just can’t find much about what we’re going to be doing, or what we’re going to be active in, in eternity. Now we know it’s going to be glorious! It’s going to be beyond human comprehension. That’s as far as I can go. And see, even John says the same thing by the inspiration of the Spirit – we don’t know yet what it’s going to be like. But this much we can know. And this applies just as much to our looking for the Rapture of the Church as these Jews were to be looking for the Second Coming.
Now remember, whenever you’re dealing with Israel, as John is; whenever you’re dealing with the Four Gospels, the early Acts, or in these Jewish epistles; whenever it refers to the next coming of Christ, it’s the Second Coming, not the Rapture. Because Israel has nothing to do with the Rapture of the Church. But they have everything to do with the Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation. All right, so John now is talking about the Second Coming.
I John 3:2b
“…but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
Let’s come back to Acts chapter 1 where the Lord has just been with the Eleven – Judas is gone, Matthias isn’t in yet. So that’s why I use the number eleven. Back in Acts chapter 1, the Lord has been with the Eleven now for forty days. And it’s going to be ten days before the Holy Spirit comes down on Pentecost, so we’re on the Mount of Olives, at the end of the forty days.
“And when he had spoken these things, (that is to the Eleven, up there on the Mount of Olives, no press of the crowds, just Jesus and the Eleven) while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel. (these two were angels) 11. Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
This same Jesus, just exactly as you have known Him now for the last forty days, after His resurrection, where He could be from one place to the next in a split second, where He could enter into a room without benefit of doors or windows, where He had fish and bread on the shore and He ate with them. He walked with them. He talked with them. He communicated with them. Now that same Jesus that they had been communicating with for these last forty days, this same Jesus which is “taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.” Now that’s the Second Coming, that’s not the Rapture. And so at the Second Coming He will return in that same physical resurrected body with which He walked forty days with the Eleven.
All right now, I always like to tie the New with the Old. So now you come back to the Old Testament and you’ve got the same picture. Zechariah chapter 14. Zechariah, the next to the last book in your Old Testament. If you can’t find it, just find Matthew and go back to the left through Malachi and the next one is Zechariah. Chapter 14, and of course the first three verses are the closing days of the Tribulation, the horrors of the wrath and the vexation, which will end up with verse 3. This will be when the Tribulation is drawing to a close.
“Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.” Those nations have all gathered in the valley of Megiddo and every place else. In other words, He’s utterly going to destroy those armies gathered from around the world. Now verse 4, to culminate that reappearance from Heaven.
“And his feet (see, physical. His physical feet) shall stand in that day (the day of His Second Coming) upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east. And the mount of Olives shall cleave (or separate) in the midst thereof.…” And then you come on over to verse 9, and as he has now returned and is ready to set up that thousand-year reign.
“And the LORD shall be king over (what?) all the earth:.…” Not just Israel. He’s going to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords over all the earth. See, now that’s the Second Coming. I guess I might as well stop at I Thessalonians, chapter 4, on our way back to I John. I always do this just for sake of comparison because much of Christendom has got it all mixed up. They do not know the difference between the Second Coming and the Rapture of the Church.
I remember several years ago, Iris and I were attending a service and the speaker was starting out, we thought, with the Rapture. And then it wasn’t long and it was the Second Coming and then pretty soon you couldn’t tell the difference. Well, I wasn’t going to be critical and I wasn’t going to say a word. So we were a long ways down the road and as a rule we don’t chatter too much when I’m driving, but I had been silent for quite a while, and finally Iris looked up at me and she said, “He had it all mixed up, didn’t he?” Yeah, he did. The speaker couldn’t discern the Rapture (when the Church will silently be removed before the Tribulation begins) from the Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation.
All right, but now here is where you can discern it. Anybody that can read can see the difference in language. I Thessalonians chapter 4 verse 16, and watch the difference in language. Now this is Paul with regard to the Body of Christ, the end of the Age of Grace, and he says.
I Thessalonians 4:16-17
“For the Lord himself (same Lord as Zechariah spoke of, but in a different time element) shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (that’s the resurrection of the Church Age believers remember) 17. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
See, at the Rapture, we’re not going to meet Him on the Mount of Olives, we’re going to be “caught up together with him in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.”
Not on the Mount of Olives. Not in Jerusalem. Not on the earth. We’re going to be caught up to meet Him in the air. Now you know, that always reminds me of the story of the servant that went to find a bride (Rebekah) for Isaac. I can never separate that from our picture of the Rapture. I don’t know if it was intended to be typical that way but it certainly is for me. You remember the servant went to find the bride. And I always like to picture that as the Holy Spirit pulling out the believers today. And we’re forming the Body of Christ, day by day. All right, when finally the servant had determined who the bride was to be, he was bringing her back to the home tent of Abraham and Isaac, but before the caravan reaches Isaac’s tent, what has Isaac done? Well, he’s gone out to meet it. And so some place from the place where they consummated their marriage, some place between the home of the bride and the home of Isaac, they met. And then you know the last verse of that chapter says that Isaac took Rebekah back to his tent and “he loved her.”
Now if that doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, I don’t know what can. But see, same way here. The Lord is going to come but we’re going to go up to meet Him! Just like Isaac left to meet his bride, we’re going to leave to meet the Lord in the air. And then, “So shall we ever be with the Lord.” Now it could just as well say, like it does back in Genesis, “and so will we ever (what?) love Him.” Love Him! Because, after all, He’s the God of love and we’re going to be part and parcel of that agape love.
Okay, now let’s come back to I John again, chapter 3 and verse 2; that “When he shall appear” at His Second Coming – not the Rapture, but the Second Coming. That even for those Jews who I think, and again I don’t get dogmatic on some of my approaches to prophecy and so forth, but I think these Jews that are going to see Him at His Second Coming, will be that remnant of Israel out there in the wilderness that we see in Matthew 24:16.
Now we’ve always taught that at the middle of the Tribulation there’s going to be that escaping remnant of Israel out into the mountains, and God’s going to protect them for three and a half years. Well, those are the Jews that I think are going to see Him coming in all the clouds of Glory and in a moment – that’s what I think the Scripture means when the it says, that “a nation will be born in a day.” When those Jews out in the wilderness will see Him coming in the clouds of Glory, and they shall see Him as He is. Then every one of them will suddenly believe. But, John here is not talking about that group of Jews. He’s talking about these who are living and to whom he’s writing. Now you remember we’ve been stressing over the last many months of programs that in these little Jewish epistles of James, and Peter, and John, they were all expecting everything to happen in their lifetime.
They were expecting the Tribulation to come and they were expecting to live through it until they would see the Second Coming of Christ and be able to go into the Kingdom. They had no idea that there would be a 2,000-year hiatus. And so John is writing in that same vein that they were to momentarily expect the horrors of the Tribulation and then the Second Coming. And they would “see him as he is.”
All right, now then verse 3, just as appropriate for us today as it was for the Jews to whom John is writing.
I John 3:3a
“And every man (now that’s a generic term. We’re including men and women, boys and girls) that hath this hope in him.…” The soon appearing of Christ. Now for the Jews, yes, it was going to be after the seven years of Tribulation but seven years isn’t long for a great event like this to happen and so they were to be looking for him and they were to:
I John 3:3b
“…purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
What does that mean? Well they were to be so expectant for His return that they would have their spiritual house in order. Now you know I’ve given the illustration down through the years. Some of you will say, well I’m not that good of a housekeeper. Some of you are almost the other extreme. But, I think most of you ladies, when you know that company is coming, what do you do? Well you get your house ready to one extent or another. You’re going to have your house in an appropriate order for company.
That’s why we appreciate people giving us five minutes! But, it’s just human nature that you want things in order when company comes. Well now, that’s how we’re to treat the Lord’s coming. He may come before we get out of here this afternoon. Is your spiritual house clean? Are you ready for Him? If not, you’d better be. Well, the Jews here were being told the same thing. His coming is not that far down the road. Get your spiritual house in order. Be ready for Him. And, as a consequence, it purifies our Christian walk.
Now to come back into the whole concept of the Rapture. A lot of people today have got the idea that it doesn’t really matter what they do because the Grace of God will cover it and God will be condescending enough. Will He? That’s no guarantee. And so it behooves every believer, every moment of every day to be ready. He may come before we’re out of here and you don’t want to be caught in a compromising situation. You don’t want to be caught in some place that’s dishonoring to the Lord. I’d hate to be. And so it’s a constant reminder to us as well as it was for these Jews and it had a purifying effect on their everyday life.
Now we come to the sin situation as John’s going to deal with it. Now sin has been sin ever since the Garden of Eden, hasn’t it? Verse 4.
I John 3:4
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: (now he’s talking about the Mosaic Law of course) for sin is the transgression of the law.”
All right, let’s go back and see how Paul approaches the very same thing. Come back to Romans chapter 3 where Paul deals with that aspect of the Law and here’s how he puts it. Let’s just come in at verse 19. Whether it’s Paul or whether it’s John, doesn’t make any difference. Not in this case because, you see, the Law is God’s standard for the human race and any transgression of it, God calls sin.
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law:.…” In other words, Israel was the only people on earth who were under the system of Law. I just about said ‘religion’ which, of course, would have been appropriate, but nevertheless. Only Israel was under the religious system of Law. But, the holiness of the Law, the omnipotence of the Law, if I may call it that because it’s God-given, didn’t stop at the borders of Israel, it went to the whole world. Even though they were not under the religious system of Law. Go on in the verse:
“…that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become (not ready for heaven but what?) guilty before God.” Because all the world is breaking God’s Law. And if they’re breaking it, they’re guilty and they’re what? They’re sinners. See how it all fits? All right, verse 20.
“Therefore by the deeds of the law (or by keeping the commandments) there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
That’s all the Ten Commandments can do is show us our sin. Show us that we’re lawbreakers. See, that’s why I cannot see that the Ten Commandments have anything to do with the separation of church and state. I just can’t reconcile it. The Ten Commandments have actually nothing to do with “church.” The Ten Commandments are God’s moral law, not just for Christians but for the whole human race.
You take the Ten Commandments and they are just as valid to a Hindu as they are to a Moslem or anybody else. It’s the Law of the Sovereign God. It has nothing to do with church per se. The only place where the church comes in is that we can bring law-breaking sinners to a knowledge of salvation, but that’s not the Law’s role. The Law is just simply to show mankind God’s moral compass. That’s what it is.
All right, let’s come back again to I John. Chapter 3 verse 5.
I John 3:5
“And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.”
He was brought into the spotlight of history. “He was manifested to take away our sin.” Now let me stop here a minute again. I don’t spend a lot of time in the Four Gospels precisely because that’s where most of you spend your time in Sunday School and Church. But really, if you stop to think, what was Jesus constantly confronting the Pharisees and the religious leaders with? Their sin. Over and over He would tell them, “you are still in your sins.” That’s what they didn’t like. They didn’t like to be told that they were sinners, but they were. They were rotten sinners in spite of all their religion. And why? Because they were constantly breaking the Law. And when you break the Law you’re a sinner. It’s that simple.
All right, back to our text, “he was manifested to take away man’s sin.” That’s why He dealt with it constantly in His earthly ministry. And He could do that because “In him is no sin.” Now you see, the blasphemers of our day, and they’re getting more and more numerous, are trying to tell us what? That He sinned like anybody else. No He did not! He did not sin. Not even a thought. Had He committed as much as one single sinful thought He could not have been that Lamb of God that took away the sins of the world because the Lamb had to be without blemish.
Lesson Three • Part II
Love Not The World
I John 3:1-24
All right, let’s just get right back into the Book and we were in I John chapter 3 when time ran out in the last lesson, and I think we had gotten as far as verse 5.
I John 3:5
“And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” Now you remember the word ‘manifested’ in Scripture, the best way I can explain it is just ‘put up in a spotlight.’ I always like to use the microscope – the light under that slide, as soon as you turn it on everything that’s on that slide is what? Manifested. Just brought right into view. All right, so it applies even here. Christ came in His first advent. He was just literally put on the spotlight of all of human history, to take away men’s sins. Now we never want to forget that He came first and foremost to the Nation of Israel, but we’ll be looking at that a little later. All right, and “In him (that is in Jesus of Nazareth) was no sin. Now verse 6. Consequently:
I John 3:6a
“Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not:.…” Now that throws a curve at us, doesn’t it? Because we certainly don’t teach that we can reach a position of sinlessness. We all sin every day. But, I’m going to be showing that now, in these succeeding verses, that Divine nature that comes in as a result of our salvation cannot sin. It’s Divine. And I’ll show you how Paul deals with it as well. So don’t let this throw a curve at you. Don’t strike out on this. But we’re talking about the Divine nature even for these Jewish believers, there had to be that born-again experience.
Now you remember John’s Gospel chapter 3 is where that term comes from, when Jesus was dealing with who? Nicodemus. And what did He tell Nicodemus? “Except you be born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of Heaven.” So, even the Jewish believers that we’re dealing with here, had to have that concept of a new birth. Now it’s amazing that Paul never uses the term “born again.” I guess you know that. But he certainly speaks of that “new life” as we identify with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. But he does not use the term “born again.” So we have to look at these Jewish believers as having an understanding of that “new birth” as a result of their believing that Jesus was the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel.
You go through I John, II John and III John and with the exception of one verse where he says that the “blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed us from all sin,” there is not one reference to the cross. Not one. It is all based on Who Jesus was – so far as the Jews were concerned. All right, so keep that in mind. And then I’ll go back later on in the program and show how this compares with what Paul teaches. All right, now remember, John is writing to Jewish believers who really know nothing of the Gospel of Grace. They are still under that Gospel of the Kingdom economy. Consequently, there is this reference to the Law and keeping the Commandments and so forth. Now verse 7 is going to prove my point.
I John 3:7
“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” What’s the word? “Doeth.” What does that imply? Of his own volition. To that person who purposes in his heart to keep the Commandments and to be a righteous man, he was righteous. And we can’t do that. Paul never teaches us to “do” righteously. Now let me show you what I mean. Come back to Romans chapter 3. What we have to do with Scripture in order to keep it rightly divided, is constantly be reminded of what is the situation for us in this Age of Grace, compared to these Jewish believers who were still under the Kingdom economy? And will be again. They will be again as soon as the Tribulation begins and they have permission to rebuild the Temple. They’ll go back under the Gospel of the Kingdom, which Jesus said in Matthew 24 verse 14, “This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world, into all the nations, and then shall the end come.”
Not his Gospel of Grace – the Gospel of the Kingdom. All right, so now then in Romans chapter 3, look at the different language. John says, “if you do righteously, you’re righteous.” Paul doesn’t tell us that. How do we attain righteousness in this Age of Grace? Our righteousness is imputed to us. Not because we’ve worked for it but because we’ve what? “We’ve believed it! It’s faith.”
All right, start in verse 21 of Romans 3, because this is what people are constantly mixing all up. No wonder there’s confusion. In fact, I’ve got a book at home, the title of which is, ‘Why So Many Churches?’ And that’s basically the reason, because they mix everything up. One denomination takes this and throws it away. Or they take this and bring it in. Or vise versa. And consequently you’ve got all these various concepts of what we’re to do. But, if you keep Israel out of the church and the church out of Israel, it’s as plain as day. And many can’t comprehend that Jesus’ earthly ministry was all about the promises made to the Nation of Israel, as we see in Romans 8:15. All right, here’s a good example. Verse 21.
“But now.…” Remember he’s talking about the Law up in verses 19 and 20.
“But now (on this side of the cross, with the Law having been crucified with Christ) the righteousness of God without the Law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;” In other words, everything is in a building process. The Law, the Prophets, Christ’s earthly ministry and then the revelations of the mysteries to the Apostle Paul – it all comes in order, one resting on the others. All right, now verse 22.
“Even the righteousness of God (God’s righteousness, not ours!) which is by faith of Jesus Christ (In other words, that’s the only way it can be extended from God to man is through Jesus Christ and it’s going to be) unto all and upon all them that (doeth righteously? No. That doesn’t say that. That’s what John said! Paul says, unto every one that what?) believe.…” See the difference? We don’t become righteous by doing righteously. We become righteous by believing the finished work of the cross and letting God impute His righteousness. Let Him do it. We can’t. But when we have that imputed righteousness of God, it’s going to affect our lifestyle. We’re going to make a 180-degree turn. And we see it letter after letter, how lives have been changed. That’s what we look for. Okay, so now if you’ll come back again to I John chapter 3 verse 8:
I John 3:8a
“He that committeth sin.…”
Now, what did we determine last program? What’s sin? Breaking the Law. So ‘he that breaks the Law,’ or ‘he that is a law-breaker.’
I John 3:8
“He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth (or has been a law-breaker) from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” Now never lose sight of the fact, this was the heart of salvation to these Jews under the Gospel of the Kingdom – that they were to recognize and know as believers that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel.
Now let’s go back and pick up a clear scriptural account of this. Go back to Peter’s confession. Matthew chapter 16, now this is Peter. I call this Peter’s profession of faith. And this was the heart of the Gospel of the Kingdom – For salvation these Jews had to believe Who Jesus of Nazareth really was. He wasn’t just a prophet. He was the Son of God! The Creator of the universe. And Peter recognized it. All right, Matthew chapter 16, now we always have to start at verse 13 in order to make sense for new listeners. Matthew 16 verse 13, they’re at the end of the three years of earthly ministry. They’re about to go up to Jerusalem for the Passover and the crucifixion.
“When Jesus came into the coasts (borders) of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, (the Twelve, now I’m saying twelve because Judas is still with them) saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” Now there it is. That’s all they were to really know and believe. Who He was. Now after three years of signs and wonders and miracles, how much did the average Jew on the street know? Nothing. Look at their answer. Now this is shocking. After three years of nothing but miracles and signs and wonders (and I hope you all know that there were far, far more than what are recorded). The last verse of the book of John says that if they’d all been recorded the world wouldn’t be able to hold it. And yet after all of those miracles, look what the response is. Verse 14.
“And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: Some Elijah; and others Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” Imagine! Imagine, now these Jews had been steeped in the Scriptures, they thought. Like a lot people today who think they know their Bibles and then they finally realize how little they know. Well these guys are no different. And here they’ve been with the Lord for three years, miracle after miracle after miracle. Now verse 15, and He puts the question again.
“He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?” Have you done any better than the rank and file of Israel? “Whom do you say that I am? And Simon Peter as usual is the spokesman and so he answered on behalf of at least ten of them, maybe not Judas. My, if you haven’t highlighted it before, do it now. This was Peter’s confession.
“And Simon Peter answered and said, thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Now can you make it any plainer than that? That’s Who He was. He was the Son of God. Now you want to remember that most of our cults who claim to be Christian, that’s the first sign of a cult – they deny that Jesus is God. And they’ll use every imaginable detour that you can throw at them to deny it. I’ve tried it. There’s only one verse so far, that I’ve found that kind of makes them stutter and stammer and that’s Titus, let’s go back and look at it a minute. Come back to Titus, chapter 2 verse 13.
Now for these folks that come to your door, without naming them, they are the most adamant that Jesus Christ was not God. Well, just let them read this verse and then see what kind of a stammering excuse you get. Oh, they’ll have one. But it won’t be valid. Because this is what the Book says.
“(we’re to be) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”
Now this is Paul. The blessed hope, the Rapture as we call it. Not the Second Coming, but the Rapture, when the Body of Christ is caught away in the air. So “We’re to be looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God, (Who?) our Savior Jesus Christ.” Now, how in the world can anybody twist that out of shape. “Our Savior the great God, Jesus Christ.”
Now for the Jew under the Gospel of the Kingdom then, that was what they were to understand – Who He was. He was the Anointed Messiah of Israel, but He wasn’t just a prophet. He wasn’t just a good person. He was the Son of God. Now of course, Paul comes along a little further in Colossians and makes it so plain that He was also what? The Creator of everything. Jesus Christ the Son of God, the Creator of everything! And if He was any less than that He couldn’t have bought our salvation, He couldn’t have paid for it. But He was. And He did.
Okay, now let’s come back to I John again. We’re making a little headway. I thought I’d cover all of I John and II John and III John today, but I don’t think I’m going to make it. Okay, chapter 3 again.
I John 3:8b
“…For this purpose (to take away man’s sin, to defeat the father of lies, the devil) the Son of God was manifested,.…” Oh don’t lose that. He was the Son of God.
Now that doesn’t mean that God was the sire and He was the offspring. We have to recognize that these are terminologies that God has seen fit to use for His own purposes to delineate the three Persons of the Godhead. It does not mean that God the Father sired God the Son, and then the Holy Spirit was just some other addendum. No they are just simply titles of the Father, the Son and the Spirit and they are all co-equal in the Godhead. One is just as much God as the other.
And now a verse comes to mind. Come back to Colossians, chapter 2 verse 8. Paul writing to the Gentiles; now remember, what a big difference.
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, (or again this world system) and not after Christ. 9. For in him (Who? Christ, the Lord Jesus, the Son of God) dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead (how?) bodily.”
Now let’s just show you what he’s talking about. Come back to John 14 verses 8 and 9. Now this should answer all your questions, shouldn’t it? Here they are, just shortly before He’s going to be taken to be crucified. They’re in the upper room.
“Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” Let us get a glimpse of the Father and it sufficeth us. That’s all we need. Now look at Jesus’ answer.
“Jesus said unto him, Have I been so long time with you (three years now remember) and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father;.…”
Plain as English can make it, isn’t it? So Who was He? Well He was the manifestation of the whole Triune Godhead. Now come back to Colossians again and put the frosting on the cake. Back to Colossians 2 just to repeat. After Jesus tells Philip, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” Now Paul can come back by Holy Spirit inspiration and tell us in Colossians 2 verse 9 as we just read, “For in him (that is in Christ, in God the Son) dwelleth all the fullness of the whole Godhead.” How many Persons in the Godhead? Three. The Father, The Son And the Holy Spirit – and they’re all manifested in the Son. And yet they maintain their individuality as their role demands.
Now we can’t comprehend that. That’s beyond human understanding. But isn’t most of it? My, what little we get is minute. Like when we get to Glory and we get full knowledge – now I don’t know if it’s going to work this way or not, but we’ll look back at this feeble existence and we’ll think, “Why, we didn’t know anything!” There is so much that we can’t comprehend.
You’ve heard me say it over and over, especially in my weekly classes, there is not a human, I don’t think, that has ever lived that can fully understand all that Christ accomplished at the Cross of Calvary. There’s no way we can understand that. How He took the sins of the world on Himself. How He defeated Satan and all the powers of his realm and domain. We can’t comprehend it. But what little we understand, we take by faith. And it’s the same way with the Triune God, I can’t comprehend it, but I believe it! No questions asked, because the Book says it.
All right come back to I John, chapter 3 so verse 8 again, “For this purpose, the Son of God, (Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ) was manifested, (was brought into the human experience and made like I said in the ‘spotlight of all of human history’) that he might destroy (or bring to nothing) the works of the devil.” And of course, He did that at the Resurrection – that’s when he was defeated. Now verse 9, and here’s another one of those verses that are hard for us to comprehend until you understand what he’s really saying.
I John 3:9a
“Whosoever is born of God. (in other words, whoever has that eternal life by virtue of their believing) doth not commit sin;.…”
Have you ever found a believer that didn’t sin? Oh, I’ve run across a few who tried to tell me they didn’t. But they lie through their teeth, because we all sin. You cannot be otherwise. So what does this mean that ‘he is born of God does not commit sin?’ That Divine nature within us, that comes as a result of salvation, whether it was the Jewish economy or ours, that’s pretty much the same. The Divine part of us cannot sin. So why do we sin? Because the other part takes over.
Let’s come back quickly to Galatians, chapter 5. We may not have time, so we may have to pick this up in the next half-hour. But here is the dilemma, how that if the Divine nature cannot sin, then why do we sin? It’s that old nature that’s still with us.
“For the flesh (the old sin nature warreth or) lusteth against the Spirit, (the new nature) and the Spirit against the flesh: (see one against the other) and these are contrary (they’re opposites) the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that you would.”
Well what’s the Scripture telling us? Hey we’ve got a royal battle going on constantly. The sin nature says “Do it.” The new nature says, “I can’t.” And the old nature says, “Everybody else is.” The new nature says, “No they aren’t.” And so it’s this constant battle – and then the next verse says it.
“But if ye be led of the Spirit, (if you’re under the control of that new Divine nature that does not sin, then you see) ye are not under the law.”
It’s just that simple, see? And so here’s where the crux of the matter is. We have a Divine nature, but we still have the old sin nature within us, and whichever you feed the most is going to prevail.
Lesson Three • Part III
Love Not The World
I John 3:1-24
As we teach the truth and open the Book, you’d be surprised how the Lord uses our teachings. One fellow called from Florida, and I happened to pick up the phone myself and he said, “Well, I’m glad you picked up the phone, you’re the one I want to talk to.” He said, “I had never heard the gospel of salvation (I Corinthians 15:1-4) before but a few minutes into your program the Lord opened my heart and He saved me!” And then he said, “Don’t you get the big-head, you didn’t have anything to do with it!” He said, “It was the Scripture. Don’t ever stop putting the Scripture on the screen because that was the first time in my life I had ever read anything from the Word of God, and it just blew me away.” I’ll never forget that. It’s the Word of God that’s powerful, not Les Feldick.
And so what we try to do is just simply present what it says, comparing Scripture with Scripture and hopefully keep as many of my own ideas as possible out of it. So for those of you who are new to the program, that’s all we do is just open the Word. And we let the Holy Spirit open hearts. Okay, now I think we’re ready to go back to I John chapter 3 and we’ve finished verse 9, let’s jump in at verse 10.
I John 3:10
“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” John is emphasizing the ‘doing’ part. Now that reminds me. Come back to Exodus chapter 19. This is what makes Bible study so interesting, when you see how everything fits. Now, everything pertaining to Israel once they get the Law here in Exodus, is legalism. It’s works. Of course, it’s always based on faith. Never leave faith out of the mix, but for Israel it was faith and works. And in order to get the full picture I have to go all the way up to verse 3. Israel has just come out of Egypt. They’ve crossed the Red Sea. And they’re gathered around Mount Sinai. And we pick it up in verse 3:
“So Moses went up unto God, (that is up on Mount Sinai) 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; (how many Gentiles in that? Not a one) 4. Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings and brought you unto myself.” In other words, miraculously brought them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea and all the way over to Mount Sinai.
“Now therefore, (since the nation is separated from Egypt) if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6. And ye shall be (in the future) unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak to the children of Israel.” Now look at the next verse, verse 7.
“And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. 8. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will (what?) do….” Well what is that? That’s works. Whatever you want us to do to satisfy you, we’ll do it. Foolish words, of course, but nevertheless, that was the whole idea. And so, under Law, it was faith plus doing the works, it wasn’t just faith plus nothing, like we have today. All right, now, if you’ll come back with me to I John again for a moment, and let’s look at verse 10 again – and for these Jews that John is writing to, this is right on.
I John 3:10b
“…whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God,….”
Now again, these little Jewish epistles were written by James and Peter and John to Jews, which was in accord with what they agreed to at the Jerusalem counsel in Galatians chapter 2. Now I haven’t looked at that in a while since we’ve been in these little epistles, so let’s just come back and look at it.
Remember the setting of this counsel – Paul and Barnabas, his helper, were taking the Gospel of salvation now to the Gentile world and they were establishing these little congregations. Because you see this Jerusalem counsel isn’t until about 51 or 52 AD, which is about eleven or twelve years after Paul begins his ministry. And so he’s establishing these little Gentile congregations based on his Gospel of Grace. But the Judaisers (and evidently with the tacit approval of the Twelve) are coming in behind the Apostle and telling these Gentile believers they can’t be saved by Paul’s Gospel alone, they also must keep the Law and practice circumcision.
Well it finally got to the point that it was driving the Apostle Paul up the wall, and the Lord instructs him to go up to Jerusalem and settle it with the Twelve. And so he and Barnabas go up to Jerusalem and they’re confronting the Twelve about these people who are coming in behind him, telling his Gentile converts that they can’t be saved unless they keep the commandments and practice circumcision. Now you’ve got to go back to Acts 15:1-5 to pick that up. But here’s what I want you to see. After the day’s confrontation finally cools down and Peter, James and John finally recognize that they have no business interfering with Paul’s ministry, they have a gentleman’s agreement. And that’s what I call it; it’s a gentlemen’s agreement.
And here it is, Galatians 2 and let’s start at verse 7. Now this is a counsel in Jerusalem, 51 AD, between Paul and Barnabas and the leadership of the Jerusalem church which, of course, was Jewish. And they were still using Temple worship. The Temple hasn’t been destroyed yet and they’re still under the Law – and then Paul and Barnabas and the Gentiles are out here under Grace. And so it was two different economies and they were having problems.
“But contrariwise, (on the other hand) when they (Peter, James and John and maybe the rest of the leadership) saw (understood) that the gospel of the uncircumcision (that’s Gentiles, non-Jews) was committed unto me, (Paul, who’s writing) as the gospel of the circumcision (Israel) was unto Peter;” Now for twenty years I’ve been trying to get people to see that’s two different economies. Peter and the Twelve are ministering to the circumcision – Israel. Paul and Barnabas have now been commissioned to go to the Gentiles. And they have a separate message for each.
All right, so the Gospel of the uncircumcision – the Gospel of Grace or Paul’s Gospel, was committed unto Paul. But, the Gospel of the circumcision, which was called the Gospel of the Kingdom back in Matthew was committed unto Peter and the Eleven.
“(For he that wrought effectually in Peter [of course] to the apostleship of the circumcision, [Israel] the same [God] was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) See those two totally different scenarios? Peter and Israel and Paul and the Gentile world. Now verse 9 – here it comes.
“And when James, Cephas, and John, (the same three who write these little epistles) who seemed to be pillars (that is of the Jerusalem church, but why does he say ‘seemed’ to be pillars? Because there wasn’t much left to ‘pillar!’ It’s falling apart.) perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.” What’d they do? They shook hands. And the human race has been doing that for 2,000 years. A handshake is a gentlemen’s agreement. Up until the last few years, it was good as gold. Isn’t anymore, but it always used to be. A handshake was a done deal.
All right, and these men were no different. James, and Peter and John now, make a hand-shake gentlemen’s agreement that they would mind their business with Israel and Paul would keep going to the Gentiles. My, I don’t see how anybody could miss that. Verse 9 again, “When James and Peter and John who seemed to pillars perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship.” They shook hands. And here was the agreement, “That we (Paul and Barnabas) should go to the heathen (the Gentiles) and they would go (where?) to the circumcision (to Israel.)”
Now that’s as plain as language can make it. A gentlemen’s agreement – Paul your ministry is to Gentiles. For us, it’s the Nation of Israel. And so, far as I can determine from Scripture, those three men never broke that agreement.
Consequently, these little Jewish epistles are according to that agreement; James writes to the Twelve Tribes; Peter writes to those scattered abroad – Jews; and John also is writing to the Nation of Israel. Okay, back to I John chapter 3, and I emphasize that these are Jewish epistles, written to Jews and with nothing really of Paul’s Gospel of Grace, because that was for the Gentiles at that time.
Now, granted, the day will come when Paul’s Gospel will go out to the Jew as well as the Gentile. The Gospel of salvation today is not limited to any one race, or nation of people. The Gospel is for everyone. Black and white. Rich and poor. Jew or Gentile. But at this point in time it was still keeping separated until such time as God drops the gate on the Jewish economy and everybody comes under the Gospel of Grace. But there were a few years in there where that was not the case.
All right, now, when you come back to I John chapter 3, this is why the language is almost identical with what he writes in his Gospel account. My, you can go back to the Gospel of John and read almost the same things that you read here in I John, because both of them are still dealing with the Nation of Israel. Verse 11:
I John 3:11
“For this is the message, that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” So far as John is concerned, what’s the beginning? Well, Christ’s earthly ministry – when He appeared to the Nation of Israel and presented Himself as their Messiah and King, the Son of God. And so, from the very beginning of His earthly ministry, what was the constant message? Love. Love one another. And you go back to John’s Gospel, it’s love and love and love. Not that Paul ignores it, but he does not emphasize the love like John does.
I John 3:12
“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.” In other words, Cain is not an example of biblical love. Quite the opposite. Don’t be like “Cain who was of that wicked one.” Cain was under the movement of Satan. Cain was inspired of Satan to rise up and kill his righteous brother, Abel. You all know the account. That was no accident and so don’t be like “Cain who was of that wicked one and slew (or killed) his brother and wherefore (or why?) did Cain kill Abel? Well, because his own works were evil.” He was a man destitute of faith.
Now you may look at me a little bit wondering when I say that. Whenever a man was destitute of faith, he was evil in almost everything he could think and say and do. And who were they back in that time? Well, Cain is the first one. Ishmael is the next one. Esau is the next one. All those men were destitute of faith. They couldn’t believe a thing that God said. And as a result of their lack of faith, they became as the Scripture calls them – fornicators, idolaters, and all the rest of the bad things because they lacked faith. Oh, it’s a dangerous thing to have no faith.
See this is why our whole education system is in such a dilemma. We have had our kids bombarded now with evolution for how long? Forty, fifty, sixty years? And what’s the first thing evolution takes away from a child? Fear of God. Because if evolution is true, there’s no God. Well, if there’s no God, there are no absolutes. I can do whatever I want. No wonder we’re having a hard time controlling our kids because when you’re an evolutionist you have absolutely no time for the Word of God. God is moot. He had nothing to do with anything.
All right, and so those are examples of men who had no faith and, consequently, their wickedness followed. And it’s no different today. All right, back to I John chapter 3, so don’t be like “Cain who slew his brother because his own works were evil, but Abel was righteous.” Now again why was Abel righteous? He did what God said to do, whereas Cain did not.
Now I know even a lot of our Sunday School material totally misses the point of Cain’s failure to please God. I read one here not too long ago that said his only problem was that he had a bad attitude. Well, that may have been part of the problem, but his main problem was he had no faith and, consequently, did not bring the required blood sacrifice. He brought of that which grew naturally, which had no blood. But, when he saw that he was rejected, then that faithless personality of Cain took over and he rose up and killed his brother Abel. Well, the next verse says it all doesn’t it?
I John 3:13
“Marvel not my brethren, if the world (this world system does what? It) hates you.” Don’t ever think for a minute that they love us. We’re seeing it coming up more and more. My, some of our lead editorial writers are now saying that the greatest enemies of America are the evangelical Christians. They don’t know what they’re talking about but that’s what they’re claiming. And so expect it. It’s going to get worse. We ain’t seen nothing yet! It’s going to get constantly worse as they hate the true believer because, you see, we’re standing in the way of their wicked lifestyle and they don’t like that. And so, Cain is a good example of the unbelieving world around us.
All right, now verse 14, but for us who are believers, whether it was John writing to the Jews or whether it’s for us under the Age of Grace, this much is still true.
I John 3:14
“We know we have passed from death unto life, (that is from spiritual death to spiritual life, we know we have made that transition) because we love the brethren. (the fellow believers.) He that loveth not his brother abideth (where?) in (spiritual) death.” He is spiritually dead if he cannot love his fellow believer, or his brother the believer. All right, “He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” Verse 15.
I John 3:15
“Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” Well now where does that take you? Right back to the words of the Lord Jesus Himself. Those are the kinds of illustrations that Jesus made to the children of Israel in various ways. You don’t actually have to commit an act to be guilty. You can think it and you’re guilty. And so he that hates his brother is like a murderer. “And a murderer has no eternal life abiding in him.”
Now I know I have a lot of prison inmates listening to my program. I’m going to have to qualify here. The murderer, until he comes to a saving faith in Christ, is headed for his eternal doom. Not just a prison sentence. But you see, a murderer can experience God’s forgiveness. A murderer can become a believer and inherit eternal life. But, that’s not what John is talking about. He’s talking about the unrepentant, unsaved individual who hates his brother; he hates believers and he’s a murderer in God’s eyes. Now verse 16; we come back again to the love concept.
I John 3:16
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” Now don’t forget again the historical setting of these Jews. Where are they? Well they’re hated by their fellow non-believing Jews who are maintaining their orthodoxy or nothing. But they’re also coming under the condemnation of the Romans and so they were between a rock and a hard place as well. And this is what he’s trying to encourage them to do – be ready to do whatever it takes to come to the defense of your fellow believers.
Now remember that when we first started teaching this, we emphasized that for those Jews living at that time, the Tribulation is right out in front of them. They thought it was coming down the pike.
And during that horror of the upcoming Tribulation, there’s going to have to be a lot of that, where people are literally going to have to lay down their life for someone else. And so John was preparing them. Be ready to lay down your life for a fellow believer. Verse 17.
I John 3:17
“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion (in other words, his whole personality of compassion) from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” Now again, this is back under pretty much a legal setting, and so we know that, under our Age of Grace, this isn’t as apropos. But for these people under this Jewish economy where the Law had not yet been taught as “crucified with Christ” like Paul does with us – this whole concept of hating your brother and of not seeing the need of someone who is in need. It was just a reflection on your spiritual well-being.
All right, so he says, how can you be a true believer if you can see someone in need and have no way, or offer no means of helping him? How can the love of God dwell in that person? All right, now then verse 18.
I John 3:18
“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but (how) in deed and in truth.” Now here again, that’s doing righteousness. And it was a part and parcel of their whole economy that they were to be doing these good works along with their love for God and recognizing Who Jesus the Christ really was.
I John 3:19-22
“And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. 20. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 21. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. 22. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” Does that sound like Paul? Does it? No. No. We don’t manipulate God by trying to do something to please Him so that He in turn will do something for us. We don’t have that promise that, whatever we ask, God will do it. Paul never says anything like that, but this is a perfect parallel with John’s Gospel where Jesus said, “and if you ask anything in my name, (what?) I will do it.” Does that work today? No. That doesn’t work today. It’s not supposed to. That wasn’t written to us. But for these Jews in view of the Kingdom just coming, yes, it was appropriate.
I don’t think there is a person in this room that can tell me that everything they’ve ever asked for in prayer they got answered the way they wanted it answered. Doesn’t work that way. But for the Jewish economy, that’s what it said, “if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” That’s one of the first times I started questioning all this. Why doesn’t it work for me? Well it’s not supposed to because we’re not under that Jewish economy.
Lesson Three • Part IV
Love Not The World
I John 3:1-24
Again we like to welcome our television audience and thank you for your letters, your prayers and your support. What else can I say because we just can’t believe that the Lord is doing what He’s doing. But, I’m always reminded in Corinthians – God takes the foolish things of this world for His purposes – so if ever that was true, it is with us. Okay, let’s get right back to where we were I John chapter 3 and let’s look at verse 23.
I John 3:23
“And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name (now underline that word ‘name’) of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another as he gave us commandment.”
All right, now let’s go back and see what I’m trying to show everybody as we go through these little Jewish epistles – how that they ring true with so much of the Jewish Scriptures, and the first one would be Acts chapter 3. Peter and John have just healed the lame man and the Jews, of course, are wondering, “How did they do this?” Now, like I’ve always said, isn’t it amazing – this is only a matter of eight or nine weeks after Christ was performing miracles Himself; but yet when the disciples raised the lame man, they are just aghast. All right, but now verse 12, after Peter recognizes that they’re all wondering up there in verse 11 and they’re amazed. See the Jewishness of all this? Now this is shortly after the Day of Pentecost in chapter 2.
“And when Peter saw it (that is, the amazement of the Jewish people) he answered the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we made this man to walk? 13. The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, (see how Jewish this is?) hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. 14. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15. And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.” Peter doesn’t come out and claim faith in His death, burial and resurrection for salvation, but in the next verse, what was the core of this man’s faith that brought about the healing?
“And his name, through faith in his name hath made this man strong,.…” Now flip back again, if you’re still there, to I John so that you can compare Scripture with Scripture. Now instead of Peter saying it, it’s John, but nevertheless, it’s still in that Jewish economy and here we have it in verse 23.
I John 3:23a
“And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another,.…” What were they to believe? Who Jesus of Nazareth was. That was the whole core of their faith system. Now they’re still under the Law remember? The Temple is still operating. Nobody has told these Jews to stop Temple worship. In fact, in Acts chapter 3 and the first verse, Peter and John went up to the Temple to pray because it was the prescribed hour of prayer. They’re still under the Law.
But their faith is not in the finished work of the cross, their faith is in Who Jesus was. All right, now let’s back up a little bit, and come back to Matthew chapter 9 verse 35.
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching (what?) the gospel of the kingdom, (now see how plain that is? He is preaching the gospel of the kingdom.) and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.”
All right, this Gospel of the Kingdom, then, is not for anybody but Israel. And to prove that let’s go to the next chapter. Here He chooses the Twelve. Now verse 5 – my goodness, this is plain language. And either people refuse to believe it or they get mad and say, “That isn’t what it means.” Yes, it is what it means. It’s so simple it can’t mean anything else.
“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:” Why not? This is a Jewish message. This is following in the path of the prophets and the covenants made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and that had nothing to do with the Gentiles. And so Jesus is particular in keeping everything in line with the Old Testament promises.
“But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Now that’s as plain as language can make it. That was the Gospel of the Kingdom. Now I said earlier today that when the Tribulation begins, the Church is gone, the Gospel of Grace has come to an end, and so what Gospel has to pick up again? Well, the Gospel of the Kingdom! And here you have it in Matthew 24, from the lips of the Lord Himself. Matthew 24 verse 14 and, oh, this verse has been twisted all out of shape for whatever purpose they want to use it And the key word in this verse is ‘this.’
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
Why this gospel of the kingdom? Because that’s what they had been preaching for three years of Jesus’ earthly ministry. They’d been preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom to the Nation of Israel. And during the Tribulation “this gospel of the kingdom then shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations and then shall the end come.”
Now that’s not the Gospel of Grace going into the whole world, but rather the Gospel of the Kingdom. So, you’ve got to put everything together. When will they start preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom again? At the beginning of the Tribulation. And those 144,000 commissioned Jews are going to take that Gospel of the Kingdom around the world supernaturally. And they are going to reach every tongue and tribe and nation because Revelation says they will.
And when John sees in the Book of Revelation those martyred people out of that preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom, he says, who are these. And John in so many words says, well tell me? And what does the angel say? “These are they that came out of the great Tribulation.” They had become believers of the Gospel of the Kingdom and were martyred because of it and they’re already there in the throne room in Heaven.
But it was that Gospel of the Kingdom that was interrupted by the Gospel of Grace, that will be picked up again when the Church is gone and Israel is once again in the forefront of God’s dealing with the human race. Well, let’s go to John’s Gospel chapter 11, and the death of Lazarus. Lazarus has died and Martha and Mary are bereft, and Martha is almost upset with Him that He didn’t come and heal him. But in verse 23:
“Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (see there’s your salvation right there for those Jews.) 26. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die, Believest thou this? (now look at Martha’s answer. Just exactly word for word what Peter said in one of our previous programs when I used Matthew 16:16. Now for Martha’s answer.) 27. She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” See how plain that is? “I believe that thou are the Christ, (the Messiah, the Anointed One) the Son of God which is come into the world.” And that’s all she needed. Jesus didn’t ask for anything more. And so it was all based on believing Who He was.
All right, now for comparison sake, let’s use the next few moments that are left to see the difference in the language coming from the Apostle Paul. Let’s go first back to Acts chapter 9, and we won’t take time to look at his conversion experience. I trust most of you know that forwards and backwards. But what a lot of people miss is what God is doing behind the scenes. He’s dealing with old Saul out there on the highway. But somewhere in the city, God is now dealing with one of the Jewish believers in Damascus, a man named Ananias, whom the Scripture called a devout man according to the Law. He was a Jewish Kingdom believer. All right, now to this Ananias, verse 11.
“And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth. 12. And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem. (via his persecution. Ananias goes on) 14. And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.” Lord this guy is here to raise havoc even like he did in Jerusalem. But the Lord said:
“But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he (this Saul of Tarsus) is a chosen vessel unto me, (and his commission is) to bear my name before the (what people?) Gentiles,.…” What a difference!
What did Jesus say to the disciples? “Go not into the way of a Gentile, but go only to the lost sheep of Israel.” But now this apostle is going to be sent just the opposite direction to the Gentile world. Now see, what most of Christendom does not understand is, that from Genesis chapter 12 and the beginning of that Abrahamic Covenant, there was no overture to the Gentiles, except Nineveh. None. The Jews were never instructed to go and evangelize the Gentiles. In fact, they took it to the extreme and they hated them!
They wouldn’t have anything to do with a Gentile if they could possibly help it, and so I suppose the best way I can explain that is while you’re in Acts, turn on over to chapter 22. And I use this just to show you the mentality of Jews like Saul of Tarsus concerning Gentiles. My, how that man’s heart must have sunk when God told him, “I’m going to send you to the Gentiles.” That must have been almost the worst thing he could think of. All right, Acts 22 verse 17. Now here Paul has already been out amongst the Gentile world for almost 20 years, but he’s always had a heart for his kinsmen according to the flesh, the Jew. And so he comes back to Jerusalem. And he still thinks that he can win the Jewish people to a faith in their Messiah. And so here he comes. Verse 17.
“And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem,.…” Now remember this is Luke quoting Paul. Paul is speaking to a great crowd in Jerusalem. Even though we know Luke wrote the book of Acts, nevertheless, it’s Paul that is speaking to a large Jewish audience.
“…even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance;” Now that raises a question. Why did Paul have so many dealings with Judaism and the Temple when he himself had been removed from it? Well, I think this is the whole reason. He had such a love for the Nation of Israel that he was almost ready to do anything to, as he said in Romans I think, win some. So some of the things Paul does here in the book of Acts are hard to reconcile, but like I just told somebody at break time, don’t ever build doctrine in Acts. You’ll get in trouble every time. For your doctrine, wait until you get to Romans through Philemon. Paul’s epistles. That’s where we build our doctrine. But this is all, again, just background showing us how everything moved out of the Jewish economy of Law and the Kingdom Gospel and moving into Gentiledom and Grace and Paul’s Apostleship. All right, verse 18.
“And saw him (the Lord in verse 16) saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. 19. And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: 20. And when the blood of thy martyr, Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment (or the clothes) of them that slew him. 21. And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.” Now look at the next verse.
“And they (this Jewish audience) gave him audience (or they listened to him) unto this word,.…” One word. And what do you have? A riot. A literal riot. When he dropped the word Gentile from his lips.
“…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. 23. And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air,” And the Romans had to actually come in and make a protective arrest of the Apostle. This isn’t to downplay the Jewish people, this is only to show you how separated they had become from the Gentile world – taken to extreme as people are prone to do. Not because they’re Jews, but only because they’re human They took it to such an extreme that they hated the Gentile. They hated everything about them. And of course you could see why. The Jews were meticulous in their eating habits. In their hygiene and in their worship of the One True God. And the Romans were just the opposite. The Roman pagans were gross in their immorality. They, in the eyes of a Jew, ate like pigs because what they ate was pork. And all that just flew in the face of the Jewish people. And so they detested the Gentiles. And so now, here is the beginning of it – that to this Gentile world, the Apostle Paul is going to be sent by a direct command from the Creator Himself.
All right, now then real quickly let’s just go and see the difference between some of these things that Paul proclaims compared to John – whether it’s in his Gospel or whether it’s in the little epistle, makes no difference. All right, Romans chapter 2 verse 16 is a good one to start with. Now the reason I’m doing this, is that just in the last few days, I’ve had several letters wanting me to qualify and explain more fully – what Paul meant when he said, “My Gospel.” Well that’s exactly what he calls it. “My Gospel.” What is it? All right, let’s look quickly, verse 16.
“In the day (the Great White Throne Judgment day) when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” That’s what men are going to be judged by, what have you done with Paul’s Gospel? Someone told me just the other day that they’ve heard it several times in the last week – where people say, “I hate Paul.” Well then they’re going to be before that Great White Throne having to admit that they did nothing with Paul’s Gospel, which means they’re lost. Now the next one is Romans 16:25.
“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to (what?) my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,” That’s who he writing to, he’s writing to those of us who have placed our faith in Paul’s Gospel. Not Paul, but Paul’s Gospel of salvation. And what is Paul’s Gospel? “The preaching of Jesus Christ, (not according to His earthly ministry, not according to the promises made to the prophets, but)…the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation (or a revealing, an unveiling) of the mystery (the secret) which was kept secret since the world began.” And what’s the secret? Paul’s Gospel. The next one is Galatians 2:1-2. This is fourteen years after his conversion on the road to Damascus.
“Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. 2. And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.” In other words, the Lord had instructed Paul to go up and meet with the Twelve. But what I want you to see is here. “I went up by revelation and communicated (in other words, without any gobbledy-gook. Without anything that couldn’t be clearly understood) I communicated unto them.” That is the Jerusalem church – Peter, James, John and the rest of the leadership. And “I communicated unto them that gospel.” Now the key word in this verse is ‘that.’ In Matthew 24:14, I wanted you to underline ‘this,’ But now Paul makes a distinction that he clarified to the Jerusalem church – “that gospel which I preached among (what people?) the Gentiles.” Now what’s that doing? He is qualifying the “my Gospel” and that it was totally different from the Kingdom Gospel, which was basically believing in the name of Jesus Christ.
Come back with me to I Corinthians chapter 15: 1-4. And this is Paul’s Gospel of salvation that he preached to the Gentiles and to us in this age of Grace.
I Corinthians 15:1-2a
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel (he could just as well have said, ‘my’ Gospel) which I preached unto you, which also you have received, (they’re believers now, remember, brought out of paganism and idolatry and immorality) and wherein ye stand; 2. By which also ye are saved,.…” How are we saved? By this Gospel right here that Paul will proclaim in the next verses.
I Corinthians 15:3-4
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, (from the risen Lord) how that Christ (the Son of God) died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to scriptures:” Now that’s Paul’s Gospel of salvation that we must believe for eternal life.