[ 673 ] Les Feldick [ Book 57 - Lesson 1 - Part 1 ] Believe Not Every Spirit |a
[ 674 ] Les Feldick [ Book 57 - Lesson 1 - Part 2 ] Believe Not Every Spirit |b
[ 675 ] Les Feldick [ Book 57 - Lesson 1 - Part 3 ] I John 4:1-10 |a
[ 676 ] Les Feldick [ Book 57 - Lesson 1 - Part 4 ] I John 4:1-10 |b
[ 677 ] Les Feldick [ Book 57 - Lesson 2 - Part 1 ] The Godhead Revealed |a
[ 678 ] Les Feldick [ Book 57 - Lesson 2 - Part 2 ] The Godhead Revealed |b
[ 679 ] Les Feldick [ Book 57 - Lesson 2 - Part 3 ] I John 4:11-5:1 |a
[ 680 ] Les Feldick [ Book 57 - Lesson 2 - Part 4 ] I John 4:11-5:1 |b
[ 681 ] Les Feldick [ Book 57 - Lesson 3 - Part 1 ] Water and Blood |a
[ 682 ] Les Feldick [ Book 57 - Lesson 3 - Part 2 ] Water and Blood |b
[ 683 ] Les Feldick [ Book 57 - Lesson 3 - Part 3 ] I John 5:1-7 |a
[ 684 ] Les Feldick [ Book 57 - Lesson 3 - Part 4 ] I John 5:1-7 |b
Believe Not Every Spirit
I John 4:1-10
We’ve come all the way up through the Scriptures, pretty much chapter and verse, and now we’re in I John chapter 4. Now I’ve been emphasizing, ever since we came into the little letters of James and Peter and John, that if you watch the language (don’t go by what I, or any other preacher or any Bible teacher says, just watch the language of what your Bible says that there’s nothing in these little Jewish epistles that is pertinent to the Body of Christ or the Age of Grace), this is all written to Jews.
Now granted there are a lot of things in here that are still appropriate for us and we can make application, we can feed on it – but we always also have to be aware that these things are not totally church oriented, or Grace oriented. And I’ll show you here (if not in this first lesson, we’re going to see it in the second one for sure) how there is absolutely nothing of Paul’s Gospel that you can use here for Salvation. It’s an alarming fact and yet most people are not aware of it. Now with that, let’s just begin with verse 1, and notice John begins with the word “beloved,” because he calls his flock “little children.”
I John 4:1a
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, (what a warning, even for today) but try (test) the spirits whether they are of God:….” Is it truly the Holy Spirit that is directing what someone is saying? Or is it some other spirit? Now you’ve got to realize the world has been pummeled with false teaching ever since Paul was beginning his ministry. Even before he passed off the scene, he wrote to Timothy “All they in Asia have turned against me.” Why? Because they were rejecting the truth of the Apostle’s doctrines that God had given him for the Body of Christ.
And so it’s been with us now for 1,900 + years and it’s compounding, especially in this day of mass communication. My, when people write and tell me what they’ve picked up on the Internet or what they’ve picked up off of television, it is utterly frightening. And the only way you can determine if it’s truth is to line it up with the Book – and how Paul deals with it – if it doesn’t line up, then shut them off! I would tell them to do the same thing to me. If they can see that I am teaching something that is not scriptural, turn me off – I’m not worth your time.
All right, so he says to test the spirits because so many false prophets, or as we saw earlier in II Peter, false teachers, have gone out into the world. Now let’s come back to Matthew 24, and in the words of the Lord Jesus Himself, it is so plain to see how these false teachers that are out there are coming faster and faster all the time. Now we’re not there yet, as all of Matthew 24 is Tribulation ground, but we’re getting close. We’re going to start right at verse 1 and, of course, Jesus is addressing the Twelve – but what I what you to see is the warning. And it’s just as appropriate for us today as it was when Jesus spoke it.
“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple:.…” Now the Temple is still operating. The Jews are still connected to Temple worship, even those who have been followers now of Jesus and the Gospel of the Kingdom. They’re still part and parcel of the Temple operation.
“…and his disciples (the Twelve) came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 2. 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.” And of course He was making a reference to 70 AD, another 40 years in the future when the Romans would do just exactly that. Now verse 3. They leave the Temple complex and they’ve crossed the valley of Kedron up to the Mount of Olives.
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, (the Twelve again. No press of the crowd, just the Twelve) saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? (age)
They were wondering about the fulfillment of all these things that He’d been talking about and the bringing in of His earthly Kingdom. There’s not a hint yet that the 7-year Tribulation, and His Second Coming are going to be totally interrupted. So they say, “…when shall these things be and what shall be the sign of thy coming?”
Now they had an idea that there would be a coming of sorts to set up the Kingdom. Not that they were aware that He was going to die and leave and then come back, but they still knew that there was something that had to transpire that would bring about His setting up this earthly Kingdom – because everything has been pointed in that direction since Genesis chapter 12. All right, so “…when shall these things be, what shall be the sign of thy coming and the end of the age?” This “age of the curse” is the best way I can put it. Now verse 4.
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man (underline that next word. That no man does what?) deceive you.” Deception. See that’s the devil’s bag. Oh how he loves to deceive. And you know the master plan for deception? Give people about 80% of truth and then slip in 20% of abject error and it’ll win every time. And this is what we’re seeing. It is so hard to discern how much is truth and how much is in error; and again our only recourse is to know the Book. You’ve got to know how to rightly divide the Word, to know what is for the Body of Christ.
You know I gave the illustration years ago and I hope it’s still appropriate – that when folks are hired by the Treasury Department to work specifically on counterfeit money, for the first six month’s of their employment they do nothing but study legitimate American bills. That’s all they do. So that they just see it over and over. What’s the purpose? Well, if you see something that’s true and it’s just so imprinted on your mind, the minute you see the least bit of a change in that, the bells ring – it’s a counterfeit!
Well this is what we have to do with the Book. We’ve got to be so ingrained in the Truth that when you hear a bunch of this garbage you can immediately say, “Hey, that’s not true.” In fact, I had a fellow call Monday morning (and I’m not going to point my finger at the professional clergy just for the sake of pointing the finger, but it gets alarming when someone calls with what their preacher has been ranting and raving about for thirty minutes from the pulpit, and it is all contrary to the Book) and this guy caught it. And on the way out of his church, he said he told his preacher, “Pastor, you are totally wrong. You are not according to the Scripture.”
Well, you have to do this because too many people have just got the idea, that as long as the words come, they can spit them out with no reference to the Word of God. Well, that’s satanic-powered false teaching – I don’t care who’s doing it. All right, now let’s show you how Paul warns us in II Corinthians. And again I may come back to this before the afternoon is over because it is so appropriate for the day in which we live. II Corinthians chapter 11, and what a warning! And it all fits. Jesus said, “Don’t be deceived.” Because there are going to be many false teachers. John says, “Test the spirit” so that you know you’re not listening to a false or a counterfeit spirit. Now here’s how Paul puts it. Drop down to verse 13.
II Corinthians 11:13
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, (same word Jesus used in Matthew 24, don’t be deceived) transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” These are the deceivers, and the world is full of them today. They’re easy to spot, especially if you line them up with Paul’s epistles.
II Corinthians 11:14,15
“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
Now analyze that a minute. What’s he telling us? What are these false teachers going to do? Oh they’re going to talk about Jesus. They’re going to talk about the cross. They may even talk about the resurrection. But they are false deceivers using just enough of the Truth to get your attention and then they’re going to slip you the poison. That’s the typical format. And Paul is warning us. Now how are you going to know? Do they line up with the Scripture from front to back (not just 80% of the time)? Do they line up with Scripture constantly? Are they on track? Or are they throwing in stuff that is extra-biblical? Or as one fellow put it, “There are a lot of things that are biblical, they’re scriptural, but they’re not dispensational. And that is the key.”
What does that mean? Well, you’ve got a lot of things that were written to the Nation of Israel under the Law. They’re Scripture. They’re biblical. But they’re not for us in this Grace Age, so it’s not dispensational. Now the one that I always like to use is in Leviticus. This is just a good example of how something is biblical, it’s Scriptural – because it’s in our Bible – but it’s not dispensational. And anything written to Israel is not for this dispensation of Grace (and the reason God separated the teaching of Paul from the rest of Scripture)! Chapter 5, and let’s just drop down to verse 2. Now I trust you all know that Leviticus is a part of the what? The Law. Leviticus is part of the first five books of Moses.
“Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be a carcase (that is a dead animal) of an unclean beast, or a carcase of unclean cattle, or the carcase of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty.” Because he has touched something that is unclean. All right, come on down to verse 5.
“And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, (including touching something dead) that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing:” And as he confesses that he has sinned, this is what he has to do. Now this is biblical. This is what the Bible says.
“And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin.”
Now goodness sakes, that’s biblical. It’s Scripture. But are you going to do that today? Well of course not! That’s not for us. It’s not in our dispensation. This was for Israel under the Law, the same as Jesus and the Twelve disciples’ ministry under the Law. All right, now this is what we have to understand – that so much of what we’re hearing preached today may be biblical, but it’s not for us. And that makes all the difference in the world. God doesn’t expect you to keep something that He has not said to us. And that’s why I’m always emphasizing Paul’s apostleship – that he is the one that has given us all of the information we need for salvation, for the Christian walk, and for the hope of our end on earth – it’s all in Paul’s epistles.
All the rest of Scripture is profitable if you use it in the right way, but you can’t just open a verse of Scripture and say, “Well, that’s what the Bible says, and that’s what I’m doing.” You’ll get in trouble real fast because it doesn’t work that way. But when we come back to what the Apostle Paul teaches and we lean on that, rest on it, then we’re on solid ground!
All right, back to II Corinthians so that you see how the Apostle Paul is writing to his Gentile believers. II Corinthians chapter 11 and verse 14 is the key. The “god of this world” as Paul calls him in chapter 4 in this little book. The “god of this world” is an expert on confusing the issues. He’s an expert at using the Word of God to send people off in the wrong direction. I think I used the example in maybe the last taping, in one of our last programs, that if you know anything about target shooting, you know there’s a bulls-eye and then the outer rings. Well it really doesn’t count unless you can hit the bulls-eye.
Well, it’s the same way with God. God is particular. God is an exclusivist. And we’re going to be seeing that before the afternoon is over. And God will not allow you to shoot for the outer ring of the target – just a little ways from Paul’s Gospel of salvation. Oh it might sound good, but you’re going to miss the mark. God expects us to hit the bulls-eye. That’s why we have the Word of God. That’s why we have the Truth. And we have to make sure that we’re right on or we’re going to miss it.
All right, so come back here again. Satan is a master at getting people to miss the bulls-eye. That’s why I say, he can bring in 80% of Truth and can sound so good. But it’s that other 20% of error that is going to lead people to their eternal doom. And nothing pleases Satan more. All right, so read it again.
II Corinthians 11:14-15a
“And no marvel; (don’t be amazed) for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (that’s why he can get their attention. Sounds so good, but it’s deception) 15. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers (those people under his control and they’re legion. He’s got far more in his employ than the Holy Spirit does – that’s always been the case) also be transformed as the ministers of (what?) righteousness;.…” That word just throws a curve at us. That they can actually be promoting good things. I can remember years ago I was teaching a college and high school class up in Iowa and we had about 50 of those kids sitting on the floor out in front of me and I was bringing home this very thing – that Satan and his emissaries can promote a lot of good things.
See the average person’s got the idea that all Satan promotes is wickedness and sin and drunks and all. No. Satan will promote the most beautiful things on earth if it will get people’s attention to come his way instead of God’s way. And the great corporations of the world will funnel millions upon millions into so-called ‘good things.’ Beautiful buildings. Libraries. Parks. Zoos. You name it. But does that do anything spiritually for people? No. But it just simply gets their attention, the glamour of this world, and there is nothing Satan likes better. Now, there’s nothing wrong with a beautiful park for goodness sakes. There’s nothing wrong with a nice library. But when all that is used to keep people’s attention from the Truth of the things of God, then the devil’s the winner. Now you may not believe that, but that’s the real world. That’s where it really is. All right, and so they use good things. Things that you cannot point from Scripture and call them wicked. But the end result – Satan’s the winner. He’s causing us to miss the bulls-eye.
Okay, back to I John chapter 4. Verse 1 again.
I John 4:1a
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, (oh just because something sounds good. Just because somebody is gifted with words, don’t you buy it. Line them up with the Book) but try (or test) the spirits whether they are of God:….”
Test the spirits whether they are of God. John is writing to these little synagogues of Jews, I think primarily back there in Western Turkey. That’s where I picture them whenever I think of it. And so to these little congregations of Jews he says:
I John 4:1b-3
“…because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3. And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of anti-christ, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”
Now you remember that I mentioned in one of the programs that I think John is the only writer of Scripture that uses that term. I’m not aware of anyone else, but he speaks of the anti-christs – plural – and then back here in chapter 2, I think in I John, he speaks of the singular – anti-christ. But you remember the word I was using several weeks back? What is the true anti-christ? He’s a counterfeit!
And that’s why they can do such damage. The world out there gets taken in thinking that they’re the real thing, and they’re not. They’re counterfeit. They’re anti-christ. See? All right, reading verse 3 again. “And this is that spirit of anti-christ whereof you have heard that it should come (and not only that) and already is in the world.” Now that reminds me, of course, of II Thessalonians chapter 2 where Paul is (as I’ve always made mention), for just a few verses, lining up with the Old Testament prophecies concerning this man of sin, the anti-christ. II Thessalonians chapter 2 and come down to verse 7.
II Thessalonians 2:7a
“For the mystery (that is the secret, the things that aren’t well understood) of iniquity doth (what’s the next word?) already work:.…” It was already out there doing its work, even in Paul’s day. And it has never stopped. And consequently the billions and billions of people have been mislead and they’ve missed heaven’s glory because of a deception.
All right, come back once again to I John and I had to read both of these verses because they’re tied together. In verse 2 he’s speaking of the positive side, those who have recognized that Jesus is the Christ – they are of course being influenced by the true Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit will make it manifest that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God. And then as you have seen already, when we read verse 3, you will see the negative side. “Every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is that spirit of anti-christ…”
All right, now you have to realize that – especially after Pentecost, after Christ has gone back to Glory, whether it’s the Jewish congregation there in Jerusalem or whether it’s a few years later (Paul is starting his congregations amongst the Gentiles) – false teachers are coming in from every direction. And their whole job is to confuse the issues. Not with blatant opposition necessarily, but underhandedly deceiving the people. And that’s the way Satan likes to work. And so you have instances of that throughout Paul’s letters – and even Peter had to confront some of the false teachers of his day. And so the whole criteria now according to this portion of Scripture is we have to determine – what spirit are we listening to? Are we listening to the Holy Spirit? Or are we listening to one of Satan’s spirits? And how are you going to know the difference?
Well, it’s getting harder and harder. I know it is. With this wealth of information that is just flooding the planet, over the Internet and radio and television and the bookstores. My, I think these bookstores are getting about as bad as anything. And it’s just simply overwhelming people with a lot of false information. But it sounds good. Even some of the stuff people send me; they want me to look at it. And up front it sounds pretty good. But as soon as you get into about chapter 2 or chapter 3 here comes all the garbage. Well, that’s the Devil’s way of doing it.
So the only admonition I can give you is to get skilled in the Scriptures so that when you see something that is far a-field from what Paul is teaching, leave it alone, because it’s not for the Church Age.
Every day people are calling, and I have to tell them to run from that false teaching! Don’t go back to that place. They’ll just hook you and draw you in deeper and deeper, and the day will come when you’re not going to be able to get out of it. I mean the cults are masters at brainwashing. We’ve known that over the years. And once they get brainwashed, it’s almost (not totally) impossible to bring them out of it. So what’s the best remedy? Don’t get hooked in the first place.
Just simply search the Scriptures, and when you hear something, see if it lines up with Paul’s teachings. For example the salvation message is a good test. Are you hearing from the pulpit that, for salvation, you must believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, was buried and rose again, plus nothing else, as we see in his writings? If not, run from it. Ask the Holy Spirit for special wisdom and knowledge and He’ll give it.
Lesson One • Part II
Believe Not Every Spirit
I John 4:1-10
Again, I’d like to welcome you to our Bible study. We’ve been doing this now for several years, and by now you know we’re not associated with one group. We are totally independent and I want to keep it that way because, after all, I report only to the Lord Himself – and I realize it’s an awesome responsibility to handle the Word of God – so I don’t take it lightly.
Okay we’ve got a lot of ground to cover so let’s get right back where we left off in our last program, and we are in I John chapter 4 and we’re going to go right back to the same two verses we ended with because I didn’t even come close to covering all that’s in them. And it’s not what’s in those two verses – but rather, for us in this Age of Grace, what is NOT in those verses! And that’s what I want people to see.
I’ll never forget when an elderly man, who has now gone to be with the Lord, came up to me years ago here in Oklahoma and said, “Les, you’re always telling us that it’s just as important to see what is NOT in a portion of Scripture as what is.” And I said, “That’s right!” And what a difference that makes – that we realize that a lot of the stuff that we’ve heard over the years isn’t in here, at least not in the rightful place. Remember I told you in the last lesson, if you wonder if it’s for us in the Church Age, see if it’s in Paul’s writings – because he was chosen by the risen Lord to be the Apostle for us in this Age of Grace. (Acts 9:15 and Romans 11:13). All right, now here is a good example of what I’m talking about. John is not saying one word about the cross or the resurrection or the shed blood. So, let’s come back to I John chapter 4 verses 2 and 3, and refresh our minds from the last lesson.
I John 4:2
“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God;” What does it leave out? The cross! Nothing concerning His resurrection. Only – Who He was. All right, then, you come down into verse 3 – and like we showed in the first half-hour that’s the negative side, if you have someone that,
I John 4:3b
“…confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh (then) is not of God:.…”
All right, now let’s just jump ahead a little bit to show you what I’m talking about – in this same chapter, go over to verse 15. Chapter 4 verse 15. Now you’ve got to look at this with an open mind. Now I think I’m more patient than most people in my situation – but when people just refuse and refuse and refuse to open their eyes and read what the Book says, I get a little bit uptight. Because, after all, what’s wrong with reading what the Bible says? But they don’t want to do it because they want to follow tradition, and then they’re out there on thin ice.
I John 4:15
“Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” What’s missing? Well, the work of the cross. Jump on over to chapter 5 verse 1. I can remember years ago before I had the understanding of Scripture that I have now, that already the Lord must have been working on my brain cells because way back, and the guy’s gone on to be with the Lord (and some of my past pastors are still living so they’ll know I’m not talking about them), but I’ll never forget he preached a Sunday morning sermon on this verse. And I said afterwards, “Preacher we can’t be saved on this verse.” He said, “Oh yes we can, this is the Gospel.” Well it is the Gospel of the Kingdom, but not the Gospel of Grace. Look what it says.
I John 5:1
“Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.” Not a word about the cross. So is John out in left field? No. John is exactly where he belongs because who is he writing to? Jews, who as yet have not been exposed to Paul’s Gospel of Grace. He’s on Jewish ground, as I’ve been saying for the last umpteen months since we started – actually Hebrews, but especially James and Peter and John, this is all written to Jewish believers who are saved simply by believing that Jesus was the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel.
Now granted, every human being from Adam until the end of time will be saved by the ‘merit’ of the cross. It took the atoning blood of Christ to save Adam, but Adam did not believe in a crucifixion. He couldn’t because it hadn’t been revealed yet. All right, now come back with me so that you’ll see where I’m coming from. Some portions of Scripture, especially in my Oklahoma classes, we use them constantly. Matthew 16, and now remember what you just read in John’s little epistle. Don’t forget that now because we’ve got to tie them all together. Matthew 16 – toward the end of Christ’s three years of earthly ministry. They’re ready to go up to Jerusalem for the crucifixion. All right, Matthew 16 verse 13, and all you have to do is read it, but also be aware of what is not here.
“When Jesus came into the coasts (or borders) of Caesarea Philippi, (now that’s clear up in the northern borders of Israel, at the head waters of the Jordan River) he asked his disciples, (the Twelve) saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” A simple question. Put in plain language today, what did He ask? Who do the people of Israel think I am? We’ve been out here now for three years, performing miracle after miracle after miracle; who do they think I am anyway? Now look at their answer.
“And they said, Some say thou art John the Baptist: some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” (now Jesus, in His patience, comes back with a question) 15. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?” Do you twelve men know anything better?
“And Simon Peter (who was usually the spokesman) answered and said, (now watch this, I’m going to throw you a curve – and Simon Peter said) Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (who died for me and rose again the third day?) Does your Bible say that? That’s what everybody seems to think it should say. But they have no idea of a crucifixion. Luke 18 makes it so plain that, as they were going up to Jerusalem, Jesus told them everything that was going to happen because He was God, He knew. But the next verse says:
“And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” They had no idea He was going to die. And even after He’s crucified did they expect resurrection? No. Otherwise they’d have been outside the tomb waiting. But they didn’t know He was going to be raised from the dead.
All right, now the same way here, the only thing these men understood – Who Jesus was. And Who was He? The Son of God! The Creator of the universe, the One who had come to be Israel’s Messiah and King. And that’s all they were supposed to believe. Remember this is the Gospel of the Kingdom message. Because what is faith? Taking God at His Word. Well, can you believe something that God hasn’t said? No. And He doesn’t expect them to believe what He hasn’t said. All right, so He has not said one word about believing in a crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection for their salvation. All He’s been proving to them is Who He was. He was the Messiah, the Son of God. Period.
Now to show you that Jesus was fully satisfied with that profession of faith – and that’s what I call it – this was Peter’s profession of faith. “Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God.” Verse 17, what does Jesus put on it? Blessings!
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jo-na: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Jesus says, Peter, you’ve got it right. You’re exactly right. But not because you were so smart. It was because God opened your understanding as to Who I am. And isn’t that always the case? Of course, it is. All right, let’s give you another one while we’re at it. Come over with me to John’s Gospel chapter 11. Lazarus has just died and Martha is all upset because she had seen Him heal the sick. And she knew that if He’d just been there Lazarus could have been healed and he wouldn’t have died, and so she is kind of rightfully upset. Lord why weren’t you here? All right, and then verse 23, here’s picking up the account now.
“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.” But why weren’t you here to keep him from dying? Get the tone? Oh, I know he’ll rise at the last day, but that doesn’t give us our brother tomorrow. I wouldn’t doubt but that the girls were pretty much dependent on him for their income, but they’re upset because he’s dead. Verse 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, He’s just showing Who He is. He’s the God of Creation. He’s in control of life and death but He doesn’t associate any salvation to what He just said. Now next verse.
“And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 27. She (Martha) saith unto him, Yea, Lord: (now watch this – if it isn’t just word-for-word what Peter said back in chapter 16, Martha said) I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” Period. Not a word about the cross. Not a word about His death, but what does she believe? Who He was! And that’s all they were supposed to believe because that’s all that had been revealed. You cannot believe something that God has not spoken. And they were not expected to either. All right, one more. Acts chapter 8 and this is plain. My goodness you don’t have to be a seminary professor to see this. It’s as plain as day that their profession of faith was based on Who Jesus was.
Acts chapter 8. Philip has been up to Samaria and the Spirit has instructed him to go on the way down toward Africa beyond Gaza, the same Gaza that’s in the news every day today, down there on the corner of the Mediterranean Sea. And as he’s gone down he sees what is probably a caravan heading south to Africa. And we have the Ethiopian eunuch. And you all know the account. All right, verse 36.
“And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, (that is to Philip now) See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” Now of course we don’t see here in Acts that Philip said anything about baptism, but again we have to feel that it was implied because it was part and parcel of the Gospel of the Kingdom. John the Baptist started with what? Repent and be baptized. Peter in Acts chapter 2:38 says what? “Repent and be baptized.” So we have to assume that Philip said the same thing when he preached unto him Jesus Christ – that if he truly believed it he should follow that with water baptism. This is all part of the Jewish economy. All right, now verse 37. This is Bible study! This is what you’ve got to be able to digest.
“And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. (that is be baptized) And he answered and said, (now again watch it, I’m going to throw you another curve. I’ve already got one strike on you. I’m going to get number two. And now he says) I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Who died for me? Shed His blood and rose from the dead? Have you got a Bible out there that says that? No. Because your Bible doesn’t say that. Was this eunuch saved? Absolutely! Did he know anything about death, burial and resurrection for that salvation? No. What did he know? Who Jesus was!
Now have you got the picture? That was the Gospel of the Kingdom! And that message was that Jesus was the Promised Messiah and King of Israel and He was ready to bring in that earthly Kingdom promised ever since Abraham and Isaac and David and the rest of the Old Testament. But he couldn’t set up that Kingdom until Israel recognized Who He was. And so the writers of these little epistles will never mention anything concerning the cross for salvation. Now Peter makes reference to His death and that He’s alive, but not for salvation. That’s what you have to look for. Remember Paul says, “Rightly divide the Word” for salvation and church doctrine – his writings from the rest of Scripture.
In I John he’s made it so plain that if they believed that Jesus was the Son of God, then they are being led by the right spirit. And if a spirit says He was not Who He claimed to be, then they’re following a false spirit.
Now let’s go back to this other apostle, the one not associated with the Twelve whatsoever – he was kept separate from them as much as possible. Come back with me to Paul’s writing to the Corinthians. And my what a difference in the language. And, by the way, people come and tell me all the time that when they confront Sunday School teachers and pastors with this, they say, “No, you can’t listen to Les Feldick. There’s never been more than one Gospel.”
And then I just have to come back and ask a logical question. Did the Twelve preach faith in His death, burial and resurrection for salvation – when they didn’t even have a clue that it was going to happen? No! And yet that’s all that Paul knows. And yet you’re going to sit there and tell me that they preached the same thing? How could they? Common sense. Just common sense. They couldn’t preach the same thing because Paul’s Gospel hasn’t been revealed yet.
But here’s Paul’s Gospel. I Corinthians chapter 1 verse 17. This just flies in the face of Jesus and John the Baptist and the Twelve. Now with Paul, it’s a whole different ballgame. The risen Lord has revealed something different to Paul who is now preaching to the Gentile world. Jesus and the Twelve were preaching to Israel. Now look what Paul writes in I Corinthians 1 starting at verse 17. And remember he’s the apostle of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles and he never let’s us forget that, that it was Jesus Christ that confronted him on the road to Damascus. It was Jesus Christ Who taught him those three years in the desert. And he always is alluding to the fact that he is merely the mouthpiece (if I may use that word) for the ascended Lord Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 1:17a
“For Christ sent me not to baptize,….” People don’t like to read that do they? Paul says, “He didn’t send me to baptize.” Well, he sent John to baptize, but not Paul.
I Corinthians 1:17b
“…but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” Now right off the bat, what’s number one in his thinking? The cross. Now verse 18, here’s why.
I Corinthians 1:18a
“For the preaching of the cross (notice Paul’s emphasis. Not His Messiahship, but rather His crucifixion) is to them that perish (lost people) foolishness;….” Don’t you hear it every once in a while? I do. What does what happened 2,000 years ago have to do with me today? That’s the scoffers question. Well it has everything to do with you today! Everything! Because that was the very culmination of all of God’s dealing with the human race, past, present and future.
I Corinthians 1:18b
“…but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” All right, now come on down, verse 23.
I Corinthians 1:23a
“But (Paul says) we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock,…” “But we preach Christ” the miracle worker? No. “We preach Christ” the Messiah? No. “We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block” because they couldn’t comprehend that anything good would come out of Nazareth. And so, the reaction was – away with him.
I Corinthians 1:23b
“…and unto the Greeks, foolishness;” Foolishness. Whoever heard of such a thing – of being willing to go to a Roman cross supposedly to die for the sins of mankind? That’s foolishness. All right then verse 25.
I Corinthians 1:25
“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
All right, now come on over, still in I Corinthians, to chapter 15. I Corinthians chapter 15. Now here’s the Gospel of salvation for the Gentiles. Here’s the Gospel that Paul is constantly proclaiming. Here’s the Gospel that saves mankind today. Not just believing that Jesus is the Son of God, although that’s a prerequisite. The Christ of the cross, of course, is the Son of God. No doubt about that.
I Corinthians 15:1-2
“Moreover, brethren, (as he writes to these Corinthian Gentiles, and you and I) I declare unto you the gospel (it’s singular) which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye (as believers) stand; 2. By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” Now here comes Paul’s Gospel of salvation that we must believe in this Age of Grace!
I Corinthians 15:3-4
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, (where did he get it? The Ascended Lord) 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:” See, you don’t see language like that in Peter, James and John. It’s not in there. But Paul can proclaim that Christ died for our sins, and rose again, according to the Old Testament. That Christ, the Son of God, the Creator of everything, went to that Roman cross where God poured out all of His wrath and judgment, but also poured out all of His what? Mercy.
The two-fold work of the cross – all of the wrath of God that the human race deserved was poured out on Him. That’s why He cried out “My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me?” It was God’s wrath being poured out. But, on the other hand, we’ll see a little later in this chapter, the big word “propitiation.” He also then became the seat of mercy. And so that’s why I proclaim without any apology that you don’t have to cry out the sinner’s prayer. You don’t have to say be merciful to me – a sinner. That’s already been done. God had already poured out His mercy on sinful men when He poured it out at the cross. And so it’s a two-fold work. The wrath of God was poured out on Him but also He became the very mercy seat. He became the epitome of God’s forgiveness and reconciliation and mercy to everyone that believes it.
Now that brings up another point. Is there another ‘belief system’ on the planet that can do that? Not one. Now I’m using ‘belief system’ instead of the word that I hate – ‘religion.’ I just don’t like the word – it just rubs me wrong. Otherwise I would say can you think of another religion, but I’m not going to do that, I’m going to say can you think of another belief system? Can you? Not one. Not one can proclaim that their belief system – the Creator of the universe took on human flesh so that He could satisfy the demands of a holy and a righteous God by shedding His blood and by suffering that death of wrath and vexation of God as well as the outpouring of His mercy. And then culminate it all with the power of resurrection. There’s not another belief system on the planet that can proclaim that. Not one.
And then they jump all over us for being exclusivist. Of course I’m an exclusivist! I’d be contrary to Scripture if I weren’t. Nothing rankles me more than if somebody says, “Well all the paths come to the same pond.” No they don’t. All the other paths are going to anything but a pond! All Paul knows is this Gospel of salvation – how that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. You believe it! Plus nothing!
Now here’s the other point I wanted to make. As soon as we believe that Gospel, not only do we experience sins forgiven, but we are as Paul says in Romans 5:1 – that the grace of God bringeth the peace with God – only because we believed it. All right, now this is where we get letter after letter after letter. We had almost 300 of them yesterday. Iris and I just opened letters all afternoon. And so many of them say the same thing. “For the first time in my life I have a hunger for this Book. I can’t get enough of it.” Why? Because when you become a believer that’s just like the newborn baby crying for what? Milk. And this is what we’re finding, that people are all of a sudden getting struck with the interest of this Book. There’s nothing like it! It’s the most exciting Book between two covers. But you have to understand how it’s put together. You have to be able to separate it.
Okay, here we are – Paul’s Gospel based on the death, burial and resurrection of the Son of God. These other men are simply saying, “Believe Who Jesus was.” What a difference.
Lesson One • Part III
Believe Not Every Spirit
I John 4:1-10
Okay, I think we’ll just go right back in where we left off. We were in I John chapter 4 and we’re going to go right into the whole concept that John is still writing to the Jewish believers. There is nothing of Paul’s Gospel of salvation in here per se. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things here that we can use by application. But you cannot go back in these Jewish epistles and say, “Well here’s where we are today.” No, all you can do is just compare notes and if it’s in parallel with what Paul writes – fine. If not, you leave it alone because it was for the Jew. All right, now I think we’re going to see a good explanation of that here in just a little bit.
I John 4:4a
“Ye are of God, little children,.…” Now remember that’s the term John has been using for these Jewish believers, but we also know Paul refers to us as the children of God.
I John 4:4b
“…and have overcome them: (that is the false teachers, the ones who were trying to mislead people) because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” Well now that’s certainly true of us, isn’t it? We know that the Spirit of Christ dwells within us and He is certainly greater than the powers of Satan, providing we give Him opportunity to function. All right, but now I’m going to go on to verse 5.
I John 4:5
“They (that is the false prophets, the false teachers) are of the world: (that is the whole world system) therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.” In other words, the things of the world are interesting to them and vice versa. But not to us. All right, now verse 6. Why? Because like these Jewish believers, the same way with us,
I John 4:6
“We are of God: (we’ve had a change of thinking. We’ve got a change of appetites. We’re of God) he that knoweth God heareth us; (in other words, we can have conversation with fellow believers even as they could) he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby we know the spirit of truth, and (what other spirit?) the spirit of error.”
All right, now let’s go back and see how Paul deals with it, as he writes to us Gentiles. And I’m always going to emphasize that because Paul does, because this Book says he’s the apostle of the Gentiles, as we see in Romans 11:13. Until we realize that, we’ll never fully comprehend Scripture, or rightly divide the Word of God. Alright, now this apostle of the Gentiles is writing to a Gentile congregation in the Greek city of Corinth. So we’re going to go to I Corinthians chapter 2. Oh, I could just use the whole chapter, but I guess for sake of time, I’d better jump in at verse 7. Now remember who he’s writing to. He’s writing to Corinthians, Gentiles, believers of Paul’s Gospel of Grace. They are now understanding and believing for salvation, that not only was Christ the Son of God, but He died for their sins and rose from the dead.
I Corinthians 2:7a
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery,.…” In other words, Paul is going to reveal things that no other portion of Scripture could reveal because God had kept it secret. Now I didn’t intend to do this, but I’ve got to! You know when I come to something like this, I’ve got to Romans chapter 16 before finishing it. Come back with me to Romans chapter 16 where Paul uses the same word. Why does Paul use this word? Because the Holy Spirit inspired him, but more than that for the scenario of the whole thing. These things revealed to the Apostle Paul had been kept totally secret in all the rest of Scripture and to the whole world in general until it was revealed to this man. That’s why he claims that unique apostleship. He had things revealed to him that Peter, James and John never did understand. And Peter says it in his second epistle, chapter 3 verse 16 – he says, “In Paul’s epistles are things hard to be understood.” Why? It was beyond Peter, he never had the privilege to receive them from God.
All right, but here’s what he says in Romans 16 and verse 25. And I’ve said it over the years, until I finally got in a seminar where there were some people who had been under my teaching now quite a while, and I finally got a raise of hands. But I can ask seminar after seminar all over this country, “Have you ever heard a Sunday morning sermon preached on Romans 16:25?” Almost never. Now I can say almost never. Why? Because they don’t like what it says. It takes away their thunder from preaching in the Four Gospels. And here it is.
“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel,.…” And I showed you in the last program, ‘Paul’s Gospel.’ in I Corinthians 15:1-4, “How that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose from the dead;” Now that’s Paul’s Gospel, and what we must believe in our hearts for salvation during this Age of Grace! All right, reading verse 25 again.
“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the (there’s that word again. What?) mystery, which was kept secret since (when?) the world (or ages) began,” That’s why nobody, all the way up through human history until we get to this man, Paul, had an understanding – or had been told to believe for salvation that the Son of God became flesh and went to that Roman cross as man and as God and there took upon Himself (as we pointed out in the last program) all of the wrath of God, and all of the sins of this world were laid on him. Now, in latent language, Isaiah 53. We know what it says. “By His stripes we are healed. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter.” But that didn’t really tell the whole story. But when God revealed this whole thing to this apostle, now it becomes then, a revelation of the mystery. Things kept secret since the ages began.
Well now the companion passage with that concept is Ephesians chapter 3. Now this is what we call laying line upon line and precept upon precept – comparing Scripture with Scripture. And here again the Apostle Paul makes it so plain that these are things that the rest of the Bible knows nothing of. You can only find them in Paul’s epistles. All right, Ephesians 3 verse 1, and watch the language. It’s so plain.
“For this cause….” That is because of the Grace that he’s been espousing in the first two chapters, where Paul says, “for by Grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves,” And on and on he’s been bringing it out. Now look what he says in chapter 3 verse 1.
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner (now remember he’s in prison in Rome) of Jesus Christ for (what people’s purposes?) you Gentiles.” And everything he’s been out there preaching has been to the Gentiles, which of course infuriated his kinsmen, the Jew according to the flesh. And so they prompted his arrest. All right, now then verse 2.
“If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given to me to you-ward.” Now I’ve pointed this verse out to people, and say read it. They read and they don’t know what I’m talking about. I say read it again. And then finally you have to prevail upon them, just read it like a kid is reading his first grade primer – one word at a time. And maybe you’ll get it. “If you have heard of the dispensation (or the outpouring or the revealing of the administering) of the grace of God, (now here’s where I want them to go slow) which is given to me to you.”
Now that’s not gobbledy-gook. That’s plain English. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, that from this man was given to the Gentile world these revelations of things that had been kept secret for all of human history, which includes our Gospel of salvation.
And they refuse to believe it. Well, I can’t help that. I’m going to make it plain and then the monkey’s on their back, not mine. And here it is, that you’d better understand this whole revelation of things (that had been kept secret because it really was moot so far as Israel was concerned, they were looking for the coming King and the Kingdom). But, unknown to them, God’s going to interrupt that Kingdom plan and He’s going to drop into the Gentile world (that’s us today) with His tremendous Gospel of the Grace of God, which Israel knew nothing of.
Israel was steeped in works and sacrifices and Temple worship. The Prophets and the Old Testament, you name it. But here comes this man with a whole new revelation that God will save the vilest Gentile or Jew by him or her simply believing Paul’s Gospel. And that throws a curve at people. But here it is, plain as day. Now read on. Verse 3.
“How that by revelation (that’s another one of Paul’s favorite words, a revealing, an unveiling) he (the Ascended Christ) made known unto me (not to us, but rather me) the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4. Whereby, when ye read, (that is Paul’s epistles) ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)”
Paul is not an egotist – this is Holy Spirit inspired – but most never catch what he’s saying. Now, that the Son of God was to come to Israel and be the King and Messiah, that was no secret. The Old Testament was full of it. But that He would come and offer salvation to the whole human race by faith plus Nothing? No – nobody had a concept of that, until this man. And that’s what he’s preaching. Salvation by faith + nothing because of God’s Grace. All right, now verse 5, and remember again this is Holy Spirit inspired. This isn’t the Apostle’s dream work. The Spirit is prompting him to write.
“Which in other ages (or generations, or all the way back to Adam) was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;” Now listen, Paul refers to his co-workers in the ministry as apostles and prophets, such as Barnabas and Silas and Timothy and Titus and so forth. But he’s not referring to the Twelve, he’s referring to those who were in ministry with him.
“That the Gentiles.…” Now I think over the years, I’ve certainly made it clear that Jesus and the Twelve had no ministry to the Gentiles. None. Except for that one instance when Peter went up to Cornelius and that was for Paul’s benefit twelve years later. But other than that, they had no ministry to the Gentile world. They agreed to confine it to the Israel.
“That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, (come right into a relationship with the Creator God Himself!) and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:” That’s why Paul, alone, refers to the Body of Christ. Only Paul uses that term “the Body, and be partakers of his promise in Christ (how?) by the gospel.” Not by works. Not by baptism. Not by something someone can do. It’s by believing The Gospel of salvation that was given only to Paul for us. Now verse 7.
“Whereof (that is the Gospel) I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.” Now verse 8, here comes the man’s humility. Don’t ever accuse the Apostle Paul of pride and arrogance, he was just the opposite.
“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles (the non-Jewish world) the unsearchable riches of Christ;”
Now I’ve been saying it over and over, especially in my Oklahoma classes for the last year or so. I cannot (and I don’t believe there’s a person in this room, or in my whole television audience, or on this planet that can) comprehend all that God did in that work of the cross. It is so beyond human comprehension what the God of Creation proclaimed and worked through that death, burial and resurrection – through that shed blood.
And I’ve been emphasizing all afternoon how that Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world. Hey, I can’t comprehend that. Nobody can. What all was involved in the fact that that shed blood, that divine blood of the Son of God would satisfy the righteous demands of a Holy God – it’s beyond me. What little bit I take, I take by faith and I’m waiting for Glory to get a full understanding. And I think you’ll have to too. There is just no way we can understand it. They’re unsearchable. And unsearchable means just exactly what it says, it has no bottom.
“And to make all men.…” Now the word ‘men’ has been italicized but nevertheless it means the whole human race now, Jew and Gentile, black and white, rich and poor, makes no difference.
“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, (all these things which had been revealed to Paul, the things that had been kept secret. This whole concept of what is called the Gospel of Grace of God) which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:” The same God who delegated Christ to create all things that are in the world. I’m amazed at the people who do not know that Christ was the Creator!
Now before we go back to I John, I’m going to stop first at Galatians chapter 2. I know we’ve shown this over and over but you can’t do it enough. And if, for no other reason, I may have a new listener today that has never heard it before. Galatians chapter 2 verse 9, and this is after a day long argument between Peter’s and James’ and John’s concept of what the Gentiles should be doing to get full salvation, and what Paul and Barnabas say – NO!
James and Peter and John were saying they had to practice circumcision. They had to conform to the Law of Moses or they couldn’t be saved, as we’ve seen all that in Acts chapter 15. But Paul just dug in his heels and he says, “I’ll never agree to that.” And then Peter finally came to his defense, remembering what had happened at the house of Cornelius. That’s why I say that the whole reason Peter was sent to Cornelius was to help Paul off the hook back here in Galatians twelve years later. Remember Peter got in trouble with the Jews for going to Cornelius’ house, as we see in Acts chapter 11.
Now then, after almost a day of arguing and discussing, we come to verse 9 and if you don’t get it this afternoon, read it again before you go to bed tonight. Read it when you get up in the morning until this starts soaking in.
“And when James, Cephas, (Peter) and John, (the very same unfolding as you’ve got in the little epistles, not Peter, James and John. It’s James and Peter and John) who seemed to be pillars,.…” Their whole Jewish economy at the Temple was falling apart and in a few years the Temple will be destroyed. So everything that was concerned with the apostle’s ministry is falling through the cracks.
“… who seemed to be pillars, perceived (or got an understanding) the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship;.…” And those of you who hear me every week, you know what I’m talking about. It was a gentleman’s agreement. They shook hands. And Peter and James and John said, all right Paul, we see it. And we’re going to make a gentleman’s agreement that you go to the Gentiles and we will stay with Israel. Now read it with your own eyes. And here’s the agreement.
“…that we should go unto the heathen, (Gentiles) and they unto the circumcision.” (Jews) That’s plain English. Man, you don’t have to be a PhD to understand this. It was a gentleman’s agreement, and they never went back on that agreement. Okay, “Paul, you and Barnabas continue on your ministry to the Gentiles; we’re going to stay with Israel.” That’s exactly what it says.
Now then, look what Peter says when you get back to his last little epistle, shortly before he’s martyred. He’s at the end of his life and he’s written this little epistle here in I and II Peter addressing it to the Twelve Tribes scattered. II Peter 3:15 and 16. Verses I’ve used over and over and I make no apology for it, because this is what people have to wake up and realize. Even Peter admonished his Jewish adherents that now the end of the Jewish program is about to fall, and it will with the demise of the Temple in Jerusalem and the Jews scattered. So now even Peter has to realize where these Jewish people have to go for their spiritual instruction.
II Peter 3:15
“And account (or understand) that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even (now watch this) as our beloved brother Paul according to the wisdom given unto him (this was wisdom that Peter, James and John knew nothing of) hath written unto you;” And so Peter says, you go to Paul. Now verse 16.
II Peter 3:16a
“As also in all his epistles,.…” I think the one he’s talking about first is Hebrews. But that’s speculation. I can’t prove that but it would almost seem that he’s referring to Hebrews. But the rest of his epistles are Romans through Philemon, those are Paul’s epistles. And Peter says.
II Peter 3:16b
“…speaking in them (Romans through Philemon) of these things; (these epistles) in which are some things hard to be understood,.…” Peter says that! By inspiration. He couldn’t comprehend it all. Peter was the legalist. Peter was still under the whole Jewish program of the Law and the Prophets and the coming of the King and the Kingdom – and it was difficult to understand that all that now had been set aside for a time, and God is going out to that pagan Gentile world. Now listen – do you realize what the Gentile world was in that time? They were the pits compared to Israel.
Israel had the sanitation laws. Israel had the food laws. Israel had the moral laws. The Gentiles had none of that. They didn’t know what sanitation was. Do you realize that hospitals in Europe as late as 1600 or 1700 still knew nothing of antiseptics? And it was a Jewish doctor who finally prevailed upon them that when they ministered to sick people they should wash their hands from one to the next, because as they were going down that hospital ward they were just simply passing the bacteria from one to the other. The Gentiles had no common sense on those things; the Jews did because they’d had it from antiquity. But now, even Peter says, these mysteries revealed to the Apostle Paul for us in the Church Age were beyond him. He couldn’t comprehend it. All right, now let’s read on and then the time is up.
II Peter 3:16c
“…are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” And, oh, they can twist the Scripture like you can’t believe. My they can twist Paul’s epistles. But what is the admonition? “They do it also to the other scriptures.” Now you know what people have to realize? When Peter says “the other Scriptures,” what is he confirming that Paul is? Scripture! When Peter says “the other scriptures” and he compares it with Paul, then he puts everything into the same basket. Everything throughout the whole Old Testament, the Gospel’s, the Acts, Paul’s epistles, these little epistles. It’s all Scripture! Now what more proof do you need? All right and so now then he says, that as they “twist Paul’s scriptures and they twist the rest of Scripture,” what’s their end? “Destruction.” Doom. Not a pretty word is it? But that’s the truth of the Book.
Lesson One • Part IV
Believe Not Every Spirit
I John 4:1-10
Let’s go back to where we were in I John chapter 4 and we’re going to look at verse 6 once again because some of these things we just cannot hurry over.
I John 4:6
“We (John writes) are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; (in other words we can converse with fellow believers) he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” Now you see the unbelieving world cannot discern between error and truth because they don’t know what the truth is. So all they can fall for are the errors. But, we’re more fortunate than that. Now to see how Paul addresses it again for you and I (so that we can latch our teeth into it, if I may put it that way) come back with me again to I Corinthians chapter 2 – where we were in the last program. I left off at verse 7, “the speaking of wisdom of God in a mystery.” Now I want to come down to verses 9 and 10.
I Corinthians 2:9
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
Now I know I’m as guilty as anybody in using that verse often to show that those things out in eternity are beyond us. We just don’t have a handle on it because the Bible just doesn’t deal with it. But that isn’t what Paul is really talking about. What he’s talking about are the things that pertain to us today in our everyday experience. Because you see, coming out of verse 9, “the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”
I Corinthians 2:10a
“But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit:.…” Now go back and read verse 9 again, “As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man the things which God hath (past tense) prepared for them that love him.” In other words, human comprehension can’t touch it. There’s just no way we can figure out all that God has done. Like I said in the last half-hour, we can’t comprehend all that Christ accomplished at the cross. It’s beyond us. We just take what little we understand by faith. All right, but now look what he says, “These things God has prepared for them that love him. Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, but (the flipside) God has revealed them to us by his Spirit.” Oh, not all of it, of course, but God has revealed so much of this by the Spirit.
I Corinthians 2:10b,11
“…for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? (in other words, how can a human understand human things unless he’s a human? That’s simple isn’t it? Something in the animal kingdom cannot comprehend the things that are dealing with humanity. They’re not of the same makeup) even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” It’s just as illogical for a lost man to understand the things of God as for a dog to understand human practice. Now that’s an extreme I know, but it still makes the point. It is utterly impossible for lost people to comprehend the Word of God. It’s beyond them. And like I mentioned in the last program, that’s why we’re so thrilled with all these letters stating that now they have come to trust the Gospel of salvation, and they have come to a real saving knowledge of God – they’re understanding the Bible. Well naturally! That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
I’ll never forget a gentleman who came into the class (one of these guys who knew nothing but thought he knew it all), and he was trying to give me some arguments afterwards. And I had a fellow who had been saved out of rather horrible background and had become so engrossed in the Word of God – and he was overhearing all of this; and he finally came up and he tapped the guy on the shoulder and he said, “Listen buddy, if you ever get saved, then you’ll know what you’re talking about.” Well you know that’s so true. See, these people can talk about the Scriptures; they can argue them but they are totally ignorant of what they’re talking about. And so that’s what Paul is saying – that unless you have the Spirit of God there is no way you can understand the things of God. It has to be through the Spirit.
I Corinthians 2:12
“Now we have received, (we believers) not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; (the things pertaining to God) that we might know the things which are freely given to us of God.” In other words, you don’t have to go and pay a high tuition to learn the things of God. The Spirit will reveal it freely. Providing we take the step of wanting to learn. All right, now verse 13.
I Corinthians 2:13
“Which things (Paul says) we also speak, (that is the things pertaining to God,) not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; (and how do we get that?) comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” That’s why I’m always trying to compare Scripture with Scripture so that we can see the whole concept and how it all fits together. And only the Holy Spirit can unfold that for us. Now then verse 14, he comes back to that unbelieving person again.
I Corinthians 2:14
“But the natural man (the unsaved person) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: (he can’t because the Spirit can only work through the believer) for they (the things of God) are (what?) foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, (why?) because they are spiritually discerned.”
And so this is what we have to understand. Don’t get impatient with that lost person who can’t understand what you’re trying to tell him. It’s impossible for him, until he becomes a believer, and then all of a sudden it opens up to him. But many times we get uptight and impatient with people when they can’t see these things and they can’t understand them, so always remember that’s the reason. They’re blind as bats spiritually speaking because they’ve never had their eyes opened by the Spirit.
All right, since you’re in Corinthians, you might as well go a few pages to the right to II Corinthians chapter 4. I alluded to it earlier this afternoon but I didn’t want to take time then to look it up, but now we will since we’re this close to it. II Corinthians chapter 4 and drop in at verse 3. If the Apostle Paul experienced it, goodness sakes we don’t have to feel badly that they don’t understand us.
II Corinthians 4:3-4
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: (they can’t comprehend it. Why?) 4. In whom the god of this world (that would be Satan, the one who can transform himself into an angel of light, as we saw earlier) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, (see there’s where Paul gives Christ His true Deity again) should shine unto them.” But it can’t, because Satan has them blinded. They’ve got a blindfold on and they cannot see these things until God in His saving power removes the blindfold. All right now let’s come back. We’ll make a little more headway in I John. And now for these Jewish believers it’s much the same thing. By virtue of their faith in Who Jesus of Nazareth really was, God has reckoned them as saved. Just like He did Peter back in Matthew 16.
I John 4:7
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth (that is someone else) is born of God, and knoweth God.” Well, here again, John stops short of what we would call Paul’s Gospel. He’s still on that Jewish economy, that as soon as they believed that Jesus was the Christ, they had God’s Salvation for them, and they too would now have that ability to love one another. All right, now verse 8.
I John 4:8
“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” Well now that’s so much in line with John’s Gospel where over and over he’s speaking of this concept of love. For example, “Love one another” and so on and so forth. All right, but Paul does as well. Paul speaks of love and so I’m going to look at that one in Romans chapter 13. And here we’re speaking of this same agape love.
“Owe no man anything,.…” Or don’t defraud is a better translation, I think. Don’t defraud. There’s nothing wrong with having a mortgage on your house. That’s why I always have to stop and explain this. I don’t want people to think that it’s totally wrong to borrow money or owe somebody. No there’s nothing wrong with a legitimate mortgage. Israel did it all through their history. But, defrauding, that’s something else, as that’s taking advantage of people. All right, but instead of defrauding someone:
“…but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Well now that’s kind of different for Paul to say because we know that Christ fulfilled the Law with the work of the cross. But that same love that brought about the cross is now imputed to us and our love now goes out to the people around us. Consequently, verse 9. Paul doesn’t leave us lawless. We’re not under Law, but we’re not lawless. Or the phrase I’ve often used through the years is “Grace is not license.” We aren’t just free to go and do as we please. But all right, since we have now experienced God’s saving Grace by His love, then it follows that all the things that pertain to the Law of God are appropriate for us. And here it is:
“For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery,.…” Why? Because as soon as you commit adultery you’re not showing love for the God that has saved you. Nor are you showing love for the spouse that you’re cheating on. And so since love is the key, these things cannot be appropriate.
“…Thou shalt not kill, (well that’s obvious. You can’t kill somebody that you love) Thou shalt not steal, (that’s obvious also, you can’t steal from somebody if you love them) Thou shalt not bear false witness, (how can you gossip, or lie about someone that you love? It’s all such common sense) Thou shalt not covet; (how can you be envious of someone you love? Just the opposite, you’re glad that they’re being blessed.) and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Because love works no ill to his neighbor. So the whole concept of God is love! Now while I’m on the subject of the Ten Commandments, I always better remind people of this. Paul makes mention of nine of the Ten Commandments. Just like he does here. And then in Ephesians he speaks of the one pertaining to children and their respect for parents. That’s Ephesians 6, and verse 1. He says:
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)” So, Paul repeats nine of the Ten Commandments, but he never touches the other one and what is it? The Sabbath. He never says, “Obey the Sabbath and keep it holy,” because that was something that was totally removed from the Christian experience and that is so obvious throughout all of his epistles that even though love demands our adhering to the other nine (not as a means of salvation but only as a result of it) we are never admonished to keep the seventh day Sabbath. All right, let’s go back to I John again, and make a little more headway. Chapter 4 verse 9.
I John 4:9
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” Now there’s nothing new in that. As His eternal life was imparted to us as a result of our faith, then that is eternal life. All right, verse 10.
I John 4:10a
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us,.…” Now you might want to underline that. The whole work of the cross was triggered by God’s love for mankind. God sent His Son into the world first and foremost to bring Israel to a knowledge of Himself so that He could fulfill all the promises. Now that reminds me of a verse that I haven’t used lately. Romans chapter 15 verse 8. I think this may be an appropriate time to use it. In fact, I told somebody one time, I can have a subject for a seminar that can range almost from anything to anything and I can start everyone with this verse. I can start any seminar on this verse because it just simply is the benchmark for all of Scripture, and here it is.
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was (past tense) a minister of the circumcision (that’s Israel) for the truth of God, to confirm (or bring to fruition or to fulfill) the promises made unto (whom?) the fathers:” Well who were the fathers in Scripture? The patriarchs. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and then later on Moses and David. And then the prophets. All of these promises were made to the Nation of Israel with regard to Christ’s first coming or what we call His first Advent. And what was the purpose? To give Israel the Messiah and the King and the Kingdom that they had been longing for. That was the whole purpose of His coming.
Now, when all that was rejected then the final purpose was to bring Him to the cross, but that is not what brought Him to the Nation of Israel. He came to the Nation of Israel to fulfill the promises made to the fathers – to Israel. And so everything in His earthly ministry was programmed in that direction. And then once the Apostle Paul is sent to the Gentiles, it becomes that world-wide offer of salvation to the whole human race. Now back to I John 4, and verse 10 again. There’s a tremendous word here that I just can’t slip over in that verse.
I John 4:10
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and he sent his Son, (there’s that S-o-n capitalized) to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Now I dare say I could ask the average church member up and down the streets of Tulsa or any other city in America; what’s propitiation? They don’t have a clue.
I had a gentleman call me just the other day asking the question “What is propitiation?” Well, let’s look at the other place it’s used. Back up a page or two to chapter 2 verse 2, so it’s not just a strange word that has slipped in here by accident but now in I John chapter 2 verse 2, we have the same word.
I John 2:2
“And he (Jesus Christ of verse 1) is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Now that’s where John comes a little bit further than James and Peter in that he is now reaching out to not just Israel, but the whole world can come in and benefit from this work of the cross. All right so, the propitiation for our sins. Now let’s come all the way back to Romans chapter 3, where it is first and here it comes from the pen of the Apostle Paul, and this is again part of the revelation of the mysteries.
“For all (the whole human race) have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (that’s a blanket condemnation. But that’s not where it stops) 24. Being justified freely (without cost) by his grace through the redemption (that is the process of paying the price) that is in Christ Jesus: (Now here it comes.) 25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (but I have to take the next verse as well) 26. To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: (not ours – His) that he (God) might be just, (totally fair) and the justifier of him (or that person) which believeth in Jesus.” (that is the work of the cross)
All right, now to the propitiation. What are Paul and John talking about? Well, I think the best way that I can explain it in two minutes – better do this fast. Well you go all the way back to Exodus and into the Tabernacle out there in the wilderness. You remember that you had the brazen altar out at the front. And then the laver, which contained the water. And then you came into the sanctuary, the front part of the Tabernacle. And in the front room as you came in was the seven-lamp candlestick. Across the room was the table of showbread. And in the middle of the room was the altar of incense. But behind the veil, now in the little room at the back behind the veil was the Ark of the Covenant. In which, were the tables of stone as well as Aaron’s rod, that had budded.
Now what did all that show? Well it showed that the Law was buried because the Ark was really a coffin remember? And the almond rod that budded was an indication of new life that, as the Law was put to death, out came new life. Now all of that was consummated then under that mercy seat where not only was the wrath extended but also God’s what? Mercy. And you put all that together and that’s propitiation. So Christ was and is our everything!
Lesson Two • Part I
The Godhead Revealed
I John 4:11 – 5:1
My goodness! We’ve got the room just about full as we’re ready to tape four lessons this afternoon, and we’ve got folks here from Orlando, Chicago, San Francisco, and points in between, I guess.
I keep emphasizing, even to our phone callers, that I am not associated with any one group. I’m not going to let anyone start putting peer pressure on me, and I told someone yesterday that “I only report to one Person and that’s the Lord Himself.” And I accept that responsibility and I know that whenever we open the Scripture it is a tremendous responsibility and I never make light of that whatsoever.
So again for those of you out in television, we just want to thank you for your prayers and for your letters! And when we say that we read every letter, we’re not kidding. It’s starting to take a little more time but we still do. And for that reason we do appreciate short letters. But, my, how many times people will write to tell us that now, for the first time in their life, they know that, when they die – they will go to Heaven. And that, of course, is the main reason we’re here. And the second biggest part is that they’re learning to study the Word, on their own. It’s not what Les Feldick says, but what the Book says, and just as important, what it doesn’t say. Now let’s study the Word, and we’ll begin in I John 4:11 where we left off in the last lesson.
I John 4:11
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” Now the first thing that verse should remind you of is that John is writing this little epistle and what famous verse in his Gospel says almost the same thing? Well, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world.” Of course He did. And that’s the very crux of the matter when we study the crucifixion and so forth. It was driven by His love for lost mankind. All right, so I don’t think I have to comment much on that.
But verse 12, I imagine, has hit people between the eyes and they can’t figure this one out. And what does it say?
I John 4:12a
“No man hath seen God at any time….” Now is that what the Bible always says? No. Let me show you a verse. Now this is what I call, Bible study. This is what I love to do. Let’s go all the way back to Genesis, and now that would have to be in about chapter 32. Here, Jacob is coming back from his years with his uncle Laban and he’s just entered back into the land of Canaan and he’s spent the night wrestling with a stranger. And you know the story.
“And he (the stranger) said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 28. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. 29. And Jacob asked him, (that is this stranger now that’s been wrestling with him all night long) and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he (the stranger) blessed him there. 30. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: (and it’s capitalized) for I have seen (Who?) God face to face, and my life is preserved.”
Well now does the Scripture contradict? Never! But it sounds like it doesn’t it? John says, “no man has seen God at any time.’’ Jacob says, “I have seen Him face to face.” Well now you’ve got to stop and think of all the times in Scripture that mankind did see God face to face. For example, do you think Adam and Eve walked with an invisible ghost in the Garden? Is that what you think? Well, of course not. They walked with a human form. Now then jump on up past even Jacob’s experience. I’m going to bring you up to Exodus chapter 3. And now we’re with Moses, and the burning bush episode. I know some of these things confuse people simply because they will not check out the Scripture, because the answers are here.
I’ve even skipped over Genesis 18, where Abraham, you remember, killed the fatted calf. Remember the three strangers that came down the path and he ran and killed the fatted calf and the three sat down and they ate. Two of them were angels. They went on down to Sodom and the third one stayed behind and conversed with Abraham. Who was it? It was God. All right, now here we’ve got the same Person of the Godhead – now I let the cat out of the bag, didn’t I? It’s a certain Person of the Godhead, the same that wrestled with Jacob, see? Now let’s look at the burning bush.
“And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. (now watch the language in your Bible) 4. And when the LORD….” Capital LORD. And the LORD in the Old Testament economy is Jehovah. And Jehovah is, in the Old Testament, Christ. See?
” And when the LORD (Jehovah, – Christ, The Son, in the Old Testament) saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.” Now I want you to watch the back and forth terms of Deity in this chapter because it is such a mind-boggling thing. We’ve already got Him called God and LORD, out of the burning bush. All right, verse 5.
“And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. 6. Moreover he said, (that is out of the burning bush) I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob….” Are you convinced now He’s God? Well you’d better be! This burning bush voice is God!
“…And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” Now I don’t think he just saw a flame, I think he saw a Person in that burning bush. All right, then “He hid his face for he was afraid to look upon God.” Not upon the fire, “upon God.” Now verse 7, this same person called God in verse 6 is now the LORD in verse 7.
“And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt,.…”
Now I don’t have to come through all of this as you know the account. All I’m showing you is the use of the terms of Deity. All right, so now you come all the way down to verse 11 and it’s still the same language.
“And Moses said unto to God,….” The very God that John says, “No man has ever seen.” And I think there’s another Scripture where it puts it even more strongly that “no man hath ever seen God and lived.” But, here we have Moses looking straight into the face of God.
“And Moses says unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? 12. And he said, (that is, God from the burning bush says) Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. 13. And Moses said unto (Who?) God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?” Now that’s an important facet all through Scripture. And we’re going to be seeing it even now in the verses to come in I John. The name. My, that meant everything. “What’s his name? Who is he?”
“And God said to Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” That’s the name of our God; He’s the great I AM. But He’s also called LORD. Now before we go back to the New Testament, I want to back up a moment to Genesis chapters 1 and 2. And again, we’re just going to skim, just to show you the terminology. Genesis chapter 1, all the way through here the term is “God.” All right, let’s go all the way back to verse 1.
“In the beginning God created heaven and earth.” But now you see in the original Hebrew, the term here for God is what? Elohim. And Elohim is a plural Hebrew word. Not singular. It’s plural. In fact, whenever you’re reading your Old Testament and it speaks of pagan gods, plural, what do you suppose the word is? Well it’s elohim, but in small letters; e-l-o-h-i-m is translated gods, plural, small ‘g’. But with a capitalization Elohim is “God” in a plurality.
Now keep that up there in your brain for a little bit. Elohim in Genesis 1:1 is a plurality God. A God in three Persons. All right, and we find that all the way through chapter 1. But, now when you come into chapter 2 and you come down to verse 4, for the first time you’ve got a change in that term. It’s not just God, it’s what? “LORD God.” Now what are we talking about? We’re talking about the I AM God. We’re talking about the Jehovah God. Now Who in the world is the I AM God? Who is the Jehovah God? Who is capital LORD of the Old Testament?
Well for that answer, let’s now jump up to John’s Gospel, chapter 8. I hope I’m still holding this all together. Here we have Jesus in His earthly ministry. And He’s being confronted by the Pharisees. They’re accusing Him of everything but the truth. They’re accusing Him of being a demon, primarily. Now we’re going to take this very slowly if I can. I have a hard time going slow. But, I’m going to try. I want you to see now how that all of this fits without contradiction. There’s no contradiction even though it sounds like it.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 52. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. (demon) Abraham is dead, and the prophets; (they’re dead.) and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53. Art you greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? 54. Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55. Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. 56. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.”
Now again, I think you can go right back to one I alluded to back in Genesis 18 where the three men came down the path and Abraham ran with hospitality and killed the fatted calf and served up a beef supper. Two of them were angels and went on to Sodom, but one was the LORD, and so he conversed with Him. You know the conversation – if there’s fifty in Sodom will you spare it? Yes, if there’s fifty. If there’s forty? Thirty? Twenty? You know the conversation and then it says the LORD went up from him.
All right, now I’m sure that this is one of the times that Jesus is referring to. Yes Abraham knew Who I am. Abraham conversed with me. Verse 57.
“Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, (Abraham’s two thousand years ago) and hast thou seen Abraham?” Now look at Jesus’ answer. And this is the crux of the whole matter.
“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, (what?) I Am.’” He’s the Eternal I AM. Abraham, two thousand years back was just nothing but an eyelash flick so far as Christ was concerned.
All right, so what have we got in all this? Now I guess the best way is to put it on the board like we did years ago, I think, in some of our earlier programs – and that is, I like to use a circle. And this is the Godhead. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Now let’s use Scripture. Go back with me to Acts chapter 2 verse 22. Now I imagine some of you are wondering what this has got to do with all this? Well hopefully, we can pull it all together.
“Ye men of Israel, (now this is Peter speaking on the Day of Pentecost) hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, (that’s His name. Don’t forget that) a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:” Who did it? God did. See that? God did. But it was Jesus of Nazareth Who performed it. Right? Now look at verse 23.
“Him, (this Jesus of Nazareth) being delivered (that is up for crucifixion) by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:”
All right, now while you’re in Acts anyway, go on ahead a little bit to Colossians chapter 2, and again we have to read verse 8 in order to understand fully verse 9. Colossians chapter 2 verse 8, where Paul gives the warning:
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (that’s the word we have to get. “Christ.”) 9. For in him (Who? Christ) dwelleth all the fullness of the (what?) Godhead bodily.” Now what’s the Godhead? Well, my circle here on the board. Here’s the Godhead. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. That’s God! Back in Genesis 1:1 that’s Elohim. That’s the composite of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
All right, now according to Acts the Godhead counseled and agreed that they would bring about creation. Now you’ve got to remember that before something was created, there was what? Nothing. Just God. And then when the Creator began, of course, that puts things in motion. All right, so when the Godhead agreed that they would bring about creation, in that agreement to create and set everything in motion was already the Plan of Redemption, the cross. That’s what Peter is saying, that according to the foreknowledge of God, He went to the cross. God wasn’t caught by surprise. It was all predetermined.
So what we have to understand then is that when the Triune Godhead decided to set things in motion, it was delegated to the Son. And He then, became the One Who actually called in Creation. He became the Creator, even though the whole Godhead is involved. The Holy Spirit was there. The Father’s involved. But the Son is the One Who steps out of that Invisible Godhead and becomes visible. And that’s why I can show you all these verses where the LORD appeared to these various people and then, of course, miracle of miracles, He appeared at Bethlehem, born of the virgin Mary. All the same Person of the Godhead, see?
And now I’m going to take you to a verse back in I Corinthians chapter 15, and we’re talking about this same Person of the Godhead. I’m always using this chapter to show the Gospel of our salvation with these first four verses. And we’ll just look at all of them. We’ve got time enough. I’m getting so close to the end of the New Testament anyway, I might as well slow down a little, because I won’t know where to go next. But, whatever, we’re going to keep producing these lessons. People are getting a little worried – what am I going to do now when we get past Jude and Revelation? Well, we hope the Lord comes before then, but if not, we’re going to find someplace. We’re going to stay on the air. Don’t worry about that.
I Corinthians 15:1-4
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein you stand; 2. By which (that is this Gospel of salvation) also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (now here comes the Gospel of salvation we must believe in our hearts for us today) 3. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
All right, now here’s the part I wanted you to see that connects with what we’ve been looking at. It’s the Son Who stepped out of that invisible Godhead and became visible.
I Corinthians 15:5
“And that he was seen of Cephas, (Peter, after the resurrection) then of the twelve:” In other words, the whole group of the disciples, not counting Judas.
I Corinthians 15:6
“After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.” (died) In other words, Paul is writing this probably around AD 58 – 59, which means that most of those people who witnessed the resurrection were now getting up in years but they were still living. It was still in their lifetime. And so Paul says, most of these people who saw His resurrected body, most of them were still living, “But some (of course) have died.” Then verse 7.
I Corinthians 15:7-8
“After that, he was seen of James; (the one who writes the letter of James at the back of our New Testament) then of all the apostles. 8. And last of all he was seen of me (Paul) also, as one born out of due time.”
All right, so what am I trying to show? That it was the Son – stepped out of the invisible Godhead and became visible. I think we’ve got just enough time, so turn quickly to Colossians chapter 1, and let’s drop down to verse 15, where the pronoun “Who” of course is modified by the word “Son” up in verse 13, so we’re speaking of the Son again. Christ. Jesus of Nazareth.
“Who is the image (something that you can see and touch) of the (what?) invisible God,.…” See? He is the image of this invisible Godhead, Elohim, of which John was speaking back here in verse 11 that “no man has seen.” No man has ever seen the Godhead. Nobody. But when God the Son steps out of that Godhead – now read on here.
“Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16. For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:” (that is Christ) Now drop on down to 18.
“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;”
Lesson Two • Part II
The Godhead Revealed
I John 4:11 – 5:1
Again, we want to thank you for you letters, your prayers, and your financial help. I was just explaining to our visitor from Florida who asked, “Who backs you? Who helps you pay the bills?” The Lord does! Everything comes in just as we need it and whenever we feel that we’re getting ahead a little bit and we can afford to take another station on, well then, that’s when we expand. And as we expand the contributions expand with it. So, we still maintain that all the contribution money goes strictly to pay for television and radio. And then we pick up our operating expenses through our materials. But we’re just an independent Bible study. Nobody underwrites us. Nobody tells me what to teach and what I can’t teach. And if they did, I’d quit tomorrow. But we maintain our freedom with the Lord’s help.
Okay, let’s pick right up where we left off in our last lesson and that was in I John chapter 4, and we looked at verse 12. And now we’re going to go down to verse 13. Maybe in my next program, I’ll go back and review again how all of this is still tied to the Jewish program. There’s just nothing back here in these little Jewish epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude, about the Body of Christ and there is no Pauline language in here.
Now I know that may disturb a few people and they think I may be getting out in the fringes. But, all I ask people is, what does the Word say? If you can find one word that speaks of salvation through faith in the resurrection, the shed blood, the crucifixion; then I’ll admit that maybe I’ve been missing it. But you see it’s not in here. All of this is still dealing with the same message that Jesus and the Twelve preached; what Peter and the Eleven preached; and continues right on in the same vein without any mention of what we would call “Pauline truth.” It’s just not in here. So, I’m on solid ground when I make that statement because you can’t find any salvation Scriptures that we must believe in this Church Age we’re living in. You’ve got to go to Paul’s letters for that.
All right, so now then just almost the same identical language as John’s Gospel, he goes on finishing verse 12:
I John 4:12b-13
“…If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he (God) hath given us of his Spirit.”
Now, where in the world do we get the first real revelation of the coming of God’s Spirit into the heart of the believer? Well, John’s Gospel. And that’s where we’ll go! We’ll just go right back to his gospel. The same John, even though he’s writing this epistle several years later, yet it’s the same John. And so now we’ll jump to his Gospel of John, to chapter 14 where the Lord has just finished explaining to Philip (with the rest of them listening of course) that if you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen Who? The Father! Because the Father and the Son and the Spirit are One God, as we put it on the board. But they’re in three Persons.
All right, now we’re going to see that Jesus is going to delegate another Person of the Godhead Who will take His place when He leaves. Now the Twelve have no understanding that He’s going to be leaving. They think that things are going to continue right on and He’ll be giving them the Kingdom. They’re still looking for the Kingdom that has been prophesied ever since Genesis chapter 12. But here is the first inkling now that He’s going to leave. Jesus is still speaking there in the upper room, and He says:
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter,.…” Now I think most of the translations will have that word Comforter capitalized so again it’s another name for the Holy Spirit. The Greek word if I’m not mistaken is “paraclete” – one called along side to help.
“…that he (this Comforter) may abide with you for ever; 17. (Who is it?) Even the Spirit of truth;….” The Holy Spirit. So now we have the third Person of the Trinity. God the Father. God the Son is praying that He’ll send the third Person, the Holy Spirit. All right verse 17.
“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but (He says to the Eleven) ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall (future) be in you. 18. I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you. 19. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: Because I live, you shall live also. 20. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” Now of course He’s jumping over to the time when He would be coming back and setting up the Kingdom and in the intervening years we’re going to have the crucifixion and all that, which the Twelve knew nothing of. You know I’m constantly emphasizing to people, these twelve men, I guess Judas is still with them here; these twelve men have no idea of this coming crucifixion. They are still totally unaware.
Now, in that light I always have to go back to one of my favorite portions in this line of thinking. Back to Luke 18 and while you’re looking it up I’m going to do what I rarely do. I’m just going to give you one of my past experiences. I don’t like to waste time with my own experiences because the Word of God is too important. But, I think maybe I can make a point here.
At one of my seminars back East I had been teaching for almost three hours. And I could see that one gentleman way in the back corner was getting highly exercised. I mean I could just see it. And so I stopped. It was about ten-minutes before the hour that I was going to stop anyway. It was about ten to nine and so I stopped (and this was a large crowd). This was a huge church full. And I said, “Do you have a problem?” He says, “Yes.” I said, “Well what is it?” He said, “Where do you get the idea there’s more than one Gospel?” I said, “Well the Bible is full of it. There’s been many times that God gave Good News to mankind for them to believe. For example, when Noah came off the Ark, wasn’t it Good News that He had spared him from the ravages of the Flood? When He called Abram, wasn’t it Good News that God was now going to use this man in a particular way? He’d never done anything like that before. So anyway, that’s what I’d been saying.” And he said, “Where do you get the idea that there’s more than one Gospel?” So I said, “Well I’ll speak with you afterwards.”
So after the crowd had gone down for coffee, I went back and I said, “Now wait a minute, just stop and think. Do you think Adam and Eve were saved by believing that Jesus Christ would come in the flesh and go to a Roman cross and die for their sins and be raised from the dead like we have to do today?” You know what his answer was? “Well, they must have.” I said, “They must have? How could they?’ But I said, “Okay. Let’s move on up to Abraham. Do you think that Abraham had a full understanding that God would leave the invisible Godhead and take on human flesh and at the age of 30 begin an earthly ministry that took Him to the cross, to be raised from the dead? Now do you think Abraham understood all that for his salvation?” And you know what his answer was? Same thing. “He must have.” No, he didn’t – he couldn’t have. And I said, “I just quoted a verse about five minutes ago. Didn’t you hear it?” No he didn’t hear it.
And this verse is what I had just quoted about five minutes before this conversation took place, and here it is. Verse 31 of Luke 18, and I ask you in the audience; I ask you out in television; after you read these verses can you still tell me that Peter, James and the rest preached a Gospel of salvation based on something that they knew nothing of? How could they? And this tells us:
“Then he took unto him the twelve,.…” Now this is the end of His three years of earthly ministry, you’ve always got to get the setting of Scripture. Otherwise it’s hard to comprehend. We’re at the end of His three years. They are about ready to go up to Jerusalem for the Passover and the Crucifixion and He tells the Twelve:
“…Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. 32. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33. And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.” Did Jesus know what was coming? Absolutely! Over the years, I’ve put it this way. He could have named the Roman soldiers that nailed Him to the cross. He could have named the soldiers that would be throwing dice for His clothes. There wasn’t anything hid from Him, He was God! All right, so He’s telling the Twelve in detail of what’s coming, but, read the next verse.
“And they (the Twelve) understood (what?) none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” What does that tell you? They didn’t know He was going to be crucified even after He’d told them. Because God supernaturally blinded them to it – they weren’t supposed to know.” And so then, I remind people, did the Twelve or the Eleven or however many others you want to put in with them, Mary, Martha and all the rest, did they know He was going to be crucified? Of course not. And even after he was on that cross, and was laid in the tomb, did they even have an inkling He would be raised from the dead? Not a word. Now if you think they did, why weren’t they waiting outside the tomb and watching for Him to come out? Now they didn’t know He was going to be crucified. They didn’t know He was going to be raised from the dead. It was all totally hidden from them.
All right, so now I come back to my same question. How could these people be preaching a Gospel of Grace, like we do, with the saving message to believe “that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose from the dead,” if they couldn’t even comprehend He was going to die and rise again? Well I’ll tell you what the answer to that question is; they didn’t. They didn’t preach death, burial and resurrection; they couldn’t. All they knew was Who Jesus of Nazareth really was. And Who was He? He was the Christ. The Son of God, their Messiah, and that was all the Kingdom believers had to believe for salvation.
All right, so now then, here in John’s Gospel we have first and foremost Jesus revealing Himself as the Son of God – and now He’s telling them that He’s going to be leaving them. And again they don’t know what He’s talking about. They don’t have any comprehension of a death, burial, resurrection and ascension. But He’s preparing them. The Comforter that He promised in verse 16, will be:
“Even the Spirit (capitalized) of truth; whom the world cannot receive,….” Because the Holy Spirit is of the godly Spirit and the ungodly world has no consort with it whatsoever. All right, so the world can’t understand this working of the Holy Spirit. And so:
“…the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not neither knoweth him: but (He tells the Twelve, and I always have to come back to Eleven because we know Judas is out of all this) ye know him; for he dwelleth with you and shall be in you. 18. I will not leave you comfortless: (I’ll not leave you without Someone to guide you) I will come to you. 19. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20. At that day, ye shall know that I am in my Father, (see that?) and ye in me, and I in you.” Now here we come back to typical ‘John’ language.
“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” See? Now that’s typical ‘John’ language. The love of the Father. The love of the Son. The love of these Twelve men in return. All right, so the whole promise here is that God would send the Comforter, that other Person of the Godhead.
Now come all the way back to Genesis 1 because, again, the Holy Spirit was not an invention for that particular day. The Holy Spirit is just as much eternity past as God the Father and God the Son. It’s all part of that Invisible Godhead. Elohim. The Spirit, which no man ever has seen and I don’t think ever will. I don’t think anyone will ever see that Invisible Godhead. We’ll only see the manifestation of it in God the Son.
“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the (what?) Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” And so you see, the Holy Spirit is already evident here at Creation. Even though God the Son spoke the Word, yet all three Persons of the Godhead are involved in Creation. You can’t take anything away from any of it.
All right, so now then, throughout the Old Testament there is not a lot of teaching concerning the work of the Holy Spirit, although He certainly was evident. Everything that was prompted of God was through the work of the Spirit. The prophets wrote as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit. Samson, for example, when he performs his feats of strength, he didn’t do it by going to a workout station. The Holy Spirit came upon him. And when the Spirit would leave, Samson was as weak as cotton thread. But when the Spirit would come upon him, he could perform the feats of strength. And so those are just typical examples of the Spirit of God even in the Old Testament economy.
Now then, when we come to John 14 and Jesus gives us the promise of the Comforter, Who would come and guide and direct all folks into the Truth. Now then, when you come into Paul – let’s look at that for a minute. I Corinthians chapter 3 verse 16. Now this is Paul’s teaching concerning this third Person of the Trinity.
I Corinthians 3:16
“Know ye not that ye (now remember, Paul always writes to believers. Paul never writes to the unsaved world) are the temple (or the dwelling place) of God, (see, there’s the ‘God’ part again) and that the Spirit of God dwelleth (where?) in you?” See that’s a part of our salvation experience. The moment we believe, for salvation, that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and rose again, the Holy Spirit takes up residence within us! And becomes our gyroscope. It’s the Holy Spirit that keeps us on a straight line. It’s the Holy Spirit Who maintains our balance in our spiritual life. He is the indwelling Person of the Godhead.
I Corinthians 3:17a
“If any man defile (or abuse) the temple of God, him shall God destroy;.…” Now I think that that’s just a good lesson, that if we physically abuse our body and we knowingly do things that are harmful to it, God’s going to permit physical death to take it off the scene. They won’t lose their salvation, but this old body, the dwelling place, is going to lose its tabernacle life, its temporariness.
I Corinthians 3:17b
“…for the temple of God (this dwelling place, this body of the believer) is holy, which temple (Paul says) ye are.” Well that’s Paul’s take on the Holy Spirit. Now let’s go back to where we were in I John chapter 4 and verse 13 again. We know he tells these Jewish believers to whom he’s writing that the evidence of their salvation is also that they have His Holy Spirit. All right, now let’s move into verse 14.
I John 4:14
“And we have seen and do testify that the Father (now watch this, what’s the next word?) sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.”
Think about John 3:16 for just a moment. You see how that fits totally with all of John’s thinking? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have (what?) everlasting life.” Now there’s not a word in John 3:16 about the cross. It hasn’t happened yet. John couldn’t put it in there. But here’s the same thing, he doesn’t speak of the cross, but he does let us know that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of all mankind.
Again I could give you illustration after illustration where people have gotten upset with me when I make this line of teaching that the Gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus and the Twelve preached to Israel was based only on Who Jesus really was. And it’s never based on His death, burial and resurrection. That does not come to the fore until we get to the Apostle Paul. But, goodness sakes, I will never take away from the fact that when Christ came to fulfill the promises made to the fathers, the whole purpose of God was to be, yes, the Savior of the whole human race. But that’s not what was evident in His earthly ministry. He had come to the Nation of Israel, to fulfill those earthly promises. But, let me see, I guess I can take the word purpose.
Let me bring you back to II Timothy, chapter 1, and verse 9, and I think this verse says it all. If I’m on a hook, it’s taking me off it!
II Timothy 1:8b-9
“…of the gospel according to the power of God; 9. Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, (not because of anything we deserve, but only because His grace is poured out to bring about the fulfilling of His own purposes. Now look at the rest of the verse) which was given us in Christ Jesus (when?) before the world (or the ages) began,” Now that ties right in with everything we’ve been saying all afternoon. Right from eternity past, when the Triune God in counsel decided to create the universe, to put mankind in it, knowing that he would fall into sin. Knowing that He would bring about a Plan of Redemption, and in that Plan of Redemption He would have to bring to fruition the Nation of Israel. So that out of the Nation of Israel would come their Messiah. And that their Messiah could be rejected and go to the cross. It was all preplanned before the ages ever began. Miracle of miracles, the eternal purposes of God to bring about a Savior, not just for Israel, for the whole human race – but it starts with Israel.
And that’s why you know I’ve made the illustration (at least in my classes and in my seminars), that if you take a wheel, especially the old covered wagon wheel with the wooden spokes and the steel tire around the edge and the hub. Well, you can lose a good portion of the rim and you can lose several of the spokes and the wheel will still turn. But you pull the hub out of that wheel and you’ve got nothing. Nothing!
All right, what’s my point? Israel is the hub of God’s wheel. You take Israel out of the mix and you’ve got nothing. And that’s where most of Christendom is. They have totally rejected Israel as a part of God’s eternal purposes and you cannot do it. Somebody told me the other day that their pastor had said from the pulpit “There is not one word in the Bible that says that Israel should ever come back to their homeland.” How in the world can they say something like that, as the Old Testament prophecies are full of it.
Lesson Two • Part III
The Godhead Revealed
I John 4:11 – 5:1
Okay, it’s good to see everybody once again and for those of you joining us on television, we’re just going to pick right up where we left off in our last program, which was I John 4:14. And for all of you who come in for these tapings, we appreciate it more than you’ll ever know. And when you see the reruns start in a little while, you’re going to see how small a group we started with over 13 years ago. If we had twelve or fourteen we were thrilled to death! So we’ve come a long ways. Now back to I John chapter 4; we just left off with verse 14, but let’s look at it again.
I John 4:14-15
“And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son (and that’s with the emphasis I want that He was) to be the Saviour of the world. 15. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” Now, if you were to ask a friend or a loved one, “If you were to die tonight, why do you think God would let you into His Heaven?” And if that loved one would say “Well I believe that Jesus is the Son of God.” Would you be satisfied? No. I wouldn’t be. I’d have to say “Now, is that all you believe? Because that’s not enough!”
You know I’m reminded – a gentleman was talking to a friend of his who was an old-line deacon. I won’t say what denomination, there’s more than one denomination that uses the term ‘deacon.’ But anyhow, he was speaking with an old friend of his who had been a deacon for years and years and the subject came up and he said, “If you were to die tonight, why do you think you’d go to Heaven?” And the old man said, “Because when I was a kid I confessed my sins, I got baptized, and I joined the church.” And my friend said to his friend, “And that’s all?” He said, “Is there more?” Well, he said, “What are you going to do with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ?” And you know what the old man’s response to that was? “What’s that got to do with it?”
Now this is an old man who had been a deacon for years and years and years. And that doesn’t surprise me. Not a bit. Because I imagine we’ve got millions of people out there who would probably answer just about the same way. And the same way here. This is why I say that John knows nothing and the Holy Spirit is inspiring him – don’t ever take that away from it. This is just as much inspired of the Holy Spirit as anything Paul or anybody else writes. But, it was not for them yet to reveal that which would be revealed to the Apostle Paul at a different time for us in this age of Grace.
And consequently you cannot find then a Gospel of salvation based on the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord in these Jewish epistles. It’s not in here. And this is what I want people to see. John makes it just as plain as language can make it that, “whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” Thus he’s a believer.
Now am I making my point? Not a word about the cross. Not a word about His death, shed blood, resurrection, only Who Jesus of Nazareth really is or was. Israel’s Messiah, the Son of God. That was the Gospel of the Kingdom salvation message.
All right, now let’s just chase this down as we’ve done umpteen times before, but we have to realize we have new listeners coming in every day and a lot of these things we haven’t covered for a long period of time. So I’m going to bring you back to Christ’s earthly ministry. I’m going to bring you all the way back to Matthew chapter 16, and I want you to see how clearly John’s Gospel and these little Jewish epistles of James and Peter and John all are on this same playing field. And it’s all based on Who Jesus of Nazareth really is.
All right, Matthew chapter 16, and we’re going to drop in at verse 13. Now this just bears repeating. Here we are at the end, again, of Christ’s earthly ministry, much like the verses we read in Luke a program or two back. And they’re up in northern Israel at the headwaters of the Jordan River, Caesarea Philippi. And He has the Twelve with Him.
“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” Now that’s simple enough isn’t it? Put it in today’s language, I would just say, “Who do people say I am?” That’s all He asked them. “Who do the rank and file of Israel, (remember now He confined His ministry to the Jews – Romans 15:8) think I am?” Now look at their answer, after three years of miracles and signs and wonders.
“And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist:….”
Now I always like to feed in a little imagination here without adding or taking away from Scripture. Here’s twelve men. And twelve men are twelve men of any time. And I imagine they almost interrupted each other sharing what they’d heard. And so one of them said, “Well I heard somebody thinks you were John the Baptist.” And about that time, somebody said, ‘Oh I’ve heard them say that you’re this, or someone else.” Can’t you just hear them? These twelve men are just almost interrupting each other sharing what they had heard concerning this Jesus of Nazareth.
“…some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” Isn’t that amazing? After three years of signs and wonders and miracles, amongst the Nation Israel who had had the Old Testament for almost a thousand years. And they still don’t know. All right, now verse 15, Jesus came back:
“He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?” Have I proved anything to you? And now Simon Peter speaks up. And I think Peter was the spokesman usually.
“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, (the Anointed One, the Messiah) the Son of the Living God.’” Just exactly what John said back here in I John, “that if you believe that Jesus was the Son, then you have eternal life.”
All right, so Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God.” Who’s going to die for me and be raised from the dead? No. He doesn’t say that. Does Jesus come right back and say, “But now Peter, is that all?” No. Jesus is perfectly content with that answer. So content that He goes on to say:
“Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jo-na: (you have got it down so right that it’s obvious) for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” All right, so that’s all they were to know and believe for salvation, was the message known as the Kingdom Gospel – Who Jesus was.
All right, let’s skip on ahead, we’ve done this before, I know we have. So stop in at John’s gospel chapter 11, and we’re going to drop in at verse 23. This, of course, is leading up to where Jesus has left Bethany and in the meantime Lazarus has not only gotten sick but he’s what? He’s died. So when Jesus comes back Lazarus is dead and the girls, Martha and Mary are rather upset with Him. You know to the point, “If you’d have just been here, he wouldn’t have died. You could have healed him.” And of course we know that it was intentional so that He would have this opportunity to raise Him from the dead, which was another one of His signs and wonders and miracles.
“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.”
Now you want to remember that most Jews believed in and were aware of resurrection. The Sadducees didn’t, but the rest of the Jewish people did. So she said, “Oh I know he’ll rise in the resurrection at the last day.”
“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (now watch her confession of faith) 27. She saith unto him, Yeah, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” Again, any reference to the cross? No. Any reference to a death and resurrection? No. And so, Martha just like Peter, had that same profession of faith. “Thou art the Christ. That’s Who You are! You are the Son of God Who will be the Messiah the King of Israel.” And that’s all they were to believe. That’s all that had been revealed for them to believe for their salvation.
Now you see, I’m always coming back to my definition of faith. What is faith? “TAKING GOD AT HIS WORD.” But you can’t take God at a word that He hasn’t spoken. And if He hasn’t revealed something, He doesn’t expect anybody to believe it. But what He had revealed to these people was that “He was the Christ.” And so He expected them to believe it. And everything was based on that.
All right, now we can go even a little further. Let’s go on into the book of Acts. I’m going to stop at chapter 3. And this is the sermon after Pentecost. I don’t know how much later but it’s not Pentecost anymore; it’s beyond that. And Peter and John have just raised the lame man, a miracle. And the Jews are wondering how in the world they did it, even though it is only a few weeks after Christ’s earthly ministry of miracles. But nevertheless, they have raised the lame man and the people are astounded. And now drop in at verse 12, because I want you to see the whole scenario.
“And when Peter saw it, (that is the consternation of the Jewish people) he answered unto 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 that’s why I adamantly maintain that Peter is still preaching to Jews only. He’s not including Gentiles; Gentiles don’t have Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as their father. That was a Jewish phenomenon.
“…the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilot, 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.”
God has raised Him from the dead so that He can still fulfill the promises that were made to Israel in the Old Testament. And what were the promises? The King and the Kingdom. All right, so now He’s not dead, He’s alive; He can still fulfill those Old Testament prophecies. Now verse 16, and here I want you to watch this carefully, as Peter now tells this Jewish crowd, full of questions, what power Peter and John used to raise this man (who we know later had sat at the gate of the Temple for 40 years). All right, now here comes the answer, verse 16.
“And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong,.…” Now what was Peter driving at when he said it was through faith in His name? This man understood that Jesus of Nazareth, Whom these people had followed, was the Christ! That’s what it meant. The name of Jesus of Nazareth was the same as Messiah, Son of God; but notice, not one word about His work of the cross for salvation. But it was through faith in His name that made this man whole. So what’d this lame man understand? Who Jesus was. That’s it.
All right, now move on a little further in Acts to chapter 8 and we come to the Ethiopian eunuch on his way back from Temple worship. Heading back down south to Ethiopia. And you all know the account. And again Philip – who was the one that took the message to Samaria, not a word yet about Gentiles, it’s all still dealing with Israel – and so now the Spirit has lead Philip to go up to this chariot and I feel the eunuch was a Jew. But that’s beside the point, because he was reading from Isaiah 53; he’d been to the Temple to worship. All right, so now verse 35 of Acts 8.
“Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, (Isaiah 53) and preached unto him Jesus. 36. 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?”
Now just stop and think a minute. Beginning with John the Baptist’s ministry and all the way through Christ’s ministry; and for Peter in Acts chapter 2:38, what belongs with repentance – what was the other object? Water baptism. So it follows that Philip is sharing with this eunuch the very same Gospel of the Kingdom message that John the Baptist did with Israel. Repent and be baptized. All right, so the eunuch says, well now “Here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized?” Now look at Philip’s answer.
“And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. (be baptized) And he (the eunuch) answered and said, (now watch his confession of faith) I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
Period. Not a word about the cross. Not a word about the resurrection. Only to know Who Jesus really was. Just exactly like the verse we just saw in I John, “that He is the Son of God.”
Now in the next chapter we come to Saul of Tarsus. Well, naturally, Saul of Tarsus is going to later on preach the Gospel of the Grace of God, which is “we preach Christ crucified!” But, he hasn’t had that revelation here yet. He’s just a Jewish zealot, zealous for the Law and trying to stamp out anything of this outside, which he thought was a complete imposition. Now here comes Saul and the Lord appears to him from Glory and you go back up there to chapter 9 verse 4.
Here he is coming up toward the gates to Damascus just raging in his hatred for this sect who were following Jesus of Nazareth. And God stops him with the bright light from Heaven. Now verse 4,
“And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” And looking up, I’m sure knowing that this was the God from Heaven he was dealing with, He said:
“…Who art thou, Lord?.…” You get the question? He didn’t ask what have you done for me Lord? You got that? What does he ask? Who are you? Who are you!
“…And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” Any word about the cross? Does Jesus say, I’m the One Who died for you Saul? Does Jesus say, I’m the One Who rose from the dead? No.
All He says is – “I am Jesus.” And what does that name Jesus imply? The Messiah. And what did the Messiah have to be? “The Son of God!” That’s all. Now then, you move on through the rest of the chapter and he gets his sight back. He’s baptized according to the Jewish program, and now he’s ready to go out and begin to proclaim along with Peter and the Eleven, Who Jesus of Nazareth is. Now look at it down in verse 20.
“And straightway he preached Christ (where?) in the synagogues, (like any good Jew that had become one of these early believers) that he is the Son of God.” So Paul also does not preach a word about the cross. Not a word about the shed blood or the resurrection. It hasn’t been revealed yet. That becomes part of the mysteries that Paul gets later, when the dispensation of Grace is revealed.
And so the whole crux of the matter is they were to believe Who Jesus of Nazareth really was. And Who was He? “The Son of God. The Messiah. The Promised King of Israel.” And that’s as far as you can take it. And that was sufficient. Because God is Sovereign. This is what people can’t understand. God can save someone on His own terms, whatever they are. In other words, when He saved Adam and Eve back there in Genesis chapter 3, it was the most simplistic Plan of Salvation that you could hope for. He provided the shed blood of the animals. Adam’s faith was epitomized by calling the woman Eve, (the mother of all living) and when the blood and the faith came together, what can God impart? Salvation.
And then you come all the way up to Abraham, and God just simply told Abraham, “leave Ur.” And by faith what did Abraham do? He left! He did what God said. He believed God! And so all the way up through human history, God has put responsibility upon the human race to believe and when they believed it, He counted it as faith. And when He sees their faith, he calls them righteous. Now then, all the way through the Jewish economy here, the name of the game was “believe Who Jesus of Nazareth is. He’s God the Son.”
Now as soon as we get into Paul’s Gospel of Grace, we have a further revelation, we have an unveiling of now greater truth and so Paul’s Gospel becomes what? “That Christ died for your sins. Yes, He is the Son of God, but He died for your sins. He was buried. He was risen from the dead.” Believe it for your salvation!
Now that’s our Gospel of salvation! And you can’t mix the two! Even though they’re connected and we’ll look at Paul’s Gospel more in detail in our next half-hour. But listen, God never expects any human being to believe something that He has not clearly defined. He will never consign somebody to a lake of fire based on something that He never said. Then He would be unfair. But He always makes it plain what He expects them to believe. And when they put faith in what He has said to them then, yes, they have salvation.
All right, so all through from the beginning of His earthly ministry, to when He asked the Twelve, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” Right on up until He finally shuts the gate on Israel’s Gospel of the Kingdom and puts everything under the Gospel of Grace; until that time, salvation was to believe Who Jesus really was.
All right, we’ve got one minute left. Let’s come back to I John chapter 4. Let me just finish the chapter and then when we come into chapter 5 in the next program, we’re going to go and compare Paul’s Gospel of Grace with this still Gospel of the Kingdom.
I John 4:17-18a
“Herein is our love made perfect, (or complete) that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is so are we in this world. 18. There is no fear in love;.…” See now, this was all language just like in John’s Gospel. And then come on down to verse 19:
I John 4:19-20a
“We love him, because he first loved us. 20. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar:.…” See almost identical with what Jesus spoke in His earthly ministry.
All right, so now then verse 21, and we’ll have to close the program.
I John 4:21
“And this commandment have we from him, (that is from Christ) That he who loveth God love his brother also.”
Lesson Two • Part IV
The Godhead Revealed
I John 4:11 – 5:1
For those of you out in television, again we just want to thank you for your letters, your prayers, your support, everything. And I guess the best way I can put it is; we’re just a simple Bible study. We don’t try to build an empire or do anything like that. We’re just going to keep on teaching the Word and show people how to study on their own. This is the name of the game. Don’t go by what Les Feldick says, or anybody else says. Learn to search the Scriptures and determine what is for us today. And as I’ve said so often, the writing of the Apostle Paul and his teachings, are paramount for us today, as we feel this age of Grace we’ve been in now for almost 2,000 years, is soon coming to a close.
Okay, in our last lesson we finished chapter 4 of I John and so we’ll pick up with chapter 5. Here in verse 1, we have another repeat of what we’ve been seeing all the way through this little Jewish epistle and how that it is tied to Christ’s earthly ministry and has nothing to do with faith in the death, burial and resurrection that we must believe for our salvation in this age of Grace we’re now in. We’ll be looking at Paul’s Grace message in just a little bit. But first here is another repeat of the Kingdom message that John and the rest of the Twelve preached to the Nation of Israel. And, my, if people could only separate the Scriptures, to rightly divide the Word of God, there would be no confusion whatsoever!
Okay, now we’ve got to realize that coming out of the Old Testament, everything was looking forward, not to the cross, but to His Kingship and the Kingdom. In fact, it’s been even made more vivid to me, as we’ve been teaching in one of our classes here in Oklahoma the book of Isaiah. And of course Isaiah is a book of prophecy, and I’ve been stressing how that all through those Old Testament prophets it was “I will.” “I will.” “Thus saith the Lord, I will.” Well I’ve put it this way. Those were all promises, but the promises were all what? Prophecy.
And so over and over throughout the Old Testament was this constant promising a prophesied King and Kingdom for the Nation of Israel. An earthly Kingdom. And we’ve been looking at all the references that make it so plain that it was to be an earthly Kingdom over which Christ would rule and reign from His throneroom in Jerusalem.
And of course I realize that most of Christendom doesn’t know what I’m talking about. But it’s a Biblical concept and this is what Paul meant in Romans 15 verse 8. I use it over and over and over. I told one of my classes the other night, you know I can almost start any seminar, I can almost start any Bible class with Romans 15 verse 8 and go from there.
“Now I say that Jesus Christ (what’s the verb?) was.…” Somebody was jumping on my use of the verbs and I had to show them 15:8. It is the verb “was.”
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the (what?) circumcision (and who’s circumcision in Scripture? Israel!) for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” It wasn’t Paul’s idea. It was all part of the eternal purposes. Well who were the ‘fathers’ in Scripture? Israel’s forefathers. Abraham. Isaac. Jacob. And on up through Israel’s history. So why did Jesus come? “To fulfill the promises made to the Nation of Israel.” And what were those promises? That He would come and give them an earthly Kingdom over which there would be no suffering under the Roman Empire. There would be no persecution. There would be no sickness. There would be no death. It would be literally heaven on earth. And He’d be the King.
And then in Matthew what did He promise the Twelve? “That they would sit on twelve thrones ruling the twelve tribes of Israel.” That was all part and parcel of the promises made to the fathers. So everything is leading up to this coming of the King, but Israel could not believe it. They could not accept Jesus of Nazareth as that promised King of the Kings, so they fulfilled the purposes of God. They crucified Him.
All right, God raised Him from the dead. Called Him back to Glory (we’ve gone through this before, at the ascension). But Peter and the Eleven keep right on preaching the Old Testament promises that this One Whom they crucified was alive and, as soon as the horrors of the seven years of Daniel’s seventieth week, which we call the Tribulation had passed, the King would yet come and bring in the Kingdom. Now when you follow that whole concept through, Peter in the early Acts and then the little Jewish epistles of James and Peter and John and Jude and Revelation, everything is looking at the unfolding of the Tribulation, the Second Coming and the Kingdom Age.
But there’s one thing that wasn’t revealed to them. There’s nothing in here of the Church Age. Nothing of calling out a body of Gentiles, which we call the Church. But rather it was all fulfilling the promises made to the fathers. And that’s why these little Jewish epistles are on that same timeline and as I pointed out when we introduced the little book of James, all of these writers had made a gentleman’s agreement with Paul and Barnabas back there at the Jerusalem counsel in about 51 or 52 AD. And at that Jerusalem counsel, you remember, they shook hands. They gave the right hands of fellowship, James and Peter and John with Paul and Barnabas. And what was the agreement? That they would stay with Israel and Paul would go to the Gentiles.
Well, in accord with that agreement, then, these men had to write to Israel. They would have broken their agreement if they would have departed and started writing about Paul’s Gospel of Grace. They would have been totally remiss, but they weren’t and, of course, the Holy Spirit is behind it all. And so they write in perfect accord with the Jewish economy, which is the Gospel of the Kingdom, and that message was that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, the Promised King.
Unknown to all of these Jewish men and prophets and everyone else, the Kingdom message and promises would be interrupted. Jesus knew it and I haven’t got time in just one half-hour, but Jesus makes it so plain in Luke chapter 4, where He reads from Isaiah 61 verses 1 and 2. And in verse 2, He stops right in the middle, which took Him to the end of His earthly ministry. However, the next half of the verse dealt with the coming Tribulation and the next verse dealt with the coming Kingdom. But He didn’t touch that part. He stopped in the middle and at the consternation of those Jews in the synagogue, He stood up the second time and He said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” That which went to the end of His first Advent. The rest was pushed out into the future, but it still will happen just like the Scriptures say.
All right then, unknown to these Jewish writers, we have the salvation of that other little Jew who became the Apostle of the Gentiles. All right, but before we look at that let’s look at the verse here in I John again. I John chapter 5 verse 1, we’re going to start from that and then we’re going to kick off. This is the same as we’ve seen before. Just a repetition of everything that James has said, what Peter has said and what John has been saying in this little epistle. It’s all Jewish.
I John 5:1a
“Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God:.…” Period. Now, again, what’s not in there? Not a word about the cross. Not a word about His resurrection. The whole concept is that if you believe that Jesus is the Christ, you are born of God. That won’t happen today, because that’s not the Gospel of salvation we must believe in our hearts for this Age of Grace we’re living in.
All right, now let’s go back and let’s look at the Gospel of salvation for today. Come back with me to Romans, and let’s start at chapter 2. You know it’s amazing what God uses. We got a letter the other day about almost a whole family who, if I understood their letter correctly, really had no spiritual interest. But the lady of the house happened to hear me call Iris ‘Honey.’ And she thought – if a man was good enough to call his wife Honey, he’s worth listening to for a minute or two. So she listened. And she got hooked. And because of her a whole family, husband, daughters, son’s-in-law came to a knowledge of salvation. So you see, you just never know what God uses. It’s amazing.
All right, so Romans chapter 2 verse 16. Now you realize that there are a lot of people across Christendom who won’t give Paul the time of day. They almost forbid their people to even read him. I’ve had people tell me that their Sunday School teacher or their preacher said, it should just be taken out of the Bible. Paul shouldn’t even be in here. Well, I’ve got news for them, if they’re going to depend on that which John is writing and if they’re going to depend on what Peter said, they’re doomed. They’ve had it. And here’s the reason.
“In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men (that is the heart) by Jesus Christ (Who will be the Judge. What are they going to be judged by?) according to my gospel.” What has lost mankind done with Paul’s gospel. Now read it again.
“In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” Why the pronoun? To set it apart from the Kingdom Gospel! See, and that’s where people stumble. Two Gospels? Well for a little while of course there were. Not now of course, but while God was still dealing with Israel, before He “dropped the gate” as I’ve been putting it lately on the Kingdom economy, and they had to go Paul’s way or be lost with the rest of the world. Now it’s one Gospel of salvation and that’s Paul’s Gospel. All right, what is Paul’s Gospel? Come over with me to Romans 16 verse 25.
“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, (not Peter’s. Not Jesus’, Not John’s, but rather, Paul’s Gospel. And what is Paul’s Gospel?) and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world (ages) began,” Now you see, this is why Peter, James and John couldn’t preach it. It had been kept secret. It wasn’t time to reveal that to Peter, James and John. It had to wait until this Apostle was brought on the scene, and now to this man is given that finished work of the cross.
All right, now just turn to I Corinthians chapter 1 and we’re going to see the vast difference in the language. There’s no more addressing the Nation of Israel. But more than that, he’s going to address the Gentiles. Although, certainly, the Jews are welcome to come into this great glorious Salvation, but primarily it’s going to be the age of the Gentiles. Here he’s writing to a Gentile congregation down there in Corinth, southern Greece. So he says:
I Corinthians 1:17-18
“For Christ sent me not to baptize (with water like he did John the Baptist did) but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross (here it comes) of Christ should be made of none effect. 18. For the preaching of the cross (that’s Paul’s Gospel) is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved, it is (the preaching of the cross) the power of God.”
All right, then he comes all the way down to verse 23.
I Corinthians 1:23
“But we preach Christ (what?) crucified, (not the King of Israel) unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;” And isn’t that the way the world looks at it today? My, I was just reading an article on Europe again last night. Do you know that Europe is almost 99.9% secular? This particular writer said the only role the churches in Europe play are tourist attractions. Nobody goes to church. Nobody has any spiritual insight. Now I’ve got to qualify that. There are always a few. But their government, you know, their new constitution that they put together? Not one mention of God. Not one mention of anything Spiritual; it is totally secular. Is it any wonder they hate our President? He makes them feel guilty just by his presence. I know he does.
But listen, this is the world tonight. They think the preaching of the cross is so much foolishness, but that’s Paul’s Gospel. All right, now let me take you to another one over in Romans chapter 3 verse 23. This is the very first step of God’s saving grace; for us to understand that we need the Gospel of salvation. Why?
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Now again, that’s the Word of God and we’re to believe it. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” But it doesn’t stop there. Next verse says:
“Being justified freely by his (what?) grace.…” That’s one of Paul’s favorite words. It’s the grace of God that has now been poured out on Christ-rejecting mankind.
“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (that process of paying our sin debt) 25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood,.…”
Now I’ve got to stop right there. Once in a while we’ll get a letter from someone who says, “Well you make too much of Paul. You make it sound as though he’s the one who died for us.” Never! Never! All I maintain is that Paul is the Apostle to whom this Gospel was revealed. You don’t worship Paul. You worship the Christ that Paul presents. All right, and here it is. I think Paul even told the Corinthians, “Paul didn’t die for you. Christ did.” All right, so now read on in verse 25.
“…through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance (the goodness and patience) of God;”
Now verse 26. This is Pauline.
“To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he (God) might be just, (God never cuts corners. God never compromises. But He’s just. He’s fair) and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” That’s as simple as you can get it. No repentance. No baptism. No works. No nothing. You believe it. That’s faith. YOU TAKE GOD AT HIS WORD.
“Where is boasting then? It is excluded, By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” Move on to chapter 4 verse 5. This is Paul. This is the message of Grace. Nothing to do with Israel and the promises. This has to do with the eternal purposes of God. Verse 5:
“But to him that worketh not, (that means exactly what it says) but (instead of trying to work, work, and do and do. It’s to him that) believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Now come into chapter 5 verse 1.
“Therefore being justified by faith, (faith in what? Jesus Christ and that finished work of the cross; where He died for us and was buried and rose from the dead; and because we have faith in that finished work for salvation, now) we have (what?) peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”
Now you see Romans 8 makes it plain as day. The unbeliever is a what? He’s an enemy. Now as long as you’re an enemy you can’t be at peace, whether it’s in a human relationship or whether it is between yourself and God. If you’re an enemy, there’s no peace. But you see, we’re no longer an enemy. By faith, we’ve been justified and we’re no longer an enemy – we’re a child – and consequently, “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” That’s Paul.
All right, now then, let’s come on a little further. Chapter 7. Now Paul tells us how to walk in this Christian life since we don’t have the Law telling us every jot and tittle of what to do and what not to do. That’s been crucified, so far as we’re concerned, and we’ve been crucified to it. But that doesn’t leave us with license. And here we come now. Romans 7 dropping in at verses 5 and 6. Now Paul writes:
“For when we were in the flesh, (before we were saved) the motions (or the acts) of sins, which were by the law, (in other words, all the things that the Law designated – they were part and parcel of things that we, as lost people, were doing. Breaking the Law. All right, they) did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. (which will pop up for the unbeliever at the Great White Throne) 6. But now (since we’ve been saved, that’s the difference) we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”
Now you remember we covered that a program or two back, how that Paul says we are now indwelt by the Spirit of God. Our body is its temple. All right, same reference. That now “we are serving in newness of spirit, (Who is indwelling us and He’s controlling us,) and we’re not in the oldness of the letter.” We’re not under the Law.
All right, back up to chapter 6 – that just reminded me of verse 14. Romans 6 verse 14, the last half of the verse.
“…for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” We’re not under the heavy hand of the Ten Commandments or any of the rest of the Law. That has all been done away with so that God can deal with us in Grace.
Come back with me again to I Corinthians chapter 15 where we were in an earlier program; but this is the Gospel, by which we have to have salvation today. And this is it – alone. Granted that this Jesus, this Christ was the Son of God. Paul refers to it over and over how that He’s the Son of God, but by believing that alone is not enough, as we’ve seen in Romans 2:16. And here is Paul’s beautiful Gospel of salvation.
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.”
Now here’s The Gospel by which mankind is saved during this Age of Grace.
I Corinthians 15:3-4
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, (from the risen Lord, as part of the secret things revealed only to this apostle) how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; 4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” That’s the Gospel. And we’re told to believe it with all our heart for salvation. And when we believe it we have all the promises of God.
Transcriber’s Note: The titles for these last four lessons was “The Godhead Revealed.” That was the basic subject, especially for the first three lessons in this middle section. Les covers more on that subject in the last lesson (Lesson Three Part IV) of this book.
Lesson Three • Part I
Water and Blood
I John 5:1-7
As you know our television program started in Genesis about 13 years ago, and we’ve come all the way up now to these little letters of John and Jude; and we’re also going to hit part of Revelation, since it’s also mostly Jewish. After that we’ll probably go back into areas that we haven’t covered before, such as the Psalms, Proverbs, and Isaiah, but anyway, we’re going to keep going until the Lord comes, we hope! And we trust that that won’t be that much longer, as I feel God is about ready to wrap it all up. But before doing that, He will remove the true believers from the earth in what we call the Rapture of the Church, that is found so beautifully described in I Thessalonians 4:13-18.
You know people get surprised; they’ll call and they’ll say “Well how long do you really think it’ll be?” Well, of course, we can’t put any timetable on it. But I say, “You know I’ll be surprised if it’s not within five years.” And that shakes them up. Boy, they think that’s a short period of time. Well, day in and day out I think it’s going to be today! But as fast as the world is falling apart, it would almost seem as though the Lord’s coming is so close. But also remember that “with the Lord a day is a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day,” and that’s why we can’t set a time on it.
As we begin today’s lesson, we’ll begin with I John chapter 5. We’ll start right at verse 1 and what do you know? Repetition. Same song, second verse, it’s all the same here in John’s writing to the Jews. John’s message is still the Kingdom Gospel, and that salvation message was, “Believing that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God!” Where the salvation message for us today in the Body of Christ is, “Believe in your heart that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He died for our sins, was buried and rose from the dead.” I Corinthians 15:1-4. So notice those differences as we study together.
I John 5:1
“Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.”
In other words, what John is saying here is that if you truly love the Lord Jesus Christ, then you’re also going to love the other person that loves the Lord Jesus Christ, which is part and parcel of John’s Gospel. But as I pointed out in our last taping session, John is not writing to the Church Age believer, he’s writing to Jews. And, oh, that may shake a few up; but on the other hand, our response from listeners, since James, has just been phenomenal; how they’re seeing exactly what we’re saying (that these little epistles were primarily written to Jewish believers). And I don’t make any apology for that. These little epistles of James and Peter and John and Jude and on into the book of Revelation are Jewish because of an agreement that they once made with Paul. And I’m again going to repeat that over and over – as the Scripture does – so I guess that gives me authority to do it. So let’s just look at it now. Come back with me to Galatians chapter 2, a verse that I’ll use over and over whenever I make the point that these Scriptures which are written by these Jewish writers have nothing really to do with the Church Age, the Gentiles. But they have everything to do with the Nation of Israel and their Kingdom economy.
Now when I say their Kingdom economy, I’m speaking of the fact that all the Old Testament from Genesis 12 is looking forward to the day when God the Son, the Messiah, the Redeemer of Israel would set up an earthly Kingdom with His capital in Jerusalem and every Jew that would go into that Kingdom would of course, be a believer. They would have the promises of the New Covenant. They wouldn’t have to learn them, they wouldn’t have to study them, it would just naturally come on them.
And then according to the Old Testament, these believing Jews were to evangelize the pagan Gentiles. They were to be a light to the Gentile world. But, by virtue of Israel’s dropping the ball, and not believing and receiving the Kingdom, and crucifying their King, now that whole scenario has changed where there will be no unbelievers in the Kingdom. So Israel won’t have the opportunity of being a light to the world because they’ve missed it. But we do know the 144,000 Jews will pick that ball up during the 7-year Tribulation period, and many will be saved.
But, nevertheless, to show that all this is written to Jewish believers, you come back to Galatians chapter 2 and this Jerusalem counsel. And like I always tell my classes in Oklahoma, I’m not getting senile. I’m not repeating because I can’t remember what I’ve said, but I do it for emphasis because the Scripture does. And you just have to keep hammering it and hammering it before the majority of people see it. Now a few will see it just that quick. Some of you here know what I’m talking about. Others it takes a little longer. Some it just almost takes forever because the longer they’ve been brainwashed in something the longer and the harder it is to come away from it.
But here we are now for the umpteenth time showing in this counsel in Jerusalem, this meeting between Paul and Barnabas, who had come up to Jerusalem now from their Gentile ministry there in Syria, and this meeting is between James and Peter and John primarily, to settle the question, “Do Paul’s converts have to become adherents of Israel’s Law?” And these believing Jewish people said “Yes they do, You have to be circumcised, you have to keep Moses’ Law.” Acts 15:1-5.
And Paul kept saying, “No they don’t! We’re not under Law, we’re under Grace.” So this argument went back and forth. And now you’ve got to remember, this has been for a period of almost 15 years already that there’s been this dilemma, “Do Paul’s converts have to keep Israel’s Law?” Well, it finally comes to a head then in about 51-52 AD and that’s the Jerusalem counsel that we look at over and over again in Acts 15 and Galatians 2. Acts is Luke’s account. Galatians is Paul’s account. And we might as well go back to verse 1. We’ve got time enough.
“Then fourteen years after (that is after Paul’s Damascus conversion experience) I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.” Now you remember Barnabas became his co-worker up there in Antioch, and they also took Titus, a Greek, with them.
“And I went up by revelation,.…” In other words, the Lord instructed Paul that now it was time to go and confront the Jerusalem church about these people who are undermining his Gentile ministry. “Paul you’ve got to go up and confront the Twelve.”
“…and communicated unto them that gospel….” (of salvation) Now emphasize the word ‘that’ because that indicates it was different than what Peter, James and John were used to. So he comes up to them and he shows them or he 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.” And then privately, I imagine in a separate anteroom, I think it was with the Twelve and Paul and Barnabas by themselves. In other words, he had to get this settled with the Twelve because they were the ones in authority. They were the ones that could put an end to it, or they were the ones that could just run roughshod over Paul and Barnabas and say, “We’re going to continue to tell your Gentiles what we’ve been telling them.” So it was paramount to meet with the Twelve. All right, now then verse 4.
“And that because of false brethren unawares (secretly) brought in, who came in privily (secretly) to spy out our liberty (contrary to law) which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:” Now you always have to remember that when Paul speaks of the Law that’s his word for it, it was bondage. They weren’t free to do as they pleased. If they picked up sticks on the Sabbath day, it was what? Death. And the same way with a lot of other mundane failures. It was death. It was bondage. All right, verse 5.
“To whom (that is to the Twelve, the leaders of the Jerusalem church) we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.” In other words they were pressing Paul to give in. “Give in Paul, you should know that these people have to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses.” But Paul said, “No they don’t.” And he didn’t give in, “Not for an hour so that the truth of the Gospel might continue with you.”
All right, now you know how I teach. I jump around a lot. Here’s where we’re going to have to jump. Keep your hand in here; we’re going to come back. Now back up to the left a few pages to I Corinthians 15 and, again, for the hundredth time we’re going to show this as clearly as Scripture can make it. This is Paul’s Gospel of salvation. I Corinthians 15:1-4.
Now anybody that’s been under my teaching very long knows these verses by memory just because of the constant repetition of them. But this is Paul’s Gospel. And I was just reading something again yesterday on how to be saved. And you know what? Not even a mention of Paul’s Gospel. Not a mention. Why? Well, when you find out tell me! I can’t figure it out, unless people are just blinded. People just totally ignore it but here’s Paul’s Gospel, and how we are saved.
I Corinthians 15:1a
“Moreover, brethren, (so he’s writing to Gentile believers at Corinth and he’s writing to you and I in this Church Age) I declare unto you the gospel….”
Now the reason I’m doing this early this afternoon is because I’m going to refer to it probably a few more times before the afternoon is over.
I Corinthians 15:1b-2a
“…I declare unto you the gospel (singular – exclusive) which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; (by faith) 2. By which also ye are saved,….” Now plain English! It’s this Gospel that saves people and nothing but! I’ve got people in this room who know what I’m talking about. You went years thinking you were saved and you’d never heard this Gospel, but the minute you hear it, then you suddenly realize, that wasn’t what I believed. But the moment you believe in your heart THIS Gospel then God moves in and you’re a different person.
You don’t have to grovel in repentance. And you don’t have to go down an aisle. You don’t have to get baptized. You don’t have to speak in tongues. You don’t have to give ten percent of your money. YOU JUST BELIEVE THE GOSPEL. And then God will take care of all these other things.
I Corinthians 15:2-3a
“By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (in other words, you’ve got to understand this simple Gospel. And here it comes) 3. For I delivered unto you.…”
Why does he use the pronoun ‘I’? Because it began with Paul. It was part of his revelation of the mysteries that had been kept secret since the Ages began.
I Corinthians 15:3a
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received,.…” From where? From the ascended Lord in Heaven! That’s what Paul is always referring to, the revelations that he received from the Ascended Lord. Now that’s because it was after the work of the cross had been finished. Peter and the Eleven couldn’t hear things like that because they were in front of the cross. But now on this side of the cross, it’s the revelations that God has given to this Apostle of Grace.
I Corinthians 15:3b-4
“…that which I also received, (here it comes) how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (it had been foretold) 4. And that he was buried, (He was really dead. He was in the tomb three days and three nights.) and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” The Old Testament spoke of all of this, but in such veiled language nobody knew what it was talking about. And that’s why Peter, as we saw in our program several month’s back, said the Old Testament prophets did what? “They searched diligently.” They knew there was something that they weren’t catching. But it was in such veiled language, God didn’t intend them to. But when He revealed it to this Apostle, it was as plain as the noonday sun that salvation would now be based on believing that Christ died, was buried and rose from the dead. That’s Paul’s Gospel!
All right, while we’re in Corinthians, just back up a few pages to Romans chapter 2. Now for those of you who have been listening to me for years and years, you’re going to say, “Well isn’t he going to ever get off this track?” No! Because today we’re going to have a whole bunch of new people that have never heard this before. We had the sweetest letter day before yesterday. A lady from Florida wrote, and said, “I’m 92 years old. Been in church all my life. I’ve learned more the last six-months than in the previous 91 years.”
We hear that over and over, so we have to keep repeating it for the benefit of those who are just now hearing it for the first time. For those of you who have heard it now for ten, fifteen years, just feast on it like you do plain old “meat and potatoes.” Do you ever get tired of that? No.
We’ve got a couple of ladies – a mother and daughter that are at almost every seminar wherever we are. I don’t care whether it’s Ohio, Carolina, Indiana, Minnesota – there they are. And I asked the mother of the two here I think last fall in Minnesota, I said, “Mary, don’t you get tired of hearing me say basically the same thing?” She said, “Do you get tired of meat and potatoes?” Well, she asked the wrong guy that! Never! So we’re going to keep repeating these things for the benefit of new listeners. Here Paul writes:
“In the day (judgment day) when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ (He’s going to be the judge at the Great White Throne, but what will be mankind’s plumbline?) according to my gospel.”
Do you see that? I dare say that the vast majority of the people in Christendom don’t know this verse is in the Bible. And if they do they sure won’t admit it. But read it again. “In the day (at judgment day, when the lost will come before Jesus Christ the Judge) and he will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” That’s why I went to I Corinthians 15:1-4 a few minutes ago so everybody knows without a shadow of a doubt what Paul means when he says, “My Gospel? That Christ died for you. He was buried and He arose from the dead the third day!” That’s what we must believe in our hearts to get to heaven.
I just read an interesting article in one of our major news magazines. And the guy was pointing out this very thing – how many masses of Christendom believe that Christ died. But they don’t believe that He rose from the dead. But they claim to be born again. And he says, Are they? And he made the same point that I have over the years, how many people are basing their salvation on the fact that they went forward to “take Jesus into their hearts.”
Now that’s not the Gospel. And he made the same point. That doesn’t even touch the Gospel of salvation! It’s a result of it! But that’s not the Gospel. Jerry asked me a question a few years ago. He’d been to a funeral of a dear lady that he’d known all his life. And he was quite sure that she’d never heard “this Gospel” and Jerry, as good hearted as he is, said, “Les do you suppose God will bend the rules just a little bit and let that poor lady in?” Well, knowing Jerry that was a logical question.
But will He? I don’t think so. God is absolute! He’s laid it out in His Word just as plain as day and mankind is not going to tweak His nose like a little kid does on the lap of Santa Claus. It’s not going to happen. And that’s why I feel duty bound to just keep hammering away at this very thing – you have to be saved by believing Paul’s Gospel. Nothing less. Nothing more.
Okay, now I can come back to Galatians chapter 2 and at that Jerusalem counsel in 52 AD. Now use a little arithmetic. Pentecost was 29 AD. Paul begins his ministry at about 40 AD, so here we are 10-12 years after Paul has been out there amongst the Gentile Roman Empire establishing these little Gentile churches. But the Judaisers had been undermining all these folks with the demand for legalism. Circumcision. Keeping the Commandments. And Paul is now confronting the folks in Jerusalem.
“But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (now I’m sure that that’s a side reference to the Twelve) (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepts no man’s person)” In other words, just because they were one of the Twelve, that didn’t cut any extra mustard with God. What God looks at is the heart.
“…for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:” In other words, when they started comparing their theology, and in their discourse (their arguing) when the Twelve suddenly realized that they could not add one Biblical truth to Paul’s revelation. But on the other hand, see?
“But contrariwise, when they saw (and suddenly realized) that the gospel of the uncircumcision (the Gospel of the Gentile, the Gospel of Grace) was committed unto me, (now I do this for emphasis, he’s making a comparison here…that as the gospel of the Gentile under Grace was revealed to Paul, even) as the gospel of the circumcision (which is the Gospel of the Kingdom as Jesus called it in the Gospels) was unto Peter.”
Now that’s why people are beginning to see my ministry. They’re seeing the difference between Israel and the Gentile church. They’re seeing the difference between the Kingdom economy and the Body of Christ. They’re beginning to see the difference between Peter’s Apostleship and Paul’s. And it just thrills us to see that people are finally seeing it! It’s not gobbledy-gook. I’m not twisting. I’m just leaving everything exactly as it sits. No interpretation to it whatsoever. And so as the Gospel of the Uncircumcision (Gentiles) was committed to Paul, the Gospel of the Circumcision (Israel and the Jew) was committed to Peter.
Now this is all Holy Spirit inspired. Every word that Paul wrote is just as much the Word of God as what Moses wrote in the Torah. Or what the others wrote in the Gospels. This is ALL the inspired Word of God.
“(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, (Israel. There’s no Gentiles in the ‘Circumcision.’ That’s Israel) the same (God) was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)” See that constant separating? That’s what Paul meant when he said, “rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” What’s given for Israel is Israel’s. What’s given to the Church is ours. Now granted both can learn from some of these things. We can learn from that which was written to Israel and I’m sure Jews can learn from what’s written to us, but they were still written to two totally different groups of people.
All right, now read on. Verse 9. Here’s the verse that I always use now to back up my teaching that these little Jewish epistles in the back of our New Testament are all directed to Israel, because of this agreement. And an agreement is an agreement between two gentlemen. And if one of them breaks it, then it’s no longer a ‘gentlemen’s agreement.’ And these men were men of integrity. I cannot see Peter, James and John making this kind of a deal with Paul and then turn around and even by the Holy Spirit’s leading, write to the Gentile world; it just cannot happen.
“When James, Cephas, (Peter) and John, who seemed to be pillars, (and they were at one time, of the Jerusalem Church) perceived (or understood) the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas (now here it comes, watch it. Don’t just gloss over it) the right hands of fellowship; (they shook hands) that we (Paul and Barnabas) should go unto to the heathen (the Gentiles, the uncircumcised) and they (James, Peter, and John) unto to the circumcision.” Israel. The Jew. Now can you make it any plainer? I don’t see how anybody can. It was a gentlemen’s agreement. And James and Peter and John said, “Okay Paul, you win. We are now understanding, that you are God’s delegated Apostle for the Gentile (Romans 11:13) and we are to keep our business with Israel.”
You know I’ve got all kinds of proof back in the book of Acts that those twelve men never attempted to go into the Gentile world. My favorite is in the house of Cornelius. My, under ordinary circumstances, when Peter saw that all of a sudden God was going to save Gentiles like He did those several Romans in the house of Cornelius, he shouldn’t have even bothered to go back to Jerusalem. He should have just sent a messenger boy back to Jerusalem and said, “Hey fellows, God is saving Gentiles! I’m out of here. You won’t see me for a while.”
But does he? No. He goes right back to Jerusalem. Takes a kick in the seat of the pants for having gone into the house of a bunch of Gentiles and stays in Jerusalem! Now that’s what the Book makes so plain. And yet the vast majority of Christendom refuses to see it. Well, I’ll keep banging away at it and banging away at it as our letters keep coming in saying, “I’m finally seeing it for the first time. I’m seeing it that God is sending Paul to the Gentiles with the Gospel of Grace, calling out for the Body of Christ.” Peter and the others are still maintaining the hope of Israel, which of course, that gate’s going to drop, and did in 70 AD, because Israel refuses to believe it.
Well anyway, I’ve only got a minute left. Didn’t expect to spend the whole half-hour on that but it’s so easy to do when you get into the Gospel of salvation! All right, back to I John for a moment then. I John chapter 5 and again we’ll just read those first three verses and, as I read, I want you (as well as all of you out in our television audience) to see if there’s any language in here that smacks of Paul, and his message of faith in the death, burial, and resurrection for salvation. And I’ll warn you ahead of time. You’re not going to find it. But you can look.
I John 5:1-3
“Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: (Not a word about the cross. Not a word about the shed blood. Not a word about the resurrection.) and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”
Anything about the cross? Do you see a word in there that He died for you and that He rose from the dead? I don’t. And you know what, you can go back to James 1:1 and go all the way through Jude and you won’t find it. Because these are Jewish writers and they are writing under the Jewish system of Law and the Kingdom Gospel and they have no understanding of Paul’s revelations of this Gospel of the Grace of God.
Lesson Three • Part II
Water and Blood
I John 5:1-7
Okay, we’re going to go right back into I John chapter 5, and we’ll probably pick up verses 3 and 4 somewhere in there. For those of you again joining us on television, we want to thank you. We just can’t get over how you support us, not only with your prayers but with your financial help. We appreciate your letters. We know there are a lot of folks out there that are hurting. And we appreciate your prayer requests and the knowledge that you’re praying for us as well.
For those of you who don’t know, we’re just an informal Bible study and we’re just going to keep on going verse-by-verse and I don’t teach with any denominational slant, or any heavy hand of trying to please somebody. We have been fortunate so far. We do not get a lot of flack. And if I do, why there’s not much I can do about it. Okay, I John chapter 5 verse 3.
I John 5:3
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” Now we can certainly agree with that. God never lays something on us that is unbearable or anything like that but I’m going to give you another crutch to lean on – that this is still all part and parcel of the Jewish program; these are Jewish believers to whom James and Peter and John are writing. Come back with me to Matthew 19 verse 16. And remember what you just read, as this is the whole idea of teaching – I’ve got to keep your mind on what we’re talking about. John writes back there that “we keep His commandments.”
Now look what Jesus speaks in His earthly ministry, which is under the same Gospel of the Kingdom that John is writing from. This is still to Israel under the Law. Remember the Temple is operating, and nobody has ever been told to stop Temple worship, or to stop the sacrifices. That’s all continuing as it has been from way back in the Old Testament. Remember the Four Gospels are just an extension of the Old Testament to fulfill the prophecies concerning Christ that were foretold by the Old Testament prophets.
“And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good master, what good things shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17. And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: (that I can’t quite comprehend, why Jesus said that. I don’t have the answer for it. But this part I can) but (Jesus said) if thou wilt enter into life, (that is eternal life, what was it?) keep the commandments.”
Keep the Law. Now that’s as plain as English can get it. There’s no strings attached. It’s just, “keep the Law.” And that’s what every good Jew understood. And Jesus didn’t change any of that for the Jew. Keep the Commandments.
All right, now come back to John’s little letter again and we’re under that same set of circumstances – that we’re dealing with Jews who have been saved by believing that Jesus of Nazareth was that Promised Messiah. And that He was now getting ready to come back and set up His Kingdom. You know I read an interesting little anecdote some place (you know I read a lot. I’ve got three or four news magazines). But somebody had suggested to Time Magazine (I think) that they put Muhammad and Jesus Christ as the men of the year. And Time Magazine’s response was, “We never put dead people on the cover – although (he says) the one is coming back.” That surprised me. So anyway, sometimes things surprise you!
But here we have these Jews now believing for salvation, that Jesus was Who He said He was. They’re trusting that “Name” of Jesus as their Messiah and they’re getting ready for the coming Tribulation; but following that they’d have the Kingdom and all the glories of it. And it was going to be worth the suffering. All right, so now John, right along with James and Peter, is admonishing these Jewish believers on how to enhance their belief system. All right, now then verse 4.
I John 5:4a
“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world:.…”
Now I went back into my Strong’s concordance the other night, because I had something “ringing” up here. Paul never uses the word “overcome” like Peter, James and John do. And when you get into Revelation and the church letters, you see it over and over and over. “He that overcometh. He that overcometh.” Paul doesn’t use the word. Now he does use it once – that through our Christian experience we can overcome the temptations of the world. But he never uses it in the same light that these Jewish writers use it. And so here it is again, that if this Jew is born of God by virtue of having believed Who Jesus of Nazareth really was, he would be an overcomer. And you can just take your own concordance tonight or whenever, and just check me out, that all through these Jewish writings; it’s a rather common word. Overcome. Look at verse 4 again.
I John 5:4
“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
Now here’s where I always have to stop and repeat and repeat and repeat. You have to remember that from the very onset of the human experience, the only way to be restored into fellowship with God, or to receive His cloak of righteousness was by what? Faith. It’s always been the key. You take Hebrews chapter 11, goes all the way back to Abel, “by faith he offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.” Noah, “by faith, when he was told of the deluge to come, built the Ark.” Abraham, “by faith when he was told to leave Ur. He left!.” Israel, “by faith went through the Red Sea.”
And so it’s always been by faith. But, there have been other strings attached. It wasn’t like it for us today – Faith plus Nothing! And then let God do all the ‘doing.’ Before the Church Age, they had to enter in by faith and then ‘do’ what was required.
Now this whole concept as we saw with the rich young ruler in Matthew 19, “what must I do.” See that was typical Jewish language as well. Come all the way back with me to Exodus 19 where I can find one of them. I just want you to see how that from day one the Nation of Israel has been stuck on that premise – what do we have to do? And that was the language of the rich young ruler. “Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said, “Keep the Commandments.” Well that was appropriate in that dispensation or administration. All right, but now look in Exodus. They’ve just come out of Egypt, and they’re gathered around Mount Sinai.
“And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and he laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. (Now watch it.) 8. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will (what?) do. (we’ll do it! You just tell us and we’ll do it. Little did they know that that was impossible) And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.”
And of course, the Lord was merciful enough to accept that promise, knowing that they would never do it. All right, now then, let’s flip once again to I John chapter 5, now verse 5. Now here get ready for a Pauline run again. I’m going to take you back because I want you to see constantly the comparison now. Here we have John the Apostle who wrote John’s Gospel, who wrote the book of Revelation, and all of that is tied to what we saw in the last program, it was in that agreement that James and Peter and John would continue only with the Nation of Israel and so all their writings are directed to the Nation of Israel, and the Scriptures never showed they ever broke that agreement with Paul and Barnabas.
Now we can glean from it their writings. You know I love to teach Revelation. There’s a lot of interesting things. But I’ll never teach it as Church doctrine. It’s Israel’s future. All right, but now look at this verse. Verse 5.
I John 5:5a
“Who is he that overcometh the world,….” Now remember, what is the word ‘overcometh’ implying back here in I John? A salvation experience. To overcome was to gain salvation. All right, so verse 5 again.
I John 5:5
“Who is he that overcometh the world, (who gains salvation?) but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” No other strings attached. Now that’s why in the last program I started off the afternoon with Paul’s Gospel. This isn’t Paul’s Gospel, but rather the Kingdom Gospel for Israel. Now this is the very first part of it. Naturally it’s implied, when Paul writes in I Corinthians that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures. Who was Christ? The Son of God. Absolutely. That’s implied. That’s a given. But you see, where John stops Paul’s Gospel keeps on going. It’s not enough today to believe just Who Jesus was, and is. We now have to look at the finished work of the cross.
And again like I said in the last program – recently I was reading a several step process of salvation – it never once mentioned the cross. Never mentioned His resurrection. Never mentioned His shed blood. Well, like I said last program, we hope that God is merciful and will somehow be able to see that they’ve got faith enough to believe. But I’m not going to sit here and say they will. Because I think God is absolute and when He says we have to believe that Christ died and rose from the dead, I think that’s what we have to believe. And you can’t take away from it. You can’t add to it.
All right, but read it again, and you won’t see any of that I mentioned, and what is in Paul’s Gospel for the Church.
I John 5:5
“Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”
Now we did this just a couple of programs ago, but I’m going to do it again because I want you folks out there in our television audience to know how all of this fits so perfectly if you leave it where it belongs and don’t try and mix it all up and do what most of Christendom does. They put the whole Word of God into a symbolic blender, they turn it up on high. They make a total mush of it all. And then they pick out what they like. And then they wonder why people get spiritually sick to their stomach.
In fact I read a book a couple years ago, written by a fellow over here in Oklahoma City. “Why So Many Churches?” Well that was the answer, because Christendom has totally mixed up all the Scriptures. Picked here and picked there. One denomination says I can use this verse and I can use that verse. I can’t use that one. Well, the other denomination comes along and says but that’s the one I lean on. Well, you can just see how it just causes all these various interpretations – whereas if they would just simply divide it as I hope to do, there’s not a lot of room for argument. It’s as plain as you can get it – that it’s not by works. (Romans 4:5) It’s not by doing. It’s by believing that Christ has done it all.
But that’s not the way it always was. That didn’t start until Paul was revealed all the mysteries and truths by the risen Lord. In fact, as I’ve shared with you before on several occasions, when Paul tells us, “To rightly divide the Word,” Paul is telling us to separate the epistles he wrote from the rest of the Book. And when you do that and don’t mix and match with other Scriptures, then you’ve got it right – then there really can just be one True church, “The Body of Christ.”
All right, come back with me again. Like I said, we did it here a few programs back, but we’re going to do it quickly again. Matthew 16, and I’ll have to do it every time I see that Peter, James and John merely speak of believing Who Jesus was. Because that’s exactly what Peter says. Matthew 16. My, some of you should be able to do this in your sleep.
Matthew 16 starting at verse 13; the end of Christ’s earthly ministry up there in northern Israel, north of Galilee, Caesarea Philippi, way up at the headwaters of the Jordan. And at that point He says to the Disciples:
“…Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14. And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”
Now, again, can you imagine how disappointed the Lord would be (except that He was God, He knew that this is the way it would be, but) from His human standpoint, how disappointing, that after three years of miracles and signs and wonders they should have all known Who He was. They had the Scriptures; they had the Old Testament. They should have known that this was the promised Messiah. But instead of that, look at the answers. “Oh, some think you’re John the Baptist.” Well, John the Baptist had been beheaded a long time ago. “Some think you’re one of the prophets.” They, too, had been dead for a long time. “Some think you’re Jeremiah or Elijah.” Ridiculous! So then look at verse 15.
“He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?” Do you guys know any better? All right, then Peter answers. Now watch how this fits perfectly with what we just read in I John – word for word.
“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Identical! Now why can’t people see that? I can’t comprehend it when it’s so plain that Peter says the very same thing in Christ’s earthly ministry that John is now repeating to these Jewish believers back there in his little epistle. But we’re finding so many don’t have a clue – the difference between the Gospel of the Kingdom they preached to the Nation of Israel, and the Gospel of Grace that Paul preached to us.
Now if it was all mixed up in different languages, then I could understand. But when it’s plain English. The same words. “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Now I trust you all know what the Christ was. That was the Messiah. The Promised One, out of the Old Testament promises. The Son of David Who would come and rule and be King over all the earth. That’s what they were looking for. All right, come on over to John’s Gospel, chapter 11, and again the setting. Lazarus has died (the brother of the two sisters) – a household where Jesus no doubt spent a lot of time. He loved Mary and Martha and Lazarus. But He had purposely left. He had purposely permitted Lazarus to die because He knew that He was going to raise him from the dead as another one of His miracles. But, Martha doesn’t know that. And so she’s rather upset. Verse 21, if you wonder where I get that idea. Can’t you just hear her?
“Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.”
You see that? “Why weren’t you here? Why were you someplace else?” But he died. Well, Jesus of course says, that it was for a purpose. All right, now verse 22, but Martha says:
“But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. (she knew that Jesus had the power. She knew Who He was.) 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: 26. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”
Well does He say anything about the cross? Of course not. Hasn’t happened yet. They had no idea He was going to be crucified. All right, but now continue on. When He says, “Do you believe this?” Now here’s her answer, and again, almost word for word with Peter and I John.
“She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” Now a little different wording but the same words. “I believe thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God.” And again Jesus gives His stamp of approval.
All right, I can go on, but that’s probably sufficient for now, but you see that’s the whole idea of the Jews recognizing Him. Okay, I’ve got another one. Acts chapter 3. You people who want to share these things, practice on somebody. Just sit down and go through these verses so that you can show it. My, we had the sweetest letter again yesterday. And Laura’s already told us this morning, she thinks it ought to be in our newsletter. We’ll delete the personal part, but here this 38 year-old young mother – in fact a lot of you have met her – she and the family were here at taping a while back, and she’s decrying the fact, “Why didn’t anybody ever share the Gospel of salvation with her?’ But no one did. And she was pretty sure that some of her friends should have known. And what a letter of condemnation to the average Christian, who never, never even try to share their faith. But nevertheless, evidently the Lord knew I was ready and that’s when she happened to catch my program and within a matter of one or two programs that gal was saved and out of her religious background and, my, what an instrument she’s become. But, what a sad commentary that here she’d reached the age of 38 and not one of her friends whom she feels were probably believers, ever approached her about the subject. And I imagine that’s typical all across America. What a sad commentary.
Well, I’ve always blamed it on the fact that most believers are so ill-equipped; they are so basically ignorant of the Scriptures that they’re afraid to say anything. And they’re afraid they’ll get hooked with a question they can’t answer. So my whole idea is – teach and teach and teach. Repeat and repeat and repeat. So that you’ll be comfortable sharing these things.
You know I’ve always used the simple old illustration. If there’s something wrong with your car and you know there’s something wrong but you really can’t figure it out on your own, but you’ve got a good friend who is a tremendous mechanic – well, as a friend, you could go and ask that guy “What’s the matter with my car?” Would he shrink back and shut up, ashamed of the fact that he was a mechanic? No! He’s going to lay it out, everything he knows and he’s going to be proud of the fact that he can tell you what’s wrong. Now that’s the way we believers have to be. We have to be ready to show people from the Word. Not from what we ‘think.’ Doesn’t make a nickel’s worth of difference what I think or you think or anybody else thinks. What does the Book say? That’s what counts.
All right, now here it is in Acts chapter 3, and Peter has just healed the lame man – a fellow who laid at the Temple gate all during Christ’s earthly ministry and Jesus didn’t heal him. But now Peter, James and John going up to the Temple, still in Temple worship, they go at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer, and this fellow gets their attention and you know the account. They heal him. And he’s jumping and leaping for joy. All right, all the Jews now, here it is just a few weeks after Christ’s earthly ministry, are full of consternation. What did you guys do to raise this lame man? And, of course, that upset Peter – why should they be so full of consternation that they had healed the lame man. And so now he comes on and he explains; and let’s just jump in at verse 12:
“And when Peter saw it, (that is the great wondering of the Jews up there in verse 11) he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our power or holiness we had 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, (now remember this is Peter speaking) whom God hath raised from the dead; (not for your salvation, but to fulfill the promises that He could still be the King. All right) whereof we are witnesses.”
Now here comes the whole crux of the afternoon, on what basis was this man healed?
“And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong,.…” Not a word about the cross. Not a word about the shed blood. Not a word about the Body of Christ. Not a word about the indwelling Holy Spirit. This is all Jewish. And so you don’t bring Church language in here. You fly in the face of Scripture when you do. But all this man believed was that this Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel. And on that basis Peter was able to heal him. But what I wanted you to see was, what did he place his faith in? Not a death, burial and resurrection. He placed his faith in the “name of Jesus of Nazareth.”
All right, now let me bring you back to John’s Gospel chapter 3. And in the words of the Lord Jesus Himself, see if that doesn’t fit the same scenario. And, again, whenever you read these verses, always be looking – is there anything about this work of the cross that we must believe for our salvation during this age of Grace? Is there anything about the death, burial and resurrection? Is there anything concerning His shed blood for our price of redemption? No. But rather it’s just to prove it Who Jesus really was and that’s all the Nation of Israel had to believe with all their heart for salvation.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 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, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” See how it all fits?
Lesson Three • Part III
Water and Blood
I John 5:1-7
As you know, I always like to make Bible study plain and simple. I don’t claim to be a deep theologian. But if the Lord has given me anything, it’s the ability to make things simple and easily understood. We don’t want to try to show our knowledge of Greek, etc. We’re just going to simply teach the Book and once in awhile I’ll go look at a Greek dictionary. But I really don’t spend a lot of time trying to drum up new ideas by just simply studying the Greek, which I think a lot of them are trying to do today.
All right, now let’s go back to I John chapter 5. And I’m thinking I’m going to stick my neck way out because I looked at several commentaries and not one of them are going to approach this the way I’m going to. So maybe I’m way out in left field. If there’s some Bible scholar out there listening, don’t tear your hair out. I’m not going to say that this the only way to look at it but, hopefully we can get something out of it.
I John 5:6
“This is he (Jesus of Nazareth) that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit (the Holy Spirit) that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.”
Now, in these next two programs, over these next several verses, I’m going to try and answer the question that comes in so often to the ministry – “Was Jesus Christ God?” That’s one. And the other one is, “Can you show me Scriptures about a Triune God?” Or they’ll usually use the word, Trinity. Can you show me the proof of the Trinity.
Well, the first thing I have to say is – the Trinity is, as a word, not used in our Bible. You can’t find Trinity in your Bible. So it’s a coined term. But, we usually refer to the Godhead as a Trinity because it is a “three-Person-in-one” Godhead. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. A Triune Godhead, which theologians have coined the term the ‘Trinity.’ Which is all well and good. Nothing wrong with that. So, we’re going to try over these next two programs (I may just sort of run the two together) to show, Scripturally, how that they are three distinct Persons, personalities, and yet they operate as One God.
But first we’re going to look at what this means, “the blood and water.” Now the first time that you see those two used in that vein would be back in John’s Gospel, chapter 3, where Jesus is dealing with Nicodemus. You all know the story of Nicodemus, ever since you were a little kid in Sunday School. All right, let’s go right back and look at it in verse 1. And of course this is during His earthly ministry, and Christ is ministering to the Nation of Israel, fulfilling all those promises made to them (Romans 15:8). Gentiles are not being ministered to yet, as some would have you believe.
“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: (see how Jewish this is?) 2. The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. (well he had that right didn’t he?) 3. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” Now that’s plain isn’t it? In other words, Jesus has already determined that there would be no unbelievers going into the millennial reign, which is still ahead of us.
Now back in the Old Testament that concept wasn’t known. Let’s go back to Zechariah, the next to the last book in the Old Testament, because I think that the prospect of Israel in the Old Testament was still that they could go into the Kingdom as God’s Covenant People and,, in turn, then be the evangelists to bring the salvation to the Gentiles, which would mean that they’re in the Kingdom as lost people. Have to be. But Israel is going to bring them salvation, and that was their prospect.
Now that all ended, of course, when Israel rejected the Messiah the first time and Jesus foresaw that – and so now He could make the claim that only believers would go into the Kingdom, whether they’re Jews or whether they are the remaining remnant of Gentiles. There will be no lost people going into the Kingdom Age.
But back here in the Old Testament that’s not the case. Zechariah chapter 8, verse 20. And again the language is so plain. You don’t have to have four seminary degrees to understand this. You just read it for what it says. All right, this is prophecy. This is Zechariah and he’s speaking of things to come.
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; (what does that mean? This is the Word of God, speaking through the prophet) It shall yet come to pass, (hasn’t happened yet, but it will) that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: 21. And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, (city) saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. 22. Yea, many people and strong nations (of the Gentile world) shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. 23. Thus saith, the LORD of hosts; In those days (when the Kingdom is set up and He’s ruling from Jerusalem) it shall come pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.”
Now to me that doesn’t sound like believing Gentiles. They’re seeking. But they know that these Jews have the answer. And so they’re going to respond to Israel’s presenting them to their Messiah. But Israel lost it. Israel dropped the ball when they rejected the Messiah and the King and the Kingdom and they will never have this opportunity. Now I do think the 144,000 will pick the ball up during the Tribulation and yet fulfill a lot of this as many, many will be saved through their preaching, but the nation as a whole, they’ve missed it.
And so coming back to John 3, now you see, Jesus can speak here in John 3 that “there will be no unbelievers going into the Kingdom.” He knew that. And so He lays it on Nicodemus that unless a person experience salvation that would bring him into a born-again relationship with God, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.
Now you see, even though this is the first time this kind of language is brought to pass in Scripture, these Old Testament saints had a salvation experience. Not like we do, but they still had to come out of darkness and into the light. They still had to experience a salvation by faith. But of course, there’s still a lot of questions in the Old Testament salvation makeup.
Years ago, a Jewish teacher’s widow was in one of my classes here in Oklahoma. And one night we were talking about the salvation of the Jew in the Old Testament. And I always maintain you can’t put your thumb on their salvation. And I’ve never found anybody that can. Maybe somebody out there thinks they can but I’ll refuse to believe it. It is just so hard to nail all these things down. It’s not cut and dried like it is for us today. But, they had to have some kind of a salvation experience, and it had to involve faith. (Hebrews 11:6)
So anyway, as the dear lady was leaving that night, I asked her, “What did your husband say about this?” And she said, “Les you’re not going to believe this – almost word for word what you said tonight, that you cannot put your thumb on it.” You just can’t identify how they came into a salvation and how they, whether they kept it or whether they lost it, we don’t know. But let me give you an example, that the Old Testament believers experienced a salvation, much as we do.
Go back to Isaiah, chapter 61. This is the prophet writing in his own experience. This is his testimony. Now don’t forget why I’m leaving John to come back here. I want you to see that the Old Testament Jew had a knowledge of a salvation. See, I may be wrong, but I think a lot of the Jewish people think that by virtue of the fact that they’re a member of the Jewish race, they are under the Jewish Covenants, that every Jew is automatically saved. Well, I just can’t quite see that from the Old Testament account, but be that as it may, here is Isaiah’s testimony.
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for (this is why) he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation,.…” Isaiah knew that he had salvation; he was a saved man. And salvation and saved are synonymous.
“…for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he (God) hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels.” That’s Isaiah’s testimony. He too had experienced a salvation. He had literally been born-again. But you don’t see the term in the Old Testament.
All right, so now if you’ll come back to John’s Gospel chapter 3, this was not a whole new concept for Jews’ necessity to be saved, but it’s a new terminology. You don’t see born-again, at least that I’m aware of, anywhere in the Old Testament. And as I spoke here a few weeks ago, you don’t see Paul use the word. You know that? Paul never uses the term born-again. Now he certainly refers to a new experience. He certainly teaches us to experience a change of lifestyle from darkness to light, and he speaks of being born from above, in Romans 8. But he never uses the term born-again. Don’t ask me why. I don’t know. But there must be a little bit of a difference in the modus operandi that God is using.
But back here in John chapter 3 now, Jesus does use the term with Nicodemus “that unless you’re born-again you cannot see the Kingdom of Heaven.” In other words, there’s no eternal life. Now verse 4, this is a tough statement for old Nicodemus. Now even a well-educated Jew like Nicodemus showed his ignorance, but you know what? He wasn’t any worse than most church people today. You talk about these things that I’m talking about this afternoon to the average church congregation, it goes right over their heads. Am I right? Sure, you’ve all experienced it. They don’t know what we’re talking about. Well, it’s not because they’re lacking brain cells. They’re just as smart as I am but, they’ve never taken the time to search the Scriptures. All right, Nicodemus is no different. Now look at his response.
“Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” Stupid question, wasn’t it? For an educated man? You mean I’ve got to go back into the mother’s womb and be born a second time? Ridiculous. But he was serious. Now look at Jesus’ answer.
“…Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born (now here come the same words that John used, that’s why I came up here now. Don’t lose me. I John says of the water and of the spirit. All right,) of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
Now what’s Jesus saying? Well now a lot of people, I suppose 90-some percent of Christendom say, “Well, that’s baptism.” No. That’s not baptism. All you mothers know that the birth of your child was what kind of a birth? Water! As a cow-man, I can tell you that preceding the birth of every calf there comes the bursted water. All right, so you take from this verse then, that you have to become a member of the human race (you have to be born into the human race) in order to be eligible for all this.
God’s not dealing with angels on this basis; He’s dealing with humans. Are you with me? All right, so unless you are born into the human race; unless you have experienced a physical water birth from a human mother and then be born of the Spirit (salvation birth), you can’t enter Heaven.
Now think about that for a minute. Logic. First and foremost you’ve got to become a what? A human being. As soon as you become a human being you are in line for an opportunity for eternal life in the presence of God. But you’ll never get there until the Holy Spirit does a work of convicting and opening your understanding, and bringing you to the place to believe it and then you become a child of God. That’s pretty simple isn’t it? Born into the human race in a water birth, a physical birth, and then born into the family of God by the work of the Holy Spirit. Now when you’ve got both of those together, hey, you’ve got it made for all eternity. Pretty good deal isn’t it? For all eternity! And that we can’t comprehend. I just can’t comprehend it.
So, how does this deal with I John? Let’s come back here again. Now, here’s where I’m sticking my neck out and I may have theologians just pulling their hair because I could not find a commentary that addressed it. And I suppose this is why. They’re afraid to commit themselves.
I John 5:6
“This is he (Jesus of Nazareth) that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.” Okay, what are we talking about? Well the same scenario. Before Jesus of Nazareth could become the “God – Man.” Or maybe we should put it the other way around. Before he could become the “Man – God” what did he have to become? Man. He became flesh. That’s what the Scripture says. He became flesh but He never stopped being God. Not even in the womb. He never lost His Deity. Now He laid aside the glory of it. And the three disciples got a glimpse of that on the Mount of Transfiguration. But He never stopped being Deity.
So when He was born of Mary, a water birth, he became what? Flesh. But on the other hand, when He was born of the Spirit, or of the blood (which you remember originated with the Father), now He became Deity. And what have we got? The “God – Man.” That’s the way I look at it and all of Scripture is pointing this out that the God of Glory, the God of Creation would one day take on human flesh – be born of the virgin.
And why is the virgin birth so fundamental to our faith? Because a human father could never have given rise to the divine, sinless blood of Christ. That blood had to originate with God the Father. And we know it did. And that’s why I blow people out of the saddle when I tell them that the mother’s blood never co-mingles with the baby’s. Never. That would have taken away His Divine purity. But Christ’s blood originated with the inception from the Father by way of the Holy Spirit. And so He’s totally God by virtue of His blood, which is from the Father – but He’s man by virtue of His birth from a human woman. Beautiful. And it all fits.
And so again, I have to answer the question that comes quite often, “Why, when Jesus was on earth, when He would pray, would He pray to the Father, if He was the Father?” Well you see, my answer was and is, “You’ve got to remember that when Jesus prayed from His humanity, He would pray to the Father.” Now when He was Deity, He didn’t have to pray to the Father. He didn’t ask God to give Him power to still the Sea of Galilee? Did He? No. He just simply stepped up on deck and spoke to the wind and in His Deity, everything happened. But on the other hand, when He was in His humanity and He was sweating drops of blood, from His humanity standpoint who does He cry out to? “The Father.” Now is that so hard to understand?
I know it takes a lot of faith. These things have to be taken by faith. That’s what the Word of God says. So here we have this “God-Man,” born of the human woman. Now I’d better go back and use Galatians chapter 4 verse 4 – and, oh, what a beautiful verse.
“But when the fullness of the time was come, God (not Joseph and Mary) sent forth his Son, (but what?) made of a woman, (so that He could become human) made under the law.” He came to the Nation of Israel and He lived under the Law. He ministered under the Law. But now, not just as the human man born of Mary, He’s also the God-Person who would be in a role of the King of Israel.
Now come back to Matthew chapter 1. Here we have a genealogy – and of such a pertinent makeup that this is where the scoffers of Scripture show their ignorance. They don’t catch this, evidently – how miraculously the genealogies of Christ are put together. The first one here, in Matthew, of course is the genealogy on Joseph’s side of the family tree. If time permits then we’ll look briefly at Luke chapter 3, which is genealogy on Mary’s side of the tree, because there are two family lines that come down from David.
“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” And that’s as far back as it goes. Or that’s where it begins, however you want to put it. At 2000 BC, halfway between Adam and Christ, comes Abraham. And this is where the genealogy now of Christ the King, Christ the Son of God, begins. Doesn’t start with Adam, but rather with Abraham. Okay, now as you’ll see when you come through here, this is the side of the family tree that includes Solomon in verse 6.
“And Jesse begat David the king;.…” Now those of you who have been with me ever so long, back in II Samuel 7, what does God promise David? That through David would come a “royal house” like you’ve got in Europe tonight. The House of Hapsburg, the House of Orange, the House of Windsor and so forth. All right, David would be the beginning, then, of the royal family bloodline, the House of David. That’s the blood side. Because that’s the side that determines His royal kingship.
Now I told you I’d run these two programs together and it looks like I’m going to have to. Now in Mary’s genealogy, which we’re going to pick up right away in the next program, you’ve got to turn to Luke chapter 3. We haven’t got time now in this program, it’s down to seconds, but we’ll open our next program with the other genealogy of Mary and it will go all the way back to Adam! What a difference.
(Transcriber note) Les got side-tracked and forgot to begin the next program with Luke chapter 3 (Mary’s genealogy) but does cover it before the last lesson is over.
Lesson Three • Part IV
Water and Blood
I John 5:1-7
Okay, now normally we don’t promote products. I did it once or twice before several months ago, but our book “Questions and Answers,” consists of eighty-eight questions – and the answers have been compiled by a gentleman out in Indiana using our past program materials. And it has just gone over tremendously with our television audience. We’ve sold thousands already. But the reason we wanted to remind people it’s available, is it will be in the bookstores. Christian bookstores are going to be selling it, and it’s a way we can reach people that are not in areas where we’re on television.
Okay, let’s continue on now for the rest of the afternoon where we were in I John chapter 5, and this half-hour I want to address the Triune God. As I mentioned in the last program we get so many questions in various concepts of the Trinity. “Was Jesus a part of the Trinity?” “Was He God?” “Was the Holy Spirit, God?” “Are they all equal?” “What about the Trinity?” So we’re going to take a look at that for this half-hour but let’s start off with I John chapter 5 verse 7.
I John 5:7
“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, (which according to John’s Gospel is God the Son) and the Holy Ghost: (Spirit) and these three are one.” Now, if you have a margin in your Bible, it will tell you that there are a lot of the ancient manuscripts that do not have this verse and so that raises a little bit of suspicion about the validity of it. But, nevertheless, it’s an appropriate subject. Is the Triune God what we claim it is and how can we show it from Scripture that we have all three as God.
Now the best place to start of course is Genesis, chapter 1. There are those today who are promoting the concept that the Holy Spirit is not a Person, and that He’s not a part of the Godhead. Well, I beg to differ. The Holy Spirit has been with our Bible from chapter 1 of Genesis, starting at verse 1.
“In the beginning (whenever it was) God created the heaven and the earth.”
Whenever I teach this verse, I always say, “Nobody knows when it was.” What difference does it make whether it was 6,000 years or 6,000,000 – that doesn’t make any difference to me. All the Bible says is that “In the beginning God….” The Triune God, that’s the word Elohim in the Hebrew and Elohim is a plural word. All right, so, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Verse 2.
“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. (In other words, it was covered with water. And now look at the last part of the verse) And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
That’s the Holy Spirit and so He was already there at Creation. Now we’ve studied other verses where it shows so plainly that God the Son called it into being, but nevertheless, I wanted to establish first right here in Genesis that the Holy Spirit was a Person of the Godhead. He is One of the Three.
All right, now let’s come all the way up to Exodus chapter 3. Now there again, have you ever noticed in Scripture how often the number 3 pops up? All the way through Scripture and even in life, even in our secular world. Three is a pretty common number. The whole game of baseball is based on what? Three strikes. Three outs. See? And many things. My wife is a nurse, especially when she was in a hospital that had a large maternity business, over and over, how many babies came at a time? In groups of three. It was just amazing how many times she’d come home and she said, “Well same thing, we had three babies in the last twenty-four hours!”
Well, it’s just one of those sidekicks, you know, that three is an intrinsic number. The very form of water is made up of 2 molecules of hydrogen and 1 molecule of oxygen. And a chicken egg – the shell, the yolk, the white. And I could just go on and on how many times three is an intrinsic number in Scripture and I think it all comes from the Triune God. I really do think there’s a connection.
All right, so now then in Exodus chapter 3, same way with Scripture in the Bible, that’s what made me think of it. Exodus chapter 3, Romans chapter 3, Ephesians chapter 3, those are all tremendous chapters. All right, now in Exodus chapter 3, then, we have Moses approaching the burning bush. And I think we may have looked at this in a previous program. And here he’s been on the backside of the desert now for almost forty years, herding sheep. And then one day he notices a bush on fire but it’s not burning, it’s not being consumed. And so he steps aside as he approaches that burning bush, because the Voice says:
“…Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. (here it comes) 6. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. 7. And the (what’s the word?) LORD (see? Now we’ve skipped from God to LORD just in a matter of a period) said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt,….”
And then you come all the way down through this to verse 12 or even verse 10, and we come back to the word “God.” Well, was this just haphazard writing? No. This is to show us that these Persons of the Godhead are synonymous and yet they’re acting as One; they’re separate personalities, and this particular One is going to be God the Son. Now we saw in Genesis chapter 1, God the Holy Spirit moving on the face of the deep. But here we’re dealing with God the Son. All right, come all the way down to verse 13.
“And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? (and how does God answer?) 14. And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. 15. And God said.…” That same personality in the burning bush, He’s God, He’s LORD, He’s I AM, all three.
All right, now then, let’s go all the way up to John’s Gospel, chapter 8 – you know where we’re going to go next. We’ve done it before and we’ll probably do it again. Here we have the earthly ministry. God the Son has taken on human flesh as we saw in the last program – in the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, made under the Law to fulfill the Old Testament promises of being the Messiah and the King of Israel.
All right, so now we’re in that earthly ministry when He’s presenting Himself to the nation as their promised Messiah, and especially the Pharisees, in their unbelief, did everything they could to snub Him, to try to embarrass Him. So let’s just drop in at verse 52.
“Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?”
All right then come on down to verse 56, just for sake of time, and Jesus responds with:
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” In other words, Abraham had an understanding, through faith, that this Son of God would one day be the Messiah and King and Redeemer of Israel. Now he certainly didn’t understand all the ramifications of the work of the cross; he couldn’t have. But he did understand that through the promises of these covenants, that out of him, would come a nation of people which would bring about this Messiah, the Son of God.
“Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, (well, of course not, He was only about thirty) and hast thou seen Abraham? (2,000 years ago?) 58. Jesus said unto them,.…”
Now here it comes. Remember what Exodus 3 said, “when the children of Israel ask my name, you tell them I AM hath sent me unto you.” All right, now here’s the answer to Who is the I AM? It’s God the Son. It’s Jesus of Nazareth as we know Him in the New Testament.
“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” He was the pre-eternal, pre-existent Son of God, right along with the Holy Spirit – and now we’ve got the third One, which One? The Father. All right, now let’s chase down a few verses on the Father. Come all the way back with me again to the Old Testament. Isaiah chapter 9, and we’ll drop in at verse 6. Now remember Isaiah was a Jewish prophet writing to the Nation of Israel, so the ‘us’ pertains to Israel.
“For unto us (the Nation of Israel) a child is born, (now this, of course, is prophecy leaping over to Bethlehem) unto us a son is given:.…” Now I tie that in with John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that (He what?) He gave….” Primarily to the Nation of Israel, in His earthly ministry. All right, and so He gave to the Nation of Israel Jesus the Christ, the Redeemer, the Messiah, the Son of God.
“…and the government (of this royal family and this King and the Kingdom over Israel,) shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called.…” Now here comes what was so intrinsic to Israel’s belief system – the name…and his name – when He’s King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and has set up His Kingdom and He’s ruling from Jerusalem.
“…his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The (what?) mighty God, (The Mighty Elohim!) The everlasting (what?) Father,.…” All names of Deity but it’s going to be epitomized in God the Son, the King. Now you know the Middle East is all ablaze with talk of peace. Oh, how they want peace. And I don’t blame them. Wouldn’t it be great, if both sides could go to bed some night and not have to worry about getting blown to bits.
But I don’t think it’s going to happen. I just don’t think they’re ever going to get any kind of peace in Jerusalem or the area of Palestine until the “false christ,” the anti-christ will come up with a short term pseudo-peace. And that, of course, will be after we’re gone in the Rapture, so we won’t see any of that anyway.
But, that’s the only peace that I can see coming to the Middle East and it’s only going to last 3 1/2 years. And then after the 3 1/2 years, again (excuse the expression), hell on earth will break loose. And it will bring in those final 3 1/2 years of wrath and vexation. And then when Christ returns and sets up His Kingdom, the Middle East and the world in general will finally have peace. Because that’s going to be the whole hallmark of that Kingdom. It’s Heaven on earth. It’s going to be peace on earth. But not until.
“Of the increase of his government (over this glorious Kingdom) and peace there shall be no end, (He’s going to rule from) upon the throne of David,.…” Which of course was on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. Now you remember a program or two back, we were in Zechariah and the Gentiles said to the Jew, “We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you. (Where?) In Jerusalem.” This is all tied together.
“…and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of the hosts will perform this.”
All right, now let’s just go ahead a chapter or two to chapter 11 and see again how the other Person of the Trinity is also going to be involved in this Glorious Kingdom, and that’ll be the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 11 now, we might as well start at verse 1.
“And there shall come forth (hasn’t come yet when Isaiah writes, but it’s in the future, prophecy.) a rod out of the stem of Jesse, (Jesse you remember was the father of King David, that royal family) and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:” (that’s God the Son.) A Branch. Capitalized. It’s another one of the terms for Christ in the Old Testament Now look at verse 2.
“And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,.…” In other words not only will He be the visible, physical King and ruler of Israel, but He will also have what? The Holy Spirit and all the seven attributes of the Spirit will be on this Branch, or God the Son.
“…the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;”
All right, now then as you come up through the Old Testament and we go on into the New again, I suppose I should stop a second and finish what I didn’t finish in the last program, which I wanted to do right up front. But we can do that in here because I’m going to be working up to Christ’s baptism anyway. Come up here to the New Testament now, and go over the Luke chapter 3. I should have done it at the beginning of the program. Just shows how human I am. Forgot all about it. I just happened to think I put this on the board during the break time that here we have David. Back in II Samuel is promised that out of him will come a royal family, a “house” and that’s why we call it the House of David.
Now at the end of our last half-hour we went to Matthew and we noticed that that genealogy coming out of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, jumping up to David and then following it on down in Matthew, that genealogy follows Solomon. And Solomon’s genealogy takes us down to Joseph, who is the ‘legal’ father of Jesus of Nazareth. Not the physical. The legal.
All right, then let’s go then, if you will, to Luke chapter 3 and we’re going to look at the physical side. And you remember I was tying it with blood and water. The side in Matthew is from the male side, this is the blood side, this is His Deity. Now we’re going to flip over to His humanity. His physical side. Luke chapter 3, starting at verse 23
“And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,” Now just to show you that this is a different family tree, I want you to come down to verse 31.
“…which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David,” Now you’ve got to remember this genealogy is going from Christ back. Now we’re coming all the way down through the time of Jesus, through the Kings of Israel, all the way back now to David. But before we get to David, who do you see? Nathan. That’s why I’ve got these two sons up here. Solomon, and these are both sons of Bathsheba remember. Solomon is in the lineage of Joseph and that genealogy only goes back to Abraham, when we have the beginning of the concept of the Nation of Israel and this spiritual King and Kingdom that’s coming on the earth. Now we’re over with Mary’s genealogy and it’s the physical. The flesh. The water. All right now, Nathan:
“…which was the son of David, 32. Which was the son of Jesse,.…” And you keep going back and back and back. Now you come all the way down to verse 37, we’re at Methuselah. All the way back in the genealogies.
“Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan, 38. Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, (and don’t forget Seth took the place of Abel) which was the son of Adam,….” (who came from God.)
All right, now do you see the difference in those two genealogies. The one only goes back to Abraham because that’s the beginning of the promises made to Israel concerning a King and the Kingdom. That’s His Deity side. Over here we go all the way back down through Nathan, but we go all the way to Adam. That’s His physical side. Born of the woman. Flesh. And so that’s why I can sit here and proclaim without apology that He was the “God – Man.” Born of water in the physical element but born of blood by virtue of His birth from God Himself.
Now I want to come back, and again looking at the three Persons of the Godhead, and we’ll go all the way up to Jesus’ baptism. Matthew chapter 3 and anytime somebody asks you to prove from Scripture that we have three Persons of the Godhead, this is one good place to start, here at Jesus’ baptism. Verse 15.
“And Jesus answering said unto him, (that is unto John the Baptist) Suffer (permit) it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness….” In other words, the whole program of God had to be consummated here with Christ’s earthly ministry that was just beginning. So John permitted him. Now here’s what I want you to see, verse 16.
“And Jesus, (Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Mary, the legal Son of Joseph, out of the line of David) when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the (what?) Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:” The same Spirit we saw in the Old Testament moving upon the face of the waters in Genesis 1, the same Spirit that comes upon the Branch in Isaiah chapter 11. The same Spirit of God that now makes His appearance “descending” on God the Son in the form of a “dove and lighting upon him.” And then here comes the third Person of the Triune God.
“And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Now there you’ve got all three Persons of the Triune God. All right now I’m going to give us one more before we run out of time. Now we’re going to come into Paul. And come all the way up to Ephesians, chapter 5, and we certainly know with all the reference that Paul makes to the Holy Spirit that He is a Person of the Godhead according to Paul’s writings. But now these are two terms that I like to tie together as well and we’re going to have to wind it down.
“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” Now there you have the Father and the Son. You have the Spirit evident throughout the rest of Paul’s epistles. And so without apology we can claim a Triune Godhead.