[ 685 ] Les Feldick [ Book 58 - Lesson 1 - Part 1 ] Calling God a Liar |a
[ 686 ] Les Feldick [ Book 58 - Lesson 1 - Part 2 ] Calling God a Liar |b
[ 687 ] Les Feldick [ Book 58 - Lesson 1 - Part 3 ] I John 5:8-18 |a
[ 688 ] Les Feldick [ Book 58 - Lesson 1 - Part 4 ] I John 5:8-18 |b
[ 689 ] Les Feldick [ Book 58 - Lesson 2 - Part 1 ] Love and Truth |a
[ 690 ] Les Feldick [ Book 58 - Lesson 2 - Part 2 ] Love and Truth |b
[ 691 ] Les Feldick [ Book 58 - Lesson 2 - Part 3 ] II John |a
[ 692 ] Les Feldick [ Book 58 - Lesson 2 - Part 4 ] III John |b
[ 693 ] Les Feldick [ Book 58 - Lesson 3 - Part 1 ] The Nation of Israel Must Be |a
[ 694 ] Les Feldick [ Book 58 - Lesson 3 - Part 2 ] The Nation of Israel Must Be |b
[ 695 ] Les Feldick [ Book 58 - Lesson 3 - Part 3 ] Jude |a
[ 696 ] Les Feldick [ Book 58 - Lesson 3 - Part 4 ] Jude |b
CALLING GOD A LIAR
I John 5:8–18
Again, we just want to invite our television audience to study the Word with us, we’re just an informal Bible study. I don’t claim to have all the answers. I don’t mind if someone disagrees if they can do it scripturally and rightly divide the Word. But hopefully we can just open the understanding of folks to search the Scriptures and compare Scripture with Scripture. That’s the way I find is the best way to teach it.
So, we’re presently in I John chapter 5 but we’ve just gone on some new stations again and a new network, and by the time these programs get on the air I’m sure we’ll have quite a few new listeners. And so I’m going to take a moment for their benefit to remind even the rest of us that these little Jewish epistles of James and Peter and John are just that – they are written to Jewish believes. And James makes it so plain that he’s writing to the Twelve Tribes. Well, now that’s Israel.
And Peter comes back and begins his little epistle by saying that he’s writing to those that are scattered abroad, which of course, would be a reference to the Jews. And John follows in that same format. So as we study these little Jewish epistles, they are still all under the Jewish economy. There is almost nothing of the Gospel of Grace we’re living in today. There is nothing in here that pertains to the Body of Christ as such but it’s all a continuation of the four gospel accounts.
In fact, so much as we’re going to see here in just a minute, that John writes in this little epistle almost word for word from the gospel of John, which just shows that nothing has changed so far as these three men are concerned. And I’m going to use some Scripture to back that up. But just remember that we’re continuing on the prophetic Scriptures coming out of the Old Testament that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah promised ever since David, especially, but all the way the back to Abraham and that if Israel would have accepted Him as their Redeemer, Messiah, and King He could have set up the Kingdom.
But of course that has now been set aside and what these writers are now looking for is it’s still out in front. They proclaim that Christ has been resurrected and ascended back to Glory, but He’s ready to return and that’s what Peter said in Acts chapter 3. “That if Israel would yet repent of having crucified their promised Messiah, God would still send Jesus Christ to set up the Kingdom.” But all of that is fading now because of Israel’s unbelief. But nevertheless, the thrust of these little epistles is to prepare Jews who had embraced Jesus of Nazareth and to prepare them for the coming horrors of the Tribulation. And if they could go through that they would see the Kingdom become a reality. Now of course, in retrospect, we can look back that all of that was put on hold when Israel refused to believe, and instead God raised up the Apostle Paul, the Gentiles’ apostle we are to receive our Church Age instructions from with that whole new economy of the Grace of God.
Now I’m going to show that to you before we go very much further. And maybe this is as good a time as any. Let’s go all the way back to Acts chapter 9. And this is what I call, the fork in the road. Now for those of you here, I know you’ve heard this not too long ago, but again like I said, for the sake of our new listeners, I want them to see where we are coming from on some of the remarks that we will make even this afternoon.
But here in Acts chapter 9, we have what I call the “fork in the road.” Everything has been Jewish up until now concerning who Jesus of Nazareth really was, and that they’d crucified Him. But God raised Him from the dead. Called Him back to Glory, but He could still return and fulfill the promises. But Israel isn’t buying it. So now then God does something different in chapter 9 He saves another Jew, the Apostle Paul, outside of the land of Israel.
Now I always like to make the point that Jesus chose the Twelve inside the borders of the land of Israel, the shores of Galilee and so on and so forth, but this man is commissioned outside the borders of Israel. He’s on Gentile territory up at Damascus and he is consequently then the Apostle of the Gentiles. (Romans 11:13)
All right, now if you’ve got Acts chapter 9 we’re going to look at verse 15 where God is talking to Ananias, one of those devout law keeping, believing Jews. Now when I say believing Jews at this time I’m talking about Jews who have embraced Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah, the Son of God. That’s what they’ve believed for salvation.
The rank and file of Israel has said “No way, nothing good can come out of Nazareth.” But this little remnant, this small percentage of Israel that have embraced Jesus of Nazareth, I’m calling the Jewish believers. And that’s all they are. They know nothing yet of salvation as it’s been revealed to the Apostle Paul for this Age of Grace, and what we must believe today for salvation.
All right, so the Lord is speaking to this Jewish believer, Ananias. Verse 15 of chapter 9.
“But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he (this Saul of Tarsus, that rank persecutor) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles,…”
My! That was unheard of in Israel. And if it was, they didn’t like the idea. And I always go back to Jonah for an example. Why in the world did Jonah go out on the Mediterranean rather than go to Ninevah? Well, Ninevah was Gentile. And a good Jew wouldn’t have anything to do with Gentiles, (Matthew 10:5-6) so he took a ship to get as far away as he could. That was a typical reaction of the Jew. And I could show you verse after verse even here in the book of Acts. For example go on over to chapter 11.
Now I didn’t intend to do this but I guess the Spirit is leading in this direction. This is always good for all of us. You can’t repeat it enough. And this is one thing that just sticks in the craw of most of Christendom that the Gentiles were not involved until Paul. They just can’t buy that, but here’s the Scripture. Acts 11:19 and this is long after even Pentecost and this is after Peter has been up to the house of Cornelius and so we’re probably at about seven or eight years after Pentecost and these Jews are still being scattered out of Jerusalem because of the persecution.
“Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen (Jews! Believing Jews) traveled as far as Phenice and Cyprus and Antioch, (now here it comes) preaching the word, to none but unto the Jews only.”
Well, now you’ve got to stop in places like this. And you just have to ask yourself, how much of the Word is out there at this time? Old Testament. There’s no New Testament written yet, eight years after Pentecost. So the only Word that these Jews had was the Old Testament, well that’s all they needed if they were preaching to Jews. But the last part of the word says what? “preaching the word, to none but Jews only.” Now that’s as plain as language can make it. They had no intention of going to Gentiles. So going to the Gentiles is left for the Apostle Paul, just exactly as God wanted, and you’ll never find Paul mixing Law and Grace in his epistles that he wrote.
All right now then, since we’re dealing with the Apostle Paul, I’ll take you to a statement that just shakes people up. Come on over to Romans a minute. Romans chapter 16 verse 25. Now this is what this Apostle of the Gentiles is going to be proclaiming to the whole world. Now of course, he was limited to a certain area of the Roman Empire, but nevertheless, it becomes a worldwide Gospel of salvation totally different than the prophetic program for Israel and now look what it says.
“Now to him that is of power to establish you (now remember he’s writing to Gentile believers in Rome) according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, (which was given to Paul. And this revelation of the mystery) which was kept secret since the ages began.”
Now I always have to slow down and help people to just soak that up. Where has this message been? Hidden in the mind of God. Nobody had the slightest hint that God would take this Gospel of salvation to the whole world and offer a salvation by faith plus nothing in what He had accomplished at the cross! That was unheard of.
All the Old Testament was speaking of was this coming Messiah and Redeemer of Israel. So if you wanted to put the Old Testament account into the same kind of language, you could say that Jesus and the Twelve preached Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the Prophetic Program. And that was: Faith in the Redeemer, Messiah and King. They were never told to have faith in the finished work of the cross as we must do today.
But Paul doesn’t say a word about the Messiahship. He doesn’t say a word about Christ being the King, but that He is the Head of the Body. He’s the Savior of mankind, that’s Paul’s language. All right, let’s just flip over and pick up another verse along that same line. Come on over to Ephesians chapter 3. Now remember this is still review of our introduction of James and Peter and John. And what we have to understand is that all of the Jewish program preached by Jesus and the Twelve was based on the Old Testament promises. (Romans 15:8) And those Old Testament promises were concerning a King and a Kingdom. Paul doesn’t mention that. He’s under a whole different format, see?
“That the Gentiles (see? The non-Jewish world) should be fellowheirs. and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ (that’s the epitome of everything for us today) by the gospel: 7. Whereof (that is this Gospel of salvation, according to the revelation of the mystery) I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me…”
Paul didn’t earn it because of his education or his position as a priest, or anything like that. No. It was given because of the grace of God to this rank persecutor.
“… given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, (he never forgot the misery that he brought into the believing element of Israel) is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles (not Israel, although Israel is going to have an opportunity, but it’s primarily to the Gentiles) the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9. And to make all men see (not just Israel) what is the fellowship of the mystery, which (now watch this carefully, especially for those of you out in television watching me for the first time) from the beginning of the world (that is the beginning of the human experience, so we can go back to Adam) hath been hid in God, (the same God) who created all things by Jesus Christ.”
Where has this glorious message been? Hidden! No one in the Old Testament economy had any idea that God was going to do this. All they understood was that God was going to bring in this glorious earthly Kingdom promised to Abraham and David and the rest of the Patriarchs and then Israel in turn could be a magnet that would bring them to a knowledge of their God. But Israel dropped the ball. Israel didn’t recognize their King and they crucified Him and God in turn, now turns to the Gentile world through this Apostle with this whole magnificent message of the Grace of God.
Well, let’s go back to I John chapter 5 and again kicking back into to where we began, that this is all written to Jewish believers and they were believing for salvation only that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah. They know nothing of this revelation of the mystery as yet. Now maybe I should back my argument a little stronger. Let’s just continue on proving why I’m saying what I’m saying.
Come back with me now a minute remember now what we’ve just seen that God is going to send Paul to the Gentiles and Jesus and Peter and the other eleven men have been dealing only with Jews. Jews only, just like Acts 11:19 said. But now come back with me if you will to Galatians chapter 2. Galatians chapter 2 and remember now this is 51 or 52 AD. Twenty-one or twenty-two years after Pentecost. About twelve years after Paul has begun his ministry among the Gentiles and Peter has already gone to the house of Cornelius. And yet, the Jerusalem Jewish believers are not convinced that Paul’s Gospel is the real thing. They just can’t buy the fact that these pagan Gentiles could be saved without becoming proselytes of Judaism.
And so they go in behind Paul’s back, and tell these Gentile converts of his, you can’t be saved unless you practice circumcision and keep the Mosaic Law. You can find that in Acts 15, as it’s as plain as day. So finally they had to come to a conclusion and settle this thing, and it’s ‘either’ ‘or’. It’s either Paul’s Gospel is right, or he has been misleading the Gentiles. And so they meet up in Jerusalem according to the Divine leading and here we have it now in Galatians chapter 2. Now I’m not going to take time to come through all of it, but I merely want to show that from this Jerusalem counsel Peter, James and John agree not to interfere with Paul’s ministry among the Gentiles, but instead they will stay with Israel. And this is paramount to our understanding all these things.
And here it is. Galatians 2 verse 9, after the argument had been settled between Paul and Peter, James and John, here’s their conclusion.
“And when James, and Peter, and John, (all three of them) who seemed to be pillars, (that is of the Jerusalem church) perceived (or understood) the grace that was given unto me, they (Peter, James and John) gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; (And here’s what they shook hands on.) that we would go to the heathen, (Gentiles,) and they would go to the circumcision (Israel.)”
I call that the gentlemen’s agreement. And they never abrogated that. So consequently with that agreement in mind are these little Jewish epistles written.
Now it’s interesting that by the time we come to the end of all this and Paul and Peter are both about to be martyred and within a couple of years the Temple will be destroyed, burned to the ground and Israel uprooted out of Jerusalem and the Promised Land and scattered into the ends of the earth; it follows then that the Jewish program is going to disappear. The Temple is gone. The priesthood is gone. They’ve got nothing left to stand on, so what remains? The Gospel of Grace. Paul’s Gospel of Grace is all that’s left.
Now see how Peter by inspiration comes to that point. II Peter chapter 3 and this is an amazing statement. Of course, it’s Holy Spirit inspired. We never take that away from one word of Scripture. But nevertheless, as these men wrote, their own personality certainly comes through. II Peter 3 starting with verse 15 and this is so crucial to understanding this separating Paul from the rest of the Jewish economy until the Jewish program disappears completely. And the Holy Spirit prompting Peter to recognize that fact, this is what he says.
II Peter 3:15a
“And account (understand) that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation;…”
Now you know whenever I teach this verse what am I always saying? This whole Book from Genesis to the end of Revelation is primarily concerned with bringing lost people to a point of salvation. That’s the whole heart of God in everything, is to bring lost people to a place of salvation. See? All right, so here Peter is saying the same thing. “the longsuffering, the patience, the Grace of our Lord is salvation.” Now watch it!
II Peter 3:15b
“…even as our beloved brother Paul…”
Now I’m going to stop a second. Do you know that most of Christendom and whenever some of our listeners go into their respective pastors and try to point out what I’ve been teaching, they get real upset, and say “There’s never been any difference between what Paul and Peter preached. They preached the same thing.” Well now let me beg to differ.
Do you ever up until right here see Peter make any kind of a condescension or a statement of compromise with the Apostle Paul. I don’t know of a single instance until here. There has never been an instance that Peter, James and John recommend the Jewish people listen to or read Paul. But at the end of it all, when there’s now no more hope for Israel – two years, the Temple is going to be gone. Jerusalem is going to be wiped off and the people are scattered. Now look what Peter says,
II Peter 3:15b
“…even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom (what’s the wisdom? The revelation of the mysteries. And according to those mysteries that have been revealed unto him) given unto him hath written unto you;”
Peter says, “That’s where you have to go now. Our ministry is coming to an end, but you go to Paul.” Now verse 16.
II Peter 3:16a
“As also in all his epistles,…”
Not just in Hebrews, which I think he’s referring to in 15. Not just Hebrews. But now you go to all his epistles, even though their written to Gentiles, you Jews have to go to Paul’s epistles to find salvation, because that’s where it’s at today.
II Peter 3:16
“As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, (we’ve commented on that a hundred times, haven’t we? Poor old Peter just couldn’t catch it all) which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest (or twist. My they’re doing it today like never before) as they do also the other scriptures unto their own destruction.”
And what does Galatians 1:6-9 tell us? “Even if it’s an angel from heaven, preach and twist Paul’s Gospel of salvation, to mean something else there’s only one future for them and that’s anathema. Condemnation.”
So here we have it from the pen of the Apostle Peter himself that the day would come when every Jew that wants to be saved is going to also have to go back to Paul’s Gospel, and that day is even as we speak.
All right, now in the few moments we have left, let’s go back, maybe we can make one verse of headway anyway in I John chapter 5, I didn’t intend to use this whole lesson just for review. See, now that’s why I have to tell Laura, my daughter, right off the bat, I never know where I’m going to end up after these four lessons are finished. All right, I John chapter 5, we covered verse 8 in our last program, but we’ll read it.
I John 5:8a
“And these three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, (the Holy Spirit,) and the water, (now remember we covered all that last week, that referred to His physical birth) and the blood:…”
His Divine aspect. He was the God-man. And I can’t emphasize that enough. He was totally human. He got hungry. He got tired. He suffered. But on the other hand, He was totally God. He could raise the dead. He could forgive sin. He could still the wind. And as God, He could just be God! From His human side, He would pray to the Father, as any other human. And so you always have to keep these things in perspective. So here they’re all reviewed. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. All right, now then, verse 9.
I John 5:9a
“If we receive the witness of men, (we take them at their word,) the witness of God is greater:…”
Men can lie. But can God? No. God cannot lie. He cannot even tell a half-truth. It’s beyond His nature.
I John 5:9b-10
“…for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record (that is the written record) that God gave of his Son.”
Well, I shouldn’t have even started this verse without having a full thirty minutes, but nevertheless we’ll take just a little bit of comparison now. Remember the first part of verse 10 “he that believeth on the Son of God has witness in himself.”
Now let’s come back to John’s Gospel, like I said it’s so much, almost identically word for word. Come back with me now to John’s Gospel chapter 3, and if this isn’t almost the same thing that you saw in I John. Let’s start with verse 17. I was going to read 16, but you all know that so we’ll just take these few seconds to go to 17.
“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but the world through him might be saved. 18. He that believeth on him (on the Son) 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.”
That’s the Gospel of salvation according to John, and we can’t use it by itself in this Age of Grace. Today we must also use the finished work of the cross as we see in Paul’s I Corinthians 15:1-4.
Lesson One * Part II
CALLING GOD A LIAR
I John 5:8–18
Okay, it’s good to have everybody back after a coffee break and we’re ready to jump right back in where we left off. That’ll be in I John chapter 5. And for those of you joining us on television, I just have to take a minute to thank you from the depths of our heart, we just came up with our yearend report and my, the Lord has been good! We have been so blessed. And we’ve been taking on more stations and everything and it’s because of you folks who are willing to give. You know I never ask for a dime. We’re not underwritten. People can’t understand it. I just had a call a while back, “Just where do you get money to be on television?” And the answer is always the same. “From God’s people.” My, how faithful you are.
Okay, now like we said at the beginning of the last program, we are teaching these little Jewish epistles from that perspective that they were written to Jewish believers, in view of the horrors of the Tribulation just out in front of them and so these are epistles to encourage them. And the language is almost identical with that of Christ’s earthly ministry and the four gospels account and the early chapters of Acts.
Salvation for these Jewish believers was by simply believing – plus of course, all the rest of the Judaism requirement – but the Jewish believers had believed for salvation that Jesus was the Christ. Period. And as I’ve said over and over while we’ve been teaching these, you don’t see one word about salvation through faith in His death, burial and resurrection. It’s only believing who Jesus is and was. No mention of the Body of Christ. No Age of Grace language in any of this that we see in Paul’s epistles. That was an unknown term to these Jewish believers.
All right, so now we come into I John chapter 5 and verse 10 where we ended our last program, and it’s the same kind of language as John’s gospel account.
I John 5:10a
“He that believeth on the Son of God (that’s a perfect parallel with John 3:16) hath the witness in himself: (but the other side of the coin, the flipside) he that believeth not God hath made him (God) a liar; ”
Now that’s the way that has to be read. “He that believeth not God makes God a liar.” Now, just stop and think a minute. If I were to tell you something that I know is as truthful as truthful can possibly be, and you turn right around and tell me, “I don’t believe it.” What could you just as well call me? A liar. You would just simply say, “Les, you’re a liar.” Well, that’s what every unbeliever is doing with the Almighty God. And God cannot lie! Consequently it is the one and only sin that will put men and women into the Lake of Fire. Unbelief! Calling God a liar.
Now there is one primary example that is used all through Scripture to drive home the point of what happens when mankind will not believe God. And it’s Kadesh-barnea. All right, when Israel had just received the Temple worship, in the form of the little tent, and they’ve now got the priesthood and they’re ready for the Promised Land. But, even before they get out of Egypt, this is what God promises them concerning the future time of going to the Promised Land.
Now you know as we’ve been studying Isaiah in one of our Oklahoma classes and you know I even get to the place myself where I just love to just hammer home some things, for my own benefit because that’s the only way we retain it. See, that’s what brain washers do. They just hammer something home so that it never can slip out again. All right, so I’m hammering home in the book of Isaiah – in fact I’ve got some of my Tahlequah people here – that all through the book you have the promises of God, but those promises all concern the future and so then we call it what? Prophecy. Promises and prophecy.
All right, here’s a good example back here in Exodus now chapter 23. They’re going to be heading for the Promised Land that was promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob some 400 years earlier. All right now look what God says to Moses, Exodus chapter 23, let’s start at verse 20.
“Behold, I send an Angel (now that’s capitalized so it’s the Angel of the LORD, which is God the Son) before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have (what?) prepared.”
God’s gotten it all ready! And you know how long He’s been working on it? Four hundred years! That’s a long time to get some real estate ready, isn’t it? Now that’s the way I like to look at Glory, my goodness, God is working in all eternity to get Heaven prepared for you and I. No wonder it’s going to be glorious!
But, all right, here’s God is telling Moses that they’re getting ready to go to the place that He has been preparing for them for the last 400 years. All right, read on, verse 21.
“Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him. (That is the Angel of the Lord.) 22. But, if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thy enemies, and an adversary unto thy adversaries. 23. For mine Angel…”
Capitalized again, the Angel of the Lord. And Jacob puts another definition on it in Genesis 48 – “The Angel of the LORD who redeemed me.” How many Redeemers in Scripture? One! So it has to be the Son of God that is the Redeemer, the Angel.
“…shall go before me to bring thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.”
In other words, God’s going to move them out with hornets. Then the voice of warning,
“Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. 25. And ye shall serve the LORD your God, (that is when they would get into the Promised Land now, don’t forget what we’re talking about) and he shall bless thy bread and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee; 26. There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: The number of thy days I will fulfil.”
Now what are all these? Promises. Right now? No. A little ways out into the future, so then it becomes a what? Prophecy. Promise and prophecy.
“I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, I will make all thy enemies turn their backs to thee.”
Now you don’t fight with your back to the enemy, or you’re running. Right? All right, so that’s where he’s got the Canaanite tribe with their back to the Israelites, they’re running. How’s he going to get them to run? The next verse. God says:
“And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite and the Hittite, from before thee. 29. I will not drive them out from before thee in one year ; lest the land become desolate,…”
In other words, He’s not going to drive them out so fast that before the Jews have time to come in and become settled and start taking over the farmland and the vineyards and the pastures and everything, He’s going to do it slow enough so that nothing falls out of production. Nothing. The land is just going to remain in production. What a promise!
“By little and little I will drive them out before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.”
What a promise! God’s been working 400 years to get this ready, well who’s been His workmen? The Canaanites! The Canaanites are building, you know, they thought for themselves. No they weren’t building it for themselves, in God’s providence they were getting it ready for the Jews. So it’s prophecy. It’s a promise. Verse 31.
“And I will set thy bounds (or your borders) from the Red Sea even to the sea of the Philistines, (which is the Mediterranean) and from the desert to the river: (that is the River Euphrates) for I will (there’s the promise) delivery the inhabitants (there’s the prophecy) into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee. 32. Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. 33. They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods it would surely be a snare unto thee”
All right, now there’s the promises and the prophecies spoken by God Himself. All right, now let’s just go ahead a little way to Numbers. Numbers chapter 13, now God is ready to bring the prophecy into fulfillment. He’s got them at the gateway to Canaan, Kadesh-barnea. Everything is ready. They’ve now got the Tabernacle. They’ve got the priesthood. Everything is ready for the Nation to go in and enjoy the Sabbath rest. It would be light work, it would be tremendous production, it would literally be almost Heaven on earth. That’s the promise and now the prophecy is ready to unfold.
Now come into chapter 13 and let’s just drop in at verse 27. And I’ve always made the point you know that sending in the spies was not God’s idea, that was Israel’s. God said, “go in and take it.” But Israel said, “oh, let’s first send spies.” Well that was their first step down in unbelief. But God permits it. You know God has a directive will, I think, and He has a permissive will. Sad to say, most of us end up in the permissive. But, the directive will was “go on in.” The permissive will was “okay, send in your spies.” So here they come.
“And they (the spies) told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.”
And you all have seen pictures of them carrying the grapes and so forth.
“Nevertheless, the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. (a giant type people.) 29. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: the Hittites, the Jebusites, the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.”
Well that didn’t surprise God! He knew where they were and He told the Jews that He’d drive them out. Now verse 30.
“And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. 31. But, the men that went up him said, we be not able to go up against the people: for they are stronger than we. 32. And they brought up an evil report of the land, which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; (what a falsehood.) and all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature. 33. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which came from the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”
What are they forgetting? The promises of God! They are spurning the Word of God. Now when you spurn the Word of God, what are you guilty of ? Unbelief. Unbelief! All right, next chapter just for a little bit before we move on.
“And all the congregation (the whole Nation of Israel) lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. 2. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses, and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, “Would to God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God that we had died in the wilderness! 3. And wherefore hath the LORD brought us into this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey?”
What have they forgotten? What God said! Unbelief. And this experience of unbelief is referred to all the way up through Scripture. I think it’s probably referred to as often as any one thing that I can think of, but we’ll just come all the way up to Hebrews chapter 3 now. The horrors of unbelief. And what makes it so horrific, is that when mankind says, I don’t believe what God said, they’re calling Him a liar! The Righteous, Holy, Majesty of the Godhead, that cannot lie and mankind has the voracity to say, ‘you lied.’ No, God can’t lie.
God meant it when He said, “I’ll drive them out with hornets” They wouldn’t have lost a drop of blood. They could have had that tremendous land of production, if they would have just gone in taking God at His Word by faith. But instead – unbelief. All right, Hebrews chapter 3, this is one of the final places that this is referred to. Let’s drop in at verse 8.
“Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, (that’s at Kadesh-barnea) in the day of temptation (or testing) in the wilderness: 9. When your fathers (now remember Hebrews is written to Hebrews, so this is a reference to Israel) tempted me, and proved me, and saw my works for forty years.”
In other words, as a result of their turning away from Canaan, they went back into the wilderness you remember for forty years, until they all died like flies.
“Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. (They couldn’t believe what He said.) 11. So (God says) I sware in my wrath, (because of their unbelief) They shall not enter into my rest.”
In other words God says, “If they can’t believe me, they’re not going to enjoy the fruits of 400 years of preparation.” Verse 12.
“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of (what?) unbelief,…” The most vile sin I think that a man can commit against our Holy, Creator God – to call Him a liar. And that’s what we do when we don’t believe. All right, read on, verse 12 again.
“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. (and that’s the masses. They refuse to believe what God has said) 13. But, exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; (while you still have this opportunity) lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end; 15. While it is said, To day if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. 16. For some, when they had heard, did provoke; howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17. But with whom was he (that is God) grieved forty years? (while they died in result of their unbelief?) was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?
Now I have to stop a minute. What horrible thing took place in Israel’s history probably a matter of weeks before Kadesh-barnea? The Golden Calf. The Golden Calf, and it wasn’t just a golden calf, it was their behavior. What did they do? They went into gross pagan religious rites, including all the immorality that was associated with it and yes, I think God put to death something like twenty-one or twenty-two thousand of them in judgment, but nevertheless, the Nation as a whole survived all that. And they come up to Kadesh-barnea. But God isn’t talking about the Golden Calf and the horrors around it. What’s He talking about? That they couldn’t believe to go in and take Canaan. Isn’t that something?
Now I can understand where He would have controversy with the people over their laxness and their immorality and their going back in to pagan worship of a golden calf, but no, God’s put that behind them. He’s not bringing that up to them. That’s gone. But now what are they guilty of? Pure unbelief. I don’t care God if you did say it, we can’t do it.
“And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, (which was the Promised Land) but to them that (committed adultery? To them that worshipped the calf? To them that did this or that or any other thing? No. To them that what?) believed not?”
Oh it’s awful! I can’t make it strong enough that when mankind calls God a liar, he is opening the gates of hellfire. Now that’s all there is to it. And it’s so simple to believe, knowing that with God nothing is impossible. But oh, we’re all human, we’re so prone to unbelief, so then verse 19 says it all.
“So they could not enter in (that is to the Land of Promise, which is of course a picture of Heaven itself in symbolism) because of (what?) unbelief.”
And so it will ever be. You cannot attain eternal life anything short of faith and faith alone! Today that eternal life is obtained, by simply believing in your heart for salvation that Jesus died for your sins, was buried and rose again. Plus Nothing! (I Corinthians 15:1-4)
All right, now let’s come back to I John, chapter 5 again, now verse 11.
I John 5:11
“And this is the record, (set in stone) that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”
Now as I was preparing for this, the last few days, I’ve been trying to find how, for comparison’s sake, Paul refers to this whole idea that when we’re saved by Grace, we too, step into an eternal life existence. In other words, we will never, never die. Well, I can’t find the exact language as it is here in John’s little epistle but certainly we have all of the symbolic statements that tell us the same thing from Paul’s epistles.
I’m going to bring you back a moment to Romans chapter 8. Romans chapter 8 just like I told you several weeks ago, Paul never uses the term “born again.” He just does not say, “born again” in so many words, but the implication is that when we’re saved, we have a new birth, we are “born from above” as he says here in Romans 8 and we become the children of God by virtue of a new birth. But he doesn’t use the exact language. Well the same way with eternal life. I can’t find where Paul says that we step into eternal life. But all at all these references that mean the same thing.
“The Spirit (the Holy Spirit) itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are (not hope to be, but rather we are) the children (or here’s the term, the born ones) of God:”
That’s what the Greek really means, that we are the “born ones” of God, we’re born from above.
“And if children, (if we’re born from above) then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
Now verse 18, what a promise from the pen of the Apostle Paul for us Grace Age believers!
“For I reckon that the suffering of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Now you want to remember there was far more persecution in Paul’s day than what you and I can imagine here in America. Now there are other areas of the world, of course they know what he’s talking about, but so far we’ve been blessed in America that we’ve
been avoiding persecution. The Glory that’s awaiting us! And then he goes on to give us the picture of what’s going to take place when we finally receive our new resurrected body.
All right, now let’s stay in Romans chapter 8 and come on over to verse 35. Goodness, our time’s just about gone. Now I’ve got to hurry. Now remember what I’m trying to say, that Paul is showing us without saying it just like John did that we have eternal life, yet we do. All right, verse 35.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword? 36. As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter, (the world thinks nothing of us. You know that.) 37. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors though him that loved us. 38. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come. (Nothing! Nothing!) 39. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other of creation, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We are secure for all eternity! We’re ‘in Christ. Now if I had time I wanted to go to Colossians chapter 3 where he says, we’re what? “We’re hid in Christ in God.” Who can touch us? Nobody!
Lesson One * Part III
CALLING GOD A LIAR
I JOHN 5:8–18
My goodness, how many folks are telling us for the first time they’re understanding the Bible and they’re enjoying it and simply because they suddenly understand that what is written to Israel is for Israel; what’s written for the Church is for the Church. And even though it’s all under the same God, yet it’s two totally different scenarios. And that’s why there’s so much confusion. Many think the Church is Israel, and Israel is the Church. But if the Word is rightly divided as Paul tells us to do, then just leave the Scriptures where they are. You don’t have to move them around to make them fit.
An easy way to do that is always remember the risen Lord chose Paul to be the Apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13) and gave him the administration or dispensation of Grace from him to us, the Body of Christ. (Ephesians 3:2) So Paul’s epistles are our instructions in this age of Grace for our doctrine, and Christian living in general.
You know I’ve used the illustration over and over and the other day somebody sent me a little booklet where somebody used almost the same kind of an illustration, but I use the one that a fellow came up and used on me one night, years ago. He said, “all my life all they’ve ever done with the Scriptures is throw it into a blender (now this is symbolism, of course) they throw it into a blender, turn it up on high, ladle it out and then we wonder why I get sick to my stomach.”
Well of course, what he is simply saying is that all everybody does is mix everything together. They never sort out the differences, and it gives you Spiritual indigestion. You just can’t handle it. And so this is the whole secret of, I think, our teaching ministry is to show the difference between God’s dealing with Israel through Christ’s ministry and the Twelve, and then sending the other apostle, the Apostle of the Gentiles, the Apostle of Grace, the Apostle Paul to the Gentile world with this glorious Gospel of Grace.
All right, for months now we’ve been here in these little Jewish epistles here at the back of your Bible, so I always point out how Jewish this is and then compare it with what Paul says in our present day. All right, now here’s another good example. We’re in I John chapter 5 verse 11.
I John 5:11
“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”
Well, I don’t have to turn back, you all know John 3:16. That’s back in the Jewish economy remember? John is part and parcel of the four gospels. And like someone just shared with me a minute ago, they shared it with someone, “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.” Well and good. But it there anything pertaining to the cross? Is there anything pertaining to His death, burial and resurrection? No. It’s still the approach to Israel that they had to believe for their salvation who Jesus of Nazareth was. He was the Son of God.
All right, now let’s go back and pick this up in, like we’ve done before, but the Scripture repeats and repeats and repeats and so I’ll do the same thing. Over and over the Scripture will repeat things and they are the Divine author, and if they do it, then certainly I can use that as a reason for doing it as well. Come back again to Matthew 16, because I have to show you that this has been the message from the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry. As He labors up and down the highways and byways of the little land of Israel, this was the message and His miracles and signs and wonders were proving it – that He was who He said He was.
“When Jesus came into the coast (borders) of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples (the Twelve) saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?’ 14. And they said….”
Now I always have to repeat this. Amazing! That after all the signs and wonders and miracles, all in fulfillment of the Old Testament promises and prophecies, they still didn’t get it. They just didn’t get it. And here’s what they thought.
“…”Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elijah; and other, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. 15. He (Jesus) saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16. And Simon Peter answered and said, (here it is now, watch this) Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (who will die for me and be raised from the dead? No. It doesn’t say that!)
Well, when people tell “that Peter preached the same salvation message that Paul did,” you see I have to differ with them, because Peter would have had to include “That Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and rose again,” as we see in Paul’s Gospel of salvation in I Corinthians 15:1-4, and he doesn’t.
All Peter knows is who Jesus was. Just exactly like John says in his epistle. If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, those Jews had eternal life. But I maintain that’s not sufficient today. You don’t get saved by simply believing who Jesus was, you have to go on now to the rest of God’s eternal purposes and that’s what? He died for sins. His blood was shed. He was buried. He arose from the dead, in power and victory and glory and we believe it! And when we believe that in our heart, for our salvation, then God responds by giving us what? Eternal life.
In fact, I said in the last lesson that I couldn’t find eternal life in Paul’s epistles. That’s why I like these breaks, see what I miss these guys at break time straighten me out. And there was one, in I Timothy 6 verse 12 and we’ll look at it after a bit, where Paul does say, “hang on to eternal life.” But here we have the whole scope of the Jewish Gospel of salvation, and that was they were to believe that Jesus was the fulfillment of all the Old Testament promises and that He was that Son of God, the Messiah.
Now again, I always like to use these as much as I can. Come up with me to John’s Gospel chapter 11, and we’re at the death of Lazarus. Now we touched on all these in previous programs, I know that. But we’re merely repeating for emphasis, and let’s just jump up into verse 23 where Martha is complaining that Jesus wasn’t there to heal Lazarus when he was sick. But now in verse 23, Jesus says to Martha:
“…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 whosever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”
Well that’s right in accord with what John has been writing. He doesn’t say anything about faith in His death, burial and resurrection for salvation. Oh, He intimates that He has the power of resurrection but He’s not attaching that to Martha’s faith. But now look at her response.
“She saith unto him, yea Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” (Period)
Not a word about his death on the cross. Not a word about the power of resurrection. And it wasn’t expected. You know, I’m always making the point and I have to use Scripture to make my point. Come up with me to Romans chapter 10, and this whole idea of faith and believing and trusting is based on what God has said, as we saw in the last program. What did God tell Israel? I’ll drive the Canaanites out. All you have to do is walk in and occupy it. He said it. What was Israel to do? Believe it! But did they? No. And so they were under the anathema of unbelief. Look at what Paul says here in Romans. This is the process.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, (or that Jesus is Lord) and shall believe in thy heart that God hath raised him from the dead, (now I know it doesn’t say that He died, but certainly in order to be raised from the dead, what’s implied? He died. Right?) thou shalt be saved.”
Any strings attached? Not a one! Now here’s why in verse 10.
“For with the heart, (not head knowledge, but rather heart knowledge) man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Now I always say it this way. If you’re saved, you can’t keep it to yourself. You’re going to tell somebody. All right, and that’s all this verse means. I do not see that this says you have to get up in front of a congregation of two-three hundred people and give your testimony. That’s not what it means. It merely means that if you’re truly saved, you’re going to be ready to tell others. Now reading on.
“For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.”
Now you’ve got to remember. Now I’ve got to backtrack a minute. When this Jewish program, of which we’re studying basically now from the little Jewish epistles, when it comes to the place where God finally drops the gate on it because God knows that in a year or two the Temple is going, and that destroys the practitioning of Judaism. The priesthood will disappear. Israel is going to be out of the land, all right, so it stands to reason that God drops the gate on that Jewish plan of salvation, which we call the Gospel of the Kingdom, and that was for their salvation they had to believe who Jesus was.
So, as soon as the gate drops on that, where does that put every Jew? In the same place that we are. There is no difference. A Jew today can be saved, but must be saved on the same basis that we are. He cannot take any shortcuts because he’s a Jew. He does not have any guarantees because he’s a Jew because now in this Age of Grace, there is no difference. And a Jew that’s saved today comes right into the Body of Christ with the rest of us, because Paul writes in Galatians “that in the Body of Christ there is no Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, and so on and so forth, we’re all one.”
” For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
That is recognizing His death, burial and resurrection remember, and faith in that shall be saved! All right, but now the point I’m making is, what does God have to do before we can believe it? Read on.
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him in whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? (or the Greek word is proclaimer) 15. And how shall they preach (proclaim) except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach (or proclaim) the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16. But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?”
For even way back 700 years before Christ. Now verse 17, this is where I wanted to come to.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing (cometh) by the word of God.”
So my question is. Can you believe something that God has never spoken? Can you believe something that God has never said? No! Impossible. So if God hasn’t said it, He can’t require mankind to believe it. But on the other hand, as soon as God says it and declares it, now with all of his eternal righteousness, what can He demand? Believe it! And as we saw in the last program, when mankind says, I don’t believe, I won’t believe, then whether they know it or not, they’re calling God a liar. And they’re going to suffer the consequences.
You know when people will sometimes call and say well I’ve got a friend who is all upset, and they ask the question: “How can a God of love send people to such a horrible doom?” Well you see, that’s really an ignorant question. That’s ignorance personified. Because if they just understood all that Christ suffered and all that He did in the power of who He was for our salvation and then comes back and says all I’m asking you to do is believe it, is that asking too much? I don’t think so. And consequently He has every right in all of eternity to do with those unbelievers as He sees fit. So don’t ever accuse God of being unfair.
All right, but the whole crux of the matter is that when God has spoken it then we are expected to believe it. Well in the early moments of our first program this afternoon, we showed you that this Gospel of salvation that Paul proclaims was kept hidden. Now then, if it was hidden could anybody be saved by believing it? No. It hadn’t been revealed.
You know I’ve always used for a long time Deuteronomy 29:29. Man, it’s been so long since we’ve used it I don’t even know if I remember it myself. But I think if I’m right it goes like this. “For the secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us…”
And when they’re revealed then we’re to believe it, and that’s exactly the process. God kept this glorious Gospel of Grace secret. Had never been revealed through the prophets. Jesus never revealed it in His earthly ministry. Peter knew nothing of it in the book of Acts. But when the Apostle Paul was separated and sent out into the desert and received these mysteries, now it’s to be believed for salvation.
It has now been proclaimed — let’s see how Paul puts it in his own language. Come back with me to Romans chapter 3, and see what a difference from what we see in Peter, James and John. Because this is a whole new revelation of things that had been kept secret. Let’s pickup with verse 24. These are verses you don’t see routinely. These are verses most people just haven’t any idea are in their Bible. But here it is, black and white.
“Being justified freely by his grace…”
Now see in Galatians, Paul would put it, “not by works of righteousness, what we have done, but it’s by God’s Grace”
“…through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 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:”
We used these verses in I think our last set of programs, that “God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His (what?) blood!” Now you don’t see any reference to that in Peter’s confession of faith. You don’t see any reference to the blood in Martha’s confession. Now John does make one reference in I John when he says that “the blood of Jesus cleanseth us from all sin.” But, not in the same vein that Paul does, see? Now verse 26.
“To declare, I say, at this time, his righteousness: that he (that is the God of verse 25) might be just, (He’s not going to cut any corners. He’s not going to compromise His holiness) and the justifier of him which believeth…”
And what do we believe? What God had revealed. And what has God revealed? When Christ finished the work of the cross, everything was done that needed to be done and now we believe it and we have eternal life! Absolutely, we have eternal life.
All right, now then, let’s come on over to I Corinthians. Haven’t used that for a few weeks. I Corinthians chapter 15, my it just thrills us when we travel through the country and we come to places and in one way or another, we see that I Corinthians 15: 1-4 just pop up. I’m thinking of a home in Indiana where they’ve got it painted on little rocks along their front walkway – I Corinthians 15: 1 through 4. Well, they haven’t got enough rocks to put the whole verse but at least the reference is there. And this is what they’re referring to. The Gospel of salvation that we must believe for eternal life.
I Corinthians 15:1-2
“Moreover, brethren, (Paul is writing to believers) I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also you received and wherein you stand; 2. By which also you are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless you believed in vain.”
Now that just simply means, you have to know what you believe. You don’t just say, well, I believe. You believe what the Lord has revealed and that is the work of the cross. Now verse 3. Here again Paul makes this kind of language because it’s a revelation of things that had been kept secret and so he and he alone can give us this kind of language.
I Corinthians 15:3
“For I (and he’s not an egotist. Don’t ever accuse the Apostle Paul of being an egotist. He is always if anything, putting himself down. But the Holy Spirit is the inspirer here and the Spirit through the Apostle Paul causes him to write,) I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, (well what did he receive? Things kept secret for thousands of years! Things that the Old Testament knew nothing of. And what is it?) how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;”
But it was in such veiled language no Old Testament patriarch could figure out what it was. You know several weeks ago I used those verses in Peter where Peter says they what? “They searched diligently.” But they couldn’t figure it out. They knew there was something associated with all this, but they couldn’t figure it out. But when the Lord revealed it to the Apostle Paul as a revelation of a mystery kept secret since the ages began, here it is.
I Corinthians 15:3b-4
“…how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
Now that’s our Gospel of salvation! That’s it! We have eternal life for believing that! And class, that goes way beyond John 3:16. Now I love John 3:16 as much as anybody, I remember using it the very first time sitting on the steps of the old barracks after basic training and I shared John 3:16 with a fellow. But it didn’t get the job done. It was years later that he finally came to the place of believing. Forty-some years to be exact. But nevertheless, here is the fulfillment of things that had been kept secret.
All right, now then, let’s go back to I John again, and see if we can make a little headway. But on the way, I’m going to look up that Scripture in I Timothy that we referred to earlier after we had our last break. I don’t know how I missed it when I was studying, as I used my concordance and everything and I couldn’t find this, but here it is. Paul uses the word eternal life here.
I Timothy 6:12
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on (what?) eternal life, whereunto thou art also called and hath professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
Now you know I always put it this way – and how long is eternal life going to last? As long a God lives! Will He ever stop living? Un-uh. And so that’s eternal life. It’s beyond human comprehension. We can’t begin to comprehend what it’s going to be to live for all eternity. All right, back to I John, now verse 14. This is another good one, and it too is right out of the Gospel of John.
I John 5:14-15
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: 15. And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
Now how does John put it back in the four gospels? Come back with me now. John’s Gospel, chapter 14 and oh in my younger days I wrestled with this before I learned how to separate the Scriptures. I even wrote to a good missionary friend in Japan at the time and he didn’t give me a decent answer either. Now I’ve got the answer, but I didn’t then.
Look what it says. Almost identical with what we just saw in I John 5, and oh this has thrown a curve at so many people. And this is why it gives them spiritual indigestion. All right, read it,
“And whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that I will do, (that’s what Jesus said, it’s in red if you’ve got a read letter edition. Whatsoever you ask, I’ll do it) that the Father might be glorified in the Son. (then He repeats it) 14. If you shall ask anything in my name I will do it.”
Now that’s amazing isn’t it? Does that work today? Does God do everything you ask Him to do today? No, He doesn’t because we’re under a whole difference scenario.
See, when Jesus was speaking here and when John was writing back here, I’ve been emphasizing now all the time, what was just over the horizon? The Kingdom! Heaven on earth. Now under a Heaven on earth scenario would anything, would anybody ever ask anything that was not in God’s will? No. It’ll be Heaven on earth. So then Jesus could say that in view of the Kingdom, that yes, Israel under that Heaven on earth experience, could just simply ask what they will and God would do it. Because they wouldn’t ask anything otherwise.
But see today, I dare say there’s not a soul setting in this room that can honestly tell me that God has done everything you asked Him to do. Oh, my goodness, we’re down to only nine seconds? Okay, we’ll pick that thought up in the next program.
LESSON ONE * PART IV
CALLING GOD A LIAR
I JOHN 5:8–18
I just want to thank you, our television audience, for being part of our ministry, whether it’s with your prayers for us, or your financial assistant or both. And the same for those of you here in the studio audience, we want you to know that we appreciate your effort to come in and be a part of this and as all of us labor together. I usually write a note to folks and say that that’s what we are, we’re co-laborers. And what I receive as reward someday, you’re going to be a part of it.
Okay, now we sort of ran out of time in that last program, and I didn’t realize I was down to seconds, when I looked up to see how much time I had left, so therefore didn’t have a chance to finish our thought. So I had to leave everyone hanging by a thread. So let’s go back to John’s Gospel chapter 14 and I just want to show again the stark difference between what was taught in Jesus’ earthly ministry and what Paul teaches in the Church Age of us today on this same subject. Remember in Jesus’ earthly ministry, He meant what He said. He wasn’t lying, He wasn’t stretching the truth, it was absolute, but what He said there in John 14 doesn’t work in the Age of Grace today.
“And whatsoever (and that means what it says) ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, (That’s a promise.) that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”
Now you and I know that that doesn’t work. You cannot tell me that ‘everything’ you’ve ever asked for God has done, because it just doesn’t happen in this Age of Grace! But with their (Israel’s) view of the Kingdom, and with Christ as the King, yes, then it would become a reality.
But, now come back with me to the language of the Age of Grace, the Church Age, the Apostle Paul over in the Book of Philippians. Now whenever folks call us and have a real prayer need, this is what all of us there at the ranch – myself and the girls working out in the office and Iris, always take them right back to this portion of Scripture. Philippians 4: 6 and 7, because this covers all the bases. This says it all!
Now there are other portions where Paul certainly prays as a model prayer for us, but you can always use this and feel at peace doing it.
“Be careful (or worry) about nothing; (that’s easier said than done too, isn’t it?) but in every thing…”
Now there again it means what it says. “Everything.” Now I think all of us are sensible enough that we’re not going to ask for something silly or something that’s inappropriate. But being commonsensical about it as believers we now have the freedom to come into the throne room and ask for anything.
Now I know there are those who hold that God is not concerned about our physical or material needs. And I say ‘hogwash!’ He’s concerned about the whole being. He’s just as concerned about yours and my physical well being, our material well being as the spiritual. They are all part and parcel of our whole makeup. In fact, Paul says in II Thessalonians, chapter 5:
II Thessalonians 5:23
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly: and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Well, that covers all of it, doesn’t it? All right, so, here we go again. Philippians chapter 4 verse 6.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication (which means asking, but here’s the secret) with (what?) thanksgiving…”
You see, I think this is where a lot a Christian folks are missing the blessings. They are not thankful.
In fact many almost get to the place where they think they deserve it. I don’t care where we are in our spiritual experience we never stop thanking God for everything. Starting with our salvation, our Christian experience, our health, our physical, our material. We should thank Him for everything. Constantly. For every breath of air. For every bite of food. For every comfort. And for us in America, for every what? Luxury.
My I’ve said it before, do you realize that much of what we take for granted in America is luxury to a good portion of the world. And I’m thinking primarily of hot water at the tap! What a luxury that we can just turn the tap and have hot water! My, we learned that lesson while we were down in Haiti. I don’t think in all the ten days we were there we had hot water at all. Oh, you come home and you begin to appreciate it. But those are just things that are all part and parcel of God’s blessings for which we are thankful.
“…let your requests be made known unto God.”
In other words, you pray. You verbalize it. Now God may say, ‘Yes.’ We may have almost an immediate answer. He may in so many words say, ‘not now, but later.’ Or He may say a flat what? ‘No.’ It’s not for you. But regardless and this is what I love, regardless of how you get the answer in verse 6, it’s all answered in verse 7. And what does it say?
“And the peace of God,…”
Now I always make the differential again, back in Romans 5:1 “we have the peace with God,” which was our salvation experience. Now the peace with God that comes by faith, in other words, we’re no longer an enemy, we’re now at peace with God.
But this here in Philippians is not peace “with” God; but now we have the “peace of God.”
Now let’s just sort of analyze this a minute. Can someone who is not at peace with God ever enjoy the peace of God? No. Because we’re outside of that realm. But as soon as we’ve made peace with God we’re no longer His enemy, we are now His child, now we can cash in on the peace of God. That’s a big difference.
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,…”
In other words, we can’t comprehend it, we take it by faith and as I’ve said so often, even the work of the cross, we can’t comprehend all that God did at the cross. What little we comprehend is by faith and someday in glory, yes, we’ll probably have a full understanding. But here again, this peace of God, as a result of our leaving it with Him passeth all understanding. And whether He answers ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘later’, this peace –
“…shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
What a promise! Now I don’t have to go back to John and say, “Well now God you promised that whatever I asked, You’ll do it.” That’s absurd. He doesn’t have to do whatever I ask today. But, whatever I asked He has promised that no matter how He deals with it, He will give the peace that passeth all understanding.
Now we’ve been through some economic turmoil and a lot of people have lost their source of income and they’ve gotten in dire straights. Well, I’ve been there, I’ve done that so I can identify with those kind of people, but you know what? The peace of God keeps us through all that.
And if there’s someone out there, a true believer, and you’re in financial straights, don’t despair. God is still on the throne. God is still in control. God will somehow or other bring you through it. And you’ll be the better for it. I don’t care what you’re going through when you look back, you’re going to see that it has strengthened you.
And we’re going to be looking at the same thing in I John in a little bit, with regard to sickness and death. But never forget, that as a believer today we have access to the throne room, we have that access to share our needs with the Almighty and regardless of how He answers, we have the answer – “the peace that passeth all understanding.” All right, great big difference. Big difference. Now back to I John again. I think maybe we can finish the little book this afternoon. I John chapter 5, now verse 16. This is a difficult verse. I’ve been wrestling with this one for the last couple of weeks.
I John 5:16a
“If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death….”
Now again I have to even force myself to bring my thinking into line with the Jewish economy. These are Jews that John is dealing with. And they’re still part and parcel of the legal system Mosaic Law. The Temple is still operating. And so we have to take all that into perspective. So, if a Jew here in John’s period of time, was to see a fellow Jew delving into some kind of sin that was not gross enough to bring in God’s judgmental taking of his life, he was to admonish this brother to depart from sin, whatever it was, lest it become a sin unto death.
So, it was a matter of taking concern for a fellow believer in the realm of the Jewish economy. All right, then the next statement is:
I John 5:16b
“…There is a sin unto death;…”
In other words, even in the Jewish economy, if a Jew would not refrain from living a life of sin and would not come back into fellowship, God would take His physical life. Now we don’t see that expressed as much in the Jewish Scriptures as we do in the Apostle Paul. All right, let’s go back and see how Paul dealt with it. Come back with me to I Corinthians chapter 11. Now whenever I deal with this, the first thing I’m going to emphasize to all of you here in the studio as well as to everyone out in television, be careful. You have to be so careful that you don’t get the impression that any time someone gets sick or has dire consequences that it’s because they’re in sin.
My goodness, God can bring bad health, God can bring financial disaster for the sole purpose of strengthening our faith. Not because He’s punishing us, but only to strengthen our faith because I’ll tell you what, nothing will increase your faith more than going through dire circumstances and knowing that God never forsook you. So be careful that you don’t say that when someone is suddenly stricken with cancer, or they’ve been stricken with something else – oh they must have sin in their life – don’t ever do that. But it is possible and the person who’s guilty knows what he’s guilty of.
All right, I Corinthians chapter 11 drop down to verse 28, 29 and 30. Now of course these are the verses dealing with the Lord’s table, but it’s going on beyond the behavior at the communion table, it goes right out into the everyday experiences now.
I Corinthians 11:28-29
“But let a man examine himself, (in other words, some introspection) and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh condemnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”
In other words, he’s careless about what the blood, or the cup and the bread, for the broken body, are signifying. Now verse 30.
I Corinthians 11:30
“For this cause (because someone is careless) many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” (have died)
That’s what the word “sleep” implies. But now again you have to remember that the Corinthian church was a congregation of carnal believers. They had a lot of sin in the congregation and yet they were believers. All right, now let’s go back up to chapter 5, and here we find a rather gross situation, and I’m going to be careful of the language that I use because I know I’ve got a lot of young kids watching the program, and I don’t want to do anything that will embarrass parents. But here we have a case of gross immorality. Such immorality, as Paul says, that even the Romans, the Gentiles, did not practice.
I Corinthians 5:2
” And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that done this deed might be taken away from among you.”
The congregation was “puffed up” and instead of being “mournful” over this hideous sin in their group, they had evidently been making light of it. See what Paul is saying? That if this individual did not come back from that sinful lifestyle, God would take him. And he would still be saved. Oh, I know it’s hard for some people to swallow, but he wouldn’t lose his salvation, but God would take his physical life. All right, read on. Verse 3.
I Corinthians 5:3-5
“For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present concerning him who hath so done this deed. 4. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (in other words, in the realm of the spiritual congregation there at Corinth) when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, (in other words, Paul even though not present would be present with them, probably prayerfully that they would be able to handle this) with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5. To deliver such an one (who is practicing this sin, not just falling once he was living in it) for the destruction of the flesh, (his physical life, much like God with Job, told Satan he could touch his flesh but he couldn’t take his life) that the spirit (the soul,) may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
See how plain that is? This man was not going to lose his salvation but they were going to deal drastically with him, if he didn’t repent or come back out of that sinful lifestyle. All right, now then, he comes down to verse 9, and having consort with a believer who is in gross sin that was one thing and that had to be dealt with. And if that individual would not respond then he was under danger of having his life taken as we saw back in I Corinthians 11. But now in order to qualify where we are in this world of rank immorality and wickedness all around us, here’s how we have to face it.
I Corinthians 5:9-10
“I wrote unto you in an epistle, not to (keep) company (or have fellowship) with fornicators. 10. Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortionist, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.”
Because if you’re not going to rub elbows with any of those people, in the five days of the work-a-day world, you’d have to “leave the world.” Because you cannot avoid it. You’re going to find yourself in the workplace up against, rubbing elbows with these kinds of people, that’s the world we live in. Even then already.
I Corinthians 5:11-13
“But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a immoral or covetous or an idolater, or a railer or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one not to eat. 12. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge (or deal) with those that are within. 13. But them that are without (the unbeliever) God judgeth (He’s going to take care of them. But what about the believer in this group?) Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”
But the believer put away from among yourselves that wicked person. And then God will deal with them as according to I Corinthians 11 and consequently amongst the Corinthians who had, like I said, a lot of problems, many of them had already died as a result of their sinful lifestyle, as believers. And that’s why it behooves us to be careful how we live because God is not going to permit a believer to bring reproach to His name. And if he will not turn from it, then we know from Scripture, God will take them.
But now like I said earlier and I’m going to repeat. Don’t ever – don’t ever look at someone who’s going through tough times whether it’s health or anything else and say well they must be living in sin. No. Because usually it’s to increase our faith. Okay, now let’s go back to I John again for a moment. Verse 18. Now this is a verse that’s thrown a lot of curves at people.
I John 5:18a
“We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not;…”
Have you known people who claim to be believers and that they’re so holy that they don’t sin anymore? Sure you have. I have. Ridiculous. There’s no such thing as living in the flesh and being totally above sin. We’re still in the flesh. We still are bombarded with the things of this world. But, what part of us as believers cannot sin? The ‘new man’. The new man cannot sin, it’s Divine, it’s from God Himself. But, we’ve got to remember when we become believers we become a two natured person.
Come back with me to Galatians chapter 5, because again a lot of Christendom does not teach this. But it’s a Pauline doctrine that when we become a born from above individual, we are now a two-natured person. We have the new Divine nature as a result of God’s saving us, but we’re still kept with that old Adamic nature. Oh it’s defeated. We can render it powerless, but it’s still there and here’s where we deal with it the most clearly in Scripture. Here, Paul writing to Gentiles up there in what’s today central Turkey. And they too, were being deluged with the idea of keeping the Mosaic Law along with Paul’s Gospel of Grace. And so this is why the little book of Galatians is written that you’re not under the Law, you don’t have to keep the Ten Commandments hanging over you, but instead we have that empowering of the Holy Spirit within. And the Holy Spirit does what the Law could never do. Verse 16.
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, (that is under His control) and ye will not fulfil the lusts of the flesh.”
The Spirit will never direct a believer into a lustful experience. That’s not the Spirit’s domain. Now here’s the reason, verse 17.
“For the flesh (the old nature, the one that we crucified with Christ at the time of our salvation. The old nature) lusteth (or in another portion the word is ‘wareth’) lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary one to the other:…”
Now you can’t make it any plainer than that. Those two natures are in a side-by-side and they are so totally opposite that they’re in a constant warfare.
“…so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
Now you’ve heard me use the illustration on this program more than once. If you’re paddling a canoe up river, and you pull the paddle out of the water and lay it in the canoe, which way are you going to go? Right back down stream. A canoe is something that you have to constantly keep battling the forces of the stream.
All right, the Christian life is the same way. The minute we let down our guard. The minute we go several days without prayer and Bible study, we’re going to see ourselves spinning around and going backwards. It’s a constant warfare. And this is what Paul teaches, see? But now verse 18.
“But if we’re led of the Spirit, (we keep that paddle in the water) ye are not under the law.”
Which means, that we’re under a whole new set of circumstances. The Spirit has taken the place of the Law and I’m going to show this in just a minute. And then he goes on and shows the two different lifestyles of those natures. The old sin nature is listed right up there in verse 19, 20, 21 and they are terrible. But then the new nature is listed in 22 and 23,
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness and faith. 23. Meekness, temperance: against there is no law.”
See? Totally different makeup than the flesh. All right, now in the one minute we have left. Turn back to Romans chapter 7, and this is why the believer is under totally different circumstances than the Jewish believer under nothing more than the Mosaic system. All right, got Romans chapter 7 verse 5 and 6.
“For when we were in the flesh, (Before we experienced the saving power and the Holy Spirit coming within) the motions (or the acts) of sins, which were by the law (in other words, coveting and stealing and so forth. They) did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.”
“But now (see, flipside but now since we’re saved,) 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.”
See the difference. Now we’re going to live under the leading of the Holy Spirit, and not under the demands of the letter, or the Mosaic Law. What a difference!
LESSON TWO * PART I
LOVE AND TRUTH
II & III JOHN
Oh how we appreciate when you write and tell us that you’re praying for us every single day! And again we thank you for your comments. Over and over we hear “don’t change a thing” and, “I feel like I’m sitting there on the back row”. And then I guess the third most obvious thing that they write is “I have never understood the Bible before, and now it’s opening up.” So we appreciate those comments. We appreciate those letters.
All right, now we’re going right into II John this afternoon and probably go through both of these little epistles of II and III John but since we have been picking up so many new listeners these last several weeks, I’m going to go back and just give a little quick review of these Jewish epistles for the sake of those who haven’t heard us explain, because I might as well just tell you right up front, there have always been two views concerning these Jewish epistles of James and Peter and John.
One was that they were indeed written to Jewish congregations or synagogues in that period of time at which the point was written and preparing them for the Tribulation to come. The most traditional view I would say is that these are written to Jewish congregations who will reappear at the beginning of the Tribulation and so it is written to them as future mode.
Well, I’m not going to be anti-traditional just to be anti-traditional. I’m not going to refute either one of those but I’m going to take both of them. I think they were originally written to a group of Jewish synagogue congregations, contemporary with the time it was written, preparing them for the horrors of the Tribulation and the testings that are right out in front of them. But if they could survive that, Christ would be returning and bringing in the Kingdom. So these letters were written to Jewish believers who were looking for the King and the Kingdom, in short order.
Now, the King didn’t come. And the whole Jewish program was interrupted by the Church Age, these past 1900 years. But here we are, as I pointed out when we started several months ago, in the book of James, that these scenarios have once again surfaced and today, we’re almost right back to where they were when they were written.
And that is that we now have a reappearance of the Babylonian Empire. We just dealt with them in Iraq. Iran is the next prophecy told of in Daniel chapter 9 and 2 and so forth, and that was the Mede and Persian Empire. That’s Iran. They’re in the news every day lately. And the third one of course was the Greek Empire, but the part of the Greek Empire that controlled Jerusalem and defiled the Temple were the Syrian element. And so we’ve got Syria in the news everyday. Then the fourth kingdom that ruled and reigned while Christ of course had His earthly ministry, was the Roman. And so now we also see all the beginnings of the Roman Empire arising in Europe, with the European Union.
In fact, I just read an interesting little anecdote the other day and I have to always believe what people write with a fair heart, and that is here a few weeks ago President Bush was entertaining the then President of the European Union. Now you remember they rotate that position, or have so far, but the gentleman who was President of the European Union at that was also the Premier of Italy and his name was Romano Prodi, if I’m not mistaken. Well anyway, they were having lunch in the White House and Romano was bragging about how the European Union was expanding. It wouldn’t be long they’d be 24-25 nations, and their eastern border would be going clear out to the Caucasian Mountains and President Bush smiled and he says “Romano, sounds to me like it’s the Roman Empire!” The president was exactly right. And so this is what’s happening, this whole European Union in its expansion geographically, is coming right back to the old borders of the Ancient Roman Empire.
And so all these empires now suddenly are in our every day news, the Babylonian, which is Baghdad. The Medes and Persians, which is Iran. The Greek Empire which was predominately the part of Syria that controlled Jerusalem and then of course the Roman Empire as we see it reviving in Western Europe. So when I say that all these little Jewish epistles, James and Peter and John and Jude and also the book of Revelation at that time to Jewish believers; they were called synagogues, at least in James little epistle, in view of the coming pressures of the Tribulation, but oh if they could just go through that the King would be returning and setting up the one thousand year Kingdom Age, which is still going to happen we feel in the not too distant future.
Now when that was set aside, it didn’t throw everything out the window, it was all just postponed and like I said a moment ago here we are now 1900 and some years later and the whole scenario is once again appropriate that these little Jewish epistles are written to Jewish believers who are now being prepared for the oncoming Tribulation.
All right, now then guess we can start the little epistle of II John, remembering now that these are written to Jewish believers. Now that doesn’t mean we here in the Church Age can’t take some good things out of it. Of course, we can. It’s just like the four Gospels were written primarily to Israel, but we can certainly take things out of the four Gospels that are appropriate for us. Now granted these Jewish epistles are not the place where we build our doctrine for salvation because our Gospel of salvation is not in there. And as I’ve been pointing out this last several programs, you cannot find our Gospel of salvation in these Jewish epistles. There’s nothing in here that says that we’re saved by faith and faith alone in the fact that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose from the dead. It’s not in here!
And I just reminded someone a little bit ago before the program started, I remember several years ago a gentleman came up and he said, “Les, you’re always telling us to be just as aware of what is not in the Scripture as what is.” Absolutely! Because we’ve been programmed by tradition to just think that a lot of this stuff is in here, and it’s not. And that’s where the Lord gives us discretion to determine, “is it in the Book?” Or is it just something that man has dreamed up? A good way to check it out is for us today in the Church Age, the epistles of Paul should be used for our Church Age doctrines, including our beautiful salvation doctrine.
All right so now in the second epistle of John, written by the Apostle John, who wrote the gospel account of John, and who was one of the Twelve, who also writes the book of Revelation. This little epistle is just a little short personal letter written evidently to a rather well-to-do lady who was very instrumental in helping John in his ministry. Now when he speaks of himself there in verse one ‘the elder.’ Well naturally because of his past experience, the three years with Christ, he and the Twelve have been ministering to the Jews in these intervening years and I’m going to say that these little epistles were probably written someplace in the ‘50’s’ – 50 to 58 AD. Somewhere in there. And so now he calls himself “The elder”. Appropriately so.
II John 1:1a
“The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth;…”
Now I have said over the years and I can still repeat it that almost, and you’ve got to use some common sense, but almost without exception, you can substitute the word “truth” with the name of Jesus Christ and never, and never change the meaning of the verse, because Jesus Christ is Truth. And Truth is Jesus Christ. And so it just fits so beautifully. Even here.
II John 1:1a
“The elder (speaking of himself) unto the elect lady (a believing Jewish lady, who no doubt was quite well to do) and her children, whom I love in truth (or Jesus Christ;)…”
See how that doesn’t affect the meaning one bit? Because if you’re in Truth, you’re in Christ. And Paul will say the same thing. All these things are resting upon our position in Christ as believers. Now reading on.
II John 1:1b-2
“…and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; (or all who have known Jesus Christ. That’s what sets us apart) 2. For the truth’s sake (for the Lord’s sake, for Jesus’ sake) which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us forever.”
Now you see how that does not conflict with Scripture in any way shape or form. We have always been taught throughout the New Testament that when we’re ‘in Christ’ we are also in Truth and visa versa and it’s setting us up for eternity. Not just for the few years here, but we have eternal life!
II John 1:3
“Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, (and again) in truth and in love.”
All right now I’m going to be dealing with this word love in just a couple of verses, so we’ll move on down to it. Verse 4.
II John 1:4
“I rejoice greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, (they were verily in Jesus Himself) as we have received a commandment from the Father.”
Now here it comes.
II John 1:5a
“And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee,…”
Nothing is all that different so far as John is concerned. He’s come out of Christ’s earthly ministry having walked with Him and served with Him for those three years. He has now been no doubt, working hand in glove with Peter and the others since Pentecost. And so now at this point in time, like I say, probably in the A. D. 50’s somewhere, nothing has changed. Not so far as these Jewish believers are concerned.
Now for us today, maybe this is a good place to stop. Now for us today, look how Paul puts it. This is what I like to do, I like to just compare, compare, compare. Come back with me to Philippians chapter 1. Now this is Paul writing to Gentiles. And no doubt there were always a few Jews in these Gentile congregations, I won’t take that away at all. But now look what Paul writes to the Philippian church. We’ll look at verses 8, 9 but the word we’re looking for is in verse 10.
“For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels (or very innermost parts) of Jesus Christ. 9. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; (or discernment. Now here’s the verse. All of this to bring us to the place) 10. That ye may approve things that are (now the King James has the word) excellent (which is unfortunate. The better translation is different. And look what that does) that you may approve things that are different.”
Well what’s so different? Well now to the Gentile world salvation is offered by faith and faith alone, with no connection to Temple worship. No connection to the heavy hand of the Law; it’s all of Grace. And so it was totally different. That’s Paul. Read it again,
“That ye may approve (and accept and rest on things) that are different;…”
Not the same mundane doctrines and teachings that Israel has enjoyed for now 3000 years, but things that are totally different.
“…that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;”
Which of course, is when He will come to take the Body of Christ unto Himself. All right, so there’s a difference in terminology again between John writing to these Jewish believers, who are just an extension of Christ’s earthly ministry, an extension of Pentecost in these intervening years. They have been trusting that Jesus was the Messiah and that He’s still going to return and give them the King and the Kingdom. So nothing has really changed. And Paul never teaches that. Now back to II John.
II John 1:5
“And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, (nothing has really changed) but that which we had from the beginning, (from the very onset of John the Baptist and then the introduction of Christ and His earthly ministry) that we love one another.”
Now you have to realize that John is really the apostle who is constantly hammering home the love of God. Now let me put it this way. God is Love. The reverse of that doesn’t make sense. Love is not God. See the big difference? God is Love. Love is not necessarily God. And so here’s where we have to even watch our wording that God is Love. He is Love supreme.
And I always like to remind folks and as well as myself, when did this outpouring of the love of God toward the human race begin? Well, when He created Adam. He had the angelic hosts. Millions of them. But did they ever return love? No. They’re not that kind of a being. And so the whole purpose of creating the human race was to have a creature that He could extend that love and then give them the prerogative to what? Return it. That’s the whole purpose of the human race, is that He could have a created being that He could show His love; He could extend His love and then have every right to expect love returned. But not forced. It’s not a forced love. We love Him because He first loved us. And so John is probably the strongest writer of Scripture to prove the point that God is Love.
Now it isn’t that Paul misses it. Now come back with me to Romans. Again we’ll compare Scripture. Paul also speaks of the love of Christ. And I think the first one with a real impact is Romans 5:8.
“But God (Not man. Not angels, but) God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, (God loves the sinful human race) Christ died for us.”
Why did He die? Because He loved us. Why did He create us? Because He wanted a creature He could love. And that creature rebelled and so He moves heaven and earth, you might say, to set the stage that fallen man can still respond to God’s extended love. And this is the whole purpose of God and man, that He loved us and He expects love in return.
All right, let me take you to another one over in II Corinthians chapter 5. Here we another beautiful portion, and let’s just jump in at verse 14.
II Corinthians 5:14
“For the love of Christ (see how Paul is pointing that out?) constraineth us; (it drives us) because we thus judge, if one died for all, (that is for the whole human race) then were all dead.”
The whole human race. And then you get to Romans 3.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
But, whom did God love? Fallen man. Whom did God love? The sinner. Now He hates the sin. But He loves the sinner.
All right, and so it’s constant throughout Scripture how that the love of God is the expression of His very person as the Creator of everything. All right, in the couple of minutes we have left, let’s drop back into II John once again, verse 6, now you want to compare how close and beautifully this is to John’s Gospel. This is John’s Gospel, this isn’t Paul, this is the same as the Gospel of John.
II John 1:6a
“And this is love, (so far as the Jew’s relationship with God was concerned) that we walk after his commandment….”
Now I’m not going to be so narrow as to say, all he’s talking about here are the Ten. But you see, on the Ten Commandments were based, well actually Judaism had how many? Six hundred and thirteen. I’ve been going through them lately. And they’re all based on little statements back in Leviticus and so forth, but the whole system of commandments was not just the Ten but everything that rested on the Ten amounted to really 613 commandments. All right, and this is what John is encouraging these Jewish believers to still hang on to. They were still going by the Law and the commandments as God had given them to the Nation. And so it’s totally separated from Paul’s relationship with Christ.
II John 1:6b
“…This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.”
And so, all the way through Christ’s earthly ministry, why did he perform miracle after miracle after miracle? Well preeminently of course to prove who He was. But, what was the immediate result of all of His miracles? Oh, it was His compassion poured out on those poor benighted souls, whether they were hungry physically, or whether they were sick, or whether they were blind and in love He would solve the problem. And love was epitomized constantly see? And then He put the crowning effect of love is, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Well you see if the world could do that we wouldn’t have all these problems. But the world out there knows nothing of the love of God. All the world knows is “me.” But love says, “you.” In fact I was thinking sometime, while I was preparing all this, it’s been a long time since I have spoken this on the program. But several years ago, I think I used it a few times in a row. What is the best definition of love? Remember? “Seeking the other man’s highest good.” That’s true love. And isn’t that exactly what God does? God is constantly concerned about what’s best for us.
He’s not sitting up there – I think some people have got the whole wrong idea. They think God is sitting up there just waiting until somebody messes up and then He can swat them like a fly. No! That’s not God. He’s love and He’s just waiting to seek their highest good. But why is lost mankind not experiencing God’s love? Let’s go back for a moment to Romans chapter 8. I just had to point this out to someone on the phone last night. And this is the Word of God. This is what we have to trust. Romans 8, let’s just start at verse 5. I don’t like to use just one verse if I can help it.
“For they that are after the flesh (in other words, they’ve never experienced salvation, they are still under the nature of Old Adam) they do mind the things of the flesh; (we’re speaking of materialism. The lusts of the flesh, lust of the eyes, the pride of life.) but they that are after the Spirit (they mind) the things of the Spirit.”
Here we have two totally different concepts. The things of the flesh. And the things of the Spirit. Now verse 6.
“For to be carnally (or fleshly) minded is death;…” (spiritual death.)
Many times their horrendous lifestyle will even precipitate physically death, but we’re talking primarily here about the spiritual death, they’re going to be separated from God for all eternity.
“For to be carnally (or fleshly) minded is death; (spiritual death) but to be spiritually minded (to now have experienced salvation and the indwelling Holy Spirit) is life (not just physically life but eternal life) and peace.”
Now you go back to Romans chapter 5. Don’t look it up. But Romans 5 verse 1 says what?
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”
We have that peace that comes by faith! All right, so here it is, now verse 7, this is the verse I wanted you to see.
“Because the carnal (the fleshly, the lost person, his) mind is (what?) enmity against God,…”
Enmity! How much do you normally do for an enemy? Well, nothing. All he’s out to do is to destroy you. To defeat you. He’s your enemy! And that’s what the unsaved person is so far as God is concerned, but He loves him anyway. But that unsaved, unregenerated person is an enemy of God. Consequently,
“…for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
Why? Because they’re enemies. Now back in the times when Russia was our mortal political enemy, how many Americans would have bent over backwards to help the Russian government? Well, not a one, if we have any patriotism at all because they were our mortal enemy. They wanted us wiped off the face of the earth. All right, now that’s mankind’s attitude toward God. They don’t want anything to do with Him, but yet His love is always being “commended toward us even yet while we were sinners” and consequently, out of love, “Christ died for us.”
All right, let’s come back again to II John. I don’t want to go into verse 7 because that’s a whole new line of thought so we’ll just come back to verse 6 again.
II John 1:6
“And this is love, (this is what God is manifesting toward even these Jewish believers) that we walk after His commandments, (which at that time were still resting on the Ten but all the other 613 were part and parcel of it) This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.”
In other words, the true Jewish believer under the system of Law was constantly aware of the demands of the Law and to that is what he was obedient.
LESSON TWO * PART II
LOVE AND TRUTH
II & III JOHN
All right, you know by now this is an informal Bible study. We do not try to preach at you but rather we just simply want to teach the Word in such a way that the ordinary person can read it and study it and understand it. I’m always reminded of, I think it was, Tyndale who made the statement he wanted to get the Word of God in the hands of every plowboy in England. Well what does that tell you? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist. You don’t have to be a PhD or seminary graduate to understand the Word of God. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit.
Fortunately, I’m never asked well how can you do what you’re doing without the seminary degree, because I think people understand that God has chosen the weak things of this world to confound the wise. And that’s all we are, are just a weak lump of clay that God has seen fit to use, and through our teachings many are being saved, and learning how to study the Word of God.
All right, back into our study then, II John and we finished the first six verses in the last lesson.
II John 1:7a
“For many deceivers….”
What does that tell you? Look out! Look out, because from day one Satan has been promoting deception confusion and false teaching. In fact you can take it all the way back to when Israel came out of Egypt and was prepared to go into the Promised Land where the Canaanites have been living for 400 years and what was the first thing God had to warn them? Don’t get involved with their religion. Don’t fall for their gods and goddesses. And it’s been Israel’s plague all the way up through the Old Testament that they were constantly being bombarded with either unbelief and unconcern or the false religions that were all around them.
Well, then we come into Christ’s earthly ministry and it’s the same thing, this constant warning. But before I go back and start picking these up in Matthew, let’s finish verse 7 where John writes to these Jewish believers in little congregations now, I think, predominately in western Turkey where you have the same Jewish congregations addressed in the first three chapters of Revelation.
Because evidently after Saul’s persecution, that is the direction that so many of those Jewish believers from Jerusalem took. They went up into Asia Minor and on over to Greece and Rome. And so this is where I feel that these people addressed in all of these little Jewish epistles are primarily located. They’ve been scattered out of Jerusalem and even though there is archeological evidence that many of them settled up on the east side of the Galilee, yet I feel at least in my own mind whenever I read them, I’m picturing Jewish congregations in the western end of present day Turkey, be that right or wrong. But from day one, this was the warning:
II John 1:7
“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not (or will not believe) that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh (in other words, that He’s the God-man. They will not believe it. And those who doubt it and those who try to pooh-pooh that whole idea). This is a deceiver and an anti-Christ.”
All right, now let’s just go back, I don’t have to take you back to the Old Testament on this, I’ll just start in Matthew 24, from the lips of the Lord Jesus Himself, and He too is speaking of these days just ahead of what the little epistles are looking, the Tribulation. Matthew 24 as far as I’m concerned is all Tribulation and Jesus is just foretelling it. And it’s in a perfect parallel with Revelation chapter 6, so now in Matthew 24 verse 4. In fact let’s go up to verse 3, because remember like I said in the beginning of the last program, all these little epistles are written with the idea that the Tribulation was just out in front of them and then Christ would return and set up the Kingdom. That’s what they’re looking for.
All right, now Jesus doesn’t give us anything here that’s different. It’s in that same concept that no indication that it’s going to be interrupted by 1900 years of the Church Age but everything is coming down the prophetic timeline.
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples (the Twelve) came unto him privately saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, (to set up the Kingdom of course) and the end of the age?”
Now you want to remember that all the Old Testament was looking forward to that earthly Kingdom over which Israel’s Messiah would rule and reign. And when it had run its course, it would just follow everything right into the eternal state.
And I’ll never forget, I guess the Lord does everything providentially – years ago I read a book by a professor I think in a Bible college down in Texas and he so graphically explained how that the Kingdom would be set up on earth and all the ramifications of it, but that it was just the introduction then to the eternal state. And I’ve pretty much rested on that in my own teaching, that the 1000 year reign of Christ, heaven on earth, is going to be interrupted when Satan is released and all those that follow him will be wiped off. But then you go into the new heavens and the new earth of eternity.
But again I think it’s going to be programmed pretty much after the millennial reign. But Jesus does not segment “the Church.” He does not give any indication that there’s going to be an interruption of this prophetic program; it’s appears to be just ahead.
All right, so now then the last part of verse 3 again.
“…what will be the signs of thy coming, and the end of the age? (that is the Age as we know it, and go on into the eternal) 4. And Jesus answered and he said unto them, (that is the Twelve) Take heed (or the word Paul will us is – beware) that no man (now again what’s the word?) deceive you. 5. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many.”
Now whenever people call and like I told someone yesterday, don’t call on Monday forenoon if you don’t have to because our phone lines just burn up with people who have heard something on Sunday and now they’ve got a question on Monday, every Monday is pretty much the same. Well the only thing I can tell these people is now look, all this deception that’s coming on the human race today is what Jesus was already warning us of, that when you see this flood of deception you’d better wake up and realize that we’re approaching the end time. And I still say that’s the reason for it.
We are getting hit with everything imaginable today because Satan knows his time is short and if he can confuse the masses with deception, hey, he’s the winner – he’s the winner, don’t ever forget that. All right, now then, I’m going to let that be from the lips of the Lord Jesus Himself should be sufficient. But now let’s come all the way up to Paul if you will, as I’m not going to hit all these warnings against false teaching by any stretch of the imagination. But let’s go to II Corinthians chapter 11. And this is what people have to wake up and realize we’re up against today. Now it was already evident in Paul’s time.
You remember a long time ago, I think when we first started the book of Hebrews, my goodness, that’s probably two years ago isn’t it? Okay, so we’ve got a lot of listeners who haven’t heard this before. You remember when I started in Hebrews 1 verse 3, where it says, “and when he had purged our sins he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High.”
You remember I took you back to Genesis and made the point that there were only two times in all of biblical history when God did something so perfect it was so complete nothing more could be added to it, so He could sit down. He could rest, the job is finished. And when were they? Genesis 1 the last verse.
“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh from all his work which he had made.”
His work of creation was done and it was perfect. There wasn’t anything more He could do so He could sit down and rest.
All right, that never happened again until He finished the work of the cross, when once again He had done something so complete, so final, so perfect, that He could what? He could sit down.
And as soon as He revealed that the finished work was now ready for man’s salvation, what does Satan do? Starts bombarding it with all kinds of additions. Adding to – this, or that, or some other thing. Satan always has someone ready to try to get the lost person to add to their faith in what Jesus accomplished with His finished work of the cross, so that it becomes adulterated.
All right, and so this is Satan’s business. He’s going to pollute; he’s going to adulterate the Gospel of Christ anyway he can and I’ve always made the point that Satan will promote a lot of good beautiful things. That’s not contrary to him at all. He will promote all of the beautiful things of this world and the glory of it, the Scripture says, for what purpose? To divert man’s attention.
Why do you suppose the pagans always built such beautiful temples for their gods and goddesses? To bamboozle the mind of the poor guy on the street. They’d look up at those temples – I’ll never forget when we were in Corinth. We were in Ancient Corinth. Some of you have probably been there and up on that high bluff are still the remains of beautiful pagan temple. Just even in its ruins it’s beautiful. Well then what must it have looked like when it was operating full speed? Why the average Corinthian would look up there and he was just amazed of the beauty of his gods’ and goddesses’ dwelling place.
Well that’s what Satan is expert at. And he’s doing the same thing today. I maintain a lot of the beautiful things of this world are satanic, not because they’re wicked. There’s nothing wrong with them except that they divert the eyes of mankind and he’s expert at it. Now you may not agree with that, but I’ll never recant. Satan will do anything to keep people from hitting the mark.
All right, now look what he does in II Corinthians chapter 11. Now this is the Apostle Paul writing and remember when he writes Corinthians he’s been out there now establishing churches for about 20 years, which isn’t long. And yet what was he already experiencing? The false teachers coming in, bombarding his little congregations with false teaching, telling them they have to add this and that to his beautiful Gospel of salvation that we see in I Corinthians 15:1-4. And it’s no different today.
All right, and how is it done? Verse 13. I use this almost every week to phone calls that are coming in.
II Corinthians 11:13a
“For such are false apostles,…”
Apostles mind you! They call themselves apostles. There is no such thing today. That faded out with the apostolic church. But oh they claim to be apostles. They claim to be anointed. Hey they’re false. And that’s what the Scripture calls them.
II Corinthians 11:13b
“…deceitful workers, (see that word deceit? And in their deceit) transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.”
God doesn’t do it. Satan doesn’t even transform them, they do that themselves. But as soon as they transform themselves into that kind of a vehicle, yes, Satan’s going to come in and use them. Absolutely he will. And so “they transform themselves into the apostles of Christ.” They say, well I’m an apostle, I’m preaching the Gospel. I’m telling you the truth, but they feed a bunch of garbage.
II Corinthians 11:14
“And no marvel (don’t be surprised. Be commonsensical about all of this) for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”
Now he has the power to do that. So he “transforms himself into an angel of light” for the precise purpose of misleading the masses. And the masses are far easier to mislead than one or two at a time. You know I’ve used this before on the program, and I’ll never forget, I had a gentleman call, oh probably a couple of years ago now and he was following one of these false teachings where the multitudes are flowing in like water. And I said, “Look, you’re being pied-pipered; wake up.” He said, “Pied-pipered? What do you mean?” I said, “Didn’t you ever go to grade school?” He said, “Yeah.” And I said, “And you never heard of the pied piper?” He said, “No.”
Well I don’t know what kind of a school he was in, but anyway, I can remember and I think almost everybody I’ve ever shared it with remembers, and if I remember right, it was a village over in Europe someplace and they were covered up with rats. You remember that? And they had tried everything to get rid of them and they couldn’t. And here comes this guy with his pipes, his instrument, and for so many dollars he said, “I’ll rid the city your rats.” And so they paid him the big bucks and what’d he do? He played the pipes and he walked toward the river and all the rats followed him into the river. And drown. Well see that’s exactly what the devil is doing today, he’s playing the pipes. He’s playing the music and the multitudes are following, just like dumb rats.
II Corinthians 11:14b-15
“…for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15. Therefore it is no great thing (it’s not something that’s beyond your understanding ) if his ministers (these false apostles) also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end (their eternal doom) shall be according to their works.”
In other words, they’re going to pay for all eternity for these thousands or maybe even millions that they’ve misled. Wouldn’t you hate to be in their shoes? Boy I would. And yet that’s exactly what the Scripture declares.
All right, now let’s go on to Colossians, chapter 2, and this again is just only one of many in Paul’s epistles warning the believers of his day as well as you and I today, “beware of these false teachers, false doctrines.”
“Let no man beguile you (well what does beguiling agree with? Deception or deceive you) of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.”
In other words these things that appeal to the flesh. Don’t be deceived by that stuff. All right, let’s move on to I Timothy chapter 4 verse 1 and listen, these are just as appropriate for us today as they were the day that Paul wrote it.
I Timothy 4:1-2a
“Now the Spirit (the Holy Spirit) speaketh expressly, (He’s making it as plain as plain can be) that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed (or following) seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (or demons. Well where do the demons come from? Satanic control) 2. Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;”
Well what’s hypocrisy? Something that looks good but isn’t. And oh, they’re masters at it. Don’t you sometimes wonder how can people fall for this? How can they not see the falsity of it? Well, their consciences are seared. The devil is powerful! All right, come on over to II Timothy chapter 3 verse 1 and we haven’t got time to read all of these but oh what a chapter of warning for us today.
I’ll never forget a couple of years ago, I was coming home from one of the classes and I happened to catch the Michael Reagan talk show. And it was about the time that the Jews had just experienced a couple of humongous suicide bombings. And he was showing the horrors of these terrorists. And then he shared this, and he says you know last night, my wife and I were having our devotions and we were reading II Timothy chapter 3 and I think he said it was his wife that suggested it, she said, “Michael you should read this on the air.” And he says, “I’m going to.” And believe it or not, on a secular talk show, he read these first six or seven verses from II Timothy chapter 3. I couldn’t believe it! Boy, I just got goosebumps. And look what it says! And then I’ll tell you what he said when he got to the end of verse 5 or 6.
II Timothy 3:1-5
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2. For men shall be lovers of there own selves, (what does that mean? Materialistic. That’s all they care about, what’s in it for me?) covetous, (they want everything that somebody else has got) boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3. Without natural affection, (ring a bell?) trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good. 4. Traitors, (my does this ring as bell) heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; 5. Having a form of godliness, (oh they go to church. They probably have a pew practically paid for) but denying the power thereof: (it doesn’t affect their lives) from such turn away.”
And if I remember right that’s where he stopped. You know what he said? “We’re there!” And I couldn’t agree more. We’re there. These are the signs of the last days, see? And the warning is, look out for it. In fact while you’re in chapter 3 just drop on down to verse 13. Here’s another warning.
II Timothy 3:13
“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being (what?) deceived.”
And isn’t that where the masses are today. Anything that comes along that sounds good, boy they jump on it and they say this is it – forgot the name of it, but anyhow, it’s this little book that just came out a while back. Huh! Talk about a mental lapse, I’ve got one! But anyway, it is depicting Jesus having married Mary Magdalene, and having children. Yeah, the Di Vinci Code.
And I had a lady who’s a librarian in one of our high schools and she says, “Les, there’s a waiting list,” and I don’t know how many books the state of Oklahoma has put in the libraries, every library has far more than one, hers had several and there was a waiting list to check that book out. Now that’s what they’re doing to our kids and these kids read that garbage and they say, that’s it. Well, that’s just one example that we are being bombarded with deceptive things and the gullible fall for it hook line and sinker.
Well let’s see, I guess that’s enough for that line of thought. That’s not the last one, remember that Peter also warned, James warned and I John. Let’s jump in at I John on our way back to II John because I don’t think I can hammer this home enough that we have to wake up, wake up our friends, our loved ones, yes your fellow church people. Wake them up that so much of what’s coming out today is satanic deception. It is not the Truth. It is not lining up with Scripture.
Here in I John, remember now we’re back in John, so he’s writing to Jewish believers. They’re looking for the Tribulation right out in front of them to be followed by the Kingdom. And we’re there again, 2000 years later. Here we are in the same scenario. I think the world is moving so fast to the coming of the Tribulation that it makes our head swim, but you know, we can’t set dates because with God a thousand years is but a day and day as a thousand years. But nevertheless, it’s like all the signs of the times are telling us that we’re getting close once again, like they thought they were back here in the (AD) 50’s.
I John 2:18a
“Little children, (he’s writing to his fellow believers) it is the last time: and you have heard that anti-Christ shall come, even now there are many anti-Christs;…”
Remember Matthew 24? What did Jesus say? Many anti-Christs have come. Well John is agreeing with that and
I John 2:18b
“…whereby the know that it is the last time.”
All right, warning, warning, warning against deception. Chapter 4 again in I John, and this is what I admonish people when they call on the phone, I say, “Look, the Bible tells us to check these things and compare them with the Word of God. If you can’t find what they’re saying in the Word of God, turn them off. Don’t listen to them.” All right, that’s what John is telling us here.
I John 4:1
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: (Why?) because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
LESSON TWO * PART III
LOVE AND TRUTH
II & III JOHN
Okay, back where we left off in the last lesson, and that would be in II John, now verse 8. We talked in the last program about the constant warning throughout Scripture against the deceivers, the deception, the satanic powers to keep people from the truth. So verse 8 he said,:
II John 1:8a
“Look to yourselves,…”
In other words, this is something that, well Peter puts it this way, “make your calling and election” what? “sure.” Now that doesn’t meant that you work for your salvation, but that you line up what you believe with the Scripture.
Now I’ll give you a good example. I had a gentleman call and he was not very friendly and he was certainly not very much in agreement with me because I would not adhere to a Saturday Sabbath but in the midst of his tirade I got him to stop long enough to hear me ask the question, “Well, what’s the Gospel?” He said, “It’s the power of God.” “No, that’s not the Gospel, that’s the result of it.”
And you know what? He never did tell me the Gospel. Well, what reminded me of it, I had a phone call in the last day or two where someone who had come to see all this truth of everything and he went back to some of his people and Sunday School class, whatever, and he asked them, “What is the Gospel?” They couldn’t tell him. They couldn’t tell him! And you know that’s not an isolated instance.
I had another fellow that found salvation, and he went back to his church people and he asked them, “What’s the Gospel?” And he said, “You know what my stock answer was from my fellow church people? The Bible.” Well the Bible contains the Gospel, but that’s not The Gospel. “The Gospel is that Christ died for our sins. He was buried and He arose again from the dead.” And that’s what one must believe in his or her heart for salvation! That’s the heart of the Gospel!
Now of course, other implications are He was the Son of God. It was God in the flesh that died, of course. His blood was shed as full payment for our sin. But nevertheless, this is what professing believers had better do. Check out the Scriptures. What are you basing your eternal destiny on?
And I’ve experienced it myself. You can get just about as many different answers as you have people, “If you die tonight why will you go to heaven?” Well there is only one reason why we get to heaven – we’ve believed the Gospel. And what’s the Gospel? “That Christ died for our sins, and rose from the dead.”
All right, now this is exactly what I think John is admonishing his fellow Jewish believers ” look at yourself.” Why are you ready for eternity? All right here it is, verse 8,
II John 1:8
“Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, (or worked) but that we receive a full reward.”
In other words, don’t have a false hope. Don’t have your faith in something that is not genuine and that will fulfill your eternal destiny. It’s frightening.
And we were just talking about it at break – how many multitudes of people are either believing nothing or they’re believing something that is short of the Gospel that Paul shares with us in I Corinthians 15:1-4. Some like to use that and then add to. One is as bad as the other. It’s got to be Faith + Nothing!
Remember in the last program I told you that twice in all of biblical history, God did something so perfect He couldn’t add to it. Well if God couldn’t add to it then what right does man have adding to it? Well, God won’t have it. God is absolute! He’s just.
And so I think John is saying basically the same thing that Peter said when he said work out your own salvation, with trembling, because this is important stuff. Eternity is in view. All right, now then, verse 9, we’re going to shift gears a little bit here, we’re going to go at a little different thought process.
II John 1:9a
Now remember what has John still got on his mind? Well, the Law (Acts 21:20). And that transgression of the Law is what makes us sinners and of course, we’re born sinners but as born sinners we transgress the Law, but transgressing it just puts the brand of sinner on us. So he says:
II John 1:9a
“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrines (or the teachings) of Christ, does not have God He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.”
Now that’s plain isn’t it? Even for these Jewish believers, if they were transgressing the Law and they were doing nothing to compensate for it by cashing in on God’s forgiveness, they’re in danger of eternal death. All right, I’m not going to spend much more time on that. I want to go to the last two words back up in verse 8, as I didn’t comment on that. Even for the Jew, an obedience to believing the things that Jesus Himself had taught to his Jewish people would bring what?
II John 1:8b
“…a full reward…”
Now some people cringe at the idea of working for reward and I don’t see why. We don’t work for salvation, that’s a free gift, but as a result of accepting the free gift now what does God admonish us? To work for reward.
And that’s what makes our democratic system of government, the free enterprise, what it is. That you can be rewarded for your labor. You can be rewarded for what smarts and talents God has given you. You don’t sit like a socialist and just say, “give me, give me, give me.” You get out and hustle. That’s why I am so anti-socialism. I detest it, because it just quashes that which God has given the individual.
All right, now that’s exactly then what Paul is admonishing us again into the Age of Grace, now for comparison’s sake, I Corinthians chapter 3. I told Iris the other day, I’m going to address this very subject in my next quarterly newsletter. I don’t stress it enough. I know I don’t. In fact, I’ll never forget a dear old retired pastor who was in one of my classes here in Oklahoma, just passed away now a few weeks ago, way up in years. I think he was almost 100, but I’ll never forget several years ago after the class I had taught this very portion of Scripture in I Corinthians 3. And on his way out, he said, “Les keep teaching it, because nobody ever does!”
Well I’ve been remiss myself, but once we become a believer then God expects us to start laboring for reward. Remember, even the Twelve said that back in Matthew 19 when Peter says, “Now Lord we have forsaken all to follow you, what are we going to have therefore?”
Well he wasn’t talking about salvation, he was talking about reward. What are we going to get for all that we have given up to follow you? And then the Lord told them “that they’re going to sit on twelve thrones ruling the Twelve Tribes, when they went into the Kingdom Age.”
I Corinthians 3:9a
“For (Paul writes to us believers) we are labourers together with God:…”
That’s why in my opening prayer this afternoon I prayed for all of us as part and parcel of this ministry of reaching out to the world. Whether it’s to believers or to the unbelievers; we’re all in this together. The same way with those out in the television audience, it’s you’re prayers and your contribution that makes us all co-laborers. The fruit of reward isn’t going to be just Les and Iris, it’s going to be all of us who have laboured together.
Because you see, as I’ve used the illustration over and over – you throw a stone out into the middle of a pond, how far does the result go? To every shore. Well it’s the same way with us. We all labor together. And God’s keeping the record. We’re all going to share in the rewards together. All right, that’s exactly what Paul is saying. We are laborers together, but not just us humans, who’s with us? God is! It’s God’s work!
I Corinthians 3:9b
“…ye are God’s husbandry,…”
Now you know the Scriptures use a lot of agricultural terms and husbandry spoke of agriculture. Whether it was taking care of a herd of sheep or whether it was a fruit orchard or whatever the case may be, it was taking care of that which needed cultivation and harvesting and so forth. That’s what husbandry refers to. All right, so we are God’s farming enterprise. We are in the production business, not for wheat and so forth but for souls. For fellow believers.
I Corinthians 3:9c
“…ye are God’s building.”
Now he uses the actual materials of building a building. All right, now then, verse 10,
I Corinthians 3:10a
“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder,…”
Now remember Paul is the writer here, and he is saying “he is the chief architect and contractor of the Body of Christ”
I Corinthians 3:10b
“…I have laid the foundation
Now here is one of the principles that I use for Paul’s apostleship. Paul is that which laid the foundation for the Church Age. Not Peter, not Jesus, but rather Paul did.
I Corinthians 3:10c-11
“…and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
Now again, I always have to remind people, come back for a moment to chapter 1 of this same book, and verse 17, and this epitomizes, this brings to the fore, Paul’s message.
I Corinthians 1:17
“For Christ (who of course commissioned the Apostle Paul to go to the Gentiles) sent me not to baptize, (which of course He had told the Twelve to do as they went to the Jews back in Matthew 28:19. But to this Apostle to the Gentiles, he says not to baptize) but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, (not with smooth fast talking) lest the cross of Christ be made of none effect.”
And then the next verse. This is the heart of Paul’s life and ministry amongst those pagan Gentiles.
I Corinthians 1:18a
“For the preaching of the cross (Christ’s death, burial and resurrection) is to them that perish foolishness;…”
Don’t you feel sorry for them and yet how many multitudes and multitudes of churches and denominations are doing just that. They’re turning their back on the cross. They’re adhering to a social Gospel, but here it is, “the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness,”
I Corinthians 1:18b
“…but unto us who are saved (to us who are going to have an eternity in God’s presence) it (the preaching of the cross) is the power of God.”
That’s where the power comes from – the Gospel of the cross. All right and then I always like to come back down to verse 21.
I Corinthians 1:21
“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom (intellectualism, education) knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that (what?) believe.”
And again, believe what? The preaching of the cross. All right, come back over chapter 3 again, verse 10.
I Corinthians 3:10
“According to the grace of God which is given to me, (that is the Apostle Paul) as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, (on which everything else is going to rest) and another build thereupon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereon”
It’s serious business. That’s why we have all this warning against false teachers. And they’re going to try and come in and put in their two-bits worth too. Don’t think they won’t. But all right, “Take heed.” Now then verse 11.
I Corinthians 3;11
“For other foundation can no man lay (there is no other!) than that which is laid, (and that foundation) which is Jesus Christ.”
Crucified, buried and risen from the dead. All right now here’s where we come. Rewards. John spoke of them. Peter and Jesus dealt with it back in Matthew chapter 19, and now here’s Paul dealing with it.
I Corinthians 3:12
“Now if any man (and he’s talking about believers and the man here is generic; we’re talking about men and women, boys and girls) build upon this foundation (that is Jesus Christ crucified, and risen again, and he builds) gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;”
Six materials that all believers are using in building their section of a wall. Let’s use that terminology. They’re building their section of the wall. And they can either use all six of them, or merely a mixture of some of them but these are the materials. Let’s analyze them. The gold, silver and precious stone can never be touched by fire. They are totally immune to it. If anything it will enhance their beauty. But the other three go up in a puff of smoke. They have no resistance to fire. All right, so here’s the analogy.
I Corinthians 3:13a
“Every man’s work shall be made manifest:…”
Or brought into the spotlight, is the way I’ve put it before. At the Judgment Seat of Christ every believer’s works are going to be examined with those fiery eyes of the Lord Jesus.
I Corinthians 3:13b
“…for the day (that is the Bema Seat day) will declare it, because it shall be revealed (or tested) by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”
Now I’ve got to use Scripture otherwise it counts for nothing. Keep your hand in I Corinthians and come all the way back to Revelation chapter 19, and I hope this clicks with you like it has with me – how this all makes sense! Here we’re using gold, silver and precious stones that withstand all the heat that you can imagine or wood, hay and stubble which can’t take anything. And remember they’re all going to be examined by fire. Well what are the ‘fires’?
“His (speaking of the coming Christ in this portion) eyes were as a (what?) flame of fire, (doesn’t say they were, but they could penetrate like fire) and on his head many crowns; and he a name written, that no man knew, he himself knew.”
All right, now then with that analogy, come back to I Corinthians. When He examines our section of the wall, when He examines our works as believers what’s going to remain and what’s going to go up in smoke? Well the gold, silver and precious stone is going to remain and it’ll carry with us into eternity for reward.
But the wood, hay and stubble are just going to disappear. They counted for nothing. Well I don’t know what they’re going to be, but I know what it’s going to be based on – our faithfulness. Why do we do the things that we do? Are we doing it for the acclaim of others? Are we doing it to bring honor and glory to the Lord? He knows. And so all our works, He’s going to determine whether it’s gold, silver and precious stone or is it something that counted for nothing. All right, now for most believers, sad to say, but I’m afraid it’s going to be mostly wood, hay and stubble.
I Corinthians 3:13b-14
“…because it shall be revealed by fire; (those fiery eyes of the Lord Jesus Himself) and the fire shall test every man’s work of what sort it is. 14. If any man’s work abide (it remains – it was gold, silver, precious stone) which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive (what?) reward.”
That’s what the Book says. If what you’ve done as a believer was done with a right motive and in the right attitude of faithfulness, hey, it’s going to bring reward. I don’t know what they’re going to be. But I know that God knows how to build a reward, so it’s going to be something fantastic.
Now we know that some of these sports elements can build beautiful trophies, can’t they? They’re gorgeous. But they’re nothing compared to what’s waiting for us. Nothing! All right, but now on the other side of the coin:
I Corinthians 3:15
“If any man’s work shall be burned, (if it was wood, hay and stubble, it counted for nothing) he shall suffer loss: (that is of reward) but himself shall be saved.”
Oh he’s going to be in Glory. He’s going to be in Heaven. But he’ll have no reward. Or if a portion of his works was wood, hay and stubble, he’s going to lose that part and only that which was appropriate will remain. And so these are the admonitions of Scripture all the way through, we don’t work for salvation! That’s a free gift. But once we accept the free gift, then God has a right to expect us to start working to enhance His work.
Okay back to II John. Got to keep moving. II John verse 9 again:
II John 1:9
“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine (or the teaching) of Christ, hath not God. (Now here’s what I wanted you to see.) He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he has both the Father and the Son.”
Now verse 10 and this is what I tell people when they call and say, what am I supposed to do with these people that come to my door with all their false doctrine? I say read them these two verses and I’ll bet they’ll never come back. And they won’t. Just read these verses to them before they even get time to give you’re their pitch. Just say now wait a minute, let me read you something from the Bible. And then you read these verses.
II John 1:10
“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, (that is who Jesus Christ is and now for us in this Age of Grace, what the Gospel is – that finished work of the cross. If they bring anything other than that) receive him not into your house neither bid him God speed.”
You know what that means? You don’t even have to bid them a good day. They are such false teachers. They are such emissaries of Satan that as a true believer you do not have to even bid them a good day. Why? Because they’re deeds are evil.
Oh they’re nice people. But they won’t listen to you. I’ll never forget years ago, you know I thought boy, I can really…there happened to be a couple of young ladies. Sunday afternoon and Iris and I were both home, so I invited them in; got out my blackboard and I spent three hours with them. I could have just as well poured water on a duck. They didn’t hear a word I said. So, never again. Never again. And I found these verses and if they are such false teachers I’m not going to give them the time of day. The Bible says I don’t have to.
II John 1:11
“For he that biddeth him God speed is a partaker of his evil deeds.”
That’s strong language isn’t it? And that’s what they are. Look at the multitudes that they are confusing and they are pulling off into a false cult that denies Jesus Christ is God. That deny the very basic premises of the Gospel. No wonder the Scripture says don’t bid them God’s speed because you can’t touch them.
My I’ll never forget, I had one young man, his folks had actually given him a free ticket on one of our cruises, with the precise idea that I would spend every time I would have trying to bring that man out of that cult. And I spent hours with him. Many times we’d go clear up into the crows nest of the ship where we would be totally by ourselves. And I went with him Scripture after Scripture after Scripture. You can’t touch them. Every Scripture I’d show him, he had a rebuttal. It’s unbelievable and so this is the scriptural doctrine. This is the scriptural formula – don’t even bid them God’s speed or become a partaker of his evil deeds.
Now that may sound like real tough language but listen, that’s what it says. Don’t bid him God’s speed because if you do, you are becoming a partaker of his evil deeds. You’re telling him, well go right on to my neighbor and tell him this stuff. Go ahead and deceive my neighbor. You can’t do that.
In the next verse, John now brings the letter to a close. Now remember who he’s writing to, he’s writing to an individual. A mother of a family, quite well to do and a real close friend of the Apostle. And he says:
II John 1:12
“Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak to you face to face, that our joy may be full.”
In other words, as they would fellowship in these spiritual blessings and my, you all know what it’s like. It’s so much sweeter to have time with a fellow believer whose on the same page as we are than it is with someone who’s may be a close relative and can’t see eye to eye with any of this. You can’t be comfortable. You can’t relax because they just don’t see things like we see it. But oh when we have this fellowship of things in the Lord then it becomes a joyful experience.
II John 1:13
“The children of thy elect sister greet thee.”
All right now we can just slip right into the next little epistle III John because they’re all written at about the same time under the same set of circumstances but with one big difference, in II John he’s writing to a wealthy lady. In III John he’s writing to a rather well to do gentleman. In this case his name is Gaius. Now in this little third epistle of John we’re going to be dealing with three men. Gaius, who is the relatively wealthy individual, and is the friend of the Apostle. We’re going to be dealing with Diotrephes who was a leader in one of these Jewish churches, but he was a rascal. He was anything but something that John can commend. And then we have one of the good people of this chapter and that’s Demetrius. And so we’re going to be looking as these three gentlemen as the Apostle John deals with them.
Now what’s the lesson? Things haven’t changed because almost every church will have somebody who is a constant opposition to the work; who is a constant thorn in the flesh; who’ll want all the preeminence. They want to be able to rule the roost and because of it, the congregation is in turmoil.
LESSON TWO * PART IV
LOVE AND TRUTH
II & III JOHN
Okay, we’re going to right back in where we left off, we Are in III John now. We’re winding down these little Jewish epistles and next program we’ll go into Jude and I failed to do the first five chapters of Revelation when we did it years back, and so we’ll probably go into the first five chapters because a lot of people are calling, now where are we going to go when we finish these little epistles? So after we’ve finished the first five chapters of Revelation, I’m thinking and planning if the Lord leads, we’ll go back and start a study in Isaiah.
Okay, but today we’ve still got a ways to go, we’re in III John and we just made a few comments on it in our last program, so we’ll just start at verse 1.
III John 1:1
“The elder unto the well beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.”
Again he refers to himself as “The elder” even as he did in the letter to the lady in II John. And now he’s writing to his beloved friend Gaius, who was no doubt a rather well to do gentleman. And whom he said, “Whom I love in the truth.” There’s that word again. John is constantly making reference to being in truth. And as I said in that time, a couple of programs back, that you can almost always substitute “truth” with the name of the Lord Jesus, who is Truth.
All right now verse 2 is an interesting verse. I imagine the casual reader would never catch it.
III John 1:2
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, (physical health) even as thy soul prospereth.”
Now evidently in spite of his wealth, Gaius, was in poor health. And so John is concerned about his health situation, which again brings up the point that just because we’re believers doesn’t mean that we are guaranteed good health. A lot of people like to proclaim that good health and salvation go hand in hand, but the Scripture doesn’t substantiate that.
We found that Paul prayed for his friend that was on the island of Miletus, what? Sick. He couldn’t heal him. And for Timothy, who had evidently had a stomach problem, he prescribed wine for his stomach. Why didn’t he heal him? Well that had all faded off the scene. And so the same way here. Why didn’t John just stop a minute and heal Gaius, but he does not and he cannot. But he would certainly pray and hope that his health would equal his physical prosperity. Now verse 3.
III John 1:3
“For I rejoice greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in truth.”
In other words, fellow believers had come and told John about the spiritual walk of this man Gaius.
III John 1:4
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
Now isn’t that true of all of us? There’s nothing that thrills us more than to know that, not just our immediate family, but all those with whom we are intimately concerned, to know that they walk as fellow believers. My what a joy!
I know Iris and I are so blessed, we’re confident that if the Lord should come today none of our immediate family would be left behind. Not many people can say that. And so we know that we are singularly blessed. And here John makes the same kind of statement. What greater joy could a person have than to know that your whole family is in Christ and walk in it.
III John 1:5
“Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;”
Gaius was no doubt a hospitable man and opened his wealthy beautiful home to strangers.
III John 1:6-7
“Which have borne witness of thy charity (that is his love, his outgoingness) before the church: (or that local congregation of believers) whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: 7. Because that for his name’s sake (because of the name of Christ) they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.”
That is these folks that had been part and parcel of the ministry there of this particular area church. Now remember we’re talking to an individual but he’s been involved in a local congregation, no doubt of mostly Jews; there may have been some Gentiles in regard to verse 7, “because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.”
III John 1:8
” We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellow helpers to the truth.”
And I think it’s the reference to the Gentiles, they’re not going to shut them out as they did back in Christ’s earthly ministry.
Now when I say that, somebody who hasn’t been with me very long will never have a clue what I’m talking about. Gentiles, shut out? Absolutely! Come back with me to Matthew chapter 10. And I always make the point, never in all of Israel’s history were they told to go out and evangelize those pagan Gentiles, with one exception. And that was when Jonah was told to go where? To Ninevah. But being a good Jew, did Jonah saddle up and head east to Ninevah? Hardly. He went to the Mediterranean, got on ship, and he went as far the opposite direction as God would let him go.
And then of course, he was confronted with the alternative and rather than go to Ninevah, he what? Walked the plank! He just simply dropped into the Mediterranean. But of course, God had the big fish waiting for him and fulfilled the type at least of three days and three nights in the whale’s belly as Christ was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:40)
And then he could become a messenger to the Gentile city of Ninevah and Jesus uses that same analogy then in John’s Gospel chapter 12, “that as a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, then it can bring forth much fruit.” Well, He was referring to His own death, burial and resurrection before Gentiles could become objects of His Grace.
All right, now here was the attitude then that the Twelve were to hold against the Gentiles until the work of the cross was completed. Matthew 10 verse 5. Now I imagine most of people never know this is in their Bible. Sunday School quarterlies will never touch it, that’s for sure. All right, but look what it says, Jesus has chosen the Twelve and is giving them instructions.
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, nor into the city of the Samaritans enter you not: (Why?) 6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’”
Now that throws a curve at a lot of people unless they have been with me all the way from Genesis 12, when God commissioned Abraham now to be the father of this new race of people (Israel – the Jew) that would come on the scene and through whom, God was going to eventually yes, take salvation to the Gentiles, but the Nation of Israel had to become obedient in total before that could happen. And so when He comes into His earthly ministry it’s in fulfillment of all those Old Testament promises made to the nation of Israel. And it had nothing to do with the Gentiles until that point out in the future when everything was appropriate.
All right, so now then for John to use this term is certainly a departure from Christ’s earthly ministry. And so now then, he says in verse 8:
III John 1:8
“We therefore ought to receive such, (that is Gentiles) that we might be fellow helpers to the truth.”
Okay, that should suffice for that for now. Now verse 9, where John says:
III John 1:9a
“I wrote unto the church:…”
And I’m sure he’s dealing with the local congregation of which Gaius was a part. Now here comes one of three names in this epistle. I haven’t mentioned them in this program, have I? I did in the last program. We’ve got three gentlemen in this little book of III John – Gaius, the wealthy house owner, who was hospitable and was a close friend of John. And then we have this Diotrephes, who was an adversary of the Apostle John, and who was a church ringleader of opposition. And then we have a good man associated with the church who was more or less an evangelist of sorts, and that’s Demetrius. So we have these three men that John is dealing with. All right, here is the one to whom he’s not very kind.
III John 1:9a
“I wrote unto the church: (I wrote to your local assembly) but Diotrephes,…”
Now he wasn’t the pastor, from what I can gather but he was one of the ringleaders, he was one of the kings-men in that local church. And he was more or less ruling the roost.
III John 1:9b
“…but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the (what?) preeminence…”
You know people like that? Sure we do. They want to have control of everything. Even though they’re not the pastor, they’re the ones who want to be looked up to. They may give the most. They have the most power and clout. Well, it’s been that way from day one. And so Diotrephes is a good example of that.
III John 1:9c
“…loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.”
They wouldn’t even welcome John! Can you imagine that? John one of the Twelve! John who has been in, what I’ve always called, the inner sanctum – Peter, James and John. Who was one of the pillars of the church at Jerusalem. And this guy won’t even respond to him? It’s unbelievable. But see, that’s how Satan can control certain individuals and yet they think they have and they want the preeminence.
III John 1:10a
“Wherefore, (John says) if I come, (that is to that local congregation) I will remember his deeds which he doeth prating against us with malicious words;…”
In other words, I just use the expression, running off at the mouth. Now I’m not concocting anything that’s not here. This is exactly what it was. Here was this rank individual controlling that little local congregation and even against an authority like the Apostle John. It’s unbelievable isn’t it?
III John 1:10b
“…and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, (in other words, he was not very hospitable even with his own fellow believers. If indeed you can call him a believer) and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.”
Quite a guy wasn’t he? Amazing. Now this is back in the Apostolic Age. This is back probably in the 50’s. Now when I say the 50’s, I’m not talking about the 1950’s! I’m talking about the 50’s of the first century. Pentecost 29 (AD); Paul is converted in 37 (AD) and goes to the Gentiles in 40 (AD) and now the Scriptures, the New Testament is coming together from about 50 AD until 68 AD. All right, so when I speak of the 50’s in these little epistles, that’s the 50’s of the first century. All right, verse 11.
III John 1:11a
“Beloved, follow not that which is evil,…”
Now human nature being what it is, this guy had some kind of power. Whether he had wealth or whether he just had the ability to manipulate people – were they following him? Yes, they were following him. Even in his false teaching. In his derogatory remarks concerning John. Yeah, the majority of the congregation evidently were following this fellow and were a destroying factor of the local congregation. But he says, “Don’t follow him – Follow that which is good.”
III John 1:11b
“… He that doeth good is of God: be he that doeth evil hath not seen God.”
Even though he’s a member of the church. That doesn’t mean anything. He still does not know God. All right, now verse 12.
III John 1:12
“Demetrius hath good report of all men, (quite a difference isn’t it? What a difference!) and of the truth itself: (and again, of Jesus Christ. Demetrius had no problem elevating the name of Christ) yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.”
John could speak of those three years with Christ’s ministry. John could speak of the resurrection. In fact, that just brings me a thought. I wasn’t going to do this but come back with me to John’s Gospel. And don’t think these fellows ever forgot these things. They were just as human as we are. I think we forget that. I think a lot of times we think these people 2000 years ago were a total different makeup. No they weren’t. They were just as human. They had the same hang ups. They had the same memories that we do.
All right, in John’s Gospel chapter 20 and I imagine this is some of what he’s thinking of. Must have been. I’ve got time enough to do this, so let’s start right at verse 1 because this is all part and parcel of the memories that were still with these men some 20 years later now. That’s not all that long when it comes to memory.
“The first day of the week (Sunday) cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulcher, (Sep-ul’-cher. Somebody told me I didn’t pronounce it right, so I’m going to try to remember my critics) and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. 2. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, (now with that word loved, who was it? John.) and saith unto them. They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher, and we know not where they have laid him.”
Do you get the consternation? The tomb is empty. Somebody robbed the grave. Now what does that tell you? They didn’t know He was going to be raised from the dead! They had no idea He was going to be crucified. If they would have, they would have been out there watching for it, but they weren’t. But now she does come to anoint the corpse, as was custom. I don’t know who she was going to have roll that stone away, but evidently that was accounted for. But here she comes. And the tomb is empty and she thinks He’s been robbed. She said, “I don’t know where they’ve laid Him.” Peter is just as shocked as Mary Magdalene.
“Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulcher.”
They ran. Why were they running? Shock! How could that tomb be empty? We had guards placed outside of it. The Romans put those guards there at threat of death. And He’s gone? How can it be?
“So they ran both together: and the other disciple (John) did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.”
And John, he was timid, and I think several years younger than Peter looked in.
“And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. 6. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie.”
Now have you got a little imagination? Can you see these two guys on a dead run? John probably being a little younger, lighter of foot, he gets there first. But he’s too timid to just jump into that empty tomb. Now remember it’s a cave in the side of a limestone hill. We’re not talking about a hole in the ground. But he looks into that sepulcher and Peter of course, jumps right in. He has to look it all over. All right, so “Simon Peter following went into the sepulcher and sees the linen clothes lie.” WOW! That’s what He was wrapped in! How can they be here and He’s gone?! Now you want to remember resurrection hasn’t entered their head yet. They know nothing of that.
“And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.”
Now what does that indicate? Well, something transpired that after He was out of the linen wrap, He took the head wrap and laid it off probably at the corner by itself. Now all of this suddenly got them to thinking. All right, read on, verse 8.
“Then went in also that other disciple,…”
Now you’ve got to stop and smile a little bit. What do you suppose John now figures? Well it’s safe. Peter’s been able to go in and he’s still alive. So now John goes in and joins him into that cave, into that sepulcher.
“…which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, (the evidence and he what?) and believed.”
He believed! He’s risen from the dead! Now why am I making that point? The next verse. And why am I making the next verse the point? Because someone told me years back that on their Sunday School quarterly on the Easter Sunday morning lesson, they skipped that verse. Totally skipped it as though it wasn’t even in their Bible. Now what a tragedy, because this says it all!
“For as yet (up until that point in time) they (Peter and John and of course you can throw Mary in as well) knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.”
They didn’t know. But now they believed it. They saw the evidence. And then verse 10:
“Then the disciples went away to their own home.”
Now what does that tell you? Well, they didn’t go out into the highways and byways proclaiming it. They went home! Why? Well, they had no idea what to proclaim. This was something that caught them totally off guard. And so they’re not in any position to even go out into the streets and the highways and the byways of Jerusalem and proclaim the resurrected Christ. Amazing isn’t it? They went home.
Now then, a little bit later in Luke’s account, where does Jesus find them? Up at the Sea of Galilee fishing. Remember? And then He appears on the seashore and He’s got fish frying and He’s got bread waiting and when He asks them if they’ve caught any fish, and their answer was “no not a thing.” Well, He’s got breakfast ready so it really didn’t matter. But see, it all goes to show they could not preach the Gospel of Grace (faith in His death, burial, and resurrection) …now this brings in another point. Back to Luke 18. Because see all of this fits. And this is what most of Christendom do not see. It isn’t because I’m concocting it, because it’s right here in the Book, it’s just that most of Christendom is never taught this for whatever reason.
It’s been a long time since we’ve used these verses here in Luke 18. A long time. They’re at the end of Christ’s earthly ministry. They’re up in northern Israel, up there north of Galilee and they’re going to go up to Jerusalem for Passover and the Crucifixion, in a matter of hours. But now look what happens.
“Then he (Jesus) took unto him the twelve, (the twelve Disciples, that He’s been with now for three years) and he said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets (Old Testament) 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.”
That’s what Jesus told them! Did He know it was coming? Of course He did! He programmed it all in eternity past. And I’ve said it a hundred times if I’ve said it once, He could have named the Roman soldiers that nailed Him to the cross. He knew every little detail. But look at the next verse.
“And they (the Twelve) understood none of these things: and this saying (every word that He had just said) was hid from them, (they never caught it. Why?) neither knew they the things which were spoken.”
Well they weren’t supposed to. You ever stop and think what would have happened up there in Jerusalem if these twelve men would have known that they were going to try and kill their Messiah. Why they would have precipitated some kind of problem, but it just caught them so totally off guard that they made no defense. And after the fact they scattered, as I’ve often said, like a little flock of quail.
And then when resurrection morning comes and Mary Magdalene comes running and telling Peter and John the tomb was empty, they were in utter shock. They had no idea that He was going to be raised from the dead. But He had told them. And what’s my point? God keeps things secret from whomever He wants to keep it until He’s ready to reveal it.
And of course, that’s the whole concept of Paul’s message that everything that was revealed to the Apostle Paul, God had kept secret from the Twelve and from everybody else until it was time now to go to the Gentile world with the salvation message that Paul had received for us from the ascended Lord. How we must believe in our heart that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again, as we see in I Corinthians 15:1-4 and many other of Paul’s writings.
All right, let’s go quickly back to III John, maybe I can finish it and be ready for Jude next time. Now verse 13.
III John 1:13a
“I had many things to write,…”
Well, now I’ve just given you a glimpse, what all could he have written about? All of his experience in those three years with the Lord Jesus, the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit coming down. How he and James and Peter had confronted the Apostle Paul, and his message of Grace in Acts chapter 15, and all these things were just filling the Apostle’s mind.
And you know I get a little glimpse of it once in a while. People will send me a list of ten questions and I just finally say, hey, I can’t put all this down on pencil and paper. I’d rather call you on the phone. Well I imagine John was the same way. There was so much that there wasn’t any way he could put it all down on paper. He said:
III John 1:13b
“I will not with ink and pen write unto thee.”
III John 1:14a
“But I trust I shall shortly see thee,…”
In spite of old Diotrephes, he’s going to go for a visit. And he’s at least going to visit with Gaius and he’s going to meet this fellow Demetrius and he would probably have to ignore the local congregation, they probably wouldn’t let him in the door. Sound familiar? It is to me.
III John 1:14b
“…and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.”
And that’s the end of John’s little epistles. But do you catch the love in it all. And yet in spite of all of his love there was an individual who detested him, and fought him tooth and nail.
LESSON THREE * PART I
‘THE NATION OF ISRAEL MUST BE’
I want to show my appreciation for all of you who take the time and to come in and be a part of this. For those of you out in television of course, we always like to emphasize that we’re just an informal Bible study. Hopefully, I’m not going to be preaching at you – we’re just going to be teaching the Word and let the Holy Spirit do the work.
Alright, we’re in the little book of Jude, we’re winding up these Jewish epistles and this will wind up, hopefully, if the Lord tarries before the afternoon is over, Book 58. That means since we begin our television ministry we have done 696 lessons.
Okay, Jude, the last of the little Jewish epistles and of course Revelation is written in the same vein. But we always like to give a little introduction to everyone of these singularly different books. Jude, now is not one of the Twelve. He was evidently a half brother of Christ. He’s a full brother of James, who wrote the little letter of James and who also was at the Jerusalem Counsel, you remember. And so Jude has a close affinity to the Twelve, but he was not a member of the Twelve.
And he too, of course, is concerned about these Jewish believers, scattered out of Jerusalem now, because of the persecution that arose around Saul of Tarsus and of course they had been scattered throughout that part of the Middle East, but I always feel that primarily these little epistles were written to a congregation or maybe to several congregations in Western Turkey. We picked that up in the seven letters in the Book of Revelation, where it’s Thyatira, and Smyrna, and Pergamus and all those which are in the Western end of what is today, Turkey. So whatever you do as you read these little Jewish epistles, just realize that this is being written to Jews who as yet know nothing with Paul’s economy, they know nothing of the Gospel of the grace of God sent to the Gentile world.
It’s still all based on coming out of the Old Testament, through the Gospels, through the first part of Acts. Now when we start Revelation in our next taping, I’m going to put a timeline back on the board. I just don’t feel like I have to yet, because we’ve had it up not too long ago, but again, we’re going to show the timeline, how that everything just comes right straight across and without Paul’s epistles, nothing has changed. But, we know now that back here shortly after these little epistles were written and the Apostle Paul comes up with this Gospel of the grace of God, primarily sent to the Gentile world, then we have this whole new economy of what we call the Gospel of the grace of God and that is totally around that Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, was the One who went to the cross, suffered and died, was three days in the tomb and then risen from the dead. And that’s the victorious part of the Gospel, that He is not dead, He is alive evermore.
And Paul emphasizes that primarily in I Corinthians chapter fifteen, the great resurrection chapter. So as I’ve said in James and Peter and the three little epistles of John, I’ll say the same thing with Jude, you won’t find any church language in these little epistles. There’s nothing concerning the Body of Christ, you’ll find nothing concerning the power of the resurrection for salvation by faith alone. But it’s still dealing with Jews who were saved by believing that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, the promised Christ. And that was all that was mandated. Now, these believing Jews are still under the Law. In fact they were zealous to the Law. (Acts 21:20) Never forget that. Nobody had told these Jewish believers that they’re not under the Law and they really don’t come to that until the Temple is destroyed just a few years later.
“Jude the servant (or again, the Greek term is a bondslave,) of Jesus Christ, the brother of James, (now he’s writing) to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ and called:”
Now here is language that we can certainly appropriate just as well in the Age of Grace as it was back here for the Jew. That when we become a believer, we too are incorporated into Christ but in a different vein than the Jews were. We are brought in to the Body of Christ and as such, we are positioned in Christ and we’re preserved. Now that word, “preserved” is a word that most of you ladies that come out of the age of canning and everything, you know what that means. And when you sealed those jars or whatever you were putting up, hopefully, it was good for years to come. That nothing would spoil it. Well, that’s the same term here, that when believers come into a right relationship with God, God by His mercy and grace preserves us, He keeps us, and even Jude could write with that kind of language. And the true believer, now I have to emphasize the true believer, because you see, we’ve got a lot of professing believers, but they’ve never possessed. And what a difference!
And if you remember, in my last newsletter I quoted from a survey, an official, professional survey, how that the vast majority of “born again” really aren’t. And I think he boiled it down to only 8 percent of 40 percent which brings it down to less than three percent. And so we have to be rather alarmed that vast numbers of people who think they are, aren’t. And it’s a sad commentary. But for those who are truly saved, whether it was back here in the Jewish economy, or whether it’s for us now in this Age of Grace, it means that we are safe – we are eternally safe – and we’re in His care.
Alright verse 2. And as a believer, this certainly is appropriate for us as well as it was for the Jews.
“Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.”
Now verse 3 is an interesting verse. You ever stop to think about it? I imagine very few people do, where Jude says:
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence…”
In other words, he had every intention, as we’d say today, to write a little epistle based on salvation, which is the number one subject of this Book. And even Jude thought that was the most important thing he could present to this Jewish group of people. But then the Spirit entered in and changed everything.
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, (in other words getting in right relationship with the eternal God,) it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for (what?) the faith…”
Not A faith, but THE faith. Now I’m a stickler on words, you know that don’t you? What’s the difference between THE faith and A faith? Well if you’re basing it on A faith, you pick and choose. Whichever you happened to have landed on, that’s your faith. But that’s not what it says. It’s THE faith. There is only one. It’s an exclusive Gospel, absolutely it is. And there’s no watering it down or compromising it.
Now what’s the opposite of contending for the faith? Compromising it in my book. And we’re not to compromise. We are to know what the Book says and then contend for it. Not by being contentious, but simply sticking our heels in the ground and saying “This is what the Word says and this is where I stand, and I’m not going to compromise it. I’m not going to adulterate it with some of these foolish ideas like we’re seeing today.” So we’re to contend for the faith.
Now, of course the Apostle Paul did it with an individual that I suppose a lot of people cringe and think “Where did he think he was coming off?” Come back with me to Galatians chapter 2, and this is of course at the Jerusalem Counsel held at about 51 or 52 A.D. and the whole purpose of the Counsel originally was that the Judiasers from Jerusalem were coming in behind Paul’s Gentile converts, undermining them with the false teaching that they now have to also practice circumcision and keep the Law or they couldn’t be saved. Now you pick all that up in Acts 15. But Paul contended for the faith and he says so plainly here that he would not give in. He could have. He could have just given in and say okay, you guys have been in authority a lot longer than I have. Evidently you have what the world needs. But he didn’t. And so in verse 5 of Galatians 2 he says:
“To whom, (that is to the Twelve in the Jerusalem leadership,) to whom we gave place by subjection, (they were pressuring him.) no, (he says,) not for an hour; so that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.”
He contended, he stayed with it. Alright now then some time later, after all this agreement was covered and consummated with a handshake down in verse 9, now Peter, verse 11, comes up to Antioch, where the trouble had originally started. Now Peter comes from Jerusalem to Antioch and he’s visiting Paul in the Gentile congregation there.
“But when Peter was come to Antioch I withstood him to the face….”
Peter, mind you, Peter, the chief spokesman for the Twelve, who had really had all the clout at the Jerusalem church, and now this little fellow, I think Paul was small in stature, confronts him.
“…I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.”
He was at fault and what was Peter’s problem? Well, until others from the Jerusalem church came up and joined him visiting there at Antioch, he had been fellowshipping and eating with Paul’s Gentile converts, realizing that now under grace, we’re not under Law, including the kosher food. And so Peter wasn’t having much problem until some men came down from Jerusalem and now he runs scared and becomes hypocritical. And now look what happened.
“For before that certain came from James, (that Jewish Jerusalem church) he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.”
When those fellow believing Jews came down from Jerusalem, Peter withdrew and separated himself fearing them who were of the circumcision. Doesn’t sound like Peter does it? My, what a sad commentary. But you see, Paul wasn’t being contentious just to be contentious. He wasn’t just trying to build a case against Peter. But Peter was graphically in error and Paul calls him on it.
And so that’s what we mean by contending for the faith. We have to stand uncompromisingly for that which we know is the truth of the Word of God. And remember, the vast majority of Christendom does not like the truth. They’d rather be tickled, as the Scripture says, and have things that will satisfy their itching ears, but beloved we must stand on the truth and never compromise it. You have to contend for the faith.
Now back to Jude, and verse 4. Why do we have to contend for the faith. And listen, things are not one iota different today than they were Nineteen hundred and something years ago. Oh, we’ve got more technology, we’ve got more intellect, we’ve got more of this and more of that, but the human nature hasn’t changed a bit. We are just as human today as they were back then and we’ve got the same problems when it comes to the realm of the Spirit and what is it? False teachers. Now I trust most of you have read Jude often enough to know that the whole chapter is going to be dealing with false teachers.
Now as I was preparing for this, I also went back and listened to our last taping and I always have to be aware that I don’t run something into the ground and repeat and repeat and repeat. We have to repeat but I don’t want to do it too much. And so all of a sudden now, I’m realizing how the Scripture is just permeated with warnings against false teachers. Paul’s got it throughout his epistles. Beware! Beware! Don’t be deceived! James was warning his folks against false teachers. Peter was warning against the false teachers. And now here comes Jude and he just puts the frosting on the cake and he almost really drums it home, that the whole problem against the truth of the Word of God are the false teachers. And listen, we are getting deluged by it today, I think like never before, because Satan knows his time is short.
Now it’s not quite at the level it will be in the last half of the Tribulation when Revelation makes it so plain, that he knows that his time is short. But nevertheless, I think we have to understand that Satan is pulling the plug on anything and everything to keep people from the Truth. You know I was so tickled in yesterday’s mail somebody sent us some tracts along with their letter and if you remember, in one of my programs, here probably a taping or so ago, I likened staying on the line of Truth to be genuinely saved and know it, I likened it to shooting the bull’s-eye with a rifle. Any of you remember that? That it doesn’t count if you go off to the side or right, up or down. You’ve got to be on the center bull’s-eye. Well, if this tract didn’t say the same thing. And I just thought well hallelujah, I’m not the only one that can make that analogy. To know the Gospel of salvation, which is by believing in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and rose again, you have to be on target and you cannot be off 45 degrees one way or the other and still make it. I think a lot of people are hoping that. Well, maybe God will let me in. Maybe He’ll compromise. I don’t think He will. I think God is too absolute for that.
“For there are certain men crept in unawares,…”
Unaware! You know, after we have taught people for awhile, then they’ll tell us, “You know, Les I remember a few years ago a fellow came into our church and he said this and this and this and at the time we didn’t think anything about it. We didn’t know any better. But now that we have learned what the truth is and we think back, how did we sit there and listen to that stuff?” Well, you know why? Because they are not exercised by this need to realize that there are false teachers. And they’re not going to come in to your pulpit, I don’t care what your denomination is, they’re not going to come in to your pulpit and say, “Okay now, be careful now, I’m a false teacher!” Anything but. They’re going to come in just as sly as a fox. They’re going to come in wolves in sheep’s clothing. And unless you know the Book, you’re never going to catch it. They come in unawares, and people are just caught sleeping.
In other words, we’ve been warned from time immemorial that these false teachers are coming. So it’s nothing new. Alright, and what are they doing?
“…who were before of old ordained to this condemnation , ungodly men …”
You don’t really expect a guy from skid row to come in to your pulpit do you? Well, that’s not the kind of ungodly people we’re talking about. You remember when we were – come back with me to Romans chapter 4 because here is where I usually define the term “ungodly”
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him who justifies (the what?) the ungodly,…”
The ungodly. Now if you remember when I taught this years ago in Romans I defined the word that whenever you put UN in front of another word, what does it simply make it? Without! When you say UN something, it’s just that without. Alright now when you use the term UNGODLY it doesn’t mean that they are falling down drunk. It doesn’t mean that they are something on skid row. It doesn’t mean that they are the bottom of the social scale. This could be someone at the very top of the social scale and they are still, what? UNGODLY. Why? They are without God in their life, see? God is not in their life. So they are UNGODLY.
Alright now that’s exactly what Jude is talking about. You’re not going to have someone come in to your church or your Sunday School class and be a derelict of society. He’s not someone who is sleeping under a bridge. He can probably come in with a three-piece suit and bunch of degrees behind his name, but he’s still what? UNGODLY. He doesn’t have God in his life. He is a false teacher. And false teachers are not what you would call Godly people. Alright, so here’s the warning. These men are ungodly. No matter how much education they may have, no matter how finely they’re dressed, they’re ungodly men.
“… turning the grace of our God into (what?) lasciviousness,…”
Now that’s the kind of a tough word to define, but lasciviousness is usually associated with the sexuality immorality. Isn’t that where we are today? My, I’m getting letters from all these major denominational people, heartsick at what’s going on in their denomination. Well, this is it! This is it! Ungodly men with their frocks and with all of their clout, and with all of their power, and with all of their so-called knowledge. But they are turning the grace of God into something that is contrary to Scripture. And it’s breaking the hearts of a lot of the people, but they can’t do anything about it. They can’t stop it. They can’t turn it around. Oh, they can try withholding funds, but it just doesn’t seem to do it. And like I said, I’m hearing it from all the major denominations. And you know it. It’s in your news everyday. Now continuing on in verse 4.
“…they’re turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness (and at the same time) they deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Now what does that tell you? Who is Jesus Christ? He’s God! Now you know there are groups that can’t buy that. There are some who just don’t feel that Jesus of Nazareth was God. He was something created. He was something less than God. But listen, this Book declares that He was God. The Apostle Paul makes it so plain that He was the Creator God.
And then they have the gall to say that “No He wasn’t God. He was a prophet, or He was this or He was that.” But now, even Jude says, “that He is the only Lord God and He is our Lord Jesus Christ” Now in that same vein let’s come back a few pages to Titus. That’s back there in the T’s. Titus chapter 2 verse 13. This is one verse I use on these people that just adamantly reject Christ’s deity because a lot of the other verses, they’ll say, “Well, that isn’t what it means.” But this says what it means and means what it says and you can’t argue with it.
“Looking expectantly for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God our Saviour Jesus Christ.”
Now can you separate that? I can’t. I don’t think anybody else can. Our Savior Jesus Christ, out of Nazareth, born at Bethlehem, promised all the way back to the Old Testament – He’s God and He’s our Savior and He’s Lord. How can they argue with that? Oh, they’ll try. They try, but don’t give them one inch. Contend for these things. Alright back to Jude once again and our time is almost gone. And so they refuse to believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Creator God, that He was Lord. Now verse 5. Because of what’s coming in to these little Jewish churches and it’s the same way today. Now as I said earlier in the other epistle, remember they were preparing the Jewish believers for the coming Tribulation, the day of wrath. Oh, here we are Nineteen hundred and some years later and it’s the same scenario. Once again, these little epistles are preparatory for Jews in particular, for the horrors of the Tribulation that are right out in front of the world, they are coming. So always remember that, that this is still just a appropriate today as it was Nineteen hundred and some years ago. Because of this influx of ungodly men claiming to be something that they’re not.
“I will therefore put you in remembrance, (to stop and think) though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, (God the Son, Jesus of Nazareth) having saved the people out of the land of Egypt,…”
And you say the Lord was in Egypt? Absolutely He was. The same one, the same God the Son that became flesh and walked the highways of Israel was the one that worked with Israel back to bring them out of Egypt.
“…having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward (in other words, after they had escaped Egypt) destroyed them that believed not.”
Now here again, here is one of the dilemmas – Oh my goodness, we’ve only got 14 seconds left. I’ll just have to wind this down and we’ll pick it up here in our next program. Right here in Jude verse 5.
LESSON THREE * PART II
‘THE NATION OF ISRAEL MUST BE’
Again we always like to emphasize, we’re not associated with any one denomination, we don’t attack anybody, and all we try to do is get everybody, whatever your background, into the Book and see what the Word of God says. Not what some denomination says, not what Les Feldick says, but what does the Book say! In fact, some folks up in Minnesota coined a little tune, and they’ll get a kick out of every time I say this, and that was the title of they’re little song, “What Does the Book Say!” And it went on from there, but anyway, we always like to thank our TV audience for your support, your prayers, oh how we enjoy the knowledge that you’re praying for us and for your letters, as well as financial help.
Now again, Iris is going to let me take the chance of – we’ve always sort of avoided doing anything that dates our program, because we never know when they’ll be viewed again, but most of you are aware now that we’re on a – what shall I call it, – a timed production, we keep making new programs once a month, but the daily programs are reruns. But anyway we’re making plans to once again take a tour back to the Holy Land. Since this is March of 2004, we’re tentatively making plans for March or April 2005. So if any of you are aware of that, or interested, why contact us and we’ll get the information to you- providing the Lord doesn’t come. We still hope constantly that the Lord will intervene with that trumpet call – I’m still a firm believer of the Pre-Trib Rapture and as the world seemingly is getting so right for the Tribulation, it just tells us we’re getting close.
Ok so much for that. Back to the little Book of Jude where we left off in our last program, and I was in verse 5, and I ran out of time, so we’ll go back to it. Where Jude says:
“I will therefore (because of the constant fear of false teachers coming in amongst the believers) put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, (in other words this is nothing new) how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt,…”
So we go all the way back to the Exodus. The same Lord that was evident all the way up through Israel’s history is the One who had come in the flesh at Bethlehem, and had walked the three years of ministry, had been crucified, resurrected, gone back to glory, and the promise was that in a short order He’d be coming back, and yet fulfill all those Old Testament promises. Listen, this Book would fall apart if God did not fulfill every prophecy. They have to be fulfilled or it’s not the Word of God!
And so we know that all these Old Testament prophecies concerning Israel’s glory and the kingdom on earth are still coming. God has interrupted it in His sovereignty, but it’s still coming. And so even though they were looking forward in their lifetime as these little letters are written. Now as I said in our last program, we are right back in the same thing nineteen hundred and some years later we’ve got Israel back in the land, we’ve got the appearance of the Revived Roman Empire there in Western Europe. The world is getting in perplexity, everything is getting ripe for the fulfillment of the prophetic Scriptures.
Alright, so Jude now then, is taking his Jewish believers back to Egypt. Well, we can do the same thing. We all study the Exodus and how God miraculously brought the people out of slavery and took them through the Red Sea, so it’s just as appropriate for us to remember these things as it was for the Jewish believers to whom Jude is writing. Alright, so he says, remember that when the Lord saved the people out of the land of Egypt miraculously after the plagues had pummeled Egypt. And then you remember on the night of the Passover when death went through Egypt and that really triggered the release of the Jewish nation out of Egypt and they went all the way to the Red Sea and then there was the obstacle.
You know I still like to use that as a beautiful picture of our own salvation today. There, Israel, coming out of abject slavery, no freedom, no liberty, brow beaten from sunup to sundown, and now all of a sudden they’re sprung loose, but they’re still on the wrong side of the Red Sea, and no place to go. Mountains on both sides, the Egyptian army and the chariots behind them and the Red Sea in front. And I always like to remind, like Jude is saying, remember, did God say well, hurry up and do something? Don’t just stand there, get to work? No, what did He say. “Stand still! Don’t try to do anything. You’re helpless. Let the power of God exert itself.”
And that’s what happened. God opened the Red Sea. No listen, have you ever stopped to think how much faith it took, knowing that that water was backed up, I don’t think it was within sight. I think that was such a long span that they couldn’t see that wall of water to the left, nor could they see that wall of water to the right. So when they stepped into the dry bed of the Red Sea, what did it take? FAITH! My, it took faith. How did they know it wouldn’t come rushing back in the next five minutes? Well, they didn’t, except by faith. And so they walked through on dry ground, by faith, coming up on the other side now, a redeemed people.
Well, that’s where we are. We were in the slave market of sin, hopelessly lost. But because of Christ’s redemptive work, and by faith we’ve appropriated it, we too now have come through the death, burial and resurrection and we’re on the other side and we now experience God’s saving grace. My what a beautiful picture.
Alright, but the pity of it is after they’d gone through by faith, went all the way down the Sinai under Moses’ leadership, and we’re going to see that a little bit more, a little later in the Book here, and now God takes them up to Kadesh Barnea to go in and have the Promised Land, to take it by faith. They didn’t have to worry about those oversized Canaanites. They didn’t have to worry about the fact that they were larger and more fit for war, because God said He would drive them out with hornets. And yet, how did they respond? In unbelief, abject unbelief, and said, “No we can’t. We can’t do it. The people are too big. The cities are too walled.” Well what did God tell them? “Take it.” So then what was the result? They went back into the wilderness and they died like flies until that whole generation of unbelieving Israelites are gone. What a sad commentary.
Now, I can’t answer the question, I’ve asked it for years as long as I’ve been teaching, I’ve had this question. If they came out of the slavery of Egypt, they came through the Red Sea by faith, were they all what we call “saved?” Well, if that’s the case, then why just a few months later they get up to Kadesh Barnea and their faith is totally absent and they go back into the wilderness and die, which he says here, “they believed not”. I can’t answer it. That’s in God’s hands. Now that’s why I’ve always made the comment, “It’s hard to put your thumb on Old Testament salvation.”
Were they saved once for all, or were they saved and lost? That’s what it would indicate here. They were saved out of Egypt, but when they returned back on Kadesh Barnea it says He destroyed them that what? “Believed not!” Tough question. I don’t have the answer, that’s where God is sovereign, thank goodness. And the same way today, people will say, “Well so and so did this and they did that. Do you think they’re saved?” I don’t know, only God looks on the heart.
Now we can be fruit inspectors, absolutely, if their life completely is in total disobedience and in total opposition to the Scriptures, then as I inspect their fruit, I think I can come to conclusions, but I can’t look at the heart. Neither can you. Neither can anybody else. No human being can tell another human being, “Well you’re safe”, but we can’t look on the heart. But it’s a good lesson here, how that we just cannot determine the salvation experience of these Old Testament Jews. So we’re to remember it, what all took place, how that God miraculously brought them out, brought them through the Red Sea, took them to Sinai, gave them the Law, the tabernacle, the priesthood, ready to take them into the Promised Land and then in unbelief they turned away, all except Moses and Aaron and Joshua and Caleb. Might have been a few others, not that I’m aware of, but whatever, Jude says “they were not believers.”
Now in verse 6, we jump into a different category – angels. Now I don’t deal a lot with angels because there again, there is too much you can’t put your handle on it and so I’m always a little cautious when we start teaching things concerning angels.
And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left (in other words, by choice, they turned away from their sovereign God as angels) their own habitation,…”
Now as a result of their own free will choice, turning their back upon the righteous God who was over them, where are they?
“…he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”
And God is going to judge those fallen angels. Now I always like to think of the time that Lucifer fell, and that would take us all the way back to Ezekiel 28 first, and then Isaiah 14. Let’s go back and look at Ezekiel 28, now it’s been a long time since we covered this, but in Ezekiel 28 we have some interesting language. God is speaking through the prophet, and he says:
“Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, the topaz, the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.”
In other words, he was a functioning angelic being. Verse 14, here’s who he is.
“Thou art the anointed cherub (or angel) that covereth;…”
Or ruleth. In other words this individual we’re dealing with was the ruling angel over some sort of angelic kingdom.
“…and I have set thee so: (in His Sovereignty, He placed this angel in this particular place of beautiful gemstones, as well as control over an angelic host) thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15. Thou wast perfect (he was a sinless angel) from the day that thou wast created, (here we know he was a created being) until (at some point in time) iniquity was found in thee.”
Now we drop back a few pages to Isaiah chapter 14, and that’s where we find the iniquity. And it’s so plain. Watch this carefully, this is interesting.
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! (now remember what he is. He is a ruling angel over a kingdom of angelic inhabitants) how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (that is later in his activity. Now here was his fall) 13. For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: (in other words, he would assume God’s position) 14. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”
Doesn’t that sound like old Satan today? He still thinks he’s going to do it. A group of us were talking just the other night, you sometimes wonder about this creature. He’s got tremendous knowledge and intellect. Is he so stubborn and still is so determined that he’s going to be victorious over God, or can’t he read? Because we know what his end is. But he must not. He doesn’t quit.
Of course, I’ve always said that’s the same way with liberals in politics and in religion they never quit. And Satan’s the same way. He will not quit. Even though he knows he’s defeated. Alright, so he says “I will be like the most High.” I’m going to usurp God’s throne. But God answers:
“Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”
And of course, we know that is his coming doom. But in the meantime, you see, he’s doing everything in his power to thwart God’s program. Now let me come back to Jude a minute. Back to Jude, verse 6. Satan of course, Lucifer, did not experience the incarceration that his followers did. And from Revelation, chapter 12 it would seem that one third of the angelic hosts followed Satan in his rebellion. And those are the ones waiting here under the chains of darkness for Judgment Day. And of course, Lucifer, who we know as Satan will not have benefit of judgment, he will go straight to the Lake of Fire when times ends as we know it.
I sometimes wonder where I can bring this in. You see, all the way up from the beginning you might say of creation and even right here, these angels were faced with what? Choice! They were evidently a free willed creature and they had choice. But you see, Lucifer and the third that followed him, did like a lot of people do today. They chose how? Wrong! They chose wrong in order to satisfy the self will. And all we have to do is just look across the whole spectrum of humanity. And isn’t that always the problem? To satisfy the self, momentarily, we choose wrong.
Now I think you folks know, our television audience knows, and for you fellows that are watching me in prison right now, my, we have just a tremendous ministry among prison inmates, I think almost every state in the union. And invariably they admit they made bad choices, starting maybe when they were teenagers, maybe later. But all their problems compound from making horrible choices. Or people will call with their marital difficulties and the first thing I tell them, Look, I’m not a marriage counselor. I don’t pretend to be. But I can tell you one thing, somewhere along the line you made bad choices. And they are the first to admit that. Alright, so what prompts us as human beings, God’s creation – created being, what prompts us to make these bad choices? Well, I think the Devil does. Satan would like nothing better than to see the whole human race rebel against the Creator as the angels did, because he’s the master of rebellion. So all of these bad choices, now not that Satan rides on the shoulder of every human being, don’t get me wrong, but he has a way of influencing the human race to make these bad choices.
Alright but now the point that I’m really wanting to make is concerning the nation of Israel. Now we know that anti-Semitism is coming up much like it did in the thirties, and forties, especially over in Europe, and it prompts me, and I want to remind my listening audience, why since day one, have the Jewish people suffered such hatred and such opposition from the rest of the world? Well, it isn’t because of their unique makeup, it isn’t because of their personality, it isn’t because of their looks, it’s because this adversary of God, this Lucifer, fallen now, and we know he’s Satan – knows that if he can knock Israel out of the earth’s existence, then God’s whole program falls apart. Because, as you see, as I’ve said over and over on this program, Israel is at the heart of everything that God does. And if you take the heart out, that kills the whole. And this is what Satan knows.
And so all you have to do is reflect back. Just as soon as the race was called out through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, my, what begins to befall those people? Well, the first glaring act of course, is when the brothers sold Joseph down into slavery. Hatred! Sin! Now you come all the way up through their history. Now there comes all of this what we think is, how could those people who have been blessed so richly, be so blind and practice such unbelief? Because Satan knows and he works on them constantly. If he can get Israel out of the way, he’s the winner.
Alright, let’s bring you all the way up to the Book of Esther. What happened in the Book of Esther? Well old Haman convinced the king to set out a decree that would kill every Jew in the empire, because they were the problem. And so the king fell for it. Fortunately God had His own little Jewish girl in the right place at the right time and thanks to Esther, the whole thing fell apart. But did Satan quit? No! He keeps on and so everything is directed to stop God’s program. When Christ is born, why in the world did Herod put out the decree to kill all the boy babies under the age of 2? To hopefully, get that Christ child that has been born in that two year interval. Well, why kill the Christ child? Oh, that’s what Satan wanted.
Now, you take it on up to the work of the cross, as many of you now have seen the movie, “The Passion”. Oh, what was behind the whole scenario? Satanic power! And so all the way down now since. Satan working overtime to stop God’s prophetic Scripture. And so why the hatred of Israel tonight? Why the threat to throw them into the sea? Why the threat to get rid of every Jew on the planet again? Oh that’s what Satan wants, because if Israel is gone, then everything falls apart. Never lose sight of that. And so this is the reason that they are so hated and so despised, is because Satan knows that without them God’s promises would fail.
Alright, now let’s continue on in Jude in the couple of minutes we’ve got left. Now verse 7, he jumps us up to an Old Testament event that almost every good Jew knew about and hopefully, most people who have anything to do with the Bible and Christianity today would know about.
“Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them (not just the two but even little suburbs) in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, (in other words, gross immorality) and going after strange flesh, (in other words that which was against normality) are set forth for (a what?) an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”
Why can’t the world read this? Sodom and Gomorrha came under the judgment of God, not just to punish that group of people, but to tell the rest of the human race what God thinks about that kind of activity. It was an example showing us God’s reaction to the lifestyle of the Sodom and Gomorrhaites. But, oh, the world can’t learn and so they were set as an example and as that example they suffered the vengeance of eternal fire, but they’re not alone. Everyone who lives in that lifestyle is going to that same place.
Of course the thing that exercises me is you all know by now that I love history, and all you have to do is go back and look at history. In fact I was telling, I think a TV group the other day, do you know that 15 of the last 16 Roman Emperors were homosexuals? And out of those 15 or 16 Emperors of Rome, only 2 lived to a normal life end. They were either murdered, poisoned, assassinated. . That’s the kind of a society you get when they take over.
It’s historical proven that any empire that came under that influence went down the tube. And of course Rome the most graphic, and we’re to learn from it. That’s the whole idea of being an example. Now let me show you what Peter says about it. We looked at it a few weeks ago when we were in Peter’s little epistle, but you see the Bible is just saturated with all of this. And it’s to tell us, that this is not an alternative lifestyle. Now it isn’t that God doesn’t love them – God loves sinners of any stripe, and He’ll save them to the uttermost, but He’s going to bring down judgment wherever it becomes a complete practice of society. It’s coming! And the whole world will come under the judgment sooner or later.
LESSON THREE * PART III
‘THE NATION OF ISRAEL MUST BE’
Okay, let’s come back to where we were in Jude, chapter one and we were in verse 7, and again I ran out of time as usual. And so we’ll finish up our thoughts for a little bit before we go on into verse 8. But verse 7 again. I don’t like to run this thing into the ground but on the other hand since it’s something that we’re up against today, like no other time in our national history, we have to see what the Word of God says. It doesn’t matter what I think or what any other group thinks, it’s what does the Word of God say about it.
“Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, (now everybody I trust knows the story of Lot and Sodom) and the cities about them (in other words the suburbs. Little small villages out around them, who also were living) in like manner, (of course) giving themselves over to fornication, (that is into the grosser means of immorality) and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example,…”
The only point I’m making is that all these things were written, as Paul says in Romans 15, “for our – (what?) learning.” They won’t necessarily show you salvation, they won’t present the Gospel of salvation, but they’re back there for our learning, to know how God has dealt with these things in the past. Alright and so they were:
“…set forth for an example, (and as such they) suffered the vengeance of eternal fire.”
Of course we know that Sodom and Gomorrha were destroyed with fire and brimstone, but that was only the here and the now. It also sent them into their eternal punishment, which of course, will be consummated at the Great White Throne. In our last lesson we were going to II Peter in the last half minute of our last half hour, so let’s go back and finish that verse before we move on into verse 8. II Peter chapter 2 and again, the Scriptures find it necessary to repeat this and repeat it and repeat it, then who am I to ignore it. We just cannot do it. All we want people to know is what does the Word of God say about it?
I’m not going to judge them, God is. I’m not going to tell them one thing or another. All I can say is that God will save to the uttermost anyone who comes unto Him and accepts these things by faith. Paul makes the graphic statement that where sin abounds, what’s always greater? The grace of God! So we never call these people hopelessly lost, but, we have to show them that in the view and mind of God they are in a gross situation.
II Peter 2:6a
“And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes, (as a result of fire and brimstone. So He turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes,) condemned them (in other words condemned their guilt) with an overthrow, making them (a what?) an example…”
An example that would teach coming generations how God feels about this kind of immorality. Alright and He’s going to make them an example:
II Peter 2:6b-9
“… unto those that after should live ungodly; (or that kind of lifestyle) 7. And delivered Lot, the just man, who was vexed, (knowing better) with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8. For that righteous man (Lot, who had the same faith that Abraham had evidently) dwelling among them, (that is the Sodom and Gomorrhaites) in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds; (or their lifestyle. And so) 9. The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, (as He did Lot) and to reserve the unjust (those who stayed in Sodom) to reserve them unto the day of judgment to be punished.”
Well, that’s what the Word of God says about it. It’s not what I say, it’s what the Word says, and we’d better be ready to stand for it.
Now, let’s go back to Jude and we’ll move on. And this whole little book of Jude now is dealing with examples of unbelief and God’s judgment, simply to show us that God hasn’t changed. And what He’s judged in the past, He will judge again. And so any nation that falls under this kind of an influence, is ripe for judgment. Alright now verse 8:
“Likewise (in other words on the same level) these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion…”
Now doesn’t that ring a bell? What have we just seen? Just exactly that. They don’t care what the law says. They don’t care what government decrees. They’ll do what they want to do. Alright and so they:
“…despised dominion and they speak evil of dignities.”
Now you know the Scripture in other places says that one of the signs of the end times is when they will call right wrong and wrong right, when they will call black white and will call white black, and we’re there, and that’s what makes me feel that we’re so close to the end. All these things that have been prophesied are now rolling in all over the planet.
Now verse 9, here we shift gears again and we go into something totally removed from the Sodom and Gomorrha environment. Now we jump up to Michael the archangel,
“Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil (there’s that old Satan again. That constant adversary) he disputed about the body of Moses, and dared not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”
Now there’s always been a lot of controversy and a lot of questions – who is or what is this controversy between Michael and this body of Moses. Well goodness, we know that there was no controversy over Moses’ physical body. That was buried up there on Mt. Nebo, so it has to be something else. Alright, now let’s just take a different take than what I know you’re use to seeing. Go back with me to I Corinthians chapter 10, verse 1, and I’m going to try and do this in a way that maybe you can come to the conclusion yourself of what it’s talking about, so be thinking. Don’t just be reading, be thinking. That’s the name of the game.
I Corinthians 10:1a
“Moreover brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant,…”
Now you know Paul is always trying to bring people out of ignorance and into the knowledge. Now ignorance is not a lack of brain cells, you’ve heard me say that a hundred times if I’ve said it once. Ignorance is a simply a lack of having been taught. We are all ignorant of a lot of things.
Now, I always use the example of electricity. I’m ignorant of it, I haven’t learned that much about it. I can flip a light switch and that’s probably about the limit of it. But you see, for people who study it, they’re knowledgeable, they know exactly what’s going on, on those light wires. Now it’s the same way with spiritual things. Most people are untaught. They’ve never heard these things before, and I think that’s part of my ministry – is to open up the Scriptures so that people can be taught, and understand and not remain ignorant.
I Corinthians 10:1a
“I would that you should be ignorant, (untaught) how that our fathers (speaking of the fathers of the nation of Israel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and now we’re all the way up to Moses, of course, in Egypt) were under the cloud,…”
We all remember the story of Israel coming out of Egypt, how the cloud by day, the pillar of fire by night. Alright and so all our fathers, all the Israelites coming out of Egypt .were under the cloud:
I Corinthians 10:1b-2a
“…and all passed through the sea; (en masse. I don’t think a single one lost. Now read on) 2. They were all baptized unto Moses…”
Not with water, but with an act of God. They were placed into Moses’ leadership. They were under Moses’ protective care. You remember when they needed water, who did they go running to? “Moses, we need water. Our people are thirsty. Our livestock are thirsty.” Then Moses, in turn goes to God and God tells him what to do. But they were literally placed by an act of God under Moses’ leadership and control.
I Corinthians 10:2b-4
“…in the cloud and in the sea; 3. And did all eat the same spiritual meat. 4. And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”
Alright now let’s compare scripture with scripture. Now I want you thinking. Who is the body of Moses that we’re dealing with in the Book of Jude? Now turn over to I Corinthians, a page or two more, chapter 12 and this should help you put it together, and begin with verse 12. And remember now this is the Apostle Paul and he’s talking to you and I as Gentiles in this Age of Grace,
I Corinthians 12:12
“For as the body (the human body) is one, and it hath many members, (in other words all our extremities and all of our organs, they’re all part of one body) and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. (the Body of Christ Now keep your mind on what he said about Moses) 13. . “For by one (Holy) Spirit we (as believers) are all baptized into one (what?) body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; we have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14. For the body is not one member, but many.”
Alright, so what do you suppose was the body of Moses that Satan was deliberating over? The nation of Israel! Come back and read it again, come back to I Corinthians chapter 10 again. Put this all together. The Gentiles have all been baptized into the Body of Christ as this functional organism, universal in it’s breadth, but we’re all there by virtue of our saving faith and an act of the Spirit and we are all one in Christ regardless of who or what we are. Now jump back to the Exodus.
I Corinthians 10:1a-2
“…how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2. And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;”
Not with water – the Red Sea was what? Dry! They didn’t get wet, so what kind a baptism was it? An act of God that placed them into what? Moses’ leadership. And so what did they become? They became a body, a spiritual body, the body of Moses, because he was the one who was their leader by God’s sovereign grace. Whereas today We believers today are baptized or placed in the Body of Christ with that same sovereign God accomplishing it!
Now with what I said a program or two ago, remember, why are the Jewish people so hated and detested and tried to be obliterated from the human experience? Satan! The devil wants to get rid of them. Now, let’s go back to Deuteronomy chapter 32, and use a verse, I think, that just nails that down, that Israel is at the heart of all of God’s dealing with the human race.
And don’t forget this verse. Be ready to share it at every chance. Deuteronomy chapter 32, I wish I could just give the page in my Bible and you’d all have it. Verse 8:
“When the most High (well, that’s a term of Deity. It’s a term of the Old Testament Creator, God Himself.) divided to the nations (that is to the world) their inheritance, when he separated (by Divine decree, they all went into their separate areas of the planet) the sons of Adam, he set the bounds (or the boundaries) of the people (of these various nations and peoples) according to (what?) the number of the children of Israel.”
Now what does that tell you? Everything that God determines for the human race rested on the nation of Israel. Geographically. Geographically what is the absolute center of the world – the earth? Jerusalem! It’s the center of everything.
Now stop and think as I said a program or two back. If Satan can succeed in getting rid of the nation of Israel, then there’s no way end time prophecy can be fulfilled, because Israel has to be in the land. Israel has to be there to have the King. Now let me show you what I’m talking about. Come back with me to Matthew chapter 19. This is just one little instance. I could sit here from now until next week and show you these same kinds of proofs that Israel has to be in the land for the return of Christ and their King.
This is so plainly put. You don’t have to be a degreed theologian to understand this. You know I said it on one of the past programs, you know what old Tyndale said back in his days, they were burning him at the stake? He wanted every plowboy in England to have a copy of the Word. And I like that because what does that tell you? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand this Book. If you’ve got the leading of the Holy Spirit, you can understand it as well as 10 PhDs. That’s what it amounts to.
Alright now here it is as plain as day. Why does Israel have to be in the land for the return of their King? Matthew 19 and verse 17, this is during His earthly ministry, toward the end of it. And of course the Twelve have been with Him and they’ve given up all of their good things of life, you might say, their occupations, their family life, to follow the Lord.
“Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold we have forsaken all and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?”
Now do you get what he’s saying? They turned their back on the life style they had enjoyed. They lost a good portion of their family life because they were with Him. And so now Peter says, “Well, what are we going to get for all this?” And the Lord doesn’t scold him, not at all. And he says: “what shall we have therefore?” And I always make the point, he’s not talking about salvation. He’s got that.
That’s evident back there in John’s gospel when Jesus was washing their feet, I think it’s chapter 13. And you remember Peter didn’t want Jesus to wash his feet, kind of stuck them back under him, I imagine, and Jesus said, “If I can’t wash your feet, you can have no part with me.” And you know old Peter had a way of sticking his foot in his mouth and what did he say next? “Well then give me a bath!” And what did the Lord tell him? “Peter, you don’t need a bath, you’ve been (what’s the word the Lord used?) washed!” You’ve been washed, you’re saved, you’re secure. But we’re walking in this old filthy world and so what do you need, symbolically? Our feet washed.
Okay, but here Peter isn’t talking about that. He’s talking about reward. “What are we going to have therefore.” Now look at the answer and see if this could ever happen if the Jews were obliterated.
“And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, (now that will be eleven of the Twelve, remember) in the regeneration (in other words, when He puts the earth to it’s original Edenic state, beautiful, without the curse, it’s going to be heaven on earth, alright) when the Son of man (speaking of Himself, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, the Son of God) shall sit in the throne of His glory…”.
Now what does throne speak of? Kingdom and King. So when the Son of Man has returned and He sets up His kingdom, and Christ is seated on the major throne in Jerusalem, I think on David’s throne on Mount Zion, now look what the rest of the verse says:
“…ye also (the Twelve. Now it’s not going to be Judas, it’s going the Mathias. But the Twelve) shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging (or ruling) the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Could that be fulfilled if the Jews are obliterated? Well, of course not. That would end it all. There could be no kingdom. There would be no reason for Christ to return. The whole thing falls apart if Israel disappears.
Now, I’m thinking of another verse. Jump all the way back again to the Old Testament. I told you one time somebody wrote and said I missed naming my program. It should be “Back and Forth in the Bible”. Well, that’s all right with me. Where was I going? I almost lost my thought. But let’s go to Jeremiah. You know I share with people so often, I can do this on the program, because I think you all feel like you know me as well as you do your own family. Years ago, I was teaching down in McAlester, and the dear man has gone on to be with the Lord and he had a unique grin and he’d always sit right about over here where Gordon is sitting, and whenever I did something like that or if I dropped something, he’d look up and grin and he’d say, “Ain’t going to get any better!” And I’m finding that out. It just doesn’t get better, those things keep compounding as we get older.
Ok, Jeremiah chapter 31. Now we’re on the whole idea that Israel cannot, – dare not disappear, because if they did everything would fall apart. The Word of God would become moot, we could just as well throw it in the trash can and go home, it’d be worthless. But they’re not because the Word of God is true!
Now look what it says: Jeremiah 31, dropping down to verse 35, and be ready to show this people when they get anti-Israel with you. When they get anti-Semetic and they try to prove that they shouldn’t be there in the Holy Land. Yes they have to be, they have to be or God’s Word could never be fulfilled.
“Thus saith the LORD, (this is the Word of God) which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, (this is the Creator speaking) which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: 36. If those ordinances (that is of the sun, and the moon, and the stars, in they’re orbits) depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever”
You think the sun’s ever going to fall out of its place? You think the stars are going to fall out of orbit? Uh-huh. And as long as they don’t then the promise is secure, the nation of Israel is going to stay in place, it has to!
“Thus saith the LORD; If (there it is again, it’s conditional) heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off this seed of Israel (but that’s never going to happen. Man can’t do it) for all that they have done, saith the LORD.”
And so we have this promise of God’s Word, that the nation of Israel will never disappear even though Satan thinks he’s still going to succeed. And like I said in an earlier program, I don’t know where he’s got his intellect, but he can’t get it through his head that he’s not going to succeed, but he keeps trying.
Now back to Jude. I thought I’d have a hard time getting through the afternoon without going someplace else and we’re not even half way through Jude yet. Okay, that’s what makes it fun, isn’t it? This is fun. Let’s read verse 9 again, now that you see what I’m talking about.
“Yet Michael, the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, (over Israel. Michael has to do his part to protect the nation of Israel.) durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”
Cause after all, the Lord is the one who has the power. Now then verse 10:
“But these (these filthy dreamers, these horrible false teachers that are coming upon the world) speak evil of those thing which they know not; but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.”
Now what’s it telling you? Well again, these people who know nothing of the truth of the Word of God, these people who have nothing of the Holy Spirit’s teaching and instruction, they spew out this stuff that is nothing but a foul ball concerning spiritual things. And they cannot, they cannot teach the truth because they just don’t know what it is.
LESSON THREE * PART IV
‘THE NATION OF ISRAEL MUST BE’
Okay, let’s be turning back to the little book of Jude, for those of you out in television, we just want to welcome you to our Bible Study. We’re just teach verse by verse, – I don’t claim to have all the answers. I don’t mind if somebody disagrees, if you can do it Scripturally. But the name of the game is to just simply search the Scriptures and see if these things are so. You remember that’s what the Bereans did back in Paul’s day. When he came to the little town of Berea and showed them from the Scriptures that Jesus indeed was the Christ, they went home and searched the Scriptures And of course, you have to understand how to rightly divide God’s Word.
In fact, I looked all through my Bible, I don’t know what I did with it, but I had a quote from one of the old original, I think, translators of the King James, and someday I’ll think to bring it along, where in so many words he says, what I’m always saying, you have to determine to whom this portion was written, who wrote it, what are the circumstances, when was it written and then in that light, all of this falls in place. You can’t just take it as a mix mash. It will do nothing but confuse. But if we learn to rightly divide it, as Paul says in II Timothy, and to separate what was written for the Jews and leave it in it’s place, and keep what Paul wrote for the Body of Christ in it’s place. When you do that then you rightly divide the Word of Truth, and the Bible will become alive to you.
But here we’re back still in these little epistles that were written by Peter, James and John and now Jude is following up and they are all dealing with believing Jews in view of the coming horrors of the Tribulation. And as I’ve said almost now on every program, at the time they were written, they thought that the Tribulation was right in front, the Second Coming and if they could survive all that, they’d be going into the Kingdom and the glory of it. But of course, God stopped the Jewish program and opened up the Church Age and through the Apostle Paul has now had the revelation of what we call the mysteries and this age of the grace of God, whereby God will save the vilest sinner who will just simply believe the work of the cross. And what a difference. Not under Law, but under grace.
But here, they were still predominately under the Law, the temple is still operating and no one has told these Jewish believers to stop law keeping. And I can again show verses after verses where these Jewish believers that they had believed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, had been crucified, gone back to glory, but He in short order would be coming back and still fulfill the promises made to the fathers. (Romans 15:8) And so they are writing in that view. But remember now, that God in His sovereignty stopped that program and then went to the Gentile world with the teaching of the Apostle Paul, not with the message of repentance and baptism, but rather the message of faith in that finished work of the cross for salvation. (I Corinthians 15:1-4)
Okay, so now then back in Jude, verse 10, we’re still dealing with the constant reminder to beware of false teaching. And of course, Paul has the same warning for those of us in the Age of Grace, but this is dealing with the Jewish people who were looking at the possibility of the Tribulation right out in front of them. And so the warning is: don’t give in to the false teachers. Contend for the faith.
“But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally,….”
In other words, now I gotta use another Scripture verse, don’t I? I Corinthians chapter 1, because this is exactly the way it is in any stage in time, that unless there is a supernatural work of the Spirit to give us understanding, you can’t understand it. Here in I Corinthians chapter 2 verse 13 and 14 and this is the Apostle Paul writing to you and I. This is Gentile ground, the is the Age of Grace.
I Corinthians 2:13-14
“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (see the difference?) 14. But the natural man (the unsaved, the unregenerate who has not this indwelling Holy Spirit) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (or understood).
Well, doesn’t that say it all? There’s no way for the unsaved person to understand what this is talking about. This is over his head. But as soon as you come into a salvation experience, and the indwelling Holy Spirit opens our understanding, then we can learn, learn, learn, learn, and it’s an unending process. We can never fathom the depths of it, never. Not until we get to glory.
Alright, back to Jude. So these false teachers they know nothing of the Truth of the Word of God. And they speak as brute beasts. If animals could talk, they could almost converse with them. Quite an analogy isn’t it?
“…as brute beasts, in those things (which they think they know spiritually) they corrupt themselves. (because they can’t know spiritual things. So now what’s their end?) 14. Woe unto them!…”
Now don’t ever lose sight of who we’re talking about. We’re talking about these false teachers who act as they know something and spiritually they know nothing, because they have not the indwelling, teaching power of the Holy Spirit.
“…for they have gone in the way of Cain,….”
Now we’ve got to go back, won’t we? Go back to Genesis. My, what happened to old Cain? And you’ve heard me say it a hundred times. He was probably a nicer guy up front than Abel was, very possible. There’s nothing in here to indicate that he was any kind of a reprobate. It doesn’t indicate here that he was grossly immoral or anything like that. He was simply a man who couldn’t believe what God had said.
Genesis chapter 4 and this is again one of the instances that Scripture uses to teach us. It’s an example. Don’t be like Cain who again acted in self will. He made a horrible choice simply because it was going to take a little effort on his part. But look what happened. Eve at this time has the two boys, Cain and Abel.
“…Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.”
In other words he didn’t have any livestock. He didn’t have any cattle or calves or oxen to offer for a sacrifice, he simply produced things from the ground. On the other hand, Abel had sheep and of course it was real easy for him to go and get a sacrificial animal.
“In the process of time…”
In other words, after a time of instruction. God never leaves the human race ignorant of His design. He will always reveal what the responsibility of that particular time is. Like Adam and Eve in the garden. Did God wait until after they ate of the tree and then said, “Hey, wait, wait, wait. You weren’t supposed to eat of that.” No, He told them right up front “of that tree you shall not eat,” So they were not to eat of that tree. Well the same way here.
“And in the process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground as offering unto the LORD.”
Now the Hebrew implies, even though it may not say it specifically, that this process of time again, was a time of instruction. In other words, Cain knew just as perfectly well what Abel did in order to approach God. It had to be done with a blood sacrifice. (Hebrews 9:22b)
Cain knew that, but you see, he didn’t have animals of his own, so again, you read between the lines, what did God expect him to do? Go to his brother and barter with some of his grain or fruit or vegetables or whatever he may have had, and get a lamb. That’s all he had to do. But what does Cain do? Self will – “I’m not going to do that. I’ll take Him an offering of what I have worked for with the sweat of my brow.” And in his rationalization, I think is a good word, he rationalizes that God will accept him. His motive is good. He realizes that he sinned. Surely God will accept me. And isn’t it the same way today? Oh, if I join the church, if I give, if I do this or if I do that, God will be pleased. No He won’t cause that’s not what He’s telling us today. “you believe with all your heart for your salvation, that Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and rose again.
Now the reason I’m emphasizing the “with all my heart,” I had a call just before we left this morning. In fact, I had to kind of rush the phone call to an end, and the question was, “How do I understand that I am believing the Gospel with all my heart?” Because you’ve got to be so careful that we don’t give the impression that “if you just give a mental assent that Christ died and rose from the dead, you’re alright.” No, that’s not what it means. When you believe for salvation, it means you put your total, eternal destiny in God’s hands by simply believing the work of the cross. But it has to be a sincere, total commitment.
And I again use the old simple illustration, and I did with him on the phone. If any of you have ever flown on an airliner, you find your seat, you buckle the seatbelt, and you sit back and relax. Why? Because you have committed yourself to that airline to take you to where they say they are going. Do you unbuckle the belt and run up to the front every few minutes and say, “Well is it really going where I’m supposed to be going?” No. Well, see, that’s salvation, that’s faith. We trust God, that what He said is true and by believing it, I have the promise of eternal life. It’s that simple, but you’ve got to really believe it, and not just a mental assent historically.
Alright now, it’s the same way here. God gave the instructions to both these fellas. And even though Abel had the situation in hand because he had the flock, that still doesn’t excuse Cain from coming over and getting a lamb. But why wouldn’t he? Because he said in his own heart and mind, “surely God will accept me.” No, he won’t! And now Hebrews tells it so plainly. I think that’s all I need here. Come back to now, flip back all the way to Hebrews chapter 11. Cause this is serious business, because we’ve got multitudes of church people that are just like Cain. They’re rationalizing. ‘Well, I’m doing the best I can. I’m not all that bad. In fact, I’m pretty good. I give. I work in the church. I sing in the choir. I teach a Sunday School class. Surely God will accept me.’ No, He won’t. Not until you’ve placed your faith in what He has done for you, and not try to add to it!
Hebrews chapter l1 verse 4, and I have to hammer this home. I’m responsible, the Lord has given us this opportunity to reach so many and I dare not cut corners. Here it is.
“By faith (by believing what God told him to do) Abel offered unto God a more excellent (or a better) sacrifice than Cain,…”
Now that’s plain enough isn’t it? Abel did what God told him to do and consequently it was a better sacrifice than that bloodless thing that Cain brought, whatever it was, we don’t know. But it was not an animal sacrifice. And so then the rest of the verse says, and when Abel offered what God told him to offer
“…he obtained witness (from the Almighty) that he was righteous,…”
Now maybe Cain was a better man than Abel, we don’t know. But that’s moot because Abel came into that place of righteous, right standing with God because of his faith. It was the faith and then of course, the required sacrifice.
And remember back a page or two in Hebrews, come back to chapter 9 I think it is, verse 22 and from the time we started on television, we’ve rehearsed this periodically, the two absolutes of Scripture in order to attain salvation from a righteous God. Two of them, absolutes, by which you can never detour or cut corners or compromise – they are absolute.
“…. without shedding of blood there is no remission (or forgiveness)”
Impossible. Now up until the cross, it took animal’s blood to cover sins. That’s what God required. That’s why all through the Old Testament Law they were to bring a lamb of the flock, or they were to bring an ox, or this or that, depending on that particular kind of offering. But it always had to be a blood sacrifice. Had to be or God wouldn’t accept it.
Now when the cross was accomplished, then no longer any need for animal’s blood. Now while you’re in Hebrews might as well rehearse it. Come back earlier in chapter 9, starting at verse 11. It’s it amazing how things just fall into place one right after the other?
“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;”
In other words, this whole floor plan of the tabernacle in the temple was originally in heaven. I think it still is. The very holy of holies and all the things that were in the tabernacle were in heaven, and that’s what he’s talking about here. That Christ is now the high priest, not of the temple in Jerusalem, not of Judaism, but that which is heavenly. Alright, “and that is to say not of this building.” Christ didn’t approach the holy of holies with:
“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, (as Israel’s priests did) but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13. For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: (as it did back in Israel’s economy) 14. How much more, (see?) shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
So, all of this now then has to be appropriated by faith. We believe what God has said, it’s that simple. And Cain couldn’t. Cain just could not believe that he had to go and get an animal for a sacrifice. So he rationalized, “Why can’t what I have sweated and worked for be sufficient.” I think when I taught this way, way back in the beginning, I used a verse in Proverbs. We won’t take time to look at it – Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” See, many of you know it. And that’s exactly what Cain did. He thought it was okay. He thought it was right, but it wasn’t. It was his doom.
Alright now then back to Jude and we’ve got another Old Testament analogy. See, all these things Paul says in Romans 15, “all these things are written back there, not for our doctrine, not to give us salvation, but for our learning,” so that we can see the big picture. That’s what I like to show. The big picture from beginning to end, how that everything fits. It all falls in place. So now then, we’ve seen the lesson from Cain.
The next on is old Balaam. You all know the story of Balaam to whom the donkey talked. And – yeah it’s Balaam – Core comes later. What was Balaam’s big problem? Well, you remember he was a hireling prophet and Israel was coming through Moab. Coming around, coming in to the east side of Jordan. And they had to come through Moab. But the old king of Moab stopped them in their tracks and he said, “No way.” But he knew he didn’t dare bring up a military confrontation because the children of Israel were millions now, and he was probably still in the hundreds of thousands. So he knew he would be foolish to try and confront them militarily. But he gets a Satanic brainstorm. “If I can cause Israel to sin against her God, then God will take care of them and He’ll destroy them.”
Remember? And so old king Balack goes out to the east and brings in this hireling prophet Balaam, with the distinct purpose of causing Israel to sin so miserably that God would destroy them. But see, what Balaam had no comprehension of was the grace of Israel’s God. And even though God would deal with Israel when they failed, yet His promises were such that He would never let Israel disappear from the scene.
And so He didn’t curse like Balaam thought. He had it all wrong. And so that was the error of Balaam. God works on a higher moral plane than any human person could ever imagine. And it’s the same way with believers today, there are probably a lot of believers that mankind would say, “Well why doesn’t God punish them?” Well you let God take care of it in His own way, cause He doesn’t deal like humans do, thank goodness! Huh? Yeah, thank goodness that He doesn’t. But don’t fall into that error.
Alright but now let’s go on quickly to Core. [Note: “Core” in Jude 1:11 is the same person as “Korah” in Numbers 16:1.] And so these false teachers walked in the footsteps of old Balaam, totally unaware of how God operates. And they are just like the foolish tribe of Core. Now again, I’m not going to take time to go back, you can look it up when you get home. What did old Core start griping about? Well, he says, “Moses you’ve got too much authority. Why should you and Aaron have everything that we are supposed to follow? I and my tribe can just as well handle some of that priesthood work as you.” And so Moses says, “Alright, (under God’s instruction) tomorrow morning at this time you meet with your tribe out in front and we’ll see whether God wants you to have some of this authority.” And what happened? Well, Core and all his tribal relatives were standing out in front of Moses and Aaron and the earth opened up and ftttttp! They were gone. Well, what was the lesson? You don’t dare usurp God’s men of authority such as Moses and Aaron. And that was the lesson.
Well, these false teachers don’t know that. They don’t know how God operates. They are totally ignorant of it. Now, we’ve got to go on. So these false teachers are:
“…spots in your feasts…”
Now here’s the Jewish element again. What were these Jewish believers still practicing? The feast days of Judaism, the seven feasts a year. We don’t in Christianity. We don’t celebrate the feast days. We don’t have any, so this is Jewish. Alright so he says:
“These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear; clouds they are without water,….”
Now we in Oklahoma know what it can be to be hot and dry. And most of us, especially that depend on rain for our crops and so forth, now when it gets hot and dry and you see a cloud coming up in the west, your hopes are buoyed and I think the last couple of years, we’ve been seeing it more and more. They just blow on over and you get almost nothing. What is that? Total disappointment. Well, that’s what these false teachers are. The false teachers may just put out a bunch of stuff that sounds so good and people sit there and lap it up, but after a week, what’s happened? It’s all disappeared, there’s nothing to it. It’s all false. It’s fluff. And that’s a beautiful illustration of how false teachers operate. And they’re like:
“…clouds they are without water, carried about of winds: (they are) trees whose fruit (what?) withereth,….”
Have you ever had an apple or peach tree just before the fruit is ready to really get good eatin’ and all of a sudden a blight hits and it just shrivels up, it’s worthless? You don’t get a bite of any of it. Well, that’s false teachers. These are all beautiful illustrations. They are like:
“Raging waves of the sea, foaming….”
Now again, have you ever walked along the seashore. Is that foam pretty? Hardly. It’s got dirt mixed in with it, it’s got debris mixed in with it, and it almost turns you off. Well, that’s what these false teachers are. They are nothing but the foam that stays on the seashore where the waves roll back.
“…foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.”
Do you see that? What’s ahead of them? Oh, they’re swaying the multitudes today, and they’re putting out all this false stuff, but what’s their own end? Eternal doom! That’s what the Book says. “They’re foaming out their own shame.” They are deceiving the multitudes and they’re going to pay the price. Don’t think they won’t. And so “as to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.”
Alright now verse 14 and imagine our time is going to be gone again. Here is one of the first inklings of the Second Coming of Christ and it was evidently somehow or other spoken or written by old Enoch way back in the Old Testament, and with this we gotta quit.
“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, (he foretold) saying, Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints.”
Well did that happen at the first coming? NO! He didn’t come with ten thousand of His saints, but the Second Coming, absolutely He is going to come in the clouds of power and glory.