Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 25
Now in Chapter 14 of Romans, Paul has been dealing with believers who have been having trouble with other believers concerning doubtful practices. Now it doesn’t just have to be eating meat offered to idols, it could be in the matter of diet, alcoholic beverages, and multitudes of things that are not necessarily delineated in Scripture. It becomes then the option of the individual before God as to what he can and can not do. That brings us back to our “liberty” again, but we have to be careful that we do not do something that in our own mind is not wrong if it’s going to cause a weak believer to stumble. And that was the whole concept of Chapter 14.
If I see nothing wrong in eating a good juicy T-Bone steak, but yet there’s a weaker believer who says, “Les, how in the world can you eat meat like that?” Then for his sake I have to say, “I won’t eat meat for his sake until he gets to the place that he can see that I wasn’t wrong.” Now that comes into every aspect of life, and sooner or later they will come to that place where they will see, according to Scripture, that we’re not all that wrong in some of the things that we do. I think it’s come to the same place with the observance of Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling people to forget about Sunday as our day of rest and so forth, and the operation of the local church. But scripturally there is no demand whatsoever from the Apostle Paul that Sunday is any different day than any other day of the week. And so again by tradition we have been programmed into the idea that Sunday is the same as the Sabbath was in Israel, and it is not. Sunday is just another day of the week so far as God is concerned. And I think what the admonition is, that for you and I as believers, everyday should be a Sunday. Everyday should be a day of recognizing God, and giving Him all His due, and we shouldn’t have a particular day programmed into our schedule. This is covered in Chapter 14, and it’s all self explanatory, and then he puts the wrap up here in the first verses of Chapter 15.
“We then that are strong (mature believers) ought to bear the infirmities of the weak (or the hang ups of the younger believers. Now when I say younger believers they may be 70 years old but have only been a believer for a few years. And so the mature believer has to take into consideration the idea of that younger believer, and not cause him to stumble), and not to please ourselves.” And now we come to that attitude that we’re not going to just please ourselves, but the person next to us.
“Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification (in other words to his growth in his Christian life. And in verse 3, here comes Christ as our primary example). For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, `The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.'” In other words, why did Christ die? Because He loved mankind. He had to die in order to settle the sin problem, but He could have rejected it and said, “No,” but He chose for the sake of mankind, out of that motivating love, to go to the Cross and purchase our Salvation.
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime (even as Paul wrote his epistles I’m sure the Four Gospels hadn’t been written, and certainly had not come together as Scripture, so when Paul speaks of Scripture or things written aforetime, what’s he referring to? The Old Testament. So what he’s really saying is that all the things written in the Old Testament) were written for our learning,…”
Now I always like to try and clarify where I’m afraid that I have been misunderstood. Someone told me awhile back that a pastor told this individual, “Don’t you listen to Les Feldick, because he says that you’re not to read the Four Gospels.” Now you know I have never said anything like that, but they can twist it you know. I have never told anybody not to look at the Old Testament or not to look at the Gospels, but here it is. Everything that was written before Paul wrote is for the believers’ learning. And I would say the same thing with the Gospels. Granted there’s not Church doctrine in the Gospels, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t study them. That doesn’t mean that we don’t make application. In fact I always have the primary one, when Jesus was talking to the Twelve up there on the northern shores of Galilee, and He probably saw a northern city ten to fifteen miles away sitting up there on the mountain side, and what did He say to the disciples as a perfect illustration? “You’re just like that city on a hill:”
“Ye are the light of the world, A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”
Now who was to be the light of the world according to all the Old Testament promises? Israel, the Jew. But Israel rejected that opportunity of becoming the light of the world, so now by application, who today is the light of the world? You and I as believers, and so we can still make the same application. In the verse right before that He used salt as the example.
“Ye are the salt of the earth;…”
Christ was talking to the Twelve indicative to the Nation of Israel, but we know Israel rejected that role, so today who is the salt of the earth? Again, you and I as believers. Absolutely we are, and the same throughout all the Gospel accounts. We can see perfect applications, even though it was spoken to Israel under the Law, so here’s where we have to be careful. But now back to Romans and Paul tells us that these Old Testament things were written not for our doctrine. You won’t find Grace Salvation back in the Old Testament. You won’t find anything concerning the Body of Christ, or the Rapture of the Church, and all these things that are indicative of the Body of Christ. But does that mean we don’t study the Old Testament? No way. You all know how I love to teach Genesis. I could just teach Genesis year in and year out, because it all had it beginnings back there, and that’s where you get the foundation even for what we believe as Grace Age believers. Now reading on in verse 4:
“that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
I had a question come in from someone a while back who had just lost a baby 7 days old. The question was, “Will we see that little one again, and I want some Scripture to back you up.” Well where do you suppose I went? Right back to when David lost that child from Bathsheba. Remember how he mourned for that little one, and finally David came to the conclusion;
II Samuel 12:23
“But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”
That was a seven-day old baby also. Was it secure? Was it in God’s presence? Yes, because you know David didn’t speak of going to hell, David is going to be in Heaven. So when he spoke of that 7-day old child that he had just lost, and that he would go to it someday, where do you find that? Old Testament. So all these things that we can glean from the Old Testament, even though they may not have the doctrines for our Salvation (because you won’t find the doctrine that Christ died for sins, was buried, and rose again in the Old Testament), but all the seeds of it are back there going all the way back to Genesis 3:15.
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision (Jews) for the truth of God (for what purposes?) to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.”
And those fathers were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Well, what’s he talking about? Here again you have to go back to Genesis Chapter 12, and what do you have? Abrahamic Covenant. And what was the Abrahamic Covenant? From this man Abraham would come a nation of people, and God would put them in a geographical land, and one day He Himself in the Person of The Son would come and be their Messiah, King, and Redeemer. Now this was all promised back there in the Old Testament. And so He was the Minister to the Jew first and foremost. You remember the verse in John and Matthew:
“He came unto his own, (the Jew) and his own received him not.”
“But he (Jesus) answered and said, `I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'”
And when they had their final opportunity to yet repent of the horrible deed of crucifying their Messiah, they rejected it. Then in the Book of Acts, it was like a crescendo of rejection when Israel stoned what man? Stephen. And from that point on Israel just goes down through the cracks, and in its place comes the Apostle Paul going to the Gentiles. But it all had its seed back there in the Old Testament. So He came to the Nation of Israel:
“…to confirm the promises (the Covenants) made unto the fathers (now verse 9); And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy:”
I don’t think I have even understood it as far back as I should have, but I certainly do now, and that is the mercy and the Grace of God. So often I think mankind thinks, “Oh, well, after all, God didn’t do that much extra, we sort of deserved it, He made us, and He had to do something decent for us.” No He didn’t. We deserve absolutely nothing, so why did He provide a way back to Himself? Because of His mercy. And as I’ve said so often on this program, when Christ died on the Cross, and took all the wrath of God for the sins of the world, not only did God pour out His wrath, but He also poured out His mercy. And we no longer have to beg for mercy, it’s already been poured out, it’s all there, and all we have to do is appropriate it by faith.
“And again he saith, (speaking from the Old Testament) `Rejoice, ye Gentiles,…'” Even though God was dealing with primarily with the Nation of Israel all the way from Abraham till we get into the Book of Acts, God didn’t forget about the Gentiles. He couldn’t deal with them till Christ went to the Cross.
“And again, Praise The Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias saith, there shall be a root of Jesse, (David’s father, and Christ is considered the Son of David, so here’s the connection now all the way back through Jesse, David, Solomon, and that whole line of Jewish Kings) and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.” It’s never happened, but it’s going to. When Christ sets up His millennium reign, He’s still going to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords not just over Israel, but over the whole Gentile world.
“Now the God of hope (hope in Scripture is not like we hope it rains. But hope in Scripture is that definite view into the future that God is going to fulfill it) fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”
And then Paul begins now talking about his own future, and how he is longing to go to Jerusalem, contrary to a lot of things that happened to him that he shouldn’t go. Yet he had such a burning love for his people, the Jew, that he is just determined that he’s still going to get back to Jerusalem.
“And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. (Now remember who Paul is writing to. He’s writing to believers in the city of Rome who are primarily Gentiles.) Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God (Grace is the primary word in Paul’s vocabulary, the Grace of God). That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed.”
The Apostle has still been looking for the day that he would not only stop at Rome, but that he would go on west to Spain.
“Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you (the believers at Rome): for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company. But now (first and foremost) I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.” Paul had no idea that he would end up going to Rome by virtue of the prisoner route. He had no idea of that at all, but he is determined first to go to Jerusalem to minister unto the saints, the believing Jews there in Jerusalem.
“For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.”
I read an account the other day, and it gave me a whole new perspective on some of these things. The Apostle Paul has been laboring there in western Turkey, and then a little later on, in Macedonia and Achaia in Greece. Now I don’t know how much you know history or geography today, but you see that area of Greece is totally mountainous. There is very little opportunity for creating any wealth to speak of so those new believers that Paul had brought about in Achaia and Macedonia, in the more rural parts of Greece, were intensely poor. They were poverty stricken, and yet what did they do? They gave of what they had so that Paul could take the offering to those poor saints in Jerusalem who were Jews. The guy who wrote the article made this analogy, and it changed my whole perspective on all this.
Here we sit in wealthy America, and we send missionaries to the poverty stricken areas of the world, and where they’ve never heard The Gospel. How would the average Church here in America feel today if some of those new believers, let’s say in New Guinea out there in the jungles where they have nothing, would send an offering back to them? Why it would almost repulse people wouldn’t it? But that’s exactly what they did here. Here these people that are now Paul’s new converts to Christianity, dirt poor, and yet they bring together offerings for the Jewish believers back there in Jerusalem where civilization had been head and shoulders above what these poor people had been enduring. But do you see the lesson? When people become true children of God, they have a whole different outlook on everything. Instead of those people sitting over there saying, “Send us some of that American money,” what were they doing? They were sending it back to the homeland; in this case Jerusalem. It’s something I don’t think most of us think of.
“It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.”
Now do you know what this verse says? I realize I’ve taught it, and I hope I’ve made it plain that on the spiritual level the Jew is absolutely no different than a Gentile tonight. He’s a sinner in need of a saving Grace just as well as a Gentile. He has no special privileges to The Gospel. He has no position that puts him in a better place than a Gentile. He is just as much in need of the plan of Salvation as any Gentile. But even though they are not under the Covenant promises tonight, they are out there sinners in need of Salvation, but if God didn’t have His Sovereign thumb on them, somehow or other they would have long disappeared from the scene. That little nation would have been swallowed up by assimilation of all the other nations of the world. The other Hitlers would have totally annihilated them, and he wasn’t the only one so why are they still there? Because God has Sovereignly watched over them.
I have a snapshot at home that I just cherish. Our kids were little, and they were down on the seashore playing on the edge of the water, and I took a snapshot of Iris as she was sitting there watching every move those three little kids made. I imagine that she was ready to jump if suddenly one of them fell in the water or something, but isn’t that exactly what God is doing with Israel? Oh, they’re on their own, but He’s watching over them like a hawk. He has brought them through, and listen, He has to because prophecy has to be fulfilled. The Nation of Israel has to be there in unbelief. They have to be in the land in order for God to consummate those 7 years of Tribulation. And if every Jew was a Christian, if every Jew was a believer, and the Rapture took place what would be left? Well no one to fulfill prophecy, and so we have to understand this, that yes, God in His Sovereign eagle eyes is watching over them, and He’s keeping them intact as a nation.
Where in the world would the 144,000 come from if there weren’t any Jews left? You have to have 12,000 out of each of the 12 tribes to fulfill that prophecy. Jeremiah 31 says that the sun would fall out of it’s place in the heavens if Israel would stop being a nation. The sun, moon, and stars would cease to shine it says if Israel ceases to be, so they have to stay there. So this is what Paul is talking about, that even you and I as believers, have to have a concern for the fleshly needs of the Jew even today, and that flies in the face of anti-Semitism as it’s raising it’s head again around the world.
Well in the couple of minutes that we have left, Paul now comes into Chapter 16, and there’s not a lot of doctrine in this chapter unless you want to call women’s role in Christian service as doctrine, and I guess it is. You know I’ve heard Paul castigated over the years. A group of feminists down at the university were trying their utmost to get all the Bibles off the campus. And it was for the simple reason that Paul was such an anti-feminist. Well bless their heart, they were so ignorant. There is not a man in Scripture that gives more commendation to the female of the species than the Apostle Paul. I think in this Chapter 16 alone there are at least 8 women that Paul enumerates who were intrinsic in helping him in the ministry. In fact, in verse 1 of this epistle to the Romans (one of the most important books of our Bible), do you know that this was entrusted to a women to get it to where it was supposed to go? Yes it was, look what it says:
“I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea (a seaport east of Corinth’s main city): That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.”
In other words, Paul sends this tremendous epistle of Romans from Corinth to the Roman Church by way of this lady we know as Phebe. Probably a business lady, but he entrusted this to a woman, and all the way through the chapter he commends over and over the women who helped him much in the ministry. Don’t ever say there’s not a place for the women in the Church.