Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 30
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DIE – PART 2
Now to begin this lesson let’s pick up where we left off in the last lesson and that will be in verse 4.
II Corinthians 4:4a
That is, the lost people of the world who are lost, not because of what they’ve done, but rather because of their unbelief. Now while we were in Minnesota last week several people showed me my little quote in the fly leaf of their Bible, and it kind of tickles me that people take note of these things. But I’ve had it on the board several times in the past, and the quote goes something like this. “We are not sinners because of sins we commit but rather we sin because we are sinners.” Now all that means is that we are born with that old Adamic nature, and that Adamic nature knows only one thing, and that’s to rebel against the things laid down by God Himself. So the human’s natural tendency is to listen to the old Adam. So, consequently, we become sinners, and it isn’t because of what we’ve done. It’s because of what we are.
Now the same way here. The people who are lost are not lost because they went out and got drunk one night. They’re not lost because they cheated or stole, or committed immorality, but rather they are lost because they are born in sin as children of Adam and they have refused the remedy; which, of course, is faith in the finished work of the Cross. And Paul is constantly throwing out that the Cross has completed everything. We were just talking at break time about how the Devil blinds people and I think that this is just another ploy of the god of this world who transforms himself into an angel of light, because he won’t do this clothed in the black robes of magic. But rather the Devil does this clothed in bright lights, as the angel of light, and that is he is keeping the world that has any interest in Scripture in the Four Gospel accounts.
I think it is so frightening that people are not getting away from Christ’s earthly ministry, and getting into the fact that it was His death, His burial, and the fact that He arose victorious over sin and death, and now we are on this side of the Cross. We are not back there in Christ’s earthly ministry, and we’re going to see that specifically in the next chapter. So we have to constantly force ourselves almost because the tendency is to just study mostly in Christ’s earthly ministry. But what did Jesus say in Matthew 24:14?
“But he (Christ) answered and said, `I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'”
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision (Jews only) for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers;” (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.)
So remember the Four Gospels were only to Israel and that was under the Law of Moses. Now looking at verse 4 again.
II Corinthians 4:4
“In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
Now there is another point. You have no idea how many people are asking the question, “Well, Who is Christ?” A lot of people are confused. Some have the idea that Christ never really amounted to anything until He was born at Bethlehem. They do not have the understanding that Jesus of Nazareth was the manifestation in the flesh of the Creator God of Genesis 1:1. I show that when we teach the Book of Genesis that Christ, as we know Him in the New Testament, was the Creator of the Old Testament.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,…”
As I explained to a person yesterday morning on the phone, and this very concept that we talked about in our last lesson. that when Christ died He paid the sin debt of every human being from Adam until the end of time. He could have never done that if He had not been the God of glory. So Jesus is the fleshly manifestation and is the image of that invisible eternal God. Turn with me for a moment to the Book of Colossians in Chapter 1. And let’s see how this fits so beautifully with what the Holy Spirit inspires the apostle to write back in the letter to the Corinthians.
“Who (speaking of the Son in verse 13, and who has redeemed us in verse 14 through His Blood.) is the image (or visible manifestation) of the invisible God, the first born of every creature:”
So you see this is what we have to take by faith. I know I can’t prove this in a laboratory experiment, but the Scriptures says it. And by faith we believe it, that God the Triune, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit were invisible. But God the Son stepped out of that invisible Godhead and became the visible manifestation of the whole. And that’s Christ, that’s The Lord Jesus of Nazareth. Do you see that? Now verse 16, and here we find that Paul, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, attributes The Lord Jesus with the Creation.
“For by him (Son in verse 13) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; (that even goes into realm of Satan and his powers) all things were created by him, and for him.”
So that’s why I say He is the same God in Colossians as He is in Genesis. The only difference is He has now taken on human flesh, human appearance. He is the image of the invisible God. I had a whole living room full of people about 25 years ago the first time I taught this. And when I just laid this out so clearly that Jesus of the Cross was the same God Who created everything in Genesis 1:1 it just blew their minds. And these people had been in church all their life, but they had never seen that before. And that’s what we have to understand that Jesus of Nazareth was same God of Genesis 1:1, the only difference being He had now been manifested in the flesh. And that’s why when we put our faith and trust in what He has accomplished, then we’re not just talking about some Jew who grew up in a carpenter shop. But rather we’re talking about the Creator Himself Who has taken it upon Himself the very work of redemption. Now coming back to our text in II Corinthians.
II Corinthians 4:5
“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”
Here Paul is again defending his apostleship. He’s saying, “I’m not coming in here with something just to gain personal support. I’m not coming in here for some kind of personal fame. What I’m doing is only because I am the servant.” Now the word in the Greek here is really bond slave. So Paul says, “I’m a bond slave for Jesus’ sake.” Let’s go for a moment to Ephesians Chapter 3. And here the apostle is constantly showing us that he’s not in it because he wants to be some religious big wig. He’s not in here to build some personal empire. He is only out here to bring these pagan Gentiles out of their sin, out of their spiritual darkness, and into the knowledge of his Gospel.
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.”
And not only was Paul a bond slave of Christ, but also a literal prisoner of Christ for this distinct purpose. Now we’ve got to go back to the Book of Acts Chapter 9, because there are so many people in our listening audience that do not understand how all this began. I know for a lot of you folks this will be just a review, but for a lot of folks they do not understand. Why does Paul make these kind of statements? Well you want to remember that Paul early on was a religious zealot, and he earnestly thought that by stamping out anything that referred to Jesus of Nazareth in Israel, he was doing the God of Abraham a service. But you see God all of a sudden stopped the man in his tracks, and you find the story of his salvation on the road to Damascus. But look what took place in Damascus while Saul, now blind, is making his way into town.
“And the Lord said unto him, (Ananias) `Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold he prayeth, and hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.’ Then Ananias answered, `Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem; and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.’ But the Lord said unto him, (Ananias)`Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles,…'”
Now that was something unheard of in the Jewish culture. They had no idea that they were to go to the Gentiles. Oh they knew the prophets spoke of it, they knew that Isaiah spoke of Israel being a light unto the Gentiles, but certainly not their generation. I mean they had the same mentality that Jonah had, and you all know what Jonah did. Jonah would rather walk the plank than go to a Gentile city. So the Jews attitude hadn’t changed, and now God tells Ananias that this man is going to go to the Gentiles? Boy I bet Ananias swallowed hard on that one. And he probably thought well that’s better than having to back to Jerusalem a captive of the guy. But nevertheless right here is where God takes a drastic change of direction.Up until this time He had been dealing only with the Nation of Israel. God had been dealing only with the Jew. In fact look for a moment in Acts Chapter 11.
“Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen (and remember who headed up that persecution? Saul of Tarsus. He held the cloaks of those who stoned Stephen) travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.”
I know people rebel at that, in fact it’s almost like they say, “Les that’s not in my Bible.” But oh yes it is. Here we are about 7 or 8 years after Pentecost, and these Jews have gone to no one but Jews only. But now all of a sudden God is going to do something totally different because Israel is rejecting it in unbelief again just like they did at Kadesh-barnea. And just like they do so many other times, they rejected God’s offer, and so God says, “all right then we’ll do something different.” So then this is why He raises the Apostle Paul to go to the Gentiles. Have you still got your hand in the Book of Ephesians? Let’s read that verse again.
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,”
Well let’s back up a page and see which cause Paul is speaking of. Chapter 2 verse 8 and 9. Now this isn’t the only thing he’s referring to, but primarily. And who had ever heard something like this before?
“For by grace are ye saved through faith;…”
Now stop a minute. What do a lot of people think should also be in this verse? Oh sacrifices from the Jewish economy. From our own present day a lot of people think that repentance and baptism, church membership, good works should be in here, but none of that is in here. That doesn’t save us. It’s all a part of the result of salvation. But look what it says, For by grace are ye saved through faith.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:…”
Now that flies in the face of works doesn’t it? Oh, look at the millions of people across the world tonight who are still hoping that they are going to make it by their works. And this Book says it’s not of works. The moment anyone puts works to salvation then it becomes worthless. Then Christ shall profit you nothing.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Now back to Ephesians Chapter 3 again, and let’s look at verse 1 again.
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner (the bond slave) of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation (or administration) of the grace of God (not Law, not works, not legalism, but the grace of God) which is given me to you-ward.”
And who is Paul writing to? Gentiles. You know I’m always making the analogy that when God gave the Law to Moses up there on Mount Sinai, and Moses came down the mountain with the Law who was he to dispense it to? Israel. So God gave the Law to Moses, and Moses gave it to the Nation of Israel. But now about 1500 years later God does much the same thing, and yet totally different. I think He has Paul down there at that same Mount Sinai in Arabia (Gal 1:17) and now to this man He gives not the tables of stone but the revelations of the mysteries of the Grace of God.
And God doesn’t tell Paul to go back to Jerusalem and give it to Israel, but he tells him that He’s going to send him far hence to the Gentiles with this whole new concept of a salvation by faith, and faith alone. Without temple worship, without a priesthood, without works. Is that mind boggling? Absolutely it is. And most of humankind can’t understand that, unless the Holy Spirit opens our thinking. And this is what it takes. All I can tell people when they call with questions is I can’t help you unless the Holy Spirit helps you to understand it. He has to give you the wisdom. And that reminds me of another verse in Ephesians still in Chapter 3. Look how Paul prays for these Gentile believers, and it’s still valid for us. Remember this is a prayer that Paul is uttering.
“For this cause I bow my knees…” (See he’s praying. And look what he prays in verse 16.)
“That he would grant you, (remember he is writing to you and I) according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;” Not just intellectually, not just in the head, but it has to be in the heart. It has to be in that very core of our being. Now verse 17, and Paul is still praying.
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,” (Now this is fantastic. This is for everyone of us, that we) May be able to comprehend (and if we comprehend it we will appropriate it.) with all saints (this isn’t just for the clergy, this isn’t just for the few, this is for every single believer.) what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;”
The fourth dimension. I suppose that Einstein had a little bit of this in the physics. But nevertheless we’re not used to four dimensions, but rather only three. But here is a fourth dimension that God wants the believer to enter into. You know there’s a book out now that is one of the best sellers that has to do with the codes of The Bible. It’s called “Bible Codes” and you have all been hearing about it. How this Jewish mathematician in Israel has seemingly found the code in the subliminal area (or however you want to put it) back in the Old Testament. Someone gave me a copy and in the introduction of the book this mathematician in Israel really got the idea from all this from finding something like 2000 pages of notes, if I remember correctly, from the old inventor Isaac Newton.
Now I never knew that Isaac Newton was that kind of a Bible scholar, but he was. He had already determined that the Word of God was so supernaturally put together that there could very well be hidden truths in here that man had never been able to recover. Then if we can put some credibility to this finding then it’s the computer that makes it possible. I had a little quote that I was going to bring and read today but I went off and left it on the kitchen table. Anyway in Isaac Newton’s life, which was from 16 something to around the early 1700’s, he wrote that he could see that in the latter times shortly before The Lord would return, a body of men would be raised up who would be able to discern the prophecies written within this Book. Now Isaac Newton saw that over 200 years ago, and of course we’re seeing it now. We’re understanding prophecy like never before. But getting back to the text we have the potential now in response to the prayer of this apostle to enter into a fourth dimension. Now verse 19.
“And to know the love of Christ, which passeth (or goes beyond) knowledge, (every body is hung up on education, and I have nothing against education. I mean it’s amazing the explosion of knowledge and technology today. But you know something far better than that, and that is to know Christ. To know Him is beyond knowledge,) that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Now a thought just comes to me. I think that it was Dwight L. Moody who, at the beginning of his tremendous ministry, had read a quote by a previous great man of God. But that man of God on his death bed had said, “I had always hoped that I could be the man that God had used to the full, but I’ve failed.” Well when Moody read that and began his ministry, he said, “Gentlemen I hope to be that man.” But years later after all of his tremendous response to evangelism, and on his deathbed, he said, “That man still hasn’t lived.” And isn’t that true? There has never been a man that has lived out the full potential of what God has in store. Every one of them and every one of us will somehow fail and come short of it, but the potential is there, and God is able. Now come back in the short time we have left to II Corinthians again. Now verse 6.
II Corinthians 4:6a
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness,…”
Now that may be a reference to the Creation, but I think rather it’s a reference to Christ on the planet earth in the flesh. Let’s look at that in John’s Gospel Chapter 1.
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. (John the Baptist) The same (John) came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, (Christ) that all men (not just a few)through him might believe. He (John) was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, (Jesus of Nazareth) which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”
Now that’s a frightening statement isn’t it? In other words, no one is ever going to be able to say, “But I never had a chance.” Remember the true Light lighteth every man that comes into the world.