Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 31
TRUTH PERSONIFIED – PART 2
As most of you know we’re just an informal Bible class, and as I stand before you and teach I see people from many different denominations, but remember there are no denominations in glory. There is only one Bible, and as we’ll see when we get into Ephesians there is:
“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5. One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (I Corinthians 12:13)
So there is not much room for all these differences of opinion when we come down to the truth of Scripture. So now let’s get right back into our study in II Corinthians and let’s begin with verse 8. We finished with verse 7 and the word “Truth” in our last lesson, and how Paul came only in the name of truth which is also the name of Christ. Now you come into verse 8 – he came –
II Corinthians 6:8
“By honour and dishonour, (there were those who were constantly besmirching his name) by evil report and good report: as deceivers, (by some) and yet true;”
I’ve discovered that I’ve missed so much in these Corinthians letters over the years. But as I prepare to teach these letters I’ve discovered that these little letters are so loaded, especially if you just get into them and dig. Now let’s look at verse 8 for a moment.
II Corinthians 6:8b
“…as deceivers, and yet true;”
Who else came up against this very same attitude of His peers? Well Christ did. Isn’t that exactly what the Lord had to put up with? Come back with me to John’s Gospel Chapter 7 again. In this chapter the Lord went up against the same thing that the apostle Paul and you and I do yet today. Human nature has not changed one bit. Just because it’s 2000 years ago doesn’t mean it’s changed.
“But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. 11. Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? 12. And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, `Nay; but he deceiveth the people.'”
Now that was what Jesus was being accused of, and here He was as Truth personified and they even accused Him of being deceptive. Come on over to Chapter 8 where we were in our last lesson concerning the word truth in verse 44. But let’s go to verse 52.
“Then said the Jews unto him, `Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my sayings, he shall never taste of death. 53. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?'” The Jews are doubting everything that Jesus says. Now verse 57.
“Then said the Jews unto him, (and can’t you just sense the scorn, as they were thinking, `who do you think you are?’) `Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?'”
Do you see that? You have scorn and ridicule, and they accused Him of being a master deceiver. Now the apostle Paul was up against that same thing. Everywhere he went there were his detractors who would ridicule and scorn him, and yet he had to continue on. Now back to II Corinthians Chapter 6, and verse 9.
II Corinthians 6:9a
“As unknown, and yet well known;…”
Now there again you just stop and think about it. Here he was one of the top Pharisees in Judaism. Oh, Paul was well known among the Jewish religious leaders, but outside of Palestine who had ever heard of Saul of Tarsus? No one! And so he was well known and yet unknown. So Paul comes into these areas of Asia Minor and Greece, Athens and Corinth as a relative unknown. Now continuing on.
II Corinthians 6:9b,10a
“…as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; (he was always threatened with his life.) 10. As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich:…”
Now again stop and think? What had happened? He had been rich. He says in Galatians that he profited more than his equals in the Jewish religion. I think Saul of Tarsus was wealthy. He probably had one of the better homes in Jerusalem, and yet the Book of Philippians tells us that he cast all that aside and counted it as dung for the sake of the Gospel.
II Corinthians 6:10b
“…as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”
Well now let’s just look at the total opposite of Christendom today by going back to Revelation Chapter 3 and look at the last of the seven Churches – the letter to the Laodiceans. My goodness how this just tells it like it is. What a condemnation the Lord Jesus puts on this congregation.
“Because thou sayest, `I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing;’ and knowest not that thou are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:”(spiritually)
That’s most of Christendom today, isn’t it? They are so wealthy. They have these huge sanctuaries, huge fellowship halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, tennis courts, you name and they have it. But where are they spiritually for the most part? Now I never make a blanket judgment, but for the most part these same congregations are spiritually dead. Now you come back to the apostle Paul – he had the opposite. Paul came from that wealth, he came from that high religious experience, and for the sake of the Gospel he became as poor as a church mouse. Now back to II Corinthians. Now we’re to come to an area where I wish we had more time to chase it all the way up from the Book of Genesis. We’ll try, we’ll come as far as we can. Now don’t lose sight of the spiritual level of the Corinthian Church. Where were they? Babes in Christ. They were still carnal, they were not Paul’s pride and joy like the Ephesians or the Philippians were. But in spite of that I want you to see the man’s love for these carnal believers.
II Corinthians 6:11,12
“O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, (I’ve been able to speak to you) our heart is enlarged. (His love for these people was just enveloping them in spite of their failures.) 12. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.” (the innermost being, the heart.)
In other words, the Gospel had taken hold of these Corinthians enough to bring them out of their paganism. They had separated themselves from their pagan background to a degree, but they were still carnal and had a long way to go. Now verse 13.
II Corinthians 6:13
“Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.”
In other words, be ready to just open yourselves to the truths that this man was bringing them. Now here we come to kind of a touchy situation. People don’t like to talk about this anymore. We’re living in a time when this is almost blasé. But you know what Paul is talking about in verse 14? Separation.
II Corinthians 6:14a
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:”
Now that doesn’t mean that unbelievers are awful. I always have to define the word, “ungodly.” A lot of people think that ungodly means people down on skid row, or maybe in prostitution. No. To be ungodly is to take the first two letters of the word and set them aside, and what does un always mean? Without. So someone who is ungodly is someone who is simply without God in their life. They may be the prime example of citizenship, but they are still without God. So the same way here. Just because Paul calls them unbelievers doesn’t mean that they’re the pits. They may be perfectly good people, more moral than a lot of Christians could ever hope to be. But they are still unbelievers, they are without faith. Always remember without faith it’s impossible to please God.
Now get the picture here. I’m not saying that we’re talking about two diverse people. Here’s someone who is a Christian, and here she marries someone down in the gutter. No, no. We’re talking about people who may be on equal level in society, but one is a believer and the other is an unbeliever. Paul says by inspiration that it won’t work to be unequally yoked. Now the Scripture always makes things so plain. Come back with me to the Book of Deuteronomy, and as you read the Old Testament you have to remember that Israel was a farming society. They still lived back when animals were used for beasts of burden and so forth. So there’s a lot of correlation between the agriculture of the day and even the spiritual understanding. So now when Paul says, “Be ye not unequally yoked,” what does the word yoked immediately bring to mind? Well the beast of burden out in the field plowing. That’s what a yoke did, it put two oxen together so they could pull in unison. Now look at Deuteronomy Chapter 22 verse 9 and 10. And this was part of Israel’s Law. Remember the admonition is still the same today. “Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers.”
“Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers (different) seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled. (the Law said you couldn’t have a vineyard of grapes and sow something else that was still able to cross-pollinate, because they would have a rogue crop) 10. Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.”
Now can you picture an ox and a little donkey pulling a plow together? That poor little donkey would just be working his tail off to keep up with that big ox. It wasn’t that the Jewish people were actually doing this, at least I can’t envision that they were, but the lesson that it was teaching was that as soon as you have an unequal yoke then you have something that is ridiculous. And an ox and a little donkey is as ridiculous as you can get, and it’s simply an unequal yoke.
Now the next one in verse 11 and 12 you will smile at. Because with our technology you now throw wool in the washer and it doesn’t draw up and shrink like it used to. I can remember when I was a kid that if something that was woolen got washed accidentally then it was done for. But now here is the admonition. Don’t make a garment that was part wool and part linen. Why? When they washed it the thing would be all out of shape, and it would look ridiculous, and that was the Law. Now I don’t think many Jews were trying to do this, but it was that God, by telling them this, was teaching them a lesson. Don’t mix things that won’t work together.
Now coming back to II Corinthians. I know that when most people look at this verse the only thing that they think about is an unequal marriage. Listen, it doesn’t have to stop with marriage. It can enter into anything where people have to work together for a common cause. As soon as you put any unbeliever and a believer together you’re just as unequally yoked as that ox with a donkey or making a garment with linen and wool – it’s the same thing.
Now remember, I’m not a marriage counselor or pastor and don’t pretend to be, but you have no idea how many people call me with their marital problems. And invariably do you know what the problem was? Unequally yoked one way or another, and their problems began before they ever got married. In fact I’ll never forget, one young lady was crying her heart out that her husband had become a wife beater and all that, and I asked her, “Didn’t you know that he had that potential when you were going together?” She said, “Well maybe a little bit.” I said, “Then why did you go ahead and marry him?” She said, “Well he was a star football player.” Now I have nothing against football players, but listen that’s a mighty poor criteria for husband material. Now a football player can be a good husband, but to chose one to be your husband just because he’s a star is just as ridiculous as you can get. That again is being unequally yoked.
But listen, the problems that people walk into with their eyes wide open thinking they can change the person somewhere down the road. Listen, people don’t change. Iris and I have talked about that in all the years that we’ve known people. Except for what salvation does for people, people do not change. We just don’t change. So when you began with an unequal yoke, then you’re beat from day one. There was a day when Iris and I thought that we’d like to make one more move and have a ranch in Colorado. So we were looking around and stopped at this one realtor and he gave us some rule of thumb, and I love rules of thumb. He said, “Mister, let me tell you something. If you can buy a ranch at the rate of $1,000 for every cow/calf pair that you intend to run on the property, then you have a good chance of making it in ranching. But if you go out and spend $2,000 for every cow/calf pair then you’re beat before you start.” Well that’s just the way it is with marriage. A lot of people enter into a marriage relationship and they’re beat before they start. And why are the beat? They’re unequally yoked. But like I said, it doesn’t stop with marriage, it can be in business, or where two or more people have to work for a common cause.
II Corinthians 6:14
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? (what have you got there? Two distinct opposites.) and what communion hath light with darkness?” (the two will not cohabit.)
You are either going to have light or you’re going to have darkness. Now verse 15.
II Corinthians 6:15a
“And what concord (or accord) hath Christ with Belial?…”
Now this is the only place in the whole New Testament that the word Belial is used. But it is used several times in the Old Testament. I used to think that it was a reference to some pagan god, but it isn’t. The word Belial means something that is worthless. Now just analyze that a moment. If we have Christ Who is the epitome of everything great. He is the epitome of goodness and Grace, and righteousness, and majesty, and we’re going to put that alongside of something that is worthless? It’s ridiculous isn’t it? It’s just as ridiculous as putting a little donkey beside an ox.
II Corinthians 6:15b
“…or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”
I can’t imagine two such people living under the same roof. Now that would take a lot of Grace to have to live with an infidel. And I suppose an infidel would say the same thing about having to live with a believer. They are two totally opposites, and they cannot pull together. Now verse 16.
II Corinthians 6:16
“And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; (our physical human bodies) as God hath said, `I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.'”
That’s the promise we have as believers. The unbeliever can’t claim that, because it’s not true for him. So here’s the conclusion in verse 17:
II Corinthians 6:17a
Because of all these arguments that I have been giving you for this entire lesson. And what was the purpose? So that you can come out of a world that is diabolically opposed to everything that we believe. Now that’s the world around us, and that doesn’t mean that we’re going to retreat into monasteries like they did from 500 to 1500 AD. Remember the historians put the right name on that time and what was it? The dark ages. Why? Because the Word of God was confined to the monasteries. The average man didn’t have access to the Word of God during that time. That’s exactly what happens to the human race when the Word of God is withdrawn. Israel at times in her history lost contact with the Word of God and what happened? They went down the tube nationally! So we see from the scriptures that we are to:
II Corinthians 6:17b
“`… come out from among them, and be ye separate,’ saith the Lord, `and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters,’ saith the Lord Almighty.”
In Genesis Chapter 12 that’s the Abrahamic Covenant and you all know that one.
“Now the LORD had said, unto Abram, `Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house,…'”
What is that? Separation. God couldn’t deal with Abraham in the midst of Ur. God couldn’t deal with Abraham when he was in the midst of all his pagan relatives. Remember Joshua 24:2 said they worshipped other gods. So there had to be a separation before God could work with him. Now let’s look at Chapter 13
“And Abram said unto Lot, `Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. 9. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me:…” (Then come on down to verse 14.)
“And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated…”
It started from day one that God’s people had to be separated from the world around them. Now turn to Exodus 8. And here we have the plagues coming upon Pharaoh’s Egypt for the first three we find Israel had to come under those plagues as well as the Egyptians, but now look what it says in verse 22.
“And I will sever (or separate) in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth. 23. And I will put a division between my people and thy people; (speaking of Egypt) to morrow shall this sign be.”
What did God do? He separated them!