Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 34
GALATIANS 4:15 – 5:11 – PART 2
Now let’s just get right back where we left off in Galatians Chapter 5, and we’ll begin with verse 6. Remember what we’ve just been saying, and that is you cannot attach anything to Paul’s Gospel for salvation – if you do then Christ shall profit you nothing. Now verse 6.
“For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.”
Now what love are we first and foremost talking about? The love of Christ as He poured out Himself on the Cross for us. Lets turn to Philippians Chapter 2 and look at a verse, and remember what we’re talking about – The love of Christ that sent Him to the Cross.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; 6. Who, being in the form of God, (He was God) thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7. But (as God) made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, (a bond slave) and was made in the likeness of men: (now here it comes. The word `love’ isn’t used but certainly implied) 8. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
What was the engine that drove His obedience? Love! His love for mankind, His love for the Father drove Him to be obedient to the work of the Cross. And death on the Cross was the most horrible death a person could possibly experience. Now another verse we need to look at is found in II Corinthians Chapter 5 and verse 14.
II Corinthians 5:14
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:”
But why did He die for all? Because of the love that constrains. There is another good one in the Book of Romans Chapter 13. This is Paul writing to believers, and this is one of those areas of Scripture that is so practical. There’s nothing pie in the sky about any of these things that he writes, this is everyday practicality.
“Owe no man any thing, (or defraud no one) but to love one another: for he that loveth another (under Grace of course) hath fulfilled the law.”
Isn’t that amazing? We don’t have to have Temple worship, or a priesthood, or animal sacrifices, or the Ten commandments constantly drilled into us. Once we’ve stepped under the light of Grace and the Holy Spirit empowers us, love becomes the whole motivating power behind everything that we do, and then we automatically fulfill the Law. As I’ve said so often, can you steal from somebody you love? I can’t comprehend it. Can you bear false witness, or can you gossip about someone you love? No. Can you covet something that a loved one owns and you wish it was yours instead of theirs? No. When love is operating, the Ten Commandments automatically fall away. They no longer become something that we must be taught and have drilled into us. Now reading on.
“For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery. (if your Christian love is operating you won’t commit adultery.) Thou shalt not kill, (that’s obvious. You certainly are not going to kill somebody you love.) Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness. Thou shalt not covet, and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (now here it is in a nutshell) 10. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Isn’t that simple and practical? Now let’s come back to Galatians Chapter 5 once again. Now verse 7, and don’t lose the concept of this letter. These Gentiles had come out of paganism as a result of Paul’s Gospel and now they were being deluged and undermined by the teaching of having to keep the Law – and now he says:
“Ye did run well; (your past has shown that you did become believers) who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?”
In other words Paul says, “What’s happening to you people?” Oh, he knew, but yet he’s trying to put them on the defensive by asking the questions. You know that’s what the Lord always did. He asked the question not because He needed the answer, but because He wanted to put His subject on the stump. And so here Paul is doing the same thing.
“Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth.”
I remember a gentlemen I knew down in the French area of Louisiana which I’m sure is probably 99% Catholic. And he made this statement, but it’s so appropriate in so many places. He said, “I knew somebody was down there that was not a Catholic.” And I said “Who in the world fooled with you?” Well you know that’s just exactly the way it is in so many instances. We run into a group of people and they’ve been so thoroughly programmed, and when you find one that’s different you wonder, “Who in the world blew you away?” Well that’s what Paul is saying. “Here I had you indoctrinated, I had you taught correctly.” Now who’s come along and is blowing you away? Paul knew who it was, it was the Judaisers. Do you see that? Now verse 8.
“This persuasion (to come away from Paul’s Gospel of Grace) cometh not of him that calleth you.”
Who called them? The Holy Sprit of God. Well if the Holy Spirit did not lead them away then what spirit did? The evil spirit. Remember we’ve only got two spirits in the world. It’s either of the Holy Spirit or of the satanic evil spirit. Let’s go back to John’s little epistles. I don’t like to say anything unless I can show it from the Book. Go back to I John Chapter 4, and this is what the world is up against tonight just as much as when Paul wrote to the Galatians. The human race hasn’t changed one iota, not one bit.
I John 4:1
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” And then you come on down to verse 3.
I John 4:3
“And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of anti-christ, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”
So what are we up against? The two spirits. It’s either of the Holy Spirit or of the evil spirit. Now of course Satan has his demons, but nevertheless it’s going to originate in the satanic powers, and this is what the world is up against. I mean it’s up against everything that Satan can throw at them. You know I always remind people, don’t get the idea that all Satan can promote is what we call skid row behavior. Satan will promote the most beautiful things, Satan will promote that which we think is culture and enlightening as long as he can keep people from the truth. He doesn’t care what he uses as long as people fall for it. With Satan the end always justifies the means. Satan will use good things but it will be of the evil spirit rather than the Holy Spirit that is speaking. Now come back again to Galatians Chapter 5, and look at verse 8 again.
To go back under legalism didn’t come from the Holy Spirit who brought them out of paganism, but it came from the same evil spirit that held them in paganism until the Gospel freed them. You see Satan never gives up, and we’ll see in our next taping session when we get further along in Chapter 5 that for every believer there is a constant warfare isn’t there? And it’s between the two natures. One is Holy Spirit driven, and the other is the old nature that still has its roots in the satanic power of the curse, and so those two natures are in a constant warfare. So it is between the believer community in general and the world in general. They are two total opposites. So we’re up against two forces constantly. And so, even with the believer, Paul says the spirit that is taking you back into a false gospel is not the same spirit that brought you out. Now verse 9, and here comes the warning.
“A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”
Now in common language what’s leaven? Yeast. And when you put yeast into the dough it’s not just going to leaven some of it, but rather all of it. Now it’s the same way with false teaching. If you let a little bit of false teaching in as leaven it isn’t long before it permeates the whole, one leads to another. For those of you who know your Bible, what has happened to Christendom in general? It’s been leavened. Christianity today is leavened. All the things Scripture and Christianity stood against 50-60 years ago are now part and parcel of everyday experience.
I’ll never forget a long time ago when one of our kids was at the university and we visited a church up there. And the pastor there made such a tremendous point. All of the things of the world came knocking at the Church’s door and the Church said, “Yeah we can accommodate that, we can live with that.” And then it wasn’t long that the door opened a little wider and some of the other world stuff came in and the Church said, “Yeah we can also live with that.” And now you see the doors are wide open and you can’t tell the difference between the Church and the world. What happened? “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Now verse 10.
“I have confidence in you…”
See Paul didn’t give up on these people. He’s not going to throw them to the wolves He’s still hanging in there and trusting that he’s going to bring them back to the truth. But like I said in an earlier lesson on the basis of what he wrote to Timothy what happened? They didn’t come back, because he said in II Timothy 1:15 “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me;…” And this is where these people were. They were in Galatia in Asia Minor, but at this point in time this apostle still has not given up on the fact that he’s going to bring them back into the truth of the Gospel of the Grace of God.
“I have confidence in you though the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.”
Now those are strong words aren’t they? In other words Paul is saying, “Whoever it is that is bringing in this false teaching, and is leading you away from the Gospel of Grace, his judgment is sure.” He’s going to one day stand before the Great White Throne where only lost people will stand, and he’s going to be judged, absolutely they are. I’ve said for years that preachers and theologians who mislead people are going to have the hottest corner in the lake of fire, because they are misleading multitudes.
You know when you pick up this Book, I don’t care if you’re a Sunday School teacher, or if you’re just leading a small devotional, every time you pick up this Book you are accepting a tremendous responsibility, and don’t think I don’t take it seriously. I never take teaching the Word of God lightly. I also have to understand that if I would be guilty of misleading someone to the place of missing heaven’s glory then I would have to answer for it. But so far I have never felt guilty of that. I feel as though we’ve had so many people write and call and express a joy of salvation that it just sort of puts the stamp of God’s approval on our ministry. Over and over people who have been steeped in their particular background, Sunday School teachers, and church officers write and say, “For the first time in my life I now know what it is to have a real salvation experience.”
Well if the Lord wasn’t blessing it then that could never happen. So we have to feel that we are presenting the Word as close to the truth as is humanly possibly. My, I’d be scared to death of presenting an error. Now I’m not saying that I’m above error because I am human, and I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on every thing, but on these fundamentals of Who Christ is. That He was virgin born, that He is God the Creator, and that His atoning work of the Cross, His death, burial, and resurrection has completed every bit of God’s requirement for salvation. He’s coming again, and I will never compromise those things. I’d rather go back and just simply stay on the ranch than teach any other way.
I suppose a lot of people think I should have never left the ranch, but this is why I sound bold at times. See, I don’t have to depend on some denominational retirement account. I don’t depend on a salary from any of this, and if I was booted out of all of this situation then I could just go back to the ranch full time and pet my cows a little more than usual. Iris thinks I give them more attention than they deserve anyway. But we’re going to proclaim the truth as the Lord lays it upon us even as the apostle Paul did, and he said –
“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” And listen, I’m far more fearful of God and want to please Him more than I do men. So here in verse 10 Paul says –
“…but he that troubleth you (with his false teaching) shall bear his judgement, whosoever he be.” It didn’t matter whether this false teacher was highly educated, a philosopher, or a high man in Judaism, it doesn’t matter. Paul says, “This person will one day stand in judgment.”
“And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution?…”
Well who were his chief persecutors? The Judaisers. A verse comes to mind in the Book of Acts Chapter 15. Most of you know this but we may have someone watching the program for the first time and have never seen this before. But here in this chapter is exactly what Paul was up against. And here Luke, the historian, is writing.
“And certain men which came down from Judaea (to Antioch where Paul and Barnabas had been ministering primarily to Gentiles.) taught the brethren, (those believing Gentiles at Antioch) and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.”
Do you see how clear that is? That’s what Paul was up against. See these people came down from Jerusalem with authority. I mean after all they were emissaries of the Twelve. A lot of people probably don’t like the idea that I put Peter, James and John, along with a lot of these Judaisers, but Galatians 2:7-9 indicate that. Now for the sake of time I’m going to skip the next 3 verses and now come up to verse 5. As the counsel takes place in Jerusalem with the Twelve and Paul and Barnabas.
“But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, (in other words they, like the Twelve, had believed for salvation in His name only that Jesus was the Christ.)saying. That it was needful to circumcise them, (these Gentile converts at Antioch) and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”
Now these believers at Galatia was falling for that, and this is what Paul had to constantly remind them that they had not been taught that way. Now back to Galatians chapter 5 and we’ll finish up on verse 11.
“And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? (Paul says, `If I preached what the Judaisers in Jerusalem preached then I’d have clear sailing. I wouldn’t have any opposition, I wouldn’t be under this persecution. Because that’s their main reason for hating me and fighting me. I will not give in to circumcising these Gentile believers. If I preached circumcision) then is the offence or the cross ceased.” (or brought to an end)
Isn’t that amazing? All Paul would have had to do to have an easy road was to succumb to the pressure. All he would have had to do was give in and say, “Okay, Okay I’ll teach circumcision, I’ll preach Law-keeping, just get off my back.” Now God wouldn’t have been satisfied but the world would have. And the Church would have just died a natural death and Satan would have gloated all the way into eternity, but Paul didn’t. Paul never backed off and gave in to these Judaisers.