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Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 36
ONCE YOU WERE SEPARATED FROM GOD – PART 2
Now as we begin I just want to say that we’re just an informal Bible Study, we try not to preach at anybody. We don’t twist any arms to make you come over to our way, but rather we just want to show you in context what the Scriptures says. We just try to get people into the Word of God and let them see what the Book really says. Our favorite type of letter we receive, and that is 90% of them, people tell us, “For the first time in my life I am studying my Bible, and I’m enjoying it.” Now that’s the main reason we teach We do not adhere to anyone particular denominational line, and that way we can reach people regardless of where they’re coming from. I know there are a lot of differences out there, but I always maintain you don’t have to agree with me on everything, however I think when it comes to the plan of salvation, that plan is set in concrete, and you simply can’t fool with that.
I teach what Paul the apostle to the Gentiles teaches that for salvation – “You must believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, that He was buried, and rose again the third day.” He teaches that in several places, but the three I like to share with people is I Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 10:9-10, and I Thessalonians 4:14.
So now let’s just pick up where we left off in the last lesson, and that will be in Ephesians chapter 2. We’re going to take a couple of moments to review what we covered in the last lesson in verse 12, how that Paul points out of graphically that our Gentile forefathers, before Paul was sent to the Gentiles as we saw in our closing statement in the last program, were without hope, they were without God in this world, they were strangers to the covenant of promise. They were alien to the commonwealth of Israel. And so consequently God had no dealing with the Gentiles unless it was one of those exceptions we mentioned.
I think I should have even – I think I’ll do it now. Let’s take you back to Matthew chapter 10, because this is a verse that has shocked a lot of people, and when folks have heard me teach it on television, and then they take it into their Sunday School class, and normally the Sunday School class will come right back with, “Where in the world do you get this stuff?” When that happens all one has to say, “That’s what the Bible says!” It’s as plain as day, and the Lord Jesus Himself said it. Jesus of Nazareth has just begin His earthly ministry, and in the opening verses of chapter 10 He’s calling the Twelve to be His disciples. Then they’re named in verses 2, 3, and 4, but now look at verse 5. Now for most of you who have heard me teach over the years, this is all old hat, but you want to remember we’ve got a lot of new listeners everyday, and most of them have never seen this. But look what it says.
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Do you see how plain that is? It’s just as plain as daylight from dark. “Don’t you go to Gentiles, don’t you bother with the Samaritans, but rather you go only to the lost sheep of Israel. But you see Christ’s earthly ministry was confined to the nation of Israel. I always have to remind people, can you find one instance in Scripture when He took His ministry down into Egypt? No! Did He ever go up into Syria? Of course not. So where did He spend all of His 3 years? Right in that narrow neck of geography between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, and no farther, and neither did the twelve.
They knew they couldn’t because the commandment was, “Go only to the lost sheep of Israel.” Why? Because of that covenant promise that we read in our last lesson in Genesis chapter 12. Remember only the nation of Israel was under that covenant promise, and He couldn’t abrogate that. He couldn’t break that covenant that He had made with the nation of Israel, so that is why He gave that command. Then the next one I use always so well in the same regard, is found in Matthew chapter 15. Here He’s confronted by a Gentile lady out of the coast of Tyre and Sidon , and let’s just drop down to verse 21.
“Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 22. And, behold, a woman of Canaan (a Gentile, a non Jew) came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
Oh what a perfect opportunity for Jesus to show His power. Wasn’t it? Yeah it was. But did He? No, not at first. So what was the answer Jesus gave her?
“But he answered her not a word….”
He ignores her. Now we find that hard to believe, but you had better believe the Word for that’s what it says. And the reason He ignores her again, is because He was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel. You all know the verse in John’s gospel, we don’t even have to look at it. “He came unto His own, (which was Israel) but His own received Him not.” And then of course that opens the door for the Gentiles. But in His earthly ministry He ministered only to His covenant people. Only those who were citizens of the commonwealth of Israel. Only those who knew what it was to have a Messiah, as we saw in Ephesians chapter 2. Now reading on about this lady who was crying after them.
“… And his disciples (the same twelve that He commanded not to go to the Gentiles) came and besought him, saying. Send her away, for she crieth after us.”
Send her away because you’ve commanded us not to minister to the Gentiles. See, that’s what all this boils down to. Send her away she’s a nuisance, she’s a pest, everywhere we go here she is crying after us.
“But he answered and said, (unto her) I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Now isn’t that plain? And most people don’t know why He said that. He said that because He came to fulfill those Old Testament covenants, and He couldn’t break those covenants. But being the God of creation, the One who wouldn’t bend to pressure like most people would, He could tell it like it was. “I am not sent but unto (My covenant people) the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Of course this lady wouldn’t take no for an answer, and I guess we can take a lesson from this. Then let’s look in verse 25.
“Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.” And He answered again in so many words, “I can’t do anything for you.” Looking at the Scriptures, what does He say?
“But he answered and said, It is not meet (right, and proper) to take the children’s (Israel’s) bread, and to cast it to dogs.” (Gentiles)
Now in Jewish sight the uncircumcised Gentiles were the same as dogs. So the Lord, says, “I can’t take that which belongs to my covenant people, (the children of Israel) and give it to you Gentiles.” He just couldn’t do it, because it would run contrary to the very mind of God when He made the covenant with Abraham. So He couldn’t, His hands were tied. But on the flip side, like he did when He sent Jonah to Nineveh, and He brought Rahab off the wall of Jericho, He could, being Sovereign, make an exception. But He couldn’t make it a blanket act and include all Gentiles. If He had it would have just simply destroyed the Scriptures, but He could make an exception. And so He finally gives in when she comes back in verse 27.
“And she said, Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
Now several lessons back we commented on this verse, and I made the allusion to Psalm chapter 23. And what is in Psalm chapter 23 in regard to a table.
“Thou preparest a table before me…”
Well what was the table? Well it was God’s table from which Israel feasted. It was a spiritual allegory, but nevertheless only Israel could feast at God’s table. And it’s the same analogy here. She says, “I know I can’t eat from Israel’s table, but can’t I have some of the crumbs that fall off the edge?” And that of course got to the Lord, and let’s look at what He said.
“Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt, And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”
Now that was one of the exceptions that the Lord made concerning ministering to Gentiles. There was only one other throughout His whole three years of ministry, and that was the Roman Centurion. He also gave into that one, but other than those two, you can’t find one instance in this Book that Jesus ministered to Gentiles. In fact, while we’re on that subject, come on over to John’s gospel chapter 12, and we have much the same kind of situation. The crowds of Jews are gathering from all over the then known world for the feast of Passover. The very same Passover at which He’s going to be crucified, and these are the days leading up to it.
“And there were certain Greeks (still another word for Gentiles) among them that came up to worship at the feast: 21. The same (these Greeks) came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, (one of the twelve) and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.”
“Now just stop and mull these things over. People are no different today than they were then. It was common knowledge of all these miracles that this Jesus of Nazareth was performing. I always remind my classes here in Oklahoma that all the miracles that are recorded in Scripture are just the sampling. Goodness sake don’t think for a moment that that was all of His miracles. Because as John ends his gospel what does he say?
“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. A-men.”
But here these Gentiles had no doubt been hearing about this man Jesus, and all of His miracles, and so they were curious. So they wanted to see this One who could do these things.Philip remembered what the commandment had been concerning Gentiles, and had second thoughts. But on the other hand nobody likes to take full responsibility for something like this so Philip sort of passes the buck over to Andrew. Let’s look at the next verse.
“Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: (and can’t you just read between the lines their conversation, because they both knew the commandment that Jesus Himself had given in Matthew 10:5 So they say to each other well let’s at least ask Him) and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.”
Well what do they tell Him? There are Gentiles out there and they want to talk to you. Now does Jesus say, “Bring them in? No way! What does He do? He gives them the reason why they can’t. It’s just that simple as you’ll see in the next verse.
“And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, (remember there’s only a day or two before the crucifixion) that the Son of man should be glorified. 24. Verily, verily, I say unto you, (and here comes the whole format of salvation for Gentiles.) Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground, and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
What was He talking about? His own death, His burial, like planting the seed, and when the seed is in the ground, what does it do? It dies! And as a result of the death of that seed, new life comes forth. It’s the whole format of salvation. That when Christ died and was buried, and rose from the dead, that’s when new life erupts. In fact now let me take you to Romans chapter 6. I didn’t intend to do any of this, but one thing leads to another, so we’d better just follow. And this ties so beautifully with what Jesus just said in John chapter 12, at least it does in my mind. Remember what it said in John?
“Verily, verily, I say unto you. Except a corn (kernel) of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” Now look at the language Paul use concerning our salvation.
“For if we have been planted…”
What’s that planting a reference to? Burial. When we plant seed we bury it. Oh not six feet, but nevertheless we bury it, and as a result of that seed being buried, and the moisture, and warmth of the sun, what happens? New life! But if you’ve got a seed that can’t die by germination, it’s not going to reproduce. All right so Paul is using the same analogy that Jesus used in John chapter 12. Now let’s look at what he says in the last part of that verse.
“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, (if we’ve identified with His death, and His burial, then it’s an assured fact that we can identify with His resurrection) we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:”
Do you see how beautiful all of this is. At His resurrection, of course that’s when He experienced the glorification. There wasn’t anything glorious in that cross. It was anything but. It was awful! But when He rose from the dead in power and glory, then that’s where we are. Oh to die to self, there’s noting glorious about that, but to rise to newness of life, and all that goes with it – Oh listen the last few weeks we’ve had more phone calls when the folks say, “our whole life has changed.” We had a call from a person in Pennsylvania last week, and he said, “You’ve changed my life” I said, “I can’t do that.” He said, “No but the Lord used you. He opened up the Scriptures to me, and now I just can’t get enough of it.”
Well within an hour a lady in Georgia called, and it almost gave me goose bumps because you would have sworn that they were reading from the same script. This lady said the same thing. “You have just changed my life.” Now I won’t tell you what group they came out of, but it was a group that is just about as hard as nuts to crack, and if you’ve ever dealt with them you know what group I’m talking about. But the Lord opened their heart so that they might believe the Gospel, and be gloriously saved. And that’s what you have to experience. You have to die to self, and experience resurrection power and it is a glorious power. I’ve never had anyone call and say, “Well Les, I wish I had never listened to you.” Never! But it’s always, “How God has just changed my life completely.”
There was another couple, they were in a horrible situation, and they wrote, and it was so bad that I didn’t even know how to answer their letter. In fact I just let the letter lay there for two or three weeks, and I started feeling guilty for not answering it, and I finally wrote to them and told them how to come out of their sin and horrible situation, and we met them a year or so ago and it was the same. “The Lord had totally changed their life, He had cleaned up the mess they were in, and they just can’t get enough of this.” Well that’s what the new life does, and that’s what makes us the glory of the power of His resurrection. Now while we’re in Romans chapter 6, we might as well take the next verse, because this just builds on it. If we’ve been planted, and have experienced the likeness of His resurrection, let’s see what it says.
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, (well what does crucifixion do? It kills, it puts to death) that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (that old sin nature)
Now let’s come back to Ephesians chapter 2. And again remember what he said, “that as Gentiles our forefathers were without hope, and without God in the world.” Now we’ll just be able to start verse 13, and we’ll pick it up in the next lesson. And look what the first word is in verse 13.
Everybody from coast tells me now that’s the flip side. The flip side got started I think with the juke box. For a nickel you could play one side of the record and flip it over to hear the other side. It’s just another whole new song. Now the flip side. Yes our forefathers were without hope, they were without God, but there’s a flip side, and what is it?
“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off (How far off were our forefathers? So far off that they were without God. They had no knowledge of Him, and they had no access to Him because they were Gentiles, they weren’t Jews. But God didn’t leave it that way, but now) are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”
Not by some decree, but by what? The blood of Christ. The blood of Christ is what makes us nigh to God. Let’s go back for a moment to the Book of Hebrews chapter 9. Those of you who have been with me since Genesis remember we’ve used this verse so often as one of the two basic absolutes of Scripture. In our present society they try to tell us that there are none. Oh yes there are. The Scriptures are absolute, and this is one of the primary ones.
“…and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
You can’t get around that, you can’t build a bridge over, there’s just nothing you can do with that verse, but face it head on. What does all this mean? Well I can’t really explain the whole thing myself. Come back to Exodus chapter 12, and if we don’t finish the thought there we’ll pick it up in the next lesson. And what is in Exodus chapter 12? Well the night of the Passover. Verse 13.
“And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.”
There was only one thing a Jewish family could do to avoid the death angel and that was what? Put the blood on the door! And when God saw the blood the death angel passed over. Now there wasn’t a whole bunch of rules and regulations, but rather just one simple requirement. “Place the blood of that Passover lamb on the door post and lentil and when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” Now I always like to ask my classes, when those Jews were behind that blood touched door, did they stand there in fear, and trepidation? No! Because by faith they were eternally secured.