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Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 37
Unsearchable Riches of Christ
Now we’re still in book 37, and I guess we’ll just keep on printing them until the Lord comes for us in the Rapture, or He takes me home to be with Him, or we finish the Book As we teach the Book it’s so refreshing to hear people tell me that they have finally been able to see what the Book really says. I had a fellow call the other day who said, “For 20 years I was going down the wrong road, and it was so hard to admit that I had been wrong, and that I had been led wrong. But as you taught, the Word is what convinced me, as you showed me what the Book said as well as what it didn’t say.” So we’re just going to keep on teaching the Book and hope others also can come out of their works religion, and come into the knowledge and freedom of God’s wonderful GRACE! Now we’re ready to start our study for today, and that would be in verse 8, we find Paul telling us Gentiles about God’s Grace.
“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;”
Now here again, what is he emphasizing? Gentiles. I want you to realize that Paul is always emphasizing his message was to the Gentiles who are the non-Jews, although some Jews were certainly responding to his message. But for the most part they didn’t. In fact if you will remember when we were studying back in the Corinthian and Galatian letters, who were the people that were opposing Paul’s preaching to the Gentiles? Well, the Jewish people. These Jews thought that Christ was an impostor, and they certainly thought that Paul was, and so they were doing everything they could to disrupt his ministry. Nevertheless, Paul still had a fair amount of Jews in his congregations. Archaeologists confirm that a good number of early Church believers were Jews. They found proof of that away from Jerusalem, especially up in the area East of Galilee. But by the end of the first century they had just totally dropped out of the picture, and with exceptions here and there, most of Paul’s converts were Gentiles. Now looking at verse 8 again.
“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints,…”
Here Paul says that he was least of all the saints. Now you know, how many people stop to think what a direct opposite that is of the “twelve” Because what were the twelve always debating? “Who’s going to be the greatest. Who’s going to sit next to the Lord. Who’s the greatest.” But this man says “I’m the least.” Paul never claimed to be the greatest except by inspiration back in I Corinthians, when he had to prove to those people that his apostleship had become the most superior of the apostles. That he was not one step behind Peter and the others, but now he was a step ahead by virtue of his revelations. But as an egotist he had none. He had absolutely no pride in himself other than the fact that he was the apostle to the Gentiles.
When I read this verse I have to think of an old time Bible teacher, William R. Newell. Many of you have heard of him and many of you haven’t, but he’s the one who authored the words to your well-known hymn At Calvary. In fact the next time you’re in church and you sing that song, just look at the top of the page and you’ll see that the author of the words was William R. Newell. Well, William R. Newell made the statement, “I can envision that one day when the Bride is introduced to Christ, Paul is going to be the honored one to introduce them”. And this was his reasoning. When the disciples were debating who would be the greatest, what was Jesus’ answer? “He that is the least.” Then when Paul says that he’s the least, then that must have been what the Lord was referring to.
Well be that as it may, we’re not going to make a big deal of it, but nevertheless this man is now again, by inspiration, even though he puts his own person down, yet he lets us know that the Grace of God has made it possible for him to be the minister, and the revealer of all these secrets by virtue of his being commissioned to go to the Gentile world. Now as you come on to the last part of verse 8 I think I could just about shoot a whole 1/2 hour on this alone. I’m not saying that I will, but look what it says.
“…that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ:”
Do you know what that means? That means that you and I could spend almost the rest of our lives digging through Scripture, and literally bring up the riches of Christ, and we could never exhaust it. What are the unsearchable riches of Christ? Well as I was mulling this over in my own mind over the last several days, I just had to go all the way back to eternity past. That was when the Triune God first came together in what the Book of Acts calls a counsel. And at that counsel meeting of the Triune God they literally laid out the blueprint for the whole universe and the appearance of the planet earth to be inhabited, and the whole 6000 years of human history. You see this was all blueprinted way back there in eternity past, and became part of the “unsearchable riches of Christ.”
Now as you follow all of that with what knowledge you have of the Scriptures, you’ve got enough that you can begin to think how that God in His foreknowledge formulated not only the appearance of man, Adam and Eve, but knowing that they would sin, set in motion immediately afterwards, the plan of redemption. And then that plan of redemption would demand that the Creator Himself, the One who called everything into being in the first place would become flesh. Not created instantly as Adam was, but instead he goes through that whole human process of 9 months in the womb. He was born as a babe in the manger in Bethlehem, comes through the normal growing up process of a young man in Nazareth, and until the age of 30 hardly anybody caught on to Who He was except that one instant when He was 12 years old, and He was left behind at the temple. Other than that, in Scripture at least, there’s no record that anybody had any idea, not just Who He was, but what He was. Here He is walking on those little dusty roads of Israel, and Who was He? The Creator God Himself! Now that’s all part of the “unsearchable riches of Christ.”
Now listen, you start mulling that all over and we can sort of say “Yeah I can believe that.” But listen, to really comprehend how that God accomplished it all without a hitch, without any detours, and the day came when He came to the Nation of Israel, and for 3 years presented Himself to the nation, miracle after miracle. Showing His love and compassion for those people in spite of their unbelief, He didn’t give up on them. Never once does the Scriptures say that He left in disgust, and thought “So what! They’ll never listen anyway.” No, He never gave up on them. And then finally as Philippians tells us, “He so graphically died the death of the Cross, the most awful death ever invented.” Now listen that’s all part of these “unsearchable riches of Christ.”
And it was all foreordained, it was all blueprinted. And through His death, and the shedding of His blood, the eternal Triune God could now reckon all of men’s sin as on Him.Now we can’t comprehend that, at least I can’t. Even today in any 24 hour period when we look at the mayhem that’s going on around the world like Yugoslavia, and other places in the world that’s in constant bloodshed. China in terrible persecution, Russia where they’re under horrible pressure, the whole planet tonight is at war. And yet in spite of all the suffering and the all the sin, I can stand here and tell you that all that sin that has ever been, that’s happening now, and will happen in the future was laid on Christ. Hey I can’t comprehend that, and I don’t think anyone else can either. That’s the “unsearchable riches of Christ.”
He was able, by being the Creator God Himself, to take upon Himself all the sins of this world. And we’re just getting a little glimpse of it. I still maintain without apology, after having just come back from overseas. Listen, morality in America is still head and shoulders above the rest of the world. As bad as we’re getting, and we’re getting worse by the day, but yet I still maintain America is a long way from catching up with the rest of the world when it comes to immoral practices. But God in His Grace continues to look down on sinful men and is willing to save to the uttermost anyone that would just simply believe that He did all of this for you and I. But the vast majority won’t believe, so don’t get discouraged, because they never have. Now that’s all part of the “unsearchable riches of Christ.”
You know I always shock people when I tell them that here we come from Adam all the way up for 1600 years to Noah’s flood. There were just as many people on the planet then as there are now, and how many believers were spared? Eight! Now isn’t that something. That’s all God had left after 1600 years. Then we come to the time of Elijah, and Elijah thought he was the only one left at that time. But of course God knew better, because he told Elijah that He still had 7000 left that had not bowed their knee to Baal. Now let’s say there was 7,000,000 Israelites at that time, but only 7000 were believers, what percentage is that? 1/10 of 1 percent. All of this to show you the “unsearchable riches of Christ.”
Now let’s go on a little further to what Paul has been teaching here in Ephesians, and that is that the moment we believe God does something else that’s beyond human understanding.He places us into the Body of Christ in which we all become members around the world. This invisible, and yet visible consortium of believers, and we are all made one with Christ. Hey that’s beyond human understanding, but again that’s all part of the “unsearchable riches of Christ.”
We’re all looking forward very soon I think of the “Rapture,” the out-calling of the Church. How in the world is it going to happen? Have you ever stopped to think about that? You want to remember that 1/2 of the people are on the bottom side of the earth. Are they going to come zooming up and around? I’ve had some try to say that the Rapture would take place segmental so that every section of the globe would have it’s own Rapture, but I don’t think that’s going to work, but nevertheless God is going to take every believer off the planet in a split second. How’s He going to do it? Well we can’t begin to comprehend it. Oh again it’s all part of the “unsearchable riches of Christ.”
How can He take a Hell-bound sinner, and by just by virtue of his faith, make him a heaven-bound saint. Not that we become sinless, but oh listen, we completely have a change of appetite. I’ve had so many calls in the past couple of weeks from people who fell into sin. I mean gross sin, and their argument always was, the individual with whom they experienced this fall was a professing believer, and this professing believer said, “Well after all, I’m saved, and didn’t have anything to worry about.” I said, “That’s not what my Bible tells me.” We don’t have that kind of license. You’ve heard me say it over and over that Grace is not license. Being able to do anything is not the unsearchable riches of Christ.
My Bible does not tell us that just because the Grace of God abounds, I can go out and do an immoral thing, and God’s going to wink at it. The Scripture definitely warns us against those things. I’ve been trying to come up with an illustration of how can I put it that a true believer will never find themselves in that kind of a situation unless it is just a momentary lapse, which can happen. But to just deliberately walk into something like this and practice it over a period of time, I just can’t believe it. So I came up with this illustration, going back to the Book of Romans chapter 3, and let’s look at verse 23 and 24.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (that’s everyone of us. But look at the next verse.) 24. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:”
Now you all know what redemption means? That’s the process of God buying us back out of the slavery of sin. When I teach Romans chapter 3 I always use the analogy of the Roman slave market, and I think it’s a very appropriate one, because it was very real. As the Romans would go out with their legions and they would conquer other people they would bring back, especially the younger people who were capable of slave duty, to Rome and they would end up in the slave market. And I drew the analogy, here we have a young blond, blue eyed fellow from northern Europe who finds himself in this market. Now that slave market was awful, because if you were bought out as a common slave you could end up doing any kind of horrible slave labor to include being sold to shipmasters to row their ships. It was awful, it was hot, and when they died, they just pitched them overboard. And if these slaves were not bought they could end up in the coliseums as meat for the wild animals. So that was the prospect of a Roman slave market.
But there was also the good side They could have a benefactor come and buy them out of the slave market. Say a benevolent slave owner would buy a slave and clean him up, give him a whole new set of clothes, give him light duty around his estate of trimming the lawns and so forth, and remember the Romans lived sumptuously. So here’s this young slave who’s been bought out of that horrible situation, and given this beautiful place to work, and have all the best food. Then one day this benevolent Roman owner comes and says, “Young man I’m going to go one step further, I’m going to give you your freedom. I have bought your citizenship. You are free to go and do whatever you want to do.” Now the analogy I’ve always used before is, “What’s this young man going to say? ‘Listen you’ve done so much for me, and I have learned to love you so much, I don’t want my freedom, but rather I want to stay here and serve you the rest of my life.’”
Now that’s where I’ve always left that analogy. But you know what a lot of Christians are doing now? What if this same young man would say, “I want to stay right here and serve you, but once a week can I go back into the slave market?” Now isn’t that ridiculous? Isn’t that as ridiculous as you can get? Here he’s been spared the horrors of the slave market, and that’s where every lost person is, they’re in Satan’s slave market. Christ paid the price of redemption, He bought us out of it, and then we have the audacity to say, “But can’t I just go back and get a taste of that sinful world once in a while?” Listen that’s what Christians are doing when they go back into the world! And to me it just does not fit. I’m not saying we’re going to be perfect, of course we’re not. We all fail, we all sin, but to go back into gross sin, and just glibly say, “Oh well, I’m saved and don’t have anything to worry about.” I don’t think a true believer can look at it that way.
When a true believer sins, they’re going to be convicted as David was. And when David saw his sin, what does the Book of Psalms say he does? He wept tears of repentance, and oh how he bemoaned the fact that not only had he sinned against the humans that were involved, but against God. And when we sin, this is what we have to come back and realize. Well all of this I just sort of lob into the “Unsearchable Riches of Christ.” It’s beyond human comprehension. I can’t understand it, and I don’t think anyone else can. But does that mean, we just close our eyes, and say, “Forget it, I can’t understand it anyway?” No. You just keep digging, and learning, and keep getting more and more excited about what Christ has done for us. And not only just for the here and now, but for all of eternity to come. Just like Paul says in I Corinthians chapter 2.
I Corinthians 2:9
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
And that’s about as much as it tells us what we’re going to enjoy in eternity. We don’t know because the Bible doesn’t tell us, but we know it’s going to be fabulous. What God has in store for us is going to be a million times better than the things you and I like to do down here, and it’s all because of the “unsearchable riches of Christ.“ Oh to have the knowledge that we can come into the very throne room of heaven in prayer and petitions is simply incomprehensible. Isn’t it? Just think we can immediately come into the very throne room, without having to go through any rituals. We don’t have to go into some prescribed place, at a prescribed time or God won’t hear us. As you sit there and as I speak you can be in an attitude of prayer, and you’re right in the throne room. Now that’s all part of the “unsearchable riches of Christ.”
But I think the crowning act of all of it is that He could take a sinner, save him by Grace, and make him a brand new person. Totally new, totally different, a changed appetite, a changed lifestyle. The kind of a change that even the world around them can’t miss. So many times husbands who have wives who are lost will ask, “Well what can I do to convince my wife that she needs God’s saving Grace.” Or wives will call or write, “What can I do to convince my husband that he needs God’s saving Grace?” Well invariably I’ll take them back to the little letter of Peter, and what does Peter say? “Don’t preach at them. Don’t try to drag them to church or drag them in front of the television, and say, “You’ve got to listen to what Les says.” But rather what do you do? You just live such an out pouring of God’s love in front of that person, that sooner or later they’ll finally get the drift, “You’ve got something that I need!” It may take 6 months or a year or years, but you can rest assured that when you’ve done what God expects you to do, then that lost person is going to be faced with the reality of the love of God. And that’s all part of the “unsearchable riches of Christ.”