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Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 37
Unsearchable Riches of Christ – Part 2
As I look at the classroom setting again today I see many different denominations represented here. Each denomination practices and believes different things, but the one thing eachmust believe is that our Lord Jesus Christ died for them, was buried and rose again. When we believe that for salvation then God sees our faith, and places us into the Body of Christ, as we see in I Corinthians 15:1-4 and I Corinthians 12:13. We can tell by our mail that we are certainly reaching people from every imaginable background. Remember when we come before the throne, whether it’s the Great White throne for lost people or the Bema seat in heaven for believers, the Lord isn’t going to ask you, “Well did you follow what your church taught?” But rather we’re going to be judged on the basis of what does the Bible say. Never lose sight of that because eternity is going to reveal what you have done with His Word!
So to begin this study together turn in your Bibles to Ephesians chapter 3, and come down to verse 9. In the last lesson we spent the whole lesson on verse 8, teaching that we are to be seeking out the unsearchable riches of Christ.
“And to make all men (notice men is italicized so it wasn’t in the original, but rather has been added by the translators. So he’s writing to make all) see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world (or age) hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.”
Oh, people have a hard time swallowing the fact that Christ created everything. But for now let’s go back up to the first part of the verse where Paul is now in his apostleship, and by writing, his letters are reaching out so that everybody might be able to understand what it is to come into this fellowship. Now when we speak of fellowship I think even the secular world even speaks of it. You can have your various service and lodge organizations and after all, when everything is said and done, what’s the purpose of their meetings? Well, to fellowship one with another. Now it’s the same way here. Paul is trying to bring out the fact that to become a believer of these Pauline truths brings us into a fellowship of like-minded people.
Now I’ve stressed this over the years on the program, that when you are a true believer you can go a thousand miles from home, and get into a fellowship of like-minded believers and you’re not a stranger over 5 minutes. Why? Because we have that like- mindedness of what we are in Christ by virtue of simply believing what He has done on our behalf. All right now he’s trying to help everyone see what is the fellowship of the mystery.
“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery,…”
Now not everyone is going to agree with me, and I don’t expect them too, and they don’t have to, but to me when Paul speaks of the mysteries, then he’s speaking about this whole volume of revealed truths that had never been revealed before. Now that’s what the idea of a mystery is. It was a secret, so that means no one knew about them except God Himself. Now this the whole concept behind Paul’s teaching, that beginning with his revelations of the mysteries, God is now opening up to the human race, through this apostle, concepts that had never been revealed before. Now I’m not going to put the mysteries on just a singular mystery. I know some footnotes claim that the mystery was that God would make up the Body of Christ with Jews and Gentiles. Now I disagree with that, because that’s only part of the mystery. The mystery is this whole volume of the Pauline truths. And you can start these mysteries out with, “What is man?”
The Old Testament doesn’t really tell you, but when you get to Romans chapter 5, and I Corinthians chapter 15, Paul reveals “that man is a created being who has fallen from his relationship with the Creator.” And only Paul points that out. Now remember Jesus alluded to this in His earthly ministry by making the remarks that they were hypocrites, and sinful, but Jesus never really let them know why they were that way. Do you see the difference? And the same way in the Old Testament. There’s a Scripture that tells us that “the heart is wicked,” but how did the heart get that way? Let me show you what I’m talking about. Come back with me to Romans chapter 5 because I like to use Scripture as we can, because I’d rather you read it for yourself than listen to me any day.
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;…”
Now that’s the only place in Scripture that you can find that sin and death are synonymous. But here Paul makes it so plain that they are. This is part of the revelations that you won’t find anywhere else. Now reading on.
“…and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
Now just flip over a few pages to I Corinthians chapter 15, and let’s drop in at verse 45.
I Corinthians 15:45-47
“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made (was made has been added, and shouldn’t have. It should read the last Adam) a quickening spirit. (describing Christ) 46. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47. The first man (Adam) is of the earth, earthy: the second man (or second Adam) is the Lord from heaven.”
Now you see that’s a concept that was never revealed before in Scripture, at least not this clearly, and what does it tell us? That Adam, the head of the federal race, the created one, was the one that plunged the whole human race into rebellion. For which there could only be one remedy, and that would be what? The second Adam which was Christ. This Adam wasn’t a created being as Adam was, but rather this Adam was God Himself. And He came to set everything straight that Adam had corrupted, and you won’t find that anywhere but in Paul’s writings. That all goes back to what I said in the last lesson, “Searching out the unsearchable riches of Christ.” I guess before Paul’s revelations it was unsearchable. They had no way of understanding everything that had unfolded, because God had been keeping all of this secret.
But now with the revelations that were given to this apostle, yes, I can do like I did in the last lesson, and go all the way back and reconstruct how God has been unfolding everything, and will continue to unfold out into eternity. And all because of these revelations of the mysteries. Now coming back to Ephesians chapter 3. Some of the other parts of this revelation were that God would justify sinful men by simply believing the Gospel. Now listen you can’t find that any place else, it’s just not in there. But oh here Paul makes it so plain, that in the revelation of the mystery, how that Christ died for your sins, was buried and rose from the dead, and when we believe it then we can become all things in Christ. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the mysteries, because we’ve still got other references as we go on up through the Scriptures in the days to come. Now reading verse 9 again.
“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, (these revealed Pauline truths) which from the beginning of the world (age. That only goes back to Adam) hath been hid…”
Now you see how often this word is coming along? I know people think I repeat a lot, and I do it purposely, because it’s the only way we learn, but that’s what the Bible does also. Do you realize how many times the Scriptures repeat and repeat? Sometimes it’s in a short span, and other times over a period of 4 or 5 different books, but it’s still repeating, and repeating, and repeating. Why? Because it’s the only way that it soaks in. I’m getting less apt to apologize for repeating, because of our mail. Most people, when they write say, “it takes repeating over and over before it soaks in.”
Now for a lot of you, you’ve heard it ever since you were little, but you’ve also got to remember that there’s a lot of people out there who have heard none of this. So all these revelations were hid in the mind of God until He revealed them to this apostle. God didn’t tell the Old Testament prophets, or share it with His disciples in His earthly ministry. He didn’t reveal it to Peter and the eleven in the Book of Acts, but now God is ready to turn to the Gentile world. He’s going to let Israel go out into a dispersion, and into a spiritual blindness, and now he’s revealing for His own intent and purposes things that had never been revealed before. And this is what you have to look for, and only Paul is the one to reveal it.
In fact let’s go back again for a little touch of review, back to Galatians chapter 1 where he makes it so plain that it was a revelation from the ascended Lord and not from the twelve in Jerusalem. Now we know that when Paul first began his earthly ministry of the missionary journeys and so forth, the only Scripture that he had was the Old Testament. But based on those Old Testament promises and that Christ had come and had died, shed His blood, he could now preach the mysteries. But they don’t become a printed fact until Paul’s letters appear, and that’s why I can stand here and tell you without any argument that you won’t find these things written previously because they’re not back there, but yet it was all building on it.
“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. (do you see how plain that is? Why?) 12. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, (by men) but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Now the first thing you have to ask yourself, “Where is Jesus Christ when Paul gets the revelations?” Well He’s in heaven, He’s already finished the work of the Cross, He’s already experienced the power of the resurrection, He’s already ascended back to the Father’s right hand. And now some years after Pentecost, He has saved this fellow on the road to Damascus, now the ascended Lord revealed it. Now whether the Lord came down and Person to person taught the apostle back there at Mt. Sinai, or whether it was through visions, the Bible doesn’t say. But this we do know, that all of the things that this man is now teaching and preaching and writing were revealed from the ascended Lord in glory. And now come on down to verse 16, we find Paul’s whole purpose for coming on the human scene was this.
“To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; (Gentiles) immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17. Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.”
See what Paul is saying? “I didn’t go up to Jerusalem and ask Peter, James, and John, ‘Hey fill me in. Tell me what you know about this Jesus of Nazareth.’” That’s not what happened, because God didn’t want him to have any of their input whatsoever because they were still tainted with their legalism. When you’re steeped in legalism as much as they were, you never get over it. In fact a verse I like to use to prove this is in the Book of II Peter. Also remember that Peter writes his two letters about the same time Paul writes these prison epistles. It’s just before both of them are martyred, and about 30 years after Pentecost. Peter is writing to believing Jews:
II Peter 3:15-16a
“And account (or understand) that the long suffering of our Lord is salvation; (do you realize that the major purpose of this Bible from cover to cover is to bring lost people to a knowledge of salvation) even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16. As also in all his epistles, (Romans through Hebrews) speaking in them of these things; (of salvation) in which (in his epistles) are some things hard to be understood,…”
Now you would have thought that by now Peter would have been such a deep thinking theologian that he wouldn’t have had any problem. My he should have been able to discern what Paul was writing about, and said “He’s telling you right because I’ve known all of this for years.” But you see that’s not the case. Here after all these years, Peter by inspiration still says, “that in Paul’s epistles are somethings (salvation) hard to be understood.” Now that’s quite an admission isn’t it? That’s a lot more than most people will say today. But Peter had to admit that after his legalistic, law keeping background, to be able to read and understand, and yes, swallow, some of these things was hard for Peter to do, and he shares it with his fellow believing Jews. Now finishing the verse.
II Peter 3:16b
“…which (speaking of Paul’s epistles) they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, (twist) as they do also the other scriptures, (and what’s going to be their end results?) unto their own destruction.”
That’s tough language, that when people take the things of Paul and twist them, and the only reason they twist them is to try to make them fit with Christ’s earthly ministry, and that’s what they do all the time. And if they can’t twist them enough to make it fit, then they throw it aside and won’t have anything to do with his writings. And you see good old Peter saw that. He saw that people were twisting the writings of Paul, but when they do it their end is their own destruction. Their own eternal doom. Now back to Ephesians 3. So all of these revelations given Paul had been hid in the mind of God. It’s the same God who created all things by Jesus Christ.
“…who created all things by Jesus Christ:”
Again the Old Testament never gives us a hint that it was Jesus the Lord, the Messiah Who was the Creator, but you see Paul repeats it over and over. When we get to the Book of Colossians, my goodness he makes it as plain as day, that Christ was the visible manifestation of the invisible God by Whom also He created the world. So this isn’t just a quirk of the pen or a translator’s mistake, because Paul makes it so known. Then John comes back with this same statement in the Book of Revelation, that Christ was the Creator of everything. Now let’s move on to verse 10. So all of these mysteries that God has kept secret were revealed to this apostle.
“To the intent that now (not going back to pre-Pauline time, but from Paul’s time forward to the intent that now) unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places (or heavenlies)might be known by the church (the Body of Christ) the manifold wisdom of God.”
Now you know I’ve read that verse for years, and I dare say that almost every Bible reader has, and we don’t really catch what it says. All of this has been revealed to you and I as a member of the Body of Christ with an intent, and what is it? That with our knowledge we can actually go unto the principalities and powers in the heavenlies which would be categorized in what type of being? The angels. Do you see that? So we being the Body of Christ might let the angels know the manifold wisdom of God. Do you catch it? Now this is mind boggling, and I know it is. Do you know that you sit here in this room, that when you get a comprehension of the mysteries of Paul then you know things that the angels don’t understand. That’s right, I’m not stretching it. The angels never could comprehend the Grace of God to save people. But we now have a knowledge that can actually reveal to the angelic host in heaven what God has done in and through us. Now listen, that’s beyond human understanding, but that’s what it says. Now read it again in that light.
“To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.”
Now what’s the manifold wisdom of God? Well I trust each of you know what a manifold is. A manifold on the engine of your car is the one that has many ports or holes. How ever many cylinders you’ve got in your car, then you have that many holes in the manifold. And all manifold means is “many.” Now all the various facets of the wisdom and knowledge of God have been imparted to us when we begin to comprehend these mysteries. And this manifold wisdom is what God wants every believer to partake of and share it with others. I’ve shared so often on this program, “Would to God that the church on the corner, the congregations, would teach their people, instead of just preaching at them.”
I had a letter from someone the other day that said, “Every time I go into a bookstore all I see are all these books on “how to.’” Hey we don’t need books on how to. But if you will just get into the Book and begin to understand the manifold wisdom of God and all those things take care of themselves. But we’re being inundated by all these books that are keeping people from the Book. I’ve never read one of those books that shows the manifold wisdom of God. Now verse 11. I shouldn’t start this verse with one minute to go, but we’ll read it and then come back to it in the next lesson. This revealed wisdom that we can acutely show to the principalities and powers in the heavenlies is going to be according to the eternal purpose. Now let’s read it.
“According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:”
Now as we close what’s the eternal purpose? The whole scheme of Scripture is to see lost people saved. God doesn’t want any person to go to Hell, but rather He wants everyone to be saved if that could only happen. But what’s the second purpose of Scripture? For us to be used of God to reveal these things that may spare someone from an eternal doom.