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Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 37
Now as we begin this lesson turn to Ephesians chapter 3 and verse 11 where Paul writes to the Church Age believers the following.
“According to the eternal purpose which he (the God of verse 10) purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:”
Now that’s not the end of the sentence, but I’m going to stop there for a minute, and I’m going to have you turn with me to II Timothy chapter 1. I’m going to hone in on verse 9, but I want to begin in verse 7, and lead up to what Paul says in verse 9.
II Timothy 1:7
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind…”
Now that brings up a question that I don’t have time to deliberate here. Should believers ever have mental problems? I’m not saying could they, but should they? No, we really shouldn’t. I know it’s a possibility, but really we shouldn’t have mental problems. We should never be plagued with depression, which is one of the forerunners of a lot of mental problems. Because what have we got going for us? And we’ve got it so good here in America. Last night, for some reason I just wasn’t sleeping very well, I was thinking of those poor people in Yugoslavia, and Albania, and we’re so spoiled. I’ve told my classes over the years, and it’s almost my every morning prayer, “Lord I know I’m spoiled.”
How could I handle it if all of a sudden Texas was a sovereign country, and they would just literally move up to the eastern half of Oklahoma, which looks like is the size of Kosovo, all the way from I-35 to the Arkansas border, and would just literally cleanse the land of all of us? And they would just literally over-run us to where we died or had to flee to Arkansas, Kansas, or Missouri, and leave everything behind. Have you ever thought of it that way? Now God loves them, and they hurt, I tell you it’s absolutely awful. You can almost get emotional when you read and see the horrors of that situation. But anyway the Scripture says we are not to fear, but to have power, and love, and a sound mind. Now verse 8.
II Timothy 1:8
” Be not thou ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me has prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; “
Now you see you can have all kinds of preaching and the world doesn’t get upset with that. The only time the world will get upset with preaching is when the power of God begins to transform lives, now that the world doesn’t want. The world’s going to fight that tooth and toenail. But you see Paul says even though the power of God is being exemplified, we still don’t have to fear, because He is Sovereign. He is the One who is supreme. Now verse 9 is the verse I wanted to get to, and the verse starts off by referring to the power of God in verse 9.
II Timothy 1:9
” Who (God) hath saved us, (already) and called us with an holy calling, (now holy doesn’t mean angelically pure or sinless, but rather we’re set apart. Remember even the vessels in the temple were holy, because they were set apart only for temple use. So we are set apart for God’s purposes) not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,“
Now that goes back to the unsearchable again doesn’t it? How in the world can I comprehend that before anything was ever created, God already knew me for what I am, and where I am. He knew you the same way. There was absolutely nothing hidden from God, and it was all in His divine purposes, His whole scheme of things, as it was laid out from eternity past. Now back to Ephesians chapter 3. So look at verse 11 again. Remember every thing that we comprehend of the mysteries are all part of His eternal purpose.
“According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:”
Now all that means is, “Why did Christ come?” Well we always teach that first and foremost, He came to the Nation of Israel to be their Messiah, and King. But the overall purpose was to die for the sins of mankind, and be the Saviour of the whole human race, and be our Lord for all eternity. Now verse 12. Remember when we started the Book of Ephesians I told you there were over 90 times that you have the prepositional phrase “IN HIM, IN WHOM, IN CHRIST,” because this little letter is positional!
Where are we as believers? We’re not just members of a local church on the corner, although that’s certainly applicable. But we’re members of the bigger universal picture, we’re members of the Body of Christ if we have believed the Gospel for our salvation! (Reference, I Corinthians 15:1-4). When we have been placed into the Body of Christ we have a union with Christ that the world knows nothing of. Now you want to remember that a lot of church members are not in the Body of Christ! I mean a lot of them. I hope with all my heart that I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am. We have multitudes of church people who have never had this kind of a salvation experience where God places them into the Body.
Baptism has always been a controversy from the very onset of Christianity. People get all hung up if you don’t practice it according their format of baptism. But listen, Paul puts baptism way down at the very bottom of everything, because that’s not the important thing. The important thing is “are you in the Body of Christ?” Listen, I don’t care what denomination you belong to, you know as you look out over your congregation, that there are people who have been baptized that are no more saved than the dog out there on the street. You know that and I know that. They have no new life, they have no love for the Word, and they have no love for the Lord, but they’ve been baptized in water. So baptism is not what counts, what counts is, “are we in the Body of Christ? Are we positioned where God want to position us?” Now verse 12.
“In whom we have boldness…”
What does most religion do to people? That’s right. It just put them down in the dust where they grovel. And they live in superstition, and fear. Now that’s what religion does, but oh listen to be in the Body of Christ gives us a boldness that the world again knows nothing of. Now read on.)
“… and access with confidence by the faith of him.” We have access to the very throne room of God. Now jump ahead in your Bible to the Book of Hebrews chapter 4, and let’s look at this.
“Let us (believers) therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Now isn’t that something? That’s not what religion teaches. Religion is going to make you go through all kinds of contortions, and rituals, but you and I as believers have instant access to the Father all day long, 24 hours a day. The throne room is always open, it’s unbelievable isn’t it? Now back to Ephesians chapter 3. Let’s look at verse 12 again.
“In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith (or faithfulness) of him.”
I hope I’m not doing any injustice when I use the word faithfulness in that verse. Because after all it’s Christ’s faithfulness that makes every thing that we enjoy possible. And when I say faithfulness, I mean that He has never failed. He will never fail! We will never have to wonder, “Did He really do it all? Did He really finish the work of salvation? We never have to question that as believers!” We know He did and He is faithful, and we can place our confidence in that faithfulness. Now then we’ve got time to go into a prayer of the apostle on behalf of you and I as believers. It’s one of the 2 or 3 prayers of the apostle Paul.
“Wherefore (because of this position we’ve been placed in. Because of the revelations of the mystery. ) I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.”
We know the apostle suffered beyond our imagination for the sake of the Gospel going to these Gentiles. Now verse 14.
“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,”
In other words, here comes a prayer of the apostle on behalf of you and I as believers.
“Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16. That he (Christ) would grant you, (the believer) according to the riches of his glory, (in other words, everything that is Christ’s in glory, the whole bank of heaven has been made available to you and I. It’s all there for us. And) to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;”
Now I think I remember a long time ago putting a term on the board, and I think it’s about time we did it again. And that is the Greek word, “Pneuma Hagion.” The Pneuma of course is the spirit, but the Hagion really means “the power from on high.” Now the Pneuma Hagion is precipitated by the indwelling spirit. But when we live from day to day and the spirit is within us, we aren’t always drawing on the Pneuma Hagion. What do you suppose I pray for every morning before I come up to tape four programs? The Pneuma Hagion. I don’t have to pray for the Holy Spirit, because I know I have Him. But oh I pray for the power from on high, and I think it behooves everyone of us as we go through life, and face various trials and decisions to pray for out-pouring of the power on high, the Pneuma Hagion. I think this is what Paul is speaking of in verse 16.
“to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.”
And where is the spirit? In the inner man. He’s there all the time. The Holy Spirit never leaves us, you’ve got Him. But you can ask for an increase of His power. Now verse 17 as we continue his prayer.
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith;…”
And what’s faith? “Taking God at His Word!” So often people will says, “Well how do I know that I’ve been placed into the Body of Christ? Because the Bible says so. That’s all we have to go on. We don’t get a diploma, we don’t get a great big emotional high, we don’t see the trees ten shades greener, or the sun more red than before, or any of that. But rather we just simply take His Word for what it says. Another term I like for faith is “God said it and I believe it!”
How do I know that I have the indwelling Spirit? Because Paul says so. Let’s go back and look at it again, because it’s been a long time since we have. Turn with me to I Corinthians chapter 3, and come down to verse 16, and this is plain simple language.
I Corinthians 3:16
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
Now again to just point out Paul’s revelations and I think this is all part of the mysteries, did you ever read that the believers were indwelt by the Holy Spirit of this in the Old Testament? No way. Now they knew of the Holy Spirit, but you want to remember like David and Sampson, the Holy Spirit would come upon them, but He wasn’t there permanently, He could leave at the drop of a hat. And of course that’s what happened to Sampson. When the Holy left off with Sampson he was as weak as a dish rag. But when the Spirit was upon him, he had all kinds of power.
Now here Paul is making it so plain then that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. How do I know the Holy Spirit lives within me? I don’t feel Him in there. I don’t hear Him talking to me. I’m not one of those who hears God talk out loud. I’ve never yet heard Him talk audibly to me. Now I think He affects our thoughts, and as we study the Scriptures God speaks to us through His Word. But to hear Him say, “Now Les I want you to do this.” I’ve never had that happen, and I’m a little bit dubious when people talk like that, because the Bible doesn’t teach that. But we do have the indwelling Person of the Holy Spirit living within us. Now back to Ephesians chapter 3. So Christ in the Person of the Holy Spirit is dwelling in our hearts as believers. By faith is the only way of knowing.
“…that ye being rooted and grounded in love, 18. May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;”
Now when I come to that verse, I don’t have a lot of mathematical background but I’ve got enough to know that you and I in all our geometry, and trigonometry, how many dimensions do we normally think of? Three. How many are listed here in verse 18? Four. Now I read the other day where scientists think there are as many as 10 dimensions. Can you imagine, ten? I just thrilled of the fact that there’s a supernatural fourth one. I don’t know what they’re going to do with the other six. But nevertheless this is a supernatural dimension, because we live in the world of three. Now when I say that I think this is in the realm of the spiritual, that’s exactly what I mean. There is a dimension to the Christian life that the secular world cannot explain. I don’t think you and I can explain it either. But it is a dimension that brings us up into an understanding of the things of God that we don’t get until we become a believer. Now let me come back and show that in I Corinthians chapter 2. We’ll start with verse 9.
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.”
Boy that’s quite a statement isn’t it? But the flip side, God has revealed those things to us by His Spirit. Now I’ve got to stop for a moment. I wonder how many times people have asked me, and I dare say that everyone of you have wondered, “What are we going to do in eternity?” I see heads nodding. Oh you wish I could tell you don’t you? Well I can’t! All I know is that we’re all going be busy, we’re going to be active, and we are not just going to sit on a cloud and strum a harp. That I know, but beyond that I can’t begin to tell you, because God has kept this from us. But this much I do know, eternity is going to be so fabulous that anything you can think of on this planet’s existence is just going to pale into insufficiency compared to the joys, and pleasures that God is preparing for us. But we do have a glimpse because the Holy Spirit has given us an inkling of it. Verse 10.
I Corinthians 2:10-11a
“But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?…”
Now let me stop for a moment and give an example. You take out here in the secular, material world, if you have somebody who is a real expert in his field, for example an auto mechanic. This auto mechanic just loves his work. Greasy and dirty as it may be, it doesn’t make a difference. He loves being a mechanic. Now let me ask you, if you were to ask that fellow a question about the workings of the gasoline engine in your car, is he going to be real timid and just walk away? No. What’s he going to do? Hey he’s going to let you know everything he knows about an engine. He’s going to be proud of his knowledge. Isn’t that right? Now that’s exactly what God wants us to be with the Word of God. We should be so confident in our knowledge that when somebody asks us a question, we don’t try to avoid them and the question. But instead we’re willing to open the Scriptures for the answers. Well I see our time is gone and we’ll have to finish this in the next lesson.