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Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 38
Now I like to remind everyone not to go by what I say, but learn to search the Scriptures and really see what they say. And I’m sure that you’ll find as I have that a lot of the time it doesn’t say what we think it says, or think it should say. You don’t have to be highly educated to understand the Scriptures. If you can read, then you’ve got all the education you need to comprehend this Book, because the Holy Spirit then becomes our tutor. The Holy Spirit can certainly show us things that no professor could ever hope to do. Now let’s come back to Ephesians chapter 4, we have a few more verses left in this chapter. I think we’re to start at verse 31.
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:”
Now you see those are all ear marks of the unregenerate individual, and Paul is always making that comparison, not that you and I as believers will be perfect, and occasionally slip into these things, but they’re not to become a daily lifestyle. I never like anyone to get the impression that just because we’re believers, we’re suddenly perfect or will ever be perfect in this life, as we can’t be. We’re still in the body of flesh, we’re still in a world that just saturates us with the things of the world, but the goal of every believer is to attain to these things as we grow in our Christian knowledge. So here again Paul makes that a comparison with what we came out of. Now just back up a few pages and you’ll see what I’m driving at in chapter 2.
“And you hath he quickened, (or made alive) who were (past tense) dead in trespasses and sins; 2. Wherein (in that old life) time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, (that’s Satan) the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:”
Do you see how Paul subtly brings in old Satan without actually blatantly using him all the time? Satan is the one whom the world marches to, and now verse 3.
“Among whom also we all (came out of that kind of background. Oh we may not have actively participated in it. We may have been raised in homes where these kind of things were not part of our lifestyle, but the potential was there.) had our conversation (or manner of living) in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and of the mind: and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Then Paul tells us in I Thessalonians 5:9 that we’ve not been appointed to wrath.
I Thessalonians 5:9
“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.”
So there’s that constant comparison between the believer and the unbeliever. In fact let’s look at another one in the Book of Galatians, chapter 5. When we become a believer and the Holy Spirit begins to influence our thinking, and our activities we put away former things.
“But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”
Now remember that doesn’t make us lawless. The Spirit will do what the Law couldn’t do. Then Paul comes back and shows us the lifestyle of the lost person or unbeliever.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20. Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies. 21. Envying, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
We are to absolutely have no part of those things. Now coming back to Ephesians chapter 4 for a moment again. So Paul tells us that we are no longer to let any of these things to be a daily habit with us, but rather we are regenerated, our whole “want to” is changed, and the things that are appealing to the world, to us of course become almost anathema. Now verse 32
“And be ye kind one to another,…”
Now love begets love, doesn’t it? Love changes everything, because it’s that attitude of love that immediately puts into practice the keeping of the commandments, love will never let us covet, love will never let us steal, love will never let us commit adultery, because love changes everything. Well so does the new life. The new life changes everything, and so as a result of that we are to be kind one to another.
“…tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath (already) forgiven you.”
God has already forgiven you, and what’s past is done! And when God finishes it, it’s done completely. Now let’s go back and see what it was like under the Law. Now here’s another graphic difference between Law and Grace. Look in Matthew chapter 6, and we’ll begin with verse 8. Now I maintain that this prayer is a complete misnomer. That should have never been called the Lord’s Prayer, but rather it’s the Disciples Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer is in John chapter 17, that’s what He prayed, but here He’s teaching the twelve disciples what to pray for the nation of Israel. So it’s the Disciples’ Prayer, remember that. Jesus is speaking here in His earthly ministry.
“Be not ye therefore like unto them: (the unbelieving world all around them) for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”
Oh, that tells us something doesn’t it? Does that mean we don’t have to pray? No. The Lord went right on and told them how to pray. So even today people will call and write and say, “If God knows everything, if God is Sovereign and everything is going to be as He pre-planned it, then why pray?” Have you heard that? Yeah, you have. Well I tell people this, even in God’s foreknowledge of everything, do you know what He also factored into the formula? Your prayers. Now you chew on that for a week or two. So praying does enter into the whole sphere of things. Prayer does change things, not that we change God’s mind, but all of that is factored in to the fact that we are to pray. So here is how the disciples, under Law, were to pray.
“After this manner therefore pray ye: (and I think this part is appropriate for everyone. We still approach the Father, and we recognize and revere who He is) Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10. Thy kingdom come….”
You know we still think the Kingdom is coming, but not as they thought it was going to come. See, they thought it should have come while Christ was there, and that’s why He presented Himself as their Messiah, and King, and the Kingdom was also in the offer. But we look forward to the time when Christ will come and set up His Kingdom, and we’ll be ruling and reigning with Him over that 1000 year Kingdom rule, and it’s a lot closer than most think.
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
This is also a reasonable request. But here in verse 12 is where there is such a graphic difference between Law and Grace. Always remember Jesus’ earthly teachings were all under Law. I stress that everywhere I go. Never once did Jesus tell the twelve disciples or any of His followers to stop Temple worship, did He? No! Did He ever tell any of those Jews that they were no longer under the Law? Quite the opposite was His answers. He told the rich young ruler who had asked how he might receive eternal life the following.
“And, behold one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17. And he (Jesus) said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”
Now that’s plain as day isn’t it? In another place he heals the lepers, and Jesus told them, “Go show yourself to the priest.” Why? Because that was the Jewish Law that they were under. One with leprosy could not go back into society until the priest at the temple had recognized the absence of their leprosy, and were pronounced free to enter back into society. So always remember everything that Jesus taught was in accordance with the Law of Moses. Never did He tell them that they weren’t under the Law, so just go ahead and forget it.
And that of course was where Paul got into trouble with the Jews of his day, when he started preaching to his congregations and writing in his letters that they were no longer under the Law, but rather under Grace. And that’s where I get into trouble also. Oh not real trouble, but people sure do raise their eyebrows, as they say, “Where do you get all this stuff?” It’s as plain as day, as here are some good examples. Under Law from the Lord’s own lips we read.
“And forgive us our debts, (or sins or trespasses. When?) as we forgive our debtors.” Do you see how plain that is? In other words, according to the Law and Jesus’ teachings “before His followers could receive forgiveness, what did they have to do first?
“But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
They couldn’t expect forgiveness until they forgave. Now you see preachers and teachers are still trying to pull that into the Age of Grace, and say, “Well you can’t have salvation until you go to your neighbor that you’ve wronged and asked him to forgive you, and you forgive him.” But that’s not what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that under Grace the following.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, (why?) even as God for Christ’s sake hath (already) forgiven you.”
Now let me show you another one. Turn over to the right a few pages to the Book of Colossians chapter 2, verse 13. Now this is all Grace, and that doesn’t mean that we take advantage of it. It doesn’t mean that we completely throw all these other things to the wind, but here is where we must understand the difference between Law and Grace. Under Law there was no forgiveness until you forgave first. But now under Grace look what Paul says.
“And you being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he (God up in verse 12) quickened (or made you alive) together with him having (past tensed) forgiven you all trespasses;”
Do you see how God has forgiven us first? Now as a result of this new found relationship with God, what does He expect us to do with people that we now need to forgive? Now you’d better forgive them, because if God forgave me, who am I to say, that I can’t forgive my neighbor. Do you see how logical again that is? Now there’s another one here in Colossians chapter 3, and it’s also verse 13. It’s the same kind of language we’ve been dealing with. Here in a matter of 3 or 4 pages in your New Testament you have the same premise, and when you’ve got something repeated 2 or 3 time in a chapter or two it’s there for emphasis.
“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, (already) so also do ye.”
Christ has already forgiven you, it’s done! So if that be the case, then why in the world can’t you forgive your neighbor? God expects you to! God forgave you by Grace, and Faith + Nothing!
Sovereign Grace, that’s why God can forgive, and we looked at that a few lessons ago in Exodus chapter 33 God is Sovereign Grace, and I know that’s beyond human comprehension. God could have just as well zapped the nation of Israel, when they were down there at the golden calf incident with their nude dancing around that idol, and with all their immoral activity. Moses came down that mountain and hears all this music and dancing, and he was so distraught that he threw the Ten Commandants down and broke them, but you see, God is far more gracious than Moses ever hoped to be.
Oh yeah there were some Israelites that suffered as a result of that incident, but by and large, God didn’t destroy the nation, He could have, He had every right in the world, He’d already done so much for them. He brought them out of that paganism, brought them through the Red Sea, brought them down around Mount Sinai, His pillar of cloud by day, and fire by night, He provided all their needs, and then they turn around and as soon as old Moses is gone for a few days they have Aaron make the golden calf, and they begin all their horrific activity around it. Moses couldn’t handle it, but look what God says in verse 18 and 19. Now this is just shortly after this golden calf experience. And I guess we need to pick up the conversation in verse 17
“And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. 18. And he (Moses) said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.”
That’s always human isn’t it? We’re never quite satisfied. It was enough for Moses to be in this place of privilege, but now he wants a little bit more. “Show me thy glory” he says. Now verse 19.
“And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; (now here comes the Sovereign Grace of God, and if you don’t get anything else in our teachings today, remember this. This is God’s Sovereign Grace!) and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.”
Can anyone argue with Him? No way. Why? He’s Sovereign, He’s the Creator of the universe. I suppose way deep down Moses almost thought, “God why don’t you destroy them? They are just bent on sinning, they’re worthless, I can’t do anything with them.” I think Moses kind of expected God to simply annihilate that whole nation one of these times. But God had to show Moses, “Listen Moses, you don’t know my heart of Grace! You don’t understand that I Am Sovereign, and I will show Grace and mercy to whom I please!
It’s the same way today. My goodness we can think of people who have been awful. They’ve been enemies of society, but will God save them? Sure He will in a moment. Why? Because of His Sovereign Grace. Now if it were left up to us we’d probably say, “Hey that person isn’t deserving of God’s Grace, he deserves death, he deserves to be wiped off the scene.” But God says, and thinks differently. God says, “I died for that person.” And He did. God died for that person just as much as He did for you and me, and God’s Sovereign Grace can reach down and save that individual just as He saved us, so always remember that. Now back to Ephesians again. Because of the Grace of God, Paul can now write, “That we can forgive our neighbor and family members, and we should do this because God has already forgiven us.” So the lesson is if God forgave you, then why can’t you also forgive. Always remember that’s the vast chasm between Law and Grace.” Now the next verse in our study.
“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;”
Now I love that term in Scripture, and I don’t know why. I have now for quite a few years. There’s another one I love even back in I John and it reads much the same way.
I John 2:1a
“My little children,…”
Those words are beautiful. Now John at this time was up in years no doubt, and it’s the same John that was one of the twelve, and he’s writing to those believers of his time, and says, “My little children.” Now do you know what I call that? That’s a statement of endearment, and we all appreciate it I think. You’re not normal if you don’t appreciate the love of family and friends and so forth.
I John 2:1a
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not….” Can’t you almost feel the heart of the old apostle? He didn’t want his believers to fall into sin and paganism. Then John goes on to say.
I John 2:1b
“…And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”
But the point I wanted you to see is the same terminology that Paul uses, “as dear children” Now back to Ephesians chapter 5. We are as believers, members of the family of God, and as children we are to walk differently.
“And walk in love,…”
Remember a lesson or two back I told you as a young person growing up one of the things that motivated me as much as anything to behave myself was my love for my dad. I mean we were together from the time I was able to walk until almost the day he died, as we worked side by side his whole life time, and I loved him. And yet I regret it, but we were from that kind of a German background where we didn’t show that love openly. Even to this day I’m not a hugger, because I didn’t grow up in that kind of a family. We never touched or kissed each other, but my goodness, dad and I loved each other and I wouldn’t do anything that would have hurt him.
All right, now this is to be our attitude toward the Lord. He has loved us so much that He suffered and died for us, and we’re to love Him in return with all our being. So Paul says, “Here’s your motivation as dear children, walk in love.” Now remember back in chapter 2, verse 2 Paul uses the same terminology, only then we were in the world before salvation.
“…who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2. Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world…” But now as believers we’re to walk according to the leading of the Spirit of God.