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Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 38
The Light of Christ in Your Life – Part 2
You know the most thrilling letters we receive are the ones that tell us that, “For the first time in my life I am reading my Bible and understanding it.” What more could I ask for? If I can just get people to realize that this is not a closed Book, it’s not a dusty old Book, or a bunch of old fables told around a campfire, but rather this is the miraculous Word of God, and it fits so beautifully from cover to cover as it all just dovetails together, and you can understand it when you separate the Scriptures.
As you are probably realizing by now that if you don’t keep Paul’s little epistle, his teaching to the Gentile Body of Christ for our doctrine, separate from the teachings to the nation of Israel by the Old Testament prophets, Christ and His earthly ministry teachings, as we see in Matthew 15:24, and Romans 15:8, then you will never fully understand this tremendous Book.
But oh when you do see how Paul reveals from the mysteries that were given only to him that we’re saved by Faith + Nothing, how we’re baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ the moment we believe the Gospel as outlined in I Corinthians 15:1-4. And then how as believers we’re citizens of heaven, waiting for the Rapture of the Church so we can be caught up bodily to be with Christ, to go home with Him, and live with Him forever, then this Book becomes so exciting that we truly enjoy reading it.
Now in the last lesson we got as far as Ephesians chapter 5, verse 13, and we’re going to pick right up with verse 14. Remember all of this is Paul’s admonition to all of us in this Age of Grace, where we’re not under Law, we do not have a set of rules and regulations to guide us, but rather it’s a common sense approach. The Christian life is so practical, there’s nothing kooky about it, there’s nothing that should make people say, “Well I’d hate to be a Christian.” because it is so practicable. Now I know that from the wicked area of the world they may think that we’re a little bit odd, but on the other hand I always have to make the point as we saw in verse 9 in our last lesson.
“(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.)”
Well who could argue with those three attributes? They’re what makes a society good, I don’t care where that society is. So again remember, Paul’s admonition to walking the Christian walk is not something silly, or something in general that the world would scoff at if they have any sense whatsoever of things that are good. Now in the last lesson we were talking about stepping in the Light of Christ who is the Light.
“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”
Well there again, that’s a loaded verse. Who are the ones that are dead? Those that are still in their darkness, those who have still not stepped into the Light. And as one of the fellows just reminded me at break time, he had picked it up some where that the lost person is blind spiritually and doesn’t really know it. So it behooves us then as believers to let them know how blind they really are, and I like that concept. They just don’t know what they’re missing out on.
We see it everyday that people will call or write, “That for the first time they know what I’m talking about, their joy is just running over, and to have such freedom, that they’re not under some legalistic program anymore.” This is all part and parcel of Paul’s teaching, that when we step into the Light, the Light manifests itself and we are set free then from our darkness. Now then verse 15.
“See then that ye walk circumspectly,…”
Now a lot of people just gloss over some of these words without realizing, what’s he talking about? What does he mean to walk circumspectly? Well the word “circum” come from the word Circumference, and so what you’re really seeing here is a circle. I like to picture that you and I, as we walk in this world of darkness, wickedness, and iniquity, it’s just as if we are walking around them constantly, and they can see us from every side.
So Paul’s admonition then is, as we walk in the view of all the world around us they should be able to see nothing but a manifestation of the Light that we represent. Of course this is where so many professing believers fail. As we’ve said in past programs that the Lord is grieved, because His own people do not live a life that the world can look at without scornfully saying, “That’s the last thing I’d want to be.” But we are to walk in such a way that they can say, “I wish I had what that person has. So we’re to walk circumspectly. And now what’s the next part of the verse?
“…not as fools, but as wise.” Now we all have our own idea of the definition of a fool, but I always have to use the Scripture for the best definition. So let’s go back and look at it in Psalm chapter 14.
“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God…” Now most Bibles will have the “There is” italicized, which means that it’s been added to hopefully clarify it, but in this case they didn’t do this verse any good at all by adding those two words. I like the way it read just by leaving it the way it was intended.
“The fool hath said in his heart, no, God….”
Not that there is no God, because I don’t think there’s a person alive that can honestly say that. Now there are some who try to claim they’re atheists, but way down deep inside of them, when the death angel comes knocking on their door, they’re suddenly going to realize too late, that there is a God, and that there is an eternity. So I don’t like to look at this verse in that light, but rather if you’ll put a comma after the word no, the fool says no to God. Do you see that? The fool says, No, God, I’m not going to do what you tell me, I’m not going to believe what you say. Now that’s a fool! Now as soon as you get the concept that the fool is the person who says no to God, he’s the man who is then destitute of faith.
So the definition of a fool then is actually a person who is destitute of faith, and we’ve had examples in the Scriptures of such people. Cain was the first one. The guy was destitute of faith, and consequently he didn’t bring the kind of sacrifice that God had told him to bring, because he didn’t believe what God had said, he rationalized. The next one we come to early on in Scripture is Ishmael. Ishmael was not a man of faith. He went and did just exactly opposite of what God, through his father Abraham had said, “Not to marry Canaanites,” so he went and did it anyway. He showed the fact that he was destitute of faith because he said no to God.
Well the next one that’s a classic example of no faith is Esau. He was probably a nicer guy than his brother Jacob, but what was his problem? He had no faith! He couldn’t put an ounce of importance on anything God said, so consequently what happened to him? He became the epitome of a man with no faith. We also have the example of the nation of Israel when they were there at Kadesh Barnea, and God had told them, “The land of promise is ready for you, the land is flowing with milk and honey, it’s productive. I’ll drive the Canaanites out of the land with hornets, you won’t even have to fight with them and lose a drop of blood, just go in and occupy the land.” But you see the nation of Israel did not believe what God said.. So what did they say? “No, we can’t take the land, because we would be like grasshoppers in their sight,” and consequently because they couldn’t believe what God said, they missed the blessings of the land of milk and honey. Instead for 40 years ended up out there on that old barren dessert, and died like flies because they had no faith. And of course Hebrews chapter 3 teaches that.
Well, we see all this through Scripture where over and over that especially the nation of Israel had no faith. Also in the nation of Israel we find the Messiah came and presented Himself to be their King, and because they couldn’t believe a word that God said, through the Old Testament prophets, what was their attitude? “Nothing good can come out of the city of Nazareth.” After His 3 years of performing miracles, signs and wonders, because of their unbelief as a nation of fools, if you please, what did they do? They crucified Him! So we see all through human history, that a person who refuses to believe the Word of God in actuality becomes a fool in God’s sight. He’s a man who says, “No to God!”
Now back to the Book of Ephesians chapter 5. So don’t walk as someone who doesn’t believe a thing that God says, but on the other hand we are supposed to walk as people of faith, knowing that this Word is true. I was thinking on the way up to Tulsa this morning that a few years ago at one of our gatherings, there was a fellow sitting in front of me as we were having coffee, that had a stencil on the back of his shirt that said, “Eternity! Have you thought about it?” That made such an impression on me, and I hope it did on the others that were there. Now think of that. How many people today even stop for 5 seconds, and consider eternity? It’s quite a thought isn’t it? Eternity is out there, and it’s not just a figment of our imagination, it is real, there is an eternity that is never ending. We have two choices in that matter. It can either be in God’s presence or it can be separation from God forever. So again, the fool says, “No God, there’s no eternity to concern myself about. I’m going to live it up here and now.” But here in Ephesians Paul says, “Don’t be the fool.”
“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.” (people of faith) Now reading on in the verse 16.
“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
Now Paul wrote that approximately 60 something AD. The world was just as evil then as it is now. The only difference was that there were fewer people on the earth at that time. But in the realm of the Roman Empire, I was just reading again the other night a series of biographies of something like 15 or 20 Romans emperors. Now this of course was Rome on the decline. These were just very short biographies of a paragraph or two long. Do you know that out of those 20 or so biographies, there were only two of those fellows that lived out a normal life span, and were buried in a normal old age? All the rest of them were murdered while they were in office. Emperor after Emperor was either poisoned, or killed one way or another, and died by a violent act except two.
Those that were with us a couple of years ago when we traced the steps of the apostle Paul, and at the time I wished I had never taken people to some of those places, but they all agreed that it was quite a lesson. Because it showed us the horror of the immorality that was rampant everywhere that the apostle Paul went. So don’t think that this is anything new. I remember back in the 70’s when we came out of the hippie movement of the 60’s and they were talking about the new morality? Well way back then I was telling my classes that it’s not a new morality, it’s the same old immorality that has plagued the human race from day one, nothing has changed. So when Paul says here in verse 16.
“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
Paul wasn’t looking ahead 2000 years and seeing our day per se. It was evil in his day. It was rotten and that’s why the Roman Empire fell. It was rotten to the core. Political corruption, economic corruption, moral corruption, and consequently the empire fell. We’re seeing basically the same thing here in western civilization. Don’t think for a moment that America is alone in their immorality. It’s just a fact that the days are evil. So we’re to redeem the time, buy it up, use it to the fullest extent. Now verse 17.
“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”
And there is only way that you will find the will of the Lord, and that’s get into the Book! When you get into the Book, then things began to happen. Now as you know I’m not a prosperity preacher. I don’t tell people, if you do this and do that, you’ll become a millionaire. In fact anything but. I had a gentlemen call one morning and told me that he’d been doing this, and now he was bankrupt. I told him, he deserved it, tough love, huh? But I told him I didn’t feel a bit sorry for him, because there’s nothing in this Book that substantiates that kind of behavior. You’re to be prudent, you’re to be wise, you’re to use things according to the Scriptures. and not according to these ole buddies that’s out there giving you all this old hoopla that you can become rich giving to them. You’ll never find Paul in his teaching to us in this Age of Grace to do anything like that. You’re not going to tweak God’s nose, He’s not a Santa Claus. So we’re not to be unwise.
“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Now this is all the same process of living under the Light, living according to the wise steps of a man of faith. Now verse 18.
“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but (instead of using wine as the spirit) be filled with the (Holy) Spirit:”
Now I don’t know how many people stop to think of this; how many times have you driven through the city and you’ll see a sign over the liquor store that says, “spirits” Where do they get that? Alcohol is a spirit, it’s a mind bender. You know in the cattle business when they have auctions of their pure bred stock, they use to have about 5 o’clock in the afternoon, a cocktail hour. Do you know what they call it now? It’s an attitude adjustment time. That’s pretty coy isn’t it. Well I guess what they want to do is adjust the guy’s mind so he’s willing to spend a lot more than what he’d planned on spending. But the concept is the same here in the Scripture. We’re not to depend on the spirit of alcohol to effect our thinking, but the flip side is the Holy Spirit is whom we’re to depend on. The Holy Spirit becomes our mind adjuster, if you want to call it that, and He is the One who will lead us and direct us into all the things that God would have us to do. Now verse 19, I mean this is all in this same concept of the Christian walk. Is it to be a life of humdrum, or a life where you got your chin on your chest? No it’s a life of joy.
“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;”
When I was looking at verse 19 last night preparing for today, I couldn’t help when I was reading this to think about the Haitian people we taught a couple of years ago. We’d start at 6:00 P.M. and for the first two hours it was sing, sing, sing. They would just lift the rafters, and although some of the songs were in languages we didn’t understand, we understood the melody, and so we’d sing it in English, but it was an experience. Now you want to remember, those people are in abject poverty, they have absolutely nothing of this world’s goods. But boy when they started singing you’d never know they were lacking anything. And that is to be the Christians behavior. Ours is to be a life of joy and happiness, and singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Now you know how King David responded more than once. My he just got exuberant, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Now verse 20, and this is still along this same line of thinking.
“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ:”
Now after that verse I’ve got to turn to the Book of Philippians chapter 4, and verse 4. What’s the first word? Rejoice. Now that means exactly what it says. We’re not to be a people of chins on our chests and moping around thinking, “what a tough old world this is.” No, but rather we’re to be in an attitude of rejoicing.
“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”
Now look what were the circumstances that Paul was in when he wrote this? Well he’s in prison in Rome, he’s under Roman guard, he’s got bands probably on both arms, and yet the man could write, “Rejoice.” Earlier in his ministry, he and Silas was down in the dungeon at Philippi, and they had just been scourged, which meant that their backs and torsos were like raw hamburger. Their feet were in stocks, rats and the like were running all over them you can be sure, and yet did Paul and Silas bemoan their condition? No, but rather they sang hymns. They sang those hymns so loud that all the prisoners took note of how these two men under their circumstances could still sing. So here in verse 4, Paul didn’t say this flippantly. Paul isn’t just all of a sudden writing from some great beautiful hotel room, and telling his poor people out there, “Hey rejoice” No, he’s in the worst of circumstances himself, and then he can say it twice in one verse. Now verse 5.
“Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” Well if Paul thought the Lord was at hand then, how much closer is He today. But here’s the next verse that we came here to see.
“Be careful (or worry about nothing) for nothing; but in every thing (not just in some of the things of the Spirit, but in every thing that is important to us, God wants to hear it.) by prayer and supplication (now here’s the key) with thanksgiving…”
Most people today when they pray never think to thank Him. All most people do is ask, ask, ask. Well I can tell you right up front, those kind of prayers are not very apt to be answered. Every time we pray, we preclude it with thanksgiving. “Thank you Lord for what you’re going to do.” And when it happens for goodness sakes, don’t forget to thank Him again.
“…let your requests be made known unto God.”
How do we make our requests be made known unto God? We verbalize it. Do you see that? Now I know God can read our thoughts, don’t think for a minute that I don’t know that. But does God just expect us to think something, and then He takes it as our request? No. No, He expects us to verbalize these things, “Lord this is what I need. This is what someone else’s need is.” We usually open our classes and our television programs with a time of prayer requests, and regardless what it is we know that God is concerned, but He expects us to verbalize these requests. Talk to Him about what concerns you. Then in verse 7 I always teach that this is the answer to every single prayer that you have uttered. If you are a true believer, every prayer that you utter is answered in verse 7. Then the direct request may be answered in the way you expect. But whether He says, “Yes, No, or Maybe later to your request in verse 6, He has already promised the response of verse 7, and what is that?
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Now what does that mean? Regardless of what we’re praying for, whether it actually becomes a reality and is answered, that’s moot. But you know what’s important? THE PEACE WITH GOD! Even if we lose that loved one that we’re praying for, the peace with God puts us in a position to accept that, and to live with it. He may respond and answer exactly the way we hoped He would, but He is not bound to. But He is bound to give us that peace that passeth all understanding through Christ Jesus.