Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 39
Now we’re going to get right back into where we left off in the last lesson. I ran out of time so we’ll go back and pick that verse up. I was looking at it and didn’t have time to read it, and that would be in Philippians chapter 2. Remember we were talking about Paul’s term “the day of Christ, or the day of the Lord Jesus Christ” which is a reference to the end of the Church Age in what we call the Rapture. And only Paul was given this term to use.
Now again, teaching the line that I teach, I have to constantly remind people that when only Paul speaks of something, then mark it down that it is only for the Church, the Body of Christ. No other portion of Scripture refers to “the day of Christ.” They refer to “the day of the Lord, or the day of Jehovah, or the day of the wrath of God.” But Paul uses this term, “the day of Christ, ” referring to the Rapture or the end of the Church Age as we know it. Now the verse I wanted to read in our closing moments was Philippians chapter 2:16
“Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.”
In other words, everything was looking forward and still is to “the day of Christ.” It’s that day when the trumpet call will sound and we’ll be gone from this old earth. Now then let’s go back and pick up where we left off in chapter 1, and that would be in verse 7.
“Even as it is meet (appropriate) for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all (every member of that Church) are partakers of my grace. 8. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels (or the innermost being) of Jesus Christ 9. And this I pray that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment:”
The average Christian today is so ignorant, and that doesn’t mean that they’re short on brain cells. It isn’t that they’re short on intellectual ability, but they’re short on teaching. I just look at so much of the stuff that people are being taught, it is just fluff. I haven’t been to a fair in a long, long, time, but it used to be we see kids running around with what we called cotton candy. I know what it is, it’s nothing but air they put in their mouth, and it disappears. Well that’s mostly what our Sunday School material is, it’s just cotton candy. The people take it in and there’s nothing there.
Well Paul is constantly praying that believers would gain knowledge. And you don’t gain knowledge of the Word unless you study it. My how we thank God for all the letters that come in that tell us, thanks to our program they’re studying the Bible. We want people to learn to study, and this is Paul’s constant prayer. Remember one of Paul’s prayers back in the Book of Ephesians, let’s go back and look at that one. And this is all so appropriate for every believer today, young or old. We even had a letter yesterday, that a 13 year old girl was watching the program. Well anyway this is for every believer.
“Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17. That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:”
You know I’ve given the example on this program over and over, that one of the most impacting things that I think has happened to me is when I asked someone, where he was coming from. And his answer was, “Who in the world is Jesus Christ?” And I thought, “In America we have this question?” In my part of the world? And now I’m finding out, that’s most people, they really don’t know who He is. They don’t know that He is the Creator of everything. In fact I was going to make reference to it a little later in the chapter, but I guess I can do it now. You know people probably sometimes wonder, “Why did the apostle Paul have such an allegiance to Jesus Christ?” Why should we just be willing to pour out our life for Jesus Christ? It’s because of who He is! He’s the God of glory, the Creator, the One who even today is in control of all the galaxies by the billions. And now the Hubbell telescope tells us, “they’re still out there exploding, and forming,” and He’s in control of every bit of that.
Then someone like the Pope can go anywhere and people will flock to him by the millions just to get a glimpse of him or his airplane, and that’s their prerogative. I’m just making the comparison, why can’t they do that with the thought of Jesus Christ? But they don’t. You could announce that Christ is coming to some airport, and I don’t think you’d get a crowd, but tell them the Pope is coming and they’ll clog the interstate for miles around. Now listen the Pope is a human being like the rest of us, he puts on his pants like I do. He has to eat and sleep like anybody else, he gets sick, and one day and it probably won’t be too long, he’s going to die, why? He’s human. But oh the Lord Jesus Christ is the Creator of everything. And see, that’s beyond human comprehension. And this is all Paul is praying for, that we could get a little better grasp of who He really is. Now to complete our thought in Ephesians chapter 1 about the knowledge of Him.
“…may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18. The eyes of your understanding bring enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19. And (we can know) what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.”
Oh listen, all of this is beyond human understanding. Now coming back to Philippians again and picking up with verse 10, and this is his prayer even for us today.
“That ye may approve things that are excellent;…”
Now it’s unfortunate that the King James translators used that word excellent, because every place else in the New Testament that Greek word is translated different, and read it that way.
“That ye may approve things that are (different) that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;”
Well what’s the difference? Well I read one commentary once and he said we have to determine the difference between right and wrong. Well maybe? But I think the things that really are different is “Law and Grace.” See, the Philippians understood that. They understood that they were under the Grace of God. They had no compunction to try to go back to Jerusalem and carry out the feast days and temple worship. They knew better, because they had discerned the difference between where they stood in Grace and the Old Testament believers under Law. But there are millions today that still don’t know that difference. They think that somehow or other we’re still connected to that Jewish program, and we have to keep the commandments, repentance and baptism, and have to do this and have to do that or we’re lost. But no, no, no, under Grace there is none of that., “IT’S ALL DONE!” So many people try to bring what was under Law and put it over in Paul’s teaching. They try to hook something to Paul’s Gospel to try and make it complete. Listen it’s complete just like God wanted it as it sits in I Corinthians 15:1-4, and Romans 10:9-10, and other places Paul has written, and we just stand in His wonderful Grace.
So the whole concept here in this verse 10 is that these Philippians, and Paul is still encouraging us the same way, that we can discern the difference between God’s dealing with Israel under the Law, and His dealing with us Gentiles under Grace. And oh when you can see that, then this Book just opens up, and you’re able to rightly divide the Word.
And I know that it’s difficult for people to turn the Law loose, especially when Jesus and the twelve were teaching it, and I know it is. That’s why our Lord had Paul write that he, Paul, was our apostle and about five times tell us that he, Paul, was our example and we are to follow what he teaches in this Age of Grace, and most can’t except that. But anyway determine the things that are different, and Law and Grace are so different. Ok now verse 11.
“Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”
Now a verse comes to mind, and I hope I’ve got the right one in the Book of Romans, chapter 7. Now remember what Paul just said, “That we might be filled with the fruits of righteousness, which comes by Jesus Christ.” Now drop in at verse 4.
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law (just like a spouse dies, and that spouse is no longer legally connected to the one who remains. so you are dead to the law) by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, (now you can’t be married to Christ if you’re still married to the Law. It just won’t work. So the Law has to be declared dead, and out of the way, so we can be married to Christ. See how plain that is?) even to him who is raised from the dead, (I’ve always said that salvation is not just a fire escape that most people think, but) that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”
We’re to be producing fruit. Now then in a marriage relationship, first in the physical, what is the fruit of a marriage relationship? Children. Absolutely it is. We are to produce others that will take our place. Now it’s the same way in the Christian experience. Once we’re married to Christ, what should we look for? The result of that union, which should be other believers that we can take with us in the Rapture, or take our place when we’re gone if we have to go by the way of the cemetery. Now look at it again in that light.
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law (we’re under Grace) by the body of Christ; (His work of the cross) that ye should be married to another, (now we’re in union with Christ) even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”
And the fruit is “New Believers!” That’s our job, and that’s why I’m always making the point, that it isn’t just the Church’s responsibility to save the lost, because lost people don’t go to Church anymore, they’ve got too many other things to do. So who’s going to reach the lost? You and I. And how can you do that if you’re not prepared. How can you reach the lost if you can’t show them a verse of Scripture? And that’s the problem. Oh, listen if America’s Christians get as sharp in the Word as the apostle Paul was, do you know what we would do in a matter of a year or two? We’d turn this country inside out. But the Christians won’t do it. They’re ignorant of the Scriptures and don’t want to learn, so they must be waked up. There must be that desire to be filled with the righteousness of Christ, and in turn bring forth fruit unto God. Now back to Philippians chapter 1.
“But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;”
Now I imagine that most of us, if we had been in Paul’s shoes, would have said, “Why?” Here I was out there turning the Roman Empire inside out, I was getting Churches established, I was seeing these pagans glorious saved, now Lord why am I locked up in prison?” Isn’t that right? But what did Paul say? Hey it was for all the right purposes. Now you all know the verse and should be already thinking of it in Romans 8:28.
“And we know that all things work together for good (is this for everybody? No, but) to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
And you see that’s where Paul was, he was exactly where God wanted him. Even in that Roman prison right next door to Nero’s palace. And in the midst of the Praetorian guard, and here he says, “everything has fallen out to the furtherance of the Gospel.” Now verse 13, and remember, why is Paul there? For the furtherance of the Gospel.
“So that my bonds (chained to a Roman soldier) in Christ are manifest in all the palace,…”
Now think about that for a moment. Things weren’t as big as they are today, but nevertheless Rome was quite the empire. All roads led to Rome in that day. Rome to the ancients was what Washington DC is today. The whole world goes to Washington and goes home with our money. And it was no different then. We’ve noticed that every place we go in the Middle East is tremendous Roman improvements. The great pillars, and buildings, streets and everything. Well listen, those poor pagan uncivilized people of that outer fringe of the empire didn’t have money for that in Paul’s day, so where did it come from? Rome. Where did Rome get it? Taxes. So things have never changed.
If you study Roman history, we in America today are lock step with them. Sure we are, we’re in lock step with the Romans. Everything that they saw happen to the Roman Empire, we’re seeing happen here today. All roads led to Rome, and now all roads lead to Washington D. C. Everything gets so big and corruption comes in that you can’t control it, it’s impossible. Well when that comes along pretty soon you’ve got more goods and services than you’ve got money, and so when there’s a shortage of money, what does every government do? Print some more, and when you do that you’re asking for inflation. That’s what happened to Rome. Rome killed itself from within with it’s gross immorality, but also with it’s inflationary economic practices. So as I’ve said, nothing changes.
So here is the apostle Paul in bonds, chained to a Romans soldier, and that guard would be changed maybe twice a day. And Paul is right next door to Caesar’s Palace. From what I can gather in my readings, it wasn’t the actual residence of Nero so much as it was the headquarters of Nero’s private guard. And then the platinum was where his actual residence stood which was right next door to the Praetorian guard. So Paul was in an eye shadow of Nero’s Palace, but his most contact was through these private guards of Nero. Now keep all that in your mind, because I’ve got a reason for bringing that up in just a moment.. Now reading verse 13 again.
“So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places.”
Now hold that in your computers and come on over to the last chapter of Philippians, and let’s look at verse 22. Oh I hope I can get you to feel this. I mean I want you to feel this. Now I’m not much on emotions as you know because feelings isn’t a word in Scripture, but here’s something that I think we can all begin to feel.
“All the saints salute you, chiefly (or most importantly) they that are of Caesar’s household.” Now come back and look at verse 13 again.
“So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;”
Here he is in bonds chained to Roman soldiers who rotated day in and day out. They were hardened veterans of the war campaign, and evidently many of them as a result of being chained to Paul for maybe 12 or 24 hours became believers. He must have had a tremendous power of witnessing. And as they rotated I’m sure some of them went on into the palace in the line of servitude. Now if you were in Paul’s shoes, and you were suddenly realizing that your testimony, your witnessing actually bearing fruit among these hardened Roman soldiers who were in turn bearing fruit in the very palace of the most wicked person that ever lived in Nero, what would it do to your emotions. Wouldn’t it just thrill you to death?
Consequently even though he’s in prison and in bonds and chained, what is the key word to the Book of Philippians? “REJOICE!” This man was literally bubbling over with joy in spite of his circumstances. I got to thinking, my wouldn’t any one of us feel the same way? We get letters from people that are picking us up in Washington DC and you wonder how close are these people to our government? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get a letter from someone who actually worked in the White House? I think I’d get pretty excited, and I think you would also. Just to think that somebody right up in the upper echelons of our government are hearing me teach the Gospel, and getting saved, and spreading it around the capitol? Hey if that wouldn’t make me happy then they’d better get me out of this business. And if I would share that with you, what would you do? Oh you would rejoice with me, and see that exactly what he’s trying to tell the Philippians. Rejoice, the Gospel is penetrating the palace of Nero.
And for us here today, let’s get excited because we might be able to reach into some of the hallowed halls of Congress or our state capitol, because this man did. This man who was no better or any more gifted than anyone of us. Remember he was always bringing himself down to the level of an ordinary believer, but also remember he was the tremendous apostle Paul. Now moving on to verse 14 in the time we have left.
“And many of the brethren in the Lord, (the believers) waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”
You know what these believers were doing? When they saw Paul’s circumstance and I think he’s still talking about some of these Roman guards, some of these employees or the slaves that were working in the palace of Nero, when they saw that joyful out look, and probably heard him singing hymns while in prison, it encouraged them also. Hey if he can do this under those circumstances, then I can too. And I think this is why this letter is written for you and I today, so that we can come out from not being confident, and realize that God can use you and me even though we’re common ordinary people, because this is the type of people to whom this Book is written. Now verse 15, and this is probably a bad verse to end the program on today.
“Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:”
Now what does that mean? Well I think maybe some of the people that didn’t really like Paul, and they may have been some of the Jewish people who were trying to get rid of him thought they could get him deeper in trouble by proclaiming his Gospel out there, and telling people they had picked it up from Paul that guy you’ve got in prison. They were hoping that that in turn would come back and get him into worse trouble, but whatever, Paul says, “It doesn’t matter, as long as people hear the Gospel of Christ it’s going to touch their hearts, and finishing with verse 16.
“The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds;”
Now you see some people will go to any end to bring about a little bit more misery for a believer, and it’s always been that way. So even unbelievers can propagate the Gospel, it’s not the best way, but God can use it, and so always remember that the circumstances of this apostle in this prison in Rome is beyond our understanding, but on the other hand we can learn from it , and we can do many of the same things that he did.