Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 40
Fellowship In Resurrection Power – Part 2
Now getting back to where we left off in the last lesson and that would be in chapter 3. We’re talking about Paul and how he is writing from this place of adversity in prison right next door to Nero’s palace in Rome. But the little Book of Philippians is filled with the word “rejoice, rejoice, rejoice.” Now he is going to set us up for a tremendous thought, and that is how much did he give up for the sake of the Gospel. Well we’ve already looked at seven of the great things that he had going for him as a religious Jew up there in verse 5 and 6. Now let’s look at verse 7, and what a statement! How many American Christians could say something like this?
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.”
Now let’s look at one verse first in Galatians and then I’m going to take you back to the Book of Acts, because the name of the game is see how all of Scripture fits so beautifully, and I’m always trying to bring out exactly that. This Old Book is supernatural, it is intricate in how it all fits together. It’s just not a jumble of thoughts and ideas as some would have you believe, but rather it is an intricate whole from Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21. Now in Galatians chapter 1, let’s start with verse 11, and these are verses that we’ve used quite often over the years, and Paul is again rehearsing how he came into the ministry of being the apostle of this Age of Grace.
“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (now here it comes) 13. For ye have heard of my conversation (manner of living) in time past in the Jews’ religion, (that’s what he was talking about in those 7 points we just studied in the last lesson in the Book of Philippians) how that beyond measure I persecuted the church (assembly) of God, (those Jewish believers at Jerusalem) and wasted it. (the guy was heartless. He would throw them in the dungeon, put them to death, anything to get them off the scene so they wouldn’t oppose his religion.) 14. And profited in the Jews religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.”
Now what kind of a profit do you suppose he’s talking about? Financial. He was a big wheel in Judaism, and as I rehearsed on this program before, you go down into the lower diggings of the city of Jerusalem, and they excavated some of the houses of the High Priests of Israel and they were gorgeous. And no doubt Saul of Tarsus enjoyed the same lifestyle because he was one of the highest paid fellows in the business, because he was the most zealous. And that’s what he said back in verse 14.
“And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.”
Now that’s what he had going for him. Now Paul said in the Book of Philippians that he counted all that but loss. Now let’s see what the word loss meant to the apostle because the same word is used in Acts chapter 27:10. Here Paul and the rest of the sailors are at the height of the storm and the ship is about to sink out there on the Mediterranean Sea on their way to Rome.
“And said unto the, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage,…” That’s the same Greek word translated loss in Philippians. Now what happened to the ship and it’s contents don’t you? It was sunk, it was a total loss. It’s used again in verse 21.
“But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete and to have gained this harm and loss.”
A complete loss of everything, it was gone, it was down into the depths. This is exactly how Paul treated everything that he had going for him as a religious Jew. And don’t forget that I pointed out that the stock of Israel implied his whole family. Now of course I am convinced in my own mind that Paul had a wife and children, which he would have had to have had if he was a member of the Sanhedrin. And we know he was a member of the Sanhedrin because in Acts chapter 26 we find Paul rehearsing for the third time in the Book of Acts his experience on the road to Damascus. Chapter 9 of course was written by Luke, but in chapter 22 and 26 Paul rehearses the same thing in the first person as he’s doing here. He’s telling how all of this brought him to the place where he was on his road to Damascus. In this Scripture I always have a hard time trying to decide where to start. But we’ll just start with verse 9.
“I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: (remember how he said in the Book of Galatians how he had wasted that assembly?) and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice (vote) against them.”
In other words he voted to put them to death, and that means he had to be a member of the Sanhedrin or he wouldn’t have been in the position of voting on these people. So as a member of the Sanhedrin he had to have a wife and children, because that was one of the by-laws I guess we would say today. You had to have the experience of raising a family to be a member of the Sanhedrin, and how to handle teenagers for example. Now that makes sense doesn’t it. Now back to Philippians, and let’s do verse 8.
“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss (like that ship that sunk at sea, it’s all gone. His family, his wealth, his home, his prestige as a Pharisee, and his clout among Judaisers. Paul says he counts it all loss) for the excellency (that which is far better) of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord:…”
Now how many believers in America stop to put Christ in that comparison? Does He mean more to us than everything we own or possess, or enjoy? Is He number one on our list of priorities? You know my wife is always kidding me that my beautiful black cattle are first with me, but that’s not right. Oh I enjoy them and love them so much. In fact I have a couple of old herd bulls and they just lick me like a dog, and that thrills me, but listen, they are not first in my list of priorities. This Book is first, and you know how I love to teach it. But I still can’t come close to imagining what it was like for this man to have lost everything, including his family for the sake of Christ. No wonder he is constantly affirming his authority as an apostle to us Gentiles. Now you stop and think, the twelve disciples and apostles all died a martyr’s death there’s no doubt about that. But they didn’t suffer constantly, and the only thing that kept driving Paul was his love for the Lord and his Gospel of salvation that the Lord revealed only to him. Now finishing verse 8.
“…the loss of all things, ( and on top of that he’s not crying about it) and do count them but dung,…”
Rather than dung I like the translation trash better. His life as a zealous Jew of Judaism now had absolutely no value or attraction to him any more. It was down the tube, it was out of his life, and as we’re going to see a little later in this chapter, “forgetting those things which are behind, ” but we’ll talk about that when we get to that verse. 9. So not only did Paul win Christ in verse 8, but look at his position in verse 9.
“And be found him,…” That’s the same phrase that he used 90 sometimes in the Book of Ephesians. In Him, In Whom, these are position terms of where we are as believers in this Age of Grace. We’re not just here on the planet hoping to go to heaven someday, that’s our position already. Now looking at verse 9 again.
“And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:”
All right now let’s go to Matthew chapter 10, and maybe this will help us understand how he could look at the loss of family and home, and prestige, but especially family. He could look at the loss of his loved ones and consider it dung, or trash. Well I think I can make a point that in Matthew chapter 10, as we have a statement that a lot of people have gotten confused about, and it throws a curve at them because they don’t understand the basic language. And it is disconcerting if you don’t know how these things are to be applied. And here Jesus is speaking during His earthly ministry.
“He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” And then in another portion of Scripture, He put it like this.
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
Now we know that the Lord God does not expect us to hate our parents and wife, and children as we understand the word hate. But rather it’s a comparative term. Our love for Christ should be so much greater than it is for our family that comparatively speaking, it’s as if we hate them.
Well it’s the same way here in Philippians chapter 3, how could Paul just glibly seemingly cast off all of his family relations and count it as trash that he might win Christ is again a comparative thing. I’m sure that deep in his heart that Paul longed to be reunited with his family, but he knew that it would never happen because of what had transpired between him and Christ, who of course was hated by the Jew on the street, and no doubt his family as well. But always keep those things in mind that it was a comparative thing. Now back to verse 9.
“And he found in him, not having mine own righteousness,…” Which he was attempting to do in Judaism, wasn’t he? He was keeping the Law, he was a Pharisee of the Pharisees, and now he realizes that his own righteousness had nothing to do with it. But all of his relationship with Christ, his position in Christ was based on one word and what is it? Faith! And what was the faith? Believing what God said. Faith is taking God at His word! First for salvation to believe the Gospel (I Corinthians 15:1-4) absolutely, but it doesn’t stop there. Faith is something we practice everyday as believers.
Now you’ve got to stop and think, why is America in the horrible wicked state that it’s in? And it is in that state whether we like to admit it or not. What’s our problem? Hey it’s not drunkenness, it’s not drugs, it’s not sexual immorality, but only one thing. America has lost faith in the Word of God. That’s our problem, but if we could get America back to what God has said, then we’d solve all our problems in short order. So for us as believers never forget that we have to practice faith, not just for salvation, but for Christian living.
Let me give you a good example, and the reason this comes to mind, we had this Friday evening in our Tulsa class, and I probably never saw it this distinctly before. You know I learn as I teach whether people know that or not. So come back with me to the Book of Numbers, chapter 20. We’ve got quite a few of our Friday night people here, and you’re going to remember this. Here in this chapter we find the children of Israel still out there in the wilderness, they’re still in their 40 years of wondering. And as it has happened at least once before they’re out of water. Their herds are bellowing, they’re thirsty, the people are getting thirsty, and so Moses goes before the Lord, and the Lord tells him, go get his shepherd rod, but instead of striking the rock this time like he did the first time this happened back in the Book of Exodus he’s to speak to the rock. So now we pick up the account.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 8. Take the rod, and gather thou thy assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. 9. And Moses took the rod, from before the LORD, as he commanded him. 10. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels, must we fetch you water out of this rock? 11. And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice:…” That was just a simple change in what he was supposed to have done, but instead of speaking to that rock he again did like he did back in Exodus, only this time he struck the rock twice. Now finishing the verse.
“…and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.”
So the Lord condescended anyway and the water came forth abundantly. Now verse 12. I’ve had so many people ask, “Was this the reason that Moses did not get to go into the Promised Land?” No that’s not the reason. Yes he broke the type, he should have spoken instead of smiting, because when Christ died on that cross He died once. Smitten once for the sins of the world. And from then on He was to be spoken to as Lord and Saviour, so Moses did break the typology. But that was not why God lowered the boom on him and said, “Sorry Moses, you’re not going into the Promised Land.” Now don’t you know that must have been a heartache.
We were at Mt. Nebo not too long ago, it wasn’t that clear on the day we were there, but on a clear day you would be able to see clear up beyond the Sea of Galilee. You Should be able to see over Jerusalem, and almost to the Mediterranean Sea. Moses could have seen just about all the way down to Gaza from that high point on Mt. Nebo. I can just imagine the heartache that Moses must have felt, that simply because of one act of disobedience, he lost it. Now he didn’t lose his salvation. Moses is going to be in glory just like we are, but he lost that reward. But it wasn’t just because of his anger, or because he smote the rock, but the key word is in verse 12. And I want to bring this home for us believers today in this Age of Grace.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not,…”
God doesn’t say a word about striking the rock. God doesn’t say a word about Moses’ temper, God simply says, ‘you didn’t believe me!” Isn’t that something? That was Moses’ error. He did not take God at His Word.
Now come back to Philippians and as you’re turning just put your mind in high gear. How many times does even the apostle Paul give us commandments that is the Word of God that should have an effect on our everyday life? For example, “husbands love your wife.” What is that? That’s a commandment. And when husbands don’t do it as a believer, what are they failing to do. Exercise faith in God’s Word, because that’s what God has said. In another place Paul says, “flee every appearance of evil.” Not just the evil itself, but even the appearance of evil. Now that’s a commandment, and when we don’t do it, we’re showing a lack of faith. In another place, he says, “pray without ceasing.” And when we fail to pray we are acting in unbelief. And you can go on and on throughout Paul’s letters, and just see these things that the Word of God has instructed us, and telling us how to behave as believers seven days a week. And when we don’t abide by that, we are showing unbelief.
I’ve pointed out before when I teach about the children of Israel, how most that came out of Egypt did not get to go into the Promised Land. Only those that were 20 years and below got to go in. God said, “They do always err in their heart; and have not known my ways” in Hebrews 3:10. Let’s look at the reason they could not go into God’s rest in Hebrews chapter 3 for a moment. For sake of time let’s just look at verse 18 and 19.
“And to whom swear he that they should not enter into his rest, (a reference of going into the land of milk and honey) but to them that believed not? 19. So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”
It wasn’t because of what the children of Israel had done on their journey to the Promised Land, not because of any thing that they would do, but it was all because of their UNBELIEF.And that’s just simply “no faith.” And even as believers we can still be guilty of being weak in faith when we do not obey the Word of God. Now that goes back to what I just said a moment ago. “What’s America’s problem? That’s it. America no longer believes what this Book says. You may not agree with me, but if you know anything about our society today, then you have to agree with me. America as a nation today does not believe what this Book says. They scoff at it, they ridicule it, they may pay lip service to it for an hour on Sunday morning, but that’s about it. But God expects us to believe what He has said, that the whole idea of faith. Now back to the Book of Philippians for the minute or two we have left. Looking at verse 9 again.
“And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness (self or legalism) which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God (as a believer, as we walk day by day) by faith:”
Now let’s go on into verse 10 and we’ll pick that verse up again in the next lesson.. All of this is not only bringing the apostle to this place, but you and I as well, because this is written for our admonition.
“That I may know him, and the power of the resurrection,…”
Now there again very few Christians today put any emphasis on this word power. It’s the English word “Dynamo.” My, if you ever go down into one of the great hydroelectric dams such as Hoover Dam where these huge generators are you can see that with one turn of that dynamo it sends out humongous amounts of current. Well that’s from where the word comes from. Only God’s power makes a dynamo look like nothing in comparison.
“That I may know him, and the power (not of His creation which was tremendous, but rather the power) of the resurrection….”
See that’s where we are today, we’re on resurrection ground, and we have to depend on that resurrection power not just for salvation, but for our every day existence. It’s that resurrection power that gives us the ability to live a victorious life, it’s that resurrection power that can bring a drug addict out of his habit. It’s that resurrection power that can break nicotine and alcohol or any other addiction that man may have, but even believers today are prone to forget that that is where it’s centered. It’s the core of our belief.