Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 41
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I think we’re ready to go back to where we left off in Colossians chapter 1. We’re going to take it verse by verse and now we’ll start with verse 21. Remember in our last lesson we were talking about reconciliation, how that God when He justified us, redeemed us, and forgave us, He also brought us back into that relationship with Himself which we call of course reconciliation.
“And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies (see people don’t like to think of the lost in that light. But the lost person is an enemy of God, and we were also before salvation. So this is the thing that we have to keep uppermost, that the lost person, the unregenerate person is so far as God is concern an enemy. And as a result of a person being lost their works are wicked) in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.”
Let’s go back to the Book of Galatians and look at the works of the lost person. In chapter 5, we get a good picture of how we were at one time or at least we had that potential. I know a lot of us came from good homes and are not guilty of all these things in the activity of our daily life, but nevertheless potentially everyone us were capable of doing all these things. These are basically the things that the Scripture refers to when they talk about the things of the flesh.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20. Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulation, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21. Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like:…”
Those are all the things that are the acts and works of the flesh, and the spirit wants us to realize that. Now back to Colossians again. So this is what we were all capable of whether we actually did it or not is moot, we were capable of it.
“And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.”
And of course when Paul wrote to the Colossians that’s what they had just came out of. These Colossians people didn’t have the wherewithal to come from Christian homes like a lot of American do. Remember they were pagans, and idolaters, and all the attendant vice that was with that lifestyle. For us of course like I’ve already said, it merely means that we’re capable of it, but most of my American listeners at least have been raised in a Christian environment to some degree. At least we have not been out there in a home that practice paganism and idolatry, so always redeemer that these early believers, that’s what they came out of and we’ll see that again when we get to the Thessalonian letters. Now verse 22.
“In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy (set apart. God has taken us out of that environment of wickedness and of the world and He has set us apart.) and unblameable…” Now when I read a word like that, immediately verses come to mind. So let’s come back to I Corinthians chapter 1, and let’s begin with verse 5 to pick up the flow.
I Corinthians 1:5-8
“That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 6. Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7. So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8. Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Now what kind of believers were the Corinthians? Carnal! They were not a spiritual group of people. They had all kinds of problems, and so even to those carnal believers at Corinth who had still not totally removed themselves from all the excesses of their pagan background, they were still experiencing immorality, they were still experiencing divisiveness in the congregation, but yet Paul writes the Corinthians were blameless. Now that’s not license but rather GRACE, and that’s what it says. And the reason for that is because the work of salvation is so complete. Now back to Colossians again.
“…to present you holy and unblameable and unrepoveable in his sight:”
Now some people are going to jump on this word if in verse 23 here and say, “well that means you can lose it.” No I think Paul merely puts the thought here that we are dealing with something that is so precious that we’re not to take it lightly.
“If ye continue in the faith (how?) grounded and settled,…”
In another place he says, ‘not driven about with every wind of doctrine,’ And that’s what a lot of people have been guilty of. We get letters all the time where they have jumped from this group to that group and ended up just totally confused. They’ve gone with every wind doctrine. What just say, “Well this is what the Book says.”
“If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; …”
Now that’s quite a statement isn’t it? Now I’m not taking away from the need to send missionaries to foreign places. But over and over the Bible tells me that people have already been given enough that they’re going to be held responsible. Now that’s shocking I know. Let me show you what I’m talking about. Come back with me to John’s gospel chapter 1. And don’t ever construe this as an excuse for not going to the mission field because there is a dire need for missionaries in many many places around the world. But on the other hand when Paul writes in Romans chapter 1 that one day these lost benighted souls will stand at the Great White Throne and here their condemnation and Paul says, “they are without excuse.” Well how can they be if they have never heard the Gospel before? Well evidently they have. Look at John’s gospel chapter 1, verse 6.
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. (the Baptist) The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, (a reference to Christ, the Light of the world) that all men through him might believe. 8. He (John) was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. (now if that doesn’t grab you I don’t know what does.) 9. That(speaking of Christ) was the true Light, which lighted every man that cometh into the world.”
That’s what it says, and whom am I to argue with it. Every man in the world has received a certain degree of Light and consequently then “they are without excuse.” Let’s look at that verse over in Romans 1, verse 20. In fact we really should read verse 19 also.
“Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. (the whole human race) 20. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, (created) even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they (the whole human race) are without excuse:”
That’s also what it says, and I’m sure that the Lord will say to them when they come up before Him at the Great White Throne judgment. I know they’ll say, “I never had a chance, I never heard,” And I’m almost confident that He’s going to come right back and quote John 1:9. “I was the Light that came into the world. I Lighted you at one time.” Now we don’t understand how this is possible, at least I sure don’t, but the Scripture is true, let God be true, these people are going to be held responsible. It’s just totally beyond my comprehension but I’ve got to go by what the Book says.
Now back to Colossians chapter 1. Here again Paul uses that same connotation that every human being has somehow or other been made aware of the Gospel. Let’s look at Romans chapter 2, verse 16. I’ll bet this is a verse that 9 out 10 professing Christians don’t know is in here, and yet it fits with what we’ve just been saying.
“In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my (Paul’s) gospel.”
Isn’t that something? Now what does that mean? At judgment day there at the Great White Throne the masses of the whole human race are going to be confronted with Paul’s Gospel even though it was only preached from Paul’s time on. Don’t ask me to explain that because it’s beyond me. But again let God be true. Every human being will stand before the judge absolutely without excuse because somehow or other the Light of the Gospel has appeared to every man. In Titus chapter 2 he says basically the same thing.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” Now back to Colossians chapter 1, and let’s look at the last part of verse 23 again.
“…which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven: (now we know there are areas in South America that are practically uncivilized. And we have to say, ‘they’ve never heard.’ So let’s just leave that in God’s hand.) whereof I Paul am made a minister;”
That’s what made me think of Romans 2:16 that said, “they will be judged by Paul’s Gospel. And what is Paul’s Gospel? I Corinthians 15:1-4 and Romans 10:9-10 explains his Gospel perfectly, and by believing Paul’s Gospel is the way to have eternal life.
“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you,…”
And again that goes back to all the physical suffering that the Apostle Paul went through for the sake of the Gospel. My goodness he could have just thrown up his hands and given up and gone back to Jerusalem, and lived high on the hog couldn’t he? But he didn’t do that. He continued on and counted the things of this world as trash, things that was worthless so that the Gospel might continue throughout the Roman empire.
“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh (his own sufferings that we have read about so often) for his body’s sake, which is the church:”
See there again the Apostle Paul is making the distinction that the Church he refers to is the Body of Christ. Do you see what a difference that makes? Always remember that no where else in Scripture do you see that. You don’t see it in the four gospels, or the Book of Acts, but only from the Apostle Paul’s pen do you find the Body of Christ, the Church. This is uniquely Pauline see? That Body of Truth as we’re going to see in a little bit he refers to constantly as the revelation of the mysteries. So he says, everything that he’s gone through is for the sake of the Body which is the Church.
“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you,…”
Now remember, what kind of a congregation was Colossi Jew or Gentile? Well it was Gentile. Oh there may have been a smattering of Jewish believers, but it was primarily a Gentile congregation. And look at his language in that verse.
“…according to the dispensation (or administration) of God which was given to me (Paul) for you. (It was for the benefit of these Gentiles, and for us today) to fulfil the word of God.”
And this is why we have to differentiate that God dealt differently with Israel then He deals with the Church. And the only place we can differentiate is that Paul writes to the Church where the rest of Scripture writes to Israel. Now come back to Ephesians and he uses almost identical same language, and remember repetition is for emphases. This is why I’m sure the Holy Spirit caused him to write it. I don’t think Paul set there beating his head, and wondered how he could repeat this. No the Holy Spirit just caused him to dictate it or however he did it, and that’s consequently the inspiration of the Scriptures.
“For this cause (because of what he wrote in those first two chapters) I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for (what people?) you Gentiles.”
Now don’t miss that. It is specifically directed to the Gentiles. Now we know that everything from Genesis chapter 9 up through the four gospels accounts and early chapters of Acts were all directed to the Jews. Let me show you for example in the Book of Acts chapter 2 so you can see the difference. This is just for comparison sake, and let’s just start with verse 22. Now watch this real careful because I’m going to throw you a curve.
“Ye men of Israel, (and all you Gentiles. See it doesn’t say that. Everybody thinks it should, but it doesn’t include a Gentile no how, but rather) Ye men of Israel, hear these words;…”Now come on over to chapter 3 and you’ll see this isn’t just a misprint. Just as clearly as Paul says, “to you Gentiles,” Peter says “to you Jews.” Verse 12.
“And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel….”
Do you see how Peter qualifies who he is speaking to. And then come on down to verse 13.
“The God of Abraham, and of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, (Peter is speaking to Jews)
Now in Ephesians and we find that Paul is going the other direction and he says, “I am the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.” And in Romans 11:13 he tells us who he was sent to minister to.
“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles;…” Now back to Ephesians 3 and look at verse 2.
“If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:”
Now the part I really wanted you to see was the last part of that verse which is identical with Colossians 1:25. What’s the process? God revealed this whole body of truth to this one man, this Apostle of the Gentiles, and he was instructed that he was to take this message to the Gentile world. Now granted he tried to go to the Jew first and then to the Gentiles, but when the Jews rejected his message he would end up with his greatest results among the Gentiles. And that’s the way God intended it as this is the age of Grace with God dealing primarily with us Gentiles. Now coming back to Colossians and let’s read verse 25 again.
“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;”
Let’s go all the way back to the Old Testament to see how it all fits together. Come back to Isaiah chapter 42, and then we’ll have a couple of others that we can look at. Oh my goodness you mean we only have a minute left? Ok Isaiah 42 and maybe this will suffice.
“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: (who are we talking about? The Messiah.) he shall bring forth judgment (rule) to (what people?) the Gentiles.” See God had forgotten about the Gentiles. Verse 6.
“I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, (Israel) for a light of the Gentiles;” That was Israel’s prospect. Now chapter 60.
“And the Gentiles shall come to thy light,…”