Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 44
BEING SHIPWRECKED SPIRITUALLY – PART 2
I Timothy 1:17 – 2:2
Good to see everybody in again. We’re going to pick up where we left off in the last program. That would be in I Timothy chapter 1 and verse 19. While you’re finding your place, we want to remind you we’re just an informal Bible study. That’s why we’re here, to see what the Scripture says. I’m always reminding you to also be aware of what the Scripture does not say. Because a lot of people are fed a bill of goods that is not in the Book.
I get a lot of phone calls telling us that their preacher or teacher taught things on Sunday that they weren’t sure about. The first thing I ask them, “Well, have you found it in your Bible?” “No. That’s why I’m calling.” “Well, if you can’t find it in your Bible, you’d better just chalk it up as a red flag, and you’d better be careful.” So anyway, hopefully we can show clearly what the Bible says and what it doesn’t say and trust that hearts are blessed by it.
All right, now we’re going to go right into the next verse after our last program ended in verse 18—now verse 19. He’s still admonishing the young man Timothy. He is going to be picking up the mantle, so to speak, at least some time down the road. And along with waging a good warfare, in verse 19 he is to be:
I Timothy 1:19a
“Holding (What?) faith,…” You know that’s one of my favorite words. And if I get any flack at all—I don’t get much—but if I get a little flack, it’s because of my stand that it’s faith plus nothing!
And, oh, that’s so hard for some people to comprehend. But see, faith has always been the vehicle. Even back when the Lord killed the animals and provided the clothing and the righteousness for Adam and Eve, it was still based on their faith.
But for the next real clear evidence of faith as the vehicle for getting right with God, you have to go back to Cain and Abel. That’s where you get the first real picture of how faith is to operate. Now I always make the clear statement that Cain and Abel were not told to believe for their salvation that Christ died on a Roman Cross and that He was buried and that He rose from the dead, as we in the Body of Christ are told to believe.
There’s no way they could have believed something like that. The cross hadn’t even been invented as an execution. But when you get back as far as Cain and Abel, they were to believe what God said to them. Now in order for the Scripture to define what I’m saying, come back with me to Romans. We’re going to look at the word faith—probably for the next whole half hour. Romans chapter 10 and verse 17, and it’s as plain as language can make it.
“So then faith (this word we’re going to be looking at) cometh by hearing, and hearing (comes) by (What?) the word of God.” All right, my definition for faith over the years that I’ve been on television has been real simple. It’s what? That’s right! Taking God at His Word. That’s what faith is. God said it, and He expects us to believe it. That’s faith.
Now granted, I don’t want someone to say—well, when you say it’s faith plus nothing, that means I can just sit down on a chair and trust that it’s going to hold me and that’s all I need. No! Now don’t be ridiculous. We’re talking about faith in what God has said concerning our spiritual need. And He said those things to the Apostle Paul for him to share with us in the Body of Christ!
In fact, come back to Romans chapter 3 verse 23. Now this is the Word of God. Yes, it came from the Apostle Paul. But Paul was the inspired writer, and it became, then, as Peter makes so plain in his epistle that Paul’s letters are Scripture. And Scripture is the what? The Word of God. All right, now the Word of God tells us in Romans 3:23 that:
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Do you believe it? Well, you can’t be saved until you do. But see, there are multitudes of people who don’t believe that. You know why? They haven’t got the faith to accept the fact that this is God’s Word. So here’s where you have to begin. God says it, and we believe it because it’s His Word.
All right, now come with me all the way back to Genesis. It’s been a long time since we have taught anything concerning Cain and Abel. Come back to Genesis chapter 4. And we’re going to use the whole half hour just to look at these examples of faith and examples of no faith. Because see, the world’s problem has always been the lack of faith—or the word I’ve always used is unbelief.
Why have we got the problems in the world we’ve got today? Unbelief. They don’t believe what God said. Well, it already started in the Garden of Eden, because old Satan cast doubt when he was talking to Eve that—Did God really say that? But then we come out a few years. Cain and Abel are now young men, and we get the best example of two perfectly human beings—much alike in many ways and yet different. And they both become, then, examples for us of faith and unbelief.
“And in the process of time…” Now I’m not a Hebrew scholar, but I’ve read more than once that the Hebrew implies that this process of time was a day of instruction.
In other words, God told these two young men what He expected and when. And that boiled down to when their conscience convicted them of sin, whatever it might be, they were to bring a blood sacrifice, and God would accept them. That’s what God evidently said. Now I have to use the word evidently, because it’s not explicit in here. But as we go along, it will certainly become evident. But God evidently said, now when you sin, bring me a blood sacrifice, and I will accept you.
“And in the process of time (Or after a time of instruction so that there was no doubt what God expected.) Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. 4. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock (Not something that grew out of the ground, but that which was a live animal and shed its blood.) he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5. But unto Cain and his offering (Which was something which grew naturally—it was bloodless. It was lifeless.) He had not respect….” God did not respect that offering.
All right, now we flip all the way up to the Book of Hebrews. All the way up to Hebrews chapter 11, the great faith chapter—keeping in mind now these two young men. Cain brought a bloodless offering—which, of course, he had gained by the sweat of his face. It grew naturally out of the ground. In fact, I’ve told my Oklahoma classes a lot of times. I like to just picture a big bunch of beautiful orange-red carrots with nice green tops. Maybe he could have just made a beautiful offering. Now that’s just my imagination. I don’t know what he brought. But nevertheless, it was something that grew out of the ground. And beautiful as it was, it was lifeless. It was bloodless.
Abel, on the other hand, went to his flock and got the firstling, or the best, lamb he could find. And he brought it as a sacrifice. Now then, Hebrews 11 makes it so plain.
“By faith (by taking God at His Word) Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,…” Now you have to kind of read between the lines. Cain brought that which grew out of the ground. It was bloodless. Abel brought a live sacrifice. A blood sacrifice. All right, so now then, if Abel brought the right sacrifice and he did it by faith, why did Cain bring a wrong sacrifice? No faith! The man didn’t believe a word God said.
Now, I don’t know how many of you have had people under your employ. I’m sure many of you have. You’ve given them explicit instructions on what you want them to do, and they don’t do it. Or they do it wrong. Do you just take that as another nice event in your life? Hardly. There’s nothing more irritating than to have given an order or an instruction to someone and have them do it wrong. What was their problem? Hey, they never listened to you. They never paid any attention to you.
Well, that was Cain. Whatever God told him concerning a sacrifice, Cain just let it go in one ear and out the other. And when it came time that he knew he had to get right with God, instead of bringing a blood sacrifice, Cain probably said, well, surely God knows how much sweat I’ve put into growing these things. Surely He will accept my offering even though it isn’t a lamb.
But God didn’t, and Cain got angry. But it wasn’t God’s fault. It was Cain’s unbelief. And because of his unbelief, he was rejected. Not because he was worse than Abel. It was just simply that he did not have faith, where Abel did. So Abel was accepted.
All right, let’s go back to the Old Testament once again. Let’s come all the way back to the account of Jacob and Esau. The most perfect example, again, of two young men, twins. In one respect they were probably alike in many areas. On the other hand, they were totally different. Jacob, of course, would rather be in the kitchen cooking, and Esau would rather be out in the field hunting.
But nevertheless, here we have two men, again, with whom God is going to deal with in this area of faith and unbelief. All right, in Genesis, I haven’t given you the chapter yet, have I? Chapter 25. Genesis chapter 25—a portion of Scripture you all know, probably as well or better than I do.
“And the boys (Jacob and Esau) grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.” He was more, like I said, more attuned to working in the kitchen and cooking rather than being out hunting. All right, now verse 29:
“And Jacob sod (or was making or was cooking) pottage (Today we’d just simply call it stew. He was cooking a bean soup.) and Esau came from the field, (Probably been out all day trudging through the woods and so forth, and he came in famished, hungry.) and he was faint: 30. And Esau said to Jacob, (his twin brother, remember) Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; (or stew) for I am faint: (I’m hungry.) therefore was his name called Edom. (Which is translated “red.” It was a red bean soup that Jacob was cooking.) 31. And Jacob said, (He was pretty coy, you know. And he says, all right, I’ll give you a bowl of soup for your birthright.) Sell me this day thy birthright.”
Now very few people understand that the birthright back here in the antiquities was a spiritual thing. The birthright had nothing to do with the physical or material wealth. The birthright was going to be associated with the Covenant made with their Grandfather Abraham. That through that man Abraham, and the off-spring coming down the road, would come the Messiah.
This is that whole idea of the birthright. That through that lineage of people would one day come the Redeemer, not only of Israel, but of the whole world. But it had to be appropriated how? By faith! They couldn’t see the whole thing. God didn’t lay it all out in a blueprint. They had to appropriate these things by taking God at His Word.
And that’s why Hebrews 11 is such a beautiful resume of these men of faith. Nothing was written. Nothing was drawn out. But whatever God had said, the Patriarchs believed it. It was their faith. All right, now coming back to this man Esau, then, he sees nothing to be gained from that spiritual birthright. And why not? No faith. What God said didn’t mean anything to Esau. He couldn’t have cared less that there was a Messiah or a Redeemer coming one day. He’d rather fill his tummy with bean soup. And so what does he do? Verse 31:
“And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. 32. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?” What a stupid question! Is it? Yes and no. To the man who understands what’s at stake, yes, it was stupid to imagine that he was turning his back on all the covenant promises that would be coming down the road.
But on the other hand, he had no concept of what this was. Why? Because he didn’t believe a thing God said. Whatever God may have said went in one ear and out the other. Ring a bell? Hey, that’s most people today. They don’t care what this Bible says. But for those of us who do care, we can take it, and we can accept it as the Word of God. We believe it, and God reckons that faith, then, as righteousness. All right, now let’s move on a little bit more here before we leave Genesis. Verse 33:
“And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. 34. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.”
Isn’t that plain? Look at the world around you. Have they changed? Not a bit. Not a bit. They’ve got all the promises of forgiveness. They’ve got all the promises of redemption. All the promises of eternal life, eternal bliss, don’t mean anything to them, the masses, for the most part. Why not? They have no faith!
They don’t believe any of this. Consequently, they live the way they do. Now, let’s just turn over a little bit, and then we’re going to go back to Hebrews once again. Come all the way over to, oh, let’s see, I’ve got to look a minute. I wasn’t really going to do this. Turn to chapter 36 of Genesis. Now this is the genealogy of the people that would come from this man destitute of faith, Esau.
Esau—the perfect example of a man who had everything going for him, but because of his lack of faith, he ended up on the wrong road. All right, Genesis 36 verse 1 and the first thing you’re going to say is, ah, this is just a dry genealogy. No. Not really. Not really.
“Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom. (Which means red. I mean, it follows him all the way through.) 2. Esau took his wives of the daughters of Canaan;…” Now to the casual reader that says – so what? But what had God also instructed all of these people coming out of that Covenant Promise to Abraham concerning the Canaanites? Have nothing to do with them!
You’re not to marry the Canaanites. That’s why He sent Isaac clear up to Syria for his wife. All right, so why can Esau glibly go and marry Canaanite women? No faith! No faith. Now, if you want to know what the Canaanite women were like, you read Leviticus 18. That gives you a graphic picture of the behavior of the Canaanite people. And it was from those people that Esau had no trouble in identifying and taking wives. Not even one, but two.
But he doesn’t stop there. He goes on one step further. He also marries, goodness sakes, I’m not seeing it. He also marries a daughter of Ishmael. I’m looking right at it. I know I am, and I’m not seeing it. Yeah, okay verse 3.
“And Bashemath Ishmael’s daughter,…” Now I’ll tell you. I can look at something and not see it. He also marries a daughter of Ishmael. So now here he is. He’s involved with three women, all of which are out of step with God’s promises. Why? No faith. Didn’t mean a thing to him what God said.
All right, now let’s follow up again going all the way back to Hebrews—to our same faith chapter. No, I’m going to go to chapter 12 on this one. Eleven is the faith chapter. But I’m going to go to Chapter 12. We’re going to follow up on this man destitute of faith, Esau.
“Lest there be any (What’s the word? Oh, we don’t even like to use it.) fornicator (What is that? An immoral person with no moral compass whatsoever. And that’s what Esau was. Now Paul writes—I trust he wrote Hebrews.) Lest there be any immoral, or profane person, as (Whom?) Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.” And why did he sell it? It was spiritual, and it meant nothing to him.
Since he was destitute of faith, he then became what kind of a person morally? Immoral. He had no compunction about going to those filthy, wicked, Canaanite people. And he took out not just two women, but three of those gals. And it all just showed his moral compass. And his moral compass was way off kilter, because he had no faith. Isn’t it amazing? No faith. And, oh, it is such a sad commentary of people who are the same way today. They are going on to their doom, eternally forever, simply because they will not take God at His Word.
When God tells us today in this Age of Grace that we must believe in that finished work of the cross (His death, burial, and resurrection ) in order to get to Heaven, as seen in I Corinthians 15:1-4, most just walk it underfoot. Not taking God at His Word has ruined nations. It has ruined individuals. And I’m afraid it’s going to ruin our beloved nation America. Because I’ve said it before, other men have said it—I’m not the only one. One day this nation is going to come down like no other nation in all of human history. You know why?
Because we have had so much of the Word of God. Churches on every corner. Bibles in every library. Probably in almost every home in America. And what are most of them doing? Gathering dust. Very few are taking anything of what this Book says and believing it. Consequently, we are a nation with tremendous responsibility. And to those responsible who have walked it underfoot, God deals sooner or later in judgment. He always has, and He will again.
All right, I’d like to use one more quick instance of a lack of faith. Come back with me to Numbers chapter, oh, I was going to say 14, but maybe I should look at a chapter a little sooner than that. No, let’s go to Numbers 14. That’ll be okay, Honey. Numbers 14 and, again, to make a quick, quick backdrop. Israel has come out of Egypt. They are now a Nation of People under Moses’ leadership. Aaron is the high priest. Just a few weeks before this, they have received the tabernacle. It’s all built and ready to function.
They’ve got the priesthood. Everything is ready to move on forward. God brings them up to the southern border of the Promised Land, or what we today call the Land of Israel. The Promised Land, whatever you want to call it. He told them to go in and take it. He would drive out the Canaanites in judgment because of their wickedness. He said, I’ll drive them out. I’ll use hornets or whatever else needs to be done. Just go in and occupy it. You won’t have to lift a sword. You won’t have to do any hard work. It’s all ready and waiting.
And look what happened. Oh, I guess I do have to drop back into chapter 13, Hon. Back into chapter 13 verse 27, the spies have now come back. And remember, the spies weren’t God’s idea, that was Israel’s. The twelve spies had come back, and they said in verse 27:
“…We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. 28. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. 29. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea,…” What are they saying? Hey, we can’t do it. We can’t take it.
“And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.” We saw the giants! Had God told them to be afraid of any of that? No. But what was the result? Oh, the next chapter now:
“And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. 2. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses…” Verse 3.
“(And they said–) And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?” That’s not what God said would happen! God said all they had to do was walk in and occupy it. What was their problem? No faith! And Hebrews chapter 3 recaps it. And what does it tell us. Therefore God did not let them go into the Promised Land because of their what? Unbelief.
So the Nation missed all the promises of the land flowing with milk and honey.