Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 49
Okay, it’s taken us 2 complete lessons to get to the last part of verse 1 in Hebrews chapter 6, but I think we’re ready for it now:
“…not laying again the foundation; of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.”
Alright, we’re just going to stop with that first phrase “not laying again the foundation.” Have you ever stopped to think what that really means? Put it into everyday life. If you’re going to build a home and you’ve got the foundation laid, what are you going to do, tear it up and pour another one? Well, of course not. You’re going to start building.
But see, what were these people doing? They were trying to tear up the old foundation and just go back where they were before. Now remember the primary subject of the book of Hebrews is Jews. Not exclusively. My, there’s so much in here for us but the primary subjects here are Jews who were still steeped in the Judaism of the past. They had recognized Jesus and His Messiahship. They had believed Who He was. They had embraced the Gospel of the Kingdom.
That’s as far as they’d gotten. And Paul is trying to move them now to progress towards this further revelation which, of course, is now not just for Israel, but now it’s for the whole human race, Jew and Gentile. And that is the Gospel of the Grace of God.
Now let me show you the term before we go further. I can come back to Hebrews so just hold your hand in Hebrews. Come back with me to Acts chapter 20 verse 24. Paul of course, refers to this Gospel of his in various forms. He’ll call it my Gospel. He’ll call it that Gospel which I preach among the Gentiles. He’ll call it the Gospel of Christ. But here in this verse, I like this one, because he calls it what we call it. Here in Acts 20, this is toward the end of his ministry as well and he said:
“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”
Can you get it any plainer? I don’t know how. And that is not the Gospel of the Kingdom. The Gospel of the Grace of God is that God has now through the person of the Son, died the horrible death of the Cross. Shed His blood, was buried three days and three nights in the tomb, and arose victorious over everything. That’s the Gospel of the Grace of God. And now it makes it possible for anyone to become a believer. Not just Israel, not just the Gentiles, but rather the whole human race.
That’s the Gospel of the Grace of God. That God in His mercy has seen fit to save those who simply believe – without works. Now if you’ll come back to Hebrews again. So Paul is saying now, once you’ve come through these words of Jesus in His earthly ministry establishing Who He was. Making all the promises that had been confirmed to the fathers. Because, when Israel rejected all that and crucified their Messiah, in reality, they were just simply fulfilling the Sovereign blueprint of God because Christ had to die. He had to go to the Cross. But nevertheless, in a system that we humans can’t understand, God made it a valid offer to the Nation of Israel to accept the King and the Kingdom.
But God knew that they wouldn’t. He knew that they would reject it and He knew that they would bring in the crucifixion which brought about our Gospel. Alright, so now then Paul says, don’t stay on just that foundation. Don’t try to tear it up and build another one. Or don’t try to put another foundation on top of that one. Let that one be and let’s move on.
I guess I would have to use an analogy here -I like to bring everything down to an everyday experience. I think we see it over and over especially in our mobile society. Maybe a young couple has been successful in a city. We’ll just say right here in Tulsa. And they have just made plans to build a new home. They’ve got the foundation poured. All of sudden he gets a job change. He has to go to a different part of the country for pursuit of his job.
Well, what are they going to do? Well, they’re not going to finish building it. They’ll probably try to sell it for whatever it is, but the analogy I want to make is that they are not going to build on that foundation which is no longer appropriate because they’re moving to a different city. Now when they leave Tulsa and go to his new job opportunity, all things being equal, now what are they going to do? They’re going to lay another foundation and they’re going to start building. Does that help?
Alright, that’s what we’ve got here. The foundation for the Gospel of the Kingdom was laid and we’ll be looking at some of the precepts of it. But, now we’ve got something better, so move on!
Let’s look at the foundation of the Gospel of the Grace of God that we’re going to be talking about. I Corinthians chapter 3 dropping in at verse 10. Now Paul the Apostle of the Gentiles is writing to Gentiles under this whole revelation of the mysteries which includes the Gospel of the Grace of God and he’s dealing with these Corinthians much like he does the Hebrews there in chapter 5 and 6, that they’re to come on away from their carnality and become spiritual and get into the meat of the matter.
Because he says the same thing in verse 2 of this chapter. He says, “I fed you with milk not with meat.” (why?) “Because up to this time you were not able to bear it.” See they were babes in Christ. So we’ve got pretty much the same setting. But now look at verse 10.
I Corinthians 3:10
“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder. (the head contractor) I have laid (not a foundation, but what) the (the only) foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.” You see the picture. We had to leave that foundation that was offered to Israel under the Gospel of the Kingdom, because that is now moot. But now we move to a new foundation which is that which the Apostle Paul has laid. Now, let’s be careful. Paul isn’t claiming to be the foundation. He’s merely the master contractor. He laid the foundation. Now the next verse,
I Corinthians 3:11
“For other foundation can no man lay that that which is laid, and that is (what?) Jesus Christ.” That’s the foundation on which everything now rests. So it’s a moving, progressive thing. On your way back to Hebrews just stop at Galatians for a moment. Galatians chapter 1. Verses that we use so often. Sometimes my mind probably confuses my nightly classes in Oklahoma with some of the tapings, or the programs but I hope I don’t run some of these things in the ground. I don’t like to ride a hobbyhorse, you know, and just go, go, go and never make any headway.
But I use Galatians 1 so often in order to show again the progressiveness of Paul’s writings, and let’s begin with 11, where Paul writes primarily to Gentiles. Now we’re not leaving the Jews out – they certainly has access to the Gospel of Grace the same as we do. But, it’s primarily Gentiles who are responding. And so he says:
“I certify you, brethren, that the gospel (this Gospel of the Grace of God) which was preached of me is not after man. 12. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it,(by other men) but (here it comes now) by the revelation (what’s the other word for revelation? Revealing. What’s a revealing? Taking off the mask, see? And so) of Jesus Christ. 13. For ye have heard of my conversation (or manner of living) in times past in the Jews’ religion,…”
This is what he’s addressing back in Hebrews. He knew where those people were, because he’d been there. How do we say it today? Been there and done that? Yeah, that’s what Paul could have said, I’ve been there, done that. But now you see, he’s had these new revelations concerning Jesus Christ. Now finishing verse 13.
“…how that beyond measure I persecuted the church (or assembly) of God, and wasted it:” Then he goes on to say how that all of these truths that now come from his pen were revealed to him by the ascended Lord.
“To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen: (Gentiles)
Now we’re getting through to people. I can even tell in our letters. The Apostle Paul speaks of Christ on this side of the Cross. After the finished work of death, burial and resurrection. The Four Gospels are before the Cross and most people can’t understand that. Back to Hebrews 6.
“…not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and faith toward God.”
That was the very tenets or the precepts of the Gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus and the Twelve proclaimed to Israel. And Paul says, ‘That’s moot.’ That’s no longer of any count. It is in the past. Now what are they? Six of them. In pairs. “Don’t lay again the foundation of repentance from dead works and faith toward God.”
Now goodness sakes, didn’t all the Old Testament understand those two. Why of course. Israel was told more than once to repent of their wickedness. Abraham was a man of what? Faith! So these were two concepts or precepts that weren’t new to Israel. That was part and parcel of their history, see? And so Paul says, don’t just stay on that which has now become elementary. Dead works, wow!
I take you right back to Galatians. Let’s just go back. I should have used that before I went to Hebrews. Galatians 1 where we just were, 13 and 14 again. This is why he knew whereof he spoke. And even though every word is inspired by the Holy Spirit, we’ll never take that away from it, yet Paul had firsthand knowledge of what the Spirit was causing him to write. Alright, remember now what he says, not to lay the foundation of repentance from dead works.
“For ye have heard of my conversation (or manner of living) in time past in the Jews’ religion,…” Most of you have been hearing me teach long enough. Religion always requires what? Works. Always. Anytime you are dealing with a ‘religion’ it’s going to be demanding works. And that’s what Judaism was, it was a works religion. Dead works, because it couldn’t generate life. Alright, looking at the verse again.
“For ye have heard of my conversation (manner of living) in time past in the Jews’ religion, (practicing those dead works as he calls it in Hebrews.) and how that beyond measure, I persecuted the church (or the assembly of God) and wasted it:”
Stop and think. What was he doing to his fellow Jews? Killing them. Hauling them into prison and voting to put them to death. You know that has been a thing that has plagued the Jewish people from day one is that they are so prone to fight each other. They’ve done it throughout their national history. I read here, I think it’s in Josephus, that when the Roman General Titus and his ramrods were knocking on the doors of the city of Jerusalem, and the Roman hoard was ready to come in and kill them, I think up over a million Jews, what were the Jews doing inside the city? Civil war! They were fighting with each other. Over what? Religious differences. Look at Israel today. What is their primary problem? They’re fragmented. They’re a fragmented society. I was just reading an article in the Jerusalem Post the other day of a little community where it’s just nip and tuck between the secular and the religious. And they almost hate each other. And yet they’re all Jews.
Well, Paul was no different. He was a Jew’s Jew. A Pharisee of the Pharisees. Of the Tribe of Benjamin. And yet what was he willing to do? See his fellow Jews put to death. Why? Because he disagreed with them on their faith system. They had embraced Jesus of Nazareth and so far as he was concerned they were now a plague to the Nation. Get rid of them! Isn’t it sad? So, you watch Israel. Just watch the little Nation of Israel. Even today they are plagued with fragmentation. They’ve got the secular, they’ve got the orthodox and they’ve got three or four groups in between and they are at each other’s throats constantly. Alright, now verse 14.
“And profited (see? Not spiritually – materially.) in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in my own nation, (Why?) being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.”
Paul was a religious zealot just like some of these Muslims that we’re dealing with. Religion will always do that to people. And so, he was a religious zealot and what was he zealous of? “The traditions of the fathers.” All ring a bell? Well, it should. Now back to the Book of Hebrews. And so he says, move away from that. Get away from that foundation which required repentance from dead works and of faith toward God. Now that’s of course, fundamental. We all know that without faith it’s impossible to please God. Now for the next pair.
“Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands,…”
Well, that was part and parcel of again the Jewish background. My goodness, they had practiced washings, washings, washings all the way up through their national history. When John the Baptist came on the scene and demanding water baptism, that wasn’t anything frightening to the Jew. That wasn’t something they said, “Well, what’s this?” It was just another form of washing, washing, washing. So Paul says, move on. Don’t hang on to that. The laying on of hands, the same way. That was part and parcel of the priesthood and everything else. Now, the last two.
“…and of resurrection of the dead and (the next part people don’t like to read) eternal judgment.”
Don’t hear that much anymore do you? The world doesn’t even think about the eternal judgment that’s coming. Eternal. How long is eternity? As long as God lives! That should make people think, shouldn’t it?
And where in eternity? That’s up to the individual. Either in bliss and glory or eternal doom. Now, lest you think that some of this was unique only to the New Testament, let’s go all the way back to Job chapter 19, cause I just want you to see that Paul knew what he was talking about even though it was Spirit inspired, that the Jews knew of resurrection. Now of course, modern Judaism, a lot of Jews do not believe in a literal, viable life after death. I was just reading something by a Rabbi again the other night, that a lot of the Jews concept of eternal life is that it will just keep going in our coming generations. In other words, your life continues with your children and your grandchildren. That’s one concept. But see, the Biblical concept was as you and I look at it – is that it is eternal life either separated from God or in His presence. Alright, now, Job of course, a believer could write it like this. Remember Job is clear back before David. I think Job is kind of an enigma, nobody has ever yet written anything to satisfy me as to when Job lived and wrote. I’ve got my own pet ideas but I’m not that sure of it.
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he (the Redeemer) shall stand at the latter day (where?) upon the earth: 26. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, (in other words he goes through physical death) yet in my flesh (in a resurrected body) shall I see God.”
Now there’s resurrection life way back in Job’s day. See? Alright, let’s come on up to Daniel chapter 12, and we’ll start right up there at verse 1. I’m just trying to show you that these Hebrews to whom Paul was writing had an understanding of all these things. It wasn’t Greek to them.
“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people:(Israel) and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the book (in other words, the Book of Life – believers; now here it comes) 2. And many of them that sleep (or who have died physically) in the dust of the earth shall awake, (resurrection) some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting (what?) contempt.” There are the two alternatives. It’s either a life of bliss and glory in the presence of the Lord or it’s a life of doom. Which the world doesn’t even want to think about. Now verse 3.
“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament: and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” And then as you end up the book of Daniel God rehearses with him as to the timing of the resurrection of the Old Testament saints. Alright, let’s look at one more in Christ’s earthly ministry. That will probably suffice. Let’s go back again to John chapter 11, the death of Lazarus. You all know the story I trust, how that Jesus has been out of town, as we would say, and Lazarus has died and the girls are rather shook up. Why didn’t you stay around? You could have healed him from being so sick. Well, of course, the Lord did it purposely. Because He was going to prove again, some of His power. Alright, verse 23, Jesus comes back to Bethany, and He’s telling Mary and Martha,
“…Thy brother shall rise again.” Now here it comes. You think they didn’t have an idea of resurrection. Why of course they did.
” Martha saith unto him, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Just exactly what Job, and Daniel were talking about. And then Jesus went on to rehearse that He was the resurrection and the life and that any that put their trust in Him…. But the point I wanted to make was that this foundation from which Israel was now to move on, was not something new and fresh and that they had never heard before. They knew all these concepts. Alright, back to Hebrews chapter 6. And again in verse 2, that not only were they aware of baptisms, laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead. They were also aware of what? Eternal judgment. And we’ve already seen an alluding to that. They understood that there was a choice to be made and that the unbelieving element would be going to an eternal doom, separated from God.
Maybe I can show it the quickest by just flipping on over to Revelation chapter 20. This is the doom that all of human history is going for. It’s not explained this graphically in the Old Testament, it was simply a separation, but here the Revelator tells us exactly what it is in verse 14.
“And death and hell (that is the inhabiting area of the lost) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”