Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 49
Hebrews 6:1-4 – Part 2
Alright, so again we’re just an informal Bible study and for those of you just seeing us for the first time, I’m just a layman. I’m not a pastor and I don’t have a congregation. We have no one underwriting us so we are totally dependent on the gifts of God’s people. And it’s amazing, oh it’s amazing how God provides! Our bookkeeper and daughter Laura, who is still a young Christian compared to some of us, was fretting about the ministry’s finances with about three days before the end of the year, and was afraid that we were going to finish in the red, unless something else came in. But you know what, when she got all through tallying up the checks at the end of the year she was able to pay all the bills, including television time and the newsletter expenses. I mean, everything was paid up in full, and she still had $3,000 in the checking account. And, oh, she was so thrilled! Now $3,000 may seem like a lot, but I’ll tell you what, when you see our television bill for one month – $3,000 isn’t much. But the Lord provides, and that’s all we ask. So thank you for your financial help and your prayers and, again, for your encouraging letters.
Now let’s move right on where we left off in the last lesson, and that’s Hebrews chapter 6 and again, I’ll be reviewing a lot today of what we’ve covered because remember we move on again next month into another four programs. But here today we’ve been looking at this whole idea of not staying status quo; you’ve got to progress. You’ve got to move on. And it’s as true of us as it was of these Jews who were still tied up with the legalism and the ramifications of Judaism.
I always like to point out that secular archaeology proves these events. You know, Christ was crucified in about 29 AD. Paul begins his ministry, I always maintain around 40 AD. And so here you have these Jews who had come out of Christ’s earthly ministry still under the Law. Remember I am always emphasizing that during Christ’s earthly ministry they were still keeping the Jewish Law. They had Saturday Synagogue, they kept their food kosher. I mean everything was still under the Law.
Then, of course, when we come into Paul’s ministry, the first thing that Paul makes so plain is “you’re not under the Law, you’re under Grace!” But you see, like the Book of Hebrews is telling us, a lot of these Jews had not yet made the break from Judaism and embraced Jesus as the Messiah – putting that behind them and moving into Paul’s doctrines of Grace. Faith plus nothing, as we see in I Corinthians 15:1-4.
Alright, secular archaeology has pretty much proven that there were Jews up until about the end of the first century, who were showing in their potsherds, the clay particles that archaeologists find, that in the same little piece of clay, there would be a symbol of the menorah – the seven candled candle stick, and the fish. You know, the mark of Jesus of Nazareth, or Christianity, later on.
Now what does that show you? That these Jews were still practicing both sides. They were still involved in the legalism of Judaism but they also had embraced Jesus of Nazareth. And for that reason, of course, they had been scattered out of Jerusalem because of Paul’s persecution. And so one of the cities of the Decapolis, I think, was Pella. And that’s probably where a lot of those Jerusalem Jews fled to – the area of Pella up there just east of Galilee that the archaeologists have found so much evidence of just this very thing. That they must have been practicing both aspects. They had Judaism and yet they were followers of Jesus of Nazareth.
See, this is what Paul is dealing with and I think it was to a congregation maybe in a city like Pella that the Book of Hebrews was written. We don’t know, but that’s just my own idea.He has now been telling them that they’ve got to grow up spiritually. They’ve got to get off the milk-bottle of the simple things and get on into the deeper things of Paul’s revelations of the mysteries and what we call the Age of Grace. But, oh, they were having a problem.
And that’s understandable because we run into it all the time where people may come out of a cult, or what we certainly feel is a totally false religion and it’s a struggle. It is a struggle to just simply cut the ties of that old religion and step out here in Grace. Like a gentleman called me again just the other day. And he said, “Les it must be part of the human nature to want to do something.” And I said, “That’s what I’m always saying.”
Remember, human nature says, “I’ve got to do something,” and that appeals to people. And when I come along and say, you step out by faith and faith alone. Well, it’s just like telling somebody to step out in the street without any clothes on. And I’ve used that analogy because you do, you step out naked before God. With nothing else to enhance eternal life. It’s Faith plus Nothing! Alright so now then, Paul is saying:
“Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2. Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”
Leave behind these doctrines of baptisms, laying on of hands, repentance from dead works and resurrection of the dead. These are all valid concepts of course, but they are now of no real basis for this Gospel of Grace.
Now I think, Dwight, I’m going to use what you reminded me of. And I appreciate when people do this at break time. I’m going to stop right here a moment, and we’re going to jump clear back to Romans chapter 2, and even though it may not fit with my line of thinking as I prepared for these, I’m going to insert it here, because I want people to know that when I stand up and proclaim Paul’s Gospel of the Grace of God, it is because this is what God has mandated. And anybody that slips out into eternity with less than Paul’s Gospel for their Salvation is in trouble. Alright, Romans chapter 2 verse 16 and it’s a verse that can pretty much stand by itself.
“In the day (That will be at the Great White Throne) when God shall judge (now you see, God won’t be the judge until the Great White Throne) the secrets of men…”
Now I don’t think I have to explain what that is. The very thought processes of an individual. What is his faith basis? With what is he going into eternity? Those are the secrets of men that Paul is referring to. Alright, let’s look at it.
“In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ (He’s going to be the judge. Not the Savior – the judge. And He’s going to judge them) according (Paul says) to my gospel.”
Now you think about that. Wake up at 2 o’clock tomorrow morning and think about it. What is going to be the basis of Christ judging lost humanity? What did you do with Paul’s Gospel? And that’s why I stand up unashamed and proclaim Paul’s Gospel because this is what people have to hear. What is Paul’s Gospel? Yes, that Christ was the Son of God. That’s what we’ve seen in Hebrews. He’s the Son, He’s the Creator of everything, but He took on human flesh and He went the way of the Cross. He suffered, He died, He shed His blood, He was buried and He arose again the third day to satisfy all the demands of a Holy God! And all we have to do for salvation is believe that with all our heart.
You know, I’ve been rehearsing over and over in my classes and in my personal testimonies and so forth, that twice in all of human history, God did something that was so perfect. You know what I’m talking about? It was so perfect that He couldn’t add one thing to it, He couldn’t enhance it, He couldn’t embellish it, it was perfect! And because it was perfect, He sat down.
Well, the first one of course, is Creation. Genesis 1 the last verse says that God looked at all that He had created and made and it was what? Very good. And the Hebrew expounds it a lot more. It was perfect. There wasn’t a thing wrong that He could correct. So you get into chapter 2, what did God do? He rested! And you remember I made the statement, now ordinarily you come home from a day of hard work and if you’re going to rest, what do you do? You sit down. Take the load off. Well, that’s what Christ did, because it was perfect. Now again, you get to Hebrews chapter 1 and what did it say?
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets. 2. Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3. Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right had of the Majesty on high;” Well why? Everything was perfect! He couldn’t add to that work of the cross one iota. It was perfect! And then He offers it to the human race, through the Apostle Paul. And what does the human race say, “that’s not enough. I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do that.” And that’s why God is so displeased with that kind of unbelief.
Alright, so now then, coming back here, these concepts of Judaism now have to be left behind and we have to move on. We have to make a progression out of a dead works religion and move on. Now, in verse 3 we find a word that raises eyebrows.
“And this we will do (Paul writes. Wow! The next part throws a curve.) if God permit.”
What does that tell you? You can’t do it on your own. God is always going to be involved in every decision we make. And so – even these Jews that Paul is admonishing to move on, get away from all the dead works of Judaism, and move on into this whole finished work of Grace – can they do it alone? “If God permit.” He’s still going to be involved. He’s Sovereign.
Like I say, I’m not a Five-Point Calvinist. I maintain that yes, God is going to make the initial move. He does the initial enlightening, as we’re going to see here in just a moment. But what does the individual have to do? He has to make a decision to accept it or reject it. That’s our decision to make. But God is going to do the prompting. So, we can’t leave God out of the picture.
“This we will do, if God permit.”
We always have to take all the other Scriptures. Does God want anyone to be lost? No! God doesn’t want anyone to perish. No, for He has died for the whole human race.
Alright now, I don’t think I can do justice to this next portion with only 15 minutes, so I’ll probably have to start and finish next month. But here is a portion of Scripture that I almost hate to, what shall I say, blunder into, an area where angels fear to tread. An area of Scripture that has probably caused more questions in our mail and in our phone calls than any other one portion of Scripture. Mostly because so many have totally ground this thing up to where it doesn’t mean what it’s supposed to mean. But it is a tremendous warning.
Now again, I’m going to make it clear, that even though Paul is addressing Hebrews (who are still hanging on to their old religion) yet, we as Grace believers today, can take the same warning. You see, there are a lot of preachers out there who are telling people from their pulpit that these verses teach that you can be saved today and lost tomorrow. And then you can get saved again and you can get lost again, however many times that your lifetime will permit. And I say, don’t you believe it! Salvation is a one-time thing. And either you’re saved or you’re not. And for those who are not, it’s a warning. Alright, here’s the warning, verse 4,
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,”
I’m going to have to stop there because we’ll never get though that verse let alone on into the rest of it.
What’s the Scripture telling us? That there is a possibility for an individual to be enlightened. To have the Holy Spirit open their understanding. They may even have an emotional experience; they may walk an aisle. They may do all the various things that churches and denominations require of them, but they never took it hook, line and sinker. Now, we’ve got plenty of examples in Scripture. I mean all kinds of them.
And the first one without even going back and looking it up in the Book because I trust you all know what I’m talking about is Israel at Kadesh-barnea. Remember it? Here they had just come away from Mt. Sinai, they now have the Tabernacle, the Law and the priesthood. They have everything ready and God has promised the “land of milk and honey” out in front of them. All you have to do is go in and occupy. It’s all ready for them. The fields and vineyards are producing, the pastures are productive, and the water is flowing. God said, “It’s all there for you, and I’ll push the Canaanites out. I’ve used them for the last four hundred years to get it all ready.”
You know, I always have to think of the place that the Lord brought us to here in Kinta, Oklahoma. Iris and I love that hill and over and over I have to say, the guy that got it ready was an instrument in God’s hands. Because he did, he just carved our place out of a hill in his pasture and then within a little while he had heart trouble and he had to sell it. And we moved in and we’ve enjoyed it ever since.
Well, I think that’s how God works. He did the same thing with Israel. Got it all ready. And then told them, “I’ll drive the Canaanites out, don’t you worry about them. I’ll use hornets. You won’t have to lift a sword, just go in and occupy.” There it was. What could they have done? They could have gone in and had it! But instead what did they do, in unbelief? No, no, we can’t do it. And they wept. Wept all night. Because they couldn’t do it. And you know, we’ve been looking at it ever since we’ve been in Hebrews. And what did God call that?Unbelief! And, oh, how He hates unbelief.
Well, it’s the same way with so many people who are approached with salvation. They may have an emotional upheaval. They may have gotten an inkling of the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit but they don’t take it. They turn around and they say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Alright, let’s look at some more Scripture. Come back with me to Mark chapter 4. This again back in the Lord’s earthly ministry and from the lips of the Lord Himself. This is the parable of the Sower of the Seed.
“Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: 4. And it came to pass, as he sowed, (casting the seed) some fell by the way side, fowl of the air came and devoured it up (In other words, it didn’t even have a chance to effect anybody. It was there and gone, just that quick.) 5, And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; (maybe just an inch of topsoil) and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: 6. But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no (what?) root, it withered away.”
We’re talking about an inch of topsoil on a piece of rock and the seed comes up but there’s no root. And consequently it withered away. Oh it had life, but it withered and it disappeared. Now verse 7.
“And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 8. And other fell on good ground, and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.” And then, Jesus comes down to verse 14:
“The sower soweth (what?) the word.” We’re not talking about wheat. We’re talking about Spiritual things. And as the Word went out even over Israel, from the lips of the Lord and the Twelve disciples what happened to most of it? Nothing. Only a little small portion took root.
Now I don’t like to be adamant and say 25% were believers. I don’t think it was even that many. But we know that in the whole concept of Spiritual sowing, the vast majority falls on thorny ground, or on dry ground, too hard for any root to take. The birds get it. And then some fall on shallow ground and springs up but doesn’t mature. And that’s the part that’s so scary.
Alright, come back to Hebrews just a moment. R. E. Torrey, great evangelist of a by-gone day, made statements something like this and I’m trying to be real close, I just read it the other night for the first time. R. E. Torrey made the statement “that there is an enlightenment of the Spirit that does not lead to regeneration.” Did you hear that? There is an enlightening power of the Spirit that does not lead to regeneration. That’s exactly what Paul is addressing here in these verses. These Jews had been steeped in their religion. They had considered Paul’s Gospel but they wouldn’t swallow it.
Now let’s look at another one. Let’s go back to John’s Gospel, and I hope I can find it – it should be in chapter 4. John’s Gospel chapter 4 and you all know the account. Jesus and the woman of Samaria at the well. They meet out there at Jacob’s well.
“There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat,)”
Now of course, I always call this a unique situation in Christ’s earthly ministry. Why did He send the disciples away? He knew that this woman was coming and He knew that the Twelve would have a big flap about Him having even one word of conversation with a woman of the street from Samaria. So He gets rid of the Twelve because He knows this woman is coming. So for the woman of Samaria, what was it? A divine appointment! She didn’t know it but Jesus did. Alright so here she comes to her divine appointment.
“Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”
Alright I won’t be able to finish this because I’m out of time, I’m going to have to stop here, but if you are working out in a hot summer sun, whether in your garden or mowing your lawn, or whether it’s myself out in a hayfield. And somebody comes along with a drink of ice-cold water – I have a fellow farmer and rancher right over here, Andy what are you going to do? Sip it to see if it’s good? No sir! Boy you’re going to guzzle it. Why? Because you’re going to take it and satisfy the needs of your body. And that’s the way true believers are, they believe it with all their heart, and satisfy their need for salvation, rather than just sip it and go through the motions. Well we’re out of time and we’ll pick up with these thoughts in the next lesson.