Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 51
The Lord Shall Judge His People
Hebrews 10:23 – 11:8
We try not to preach at anybody, and we try not to attack anyone. I don’t think we’ve ever done that. In fact, I had a letter the other day that made that point. It said, “I love your program because you never attack anyone.” Well, why should we? Because the Book speaks for itself. And that’s all we want to do is just get folks to see what the Word of God says. Not what I say, or what anyone else says, but what does the Book say? And with that let’s get right back to where we left off in the last program and that would be Hebrews chapter 10 verse 23.
“Let us hold fast (just like an anchor) the profession of our (what?) faith…” Faith. Now you know that is one of the key words that I’m emphasizing. And we’re going to see it explained explicitly when we get to chapter 11. But faith – faith – faith! I just can’t emphasize enough, is simply taking God at His Word! And this is the whole idea of our relationship with God is to believe what He has said.
And even though we use all of Scripture, yet Paul is the Apostle to us as Gentiles, and I maintain that if people would just simply study and believe what Paul writes in his epistles,you wouldn’t need these bookstores full of ‘How To’ books. Wouldn’t need them because he covers every problem of life. And we can solve that problem with what? Faith! Believing what God has said about it! But it’s so hard for people to get that through their heads, that faith is just simply – Taking God at His Word! God said it, and I believe it! And now Paul says, “hang on to it.” Don’t let it just become something that you’re careless about but just hang on, that this is what God says and I’m believing it come what may.
“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering;…” Why does Paul admonish these people then to hang on to their faith?
“…(for he is faithful that promised;)” God is faithful! See men can say things, they can even sign contracts but it’s not worth the paper it’s written on. But that’s not what God is. God is faithful and he will always keep His Word. Now verse 24.
“And let us consider one another to provoke (or to prod) unto love and good works:” You see, the beauty of the Christian community is that we should not be attacking each other. We should not be smiling and laughing over some fellow Christian’s misfortune. But, rather, we should be constantly encouraging one another, because you don’t get a word of encouragement from the world. I mean not a word. And yet we’re all human. I don’t have to have my feathers stroked three, four times a day; but once in a while it sure helps to have someone say, “Les, your program has blessed my life.” Of course, we’re human and we appreciate that.
But even in our everyday contacts with fellow believers, we should be encouraging one another – not attacking and pulling each other down. So, we provoke or prod one another, we encourage one another to love each other as well as to practice good works. Now I think maybe I shared it in the last taping, but a lot of times people, especially when they get older and they’re no longer able to do the fast-paced work of when they were young, will say, “Well, Les what can I do? There’s nothing I can do so far as works are concerned.”
Well, I had a gentleman come up at our seminar in Oklahoma City; and he liked to work with wood and that was his hobby. Well, he had started making beautiful wood walking canes, and he said, “You know what I do with these? Just as fast as I can make them, I take them out to people in nursing homes who need a cane. And it just thrills them to death that now they’ve got a beautiful, handmade cane.” Well, who would ever think of something like that as good works? Well, God does! God looks at that and that’s a good work. That’s something that is bringing some happiness, some joy to people in a particular need. So don’t ever say, “Well there’s nothing I can do.” You’d be surprised how many places there are that God can use whatever you’re capable of doing.
All right, verse 25 – a verse that is often taken totally out of context. And it’s stretched to the limit, but we’re just going to take it for what it says, that now as fellow believers, we are in the business of encouraging one another. We are to increase our love for one another because of Who has loved us first.
“Not to forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,…” Now when you get into the Greek, this assembling of ourselves is a lot stronger than here in the English. What it really means is. “Assembling together with our own kind.” Birds of a feather do what? They flock together. But too many times Christians don’t. And I have people calling constantly where they’re attending a church that things are said and done that just simply don’t fit with their own belief system. And what am I going to tell them? “Get out of there! They’re not your own kind. Find a place where they are.” And this is exactly what it means, that you are to assemble yourselves together with like-minded believers.
Don’t try to compromise your own belief system in order to get along with a group that is contrary to what you feel the Word declares. Now again, we’re in a time, in an age, when most of us think that if your church isn’t 6,000 members and if you haven’t got a 200-voice choir and a big orchestra down front, you’re just not with it. Well, I’ve got news for you. That is not the New Testament Church at all. Now it has come to that, and we certainly aren’t going to tell people to lock their doors. But that is not the concept of believers coming together in the early church and I don’t think it’s going to end up that way.
I think, once again, it’ll come back to where you have true believers meeting in rather small groups. I was reading a secular magazine the other night, and I could just gather between the lines that our days of freedom and liberty as true Christians are numbered. I mean that. Our days are numbered. And if the Lord doesn’t come, even those of us that are a little bit gray haired, we’re probably going to see some tough times. And that’s why I think we should pray earnestly that the Lord will come – and with those kinds of situations like in China, remember, after the Communists took over China. The Church went underground, and by that we simply mean, that they met secretly in their apartment complexes. They had ‘house churches.’ And so when missionaries went back into China after the doors kind of opened up, they were just astounded at how many true believers were throughout China simply because they had survived with small ‘house churches.’ And we’d better get prepared; it may come back to that.
So rather than just try to find something that’s the biggest church going and the most exciting and the most entertaining; it’s far more profitable spiritually to gather with maybe a smaller group that are truly feeding on the Word of God. In fact, as I look at this verse, I have to think, what did the Lord Himself say back in the Gospels? “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m in the midst of them.” And so let’s always keep that in mind.
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,…” We do need Christian fellowship. Now of course, I know we get letters every day from shut-ins, from people who are no longer able to go out into a public place of worship, and programs like ours are of course, their spiritual food. And that’s understandable, but as long as we’re able to assembly with fellow believers, even if it’s in a smaller environment, don’t ever forsake that.
“…as the manner of some is; but exhorting (or encouraging) one another,: (this is probably written in the early 60’s AD and Paul says) and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.” Well, what day is he talking about? The Lord’s coming! And I always emphasize that especially lately in our local classes here in Oklahoma, you want to remember that the whole concept up until just before Paul is martyred is that the Lord would be coming in short order. They had no idea that it would be 2,000 years! That never entered their minds. They were expecting the Lord to come almost any moment. Even in Paul’s lifetime.
And so here’s another indication of that. Don’t forsake yourselves meeting together, Paul says; especially as we draw near to the Lord’s return. Well, if it was apropos in 61 or 62 AD, how much more today? You know, I’ve always gone back to the cartoon of the old caveman who had written across his cave, ‘The end is near.’ But the second picture he had added what? ‘er’ See? Today the end is nearer than it was yesterday. Today this verse is more appropriate. It’s 2,000 years closer than when Paul wrote it. And so as we see the day approaching, encourage one another that the Lord is coming! Don’t be caught asleep. Don’t be caught unprepared.
In fact, I John chapter 3 comes to mind. See now, all these things I don’t prepare the night before. I wish I could but I just can’t, as I don’t know exactly how the Holy Spirit is going to lead as I teach. We’ll be getting into these little epistles when we finish Hebrews, hopefully. Here you’ll see John’s concept of the Lord’s coming is the same as Paul’s. It could happen anytime even back there in the early first century, in the 60’s AD.
I John 3:1
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we (as believers) should be called the sons of God: (or the children of God.) therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” Now that’s plain enough isn’t it? My goodness, after three years amongst His own people, what was the statement of the majority? “Crucify Him! Kill Him!” They didn’t know Him. Well, that’s the world’s attitude toward us, whether you know it or not. All right, and so it knows us not because it “knew him not.” Now here it comes in verse 2.
I John 3:2-3
“Beloved, now we are the sons (or the born ones) of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know (beyond a shadow of a doubt) that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3. And every man (that’s a generic term meaning also women, boys and girls who are believers) that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he (the Lord) is pure.”
What does that tell us? I’ll bet you one thing for sure, if you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that by 12 o’clock tomorrow the Lord would have come for us in the Rapture, you’d act a lot different for this next 24 hours. Wouldn’t we? I mean every one of us! We would make sure that we hadn’t had any evil thoughts cobwebbing our minds. We would make sure that we are spiritually, as well as physically and materially, ready for that trumpet call that’s going to come sometime between now and noon tomorrow. I know we would. There isn’t a person in this room that wouldn’t take special note to be ready when that moment comes.
Well, we should be just as ready all the time, see? But we’re human. We get lax and the first thing you know weeks have gone by and we haven’t really thought about the Lord’s coming. But hey, it’s got to be on our mind constantly, especially as we see as Paul says in Hebrews, ‘The day appearing.’ All right, now then the other one that I just thought of while I was reading this one of course was Philippians. So let’s go back to Philippians chapter 3, starting at verses 20 and 21.
“For our conversation (or if you have a margin, it’s citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21, Who shall change our vile (or this corrupt) body, that it (this body) may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, (the resurrected body) according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” In other words, what are we to be constantly aware of? That maybe in the next hour, we’re out of this old body of flesh and we’re in the new and we’re in Glory! That’s our blessed hope and I can’t stress it enough that all through the early days of Christendom it was that imminent return of Christ that they were looking for. And like I’ve said over and over, Paul wrote of it as though He was coming in his lifetime, until just before he was martyred. He finally speaks of the fact that he’s going to go through physical death, but I don’t think Paul ever expected to. He thought the Lord was going to return before he would die a physical death. All right back to Hebrews chapter 10. And so:
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together (with like-minded believers) as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
Verse 26 and here again is a verse that arouses so many questions and really it’s quite simple.
“For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,” Now in order to understand this you’ve got to get the big picture. Who are the Hebrews? Jews! What is their belief system? Judaism. And what was Judaism based on? The Temple worship and the sacrifices and the feast days and all the various demands – for a particular sin, you would bring this particular sacrifice. Now this whole book of Hebrews as I’ve been stressing, was written first and foremost to those Hebrew believers. And they were having such a hard time breaking from their old religious system of Judaism with Temple worship and the sacrifices and the whole ‘nine yards.’
And as I explained to one of my classes just this last week, you take people who have come out of a cult, and cults are satanically capable of brainwashing people to such an extent that it’s almost impossible to bring them out of it except for the power of God, but I have had some that have broken free. And the first thing they tell me, “But Les, it’s so hard to break with what we have been taught for a whole lifetime.” I know that. It is hard. But if you’re going to be a believer in the Word of God that’s what you have to do. Well, these Jews were the same way. They had been steeped in Judaism ever since 1500 BC. Israel was under the Law and they were steeped in Temple worship with all of its attendant sacrifices.
Now then, the key to this whole verse is the last part of the verse; that if you’re going to willfully turn away from Paul’s revelations of the grace of God and go back into Judaism, what would they be practicing? Sacrifices! They’d be going back to their animal sacrifices, but would it do them any good? No. And that’s what this verse is screaming at them. If you’re going to turn around and walk away from this that has been revealed to you by the grace of God and you’re going to go back into Judaism with all of its Temple worship and sacrifices, then hey, you’re out of it. God is no longer dealing with people on the basis of the animal sacrifices because He was the complete, perfect sacrifice.
And when people turned around and said, “Well, I’m going back to my Temple worship. I’m going back to the animal sacrifices;” they were, as it says in chapter 6 ‘crucifying the Lord afresh.’ How? By telling Him that His sacrifice counted for nothing! That animal’s blood was better than His. Do you see the picture?
All right, verse 27. That after they’d received the knowledge of the truth and there remains no more sacrifice (animal sacrifices won’t help you). But if you’re going to go back into Judaism there is:
“But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversary.” Judgment because they had spurned God’s grace. What’s it speaking of? The Great White Throne Judgment when lost Jews are going to be condemned to the Lake of Fire just as well as lost humanity in general. If they’re going to turn away from God’s offer of grace and salvation by faith in that grace alone; if they’re going to go back to animal sacrifices, then they’ve got nothing facing them but the fiery indignation of eternaldoom.
Now, to chapter 6; I said it’s referring to the same thing. So if somebody asks you, “Well what about Hebrews 10:26?” You tell them it’s the same thing as Hebrews chapter 6 and then you’re out of it! So let’s review Hebrews chapter 6 verse 4 for a moment.
“For it is (what?) impossible (and that means what it says, it’s impossible) for those who were once enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift,” Now I’ve had quite a few people respond already because some of the stations show this on Sundays and so this has already been out on the air and we’ve already had some comment, that they never realized before that you do not sustain any amount of energy by simply tasting something. You can taste from now until doomsday and you’ll starve to death because you don’t really latch on to something if all you’re doing is tasting it.
And that’s what the people did. They looked at Paul’s program. They looked at this offer of salvation through faith alone. The Holy Spirit enlightened them enough for them to consider it, and they could have stepped over the threshold. They could have had it but did they? No. Now read on.
“…and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, (the Holy Spirit had come along side) 5. And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, (In other words, the view of the coming Kingdom.) 6. If they shall fall away,…” Remember when I taught this several months ago, I explained that this word in the Greek is not the same that translated ‘a falling away’ in Thessalonians. This is a Greek word that is never used any other place in Scripture. ‘Parapipto.’ And that means turning your back scornfully.
Now the word for ‘falling away’ in Thessalonians is ‘apostasia.’ Two totally different words. All right, so this parapipto meant to turn your back scornfully, as a woman who was turning her back on her husband and going into an adulterous situation. Now that’s what the word implies. Not just someone who hadn’t quite understood it. Not someone who was caught in a moment of weakness but someone who had fully comprehended all this. Someone whom the Lord has opened up their thinking but in a scornful rejection they just said, “I’ll have nothing to do with this. I’m going back to my religion.” Now you got the picture?
And when I talk about cult people, that’s exactly where most of them are. Even when they see the truth, they get all the pressure from their fellow cult people and back they go and they scorn what they have been enlightened to see. All right, so now then, if you want the answer to Hebrews 10 verse 26, you just tell folks to read Hebrews 6 because it means the same thing. Another example is when these people willfully, scornfully said, “we’ll not have anything to do with this Jesus of Nazareth.” Now verse 27 again.
“But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation (in other words, the Lake of Fire that is facing the lost.) which shall devour the adversaries. 28. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:”
Now you know you’ve heard me say it over and over, especially those of you who are in my classes every week. The Law was what? It was beggarly and it was cruel! The Law had no mercy. The Law was strict. And, consequently, when someone knowing that it said, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” went ahead and did it anyway, what did the Law demand? Death. Not with a spear, not with a sword, but how? By stoning, which was a slow torturous death. That’s what the Law demanded. Severe! That’s the word I was looking for. The Law was severe! It was merciless. And so this is what Paul is stressing. Now remember the Law of Moses was severe and yet it had none of the opportunities that this Gospel of Grace gives us. So if God permitted the Law to severely punish those who broke it, then how much more capable is He of consigning lost people to the Lake of Fire?