Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 51
Hebrews 10:23 – 11:8
We welcome everyone again today, and let me say, we just cherish your letters, your phone calls, your financial help, everything. Because, you know, we are just ordinary cattle ranchers, and we don’t have a lot of money backing us. I think a lot of people may think that because we’re ranching in Oklahoma, we’ve got oil wells on every forty acres. Well, that’s not the case. We just ranch on a pile of mountains and rocks; but the Lord seems to provide our needs. And in the ministry, it’s the same question every month. Are we going receive enough to get our bills paid? But we always seem to, thanks to our faithful viewers, so we just give the Lord the credit for using us in what little way He has.
Okay, now let’s get right back into Bible study because that’s what this is all about – comparing Scripture with Scripture and tying it all together. Now in Hebrews chapter 10 picking up from our last program where he says in verse 34 to these Hebrew believers:
“…For ye had compassion of me in my bonds,…” Which means that this must have been somewhere in the early 60’s AD, whether it was referring to Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome, or whether in another case where he was in a prison such as at Caesarea or whatever; we certainly know that Paul was imprisoned more than those years in Rome. But these people were aware of his being imprisoned and they had compassion on him.
“…and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods,…” In other words, they helped him financially even though most of them had not that kind of money. And out of their love for the Apostle he said:
“…knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.” You know what he’s saying? Just because they gave of the meager things they had of this world, they were still what? Richer for it. And so I think a lot of times we have to realize today that people are reluctant to give because they’ve got so much to spend it on, and not thinking of eternal things.
In fact, Iris and I were talking about that driving up to Tulsa again this morning. There are so many fads and gadgets that are thrown at us, especially in America. All these gadgets and fads that come along, and some people in their weakness think they have to have every last one of them. No we don’t. You don’t need it all because most of it just ends up in a closet someplace and probably used only once or twice. But, how much better if they would spend some of that to promote the Word of God.
And that’s what Paul is saying here, see? That you took the spoiling, or the cashing in, of your goods, your material things and they knew within themselves that eternity had something far better. In fact, it goes right back to – how did the Lord put it? “Don’t lay up treasures on this earth where moth and rust do corrupt, but rather lay it up in Heaven.” And as some have said, send it on ahead! I think that’s a good way of putting it. Send it on ahead because it’s drawing far better interest up there than it will down here. Now verse 35.
“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of (what?) reward.”
Now we were just talking at break time a little bit, you see, the lost people have nothing to look forward to but the reading of their works, which will determine their level of punishment in their eternal doom. But for you and I as believers, as well as these Hebrew believers, it’s not a matter of a degree of punishment. It’s not even a matter of a degree of how high we’re going to be in God’s program. But, it’s going to be what? Reward. And I don’t know what those rewards are going to be but I know that my God knows how to be absolutely fair and just and so yes, we are laboring as believers, not for salvation but for reward.
Maybe we’d better go back and look at it. I Corinthians chapter 3. See, this is why I don’t get through, Honey. I told Iris last night, maybe I could finish Hebrews today! Well no, I get up here and I think of all these other things and we’re not going to rush Hebrews and skip all this good stuff. So come back with me to I Corinthians chapter 3, where Paul is dealing with the rewards system for the believer. Not the punishment level for the unbeliever but the reward system for the believer. Big difference, isn’t it? And we’ll almost have to start at verse 9 to pick up the flow, where Paul writes:
I Corinthians 3:9a
“We are labourers together…”
Like I said, as believers, we don’t labour for salvation that comes by faith and faith alone. But as soon as we become a believer, God is going to give us opportunity for service, working for Him. And when you truly work for Him then there’s going to be rewards.
I Corinthians 3:9-10a
“We are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, (see? He’s in control.) ye are God’s building. (He’s the One that is putting it all together.) 10. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, (Paul writes) as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation,…”
Now do you see why I emphasize Paul? If you were to show me a beautiful new home, you know one of the first things I would ask you? Who was your contractor? Who built it? If everything went as it should be, what would you do? You’d be glad to tell me who it was, what a great job he did and you know what I would ask you? When did you bring your contractor on the scene? When you had the first floor finished? No. I like to see heads shake. No, of course not. When did your contractor begin the work on your new home? When he set the stakes. He dug the foundation. He started from the bottom up.
Well see, that’s what the Apostle Paul is claiming. He’s not the foundation; he’s the one who laid the foundation. See the big difference? And so Paul says, as a wise masterbuilder, the contractor, “I laid the foundation.” Not Peter, James and John. Not even Jesus. I was just reading another one the other night, ‘Jesus didn’t start anything.’ How true. He didn’t start the church. He became the basis of the church but He didn’t start it. Paul did. And so Paul takes by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration full credit for laying the foundation.
I Corinthians 3:10b
“…I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereon.”
Now here comes the works system we are to enjoy after our salvation. We’re saved by that foundation which is Jesus Christ and His finished work of the Cross. (I Corinthians 15:1-4) But now we’re building on that, as believers. Now verse 11.
I Corinthians 3:11
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid (it’s already done. And Paul doesn’t take credit for being the foundation. Who is?) which is Jesus Christ.”
Now again, you can go back into the secular world, you can go back into Scripture. I don’t know whether it was a parable or not but you remember, Jesus used the analogy of building on the sand. How long will it last? Until the first good rainstorm. Pfffft! There it goes. But if you want that building to last, you’re going to build it on what? A solid foundation. That was what He was teaching.
Well, Paul was saying the same things. We’re not building on the sands of some false religion; we’re building on the foundation of the One and Only True God-given basis for salvation. And that is that work of the Cross. So then verse 12. Now Paul says, as a believer you’ve been saved through the foundational work of the Cross. And now as a believer you’re going to start building on that foundation for reward.
I Corinthians 3:12
“Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble.”
Now that is six materials that we’re going to build with. Three of them will never burn up. Three of them would go in a puff of smoke like a western forest fire. Why? Because those works were good for nothing, just a waste of time. And how many Christians aren’t going to find out that that’s what has happened to their works. But, those other three materials will abide, gold, silver, precious stones, no fire can destroy them. If anything it will enhance them. And so Paul is using that analogy, Now verse 13.
I Corinthians 3:13a
“Every man (now that’s a generic term remember, when Paul says man, he’s not leaving the women out. So every believer’s) work shall be made manifest:”
And what’s the explanation I always use for manifest? Put in the spotlight. Just like turning on the microscope and put the slide over the light and there’s everything manifested. Well, that’s exactly what’s going to happen to our works. They’re going to be manifested. They’re going to be put in the spotlight.
I Corinthians 3:13b
“…for the day shall declare it,…”
The judgment day. Now it’s not the Great White Throne Judgment, as that’s for the unbelievers. But we as believers must appear before the Bema Seat Judgment in II Corinthians 5 where it says, ‘We believers shall all appear before the judgment of Christ (the Bema Seat).’ I think it’s unfortunate that the translators used that word ‘judgment.’ That scares people. Most think that believers are going to come up and have a whip laid over them. No, no! When we believers come before the Lord it’s going to be the Bema Seat. The place of reward.
And I’ve always likened it to the Olympic races. My, as those athletes ran past the finish line, who determined who was first? Who determined who was second and third and so forth?The Bema Seat judges. And that’s why Paul refers to that when we come before the Bema Seat for reward, then the ‘fiery eyes of the Lord Jesus,’ which I get from Revelation 19, where He’s going to have ‘eyes as flames of fire.’
I Corinthians 3:13c
“…because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”
Now remember the analogy, is it gold, silver and precious stones; or is it wood, hay and stubble?
I Corinthians 3:14
“If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” In other words, as a believer; and if it’s gold, silver and precious stone, it’ll remain and you will receive a reward. We don’t know what they’re going to be. We can speculate all you want but I cannot tell someone, well this verse says this is what we’re going to have, I can’t do that. All I know is that God is fair. He’s just. And His reward is going to be beyond human comprehension, whatever it is. But, now the other side of the coin is, verse 15.
I Corinthians 3:15
“If any man’s work (as a believer, now we’re talking only about believers. And even believers are going to come before the Bema Seat with nothing but wood, hay and stubble. They’ve never done anything worth a plug nickel to further God’s Kingdom, but they’re believers. All right, and so their work) shall be burned,…” Now that’s not talking about hellfire burning. It’s just simply a point that it’s going to be set aside like trees that are pruned and the branches are burned.
I Corinthians 3:15b
“…he shall suffer loss:…” The loss these believers will suffer will not be their salvation, but rather they’ll lose their reward. That’s all. They’ll suffer loss of reward.
Remember way back when I was teaching this, it was about the time that, I don’t remember what the TV commercial was (I don’t watch that much television. In fact I don’t watch any, anymore), but, at that time there was a commercial with the baseball player, Bob Uecker. You remember that? Old Bob Uecker was sitting clear up in the upper reaches of the stadium all by himself. And it was a funny commercial and I don’t know what the point was, but my point was, these believers that are going to end up without reward. They’re going to be there. But they’re going to be up in the ‘Uecker seats.’
They’re going to be up there where there’s no activity. There’s nothing like being on the playing field. See what I’m driving at. But they’re going to be in glory. I’ll never forget a man that I witnessed to over and over back many, many years ago. And then he used to always come back with this same argument, he said, “Les, all I care about is that I can just slip under the door.” I said, “But you’re not going to slip under the door.” You either come full force in salvation or you’re going to miss it! But that was always his excuse. “If I can just slip in under the door.”
A lot of people have the same idea. But here we have the picture. The believer who has produced and who has been in the right attitude and his motivation has been to please the Lord; it’s going to be gold, silver and precious stones. If all he’s done it for is earthly acclaim or the pat on the back of fellow human beings, it’s wood, hay and stubble. It’ll count for nothing. Now let me finish verse 15 so I can make the point.
I Corinthians 3:15
“If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
The believer will suffer loss, as he won’t get a reward, but, he himself shall be saved! He’s going to be in glory. “…yet so as by fire.” In other words, it will be by the ‘skin of his teeth’if I may put it that way.
All right, let’s go back to Hebrews chapter 10 and so you have the same concept, that these Jewish believers who were suffering for their faith would experience, one day, reward. Verse 35 is where we came from on that thought.
“Cast not away therefore, your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. 36. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”
Now of course, to a Jew, the ‘Promises’ were everything, I guess, from Abraham on up through the Old Testament and flowing on into Christ’s Kingdom reign in the future.
“For yet a little while, and he that shall come (what?) will come, and will not tarry.”
Now Paul expected it in his lifetime. And he didn’t have any idea that it was going to go 2,000 years. But here we are now, almost 2,000 years after the fact and what can I stand here and say? “He that is coming will come!”
Don’t you ever doubt it for a minute. Let the scornful scoff all they want. In fact, I can show you a verse – if that isn’t exactly what we’re seeing today. Go forward a few pages in your New Testament to II Peter chapter 3, and let’s drop down to verse 3.
II Peter 3:3a
See this is what I like about Scripture. There are things that we are supposed to know. Not guess or hope so. Peter says:
II Peter 3:3a
“Knowing this first that there shall come in the last days…”
Remember, when Peter wrote of the last days, what was he talking about? Within the next ten years. Now I say ten because they knew there was a seven-year tribulation in there. So within ten years they expected all of this to be consummated.
II Peter 3:3b
“…that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lust,” (or desires) They’re of the world, they’re fleshly. Now this is what the scoffers will say. Does it ring a bell?
II Peter 3:4a
“And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep,…”
Remember who are we dealing with here? Jews. So who were the fathers? Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the prophets, see? And so these Jews of Peter’s day and Paul’s day are saying the same thing. Why, ever since the fathers they’ve been talking about the Lord’s coming. And they had. Every Jew that had any knowledge of the Old Testament was looking for the Messiah. Jews today that have any knowledge of their Scriptures are looking for the Messiah. All right, so this is what the scoffers said then, “Why you’ve been talking about the Lord coming, the Messiah coming, ever since Abraham.” Now finish the verse.
II Peter 3:4b
“…all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”
Isn’t that exactly what people are saying today? Oh, I read articles almost an average of once a week where some writer, some editorial writer who scoffs at our idea of apocalyptic judgments and so forth, and they just scorn it. Hey, they’ve been talking about this for centuries. Nothing different has ever happened. The world’s going to keep going. This isn’t just the end.
Well, I’ve got news for them. This is the beginning of the end. We’re seeing it; but with God, of course, His wheels grind slowly. All right, so come back to Hebrews 10 again. Verse 37, repeating it.
“For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.”
Don’t ever doubt it. He is coming again. And He will not tarry. When it’s time for Him to come nothing is going to prevent it.
Now verse 38, again you know, I always say that Paul shifts gears. Just all of sudden, he just shifts from one gear down to the next. All right, now here we have a shift.
“Now the just (the believers) shall live by (what?) faith:…”
Just because he’s writing to Jews doesn’t change it one iota because he says the same thing back in Romans and Galatians. See? “That the just shall live by faith!“
“…but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”
If they do not embrace these things by faith, then God says – “my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Because God, as we’re going to see when we get into chapter 11, looks first and foremost for only one human attribute. And it’s not goodness, it’s not kindness, it’s not love; what’s the first thing He looks for? Faith! Can you take Him at His Word!
And when you’ve got faith, all of the other things fall in place. But faith has to come first. All right, so “The just shall live by faith. But if any draw back from that faith, then God has no pleasure in him.” Now verse 39.
“But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition: but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”
Paul writes: We are not of them who draw back unto perdition.” We’re not turning our back scornfully and going back into a religious system that will make them miss Heaven’s glory. But, he says, “We are of them that believe.”
Now all the way up through Paul’s epistles that’s been the precise instruction for a right relationship with God – to believe what He has said. And the synonymous word of course is faith, see? So “to them who believe to the saving of the soul.” Well, now I think we can just slip right into chapter 11 – I’m amazed that the chapter didn’t start up there a couple verses when we started talking about faith. But here we have it now, this whole system of believing, or faith.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,…”
Now I imagine as many people as we have in this room, you all have a different idea of ‘substance.’ Don’t you?
Do you know what I think of when I think of substance? I think of the core of something that holds it all together. In other words, just picture a wheel, just a simple wheel. What is the substance of that wheel? The hub. Because the hub is that which goes out to all the rest of that wheel. You take away the hub and you’ve got nothing. And that’s substance. Now I suppose you could take it into almost any other area of life. What is substance? That which counts, see?
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Not seen. So how do we know they’re for real? Faith. God said it. And we know it’s true. All right, verse 2.
“For by it the elders obtained a good report.”
We’re going to see that in our next program, that “by faith the elders (the Old Testament patriarchs) obtained a good report.” Now verse 3.
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”
He didn’t have to go into His chemistry workshop and put some things together and then throw it out. All he had to do was speak the Word and out of nothing the universe began to appear. And I don’t think the whole universe exploded at one time. I think the universe has been exploding and going out and going out and going out over the period of time. But whatever, it was done by the spoken Word and all of Scripture substantiates that.
“So that things which are seen (our universe, everything around us on this planet) everything that is seen were not made of things which do appear.” Now you see, the scientist can’t accept that. Can he? He just has a hard time with that. And so they spend billions and billions of dollars trying to figure out the origin of the universe and if they found out what good would it do them? Nothing. It’s not going to change anything. Not one wit.
You know I’ve even told geologists; you go through all the conflict of geology and everything that you’ve learned – is that going to change where the oil is? Of course not. That’s not going to change one iota. And so we have to accept the fact that when God spoke the Word, the universe came into being. And I don’t care when it was. I don’t care if it was 6,000 years ago or six billion years ago. Makes no difference. Again, I’ll use my word – it’s moot. What difference does it make? And so all Paul says is that we are believers. This we know that the universe was framed by the Word of God and the God Who spoke was Jesus the Christ. He is the One Who is given credit for speaking everything into view. All right, now I guess we’d better go on into Abel at least.
Now here’s the great faith chapter. Hebrews chapter 11. I told Iris I think I could almost spend four programs in chapter 11. Maybe we will, I don’t know. I’d like to get moving on, but anyway. “By faith.” By simply taking God at His Word:
“…Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous. …”
Now faith has always prompted God to declare that believer righteous. That’s been the case ever since Adam and Eve back in Genesis chapter 3; and so Abel’s faith prompted God to restore Abel into fellowship and He declared him now, a righteous individual. When we start the next program, we’re going to jump right back to Romans chapter 4 and see how that’s Paul’s primary example of Abraham. That when he became a man of faith, God declared him what? Righteous!