Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 6
CALLING OUT A PEOPLE FOR HIS NAME
I trust you are writing down some of these things and studying them. The reason Christianity is in trouble today is because people will not study. Don’t take anyone at their word — not me, nor anyone else — because humans are humans, and we have to come back and see what The Book says. We were talking during our break about how denominations are all alike. They all build walls around their people, and if they happen to be unfortunate enough to be in a denomination where they don’t hear these truths, then where are they? They’re out of luck. So, this has been my ministry for over 20 years, and I get people from every denomination you can think of. I just call it ‘knocking down some walls.’ I try to get people to see, not necessarily what some denomination thinks, but to be able to discern from the Word by Itself as the Holy Spirit gives us wisdom.
Let’s continue on in this Age of Grace, and then we’re going to be looking at how the Age of Grace will end – what’s going to happen and what’s going to follow. We will take a little time to point out end time events before we go back to Genesis:
“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;….”
“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation….“ — that’s a big word that throws a curve at a lot of people, and the best way I can define ‘propitiation’ is, that everything that is pictured in that Tabernacle experience (all the material that went in to the building of it, all the furniture, the Ark of the Covenant, the candlestick, the Altar of Incense, the Table of Shewbread, the Laver of Cleansing, the Brazen Altar, and all of those furnishings) is a picture of Christ in His work of redemption. So, that’s really what propitiation is…that complete overall work that Christ accomplished by His death, burial and Resurrection. Reading on: “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (how?) through faith (through our believing and trusting) in his blood, to declare his righteousness (not ours, but His) for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.”
“To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
My, what a loaded verse this is: “To declare, I say, at this time his (Christ’s) righteousness: that he (The Lord Jesus) might be (what?) just,….“ See, God can never be anything but fair. A lot of people think, “What about someone who has never heard, and they go to an eternal doom – Les, you mean to tell me God can do that in fairness? Absolutely; and you know why? Paul writes to Titus in Chapter 2: “For the grace of God that bringeth Salvation hath (past tense) appeared to (how many?) all men,….“ Yes, everyone has had an opportunity, even though we like to think that maybe they haven’t. But, somehow or other, God can reckon that He is absolutely just in everything that He does. This is the other side of the coin. He is going to be just by justifying what person? That sinner who believeth in Jesus. Now, I’m trying to point out in these verses how we come to this point of Salvation –by believing! What’s the other word for believing? Faith! (plus how much?…Nothing!) Faith plus nothing. That is for Salvation. I’m not talking about the Christian life or works. I’m talking about Salvation. It is faith plus nothing; that He can be the justifier, verse 26 again, of him who believeth in Christ. Now, look at verse 27:
“Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.”
Why does it have to be that way? “Where is (what’s the word?) boasting….” How many times have I said to you, “If we could get to Heaven on works, what would Heaven be? The most awful place on earth, wouldn’t it? Because you would constantly be listening to somebody tell you all that he did to get there. It would be boring. You’d see somebody coming down that golden street and what would you do? You’d cross over so you wouldn’t have to listen to him again, telling you all that he did to get there! And so, it can’t be by works. It’s going to have to be totally by the finished work of the Cross so that none of us can boast; as Paul said, “Where is boasting…?” What happened to it? It’s excluded. What excludes it…the law of works? No, that law would bring it in. But “…the law of faith.” That leaves no room for boasting about how you got to Heaven.
“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”
Since it’s without works, it’s without the Law, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified (how?) by faith.” Plus anything? No! We’re justified by faith without the deeds or works of the Law.
“Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:”
Let’s go to Chapter 4, because I’m stressing the ‘faith plus nothing’ for a few moments. We will look at why we’re not just saved, only to go and live carelessly. I know that shakes up a lot of people when they hear that we’re saved by faith plus nothing. Yes, we’re saved by faith plus nothing, but what does God expect of us. Well, just like the example of that slave that was taken home to that beautiful Roman villa. What did that slave automatically feel he should do? He should be the best servant he knows how to be because of what his master had done on his behalf. Here, in Romans Chapter 4, Paul comes back and uses the analogy of Abraham:
“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.”
If Abraham were justified by works (by doing something), then he also could boast. That’s what it means to glory. He could brag. He could stop everybody on the golden strand and tell them all he did to get there. But, what does the Scripture say? He could never do it before God. God will never let anyone be a debtor to Him. If you try to work for your Salvation, that’s what you’re doing; you’re putting God in debt. You’re telling God, “You owe it to me.” And we’ll never put God in our debt. Now, verse 3:
“For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”
It tells us that Abraham did what? He believed! At this time, the Law hadn’t been given, but Abraham didn’t do anything except believe. And when God saw man’s faith, what did He do? He counted it as righteousness. Not Abraham’s, but the imputed righteousness of God. And then verses 4 & 5:
“Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
Now, do you see all the things that I could put in there that aren’t there? “But to him… (that believeth) on Him that justifieth (what kind of a person?) the ungodly,…” How many times have we heard someone tell us (and I’m sure all of us have heard it), “When I can get rid of this awful habit;” “When I can get rid of the booze;” “When I can rid of this or that; then I’ll be able to let God save me.” Haven’t you heard that? It’s always, “When I can clean up my act;” “When I can live it; then I’ll be ready to get saved.” Listen, there’s not a man on earth that can do that. It’s impossible. So, where do we let God save us? Right where we are. Then, He takes care of the things that have to be taken care of. Remember, “…his faith is counted unto him for righteousness.”
Even the Jews, when they came out of Egypt (and up through their Old Testament history), were under the Covenant promises of Abraham, weren’t they? God had promised that they were His Covenant people. That was the umbrella. But under that umbrella of the Covenant, what did it take for a genuine Salvation of that Jew? A personal faith! It still had to be a personal Salvation, even though they were under those Covenant promises. This is what threw a curve at so many Jews. They thought, just because they were of the seed of Abraham, they didn’t have anything to worry about. They couldn’t comprehend they had to have a personal faith.
Now, even under the Law; even under all the ramifications of the system of Judaism, what was the basic premise of their Salvation? Faith! What prompted them to keep the sacrifice? God had told how to do it. And, when they did it on the basis of faith, they were accepted. Go all the way back to Cain and Abel. What does Hebrews 11:4 say about Abel? “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,…“ Why was it more excellent? Because Abel did what God said to do. Cain didn’t. And it’s that simple premise all the way through the Scripture and so now for us – we have to have a personal faith.
Before we left Iowa, we were having a lot of home Bible classes. We happened to have our last meeting, before we left to come down to Oklahoma, in the home of a family who was attending one of these denominations who, more or less, taught ‘umbrellaism,’ as I call it. As long as they adhered to the prescribed ritual that their church advocated, they were under the umbrella. I was looking at one of their Sunday School text books as we were having coffee at break time and the gentleman of the home came over and said, “Les, you won’t see anything in there that will interest you.” I said, “I don’t see anything amiss or that I would disagree with.” And he pointed it out to me. He said, “We just sort of teach that everybody, as long as they’ve gone through the prescribed ritual of membership and so forth, is in. But it wasn’t until we came to your class that my wife and I realized it had to be a personal Salvation.”
And this couple is still walking with The Lord today. Now, that’s exactly what I try to stress. You can be in the best of denominations and you can be under their umbrella, but that by itself is not going to put you into the Body of Christ. It has to be a personal faith in the work of the Cross. Now, let’s go to the Book of Ephesians. The reason I’m stressing Salvation so much the last couple of programs is: I found over the years that there are very few people who hear and understand the plan of Salvation. I could stand here for the next 24 hours and give you examples of people who thought they were saved and what they had done to bring in that kind of thinking, and then they suddenly realize that they had never entered into a personal faith in the finished work of the Cross.
I told my classes several weeks ago my fervent prayer daily is that no one will ever sit under my teaching over any length of time and, if they should pass away due to a heart attack or something like that, go out into eternity lost. Oh, that would just strike me if I could think such a thing. All I can ask is God let no one sit under my teaching without coming to a true knowledge of this tremendous Salvation. Alright, Ephesians Chapter 1, starting at verse 13; and there are tremendous verses up ahead of this verse.
Ephesians 1: 13
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your Salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,…”
He writes “In whom (that is Christ, up in verse 12) you also trusted,…“ The word trusted is italicized; it’s been added by the translators but its implied faith, trusting, faith and believing is synonymous. So, “In whom you also trusted,” or placed your faith, or whom you believed. When? “…after ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your Salvation:…” – the good news and remember, that’s death, burial, and Resurrection. So, he said we believed when we heard the Gospel. “In whom also…” That is in Christ also, after you what? – not after you joined the church, or went through catechism, or were baptized, but after what?… After you believed!
See how simple it is – how after you believed you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. Now, here comes a new Pauline doctrine concerning the Holy Spirit; you don’t see this taught in the Old Testament; you don’t see it taught in Christ’s earthly ministry; that a believer is suddenly not only sealed with the Holy Spirit, but he is indwelled by the Holy Spirit. That’s all Pauline doctrine. That’s why we always have to come here for our basics – then we can go out and understand the rest of Scripture. Alright, after that, you believed you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. Now, let’s go over to Ephesians Chapter 2 and verse 1. I’m always stressing Paul always writes to what group of people? The believer!
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;”
“And you hath (past tense) he quickened (made alive), who were (past tense) dead….” (spiritually dead). Do you remember what I told you? We’re born as sons of Adam. We are spiritually dead and we have to be regenerated. In one of my classes, for the first time, I used an illustration of what it means to have our spirit dead. The following analogy, as simple as it may be (and it may be ridiculous to some), made sense to me, so I shared it. Take the battery in your car. Say you had left the lights on when you came in; when you go home after while, what’s happened to your battery? It’s dead. How much use is it? None! That battery is dead until you do what with it? Charge it from an outside source. You regenerate it.
That’s where we are as sons of Adam. That spirit part of us is dead by virtue of sin, but it’s not gone. So, what does it need? It needs regeneration. That’s the work of the Spirit in Salvation, and The Bible uses that word, regeneration. We are made alive who were dead. Now, when you charge that battery up, what is it? It’s useful. It can perform it’s task. Now, verse 2:
“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:”
“Wherein in time past…“ – before we were saved. And we’re all in this category, even if you’ve been living in a sheltered home-life. Yet, we’re all potentially in that kind of an environment, an attitude, a life style, according to the course of this world, “…according to the prince of the power of the air… Who is that? The old devil, Satan …The spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:”
“Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
“Among whom also we all had…“ all of us. Paul did. You did. I did. We had our manner of living in times past …in the lusts (desires) of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and of the mind; and were by nature….” What do we mean? That old Adamic nature. Remember the old popular song, those of us who are older? “Doing What Comes Naturally.” Why does it come naturally? It’s just part and parcel of that old nature. And that’s exactly how Paul is using the word here. That we were fulfilling that nature that we were born with, as children of wrath, even as others.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,” What’s the first word? “But…“ the flip side. Oh, the flip side of that is that God, not you, not me. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,…“
“Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved,)”
“Even when we were (what?…) dead in sins, hath quickened us (or made us alive) together with Christ,… (why? – …by grace ye are saved;)” Now, let’s go down to verses 8 and 9:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” These are verses most of you learned as kids in Sunday School or Bible School.
“For by grace are ye saved… How? Through faith…“ Not by works, but through faith. “…And that not of yourselves…” Salvation is what? “…it is the gift of God:…” For a true gift, how much do you work? Nothing. There’s nothing you can do because as soon as you work to pay somebody for giving you a gift, it’s no longer a gift. It becomes payment for something. And so, Salvation is a gift. We cannot work for it. Now, we can work after it and we’re going to see that, but you can’t work for it. Let’s continue on with verse 9: “…Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Now verse 10: “For we are his workmanship,…“ That word is connected to Poema in the Greek from which we get the word `poem.’ What is a beautiful poem? It is words put beautifully together by someone, and communicated in rhyme. It’s a beautiful work in itself and that’s what we are. We are His workmanship. God has formed us.
I heard a Bible teacher years ago maintain that another word which comes out of the root of this is symphony. I tried to find it in my Greek Lexicon, but I couldn’t so I’ll take his word for it. Not many people like symphony music anymore, but I still do at times. And what is a symphony? It’s that whole group of instruments that come together in beautiful harmony, in major and minor chords; and they blend together to make beautiful music. But what did it take? It takes some doing to get it all put together, and that’s what God has done with us.
So, we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto what? Here it comes! Of course a believer is to live a different life than a lost person. We are to live and practice these good works because God has before ordained that we should walk in them. Let’s continue on with verses 11-13 because I just made the statement that, beginning with Abraham and all the way up through the Old Testament, and well into the New Testament, who did God deal with? Jew only! With an exception here and there. Now, look how Paul puts the frosting on the cake:
“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”
“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh (non-Jews, not part of the Abrahamic Covenant or family) who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision…“ Now, in plain English what is it saying? The circumcised Jew would call a Gentile a what? Uncircumcised. And usually they would add another word,Uncircumcised dogs. That was their favorite expression. Alright, verse 12. “That at that time…” (what time? While God was dealing with his Covenant people, Israel. “…That at that time…” before the Age of Grace came in, you Gentiles were without Messiah or Christ, aliens, (now watch the language) “…aliens from the commonwealth of Israel…“
Now, what’s a commonwealth? We usually think of it as a nation – an entity. Someone who is not a citizen of that entity is an alien. And he is subject for deportation at almost any time. That’s where we were while God was dealing with Israel. We were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel. We were not Jews. We couldn’t partake of those Covenant promises. And we were strangers (we Gentiles) from the covenants of promise. We were outside. And what was the lot of the Gentiles? Having no hope! And without God in the world. Not a very pretty picture is it? That’s the lot of the Gentiles because God was dealing with those people he had made different. But now, since he has come to the point that there is no difference, look at the next verse: “But now…“ Oh, that’s not the state now. “But now in Christ Jesus…“
See, once we are in the Body of Christ as a result of God’s tremendous Salvation (His plan of redemption), we’ve been bought out of that slave market of sin, we have been cleaned, given a new set of clothes, have been brought into a villa, and now what? We want to serve Him. Alright, “but now in Christ Jesus, you who at one time who were far off,” that is from God and from a spiritual relationship with Him. “you who were far off are made nigh,” how? By the blood of Christ. You see how Paul is constantly bringing everything back to the work of the Cross. And now, we as Gentiles have been brought in to the Body. We are part of that Bride. Now, what’s the whole idea of a bride? Who is she preparing herself for? The groom! One day, and we think soon, Christ is going to call the Bride to Himself. What did Isaac do when he saw the caravan coming – when he saw the dust rolling over that Middle Eastern landscape?…He went part way to meet the bride.
And, you remember that after he met the bride out there, he took her back home and there he consummated the marriage and he loved her. That is exactly the setting when Christ gets ready to call His Bride home. We’re going to see how all of a sudden that vessel will be full. When the last person has been saved, when the Body is complete. What’s going to happen?The trumpet will sound, Christ will leave Heaven, and we’re going to have that great resurrection of all the saints and we’ll go and meet him in the air.