Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 56
1 John 1:1 – 1:9
We had been looking at the “light” over in Isaiah, and I was intending to go back to John’s Gospel, and look at that “light” concept again, but rather I had you come back to Acts. So come back to John’s Gospel chapter 3 verse 17.
“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already,.…” And that’s what we saw in our last program – how that every person born into the human race as a son of Adam is a born sinner. Remember in our last lesson we read – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” All have sinned! Every last one of us. So the unbeliever is condemned already. Now finishing verse 18.
“…because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19. And this is the condemnation, (here’s God’s point of controversy) that light (that can expel darkness) is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light,.…” I’ve often wondered why barrooms are almost totally dark. I’ve only been in one once in my life. I went with a buddy of mine in the service because he had to meet someone and, my, I got in and that’s the first thing I asked him, “Why don’t they turn on the lights?” Well, evil loves darkness and they’d rather be in their darkness than to be out in the light.
“For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. (or revealed) 21. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” Now, all the way through here then, you have not seen one word about the cross. And, of course, that’s to be expected because it hasn’t happened yet. And, again, in that light (lest someone wondered in the first two half-hours when I make mention of the fact that these twelve disciples had no idea that Christ was going to go up to Jerusalem to be crucified), come back with me to Luke 18 since you’re already in John. Now I had one old fellow tell Iris and I, and we were kind of shocked – he said, “You speak extemporaneously don’t you?” Well, I guess I do. Now I wasn’t intending to come back here to Luke, but I just happened to remember I’ve been speaking a lot now about the fact that these Jews, and especially the Twelve, had no idea of the crucifixion.
Now we know it was prophesied. That’s what Paul said in I Corinthians chapter 15:1-4, as he shared with us what we must believe for our salvation today. That “Christ died for our sins, and that He was buried and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” So yes, it’s back there, but it was in such veiled language that nobody understood and they weren’t supposed to. The whole thing was that now we’re supposed to be enlightened enough that we can see it. All right, but Luke 18 – and if somebody gives you some argument on this (that everybody knew that Jesus was going to die), just tell them, “No they did not!” Luke 18 verse 31; and this is at the end of His earthly ministry. Again they’re still there in Northern Israel, but they’ll be making their way up to Jerusalem for the Passover in short order.
“Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.” This was all tucked away back in the Old Testament. And Jesus knew what it meant, but nobody else did. And so He tells them, verse 32:
“For he (speaking of Himself) shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33. And they shall scourge him, (and we know the Romans did this) and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.” And He had it all right. He knew exactly what was coming. But did the Twelve? No. Look at the next verse. I’ve shown this to people and they just shake their heads. They don’t believe it. I say, “But that’s what the Book says!” And they’ll come back with “Ah, they must have known.” But the Book says they didn’t.
“And they (the Twelve) understood none of these things: and this saying (that which He had just said) was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” They had no clue. Use common sense. When He had been crucified and laid in the tomb – if they’d have understood that the third day he would rise again, where should have all those followers have been? They should have been camped out around the stone waiting for it to roll away. They should have been waiting for Him to come out. But were they? Not one.
And when Mary runs and tells Peter and John that the tomb is empty, were they expecting it? No, they were totally surprised. Now, while I’m on that subject, I guess I might as well do this as well. Turn to John chapter 20 because we have to understand that (these Jewish believers) all they understood was that this promised Messiah was now in their midst in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth. That’s Who He was. But they had no idea that He was going to be going to a Roman cross. And when He hung on the cross, they had no idea that three days later He’d be in their midst. And that’s why they were so shook up when they saw him.
All right, but here in John’s Gospel chapter 20, you all know the account – how that Mary Magdalene came early and was going to anoint the corpse with the spices according to custom. And the tomb is empty! And she ran back and told Peter and John, wherever they were. And then Peter and John run forth and John gets there first – and we’ll skip all that, and begin with verse 8:
“Then went in also that other disciple, (John) which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. 9. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” That’s what the Bible says; so how could they preach a Gospel of salvation based on the death, burial and resurrection that you and I must believe today? They didn’t. All they could preach for salvation to the Nation of Israel was to believe that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God!
The salvation based on death, burial and resurrection that we believe is going to have to wait for that other apostle (Paul) who is going to have what we call now the revelation of the mysteries and those revelation of the mysteries are a preaching of Christ crucified, buried and risen from the dead. And that’s where we are.
That’s a good introduction for the next verse in I John chapter 1. I’ve used this verse, I think now, wrongly over the years. I don’t use it this way anymore. I John chapter 1 verse 9. How do you suppose I’ve always used it? Well that if the believer sins, he comes to the Lord and confesses it so that he can be forgiven. Now that’s the normal approach, but now stop and think. Doesn’t Paul teach that the moment we’re saved, we are already what? Forgiven!
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath (already) he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;” Past, Present, and Future! Paul’s Gospel teaches that the moment you believe, you’re forgiven all trespasses – past, present, and future. But that’s not the way this verse 9 in I John approaches it. So what’s the problem? Well, this verse in I John is still Kingdom ground. Now a lot of people are going to disagree and that’s fine; it won’t hurt my feelings a bit – but we’re still on Kingdom ground, otherwise there would be a conflict in Scripture. But there are not conflicts, just different administrations, or dispensations. Remember Law and Grace do not mix.
John has no concept of the Gospel of Grace. John has no concept of our relationship with Christ as the Head of the Body. He’s dealing with Jews in the Kingdom economy. And what was the first step toward salvation for a Jew in the Kingdom economy? Repent and be baptized. What’s repentance? A begging for forgiveness. In this Age of Grace, we don’t beg for forgiveness! Our instructions are that we believe in our heart the finished work of the cross for our salvation! And I’m going to show you that in just a moment. Verse 9 again.
I John 1:9a
“If we confess our sins, (if we repent, then) he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,.…” Now I don’t doubt that one iota. This is exactly what happened when a Jew under the Kingdom economy recognized his failures and he confessed or repented of his sin. God forgave him. Of course He did, He promised to. And that’s what we’re talking about here. That if we confess our sins – if we repent of our sins as a lot of people are still preaching today, then of course, He’s faithful and just to forgive. But, listen, that’s not where we are.
All right, let me show you. Now we’ve got to compare how Paul approaches this whole thing under Grace – Paul, our Apostle of the Gentiles. And that’s why, of course, I’m always bringing people to the church letters – Romans through Philemon. Romans chapter 3, where we ended up in the last program, that we’re all sinners – Jew and Gentile. Black and white. Rich and poor. Doesn’t make any difference. We’re all sons of Adam. And we’re sinners. Romans 3 verse 23; a verse I think that just about everybody knows from memory.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” That’s what verse 23 says. For everybody has sinned and come short of the glory of God, but oh, now read on, verse 24.
“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (or the One Who has offered the sacrifice, Who is the place of sacrifice, He is the all-sufficient now) through faith in his blood, (has been shed for the payment of all sin. That was the payment that God demanded) to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;” Remember Hebrews tells us, “For without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin.” All right, so it’s through faith in His blood which, of course, is incorporated with His death, burial and resurrection. Now verse 26.
To declare, I say, at this time his (Christ) righteousness: that he might be just, (totally fair, He’s not showing favoritism for some over others) and the justifier of him.…”
Now get your words straight. Jesus the Christ, because of His finished work of the cross, is going to be totally fair in calling any sinner, regardless of how far down he’s gone or how good he’s been – doesn’t make any difference to God. He’s not a respecter of persons, but He’s going to be totally fair in justifying. In other words, wiping the slate clean to everyone that confesses his sin? Is that what Paul teaches here? NO!! Look at how he finishes that verse.
“…which believeth in Jesus.”
It says that God is going to justify the person that what? Believes! Now you’re looking at me as though you’re awe-struck. What do they call it? Shock and awe? Hey, this Book can do it to you, too. It’s shock and awe because this isn’t what most people think. Most people think before God can save us we’ve got to get down and grovel in the dirt and repent and cry out and beg for forgiveness. NO! We simply suddenly realize, yes, that we’re sinners, that’s number one. God can’t save anybody that doesn’t realize they’re lost, but the minute we realize we’re lost and we believe that the work of the cross is accomplished, it’s done. God justifies us.
Now let’s go on to I Corinthians, because there is a verse there that is ringing in my mind, so I’ve got to use that one. I Corinthians chapter 1 verse 17 – now what a difference and it’s supposed to be. We’re a whole different economy with Paul’s preaching. We’re not under that Kingdom economy (that was Israel). And you can go all the way through the Old Testament, especially since Genesis 12, the call of Abraham – you come all the way through the Old Testament. We did this when we introduced the Book of James. You come all the way through the Four Gospels; you come through the book of Acts until the Apostle Paul comes back from his desert experience (which takes you about up to chapter 11 of Acts). Everything is Jewish, it’s the Kingdom economy, it’s Law.
Then leap over Paul’s epistles and the Age of Grace, and drop back down again and (especially in James; to a degree even Hebrews; but especially in James and Peter and John and Jude and Revelation) what have we got? The Kingdom economy again. (Law) Nothing of Paul’s Gospel of Grace. See? And this is what we mean by rightly dividing the Scriptures. What applies to us? Paul’s epistles.
What Peter and John were preaching applied to Israel. Now we can go in there and take some nuggets. But basically, fundamentally, they are proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom and all the things associated with it. We’re under the Gospel of the Grace of God, which He gave to Paul for us. (Ephesians 3:2) All right, I Corinthians chapter 1 verse 17 where Paul writes:
I Corinthians 1:17a
“For Christ sent me not to baptize,.…” Well goodness sakes, what did he send John the Baptist to do? To baptize. What did the Twelve go out to do? Repent and be baptized. By inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul says in so many words, “That’s not my bag.”
I Corinthians 1:17a
“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel:.…” And that Gospel of Salvation according to I Corinthians 15:1-4 is, “Believe in your heart that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again.”
I went through these Jewish epistles early this morning and, do you know, I did not find one reference to the cross or the resurrection. Now maybe I missed it but I don’t think so. And that’s all this man Paul knows – the cross, the cross, the cross. Now verse 18.
I Corinthians 1:18
“For the preaching of the cross (not the Messiahship of Christ, it’s the cross of Christ) is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved (those of us who have now been declared justified by our faith in the finished work of the cross) it is the power of God.”
And, oh, I wish people could see that. But Christendom has mixed this all up. Yes, I will repeat it again – they’ve put it in the blender, they’ve turned it up on high, and they ladle it out and wonder why people get sick to their stomach. All you have to do is keep it separate. Just separate it. Leave the Kingdom economy with Israel and believe this Gospel of Grace that’s appropriate for us today (that we receive from the Apostle Paul’s writings).
Well, where’s another good one that we can compare with. I Corinthians 15. This whole long chapter has 58 verses. And what does almost every verse deal with? The resurrection. James and Peter and John never mention it. The only reference they make is to the blood and I’ll give them that quarter. Peter says, “We have not been redeemed with silver and gold but with the precious blood of Christ.” We just saw where John said that “If we have fellowship one with another and walk in the light then the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us.” That’s the only reference those men make to the work of the cross.
But the Apostle Paul – that’s all he knows – that everything was consummated when Christ went to that cross, shed His blood, was put to death and rose victorious over everything that opposed. And, by that, we now are offered a salvation and the power of it. So now then, I Corinthians 15 – oh my goodness, you should all know this by memory now, too:
I Corinthians 15:1a
“Moreover brethren (he’s writing to believers – Corinth – Gentiles – You and I) I declare unto you the gospel.…” Not ‘a’ Gospel of salvation, but ‘the’ Gospel of salvation. Which means you and I can’t use any other method to get to heaven.
I Corinthians 15:1-2
“Moreover brethren I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2. By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” So you don’t have a choice to choose either the Gospel of the Kingdom which was preached to the Jews by the Twelve, or the Gospel of Grace which was preached by Paul. Because when God saved Paul, and gave him these revelations for the Gentiles in this Church Age, the Gospel we must believe was complete once and for all. So, people that don’t believe Paul’s Gospel are believing in vain. It’s going to do them no good whatsoever, because they’re not believing the true Gospel of Grace!! All right, here it is, this is the Gospel in a nutshell: Now here is what you must believe for salvation!
I Corinthians 15:3-4
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, (in that hiatus in the desert; three years, and here it is) how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: “ Now, a few minutes back, where did we have that same connotation? The words of Jesus in Luke 18, what did He say? How that according to the Scripture, He would rise again the third day – and Paul uses the same thing. See, you can tell the same Holy Spirit is the author. All right, “How that he died for our sins according to the Scriptures, the Old Testament. And that he was buried (He was dead. Three days and three nights.) And that he arose again the third day according to the scriptures.” This wasn’t an afterthought. This was all preplanned from eternity past – long before Adam and Eve.
You know I’m always stressing – I don’t want people to forget for a moment – here we are 6,000 years since Adam and Eve got the ball rolling. And in that 6,000 years, God has let men and nations pretty much do their own thing. Build navies, armies, air forces, create technology, set up empires, destroy empires. And here we are exactly on the twenty-four hour day that God planned everything to be. Nothing is a day late. Nothing is a day early. It’s all on His schedule. And for proof of that, Galatians chapter 4, “When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son” (speaking of Bethlehem). Was it a day late? Was it a month early? No – the exact day.
All right, and the same way with the future. Whatever is still out in front of us, God knows the exact minute that things are going to happen, so we have to be constantly aware that all of these things were foretold long before they happened. But see, at the heart of all of Paul’s preaching is the death, the burial and the resurrection of Israel’s Messiah. Not the fact that He’s the King, although He’s still going to be. But our Gospel is that the King of Israel, the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth went to that Roman cross and purchased our salvation and all we have to do to appropriate it is BELIEVE IT!
You don’t have to go across the ocean. You don’t have to put up a ton of money. All God wants us to do is believe it. Believe it!