Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 56
Love Not The World – Part 2
I John 3:1-24
All right, let’s just get right back into the Book and we were in I John chapter 3 when time ran out in the last lesson, and I think we had gotten as far as verse 5.
I John 3:5
“And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” Now you remember the word ‘manifested’ in Scripture, the best way I can explain it is just ‘put up in a spotlight.’ I always like to use the microscope – the light under that slide, as soon as you turn it on everything that’s on that slide is what? Manifested. Just brought right into view. All right, so it applies even here. Christ came in His first advent. He was just literally put on the spotlight of all of human history, to take away men’s sins. Now we never want to forget that He came first and foremost to the Nation of Israel, but we’ll be looking at that a little later. All right, and “In him (that is in Jesus of Nazareth) was no sin. Now verse 6. Consequently:
I John 3:6a
“Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not:.…” Now that throws a curve at us, doesn’t it? Because we certainly don’t teach that we can reach a position of sinlessness. We all sin every day. But, I’m going to be showing that now, in these succeeding verses, that Divine nature that comes in as a result of our salvation cannot sin. It’s Divine. And I’ll show you how Paul deals with it as well. So don’t let this throw a curve at you. Don’t strike out on this. But we’re talking about the Divine nature even for these Jewish believers, there had to be that born-again experience.
Now you remember John’s Gospel chapter 3 is where that term comes from, when Jesus was dealing with who? Nicodemus. And what did He tell Nicodemus? “Except you be born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of Heaven.” So, even the Jewish believers that we’re dealing with here, had to have that concept of a new birth. Now it’s amazing that Paul never uses the term “born again.” I guess you know that. But he certainly speaks of that “new life” as we identify with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. But he does not use the term “born again.” So we have to look at these Jewish believers as having an understanding of that “new birth” as a result of their believing that Jesus was the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel.
You go through I John, II John and III John and with the exception of one verse where he says that the “blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed us from all sin,” there is not one reference to the cross. Not one. It is all based on Who Jesus was – so far as the Jews were concerned. All right, so keep that in mind. And then I’ll go back later on in the program and show how this compares with what Paul teaches. All right, now remember, John is writing to Jewish believers who really know nothing of the Gospel of Grace. They are still under that Gospel of the Kingdom economy. Consequently, there is this reference to the Law and keeping the Commandments and so forth. Now verse 7 is going to prove my point.
I John 3:7
“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” What’s the word? “Doeth.” What does that imply? Of his own volition. To that person who purposes in his heart to keep the Commandments and to be a righteous man, he was righteous. And we can’t do that. Paul never teaches us to “do” righteously. Now let me show you what I mean. Come back to Romans chapter 3. What we have to do with Scripture in order to keep it rightly divided, is constantly be reminded of what is the situation for us in this Age of Grace, compared to these Jewish believers who were still under the Kingdom economy? And will be again. They will be again as soon as the Tribulation begins and they have permission to rebuild the Temple. They’ll go back under the Gospel of the Kingdom, which Jesus said in Matthew 24 verse 14, “This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world, into all the nations, and then shall the end come.”
Not his Gospel of Grace – the Gospel of the Kingdom. All right, so now then in Romans chapter 3, look at the different language. John says, “if you do righteously, you’re righteous.” Paul doesn’t tell us that. How do we attain righteousness in this Age of Grace? Our righteousness is imputed to us. Not because we’ve worked for it but because we’ve what? “We’ve believed it! It’s faith.”
All right, start in verse 21 of Romans 3, because this is what people are constantly mixing all up. No wonder there’s confusion. In fact, I’ve got a book at home, the title of which is, ‘Why So Many Churches?’ And that’s basically the reason, because they mix everything up. One denomination takes this and throws it away. Or they take this and bring it in. Or vise versa. And consequently you’ve got all these various concepts of what we’re to do. But, if you keep Israel out of the church and the church out of Israel, it’s as plain as day. And many can’t comprehend that Jesus’ earthly ministry was all about the promises made to the Nation of Israel, as we see in Romans 8:15. All right, here’s a good example. Verse 21.
“But now.…” Remember he’s talking about the Law up in verses 19 and 20.
“But now (on this side of the cross, with the Law having been crucified with Christ) the righteousness of God without the Law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;” In other words, everything is in a building process. The Law, the Prophets, Christ’s earthly ministry and then the revelations of the mysteries to the Apostle Paul – it all comes in order, one resting on the others. All right, now verse 22.
“Even the righteousness of God (God’s righteousness, not ours!) which is by faith of Jesus Christ (In other words, that’s the only way it can be extended from God to man is through Jesus Christ and it’s going to be) unto all and upon all them that (doeth righteously? No. That doesn’t say that. That’s what John said! Paul says, unto every one that what?) believe.…”See the difference? We don’t become righteous by doing righteously. We become righteous by believing the finished work of the cross and letting God impute His righteousness. Let Him do it. We can’t. But when we have that imputed righteousness of God, it’s going to affect our lifestyle. We’re going to make a 180-degree turn. And we see it letter after letter, how lives have been changed. That’s what we look for. Okay, so now if you’ll come back again to I John chapter 3 verse 8:
I John 3:8a
“He that committeth sin.…”
Now, what did we determine last program? What’s sin? Breaking the Law. So ‘he that breaks the Law,’ or ‘he that is a law-breaker.’
I John 3:8
“He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth (or has been a law-breaker) from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” Now never lose sight of the fact, this was the heart of salvation to these Jews under the Gospel of the Kingdom – that they were to recognize and know as believers that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel.
Now let’s go back and pick up a clear scriptural account of this. Go back to Peter’s confession. Matthew chapter 16, now this is Peter. I call this Peter’s profession of faith. And this was the heart of the Gospel of the Kingdom – For salvation these Jews had to believe Who Jesus of Nazareth really was. He wasn’t just a prophet. He was the Son of God! The Creator of the universe. And Peter recognized it. All right, Matthew chapter 16, now we always have to start at verse 13 in order to make sense for new listeners. Matthew 16 verse 13, they’re at the end of the three years of earthly ministry. They’re about to go up to Jerusalem for the Passover and the crucifixion.
“When Jesus came into the coasts (borders) of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, (the Twelve, now I’m saying twelve because Judas is still with them) saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” Now there it is. That’s all they were to really know and believe. Who He was. Now after three years of signs and wonders and miracles, how much did the average Jew on the street know? Nothing. Look at their answer. Now this is shocking. After three years of nothing but miracles and signs and wonders (and I hope you all know that there were far, far more than what are recorded). The last verse of the book of John says that if they’d all been recorded the world wouldn’t be able to hold it. And yet after all of those miracles, look what the response is. Verse 14.
“And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: Some Elijah; and others Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” Imagine! Imagine, now these Jews had been steeped in the Scriptures, they thought. Like a lot people today who think they know their Bibles and then they finally realize how little they know. Well these guys are no different. And here they’ve been with the Lord for three years, miracle after miracle after miracle. Now verse 15, and He puts the question again.
“He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?” Have you done any better than the rank and file of Israel? “Whom do you say that I am? And Simon Peter as usual is the spokesman and so he answered on behalf of at least ten of them, maybe not Judas. My, if you haven’t highlighted it before, do it now. This was Peter’s confession.
“And Simon Peter answered and said, thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Now can you make it any plainer than that? That’s Who He was. He was the Son of God. Now you want to remember that most of our cults who claim to be Christian, that’s the first sign of a cult – they deny that Jesus is God. And they’ll use every imaginable detour that you can throw at them to deny it. I’ve tried it. There’s only one verse so far, that I’ve found that kind of makes them stutter and stammer and that’s Titus, let’s go back and look at it a minute. Come back to Titus, chapter 2 verse 13.
Now for these folks that come to your door, without naming them, they are the most adamant that Jesus Christ was not God. Well, just let them read this verse and then see what kind of a stammering excuse you get. Oh, they’ll have one. But it won’t be valid. Because this is what the Book says.
“(we’re to be) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”
Now this is Paul. The blessed hope, the Rapture as we call it. Not the Second Coming, but the Rapture, when the Body of Christ is caught away in the air. So “We’re to be looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God, (Who?) our Savior Jesus Christ.” Now, how in the world can anybody twist that out of shape. “Our Savior the great God, Jesus Christ.”
Now for the Jew under the Gospel of the Kingdom then, that was what they were to understand – Who He was. He was the Anointed Messiah of Israel, but He wasn’t just a prophet. He wasn’t just a good person. He was the Son of God. Now of course, Paul comes along a little further in Colossians and makes it so plain that He was also what? The Creator of everything. Jesus Christ the Son of God, the Creator of everything! And if He was any less than that He couldn’t have bought our salvation, He couldn’t have paid for it. But He was. And He did.
Okay, now let’s come back to I John again. We’re making a little headway. I thought I’d cover all of I John and II John and III John today, but I don’t think I’m going to make it. Okay, chapter 3 again.
I John 3:8b
“…For this purpose (to take away man’s sin, to defeat the father of lies, the devil) the Son of God was manifested,.…” Oh don’t lose that. He was the Son of God.
Now that doesn’t mean that God was the sire and He was the offspring. We have to recognize that these are terminologies that God has seen fit to use for His own purposes to delineate the three Persons of the Godhead. It does not mean that God the Father sired God the Son, and then the Holy Spirit was just some other addendum. No they are just simply titles of the Father, the Son and the Spirit and they are all co-equal in the Godhead. One is just as much God as the other.
And now a verse comes to mind. Come back to Colossians, chapter 2 verse 8. Paul writing to the Gentiles; now remember, what a big difference.
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, (or again this world system) and not after Christ. 9. For in him (Who? Christ, the Lord Jesus, the Son of God) dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead (how?) bodily.”
Now let’s just show you what he’s talking about. Come back to John 14 verses 8 and 9. Now this should answer all your questions, shouldn’t it? Here they are, just shortly before He’s going to be taken to be crucified. They’re in the upper room.
“Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” Let us get a glimpse of the Father and it sufficeth us. That’s all we need. Now look at Jesus’ answer.
“Jesus said unto him, Have I been so long time with you (three years now remember) and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father;.…”
Plain as English can make it, isn’t it? So Who was He? Well He was the manifestation of the whole Triune Godhead. Now come back to Colossians again and put the frosting on the cake. Back to Colossians 2 just to repeat. After Jesus tells Philip, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” Now Paul can come back by Holy Spirit inspiration and tell us in Colossians 2 verse 9 as we just read, “For in him (that is in Christ, in God the Son) dwelleth all the fullness of the whole Godhead.” How many Persons in the Godhead? Three. The Father, The Son And the Holy Spirit – and they’re all manifested in the Son. And yet they maintain their individuality as their role demands.
Now we can’t comprehend that. That’s beyond human understanding. But isn’t most of it? My, what little we get is minute. Like when we get to Glory and we get full knowledge – now I don’t know if it’s going to work this way or not, but we’ll look back at this feeble existence and we’ll think, “Why, we didn’t know anything!” There is so much that we can’t comprehend.
You’ve heard me say it over and over, especially in my weekly classes, there is not a human, I don’t think, that has ever lived that can fully understand all that Christ accomplished at the Cross of Calvary. There’s no way we can understand that. How He took the sins of the world on Himself. How He defeated Satan and all the powers of his realm and domain. We can’t comprehend it. But what little we understand, we take by faith. And it’s the same way with the Triune God, I can’t comprehend it, but I believe it! No questions asked, because the Book says it.
All right come back to I John, chapter 3 so verse 8 again, “For this purpose, the Son of God, (Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ) was manifested, (was brought into the human experience and made like I said in the ‘spotlight of all of human history’) that he might destroy (or bring to nothing) the works of the devil.” And of course, He did that at the Resurrection – that’s when he was defeated. Now verse 9, and here’s another one of those verses that are hard for us to comprehend until you understand what he’s really saying.
I John 3:9a
“Whosoever is born of God. (in other words, whoever has that eternal life by virtue of their believing) doth not commit sin;.…”
Have you ever found a believer that didn’t sin? Oh, I’ve run across a few who tried to tell me they didn’t. But they lie through their teeth, because we all sin. You cannot be otherwise. So what does this mean that ‘he is born of God does not commit sin?’ That Divine nature within us, that comes as a result of salvation, whether it was the Jewish economy or ours, that’s pretty much the same. The Divine part of us cannot sin. So why do we sin? Because the other part takes over.
Let’s come back quickly to Galatians, chapter 5. We may not have time, so we may have to pick this up in the next half-hour. But here is the dilemma, how that if the Divine nature cannot sin, then why do we sin? It’s that old nature that’s still with us.
“For the flesh (the old sin nature warreth or) lusteth against the Spirit, (the new nature) and the Spirit against the flesh: (see one against the other) and these are contrary (they’re opposites) the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that you would.”
Well what’s the Scripture telling us? Hey we’ve got a royal battle going on constantly. The sin nature says “Do it.” The new nature says, “I can’t.” And the old nature says, “Everybody else is.” The new nature says, “No they aren’t.” And so it’s this constant battle – and then the next verse says it.
“But if ye be led of the Spirit, (if you’re under the control of that new Divine nature that does not sin, then you see) ye are not under the law.”
It’s just that simple, see? And so here’s where the crux of the matter is. We have a Divine nature, but we still have the old sin nature within us, and whichever you feed the most is going to prevail.