Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 57
Believe Not Every Spirit – Part 2
I John 4:1-10
Again, I’d like to welcome you to our Bible study. We’ve been doing this now for several years, and by now you know we’re not associated with one group. We are totally independent and I want to keep it that way because, after all, I report only to the Lord Himself – and I realize it’s an awesome responsibility to handle the Word of God – so I don’t take it lightly.
Okay we’ve got a lot of ground to cover so let’s get right back where we left off in our last program, and we are in I John chapter 4 and we’re going to go right back to the same two verses we ended with because I didn’t even come close to covering all that’s in them. And it’s not what’s in those two verses – but rather, for us in this Age of Grace, what is NOT in those verses! And that’s what I want people to see.
I’ll never forget when an elderly man, who has now gone to be with the Lord, came up to me years ago here in Oklahoma and said, “Les, you’re always telling us that it’s just as important to see what is NOT in a portion of Scripture as what is.“ And I said, “That’s right!” And what a difference that makes – that we realize that a lot of the stuff that we’ve heard over the years isn’t in here, at least not in the rightful place. Remember I told you in the last lesson, if you wonder if it’s for us in the Church Age, see if it’s in Paul’s writings – because he was chosen by the risen Lord to be the Apostle for us in this Age of Grace. (Acts 9:15 and Romans 11:13). All right, now here is a good example of what I’m talking about. John is not saying one word about the cross or the resurrection or the shed blood. So, let’s come back to I John chapter 4 verses 2 and 3, and refresh our minds from the last lesson.
I John 4:2
“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God;” What does it leave out? The cross! Nothing concerning His resurrection. Only – Who He was. All right, then, you come down into verse 3 – and like we showed in the first half-hour that’s the negative side, if you have someone that,
I John 4:3b
“…confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh (then) is not of God:.…”
All right, now let’s just jump ahead a little bit to show you what I’m talking about – in this same chapter, go over to verse 15. Chapter 4 verse 15. Now you’ve got to look at this with an open mind. Now I think I’m more patient than most people in my situation – but when people just refuse and refuse and refuse to open their eyes and read what the Book says, I get a little bit uptight. Because, after all, what’s wrong with reading what the Bible says? But they don’t want to do it because they want to follow tradition, and then they’re out there on thin ice.
I John 4:15
“Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” What’s missing? Well, the work of the cross. Jump on over to chapter 5 verse 1. I can remember years ago before I had the understanding of Scripture that I have now, that already the Lord must have been working on my brain cells because way back, and the guy’s gone on to be with the Lord (and some of my past pastors are still living so they’ll know I’m not talking about them), but I’ll never forget he preached a Sunday morning sermon on this verse. And I said afterwards, “Preacher we can’t be saved on this verse.” He said, “Oh yes we can, this is the Gospel.” Well it is the Gospel of the Kingdom, but not the Gospel of Grace. Look what it says.
I John 5:1
“Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.” Not a word about the cross. So is John out in left field? No. John is exactly where he belongs because who is he writing to? Jews, who as yet have not been exposed to Paul’s Gospel of Grace. He’s on Jewish ground, as I’ve been saying for the last umpteen months since we started – actually Hebrews, but especially James and Peter and John, this is all written to Jewish believers who are saved simply by believing that Jesus was the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel.
Now granted, every human being from Adam until the end of time will be saved by the ‘merit’ of the cross. It took the atoning blood of Christ to save Adam, but Adam did not believe in a crucifixion. He couldn’t because it hadn’t been revealed yet. All right, now come back with me so that you’ll see where I’m coming from. Some portions of Scripture, especially in my Oklahoma classes, we use them constantly. Matthew 16, and now remember what you just read in John’s little epistle. Don’t forget that now because we’ve got to tie them all together. Matthew 16 – toward the end of Christ’s three years of earthly ministry. They’re ready to go up to Jerusalem for the crucifixion. All right, Matthew 16 verse 13, and all you have to do is read it, but also be aware of what is not here.
“When Jesus came into the coasts (or borders) of Caesarea Philippi, (now that’s clear up in the northern borders of Israel, at the head waters of the Jordan River) he asked his disciples, (the Twelve) saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” A simple question. Put in plain language today, what did He ask? Who do the people of Israel think I am? We’ve been out here now for three years, performing miracle after miracle after miracle; who do they think I am anyway? Now look at their answer.
“And they said, Some say thou art John the Baptist: some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” (now Jesus, in His patience, comes back with a question) 15. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?” Do you twelve men know anything better?
“And Simon Peter (who was usually the spokesman) answered and said, (now watch this, I’m going to throw you a curve – and Simon Peter said) Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (who died for me and rose again the third day?) Does your Bible say that? That’s what everybody seems to think it should say. But they have no idea of a crucifixion. Luke 18 makes it so plain that, as they were going up to Jerusalem, Jesus told them everything that was going to happen because He was God, He knew. But the next verse says:
“And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” They had no idea He was going to die. And even after He’s crucified did they expect resurrection? No. Otherwise they’d have been outside the tomb waiting. But they didn’t know He was going to be raised from the dead.
All right, now the same way here, the only thing these men understood – Who Jesus was. And Who was He? The Son of God! The Creator of the universe, the One who had come to be Israel’s Messiah and King. And that’s all they were supposed to believe. Remember this is the Gospel of the Kingdom message. Because what is faith? Taking God at His Word. Well, can you believe something that God hasn’t said? No. And He doesn’t expect them to believe what He hasn’t said. All right, so He has not said one word about believing in a crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection for their salvation. All He’s been proving to them is Who He was. He was the Messiah, the Son of God. Period.
Now to show you that Jesus was fully satisfied with that profession of faith – and that’s what I call it – this was Peter’s profession of faith. “Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God.” Verse 17, what does Jesus put on it? Blessings!
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jo-na: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Jesus says, Peter, you’ve got it right. You’re exactly right. But not because you were so smart. It was because God opened your understanding as to Who I am. And isn’t that always the case? Of course, it is. All right, let’s give you another one while we’re at it. Come over with me to John’s Gospel chapter 11. Lazarus has just died and Martha is all upset because she had seen Him heal the sick. And she knew that if He’d just been there Lazarus could have been healed and he wouldn’t have died, and so she is kind of rightfully upset. Lord why weren’t you here? All right, and then verse 23, here’s picking up the account now.
“Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” But why weren’t you here to keep him from dying? Get the tone? Oh, I know he’ll rise at the last day, but that doesn’t give us our brother tomorrow. I wouldn’t doubt but that the girls were pretty much dependent on him for their income, but they’re upset because he’s dead. Verse 25.
“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” In other words, He’s just showing Who He is. He’s the God of Creation. He’s in control of life and death but He doesn’t associate any salvation to what He just said. Now next verse.
“And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 27. She (Martha) saith unto him, Yea, Lord: (now watch this – if it isn’t just word-for-word what Peter said back in chapter 16, Martha said) I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” Period. Not a word about the cross. Not a word about His death, but what does she believe? Who He was! And that’s all they were supposed to believe because that’s all that had been revealed. You cannot believe something that God has not spoken. And they were not expected to either. All right, one more. Acts chapter 8 and this is plain. My goodness you don’t have to be a seminary professor to see this. It’s as plain as day that their profession of faith was based on Who Jesus was.
Acts chapter 8. Philip has been up to Samaria and the Spirit has instructed him to go on the way down toward Africa beyond Gaza, the same Gaza that’s in the news every day today, down there on the corner of the Mediterranean Sea. And as he’s gone down he sees what is probably a caravan heading south to Africa. And we have the Ethiopian eunuch. And you all know the account. All right, verse 36.
“And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, (that is to Philip now) See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” Now of course we don’t see here in Acts that Philip said anything about baptism, but again we have to feel that it was implied because it was part and parcel of the Gospel of the Kingdom. John the Baptist started with what? Repent and be baptized. Peter in Acts chapter 2:38 says what? “Repent and be baptized.” So we have to assume that Philip said the same thing when he preached unto him Jesus Christ – that if he truly believed it he should follow that with water baptism. This is all part of the Jewish economy. All right, now verse 37. This is Bible study! This is what you’ve got to be able to digest.
“And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. (that is be baptized) And he answered and said, (now again watch it, I’m going to throw you another curve. I’ve already got one strike on you. I’m going to get number two. And now he says) I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Who died for me? Shed His blood and rose from the dead? Have you got a Bible out there that says that? No. Because your Bible doesn’t say that. Was this eunuch saved? Absolutely! Did he know anything about death, burial and resurrection for that salvation? No. What did he know? Who Jesus was!
Now have you got the picture? That was the Gospel of the Kingdom! And that message was that Jesus was the Promised Messiah and King of Israel and He was ready to bring in that earthly Kingdom promised ever since Abraham and Isaac and David and the rest of the Old Testament. But he couldn’t set up that Kingdom until Israel recognized Who He was. And so the writers of these little epistles will never mention anything concerning the cross for salvation. Now Peter makes reference to His death and that He’s alive, but not for salvation. That’s what you have to look for. Remember Paul says, “Rightly divide the Word” for salvation and church doctrine – his writings from the rest of Scripture.
In I John he’s made it so plain that if they believed that Jesus was the Son of God, then they are being led by the right spirit. And if a spirit says He was not Who He claimed to be, then they’re following a false spirit.
Now let’s go back to this other apostle, the one not associated with the Twelve whatsoever – he was kept separate from them as much as possible. Come back with me to Paul’s writing to the Corinthians. And my what a difference in the language. And, by the way, people come and tell me all the time that when they confront Sunday School teachers and pastors with this, they say, “No, you can’t listen to Les Feldick. There’s never been more than one Gospel.”
And then I just have to come back and ask a logical question. Did the Twelve preach faith in His death, burial and resurrection for salvation – when they didn’t even have a clue that it was going to happen? No! And yet that’s all that Paul knows. And yet you’re going to sit there and tell me that they preached the same thing? How could they? Common sense. Just common sense. They couldn’t preach the same thing because Paul’s Gospel hasn’t been revealed yet.
But here’s Paul’s Gospel. I Corinthians chapter 1 verse 17. This just flies in the face of Jesus and John the Baptist and the Twelve. Now with Paul, it’s a whole different ballgame. The risen Lord has revealed something different to Paul who is now preaching to the Gentile world. Jesus and the Twelve were preaching to Israel. Now look what Paul writes in I Corinthians 1 starting at verse 17. And remember he’s the apostle of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles and he never let’s us forget that, that it was Jesus Christ that confronted him on the road to Damascus. It was Jesus Christ Who taught him those three years in the desert. And he always is alluding to the fact that he is merely the mouthpiece (if I may use that word) for the ascended Lord Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 1:17a
“For Christ sent me not to baptize,….” People don’t like to read that do they? Paul says, “He didn’t send me to baptize.” Well, he sent John to baptize, but not Paul.
I Corinthians 1:17b
“…but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” Now right off the bat, what’s number one in his thinking? The cross. Now verse 18, here’s why.
I Corinthians 1:18a
“For the preaching of the cross (notice Paul’s emphasis. Not His Messiahship, but rather His crucifixion) is to them that perish (lost people) foolishness;….” Don’t you hear it every once in a while? I do. What does what happened 2,000 years ago have to do with me today? That’s the scoffers question. Well it has everything to do with you today! Everything! Because that was the very culmination of all of God’s dealing with the human race, past, present and future.
I Corinthians 1:18b
“…but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” All right, now come on down, verse 23.
I Corinthians 1:23a
“But (Paul says) we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock,…” “But we preach Christ” the miracle worker? No. “We preach Christ” the Messiah? No. “We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block” because they couldn’t comprehend that anything good would come out of Nazareth. And so, the reaction was – away with him.
I Corinthians 1:23b
“…and unto the Greeks, foolishness;” Foolishness. Whoever heard of such a thing – of being willing to go to a Roman cross supposedly to die for the sins of mankind? That’s foolishness. All right then verse 25.
I Corinthians 1:25
“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
All right, now come on over, still in I Corinthians, to chapter 15. I Corinthians chapter 15. Now here’s the Gospel of salvation for the Gentiles. Here’s the Gospel that Paul is constantly proclaiming. Here’s the Gospel that saves mankind today. Not just believing that Jesus is the Son of God, although that’s a prerequisite. The Christ of the cross, of course, is the Son of God. No doubt about that.
I Corinthians 15:1-2
“Moreover, brethren, (as he writes to these Corinthian Gentiles, and you and I) I declare unto you the gospel (it’s singular) which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye (as believers) stand; 2. By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” Now here comes Paul’s Gospel of salvation that we must believe in this Age of Grace!
I Corinthians 15:3-4
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, (where did he get it? The Ascended Lord) 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:” See, you don’t see language like that in Peter, James and John. It’s not in there. But Paul can proclaim that Christ died for our sins, and rose again, according to the Old Testament. That Christ, the Son of God, the Creator of everything, went to that Roman cross where God poured out all of His wrath and judgment, but also poured out all of His what? Mercy.
The two-fold work of the cross – all of the wrath of God that the human race deserved was poured out on Him. That’s why He cried out “My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me?”It was God’s wrath being poured out. But, on the other hand, we’ll see a little later in this chapter, the big word “propitiation.” He also then became the seat of mercy. And so that’s why I proclaim without any apology that you don’t have to cry out the sinner’s prayer. You don’t have to say be merciful to me – a sinner. That’s already been done. God had already poured out His mercy on sinful men when He poured it out at the cross. And so it’s a two-fold work. The wrath of God was poured out on Him but also He became the very mercy seat. He became the epitome of God’s forgiveness and reconciliation and mercy to everyone that believes it.
Now that brings up another point. Is there another ‘belief system’ on the planet that can do that? Not one. Now I’m using ‘belief system’ instead of the word that I hate – ‘religion.’ I just don’t like the word – it just rubs me wrong. Otherwise I would say can you think of another religion, but I’m not going to do that, I’m going to say can you think of another belief system? Can you? Not one. Not one can proclaim that their belief system – the Creator of the universe took on human flesh so that He could satisfy the demands of a holy and a righteous God by shedding His blood and by suffering that death of wrath and vexation of God as well as the outpouring of His mercy. And then culminate it all with the power of resurrection. There’s not another belief system on the planet that can proclaim that. Not one.
And then they jump all over us for being exclusivist. Of course I’m an exclusivist! I’d be contrary to Scripture if I weren’t. Nothing rankles me more than if somebody says, “Well all the paths come to the same pond.” No they don’t. All the other paths are going to anything but a pond! All Paul knows is this Gospel of salvation – how that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. You believe it! Plus nothing!
Now here’s the other point I wanted to make. As soon as we believe that Gospel, not only do we experience sins forgiven, but we are as Paul says in Romans 5:1 – that the grace of God bringeth the peace with God – only because we believed it. All right, now this is where we get letter after letter after letter. We had almost 300 of them yesterday. Iris and I just opened letters all afternoon. And so many of them say the same thing. “For the first time in my life I have a hunger for this Book. I can’t get enough of it.” Why? Because when you become a believer that’s just like the newborn baby crying for what? Milk. And this is what we’re finding, that people are all of a sudden getting struck with the interest of this Book. There’s nothing like it! It’s the most exciting Book between two covers. But you have to understand how it’s put together. You have to be able to separate it.
Okay, here we are – Paul’s Gospel based on the death, burial and resurrection of the Son of God. These other men are simply saying, “Believe Who Jesus was.” What a difference.