Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 57
1 John 4:1-10 – Part 2
Let’s go back to where we were in I John chapter 4 and we’re going to look at verse 6 once again because some of these things we just cannot hurry over.
I John 4:6
“We (John writes) are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; (in other words we can converse with fellow believers) he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” Now you see the unbelieving world cannot discern between error and truth because they don’t know what the truth is. So all they can fall for are the errors. But, we’re more fortunate than that. Now to see how Paul addresses it again for you and I (so that we can latch our teeth into it, if I may put it that way) come back with again me to I Corinthians chapter 2 – where we were in the last program. I left off at verse 7, “the speaking of wisdom of God in a mystery.” Now I want to come down to verses 9 and 10.
I Corinthians 2:9
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
Now I know I’m as guilty as anybody in using that verse often to show that those things out in eternity are beyond us. We just don’t have a handle on it because the Bible just doesn’t deal with it. But that isn’t what Paul is really talking about. What he’s talking about are the things that pertain to us today in our everyday experience. Because you see, coming out of verse 9, “the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”
I Corinthians 2:10a
“But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit:.…” Now go back and read verse 9 again, “As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man the things which God hath (past tense) prepared for them that love him.” In other words, human comprehension can’t touch it. There’s just no way we can figure out all that God has done. Like I said in the last half-hour, we can’t comprehend all that Christ accomplished at the cross. It’s beyond us. We just take what little we understand by faith. All right, but now look what he says, “These things God has prepared for them that love him. Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, but (the flipside) God has revealed them to us by his Spirit.” Oh, not all of it, of course, but God has revealed so much of this by the Spirit.
I Corinthians 2:10b,11
“…for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? (in other words, how can a human understand human things unless he’s a human? That’s simple isn’t it? Something in the animal kingdom cannot comprehend the things that are dealing with humanity. They’re not of the same makeup) even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” It’s just as illogical for a lost man to understand the things of God as for a dog to understand human practice. Now that’s an extreme I know, but it still makes the point. It is utterly impossible for lost people to comprehend the Word of God. It’s beyond them.And like I mentioned in the last program, that’s why we’re so thrilled with all these letters stating that now they have come to trust the Gospel of salvation, and they have come to a real saving knowledge of God – they’re understanding the Bible. Well naturally! That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
I’ll never forget a gentleman who came into the class (one of these guys who knew nothing but thought he knew it all), and he was trying to give me some arguments afterwards. And I had a fellow who had been saved out of rather horrible background and had become so engrossed in the Word of God – and he was overhearing all of this; and he finally came up and he tapped the guy on the shoulder and he said, “Listen buddy, if you ever get saved, then you’ll know what you’re talking about.” Well you know that’s so true. See, these people can talk about the Scriptures; they can argue them but they are totally ignorant of what they’re talking about. And so that’s what Paul is saying – that unless you have the Spirit of God there is no way you can understand the things of God. It has to be through the Spirit.
I Corinthians 2:12
“Now we have received, (we believers) not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; (the things pertaining to God) that we might know the things which are freely given to us of God.” In other words, you don’t have to go and pay a high tuition to learn the things of God. The Spirit will reveal it freely. Providing we take the step of wanting to learn. All right, now verse 13.
I Corinthians 2:13
“Which things (Paul says) we also speak, (that is the things pertaining to God,) not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; (and how do we get that?) comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” That’s why I’m always trying to compare Scripture with Scripture so that we can see the whole concept and how it all fits together. And only the Holy Spirit can unfold that for us. Now then verse 14, he comes back to that unbelieving person again.
I Corinthians 2:14
“But the natural man (the unsaved person) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: (he can’t because the Spirit can only work through the believer) for they (the things of God) are (what?) foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, (why?) because they are spiritually discerned.”
And so this is what we have to understand. Don’t get impatient with that lost person who can’t understand what you’re trying to tell him. It’s impossible for him, until he becomes a believer, and then all of a sudden it opens up to him. But many times we get uptight and impatient with people when they can’t see these things and they can’t understand them, so always remember that’s the reason. They’re blind as bats spiritually speaking because they’ve never had their eyes opened by the Spirit.
All right, since you’re in Corinthians, you might as well go a few pages to the right to II Corinthians chapter 4. I alluded to it earlier this afternoon but I didn’t want to take time then to look it up, but now we will since we’re this close to it. II Corinthians chapter 4 and drop in at verse 3. If the Apostle Paul experienced it, goodness sakes we don’t have to feel badly that they don’t understand us.
II Corinthians 4:3-4
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: (they can’t comprehend it. Why?) 4. In whom the god of this world (that would be Satan, the one who can transform himself into an angel of light, as we saw earlier) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, (see there’s where Paul gives Christ His true Deity again) should shine unto them.” But it can’t, because Satan has them blinded. They’ve got a blindfold on and they cannot see these things until God in His saving power removes the blindfold. All right now let’s come back. We’ll make a little more headway in I John. And now for these Jewish believers it’s much the same thing. By virtue of their faith in Who Jesus of Nazareth really was, God has reckoned them as saved. Just like He did Peter back in Matthew 16.
I John 4:7
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth (that is someone else) is born of God, and knoweth God.” Well, here again, John stops short of what we would call Paul’s Gospel. He’s still on that Jewish economy, that as soon as they believed that Jesus was the Christ, they had God’s Salvation for them, and they too would now have that ability to love one another. All right, now verse 8.
I John 4:8
“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” Well now that’s so much in line with John’s Gospel where over and over he’s speaking of this concept of love. For example, “Love one another” and so on and so forth. All right, but Paul does as well. Paul speaks of love and so I’m going to look at that one in Romans chapter 13. And here we’re speaking of this same agape love.
“Owe no man anything,.…” Or don’t defraud is a better translation, I think. Don’t defraud. There’s nothing wrong with having a mortgage on your house. That’s why I always have to stop and explain this. I don’t want people to think that it’s totally wrong to borrow money or owe somebody. No there’s nothing wrong with a legitimate mortgage. Israel did it all through their history. But, defrauding, that’s something else, as that’s taking advantage of people. All right, but instead of defrauding someone:
“…but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Well now that’s kind of different for Paul to say because we know that Christ fulfilled the Law with the work of the cross. But that same love that brought about the cross is now imputed to us and our love now goes out to the people around us. Consequently, verse 9. Paul doesn’t leave us lawless. We’re not under Law, but we’re not lawless. Or the phrase I’ve often used through the years is “Grace is not license.” We aren’t just free to go and do as we please. But all right, since we have now experienced God’s saving Grace by His love, then it follows that all the things that pertain to the Law of God are appropriate for us. And here it is:
“For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery,.…” Why? Because as soon as you commit adultery you’re not showing love for the God that has saved you. Nor are you showing love for the spouse that you’re cheating on. And so since love is the key, these things cannot be appropriate.
“…Thou shalt not kill, (well that’s obvious. You can’t kill somebody that you love) Thou shalt not steal, (that’s obvious also, you can’t steal from somebody if you love them) Thou shalt not bear false witness, (how can you gossip, or lie about someone that you love? It’s all such common sense) Thou shalt not covet; (how can you be envious of someone you love? Just the opposite, you’re glad that they’re being blessed.) and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Because love works no ill to his neighbor. So the whole concept of God is love! Now while I’m on the subject of the Ten Commandments, I always better remind people of this. Paul makes mention of nine of the Ten Commandments. Just like he does here. And then in Ephesians he speaks of the one pertaining to children and their respect for parents. That’s Ephesians 6, and verse 1. He says:
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)” So, Paul repeats nine of the Ten Commandments, but he never touches the other one and what is it? The Sabbath. He never says, “Obey the Sabbath and keep it holy,” because that was something that was totally removed from the Christian experience and that is so obvious throughout all of his epistles that even though love demands our adhering to the other nine (not as a means of salvation but only as a result of it) we are never admonished to keep the seventh day Sabbath. All right, let’s go back to I John again, and make a little more headway. Chapter 4 verse 9.
I John 4:9
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” Now there’s nothing new in that. As His eternal life was imparted to us as a result of our faith, then that is eternal life. All right, verse 10.
I John 4:10a
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us,.…” Now you might want to underline that. The whole work of the cross was triggered by God’s love for mankind. God sent His Son into the world first and foremost to bring Israel to a knowledge of Himself so that He could fulfill all the promises. Now that reminds me of a verse that I haven’t used lately. Romans chapter 15 verse 8. I think this may be an appropriate time to use it. In fact, I told somebody one time, I can have a subject for a seminar that can range almost from anything to anything and I can start everyone with this verse. I can start any seminar on this verse because it just simply is the benchmark for all of Scripture, and here it is.
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was (past tense) a minister of the circumcision (that’s Israel) for the truth of God, to confirm (or bring to fruition or to fulfill) the promises made unto(whom?) the fathers:” Well who were the fathers in Scripture? The patriarchs. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and then later on Moses and David. And then the prophets. All of these promises were made to the Nation of Israel with regard to Christ’s first coming or what we call His first Advent. And what was the purpose? To give Israel the Messiah and the King and the Kingdom that they had been longing for. That was the whole purpose of His coming.
Now, when all that was rejected then the final purpose was to bring Him to the cross, but that is not what brought Him to the Nation of Israel. He came to the Nation of Israel to fulfill the promises made to the fathers – to Israel. And so everything in His earthly ministry was programmed in that direction. And then once the Apostle Paul is sent to the Gentiles, it becomes that world-wide offer of salvation to the whole human race. Now back to I John 4, and verse 10 again. There’s a tremendous word here that I just can’t slip over in that verse.
I John 4:10
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and he sent his Son, (there’s that S-o-n capitalized) to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Now I dare say I could ask the average church member up and down the streets of Tulsa or any other city in America; what’s propitiation? They don’t have a clue.
I had a gentleman call me just the other day asking the question “What is propitiation?” Well, let’s look at the other place it’s used. Back up a page or two to chapter 2 verse 2, so it’s not just a strange word that has slipped in here by accident but now in I John chapter 2 verse 2, we have the same word.
I John 2:2
“And he (Jesus Christ of verse 1) is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Now that’s where John comes a little bit further than James and Peter in that he is now reaching out to not just Israel, but the whole world can come in and benefit from this work of the cross. All right so, the propitiation for our sins. Now let’s come all the way back to Romans chapter 3, where it is first and here it comes from the pen of the Apostle Paul, and this is again part of the revelation of the mysteries.
“For all (the whole human race) have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (that’s a blanket condemnation. But that’s not where it stops) 24. Being justified freely (without cost) by his grace through the redemption (that is the process of paying the price) that is in Christ Jesus: (Now here it comes.) 25. 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; (but I have to take the next verse as well) 26. To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: (not ours – His) that he (God) might be just, (totally fair) and the justifier of him (or that person) which believeth in Jesus.” (that is the work of the cross)
All right, now to the propitiation. What are Paul and John talking about? Well, I think the best way that I can explain it in two minutes – better do this fast. Well you go all the way back to Exodus and into the Tabernacle out there in the wilderness. You remember that you had the brazen altar out at the front. And then the laver, which contained the water. And then you came into the sanctuary, the front part of the Tabernacle. And in the front room as you came in was the seven-lamp candlestick. Across the room was the table of showbread. And in the middle of the room was the altar of incense. But behind the veil, now in the little room at the back behind the veil was the Ark of the Covenant. In which, were the tables of stone as well as Aaron’s rod, that had budded.
Now what did all that show? Well it showed that the Law was buried because the Ark was really a coffin remember? And the almond rod that budded was an indication of new life that, as the Law was put to death, out came new life. Now all of that was consummated then under that mercy seat where not only was the wrath extended but also God’s what? Mercy. And you put all that together and that’s propitiation. So Christ was and is our everything!