Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 58
Okay, back where we left off in the last lesson, and that would be in II John, now verse 8. We talked in the last program about the constant warning throughout Scripture against the deceivers, the deception, the satanic powers to keep people from the truth. So verse 8 he said,:
II John 1:8a
“Look to yourselves,…”
In other words, this is something that, well Peter puts it this way, “make your calling and election” what? “sure.” Now that doesn’t meant that you work for your salvation, but that you line up what you believe with the Scripture.
Now I’ll give you a good example. I had a gentleman call and he was not very friendly and he was certainly not very much in agreement with me because I would not adhere to a Saturday Sabbath but in the midst of his tirade I got him to stop long enough to hear me ask the question, “Well, what’s the Gospel?” He said, “It’s the power of God.” “No, that’s not the Gospel, that’s the result of it.”
And you know what? He never did tell me the Gospel. Well, what reminded me of it, I had a phone call in the last day or two where someone who had come to see all this truth of everything and he went back to some of his people and Sunday School class, whatever, and he asked them, “What is the Gospel?” They couldn’t tell him. They couldn’t tell him! And you know that’s not an isolated instance.
I had another fellow that found salvation, and he went back to his church people and he asked them, “What’s the Gospel?” And he said, “You know what my stock answer was from my fellow church people? The Bible.” Well the Bible contains the Gospel, but that’s not The Gospel. “The Gospel is that Christ died for our sins. He was buried and He arose again from the dead.” And that’s what one must believe in his or her heart for salvation! That’s the heart of the Gospel!
Now of course, other implications are He was the Son of God. It was God in the flesh that died, of course. His blood was shed as full payment for our sin. But nevertheless, this is what professing believers had better do. Check out the Scriptures. What are you basing your eternal destiny on?
And I’ve experienced it myself. You can get just about as many different answers as you have people, “If you die tonight why will you go to heaven?” Well there is only one reason why we get to heaven – we’ve believed the Gospel. And what’s the Gospel? “That Christ died for our sins, and rose from the dead.”
All right, now this is exactly what I think John is admonishing his fellow Jewish believers ” look at yourself.” Why are you ready for eternity? All right here it is, verse 8,
II John 1:8
“Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, (or worked) but that we receive a full reward.”
In other words, don’t have a false hope. Don’t have your faith in something that is not genuine and that will fulfill your eternal destiny. It’s frightening.
And we were just talking about it at break – how many multitudes of people are either believing nothing or they’re believing something that is short of the Gospel that Paul shares with us in I Corinthians 15:1-4. Some like to use that and then add to. One is as bad as the other. It’s got to be Faith + Nothing!
Remember in the last program I told you that twice in all of biblical history, God did something so perfect He couldn’t add to it. Well if God couldn’t add to it then what right does man have adding to it? Well, God won’t have it. God is absolute! He’s just.
And so I think John is saying basically the same thing that Peter said when he said work out your own salvation, with trembling, because this is important stuff. Eternity is in view. All right, now then, verse 9, we’re going to shift gears a little bit here, we’re going to go at a little different thought process.
II John 1:9a
Now remember what has John still got on his mind? Well, the Law (Acts 21:20). And that transgression of the Law is what makes us sinners and of course, we’re born sinners but as born sinners we transgress the Law, but transgressing it just puts the brand of sinner on us. So he says:
II John 1:9a
“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrines (or the teachings) of Christ, does not have God He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.”
Now that’s plain isn’t it? Even for these Jewish believers, if they were transgressing the Law and they were doing nothing to compensate for it by cashing in on God’s forgiveness, they’re in danger of eternal death. All right, I’m not going to spend much more time on that. I want to go to the last two words back up in verse 8, as I didn’t comment on that. Even for the Jew, an obedience to believing the things that Jesus Himself had taught to his Jewish people would bring what?
II John 1:8b
“…a full reward…”
Now some people cringe at the idea of working for reward and I don’t see why. We don’t work for salvation, that’s a free gift, but as a result of accepting the free gift now what does God admonish us? To work for reward.
And that’s what makes our democratic system of government, the free enterprise, what it is. That you can be rewarded for your labor. You can be rewarded for what smarts and talents God has given you. You don’t sit like a socialist and just say, “give me, give me, give me.” You get out and hustle. That’s why I am so anti-socialism. I detest it, because it just quashes that which God has given the individual.
All right, now that’s exactly then what Paul is admonishing us again into the Age of Grace, now for comparison’s sake, I Corinthians chapter 3. I told Iris the other day, I’m going to address this very subject in my next quarterly newsletter. I don’t stress it enough. I know I don’t. In fact, I’ll never forget a dear old retired pastor who was in one of my classes here in Oklahoma, just passed away now a few weeks ago, way up in years. I think he was almost 100, but I’ll never forget several years ago after the class I had taught this very portion of Scripture in I Corinthians 3. And on his way out, he said, “Les keep teaching it, because nobody ever does!”
Well I’ve been remiss myself, but once we become a believer then God expects us to start laboring for reward. Remember, even the Twelve said that back in Matthew 19 when Peter says, “Now Lord we have forsaken all to follow you, what are we going to have therefore?”
Well he wasn’t talking about salvation, he was talking about reward. What are we going to get for all that we have given up to follow you? And then the Lord told them “that they’re going to sit on twelve thrones ruling the Twelve Tribes, when they went into the Kingdom Age.”
I Corinthians 3:9a
“For (Paul writes to us believers) we are labourers together with God:…”
That’s why in my opening prayer this afternoon I prayed for all of us as part and parcel of this ministry of reaching out to the world. Whether it’s to believers or to the unbelievers; we’re all in this together. The same way with those out in the television audience, it’s you’re prayers and your contribution that makes us all co-laborers. The fruit of reward isn’t going to be just Les and Iris, it’s going to be all of us who have laboured together.
Because you see, as I’ve used the illustration over and over – you throw a stone out into the middle of a pond, how far does the result go? To every shore. Well it’s the same way with us. We all labor together. And God’s keeping the record. We’re all going to share in the rewards together. All right, that’s exactly what Paul is saying. We are laborers together, but not just us humans, who’s with us? God is! It’s God’s work!
I Corinthians 3:9b
“…ye are God’s husbandry,…”
Now you know the Scriptures use a lot of agricultural terms and husbandry spoke of agriculture. Whether it was taking care of a herd of sheep or whether it was a fruit orchard or whatever the case may be, it was taking care of that which needed cultivation and harvesting and so forth. That’s what husbandry refers to. All right, so we are God’s farming enterprise.We are in the production business, not for wheat and so forth but for souls. For fellow believers.
I Corinthians 3:9c
“…ye are God’s building.”
Now he uses the actual materials of building a building. All right, now then, verse 10,
I Corinthians 3:10a
“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder,…”
Now remember Paul is the writer here, and he is saying “he is the chief architect and contractor of the Body of Christ”
I Corinthians 3:10b
“…I have laid the foundation
Now here is one of the principles that I use for Paul’s apostleship. Paul is that which laid the foundation for the Church Age. Not Peter, not Jesus, but rather Paul did.
I Corinthians 3:10c-11
“…and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
Now again, I always have to remind people, come back for a moment to chapter 1 of this same book, and verse 17, and this epitomizes, this brings to the fore, Paul’s message.
I Corinthians 1:17
“For Christ (who of course commissioned the Apostle Paul to go to the Gentiles) sent me not to baptize, (which of course He had told the Twelve to do as they went to the Jews back in Matthew 28:19. But to this Apostle to the Gentiles, he says not to baptize) but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, (not with smooth fast talking) lest the cross of Christ be made of none effect.”
And then the next verse. This is the heart of Paul’s life and ministry amongst those pagan Gentiles.
I Corinthians 1:18a
“For the preaching of the cross (Christ’s death, burial and resurrection) is to them that perish foolishness;…”
Don’t you feel sorry for them and yet how many multitudes and multitudes of churches and denominations are doing just that. They’re turning their back on the cross. They’re adhering to a social Gospel, but here it is, “the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness,”
I Corinthians 1:18b
“…but unto us who are saved (to us who are going to have an eternity in God’s presence) it (the preaching of the cross) is the power of God.”
That’s where the power comes from – the Gospel of the cross. All right and then I always like to come back down to verse 21.
I Corinthians 1:21
“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom (intellectualism, education) knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that (what?)believe.”
And again, believe what? The preaching of the cross. All right, come back over chapter 3 again, verse 10.
I Corinthians 3:10
“According to the grace of God which is given to me, (that is the Apostle Paul) as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, (on which everything else is going to rest) and another build thereupon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereon”
It’s serious business. That’s why we have all this warning against false teachers. And they’re going to try and come in and put in their two-bits worth too. Don’t think they won’t. But all right, “Take heed.” Now then verse 11.
I Corinthians 3;11
“For other foundation can no man lay (there is no other!) than that which is laid, (and that foundation) which is Jesus Christ.”
Crucified, buried and risen from the dead. All right now here’s where we come. Rewards. John spoke of them. Peter and Jesus dealt with it back in Matthew chapter 19, and now here’s Paul dealing with it.
I Corinthians 3:12
“Now if any man (and he’s talking about believers and the man here is generic; we’re talking about men and women, boys and girls) build upon this foundation (that is Jesus Christ crucified, and risen again, and he builds) gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;”
Six materials that all believers are using in building their section of a wall. Let’s use that terminology. They’re building their section of the wall. And they can either use all six of them, or merely a mixture of some of them but these are the materials. Let’s analyze them. The gold, silver and precious stone can never be touched by fire. They are totally immune to it. If anything it will enhance their beauty. But the other three go up in a puff of smoke. They have no resistance to fire. All right, so here’s the analogy.
I Corinthians 3:13a
“Every man’s work shall be made manifest:…”
Or brought into the spotlight, is the way I’ve put it before. At the Judgment Seat of Christ every believer’s works are going to be examined with those fiery eyes of the Lord Jesus.
I Corinthians 3:13b
“…for the day (that is the Bema Seat day) will declare it, because it shall be revealed (or tested) by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”
Now I’ve got to use Scripture otherwise it counts for nothing. Keep your hand in I Corinthians and come all the way back to Revelation chapter 19, and I hope this clicks with you like it has with me – how this all makes sense! Here we’re using gold, silver and precious stones that withstand all the heat that you can imagine or wood, hay and stubble which can’t take anything. And remember they’re all going to be examined by fire. Well what are the ‘fires’?
“His (speaking of the coming Christ in this portion) eyes were as a (what?) flame of fire, (doesn’t say they were, but they could penetrate like fire) and on his head many crowns; and he a name written, that no man knew, he himself knew.”
All right, now then with that analogy, come back to I Corinthians. When He examines our section of the wall, when He examines our works as believers what’s going to remain and what’s going to go up in smoke? Well the gold, silver and precious stone is going to remain and it’ll carry with us into eternity for reward.
But the wood, hay and stubble are just going to disappear. They counted for nothing. Well I don’t know what they’re going to be, but I know what it’s going to be based on – our faithfulness. Why do we do the things that we do? Are we doing it for the acclaim of others? Are we doing it to bring honor and glory to the Lord? He knows. And so all our works, He’s going to determine whether it’s gold, silver and precious stone or is it something that counted for nothing. All right, now for most believers, sad to say, but I’m afraid it’s going to be mostly wood, hay and stubble.
I Corinthians 3:13b-14
“…because it shall be revealed by fire; (those fiery eyes of the Lord Jesus Himself) and the fire shall test every man’s work of what sort it is. 14. If any man’s work abide (it remains – it was gold, silver, precious stone) which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive (what?) reward.”
That’s what the Book says. If what you’ve done as a believer was done with a right motive and in the right attitude of faithfulness, hey, it’s going to bring reward. I don’t know what they’re going to be. But I know that God knows how to build a reward, so it’s going to be something fantastic.
Now we know that some of these sports elements can build beautiful trophies, can’t they? They’re gorgeous. But they’re nothing compared to what’s waiting for us. Nothing! All right, but now on the other side of the coin:
I Corinthians 3:15
“If any man’s work shall be burned, (if it was wood, hay and stubble, it counted for nothing) he shall suffer loss: (that is of reward) but himself shall be saved.”
Oh he’s going to be in Glory. He’s going to be in Heaven. But he’ll have no reward. Or if a portion of his works was wood, hay and stubble, he’s going to lose that part and only that which was appropriate will remain. And so these are the admonitions of Scripture all the way through, we don’t work for salvation! That’s a free gift. But once we accept the free gift, then God has a right to expect us to start working to enhance His work.
Okay back to II John. Got to keep moving. II John verse 9 again:
II John 1:9
“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine (or the teaching) of Christ, hath not God. (Now here’s what I wanted you to see.) He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he has both the Father and the Son.”
Now verse 10 and this is what I tell people when they call and say, what am I supposed to do with these people that come to my door with all their false doctrine? I say read them these two verses and I’ll bet they’ll never come back. And they won’t. Just read these verses to them before they even get time to give you’re their pitch. Just say now wait a minute, let me read you something from the Bible. And then you read these verses.
II John 1:10
“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, (that is who Jesus Christ is and now for us in this Age of Grace, what the Gospel is – that finished work of the cross. If they bring anything other than that) receive him not into your house neither bid him God speed.”
You know what that means? You don’t even have to bid them a good day. They are such false teachers. They are such emissaries of Satan that as a true believer you do not have to even bid them a good day. Why? Because they’re deeds are evil.
Oh they’re nice people. But they won’t listen to you. I’ll never forget years ago, you know I thought boy, I can really…there happened to be a couple of young ladies. Sunday afternoon and Iris and I were both home, so I invited them in; got out my blackboard and I spent three hours with them. I could have just as well poured water on a duck. They didn’t hear a word I said. So, never again. Never again. And I found these verses and if they are such false teachers I’m not going to give them the time of day. The Bible says I don’t have to.
II John 1:11
“For he that biddeth him God speed is a partaker of his evil deeds.”
That’s strong language isn’t it? And that’s what they are. Look at the multitudes that they are confusing and they are pulling off into a false cult that denies Jesus Christ is God. That deny the very basic premises of the Gospel. No wonder the Scripture says don’t bid them God’s speed because you can’t touch them.
My I’ll never forget, I had one young man, his folks had actually given him a free ticket on one of our cruises, with the precise idea that I would spend every time I would have trying to bring that man out of that cult. And I spent hours with him. Many times we’d go clear up into the crows nest of the ship where we would be totally by ourselves. And I went with him Scripture after Scripture after Scripture. You can’t touch them. Every Scripture I’d show him, he had a rebuttal. It’s unbelievable and so this is the scriptural doctrine. This is the scriptural formula – don’t even bid them God’s speed or become a partaker of his evil deeds.
Now that may sound like real tough language but listen, that’s what it says. Don’t bid him God’s speed because if you do, you are becoming a partaker of his evil deeds. You’re telling him, well go right on to my neighbor and tell him this stuff. Go ahead and deceive my neighbor. You can’t do that.
In the next verse, John now brings the letter to a close. Now remember who he’s writing to, he’s writing to an individual. A mother of a family, quite well to do and a real close friend of the Apostle. And he says:
II John 1:12
“Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak to you face to face, that our joy may be full.”
In other words, as they would fellowship in these spiritual blessings and my, you all know what it’s like. It’s so much sweeter to have time with a fellow believer whose on the same page as we are than it is with someone who’s may be a close relative and can’t see eye to eye with any of this. You can’t be comfortable. You can’t relax because they just don’t see things like we see it. But oh when we have this fellowship of things in the Lord then it becomes a joyful experience.
II John 1:13
“The children of thy elect sister greet thee.”
All right now we can just slip right into the next little epistle III John because they’re all written at about the same time under the same set of circumstances but with one big difference, in II John he’s writing to a wealthy lady. In III John he’s writing to a rather well to do gentleman. In this case his name is Gaius. Now in this little third epistle of John we’re going to be dealing with three men. Gaius, who is the relatively wealthy individual, and is the friend of the Apostle. We’re going to be dealing with Diotrephes who was a leader in one of these Jewish churches, but he was a rascal. He was anything but something that John can commend. And then we have one of the good people of this chapter and that’s Demetrius. And so we’re going to be looking as these three gentlemen as the Apostle John deals with them.
Now what’s the lesson? Things haven’t changed because almost every church will have somebody who is a constant opposition to the work; who is a constant thorn in the flesh; who’ll want all the preeminence. They want to be able to rule the roost and because of it, the congregation is in turmoil.