Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 61
Isaiah 54:1 – 57:1
If you’re new to the program, we’re just a simple, informal Bible study. We try to compare Scripture with Scripture, and we always try to rightly divide the Word of God as the Apostle Paul tells us to do. Some might say, “Well, how do I rightly divide the Word of God?” Since all the Body of Christ doctrines are given only to Paul for us Gentiles believers, then we feel that the Holy Spirit was telling Paul to separate the Scriptures – Paul’s epistles from the rest of Scripture. If you’ll do that, then the Word of God will open up to you and there will never be any thing that seems to conflict with other Scriptures. You’ll be able to see that Paul’s writings completely separate Law and Grace and stand by themselves and will give you direction in this age of Grace.
Now, if everyone is ready in the studio audience, let’s jump right back into Isaiah chapter 55 verse 6. We’ll pick up where we left off in this great salvation chapter, along with chapter 53. Let’s begin with verse 6:
“Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:” In other words, the offer of salvation is not something to be taken lightly. Okay, now this is Isaiah addressing the nation of Israel, but in the same light, let’s jump all the way up to the Apostle Paul and his appeal to the Gentile world and you and I living today in our particular time.
Come up with me to Romans. We’re going to start with chapter 5 for just a moment, because we’ve already seen how Israel was steeped in sin and unbelief, but so are we. So, the appeal is the same. Let’s drop down at verse 20, and then we’re going to go to chapter 10.
“Moreover the law entered, (back under Moses) that the offence (in other words, that men’s sin) might abound.” Not that the law is going to make people sin more, but they’re going to know what sin is. That was the whole purpose of the law, to make it so plain that nobody had to wonder, is this wrong, is that wrong? The law covered all the bases.
“But (Now, here’s what I wanted you to see.) where sin abounded, (whether it was Israel or whether it’s the Gentile world) grace did much more abound:” In other words, there is no sin, there is no sinner so great but that God’s mercy and grace will lift them out of it. All right, now let’s just come over to Romans chapter 10, remembering, now, what we just saw in Isaiah, that they were to call upon God while He was available. Now, in Romans chapter 10 we have Paul saying almost the same thing. Let’s jump in at verse 4:
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness (not to the unbelieving world, but to whom?) to everyone that believeth.” So, as soon as we become believers, the law has no more control over us, none whatsoever. We’re not under law; we’re under Grace. Now, that doesn’t give us license. It merely means that the law has no commands to us. The law has no more power over us; it’s been crucified with Christ, if we’re a believer.
“For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law,” Now remember that the law was a ‘works’ religion. It was prompted by faith, but it was faith plus works. Whereas, we in the Body of Christ are faith plus nothing!
“That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. (It was a works religion) 6. But (the flipside!) the righteousness which is of faith (plus nothing!) speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) 7. Or, (faith doesn’t say) Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) 8. But what saith it? (Now, here’s the verse I had in mind when I came out of Isaiah.) The word is (where?) nigh thee,…” You know, I think when I taught this years ago, at least someplace in the past, I used this analogy. Do you have to cross a raging river to find salvation? No. Do you have to climb a sheer cliff and get bloodied fingers in order to attain salvation? No. Where is it? It’s right in front of us.
Every step of every lost person’s way, the plan of salvation is right in front of them. They don’t have to go someplace to find it. It’s right in front of them. All right, now that’s what Paul is saying.
“The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;” Now, here comes Paul’s Gospel of salvation in a little different format.
“That if thou shalt confess (In other words, admit with our whole being the Lordship of Christ, that He is Lord.) with our mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” What is that? That’s Paul’s Gospel, in a little different wording. Now, let’s compare it. I didn’t intend to do all this, so we’ll probably have to have another program to finish this chapter. But I Corinthians 15, this is Paul’s Gospel. When he says ‘my’ Gospel, or that Gospel which I preach, this is what he’s talking about. It’s amazing how most of Christendom ignores it. They’ll dance all around it is one expression that came in a letter years ago. “They dance all around it, but they never face it.”
You just watch. Whenever somebody sends me some tracts with the hope, of course, I suppose, that we’ll send them on, the first thing I look for is what do they use for the plan of salvation. If they don’t promote faith in the death, burial, AND the resurrection; they go in the trashcan. I can’t help it. I cannot send something out that does not promote Paul’s Gospel. The Gospel is not just to believe that Jesus is the Christ or anything like that. We have to believe in our heart that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead. Here it is, Paul’s Gospel of salvation, I Corinthians 15 verse 1-4. This is probably the one-thousandth time I’ve read it on these programs, but I’ll never stop.
I Corinthians 15:1-2
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you ‘the’ gospel (not a gospel, but 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 you have believed in vain.” Paul tells us this Gospel will save you unless this Gospel has been adulterated, and many do that while teaching salvation. Don’t mix the Gospel of the Kingdom message under Law with the Gospel of Grace as preached by Paul. Now, verse 3 and 4 are the very heart of the Gospel of salvation.
I Corinthians 15:3
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures;” And we saw that in the last taping in Isaiah 53. It was graphic. It was described. Now nobody understood it, of course, until after the fact, but it was back there. Paul can honestly say, “it was according to the Scriptures,”
I Corinthians 15:4
“And that he was buried, and that he arose again the third day according to the Scriptures:” Now, the next time you look at some piece of literature that explains the plan of salvation, I don’t care whose it is, you look to see that they cover all three points of the Gospel. Many of them just stop that you believe that Christ died for you and they just sort of slough off the fact that He arose from the dead. Don’t pass something like that on. You’re misleading people. It has to be that Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead, because it’s resurrection power that sets you and I free. And if you can’t believe in resurrection power, I don’t believe you can have true salvation. It has to be the whole package, or it’s none.
All right, back to Romans chapter 10 and look at verse 9, again.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (And here’s the reason.) 10. For with the heart (not the head, the heart) man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” You express what God has done; you tell others. You’re going to confess the fact that this salvation is real. You know that God has saved you. You know God has kept His word the moment you believe that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead.
“For the scripture saith, (See, we’ve already seen some of this back in Isaiah.) whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” Now, stop and think. Can you imagine, can you imagine the disappointment and the heartache when church members are going to come up before the Great White Throne Judgment and hear the words from the Lord Jesus Himself, “Depart from me; I never knew you, because you never believed Paul’s Gospel for your salvation.” What are they going to say? Well, He gave the example in His earthly ministry back in the four gospels. What are they going to say? “Didn’t we do this and didn’t we do that?” What’s His answer, “Sorry, it was never heart Faith; I never knew you.”
All right, here’s where we have to be careful. We cannot just water these things down. We cannot just open the floodgates and let the masses come in and agree that they’re having salvation. No. I constantly come back to people when they say, “What about all these great thousands of people that are being affected?” Well, what did the Lord say about the great numbers in Matthew 17:13&14? “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many go in there at. But narrow is the way that leadeth to life eternal and few there be that find it.” We’ve got to remember that. We must not be taken in by these great, massive numbers that are being thrown at us today. All right then, verse 12:
“For there is no difference (Now, this is a big difference from Isaiah. Isaiah was dealing with Israel. Paul deals with the whole human race.) between the Jew and the Greek:…” Or the Gentiles. We’re all on the same playing field in this Age of Grace. Israel isn’t under the law today. Their temple worship isn’t satisfied, because they haven’t got the temple. So they, too, are on the same level field as we are in need of God’s saving grace, by believing Paul’s Gospel.
“…for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that (work, work, work? No! But,) call upon him.” In faith. That’s all it takes. But, see, the masses don’t want to do that. They’d rather put forth all this activity and all these works and then be able to tell God, “Look what I’ve done.” But God won’t have it. He will not have any part of that.
All right, verse 13, this is a verse I’m always reminded of, that I’ve used several times after leading someone to the Lord. I’ll say, now look, the first thing when you get up tomorrow morning the devil’s going to hit you with doubt. The old devil is going to say nothing happened; you’re no different than you were yesterday. You come right back and you look up Romans 10:13. I think you can, with validity, put your finger on that verse and you can remind God, “This is what I’ve done, and Lord you promised.” And God will never go back on a promise. We can rest on it, that “whosoever shall call upon the Lord [by faith] (as we have seen in verse 9 – of course by believing in our heart Paul’s Gospel) shall be saved.”
That’s it. That’s set in concrete. There’s no compromising it. It’s what the Word of God says. All right, but this isn’t the verse I came to look at. I came to look at the one in verse 17, but let’s keep going.
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”Or the Greek word, I like even better, is a proclaimer. Someone who proclaims this finished work of the cross.
“And how shall they preach (or proclaim), except they be sent? (In other words, God is in control of every step of everything. Now, here we move on.) as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them who preach the gospel (or the good news) of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Now, Paul dips back to Isaiah where we just came from.
“But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah said, Lord, who hath believed our report?” Well, it’s always been a small number. God never gets the big masses of people. Even in Israel’s day, it was only a small percent of Israel who were true believers. The rest could care less, and it’s the same way today. All right, now here’s the verse I wanted to come to, verse 17:
“So then faith (which is right there in front of us) cometh by hearing, (hearing what?) and hearing by the word of God.” The only place salvation can be ascertained is by what God has said. All right, now he comes back again to Isaiah:
“But I say, have they not heard? (Hasn’t Israel heard about the God of David?) Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. 19. But I say, Did not Israel know?” Well, of course they knew. But what’d they do with their knowledge? They turned their back on it. Look at our own beloved America. We’ve been saturated with churches on every corner as old as our nation is. We’ve got Bibles in every home. Our Constitution is rested on Biblical facts and truths. Our original government was based on Christian principles. And now we’re throwing it out the door as fast as we can throw it out. They’ll condone all the other present day religions, but you can’t name the name of Christ in the public school. And what do we do? Nothing. My, we ought to be making so much noise, but we don’t. That’s exactly what’s happened, and Israel was no different. They had the truth, but most of the people ignored it, they threw it out.
“…First Moses saith, (way back at the dawn of the Jewish Nation) I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.” Well, I wonder if this isn’t what Paul is talking about. Skip across the page to chapter 11 verse 11.
“I say then, Have they (the nation of Israel, the Jewish people) stumbled that they should fall? (In other words, be completely out of God’s grace?) God forbid: (Banish the thought. Don’t think such a thing. God hasn’t given up on the Jewish people.) but rather (here it comes now) through their fall (through their rejecting everything back there in the early chapters of Acts) salvation has come unto (What people?) the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.” Now, just stop and think a minute. All through those first eight chapters of Acts, Peter, James, and John (we don’t hear the others mentioned as often, but all of those twelve men, including Matthias) were constantly doing what? They were preaching to the nation of Israel that the One they crucified was the Christ, and if Israel would repent of it Christ would come and give them the Kingdom. But what’d they do? They reject it and they reject it, and as I’ve always put it, the crescendo of their rejection was when they stoned Stephen and said, “We’ll not have that Man ruling over us.”
So, in Acts chapter 9 whom does God turn to? He turns to the Gentiles by telling the Apostle Paul; “I’m going to send you far hence to the Gentiles.” Now, you see, this is what I have to constantly clarify when people call or write, because most of Christendom has got the whole ball of wax all mixed up. They bring you right out of Christ’s earthly ministry as though that’s the beginning of Christianity and that everything is the same as it’s always been. The only thing is, now Paul comes up with a little addendum to the Gospel of Salvation.
I always do just as I’ve done here, show people that all through Christ’s earthly ministry, just like in the Old Testament, who’s He ministering to? He is ministering to Israel under the Law to prove that Jesus was the Christ. He was ready to bring in the glories of the Kingdom, if they would believe it. But they wouldn’t. Finally, about seven or eight years after the crucifixion, God turns to this other Jew, Saul of Tarsus. He saves him on the road to Damascus and in the same breath, you might say, tells him, “You’re going to go to the Gentiles.”
Now, listen, up until that time no Jew ever went to the Gentiles. They were a despised race of people, filthy morally, filthy in their habits, and a Jew would have nothing to do with them. But, at that fork in the road, here’s where people have to see this vast difference between Paul’s Gospel of Grace and what Jesus and the Twelve preached to Israel, called the Gospel of the Kingdom, still under the law. Now, Paul’s Gospel of Salvation goes primarily to the Gentile world but also to the nation of Israel who had rejected the Gospel of the Kingdom, and most will also reject Paul’s Gospel.
All right, back into verse 11 of chapter 11. It’s a key verse. Memorize it.
“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? (Is God all through with Israel? No. But, He’s set them aside.) God forbid: but rather though their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.” Now, you see, that was God’s eternal purpose. But, when mankind got hold of all this and they started thinking man’s thoughts instead of God’s thoughts, what did man come up with? “God’s all through with the Jew. He’s worse than an animal. He’s nothing but trash under our feet.”
Consequently, “Christendom” despised the Jewish people for thousands of years. Well, what were the thoughts of Jews then toward Gentiles? Hated them all the more! Because, now, not only were the Gentiles pagan and everything else, now they had more or less usurped their God and hated them in spite of it.
Now, you’ve got to realize history. For the last 1900 years, how did the world of Christendom treat the Jew? Well, they hated them. Drove them from place to place. If I’m not wrong, and I stand to be corrected, but even our ivy-league colleges back in time, would not admit a Jew to their college only because he was a Jew. Germany, at the Nuremberg Trials, what did they bring up? They brought up statements from famous protestant leaders who themselves hated the Jew and used that as a reason for Nazi’s treatment of the Jews. Well, this backfired. Instead of causing the Jew to say that well, the Gentiles are taking our God, let’s wake up and take part of it with them. It turned them even more against Christendom than ever. Now, it’s only in the last few years that Jews are beginning to realize that the best friend Israel has got are good, evangelical, Bible-believing Christians. They’re beginning to realize that.
But, you see, for the last 2000 years they thought just the opposite. They thought Christianity was their worst enemy, and I can see why they did. But, that isn’t what I intended to bring out. I wanted to just simply bring out; back to Romans 10 for just a second before we go back to Isaiah, Paul says, verse 17 again:
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” You consider the Gospel and believe it because it is the Word of God. All right, let’s just drop on down to verse 20:
“But Isaiah is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that ask not after me.” All right, what’s he saying? As a prophet of Israel, do you think the nation of Israel loved Isaiah? Are you kidding?! Oh, they couldn’t stand his message. Now, he got by a little better than Jeremiah did. Jeremiah prophesied a few years after Isaiah, and Jeremiah actually ended up in one of the deep dungeons in Jerusalem. That’s where the Babylonians found him. Why? Because they didn’t like Jeremiah’s message any better than they did Isaiah’s. They hated it.
Well, we’re getting to the same place in America. The rank and file American doesn’t want to hear this any more. They’d rather hear all this other garbage, but truth? It’s a frightening as well as a sad circumstance. All right, only got two minutes left, so let’s run back to Isaiah quickly, and we’ll have a jumping off place for our next program, anyway. Isaiah chapter 55 verse 7. Now, just like Paul said in Romans 5, “that where sin abounded Grace does much more abound.” In other words, we have to recognize that sin is the problem. Well, it was no different in Israel’s day.
“Let the wicked forsake his way, the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him (the unrighteous man) return unto the LORD; and the LORD will have mercy upon him; turn to our God, for he will (what?) abundantly pardon.” Why? His Grace! Mankind cannot comprehend the Grace of God. He is so willing to forgive. Not just simply to wink His eye and say, “Well, go ahead and do what you’re doing. I love you.” No. What God wants is a total change of heart and mind from the wickedness and the rebelliousness and the unbelief to a life of faith and obedience to the things of God. Whether it was in Israel in 700 BC, or whether it’s in American in 2004, the attitude is the same. All right, let’s take another verse and then time’s going to be up, verse 8. My, I love this verse. Now, I memorized all these Isaiah chapters way back when I was a kid, so these verses are old stuff to me. But I love this verse where it says:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,…” Now, what does that answer? A ton of questions! Why? Well, why does God do this? Hey, He’s so far above us, we can’t comprehend. He thinks things that are way beyond us. He knows the future, and things come to pass that we have no reason of knowing why. But we always have to come back to this very promise. He has a reason.