Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 65
BUT GOD! – (The Body of Christ) – PART 4
MATTHEW 6:33 and Various Other Scriptures
It’s good to see everybody back from your break. We’ll go right into our fourth program this afternoon. For those of you joining us on television, I haven’t done it all afternoon, not because I haven’t thought about it, but I’ve just been so anxious to get into the Book. But again, we want to thank all of you for your tremendous help in prayers and financial help. I know most ministries complain that things dive in the summertime, but ours hasn’t. It’s been holding right up there, and we just praise the Lord for every one of you. Even if it’s small. Oh, please, please, don’t apologize for sending five dollars, because as I usually write back to someone like that who writes, “I wish I could give more.” I say, “Look, with God little is much!” We’ve proven it over and over. We don’t beg for the five dollars, but my goodness, if that’s what you want to give, why you just feel good about giving it. And we appreciate it. We don’t care how small it is or how humble the giver, we just thank the Lord for you.
Let’s pick up where we left off in our last half-hour. We were in Colossians chapter 1 and I had come out of Ephesians chapter 3 where Paul had said, “If you had heard of the dispensation of the Grace of God, which is given to me to you.” We’re going to see that the Holy Spirit has prompted him to repeat it in Colossians. That’s why we came to chapter 1.
All right, we left off at verse 19, where the Scripture makes it so plain that Christ is not the King of the church, but rather He’s the head. What a big difference. I always tell people, if you are under a king, then you are merely a what? You’re a subject. You’re under the king’s thumb. But we’re not under that kind of a situation. Our head is that which is part and parcel of us. We are joint-heirs with Christ. It’s a whole different connection with Christ than under the King and the Kingship.
Okay, now let’s come back to Colossians 1 where we left off and jump into verse 20. After being declared the head of the Body, which is the church, now verse 20:
“And having made peace though the blood of his cross, by him (That is, by Jesus Christ.) to reconcile all things unto himself; by him I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” In other words, that work of the cross was so complete that it satisfied everything that God had anything to do with. You and I as human beings, I don’t think will ever, except when we get to Glory, comprehend all that was accomplished at the cross of Calvary. It’s beyond our comprehension. We take what little bit we’ve got by faith. All right, now verse 21.
“And you, (Remember, he’s writing to Gentiles as the Apostle of the Gentiles.) that were at sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now he hath (What?) reconciled.” Now, I make the statement, and I know a lot of people almost curl up and cringe, they are in such disagreement, but when Christ finished the work of the cross, so far as the Godhead was concerned how many of the sins of the world are now forgiven? All of them!
Even the most wicked, unbelieving rebel, his sins are forgiven, so far as God is concerned, because the work of the cross completed it. And not only is he forgiven, he’s been what? Reconciled. It’s all done. There is nothing standing in the way of the most rank, wicked unbeliever to have God’s salvation if he will just believe it. Now, when I say believe it, I’m not just talking about head knowledge. Well, historically, yeah, I believe Christ died a Roman crucifixion. No, I’m talking about trusting that work of the cross as your salvation.
That’s what it takes. That was brought home to me so vividly several years ago when a gentleman called and said, “Well, Les, I believe that Jesus lived and died and was crucified and was risen from the dead.” Well, he evidently left for work. His wife called as soon as he went out the door and said, “Les, don’t you believe it. He doesn’t believe that Christ died for his sins. He may have head knowledge of it, but he certainly knows nothing of it spiritually. It hasn’t changed his life.”
Well, that is what I have to emphasize. I’m not talking about just a head knowledge. Yeah, I believe that He died for me. No, no! This is something that we totally rest on. That’s why we have to be so careful that we don’t add to it. Because as soon as you’re depending upon your baptism, your church membership, or your denomination, you’re back out in left field again. Because now you’re not depending on the finished work of the cross, you’re depending on something that you have something to do with. God won’t take it. It has to be a total reliance on what He has done, and that it’s complete. Your sins are forgiven – past, present, and future. But it’s not appropriated until you believe it. But it’s done. All the sins of the world were paid for at that cross of Calvary, but lost people have to believe it to appropriate it.
You know, I’ve given this illustration I suppose a hundred times in the last fifteen years. If our congress is going to appropriate money for highways, how many billion have they laid out there now for highways? All those billions of dollars are put out there on a highway construction account for the state. But what does every state have to do? Make application. They have to appropriate it. If they don’t go through the paper work of appropriating it, they’re not going to get any of that money. Well, now that’s a crude example of the work of the cross, but it is the same way. It’s there. All we have to do to appropriate it is take it by faith. Believe it. That’s too simple for most people. They can’t buy that. Well, I can’t help that, because that’s what the Bible says.
“And you, that were sometime (or at one time) alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now he hath (What?) reconciled…” As well as forgiven. All right, let’s back up a page, another verse comes to mind. I’ve got to use them when they come to mind, otherwise it’s the Spirit moving for nothing. Back up to Ephesians chapter 2 starting at verse 11. Here again, I think these are verses that most church members don’t even know are in the Bible. It makes it so plain. And it fits when Jesus said in Matthew chapter 10:5-6 to the Twelve, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles and into the place of a Samaritan, enter you not. But go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Why? Because He had come to fulfill covenant promises, and the Gentiles had no part in those covenants. These verses make it so plain. All right, here it is. Now, Paul is writing to Gentiles in western Turkey and he says:
“Wherefore remember, that ye being in times past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; (That is, by the Jew. Now, here it comes.) 12. That at that time (while Gentiles were still out there and God was dealing with Israel on the covenant promises) ye (Gentiles) were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:” See how plain that is? Did Gentiles have any right to claim the Abrahamic Covenant promises? No! Could a Gentile say, “Well, I can come in under the Mosaic Law. I can be part of that covenant.” No, they couldn’t. That was for Israel.
But now, in this dispensation of Grace—well, we’re coming to that in the next verse. Let’s come back to where Paul is telling it like it was for the Gentiles while God was dealing with Israel, all right, “Ye were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and (What?) without God in the world.”
Now, people don’t like that! But that’s the truth of the matter. My, I’ve been reading ancient history again lately. I think most of you know by know that I love history. I’ve been reading about Alexander the Great. Oh! The ungodliness, the wickedness, and every day he sacrificed untold number of animals to the pagan gods and goddesses, and then turns right around and cohorts with prostitutes. That’s antiquity. If they came to a village that he thought opposed him one least little bit, he just killed them all with no compunction.
That was ancient history. Those are the Gentiles that Paul is talking about. They were all alike. The Babylonians, all you have to do is read Isaiah and you get a picture of what the Babylonians did to the Jew. The Medes and Persians were no different. The Greeks were no different. The Romans were no different. There was absolute ungodliness at every turn. They had no morality. They had no human rights, unless you were part of the elite, the wealthy — they did, but that was only a small percentage.
I was just sharing with someone that a few years ago, some of you, along with us, had a cruise on the Mediterranean following in the footsteps of Paul, much like we’re going to do in October/November this year. You were along, weren’t you Sharon? And oh! Some of the places! What was it? Wicked. The society that Paul had to live in – absolute gross immorality. And all the people in our tour, there were about 80 of us, had a Bible Study every night. And one day, especially, I just apologized for what they’d been exposed to. They said, “No, you don’t have to apologize. It’s enlightening to know what the Apostle had to put up with.” It was everywhere he went the grossest immorality. Today is no different. This is what he’s talking about, “the Gentiles were without hope and without God in this world,” and they lived accordingly.
Oh, but now verse 13, what’s the first word? “But.” See, the flipside. And we’ll come to it later when I get back to the “BUT NOW’s.” I’ve still got it on the board. I’m coming back to them. Don’t worry. But here’s one of them.
“But now (What does he mean? On this side of the cross. After the finished work.) in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off (you Gentiles) are made nigh (That is, to God.) by (What?) the blood of Christ.” Oh, what a difference it makes! But we’ll come to that in a later lesson. Come back with me now to Colossians chapter 1 verse 22. How has He reconciled us out of the gross wickedness of a Gentile background?
“In the body of his flesh through death,…” Now there’s another thought. Do you ever stop to think that in all of nature, the various seasons of the year to various other aspects of our natural environment, there is a constant reminder that out of death comes what? New life.
Every spring when the trees start budding, they have come out of a dormancy that pictures death, and here comes new life. When the tulips start poking through the ground early in the spring, what is it? It’s a picture of new life from that which has been dead. When the wheat farmer plants his wheat, the seed dies and out of that dead seed comes what? New life. And so all of nature is preaching to the human race that out of death comes new life. Well, out of His death of the cross it is the same way. Here comes new life by placing our faith in it.
“In the body of his flesh through death, (through His work of the cross) to present you holy (Now, that doesn’t mean sinless. The word holy simply means set apart. You’re different. You’re not like the unbelieving world.) and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:” Now listen, do you see what that says? Once we’ve placed our faith in that finished work of the cross, can God ever again point a judgmental finger at us? Never!
Now people don’t like that, but that’s the beauty of this salvation. Now, that’s not license. That doesn’t mean we can just go out and rob a bank or shoot somebody and say, “Well, I’m unblameable.” No, no, no. That’s not what it means. But it does mean that we have such freedom. We are so free from worry, that if something should happen this afternoon and we’d suddenly be wiped off the face of the earth, we don’t have to worry about where we’re going. Regardless of what you may have done in the last hour or two or three, that’s beside the point. We are “unblameable and unreproveable in his sight!” Now, that’s a promise that most people can’t believe.
Now, I’ll give you another one. Hold your hand in Colossians, we’re going to come back in a minute. But come back with me to I Corinthians, because I like to show that this isn’t just one little quirk of Scripture. This is all part of the mosaic that it all fits together. I Corinthians and I’m the first to admit that the Corinthian church was the most carnal of all of Paul’s congregations. They had immorality in their midst. They had enmity between each other. They went to the law against each other. Oh, they had all kinds of problems, but in spite of all that, they were believers. Look at what Paul writes.
I Corinthians 1:7
“So that ye come behind in no gift; (In other words, if you’re a believer, there’s nothing lacking.) waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:” Hey, if he was telling that to the Corinthians, how much closer are we? We’re 1900 years closer! I’ve always gone back to that old cartoon, I’ll repeat it and repeat it and repeat it. The old boy is sitting in front of his cave and he had a sign over the cave, “The End is near.” And then he must have had a second thought and he added ‘er’ at the end of it. So every day the end is what? It’s nearer! And now we’re nearer than ever. Everything in the world is just screaming that it can’t go much longer. We don’t set dates. With God, you know, time means nothing, but as things are shaping up it would seem that it can’t be much longer. All right, so the Corinthians were already “waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Now verse 8 and people don’t like this. I’ve had people get up and walk out of my class when I read it. I hadn’t even commented on it and they got up and left, because they were of the persuasion, you know, that you can be saved and lose it, saved and lose it. Well, after this one, they didn’t come back, ever. But look what it says.
I Corinthians 1:8
“Who (Jesus Christ) shall also confirm you unto the end, (Now, what does that word confirm mean? He’s got you locked in. He’s not going to lose you. You’re confirmed unto the end. And the end result is that you’re going to be – what again?) that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Isn’t that fabulous!
You know, years ago I told a lady who thought they’d had a lot of family problems because of sin in their background. I said, “Aren’t you a believer?” She said “Oh yeah, I’m saved.” I said, “And you think you’ve still got sin that God is going to hold against you?” She said, “Don’t we?” No! No, they’re forgiven. They’re gone! God will never come back and accuse the believer, we’re unblameable. I know this is tough stuff and a lot of people can’t handle it, but listen, this is what the Word of God teaches. If you have appropriated by faith the finished work of the cross, then you are unblameable. You’re in His care. You’re in His keeping.
All right, now reading on. You are unblameable and “blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” What day was Paul talking about? The rapture. And the same way for us today. Maybe you said some unkind words yesterday and you haven’t really taken care of it between you and the Lord. It’s still there. All right, what if the Lord should come? Is He going to point the finger at you and say, “Now wait a minute, you said something that day before I called you up?” No. It’s done. It’s all taken care of. Now again, that’s not license. That doesn’t give us room to do as we please, but as we go through life we know we fail and we know that we are to blame, yet God is never going to point the finger of blame at us when we get into His presence.
I Corinthians 1:9
“God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” That’s what makes the difference. A true believer isn’t going to go out there and live a life of sin. I just can’t reconcile that. The true believer is going to be careful how we walk in our daily experience. All right, I’m still not through with Colossians 1. Let’s get back there. Colossians 1 verse 23:
“If you continue in the faith grounded and settled,…” Now, that goes right back to what I said a little while ago. It is not just a head knowledge and not just a historical fact, but you have trusted completely that work of the cross, plus nothing. Don’t put your trust in a baptism. Don’t put your trust in a membership someplace. Don’t put your trust in something that pleases the flesh. You trust the work of the cross and that glorious resurrection – and nothing but. All right, if you’ve done that, then we will not:
“…be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven: whereof I Paul am made a minister;” Now, those are words that I can’t explain. How has every creature under heaven heard the Gospel? But evidently they have.
There are other verses to back it up. Jesus, Himself, was referred to in John 1:9 as the “Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Don’t ask me how, but that’s what the Book says. In Romans 1:20 Paul comes right back and says that when they come before the Great White Throne, “they’re going to stand there without excuse.” I can’t explain that, but that’s what the Book says. Paul writes in I Timothy 1:15 that “all they in Asia have turned against me.” I can’t explain those things, but it’s what the Book says. All right, now here’s another one, that every person under heaven has heard this gospel. Titus 2:11 says, “that the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” Now verse 24 of Colossians 1 and this will take us to end of the half-hour.
“Who…” Now the modification is – Paul. He’s speaking of himself. Now remember, this is all Holy Spirit directed. Paul didn’t sit and wrack his brain on how he could word this. I think he just rolled it out and a secretary wrote it as fast as he could speak it.
“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, (In other words, you all know how the Apostle suffered his whole twenty-five years of ministry, physically, for the sake of the Gospel.) and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:” My, how he was beaten. How he was shipwrecked in the ocean. How he was in prison and out, all for the sake of the Gospel. Do you see how he always associates the church with the Body? All right now verse 25 and here is the parallel with Ephesians 3 verse 2.
“Whereof I am made a minister, (That is, to minister to the Body of Christ.) according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil (complete) the word of God;”Now, we know that the Law was given to Moses to be given to whom? Israel. But to this man was given this whole body of truth, and we’ll start on that in our next program, a month from now. This whole body of truth that is wrapped up in – the dispensation of the Grace of God.
In that dispensation of the Grace of God are all these mysteries, or secret things, that have never been revealed before in Scripture or in all of human history until God speaks it through this one man. That’s why I come back with this: if other Scripture doesn’t agree with Paul, then you take Paul. Yes, even if the words of the Lord Jesus don’t agree. Remember, that what Paul says are the words of the Lord Jesus just as much as what’s back there in red, because it’s Holy Spirit directed, and Christ is speaking through that Apostle.
So, I’ll come back to my analogy in the beginning of the program. If you make a will ten years ago and you’ve made a new one now, and you die tomorrow, they’re not going to use the ten-year-old will. It’s now defunct. They’re going to use the new one. So, for doctrine, not for background, of course, we still use all of Scripture for background, for our learning, and for our understanding. But, when it comes to salvation doctrine, when it comes to the Christian life, when it comes to end-time events, we have to go by what the Lord has revealed through the Apostle Paul.