Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 65
BUT GOD! – (The Body of Christ -The Mysteries) – PART 2
MATTHEW 6:33 and Various Other Scriptures
I’m just reminded, by my little wife, that this is book 65. These are the middle four programs, so with the next taping we’ll wind up another book. Oh my, how they are counting up. Sixty-five of them already, which means it won’t be long and we’ll have 800 programs in our inventory. So, when I mentioned a few weeks ago that I might relinquish this taping situation, boy, a lot of people got the idea that I was thinking about just going off the air and retiring. And my, we had one lady write with black pen across the top, and she said, “Show me one verse where you have a right to retire!” Well, we’re not about to leave the air, even if we may some day down the road stop producing programs. With the inventory we’ve got, we can keep going halfway into eternity. But we appreciate the fact that people don’t want us to quit, so we’ll keep carrying on.
You know I’ve got to share my amusing things. I had a phone call the other day from a lady, I think out east someplace, and I answered the phone myself. I said, “This is Les.” There was silence. And I said, “Hello.” She said, “Who is this?” And I said, “This is Les Feldick.” She said, “I don’t believe it.” I said, “Why?” “Well,” she said, “I heard you say something on a program that you do answer the phone, and I told my husband, I’ll bet! I’m going to check it out.” She said, “You do answer the phone!” Yes, I do, so don’t be too shocked when I pick up the phone. Of course, I tell everybody that even if I’m not available, and I mean this, if I’m not available, and you have something that is really of importance, you’ve got questions, you just tell the girls, or whoever you do get, that you’d like to have me call you. Leave your number and I return every phone call. I’ve returned phone calls to twelve year old kids. When I stop being able to do that, then I’d better be off the air. So, don’t be afraid to make a personal phone call, because we will respond.
Now, let’s pick up where we left off in our last program. For those of you who may have missed it, we’re still dealing with what makes up the Body of Christ, and why is it so totally segregated from all the things promised to Israel? Because, it is a revelation of things that have been kept totally secret, all the way up through Biblical history, until they are revealed to the Apostle Paul. So, when people say, “Well, does this verse back in the Old Testament refer to the rapture, or does it refer to the church?” No, it can’t. Because the Church Age was totally secret, and the instructions for it were only given to Paul for us.
Nobody, and I mean nobody, had any inkling that God would one day set Israel aside and raise up one other Apostle and send him to the Gentile world. That’s where we ended up in our last program, showing how everything pertaining to Israel was in light of the Old Testament promises, and Israel rejected it. Then, when Stephen made his last appeal in Acts chapter 7, they stoned Stephen. In the last verse that we saw in our last program, they laid their clothes at a young man’s feet whose name was Saul, whose name was later changed to Paul.
All right, now we pick up Saul again in Acts chapter 9. Now, this is all the unfolding of God’s program for the ages to bring us to this dispensation of the Grace of God. All right, Acts chapter 9, and I think everyone, even in our listening audience, understands Saul’s salvation experience on the road to Damascus. How the Lord spoke to him and he immediately understood that the voice from heaven was the same One that he was persecuting, thinking that he was doing his Old Testament God a favor. Not realizing, of course, that He was one and the same.
All right, now I like to bring people over to Acts chapter 9 verse 15. I do this to teach you how to show others. Just take the time and unfold these various steps, how God moved from Israel to the Gentile world. Here, Ananias, a believing Jew in Damascus, who was in line to be arrested by Saul of Tarsus, and he was scared to death, as I like to say, that his life was being endangered. Now, he doesn’t realize that Saul has been converted. So, the Lord speaks to Ananias in verse 15. Now watch carefully what the Lord from heaven says to this believing Jew in Damascus.
“But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he (Saul) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles,…” Now, don’t forget, what did Jesus tell the Twelve? “Go not into the way of the Gentiles or into the house of Samaritans enter not, but go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But see, Israel has rejected it. So now God is turning benevolently to the Gentile world through this one man, Saul of Tarsus.
“…for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and (of course) the children of Israel:” We’re not going to put them out of any possibility for salvation. But the nation, as a whole, is going to be set aside and blinded. All right, then verse 16, God makes the promise.
“For I will show him (Saul of Tarsus) how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.” Now I think, that in the eternal purpose of everything, this is one reason that Saul was so guilty of persecuting and causing such torture among his own Jewish people. Consequently, as he went through these next 20-25 years of constant, constant turmoil, in prison and out, beatings of one sort or another, he could never forget that he had done the same thing to his own people who had embraced Jesus of Nazareth. So, God is telling him up front that he’s going to suffer terribly as he carries out his role as the Apostle of the Gentiles.
All right, now then, I’m going to take you back to where we left off, back, once again, to Romans chapter 11 where we’re going to see the mystery that is unfolded because God has turned from Israel to the Gentiles through one man, Saul of Tarsus. So, back to Romans 11 where we left off in our last program. Verse 25.
“For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery,…” This which was kept secret. Now, I can’t repeat it enough, nowhere in the Old Testament economy, nowhere in the four Gospels, nowhere in the Book of Acts, is there anything to indicate that Israel is going to be set aside and God is going to turn to those immoral, pagan Gentiles. Nothing. Everything pertains to Israel finally coming to the place of having the King and this Kingdom that we’ve been looking at, and then Israel would evangelize the Gentile world. That’s the Old Testament. Not a hint that they’re going to lose that opportunity and God will only use one Jew to open up salvation to the Gentile world. But that’s the way it was. Now continuing on with the verse and secret.
“…lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, (Here’s the mystery, the secret.) that blindness (a spiritual blindness) in part (Not for all of Israel’s remaining time on earth, but only for a period in time.) is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come (is brought) in.” We pointed that out several programs back, if I remember correctly, how the Age of Grace will end and when it ends the Church has to be taken out. We’ll look at that a little later this afternoon, hopefully. Then God will revert back to where He left off with Israel. That’s why they’re back in the land.
My, why can’t people understand that? That was an unheard of miraculous event, that the Jews come back to their homeland and establish an independent state, have their own government, resurrect the Hebrew language. It should have never happened. Humanly speaking it would have never happened. But God promised it way back at the time of Moses 3500 years ago, that Israel would be dispersed into every nation under heaven, and then God would bring them back to their homeland. Thirty-five hundred years ago it was prophesied.
Now, we’ve seen it happen in our lifetime, and you would think that the people in the UN, the people in the European Community, the people in our government would understand that this is the unfolding of Biblical prophecy. But they can’t see it. But you do. You certainly ought to be able to see that it’s a miracle of God that they’re back. But it’s all part of the mystery that they would be spiritually blinded until God has finished calling out a Gentile people for His name, which we refer to as the Body of Christ.
All right, before I go into any more of the mysteries, we talked about it at break-time, and that’s why I like break-time. Then I get ideas that I would probably otherwise overlook. Come back with me to I Corinthians chapter 3, and this is another confirmation that this man, this one man, is going to take the Gospel of the Grace of God, he’s going to be the beginning of what we call the Body of Christ. It’s laid out so clearly that it couldn’t have happened any other way. I Corinthians chapter 3 verse 10, and you can’t make it any plainer. It’s as clear as day, and it all reverts back to that verse in Acts chapter 9, where God said, “I will send this man far hence to the Gentiles.” For what purpose? To call out the Body of Christ. To give them all of the instructions for this dispensation.
I find it amazing that God gave those to instructions to Paul for us, how to have salvation, and how to live a Christian life, and how to solve all problems that might come up in our walk each day. Most people don’t have a clue all of this is in Paul’s writings. The reason they don’t know is because of tradition in the denominations to only teach the Gospel of the Kingdom message that belonged to Israel. They will not teach Paul to their congregations. Most have been blinded by Satan as Paul tells us in II Corinthians 4:3-4. Well, let’s look how Paul was called in this dispensation of Grace.
I Corinthians 3:10a
“According to the grace of God (Because after all, this is the dispensation of Grace.) which is given unto me, as a wise master builder,…” He’s simply using an illustration that everybody could understand. If you’ve ever built anything that was beyond your own capabilities, whom do you hire? Well, a contractor, someone who can do the whole job. All right, that’s what Paul is alluding to, that he’s like a contractor. He’s like the master architect, he said:
I Corinthians 3:10b
“…as a wise master builder, (the contractor) I have laid the foundation,…” Well, naturally, if you’re going to build a new home, you don’t have somebody come in and lay your foundation and then go out and look for a contractor to build the house. Do you? Well, no, that’s the job of your contractor. Now, he may let it out to someone else, but it’s your major contractor who is going to set the stakes and agree with you that this is going to be the form of your home. He’s going to lay the foundation. That’s what Paul claims to be in the spiritual realm. “I am the master builder.”
Not Peter, James, and John. Not Jesus in His earthly ministry. Jesus is now in Glory as He speaks to Paul. He’s finished the work of the cross, but He has delegated it. I think it was in my last taping, I made the point that everything that Paul writes could just as well be in red, because everything he writes comes from the ascended Lord. And then theologians and multitudes of Christians refuse to look at Paul’s epistles. I hear it everywhere I go. “Les, until I started listening to you, I never read Paul. I never had any time for him.” But listen, this is where we have to be, and if they ignore it, they’re doomed. It’s the only way I can put it. You can’t find salvation any other place.
Now, I guess that reminds me of another verse. Keep your hand here. I’m not through in I Corinthians. But, II Peter, because whenever I get the thought in my mind that somebody out there is saying, “Well, Les, you make too much of Paul. I still don’t want to read Paul.” Well, then I’ve got to say, “Hey, you like Peter don’t you?” Oh yeah, everybody thinks the world of Peter, but look what Peter says. You, who have been with me a long time, you know I’ve used it over and over. II Peter chapter 3, verse 15. I sometimes think I could use this verse in every half-hour program.
Now, this is at the end of Peter’s life. This isn’t at the beginning of his ministry. This isn’t back at Pentecost; this is at the end of his life. He’s about to be martyred. He’s writing to fellow Jews. He’s writing to the Jews scattered, is the way he puts it. But look what he tells them. If you’re trying to share this with somebody and they give you the same argument, “Well, why do you stay with Paul?” Peter said to! Now, look what he says, verse 15:
II Peter 3:15
“And account that the longsuffering (or the patience) of our Lord is salvation; (to escape eternal doom) even (Now watch this!) as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;” Well, what’s the wisdom? The revealed mysteries! That’s the wisdom Peter’s talking about. All these things that had been kept secret, even from the Twelve, have now been revealed to Paul only, and Peter understands that. So, he tells his Jewish readers to go to the epistles of Paul because of the wisdom that’s been given unto him.” Now verse 16.
II Peter 3:16a
“As also in all his epistles, (Romans through Hebrews) speaking in them of these things, (pertaining to salvation) in which are some things hard to be understood,…” In other words, even Peter couldn’t comprehend all these mysteries that are revealed to Paul. They were beyond his understanding.
II Peter 3:16b
“…which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest (twist), as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” So, when somebody refuses to listen to what the Apostle Paul says, they are headed for their own destruction. That’s what the Scriptures say.
All right, now back to I Corinthians chapter 3; let me get back on track. So, Paul says, I am the “wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and others build thereupon.” Of course, there were others that followed in Paul’s footsteps. Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, Titus and then others have been following ever since. We’re all part and parcel of the building now. Every time you lead someone to Christ, you are adding to that foundation. Every time you do something that pertains to increasing the knowledge of the Grace of God, you’re part of this building. It isn’t just for the apostles. It’s now for all of us. He says,
I Corinthians 3:10b
“…But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.” Even the ordinary, everyday believer has a responsibility.
All right, now verse 11, Paul doesn’t claim to be the foundation. See, that’s what some have told me. Well, you’re telling me that Paul is the one we are to worship? How confused can people get? NO! Paul is merely the Apostle for the Gentiles, and look what he says in verse 11.
I Corinthians 3:11
“For other foundation can no may lay than that is laid, (Who’s the foundation?) which is Jesus Christ.” Him alone. No denomination. No religion. It’s Jesus Christ and Him alone!
All right, let’s confirm it a little further. Go all the way back to I Timothy, where Paul again defends his apostleship and tells us why. I Timothy chapter 1 and this fits so beautifully with the foundation aspect. The foundation is the first part of a building. You don’t put up one 2 X 4 stud until you’ve got the foundation laid. Well, you don’t go into one aspect of Scripture until you understand Paul’s epistles. All right, I Timothy chapter 1 dropping down to verse 15, and watch it carefully. We’re going to take it slowly.
I Timothy 1:15a
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, (There’s no room for argument.) that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners;…” Now you see, it’s interesting, when Christ began His earthly ministry, He said, I didn’t come to destroy the Law of the Prophets, I came to fulfill. What was He going to fulfill? All those Old Testament prophecies concerning this Kingdom of Heaven. Now, of course, the redeeming aspect was all implied, but it wasn’t up front like Paul puts it – that He came into the world to save sinners. But then what’s the next statement?
I Timothy 1:15b
“…that Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” And 99 out of a hundred sermons preached on this verse point out the fact that if God could save a wicked, persecuting man like Saul of Tarsus, He could save anybody. But that’s not what the word chief means! He’s not talking about his vile sinfulness. He’s talking about his position.
I beg people. Take your Strong’s Concordance, look up the word chief and you’ll find the same Greek word that’s used here in I Timothy is used back in Matthew. It’s used in Acts, it’s used in Romans, and it always means ‘the head man.’ The head man. The leader of a long line. All right, now in that view of his being the chief then, he was the first sinner saved by grace that began that long line of sinners saved and brought into the Body of Christ. That’s where the Body of Christ began, on the road to Damascus. Up until that time it was unheard of, it was unknown, it was still part of the mysteries. All right, now read into the next verse, verse 16.
I Timothy 1:16
“Howbeit for this cause (Since he’s going to be the head of the line. He’s the first one into the Body.) I obtained mercy, that in me first (Not thirteenth! Not after the Twelve) in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long suffering, for a pattern (And you all know what a pattern is, it’s that which everything else follows. He’s the pattern. He’s the first.) to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” From the point of his salvation on, every believer now in this Age of Grace would come into the Body of Christ. All right, so he’s a pattern to them which should hereafter believe and…? No, believe plus nothing! But to that person who would “believe on him to life everlasting.” And what are we to believe for salvation? That Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and rose again, plus nothing else (I Corinthians 15:3-4). Now, that is Paul’s Gospel!
All right, in the couple of minutes we have left, let’s go back to I Corinthians a moment, and we’re just showing a whole series of Scripture verses to show what it takes to become a member and get into the Body of Christ, because that’s our number one priority. How can we get people to become believers and become members of the Body of Christ? Because listen, if you’re not a member of the Body of Christ, if the Lord comes tonight, you’re left behind. If you’re not a member of the Body of Christ and death overtakes you before today is over, you’re out of luck. You’re lost, because every believer today becomes a member of the Body of Christ. I don’t care if you’re Methodist, Lutheran, or whatever, if you’re a member of the Body of Christ, you’re eternally safe. If you’re not a member of the Body of Christ, you’re eternally lost. It’s that simple.
All right, so how do we get into the Body of Christ? I Corinthians chapter 12, let’s start at verse 12, because here’s why we can show the Body of Christ as a comparison for a human Body. Our human body is composed, of course, of the head, from which we get all of our impulses for what we do. Coming from the brain. All right, Christ is the head of the Body. All of us, then, are part and parcel of the various other members of the Body. All right, here it comes, verse 12.
I Corinthians 12:12
“For as the body (the human body) is one and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” In other words, your fingers and your hands and your feet and your legs, they all belong to the same body. They’re all controlled by the same central nervous system. All right, now then, he says, “So also is Christ.” There’s the comparison. Christ is the Head and He’s building the Body with saved ‘lost’ people. Now verse 13.
I Corinthians 12:13a
“For by one Spirit are we all…” What does that mean? Everyone! There aren’t just some elite who make it. There aren’t some in just one particular race or income level that make it. Every believer becomes a member of the Body of Christ.
Now, I had someone call me the other day, yesterday, I think. They had heard a preacher say that if the Lord should come, Christians who are not living spiritual lives would be left behind, and some who had been living even a little more wickedly would have to spend some time in Hell. Then God would bring them out to join us in Glory. What a bunch of garbage! And this is the verse I used, that’s why it’s fresh on my mind. I said, “Now look! If every believer is part of the Body and the Lord calls us out tomorrow, is He going to leave a foot behind? Is He going to leave an arm behind? No! The whole Body will be raptured out, every last believer. Even the carnal believers, they’re going to be taken out, because they’re part of the Body.” Never forget that. Every believer is part of the Body. All right, reading on, our time is just about gone, again.
I Corinthians 12:13
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized (Not with water. This is an act of the Holy Spirit that places the believer into the Body of Christ, just like you’d place something into a pail of water. So, by one Spirit all have been baptized -) into one body,…” And when does that happen? The moment we believe Paul’s Gospel for our salvation!!!!