Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 66
BUT GOD! (Rightly Dividing the Word) – Part 2
Matthew 6:33 and Various Other Scriptures
Again, we always want to thank our television audience for your prayers and your letters. It is so encouraging to know that we’re not just beating the air, but that we are being used of the Lord to touch a lot of hearts and lives. So, wherever you are, our audience is now reaching almost every state in the union. We are flabbergasted at how the Lord is working.
Okay, let’s go right back to where we left off. I was still in the verse we’ve been in for many, many weeks, but we’re on the last half of it, Matthew 6. You don’t even have to look it up. We’re going to go right back where we quit in the last program in Philippians. But remember, the theme of our thinking right now is that once we have sought the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, then ‘things’ shall be added. In other words, the material things, the physical needs and so forth.
All right, we ran out of time in our last program, but these are all connected. What you don’t get today, you’ll get tomorrow, so we’ll go right back where we left off in Philippians. Let’s go on over to Philippians chapter 4 verse 6. Now, whenever people call with a real prayer need, Iris and I, and I think the girls in the office have learned to do the same thing, use these verses. These are the first verses we share with people, because it covers everything, whether you are fighting disease, whether you’re fighting marital problems, whether you’re fighting a job problem, or financial, my, it’s all in these two verses.
“Be careful for nothing; (Don’t worry is probably a better word.) but in every thing…” Now, you know, there are those that say God isn’t interested in your material things. God isn’t interested in the physical. That’s not what this verse says. This says God is interested in every part of your life. You take it to Him.
“…in every thing by prayer and supplication (But here’s the key.) with (What?) thanksgiving…” So, what do you do? You thank the Lord before you even ask. What do you thank Him for? What He’s going to do. Now, that’s common sense, isn’t it? “Thank you, Lord, for what you’re going to do with this prayer request.” Then you lay it out for Him. Verbalize it. “Lord, I need a job. I need a good job. Lord I need help. I need marital assistance.” Whatever the case may be, take it to the Lord.
“…let you requests be made known unto God. (Verbalize them. Then, here’s the answer to every prayer before the real question is answered.) 7. And the peace of God, (To know that He’s in control.) which passeth all understanding, (It’s beyond us, the peace that God can roll over us when we turn these things over to Him. Now, what’s the promise?) shall keep your hearts and minds (How?) through Christ Jesus.” And His finished work. That’s the promise. Now, this is in the realm of the everyday. This isn’t talking about the spiritual element; we’re talking about everyday needs.
All right, let’s just jump on over in chapter 4 to verse 19. The Apostle knew what it was to suffer physically. I’m sure there were days on end when he had insufficient food. There were days on end when he was in prison and was cold and hungry. But on the other hand, there were days when he was blessed abundantly, so he says in verse 18:
“But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things (Now, what were those? Material things. Whatever they were, whether it was clothing or whether it was some food or whether it was some parchment, some reading material. It doesn’t matter. But, he’s not in the realm of the spiritual here. He’s in the realm of the physical.) which were sent from you,…” From up there in Philippi.
We were there just the other day. We’d never been to northern Greece before, and our group had a beautiful get-together down at the riverside where Paul had dealt with Lydia. Still the same river, I’m sure. Bill’s nodding his head. It was a beautiful setting. We had a good time and shared things from the Word. It’s an experience that I never dreamed would ever come my way. Everything that Paul writes we can now equate to a particular place in his ministry. In this case, he’s writing to the Philippians up there in northern Greece.
All right, so Epaphroditus has brought the things from wherever he was, I think from Thessalonica.
“…the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God.” Well, what’s he talking about? What the people of Philippi had sacrificed to send to him. Whatever it was. They weren’t wealthy. Most of the people in northern Greece, which is mountainous, had almost nothing financially, but what little they had they shared with the Apostle. All right, now verse 19, so the admonition to us is, if God would supply his need, then He’ll supply whose? Ours.
“But my God shall supply all you need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Does he say He’s going to make you a millionaire? No, that’s not what he says, but He’s going to supply all our needs. And that’s all we have to look for in this life – a roof over our heads, clothes on our back, and food to eat. Those are our needs. We in America have been blessed so abundantly that we don’t know what that is any more. But, in most areas of the world, all they work for from day to day is still just to have a place to live, food to eat, and clothes to wear.
We’re spoiled. I tell the Lord that almost every day. “Lord, I’m spoiled.” But on the other hand, I have to tell Him, “I like it.” I’d hate to be otherwise. It may happen. But listen, we’d better wake up and realize the day may come that all this will be taken from us. It could, you know. But nevertheless, if it should, God will supply our every ‘need.’
Well, anyway, I think maybe that’s enough for the Pauline aspect of all these things. Now, let’s move on to one of the ‘Buts’ that we’re working on – But God or But Noah as it was back in Genesis. Now, I’m going to take you over to Matthew chapter 10. The reason I’m going to use it, even though I’ve used it over and over and over in my classes and in my seminars, we used it again on our trip in the Aegean Sea, is because, as I told you in the last taping, my title of all my messages was going to be “Why Paul?” And I made the point; I remember specifically making the point – Why did the Lord need this thirteenth apostle when He had twelve? But there was an intrinsic reason for it. The Twelve were apostles of Israel. They had no ministry to the Gentile world, and they knew they didn’t. So, in order for God to reach the Gentiles, He had to raise up another apostle, which was Paul or Saul of Tarsus.
All right, now here is why I use this so often. You all know by now that Paul wrote in II Timothy, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman who needeth not to be ashamed.” What’s the rest of the verse? “Rightly dividing the word of truth.” And that means exactly what it says. The word “rightly divide” in the Greek, and now I’m not a Greek scholar, I just look up a few of these things that I think are pertinent. This word in the Greek actually means “to cut straight.” You don’t just do it like you break bread. You cut it straight. Like cutting a pie. You don’t just delve into a pie and hand it out chunk by chunk. What do you do? You cut it into slices. You rightly divide it.
In fact, I think I used that in an illustration years ago. If you’ve got a pie and you’ve got five people, how are you going to cut it? In four pieces? No. If you’re going to use the whole thing at once, you’ll cut into how many? Five. You may cut according to the size of the people that are going to be eating it. Maybe you’ve got a little four year old. He doesn’t need a good full piece. But whatever, to cut straight is rightly dividing that pie. I make my point? That’s what we do with the Word of God. We don’t just ramshackle through it and say, well, I can divide this here, I can divide – no! You cut it according to the Divine purposes. That’s why I’m going to use these verses again with one of the ‘But God’s’.
All right, come down to Matthew 10 verse 5, and I’m sure we’re going to have some people out there that have never heard me use this before. For the rest of you, it’s just like eating meat and potatoes day after day after day. All right, here we are.
“These twelve (the twelve disciples) Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, (Now, did you hear that? That was specific.) Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans (Who were half-breeds and almost outcasts of Israel.) enter ye not: (Don’t have a thing to do with these two classes of people. And here’s the ‘but,’ the flipside.) 6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” And you know, most highly educated theologians can’t read that. They can read it, but they don’t understand it. But that’s a specific dividing of the Scriptures.
Here we have a message that is not for the Gentile world. It’s for Jew only. And until you get that through your head, you’ll never understand this Book. That all the way from the call of Abraham on up until we get to the Apostle Paul, everything is God dealing with Israel. With some exceptions, yes, by His Divine purpose, but on the whole, here’s where we have to divide Scripture. That all the way up through the Old Testament is Jew only.
Now, I always like to use the verse that explicitly says that, so keep your hand in Matthew and go back with me to Acts chapter 19. I like people to see that I’m not pulling these little words, or phrases, out of the woodwork, as we say. They come right from the Book, Acts 11:19 just to show you the phrase. Now, this is eight, nine, or ten years after Pentecost, maybe even eleven. It is long after Pentecost and the Jewish believers are still under intense persecution from various sources. Mostly from the orthodox Jews who rejected Jesus of Nazareth, and these Jews had embraced Him.
“Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose (or began at the time of) about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word (Now, there are no Pauline epistles yet. There are no four Gospels yet, so the only Word they’ve got is what? Old Testament. But these Jews are now carrying that into the Mediterranean Sea.) preaching the word to none but (What?) unto the Jews only.” That’s what your Book says, as well as mine. And people just can’t get it. They keep coming back and telling us that Jesus ministered to the Gentiles, and Peter ministered to the Gentiles. No, they didn’t. The Book says they ministered to none but Jew only. And you either believe it or you don’t. But I do. Consequently, I teach the way I do.
Now, come back to Matthew chapter 10, and this is where it all really came to a head. This is where Jesus explicitly tells His twelve apostles, “You don’t have a thing to do with the Gentiles. You don’t have a thing to do with the half-breed Samaritans.” Why? Because He came to fulfill the Covenant promises. That’s why I covered the Covenants here several times back. The Abrahamic Covenant, the Davidic Covenant, and the Palestinian Covenant – which simply means the promise of the land of Palestine, or what we now call Israel, which was promised by God Himself. I don’t care what the world says. It belongs to the Nation of Israel.
All right, then we had the – did I mention the Davidic? And the New Covenant? Now, those were all covenant promises that were directed to the Nation of Israel, in view of their coming King and this glorious earthly Kingdom that we alluded to in the last program.
Now, the Gentiles had no part in those covenants. They were between God and Israel. So you see, when the Lord Jesus came and began His ministry, He had to put it this way, or He would have been completely in disagreement with His own covenant promises that He had made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Moses, and all the rest. All right, now you cannot take these covenant things and funnel them into the Body of Christ without getting into trouble. So, what do we do? We leave them where they are. We rightly divide.
That piece of the pie belongs to Israel. Ours is coming later. So, we rightly divide the Scriptures. Not Old and New, I heard one preacher on the radio make that comment and I just about went through the pickup roof. You know, he said that the only way to divide Scripture is to separate the Old from the New. How can you separate the Old Testament from the four Gospels when it’s all God dealing with Israel?
That reminds me of another young man who was making application to one of our large seminaries. And he made, he thought of it afterward, what was probably a foolish statement. He told this one interrogator, who was to see if he was fit to come into the seminary, that he saw no difference between the four Gospels and the Old Testament. He said, “I thought they’d throw me out within five minutes.” But it’s right. You can’t separate these four Gospels from the Old Testament. It’s all under the Law and dealing with Israel.
There is nothing concerning the Gentile world, and here’s why I’m teaching this today/ Here, Jesus Himself is saying, “Go not into the way of Gentiles, go not into any Samaritans, but (Flipside. Where were they to go?) to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” And no one but. Now, that’s a great divide! Here’s where we have to draw the line in Scripture. How can you go against that kind of a commandment from the words of the Lord Himself and just simply say that, no, they went to the whole Gentile world? No, they did not.
All right, let’s go a little further. Let’s go to Acts and now we’re at seven or eight years after Pentecost. Stephen has just been stoned. Now, we move into Acts chapter 8, now get the timeframe. You know, that’s what we appreciated about our Aegean Cruise. We were able to put the history and the geography all in view of the spiritual element. Everything just all of a sudden fell into place. All right, so here we are seven or eight years after Pentecost. Saul has just wrought havoc amongst those Jews who had embraced Jesus as their Messiah. Now remember, that’s the whole dividing line in Israel. That small percentage of Jews had embraced Jesus as the Messiah, but the rest of them ridiculed Him and scorned Him as “can anything good come out of Nazareth.” You know the account.
“And Saul was consenting unto his (Stephen’s) death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church…” Now, I always have to stop when I come to that word. It’s the Greek word ecclesia, which translated or defined, is a ‘called out assembly.’ That’s all. That’s what the ecclesia was, a called out assembly that had separated from the rest of the world that was around them.
When Israel came out of Egypt and was gathered around Mount Sinai, Acts chapter 7 calls them a “church in the wilderness.” Now goodness sakes, they weren’t a church with pastors and bishops and deacons, they were a called out assembly of Jews. When we were at Ephesus, we saw the humongous theater that all the silversmiths fled into, or flowed into, during all the opposition against the Apostle Paul, because he was ruining their trade amongst the silversmiths. But the book of Acts calls that riotous mob a – what? An ecclesia. It was a “called out assembly.” Not spiritual. A bunch of hoods actually caused the riot, but the Scripture calls it an ecclesia, “a called out assembly.”
All right, now the same way with this Jewish element in Jerusalem. They had separated from the mainstream of Israel because they had embraced Jesus as the Messiah, and now they are meeting together. They go from house to house and they break bread, so what are they? They were a “called out assembly,” but unfortunately our translators call them what? A church, without any distinction. So, everybody thinks that the church in Jerusalem is already a Pauline Grace church. No, it is not. It’s a church comprised of Law-keeping Jews who are still using Temple Worship. They are still adhering to the Old Testament laws of food and everything else, but they’re called a church. Okay, now let’s go on.
“…there was a great persecution against this called out assembly of Jewish believers at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad… (We just read about them in chapter 11:19.) throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except (Who?) the apostles.” Now, according to most of Christendom, by now – eight years after Pentecost, where were the apostles? Preaching to the Gentile world – what a travesty! Not according to this Book. There is not one record in here of any of the Twelve ministering to the Gentile world. Not one.
Now, maybe church history alludes to it, but I don’t go by church history. I go by the Book, and these men were in the same category as what Jesus told the Twelve back there in Matthew. Go NOT into the way of a Gentile, because those Jewish men had only one allegiance and that was to the covenant promises. This is what you’ve got to get straight. This is what we call rightly dividing the Word of God.
But you see, at this very same time, or within the next few months at least, while the apostles are sticking tight to Jerusalem, there is this persecutor on his way to Damascus. And outside the city gate, I trust you all know, most of America doesn’t any more, the younger generation, they don’t know what the Damascus Road experience is. But you do. What happened? God saved the persecutor! What did He tell him? At least through Ananias, what’d He tell him? “I’m going to send you far hence to the Gentiles.” There’s the big divide. Everything has been Jewish, and now all of a sudden the emphasis is going to switch to the Gentile world through the thirteenth apostle.
We’re going to see – I guess I might as well do it now, go back with me to Galatians chapter 1 and let’s start at verse 11. I’ve used these verses over and over through the years, because they are so descriptive. They are so explanatory of what we call dividing the Scriptures. Here Paul is showing us so emphatically that he had nothing to do with the twelve apostles of Israel. He couldn’t, because they were all associated with the Law and Israel and Temple worship and all the rest. But you and I have nothing to do with those things. They’re past. They’ve been crucified.
“But I certify you, brethren, (Now remember, he’s writing to Gentile believers that he has brought together in one of his earlier missionary journeys, up there in central Turkey.) that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Now, there is that total separation then of Paul from the Twelve and their ministry to Israel.
All right, now he goes on in these succeeding verses, starting at verse 13, and he’s merely proving the point that he is a separate, designated apostle of the Gentiles, totally separated from Israel. Now, I don’t want to lose the verse we jumped off from in Matthew, where Jesus said, “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ Whereas now this apostle is just as definitely instructed to go to the Gentile world as the Twelve were to go to Israel. All right now verse 13 and our time is about gone.
“For ye have heard of my conversation (or manner of life) in time past in the Jews’ religion, (He was a Jews’ Jew. A Pharisee of the Pharisees.) how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, (In other words, that same church in Jerusalem, the ecclesia of Jesus-believing Jews.) and wasted it. 14. And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.” He was a religious fanatic. “But,” verse 15; I could have used this as another good one! I may again.
“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,” That’s where you and I are. We’re here by virtue of His grace, not by virtue of our genealogy, not by virtue of our denominational background. We’re here by grace. All right, verse 16, but in Paul’s life what was the real purpose of separating him?
“To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him (God the Son) among the Gentiles; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.” All right, I’m going to come back quickly to Romans 16 verse 25, in the few seconds we have left, and this is what he’s referring to.
“Now to him who is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, (or, these things…) which was kept secret since the ages began.” That’s what you call rightly dividing the Scripture. And only Paul received these mysteries.