Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 67
BUT GOD! (Gave the Increase) – Part 3
I Corinthians 3:7 and Other Pertinent Scriptures
Okay, again, for those of you that may be tuning in for the first time, we are a simple Bible study. I always call it a glorified Sunday School Class. All we want to do is teach the Word in such a way that anybody can understand it and read it. Again, we’re going to put our little quote from a theologian back in the 1500’s on the screen, because this is the best instruction for Bible study that I’ve ever seen in one statement. It’s really what dispensationalists are all about. We separate who’s talking to whom and what are the circumstances. Well, I guess I can read it from here.
“It shall greatly help you to understand Scripture if you mark not only what is spoken or written, but ask of whom and to whom, with what words or at what time, where, to what intent, with what circumstances, considering what goes before and what comes after.” Now, that’s the best creed for Bible study that I have ever come across. Always stop and ask, what is the circumstance, who is writing, who’s he writing to? That’ll just make all the difference in the world.
You know, I’ve done this a long time ago. Let’s see, how do you put it? Pilots will say they “fly by the seat of their pants,” that is without any particular, prescribed plan. Well, that’s the way I teach. Now, I didn’t intend to do this, but I’m going to give you a good example of what this is talking about. Come back with me to Leviticus. We did this years and years ago. Back to the book of Leviticus, the book of Law, and if people would consider the statement we just put on the screen, they would understand that a portion like Leviticus chapter 5 is certainly not for us to practice.
Yet every once in a while, I’ll get a letter or a phone caller who says, “Les, you’re always emphasizing Paul. I don’t just stay with Paul. I use the whole Bible.” “Oh, you do?” I’ll ask. They’ll say, “Well, absolutely. If the Bible says it, then that’s what I do.” Then you’re in trouble already, because you just can’t do that. And this is a good example. This is what I use, Leviticus chapter 5. If someone pulls it on you – says, well, I don’t just go by what Paul says, I go by what the whole Bible says. Then say, oh, you do, well, let’s just go back and see if you can do this. Leviticus 5 starting at verse 1.
“And if a soul sin, (That, of course, is obvious. We all do, and they did, and remember, this is to Israel.) and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity. (He’s sinned, and he’d better recognize it.) 2. Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, (Now, that wasn’t too hard back in Israel’s economy, because only seven species were clean animals, the rest were unclean.) whether it be a carcass of an unclean beast, or a carcass of unclean cattle, or the carcass of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty.” He’s guilty of a sin. Oh, not a moral sin, he hasn’t committed adultery. He hasn’t done anything that gross. But he’s touched something that’s unclean. So, he’s got a sin that has to be dealt with. All right, now let’s jump on down and see what this man has to do.
“And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, (Either he’s said something blasphemous, or he’s touched a dead carcass.) that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing: (Can he stop there? No, go on to the next verse.) 6. And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD for his sin which he hath sinned, (Here’s what he has to do.) a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin.”
Goodness sakes, can anybody do that today? Can you? Well, in the first place, most of you couldn’t find a lamb or a goat if you tried. Secondly, if you were fortunate enough to have a herd in your community, you still couldn’t find a priest. If you found somebody who was willing to say, well, I can be a priest, he hasn’t got a Temple. So, how in the world can people say, “Well, I do everything that the Bible says.” You can’t.
It is the same way in Christ’s earthly ministry. He demanded things that you and I could not fulfill today, because we’re not under those set of circumstances. So, this becomes the common sense approach to Scripture. Is it written to us? Is it for us to practice? If it’s to Israel, then the answer is no. But, when Paul comes on the scene and says, “I am the Apostle of the Gentiles,” then you’d better listen to what that Apostle said, because that’s who we are.
All right, now that’s our approach to Scripture. So, I Corinthians 3 is the Apostle Paul. He’s writing to Gentile believers, and he could just as well be writing to us right here in the studio. All right, now we left off in I Corinthians 3 verse 8. Paul says it doesn’t matter whether it’s Apollos or whether it’s himself. Then, later on in Corinthians, he even brings in Jesus and Peter. It doesn’t make any difference who has been the messenger. What’s important is to bring that person to a knowledge of salvation. And when we do–
I Corinthians 3:8a
“Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: (In other words, they’re equal in God’s eyes. One isn’t more important than the other.) and every man (whether we planted or whether we saw the fruition) shall receive his own (What?) reward…” Now, we’re not talking about salvation. We’re talking about reward. Big difference. Salvation is without works. It’s a free gift. We get it by nothing by faith alone.
But now, let’s jump to Ephesians. Keep your hand in Corinthians. I always have to stop and think, is this the most appropriate time to use something like this? But, I think this is okay. Ephesians chapter 2, jump in at verse 8. Everybody got it?
“For by grace are ye saved (Not because of anything we deserve – we’re saved by God’s unmerited favor on our behalf.) through faith; (Faith plus nothing) and that not of yourselves: (Not because of something you’ve done) it is the gift of God.” Isn’t that miraculous that God has given it? And all we have to do is take it – by faith. All right, verse 9.
“Not of works, (Not because of what you’ve done) lest any man should boast.” And even Abraham didn’t dare boast, Romans 4 tells us that. Now, verse 10, we move into what Paul is talking about in I Corinthians 3 – rewards.
“For we are his workmanship,…” Now, that Greek word is the same Greek word from which we get symphony. What’s a symphony? It’s a composite of all these instruments playing that makes beautiful music. It’s not a jumbled up mass. It’s not one guy playing one note and some another. It is a formulated piece of music, and that’s what we are! By God’s design we are something unique. We are intrinsic in His service, because we have been created in Christ Jesus. That’s all part of our salvation experience. We have been made a new person. We have been empowered in a way like we never knew before, and that’s what we use when we witness to other people. It’s the empowering of the Holy Spirit who gives us the words to speak.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus (For what purpose?) unto good works,” And what are the good works that we primarily emphasize? Telling lost people how to gain salvation. That’s the first good work you can do. My, you can spare somebody eternal doom by just simply opening your mouth and sharing Paul’s Gospel. Now, you don’t have to bring them into salvation. I’m always showing you that. Somebody else may get the privilege. If you can, fine! But if not, don’t worry about it. Sow the seed. Plant the seed. And that becomes works, then, on your behalf.
Okay, now let’s go back to I Corinthians chapter 3. We’re moving on from what God did – He gave the increase. The result is going to be fruit from the believer. All right, verse 9.
I Corinthians 3:9a
“For we are laborers together with God:…” Now, I hadn’t originally planned to do this. I was going to start back there, stop at verse 8 and move on. But, as I was looking at this in preparation through the past week, I was reminded again of a dear old saint. He was a retired pastor out of Chicago, and he was in one of my classes here in Oklahoma. I taught this one night quite a few years ago, and he came up afterward and said, “Les, teach it. Teach it. Teach it, because people don’t hear it any more. Teach that believers are to work for reward.” Every time I get to these verses, I see that dear old gentleman, retired pastor of a huge church in Chicago. That’s why I decided I’ll hit it again. Now, we had it back in the Corinthians study, but we’re going to hit it again.
I Corinthians 3:9-10a
“For we are laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. (We’re something that God is doing something with here on planet earth.) 10. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, (Now, Paul is writing in the first person, so he’s speaking of himself.) as a wise master builder, (The chief contractor) I have laid the foundation,…” Now, that’s where I came when I told you a couple of programs back, how a dear old saint here in Oklahoma said, “I can’t find anything of the church in the early chapters of Acts where most of Christendom puts the birth of the Church.” So, I came back a few nights later and I said, “You know, you’re right.” So, he said, “When did it start?” I told him I was still looking.
Well, it wasn’t long until this was the portion that jumped off the page. Who laid the foundation? Paul did. He didn’t say he’s the foundation – he laid the foundation. Big difference. Now, just think, in your own experience, if you’ve ever built anything at all, even if you build just a room onto your home. Or, if you’ve built a mansion, it doesn’t make any difference. Who lays the foundation? Well, the chief contractor. He’s not going to come in when the first floor is finished. He’s not going to come in and finish someone else’s work. He’s going to set the stakes on your lot. He’s going to dig the ditches. He’s going to lay the concrete. That’s Paul! And that’s where I became adamant. There is no room for the birth of the church anyplace except this Apostle. Because he is the main contractor, and he laid the foundation!
Now, this isn’t an egotistical man speaking. This is the inspired Word of God. You know, I mentioned on the program a while back, and I don’t have any intention of retracting it, so far as I’m concerned, Paul’s epistles could all be in red. You know why? Because every word he wrote was from the ascended Lord! Every word! When he takes credit for things, it’s because that’s what the ascended Lord wanted him to do. So, he laid the foundation. Now, go on, what’s the foundation of Paul’s ministry? Jesus Christ crucified, buried, and raised from the dead!
I Corinthians 3:11
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” And then we saw a few weeks ago, back in chapter 1, it’s “Christ crucified, risen from the dead.” That’s all Paul knows. So, don’t ever, ever accuse me of putting Paul as our Savior or our point of salvation. No. He’s merely the proclaimer of it. All right, now then, here we go in verse 12. Now, if we have been brought into the building that is on this foundation of Jesus Christ crucified, buried, and raised from the dead, we’re left with a task at hand. What is it? Work. Work.
Now, I think anybody that has ever known me can never accuse me of being afraid to work. I’ve always had energy enough to work. That’s why I admonish others – work. I’ve got no time for people who want to just live off of nothing. That’s why I can’t be in favor of gambling, because what is gambling? It’s the desire to get something for nothing. That’s not the biblical approach. Paul says that if you don’t work you don’t what? You don’t eat! Boy, there are a lot of people that should be really starving. And it would be the biblical approach to it.
Okay, as soon as we come in on this building of God, on the foundation of Christ crucified and risen from the dead, in other words, faith in Paul’s Gospel, we’re to get to work. We’re not to just sit down and let the world go by. We’re to work. All right, here we go, verse 12.
I Corinthians 3:12a
“Now if any man (Now, that’s an all inclusive term.) build upon this foundation…” As a worker, and, again, I think maybe when I taught Corinthians, I used the beehive as a good example. You’ve got your working bees, and then you’ve got the sloughs, and they kick them out and so forth. Isn’t that right? But the workers, they’re constantly building that hive. All right, so we are to build upon this foundation.
I Corinthians 3:12b
“…gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;” Now, you’ve got six materials. Six materials. Three of them are extremely rare, and three you can find as soon as you come out of the parking lot. So, what’s being suggested here? You won’t get reward unless you hustle.
Because, if you’re going to go out and find gold, silver, and precious stones, you’re going to have to hustle, because they aren’t just everywhere. They’re hard to find. A lot of times, they’re deep under a mountain. They have to be mined. They have to be gone after. All right, now that’s why I think God has given these two examples. Then there is wood, hay, and stubble. They are everywhere, but they count for nothing. Absolutely nothing. Yet, that’s most of Christendom. They’re going to come before the judgment seat of Christ with nothing but a bunch of trash that they were able to pick up stepping outside the door. But, oh, listen, when you put forth the energy and you put forth the effort, and you go out and you mine the mountain, and you find the gold and the silver and the precious stone, oh, listen! God’s going to reward you.
I Corinthians 3:13a
“Every man’s work (Now again, the word man includes everybody: boys, girls, men, and women.) shall be made manifest:…” And how have I always used that word manifest? Put it in the spotlight, like in the microscope. All of your work is going to come under that microscopic light, and all of your smallest details are going to be evident. God isn’t going to miss a one of them. And He’s going to reward you on the basis of what He sees in that spotlight. It’s all going to be manifest.
I Corinthians 3:13b
“…for the day (The day of reward and we’re going to look at it in just a minute.) shall declare it, (Why?) because it shall be revealed (or tested) by fire;…” Now, this is beautiful. What does fire do to gold and silver, especially, and I imagine most of your gemstones? Purifies it! The more you heat it, the prettier it gets.
But how about wood, hay, and stubble. My, we’ve seen it all over Oklahoma. Our grassfires have just made everything black. The wood, hay, and stubble have just gone up in a puff of smoke. It’s ugly. All right, that’s what’s going to happen to many believers’ rewards. They’re going to come before the Lord Jesus individually. Every one of us is going to have our time before the Judge of Glory. This is not the Great White Throne, which is only for the lost.
All right, now let’s go back and look at it. That’d be in II Corinthians chapter 5. II Corinthians chapter 5 and I’m taking the time because I know not very many people have this thrown at them any more. Here Paul is really speaking of the life hereafter. I think we’ve got time enough to start right up there at verse 1.
II Corinthians 5:1
“For we know (If you’re a believer, this is well understood.) that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, (Now, he’s speaking of this physical body. When this physical body is gone back to the dust or is transformed in the Rapture.) we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” We come back to that same concept of the foundation in I Corinthians 3. We’re in a building process. We’re on the foundation that the Apostle Paul laid, which was the Gospel – Christ crucified, buried, and risen again. All right, so now— “we become a building of God (as a result of resurrection, again) an house not made with hands.” In other words, it’s in the heavenlies. Now, verse 2:
II Corinthians 5:2
“For in this (this old body of flesh) we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:” In other words, for the new body. See that? Oh, we can’t be comfortable in this old body of flesh when we realize we’ve got a glorious body waiting for us. I think that’s what keeps our daughter going, the hope of a new body someday.
II Corinthians 5:3-4a
“If so be that being clothed (That is with immortality, now, as he spoke of in I Corinthians 15. We’ll be looking at that, probably, in the next taping.) we shall not be found naked. (In other words, found in a bad situation.) 4. For we that are in this tabernacle (We’re still in the flesh.) do groan,…” Now, I’ve got to make a point here. What’s a tabernacle in Scripture? It’s a tent. Now, so far as abode goes, is a tent temporary or permanent? Well, very temporary. All right, so what’s this body? It’s temporary. It’s a temporary abode for soul and spirit, but the immortal will be the permanent.
II Corinthians 5:4-5
“For we that are in this tabernacle (or body) do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality (that coming of death) might be swallowed up of life (eternal life). 5. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, (Now, here again, you could put, “but God!” He makes the difference.) who also hath given unto us the earnest (down payment) of the Spirit.” My, I could go another hour right there, couldn’t I?
My goodness, what does Ephesians say? That after we heard the Gospel of salvation and we believed it, what were we given? The Holy Spirit! The next verse says that the Holy Spirit is the what? He’s God’s down-payment that we’re His!” Then you go back to Romans chapter 8 and what does that down payment become? A literal, eternal, immortal body. That’s what’s ahead of us. But, I won’t take time for that. Let’s come back here to verse 6.
II Corinthians 5:6-7
“Therefore we are always confident, (See how we pick up such confidence from the Apostle. We don’t have to doubt.) knowing that, while we are at home in the body, (or this temporary tabernacle) we are absent from the Lord: (The Lord’s in glory, and we’re here on the planet.) 7. (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” We don’t see the Lord. We don’t see Him walking with us day by day, and so we walk by faith. Now verse 8.
II Corinthians 5-8
“We are confident, I say, and willing rather (Oh, this is the hope of every believer, without being suicidal of course. We don’t want to bring that into the picture. But, oh, we have that constant hope that we would–) rather to be absent from the (old) body, (of flesh) and to be (Where?) present with the Lord (in glory).” Now then, verse 9, with that in mind, that we’ve got an eternity waiting for us in which we’re going to be active, in which we’re going to receive reward done for what we’ve done in this life.
II Corinthians 5:9
“Wherefore we labour, (That’s what we were talking about in I Corinthians 3.) that, whether present or absent, (Whether we’re still here on the planet, or whether we’re in the situation that we’re going to move on.) we may be accepted of Him.” Not for salvation! Never do we bring salvation into this kind of language. This is reward for what the believer has accomplished with his life. Now verse 10, here it comes.
II Corinthians 5:10a
“For we must (Whether you’ve got wood, hay, or stubble; or whether you’ve got gold, silver, or precious stones. It doesn’t make a bit of difference. Every believer is going to have his moment before the Lord.) all appear before the judgment seat of Christ;…” The Bema Seat is a better word. I don’t know why the King James translators used this word judgment, because it throws fear into people. It’s not a place of judgment as we think of judgment like the Great White Throne. It’s the Bema Seat.
Now, we were in Corinth a couple or three months ago. For those of you that were with us, it was quite an experience. Corinth was simply the seat of the judges who determined this event or that event and then the Olympics brought it in, and they declared the winner, second place, and third place. That’s what the Bema Seat was all about. It was the seat of the judges. Not a seat for judgment or punishment like the Great White Throne. So, this judgment seat or Bema Seat is going to be for all believers.
II Corinthians 5:10
“For we must all (every single believer) appear before the Bema seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, (while here on the planet) according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” It had nothing to do with salvation. Nothing! It’s all according to reward.
All right, now then, we’ve got a minute left. Let’s go back to I Corinthians 3. So, as we come before the Lord with whatever we have accomplished or done as a believer in this life, God is going to reckon it as gold, silver, and precious stones; or wood, hay, and stubble. And remember, that a good portion of this is going to be on motive. Why do we do what we do?
If I just came up here with the idea of impressing people, or how much money can I make out of this ministry, I’ve got nothing but wood, hay, and stubble, and it goes up in a puff of smoke. But if I come in here motivated by the Spirit of God to open the Scriptures to people, then I trust there’ll be some gold and silver involved. This is what we have to look at it. What’s your motive? Why do you put money in your local church? Why do you give money even to Les Feldick Ministry? If it’s only for earthly gain, then forget it. You get nothing back. It’s a waste of everything. So, always determine the motive to everything you do, so that it’ll be gold, silver, or precious stones.