Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 68
BUT NOW – YOU ARE MADE NIGH – PART 3
Eph. 2:13; Eph. 4:20; Phil. 2:27
It is good to have everybody back after your coffee break. Again, we would like to welcome our television audience and thank you, again, for all your kind letters, your financial help, your prayers, and everything. I’ve said it over and over how we appreciate your letters. My goodness, what a compensation it is for the ministry.
Before we go any further, I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. We’ve got two people that are so intrinsic to our ministry. They do all the transcribing for the closed captioning as well as for the books. The first one over here is Sharon Martin. She’s the gal that’s usually got the “red” hair. Everybody comments who’s the lady on the front row with the red hair? Well, that’s Sharon Martin. Jerry Pool is the second one. Where is he? Jerry’s back over there. Sharon does the closed captioning, and then Jerry and his wife Lorna put the little book together out of it.
This is what made me aware of it. I’ll just share this with all of you in television. I just happened to be someplace where the program had the closed captioning. I just sat and that’s all I watched. And it was letter perfect. I was just flabbergasted. Most closed captioning, you know, makes some goofs here and there, but these two people have just done a fabulous job. I wanted to give them their due.
Okay, now we’re on the same verse we’ve been on. I thought we’d do that in half of a program, and here we’re going into the third. But anyway, that’s the way we teach, and I trust that’s what the Lord has blessed. So, we’re going to come back to Ephesians chapter 2 once again. We’re on that “But Now” where everything had been Jew only, and the Gentile world was without Christ, without the covenants and without hope. “But Now” on this side of the revelation of the mysteries, verse 13 again.
“But now in Christ Jesus ye (Gentiles, you and I) who sometimes (at one time) were far off (because God was dealing only with the covenant people) are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” This, of course, is another reference to the work of the cross, and His glorious resurrection.
Now, let’s just carry on here in Ephesians chapter 2 on this side of the “But Now.”
“For he (Christ) is our peace,…” That is that peace with God. Remember Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God.” God has no controversy with the believer. If suddenly the Lord should come this afternoon, I’ve said it over and over and over again, you’re not going to come before Him shaking in your boots because of some sin. That’s all been obliterated. You’ve been forgiven! All right, so we have peace with God. We don’t have to fear being brought into His presence.
“For he (Christ) is our peace, who hath made both one, (Well, who are the both? The Jew and the Gentile, the only two groups of people that Scripture deals with, and He has brought them into the one body.) and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;” Now that, of course, was a reference to the Temple complex where there was a wall that Gentiles did not dare go beyond. But that’s been broken down. Now both Jew and Gentile have access. All right, verse 15.
“Having abolished in his flesh (This is all in reference to the cross.) the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of the two one new man, so making peace;” Now, we always have to recognize that Israel was so involved with the Mosaic Law that that in itself kept them separated from the Gentile world. The Gentile had no concept of living according to the Law of Moses. But, that Law of Moses was such that–, now come back with me to Acts chapter 15. Boy, I thought for a minute I wasn’t going to find it, Acts 15 verse 8.
Now, I guess I should go back to verse 7. This is Peter rehearsing his time at the house of Cornelius. And again, I always like to point out that Peter didn’t go to the house of Cornelius until after Saul’s conversion, so it was already opening the door, now, to the revelation of the mystery to the Gentiles. But the Jewish believers remember, from Jerusalem, were still undermining Paul’s Gentile congregations by demanding circumcision and keeping the Law of Moses. So, they had to set up this big meeting in Jerusalem, which is also covered in Galatians 2 in about 51 AD. That’s about what? Twenty years after Pentecost, twenty-two to be exact. All right, but now Peter is finally recognizing that Paul was right by claiming to be the Apostle of the Gentiles.
“And when there had been much disputing,…” Arguing over the fact. Paul said my converts don’t have to keep the Law. They don’t have to be circumcised. And Peter and the Jews at Jerusalem said yes they do. Well, they finally settled it, and Peter comes around to Paul’s line of thinking.
“And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, you know how that a good while ago (Now, from this point in time, it was 12 years already that Peter hadn’t said a word. He just sort of put it back in the recesses of his memory.) God made choice among us, (That is among the Twelve ruling there from Jerusalem.) that the Gentiles (See, here we come.) by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.”
“And God, who knoweth the hearts, (That is of Jews as well as the house of Cornelius.) bare them witness, giving them (the house of Cornelius) the Holy Spirit, even as he did unto us;” (Here it comes.) 9. And put no difference between us and them, (Jew and Gentile) purifying their hearts (Not by law keeping, but how?) by faith. 10. Now therefore (Now, this is Peter.) why test ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, (Or these Gentile believers, now watch this.) which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?”
Now, what does that tell you? The Law was a burden for the true believer. They could hardly breathe for the yoke that was around their neck. So, Peter is recognizing that it’s good riddance to get rid of that yoke that had been on the neck of the Old Testament fathers as well as Peter’s generation. So, that’s what he means when he says, “which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear.”
“But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” Well, there’s Peter now addressing the Gentiles with regard to the house of Cornelius.
All right, come back with me now to Ephesians chapter 2, again, where Paul now is alluding to that same breaking down of that wall of partition between Israel and the Gentiles. But the Gentile is not forced into the law-keeping that Israel tried to put upon them. All right verse 17 of Ephesians 2. The same God in verse 16, or the same Christ up in verse 13, the same God–
“And came and preached peace to you who were afar off, and to them that were nigh.” Well, that doesn’t need a theological explanation, does it? The Gentiles were the ones that were way out there without any hope. The Jews had always been next to the covenant promises. All right, but now this Gospel is going to go to both Jew and Gentile.
“For through him (That is through this Christ who finished the work of the cross. Through him Jew and Gentile–) we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” Now verse 19, we’re going to pursue this to the end of the chapter.
“Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners,…” Now remember, what are we referring to? Go back up to verse 12. It’s been a half-hour, now, since we talked about it. Let’s go back up there, verse 12. This was the lot of the Gentile before Paul came along,
“That at that time you (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: 13. But now…” See? On this side of the cross. I constantly ask people, why do you stay on the front side of the cross? That’s not where it’s at. You’ve got to come on this side of the cross, after the death, burial, resurrection, and the shed blood. But, oh, they just insist on staying in His earthy ministry, which Paul said he no longer has a thing to do with.
Oh, it’s just…I can’t understand it. I can’t comprehend it. Why do they want to stay on the front side of the cross, when on this side is where all has been supplied. All right, reading on, back to verse 20.
“And are (you’re) built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone;” Now, that again isn’t hard to explain. This whole Book is the inspired Word of God from cover to cover. Does that mean that just because Paul is the Apostle of the Gentiles we don’t use the rest of it? Of course we do! It’s a progressive revelation, and the more you can understand of the Old Testament promises, the easier it is to accept Paul’s revelation. It all unfolds step by step. All right, so we’ve been built on that of the apostles and the prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the cornerstone of everything.
“In whom (in Christ) all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord: (Now verse 22 and we’re going to chase down some references.) 22. In whom you also (Now don’t forget, who’s he writing to? Gentiles. You and I. Who at one time had nothing to do with the Temple at Jerusalem. We had nothing to do with the law-keeping worship of Israel.) In whom you also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” That is the Holy Spirit.
All right, come back to I Corinthians chapter 3. Let’s just see how this all fits so beautifully. Oh, my goodness, we have to start at verse 10. And again, this is repetition. We touched on these, I think, not too many programs ago. I Corinthians chapter 3, now I guess I should use verse 9.
I Corinthians 3:9
“For we are laborers together with God: (Why?) you are God’s husbandry, you are God’s building.” Now, it’s the word building that we’re going to look at, because what did Ephesians say? We are the habitation of God. Well, what does habitation refer to? The place where you live, your dwelling place. All right, now here it comes, verse 10.
I Corinthians 3:10a
“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder,…” Now, what does that refer to? Building something. A home. An office building. Whatever the case may be. We’re talking about building something.
I Corinthians 3:10b
“…as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation,…” This is the basis for anything that is going to be worthwhile.
You can go back to Jesus’ illustration of building on the sand. What good is it? Nothing. The first time the wind and the water come, away it goes. The foundation is everything. That’s where we start.
I Corinthians 3:10c-11
“I (Paul says) have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereupon. But let every man (that means every one of us) take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Now see, Paul isn’t claiming to be the foundation. He’s the builder who lays it. Then we’re going to start building on that foundation which is Jesus Christ, of course crucified and risen from the dead. All right, now verse 12, here come the building products.
I Corinthians 3:12
“Now if any man build upon this foundation (As a believer, you’ve placed your faith in that finished work of the cross. Now, you’re given opportunity to work, to build. And here are your materials.) gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;” Now, I always like to stop and make a comparison. You take someone who is out there looking for gold, silver, and precious stones. He’s out there facing the elements. He’s probably climbing the mountains.
In fact, we were just rehearsing last night the time we had a lunch with a gold prospector in Colorado. It was a unique experience. He was up there in those rugged mountains all by himself, because that’s where you have to go if you’re going to get the things that are worthwhile.
Now, the other three materials, I always make people smile. Sharon knows. I always refer to the little old grade school story of the three pigs. What did they use, the first two? That which was easy: sticks and straw. I wonder sometimes, if the guy that wrote that story didn’t have this in his background. But see, that’s what most believers are doing. They’re just like the three pigs. They’re out there just doing what little bit they can, and they think that God’s going to be satisfied. No. God expects you to get out there into the mountains and grub out the gold and the silver and the stones, the things that are worthwhile. All right, read on.
I Corinthians 3:13
“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: (It’s going to be put in the spotlight of His fiery eyes.) for the day (the Bema Seat day) shall declare it, (Now, we won’t be at the Great White Throne with all the lost people. We’re going to be at the Judgment Seat, the Bema Seat. So, the Bema Seat day, if I may put it that way–) shall declare it, (It’s going to declare what our rewards are.) because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”
Now, I guess I’d better show Scripture. Come back with me to Revelation chapter 19. Keep your hand here in Corinthians, because you’ve got to compare Scripture with Scripture. Revelation 19 verse 11, and don’t forget what we’re here for. At the Bema Seat Judgment the Lord Jesus is going to examine the works of every believer. Now again, don’t forget that’s in eternity, and in eternity there’s no time. So, He can examine millions of people in what we would call ten minutes. Because otherwise, you wonder, well, how can he examine every individual believer and still have it all done before the Second Coming. Okay, here it is.
“And I saw heaven opened, (That’s the Second Coming, remember.) and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. (But here’s what I want you to see.) 12. His eyes were as a flame of fire,…” Now, come back to Corinthians. With these fiery eyes He’s going to penetrate the works of every believer. Now, when those fiery eyes hit wood, hay, and stubble, what’s going to happen to it? Up in a puff of smoke, figuratively speaking. But, when it hits the gold and silver and precious stones, what will it do? It will just magnify it, because heat purifies, if anything.
So, the whole name of the game as a believer is, are you building on your salvation that which amounts to something? Are you putting in gold, silver, and precious stones? Are you making an effort to build, or are you just going out like the three little pigs, or the two, and picking up straw and sticks and thinking it suffices? Oh, listen! Millions of believers are going to be so disappointed when they come to this Judgment Seat. They’re going to have remorse, I think, to a degree. I know it is heaven, but nevertheless, why didn’t I do more? Why didn’t I do more? So, this is the admonishment. Get out there and get out the gold and the silver and the precious stones.
I Corinthians 3:13-15
“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall test every man’s work of what sort it is. 14. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, (can survive the fire) he shall receive a reward. 15. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: (Of reward. Not salvation, but rather loss of reward.) but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” All right, now here’s the verse that brought me back here. Here’s the verse, we’re building a temple, verse 16.
I Corinthians 3:16-17a
“Know ye not that ye (Now, he’s talking about individual Gentile believers at Corinth. He’s talking the same to us.) are the temple (the dwelling place) of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17. If any man defile the temple of God, (that is this body) him shall God destroy;…”
Now listen. Do you wonder what he’s talking about? You smokers out there. What are you doing? Every time you inhale, I always say you’re choking the Holy Spirit. He’s indwelling you. But not only that, you are destroying your temple. I just had a letter yesterday from a fellow in the last stages of emphysema, having smoked three packs a day all his life. Well, he asked for it, and he admitted that he did.
We had a fellow out in our Albuquerque seminar who was running around with a little oxygen tank. He said, “Les, whenever I see kids smoking, I walk up to them unannounced and I say, “Look, kids, this is where you’re headed.” Carrying that oxygen tank. Well, that’s what this verse is saying. If you’re going to misuse your physical body, you’re going to see the consequences.
I Corinthians 3:17
“If any man defile (or does damage to) the temple of God, (which is your body) him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, (Now watch that next few words.) which temple ye (What?) are.” Okay.
Go over to chapter 6, still in I Corinthians. Now, these things are repeated for a reason. This is what we have to be aware of, that we are building on the foundation of the Gospel with works of gold, silver, and precious stones, because the Spirit of God is indwelling us. This is His dwelling place today. All right, chapter 6 verse 19.
I Corinthians 6:19-20
“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple (the dwelling place) of the Holy Spirit who is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (They both belong to God.)”
All right, I think there’s another one in II Corinthians chapter 6 verse 14. Now this is just as valid for us today as it was for the Corinthians.
II Corinthians 6:14-16a
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? 15. And what concord (or what agreement) hath Christ with Belial? (This is a reference to one of the Old Testament idols.) or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? (or an unbeliever) 16. And what agreement hath the temple of God (Hear that? What’s it a reference to? Your physical body.) with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God;…” It’s been a while since you’ve heard that, hasn’t it? But that’s what you are. If you’re a believer, for you out in television, if you’re a believer, you are the dwelling place of God Himself, in the person, of course, of the Holy Spirit. All right, reading on.
II Corinthians 6:16b-17a
“…as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Now then, verse 17, here’s the admonition. Again, you don’t hear this much anymore.) 17. Wherefore (since you are the temple of the Living God) wherefore come out from among them, (Who are the them? The infidel’s of the world, the unbelievers.) and be ye separate, saith the Lord,…” And so on and so forth.
All right, our time is just about gone. Let’s come back for our closing seconds to Ephesians, once again to chapter 3. I’m going to take this right in to where we were a couple of programs back, because it’s so appropriate. Chapter 3 verse 1 of Ephesians and then it will be time to quit.
“For this cause…” What cause? What we’ve just been looking at. That as a member of the Body of Christ, you’re building on the foundation, which is the work of the cross. And as a believer, you are to be building up for reward with gold, silver, and precious stones. You are to be separated from the unbelieving world in your lifestyle and in your everyday behavior, because you are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit today.
And you know, I always say, what’s important is not the past, but today and tomorrow. The past you can’t do anything about, but be ready to show your colors from hereon if you haven’t before.
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,” So, the whole afternoon I’m going to be emphasizing that this is what happened when God turned from Israel and raised up that other apostle and sent him to the Gentile world.