Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 71
SHOWING A BREAK IN THE O.T. PROPHECY TIMELINE – 4
Okay, we’re working on book number 71. We’re kind of jumping around a little bit today. I didn’t feel comfortable in just staying with Joel all four programs, so I think it’s probably working out the way the Lord wants it. We ended up in our last half-hour on the revelation of the things that have been kept secret. Hopefully everyone remembers what we’re talking about now – that God in His Sovereignty can keep things secret until He is ready to reveal it. And we saw some examples coming up through Scripture.
But now, when we get to the Apostle Paul, who was sent to the Gentiles specifically, whereas the Twelve were Apostles of Israel, we find that his message, his Gospel, is a revelation of everything that had been kept secret from Adam until we get to this Apostle. So we’re going to look, during this last half-hour program, at Paul’s Gospel. We’re going to look at Ephesians chapter 3 verse 2. The reason I emphasize Paul’s Gospel is because of what it says in Romans 2:16 where Paul so plainly and so simply writes that “Every man will be judged by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”
In other words, lost people are going to come up before the Great White Throne and Christ will tell them up front, well, you’re here because you refused to believe Paul’s Gospel. Always remember that we’re dealing with more people on the planet right now than have probably lived almost from day one. So that puts humanity under the requirement then to believe Paul’s Gospel.
All right, let’s turn to Ephesians chapter 3 and start at verse 1. Now, the first two chapters are dealing with Paul’s Gospel, how that the unsaved person is brought into a relationship with Jesus Christ by believing in the death, burial, and resurrection.
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you (What?) Gentiles,” Now that’s not there just to fill space. That’s what he was! He was the Apostle of the Gentiles, whereas Peter and the Eleven were Apostles of Israel. Two totally different programs—as different as daylight from dark.
The Twelve were associated with Temple worship, the Law, the Old Testament promises, and the Nation of Israel. But Israel rejected everything, so now God’s going to do something totally different. In fact, now this is the way I teach, I can’t help it. Keep your hand in Ephesians. Come back with me to Matthew chapter 10. Now, for a lot of you, you’re going to say, “Oh, yeah, we’ve seen this over and over and over.” But for others, they’ve never seen it before at all. Because you won’t find this in Sunday school quarterlies; you won’t find preachers preaching on it. They just can’t handle it. But here it is in black and white. Matthew 10 verse 5, the beginning of His earthly ministry. He has just chosen the twelve apostles, or the disciples. Now verse 5:
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans (who were half-breed Jews) enter ye not; 6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Now, what’s He saying? Have nothing to do with anybody who is not a Jew –go only to the house of Israel.
So it was throughout His three years, with two exceptions. He had nothing to do with Gentiles. And the Twelve had nothing to do with Gentiles, because that was all based on the Old Testament promises. And the Old Testament promises had nothing to do with anybody but Israel. Once Israel comes into that place of privilege, yes, then Israel could evangelize the rest of the world. But Israel rejected everything.
They show their rejection now in Acts chapter 7 – come up with me there – when they stone Stephen. This is the crescendo (this is the word I always use) of their rejection, we’ll not have this Jesus of Nazareth under any circumstances. Now remember, Stephen is appealing to them after the fact. Jesus has been crucified. He’s been raised from the dead. He’s gone back to Glory. But He would yet return and bring in the Kingdom if Israel would just repent of having killed Him and believe who He was. But they will not. All right, here’s their response. Stephen has been appealing to them to believe who Jesus was, all right, verse 57.
“Then they cried out with a loud voice, and they stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58. And cast him out of the city, and stoned him:…” Now you know the old cliché that I’ve used over and over through the years, “If you don’t like the message, kill the messenger.” Well, that’s what Israel had been doing for centuries. If they didn’t like what the prophets wrote and preached, they killed them.
All right, it is the same way here. They didn’t like what Stephen was preaching, so they killed him.
“…and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.” Now what’s that? That’s a new character. Here comes a new player on the stage of biblical history – Saul of Tarsus. First time he’s mentioned.
All right, then of course you go over into chapter 9 and he’s now like a raging bull going up to Damascus to arrest Jews who had embraced Jesus as the Messiah. He’s going to continue his persecution of those people by putting them to death or putting them in prison—whatever. But, oh, God intervened supernaturally. He saved that raging bull. Melted him like hot butter on a July afternoon to where he said what? Lord, what would you have me to do?
All right, now let’s just jump over a few verses in Acts chapter 9 to verse 15. Here is the big fork in the road, Beloved! And Christendom can’t see it. Here Jesus has told the Twelve go to no one but Jews. The Jews have rejected it. Now, here comes the other fork in the road.
“But the Lord said unto Ananias, Go thy way: for he (Saul of Tarsus) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles,…’” Just the opposite of what He told the Twelve. Now, why can’t people see that?
Here the Lord from Heaven tells another Jew that this man, Saul, is going to go to the Gentiles. And what’s going to be his message to the Gentiles? The same thing that Peter and the Eleven had preached? No! A whole new revelation. A whole new ball game, if I can use present day vernacular. Everything is going to be different. Oh, it’s the same God, the same Christ, but a whole different program.
All right, now let’s go back to the verse that we started out with, and I didn’t get to read –Ephesians chapter 3 verse 2. This Apostle, having been commissioned by the Lord Himself back there in Acts chapter 9, can now let us know what has happened. God has opened up the secrets. He has quit holding them. And He just opens them up and pours them on this Apostle, so that he in turn can take it out to the Gentile world. Now, when people rebel at that, and you’ve heard me say it before on the program, do they rebel at the fact that God used Moses the same way? No. They don’t have any problem with that. But that’s what God did. The whole first five books of the Bible are written by Moses. Everything pertaining to the Nation of Israel and the Law and the Tabernacle and the Priesthood came through Moses. Well, they don’t bother with that. But then when you tell them that God’s doing the same thing for the Gentiles with another man, the Apostle Paul, they can’t handle it. But, hey, that’s where’s it’s at. Okay, Ephesians chapter 3:
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2. If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which is given to me to you:” Now, if Moses were writing, what would Moses say? I’m bringing you the dispensation of Law which God gave to me, and I’m coming down the mountain and I’m giving it to you. Only the “you” was Israel. But with Paul the “you” is the whole human race but predominately the Gentile world.
All right, so to this man was given all the directions for this dispensation of Grace. Now, I’m going to again define a dispensation, like I’ve done many, many times on this program. What is a dispensation? It’s a period of time during which God deals with a segment of the human race in a particular way. He gives them particular directions. I like to use the prescription aspect – that if a doctor writes a prescription and you take it to the pharmacist, he fills the prescription. He puts in the bottle what the doctor has ordered for your particular need, but what’s on the outside? Directions. That’s the key part. What good does it do to have a medication if you don’t know how much or how little to take? Without directions, what good does it do to have a bottle of medicine for a chest cold here, where over here you’ve got a bottle of medicine for arthritis?
Now just stop and think a minute. I’m going to keep the medications fluid only for sake of my illustration. Here you’ve got a bottle of medicine that has been given for your arthritic joint pain, or whatever. It’s got its own set of directions. But now you’ve gone in and you’ve gotten a bottle of medicine for a chest cold. It, too, has its own set of directions. Now, who in the world would even think about taking the cap off of both of them and mixing them and then taking a little bit of both of them or a little of one and more of another? Is that the way you would handle a prescription? No. But that’s what they’re doing with the Bible.
Now, the first and simplest dispensation was Adam and Eve in the Garden. God had them under a set of circumstances for a particular period of time. He gave them a set of directions. But it was the simplest of all the dispensations, because their directions only included one thing and what was it? “Of that tree you shall not eat.” Everything else, there was no problem. There was no death. There was no sickness. There was no sin. There was no temptation. There was tempter. Everything is yours to enjoy, but do not eat of that tree. That was their directions. Now, when they did not follow the directions, what happened? They got in trouble. And they fell. The result of their fall was expulsion from the Garden. Now, we come all the way up through biblical history with these various times where God gave a set of directions. And when they failed them, He moved on to a different one.
All right, now we come to our particular dispensation and the set of directions is: believe the Gospel. What Gospel? Paul’s Gospel. And what’s it based on? That finished work of the Cross – faith in the death, burial, and resurrection, and that alone!
All right, time’s running. Ephesians chapter 3 let’s move on. So, this dispensation, this set of directions for us today, was given to no one but the Apostle Paul. That’s why Peter and the other Eleven did not have an understanding of it until finally at the end of Peter’s life as he’s writing his second epistle. What does he tell his Jewish readers? Now with the Temple going to be destroyed in a year or two, God inspires the Apostle Peter to write to his Jewish people, if you want salvation, you go to Paul’s epistles. Why didn’t he tell his Jewish readers to go to John? He doesn’t. He says to go to Paul’s epistles, because that’s where it’s at for this dispensation. All right, read on in verse 3.
“How that by revelation (a revealing) he made known unto me the mystery;…” Or the secret of this Gospel of the Grace of God. Now stop and think a minute. Why is this so different from everything that went before?
Well you see, everything since Moses was resting on the Law, Temple worship, the sacrifices, and the priesthood. That’s all they knew. Then this man comes along and says that all counts for nothing. Forget it. All you do now is believe in the finished work of the cross. You see the difference? It’s all the difference in the world. We’re not under Temple worship. We’re not under a set of rules and regulations. We’re resting on what Christ has done on our behalf. He’s done it all! And we don’t have to do a thing but believe it and rest in it. Okay, so this is what he’s driving at, see, that it all came by revelation.
“Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery (or the secrets) of Christ)” My, there is so much that comes out in Paul’s epistles that was never even hinted at in Scripture before. Why? Because it’s a revelation of things that have been kept secret.
“Which in other ages (Or generations, or dispensations – in other words, all the way back to Adam) was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;”
Now you’ve got to be careful there. We’re not talking about the Twelve, we’re talking about the men who worked and served along with this Apostle. I’m thinking of Barnabas and Silas and Timothy and Titus and so forth. They understood. The Twelve didn’t. All right, now go on in verse 6.
“That the Gentiles (Now you see, that was the hardest pill of all for a Jew to swallow, that God would have anything to do with those pagan Gentiles. But here it is.) should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ (How?) by the gospel:”
Well, now here I guess I’d better stop and define the Gospel of our salvation according to Scripture. Not according to any denomination. Not according to tracts. Not according to me. What’s the Gospel according to Scripture? I Corinthians 15:1-4. As I’ve said before, I say it again, why does most of Christendom totally ignore it?
Just the other day I got something in the mail. I’m not going to define it too closely, but in the opening page was a whole page of how to become a Christian. And I said, Iris, read this. And it was good, with one exception. Not one reference to the resurrection. Not a word. How can they do that? Listen, if it weren’t for the resurrection, that death on the cross would have gone for nothing. It took the power of His resurrection to make that work of the cross worthwhile, to make it operate, to give it energy. All right, here it is.
I Corinthians 15: 1-2a
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel (The one and only that’s in operation today.) which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein you stand; 2. By which also ye are saved,…” Now, can you make it any plainer than that? This is The Gospel that saves people. Nothing else. And here it is, reading on in verse 2.
I Corinthians 15:2-3a
“By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (And it would count for nothing.) 3. For I delivered unto you (not Jesus, not John, not Peter but Paul) first of all that which I also received,…” We saw from Galatians in the last half-hour, where did he receive it? From the ascended Lord. That’s where he got it. Not from any of the others. That’s what he said, that it didn’t come after man, but it came directly from Christ Himself. Now, here’s The Gospel of salvation.
I Corinthians 15:3b-4
“…how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; 4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures:” That’s the Gospel.
But you see, it was an unknown entity until God revealed it to this Apostle. And that’s why I have to keep trumpeting it and trumpeting it and trumpeting it. If you don’t follow Paul and his writings, you’re doomed, because that’s where it’s at. God does not wink at half-truth. God is not some Santa Claus who can be manipulated. He’s Absolute. And we’ve got to be aware of that.
My, I was just talking to a young man here today who agrees with me. He says you can talk to people up and down the streets of even Tulsa, Oklahoma, and ask them how they think they’re going to get to heaven. And the answer is almost universal – I’m doing the best I can. I think God will accept me. No, He won’t, because no person can do enough good works to merit God’s favor. We have to believe what He has done. All right, so there you have the Gospel as plain as it can be made.
Now, if you’ll come back with me once again to Ephesians 3. Then we’re going to move on to a few other places where it’s by this Gospel plus nothing that we have salvation.
“That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7. Whereof I (not we) was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8. Unto me,…” The man isn’t proud. He’s not puffed up. If anything he’s the opposite. He’s the humblest of the humble. Look what he says.
“Unto me, who am lest than the least of all saints, (Paul feels he’s at the bottom of the heap.) is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9. And to make all men see (Not just Israel, not just the Gentiles, but the whole human race now comes under this Gospel of Grace.) to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, (or these things kept secret) which from the beginning of the world have been hid in God, (See that? What does that mean? It was kept secret in the mind of God. God never revealed it until this Apostle.) who created all things by Jesus Christ:”
All right, we’ve only got a couple minutes left. Let’s come back quickly now and see how that this Gospel and this Gospel alone is what saves us to the uttermost. Romans chapter 1 and we’re going to make a quick run through a few Scriptures. So be ready to turn the pages. Romans chapter 1 verse 16.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: (And what’s the Gospel? That He died, was buried, and rose from the dead. That’s the Gospel.) I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it (The Gospel) is the power of God unto salvation (eternal life) to every one that believeth;…” and is baptized? No. It doesn’t say that.
To every one who believes and gives ten percent? No. It doesn’t say that. To every one who believes and joins the church? It doesn’t say that. And on and on we could go. But it’s “to every one that (What?) believeth.” What’s the other word for believe? Faith. Faith plus nothing! Here it is. There’s nothing else added.
“…to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (or the Gentile. All right, come over to Romans chapter 3 verse 23.
“For all have sinned, (Every human being is without God in his life until he’s saved.) and come short of the glory of God; 24. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption (As we saw in previous programs, through the process of buying us back.) that is in Christ Jesus:” Now drop down to verse 26.
“To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him (or that person) who (What?) believeth in Jesus.” Now turn quickly to chapter 5, and then it’s going to be over. Time is gone. Romans chapter 5 verse 1:
“Therefore being justified by faith,…” In what? The Gospel. Believe with all your heart that when Christ died, He died for you. He died for me. He died for the whole human race. He was buried and rose again. Believe that for your salvation.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have (What?) peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” Why? Because now we’re one of His own.