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860: The Big Picture: Pre-Tribulation Rapture (continued …) – 4 – Lesson 2 Part 4 Book 72

 

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 72

THE BIG PICTURE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE (CONTINUED …) – 4

I Cor. 9:17; Eph. 1:10; Eph. 3:2; Col. 1:25

Okay, program number four and again we just want to invite our television audience to study with us.  We trust you take your own Bible and make notes and go back and restudy even after the program is over, because the name of the game is to get a handle on what the Word of God says.  Because it’s not all that hard once you learn to differentiate some of these things that we’re trying to show this afternoon.

All right, we’re still going to continue on in the dispensation of the Grace of God, which, of course, was given to the Apostle Paul and no one else.  The Twelve didn’t have one iota of any of the doctrines that are pertinent for us. So we’ll continue on that line.  We’re going to jump in at Romans chapter 3 only for the sake of showing how Paul covers all the bases for our dispensation of Grace by bringing us out of the mentality of the Law.  And it is so appropriate for today, because, again, most of Christendom thinks that if I do the best I can, if I keep the commandments, surely God will accept me.  That’s not it at all.  It’s as far from the truth as you can get.

If you know anything about the Book of Romans, you know that the first two and a half to three chapters are God building His case against the whole human race.  First He shows how guilty the immoral section of society is.  Then He looks at the moral individual who seemingly lives an upright life but his conscience and his mind and all of his thinking are just as evil as the overt.  And then you come to the third part, which of course dealt primarily with the Nation of Israel who was religious.  With all their religion they thought that they were pleasing God.  But they were just as guilty. So the Apostle comes to God’s conclusion, not his, where in chapter 3 verse 9, he says:

Romans 3:9-10

“What then? are we (Jews, because of their religion) better than they? (Those pagan Gentiles) No, in no wise: for we have before proved (Now watch this.) both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all (What?)under sin. (under the fall of Adam) 10. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” All right, now it’s interesting that here again Paul makes it so explicit.  Where did the sin problem originate?  “By one man” he says in Romans 5.  We won’t find that in any other portion of Scripture.  Now, Ezekiel says, “the heart is desperately wicked and deceitful, who can know it?”  But it doesn’t come right out and explicitly tell us that the whole sin problem originated with Adam.  But Paul does.  And that’s where he becomes the Apostle that reveals so many things that were more or less in limbo even in this Jewish economy.   All right, now I’m going to jump all the way up to verse 19.

Romans 3:19a

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, (I think the word law here is just confined to the Ten Commandments—the moral law.  He’s not talking about the civil and the sacrifices and all that, but the moral law, the Ten Commandments.) Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law:…” Well, only Israel was under the Law.  Only Israel was given the directions for that dispensation.  The Gentile world, as we saw earlier this afternoon, had no way of knowing anything about the things of Israel’s God.  But, the moral law is going to go to the whole human race.  It’s God’s law for the planet earth.   That is in the last half of the verse.

Romans 3:19b

“…that every mouth (not just Jews) may be stopped, (with no argument) and all the world (not just Israel) may become guilty before God.”  Now that’s the exact opposite of what most of Christendom is preaching and teaching, isn’t it?  There isn’t one iota of thought here that associates salvation with keeping the Law.   It’s the opposite.  And what is it?  It condemns.

The Law doesn’t help people get to heaven.  It condemns them and people don’t like that.  I shared it with you last taping.  I had a young man call, and he was upset because of what I’d said about the Law.  And I said, “I didn’t say it, the Book did.”  He said, “I don’t care.  I still don’t like it, because that’s how I’m going to get heaven.”  Sorry, it won’t fly.  The Law was only given to condemn, not to help anybody.  All right, now verse 20 is just frosting on the cake.

Romans 3:20

“Therefore by the deeds (the keeping) of the Law there shall no flesh (Not one human being is going to gain God’s heaven by keeping the Law.) be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge (or the understanding) of sin.”

Oh, people have been sold a bill of goods, haven’t they?    And who’s behind it?  Satan.  And then they tell us that 66% of our political leaders do not believe in a literal, physical, veritable Satan?  I just read that yesterday.  Frightening and yet it’s maddening.  How in the world can people in so called Christian America, (but we aren’t Christian anymore, I guess) maintain there’s no such thing as a satanic power?  I asked my Wisconsin Seminar a question – Why is America in the spiritual dilemma that we’re in?  One word?  What’s our problem?  Unbelief!  They no longer believe a word of this Book.  And we’re going down, down, down, down.  And that’s the number one problem.  They can’t even believe that there is a satanic power evident in the universe, or especially on planet earth.

All right, so here we have that the Law is only given for one purpose and that was to show Israel their sin, but not just Israel, the whole human race is brought about guilty because they’re breaking God’s Law.  All right, verse 21, here was one I think we used in our But God and But Now series.

Romans 3:21

“But now (What does he mean by that?  On this side of the cross.  Not on the front side in Christ’s earthly ministry, but on this side of the cross.) the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;” Of course, that’s all background.

I use this illustration over and over: there’s no use going into higher mathematics if you can’t add two and two and get four.  You have to have the basics before you can understand the deep things.  Well, it’s the same way here.  The Old Testament was all just a background for our understanding now of these New Testament truths.

Romans 3:22a

“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ…”  And like I said in an earlier program today, what Jesus Christ does Paul know?  The crucified, buried, and risen Christ.  Whenever he terms Jesus Christ, that’s what he’s talking about—the crucified, buried, and risen Christ.  All right, so it’s by our faith in that Jesus Christ and the finished work of the cross that saves you.

Romans 3:22

“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that (What?) believe: (But see, most of Christendom complicates it, and they start adding.  But you don’t dare do that.  It’s by faith alone in that finished work of the cross.  And then he says:) for there is  no difference:”  In other words, a Jew has to be saved the same way that we do.

Somebody just told me at break time that one of their friends heard that I said a Jew couldn’t be saved.  Yes, they can.  But now they must come the same way we in the Body of Christ must come.    But it’s not likely they will, because they are so blinded.  I was just reading an article last night in a Jewish magazine where the Rabbi was explicitly warning his Jewish readers to have nothing to do with this Jesus of Nazareth.  Well, what else can you expect?  Here we have it that there is no difference as far as the means of salvation between Jew and Gentile.  But the Jew is going to be hard pressed to come to a faith in this which they, for the most part, have been rejecting.  All right, then verse 23, here’s the verse that begins with every salvation experience.  We have to know that we’re lost before we can be saved.  And here it is.

Romans 3:23

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Nobody can keep the Ten Commandments good enough to get to Heaven.  It’s impossible.  Only Christ Himself was able to do that.  But here’s where the goodness of God comes in.  Here’s the Grace of God.

Romans 3:24a

“Being justified freely by his grace…” Without a cost—you don’t have to raise a million dollars.  I’m repeating it for the third time this afternoon.  You don’t have to swim a raging river.  You don’t have to climb a sheer cliff to find salvation.  It’s right in front of us, and all we have to do is believe it.  Oh, it’s so simple.

And yet, I think the reason most people reject it is they’re afraid they’re going to have to give up things.  It’s going to change their lifestyle where life will be misery.  But that’s not the way it is at all.  And you and I know it.  When people come out of that background and come into the joy of salvation – have you ever heard of a true believer that wanted to go back into his old lifestyle?  I never have.  So what are they worried about?  What are they afraid of?  It’s just as if, oh, I can’t do that, because then I can’t enjoy the things I’m enjoying.  Listen, they don’t know the half of it.  The things they think they enjoy are really a millstone around their neck.

Romans 3:24-25a

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (Not because we’ve worked for it or deserved it, but it comes through the redemption or the process of buying us out of the slave-market of sin, and how did God do it?  Through the shed blood of the cross—the Christ in verse 24) 25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood,…” In other words, the moment we trust that work of the cross, including His shed blood, then Christ becomes everything that was pictured in that tabernacle in the wilderness.

Now, that may be a difficult way to explain it, because a lot of people don’t know what’s involved in the tabernacle.  But we’ll be coming to it in the daily program err long as they’re coming up through Genesis and we hit Exodus. We’ll be teaching the tabernacle.  Every facet of that tabernacle, everything: the materials, the silver, the gold, the brass, the cloth, the linen, they were all pictures of one aspect of Christ’s life or another.

All right, the sacrificial animals – what where they?  A picture of His sacrifice.  Everything pertaining to that little tabernacle out in the wilderness was a composite picture of Jesus Christ in our relationship.  He was everything that we need to gain favor with God.  That’s what propitiation means.  He not only was the sacrifice, He was the place of sacrifice.  He was not only the laver of cleaning, He was the cleansing.  He not only was the table of showbread, He is the table of showbread.  And all the way through that tabernacle, that’s our understanding of what Christ is to us.   All right, now verse 26:

Romans 3:26

“To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: (Not ours. We aren’t what we are because we’ve done so much.  We are what we are because of what He has done on our behalf.  All right, so we declare His righteous.) that he (speaking of God in verse 25.  God will be absolutely–) might be just, (or fair) and be the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus.”  Now, isn’t that plain?  In other words, the moment we believe, what does God declare us?  Justified—no longer are we guilty.  We have been set free.  We have been justified of all things.  Then verse 27:

Romans 3:27-29

“Where is boasting then?  It is excluded.  (We have no room to boast.  We haven’t done anything except believe it.) By what law? (…is it excluded?)  of works?  No: but by the law of faith. 28. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. (All right, now to show that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile in this Age of Grace, look at the next verse.) 29. Is he the God of the Jews only?  is he not also of the Gentiles?  (Well, he answers his own question.) Yes, of the Gentiles also:” It’s the one and the same God.  But now, of course, there is that different economy by which we come into a relationship with God.  It’s not by the Old Testament economy of works and law and temple worship and sacrifices, now it’s by faith and faith alone in that finished work of the cross.

All right, now in the few moments that we have left, let’s go across, still in Romans, to chapter 7.  I’m just hitting some of the highlights now of Paul’s teachings concerning the directions for our living, directions for our belief system during this Dispensation of Grace.  And all these instructions are completely different from what God was instructing the Nation of Israel under the Law.

Romans 7:4

“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also (as a believer now) are become dead to the law (Now people don’t like that.  What’d he mean dead to the Law?  The Law has nothing to do with me anymore.  Christ has satisfied all the demands of that Law.) by the body of Christ; (That work of the cross when He suffered and died.  All right, then what’s supposed to be the result?  When we become a believer–) that ye should be married (brought into a union) to another, (Who?) even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”

In other words, our relationship with Christ as an ordinary, everyday citizen of whatever part of the world we may live.  Our primary purpose is to be an influence on lost people to bring them to a knowledge of salvation.

I think I shared it with you when we first came back from our Aegean Cruise. We were in the footsteps of Paul, and we were at one of the places in Western Turkey.  I think we were probably at the amphitheater of Ephesus. We had a little, young Muslim guide, about 27 or 28 years old.  She spoke perfect English.  She was educated.  I had an opportunity for about five minutes while everybody was looking at the ruins and everything to have a one-on-one conversation with her.  Come to find out, she was raised Muslim, but she wasn’t practicing it.  She was what she called a secular Muslim.  She had no interest in the religion or something like that.

I started showing her the plan of salvation and the hope of Glory, and tears started coming down her cheeks.  She said, “Why are you so interested in me?”  And I said, “Because God loves you. God doesn’t want you to go to an eternal doom.  God wants you in His Heaven.  God wants you there.  I want you there.  That’s the only thing.”  And she couldn’t comprehend that.  Why should you care about me?  And then I told her, “Well, you see, that’s the difference between us and the Muslim religion. We aren’t going to conquer Muslims with the sword and with the guns and the warfare.  We want to conquer them with the love of Christ.  And that’s the difference.”

This is the whole idea that we as believers are to live our life in such a way that we have an influence on the lost world around us.  Now, I’m not one that promotes grabbing people and preaching at them and trying to force it down their throat.  Hey, that’s not the way God wants us to do it.  God wants us to be an influence.  He wants us to be ambassadors as He says in II Corinthians chapter 5.   Okay, now come back to Romans 7 if you will, verse 5.

Romans 7:5a

“For when we (as believers now) were in the flesh,…” We were just like the unsaved world around us.  It doesn’t make any difference.  Maybe we didn’t go out and get drunk and get high and all these other things that a lot of the world does.  But there are a lot of good people out in the world, too.  You’ve got to recognize it.  There are a lot of good people, but they’re still lost.  So, when we were in that state, we may have been living a good life, but we were lost until we recognized that the Law condemned us.  We were just as guilty as if we’d been doing it.

Romans 7:5a

“For when we were in the flesh, (We were still out there as lost sinners.) the motions (or the acts) of sins, which were by the law,…” What does that mean?  Well, don’t steal, don’t commit adultery, don’t kill, don’t covet, and don’t gossip.  Those were all things that the Law condemns every human being.  And we were just as guilty as anybody else.  All right, so when those things were part of our lifestyle.

Romans 7:5b

“…the law, did work in our members (That is our body of flesh, that if we were to go on to the end of our life as lawbreakers, where do we spend eternity?  Lost) to bring forth fruit unto death.”  Spiritual death.  That’s what it says.  Verse 5 again, “These things work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.”  Spiritual death.  Eternal separation from God.  That’s where the lost person is headed, whether he’s good or bad makes no difference.  All right, now verse 6, here’s the other side of the coin.

Romans 7:6

“But now (As believers, because that’s who he’s writing to.) we (as believers) are delivered from the law, (In other words, the Law has no more power over us to convict us of any of it.  We’re delivered from it.) that being dead wherein we were held; (In other words, the Law had its heavy hand of condemnation on us every moment of our life until now.) that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”

Now what’s the comparison?  Now, as a believer, we’re not under the heavy demand of the Law.  We are now under the power of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit shows us what’s wrong.  The Holy Spirit shows us what we should do and shouldn’t do.  And that makes all the difference in the world.  We’re not under “the oldness of the letter,” which is Paul’s term for the moral law.  We just have nothing to do with that whatsoever.

All right, now I’m going to come on over to one of my favorite chapters in the whole Bible—Romans chapter 8.  Let’s start at verse 1, and this is all part of this dispensation of the Grace of God.  You won’t see something like this back in the Old Testament, beloved.  You won’t see something like this under Christ’s earthly ministry.  But here on this side of the cross, yes, this is evident.  Verse 1:

Romans 8:1a

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus,…”  Now don’t forget, how do we get in Christ Jesus?  By the baptism of the Holy Spirit that places us by an invisible, unfeeling act of God to become a member of the Body of Christ.

All right, now as a member of the Body of Christ, I don’t care what any other preacher says, I don’t care how famous he is; once you’re in the Body of Christ, nothing can take you out.  Nothing!   And, oh, they like to scare people – be careful.  Iris and I have always said, “The people that preach that are seemingly the most careless in their Christian life.”  Why, if I had that preached at me, I’d be scared to take a deep breath, wouldn’t you?  For fear I’d be losing something.  But listen, it’s not going to happen.  There it is, the promise – “there is now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus.”

But you’ve got to remember, a lot of professing people are not in Christ.  With this, I think I can turn over to—I didn’t intend to do this. You’re getting this free for nothing.  I’ve got two minutes left.  Go to II Corinthians chapter 5.  I know I’ve used it on the program before, but it’s been a long time ago. Now remember where I came from – Romans 8:1–“There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus.”  Now look at II Corinthians 5:17.

II Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore if any man be (Where?) in Christ, (You see that?  The same in Christ that Romans is talking about.) he is a new creature: (He has been created new.) old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Now, whenever I use this verse I think of an anecdote I used years ago where a pastor of a large church in Chicago was preaching on this verse one Sunday morning. He had a large congregation.  He read the verse, and then he asked his congregation, “How many of you here this morning claim to be a Christian?”  Every last one stood up.  No exceptions.  He said, “Okay, be seated.  Now, I’m going to ask you another question. How many of you this morning know that you are in Christ?”  How many stood up?  Just a sprinkling.  What was the point?  Oh, our churches are full of people who are Christian in name only, but they’re not in Christ.  And see, that’s what makes the difference.  Only those who are in Christ are going to be in eternity with Him!

The rest are going to miss it.  And you see, when these churches are constantly putting out a social gospel, a feel good, entertaining type gospel, they’re not bringing people to that position in Christ.  And they’re going to be held responsible.  I’d hate to be in their shoes.   Listen, if it was so complicated, I’d feel guilty talking about it.  But it isn’t.  It’s so simple!  All you have to do is believe it.