Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 76
CONNECTING THE DOTS OF SCRIPTURE – PART 28
Genesis – Revelation (Dispensational View)
Okay, we’re ready for the last program this afternoon, and then we’ll be heading out for home. For those of you joining us on television, again we want to thank you for your prayers more than anything, but also for your letters and your financial help. Naturally, we can’t do this without it.
You know, when we first came up here—I’ve got to tell things like this! This is what makes our program. When we first came up here to talk to these station people—they’re the ones that called. They wanted us to make a program. So we came up and had a breakfast meeting with them and found out it was going to cost us like $2,000 a month for one program a week and the production end. Iris hadn’t said anything about the meeting until we got to the car and she said, “Les, I thought they’d pay us!”
Well you know, I imagine a lot of people think that. Because where do people get all their funds? Well, from what they do. So it was a logical response. We didn’t know anything about TV. You know, as I always tell people, we were the takers of a clod of dirt when it came to television. But anyhow, here we are, and we have to pay for TV time. The television people don’t pay us a dime.
Okay, we’re going to keep on the dispensational view. We’re going to come back to these mysteries that we started in our last lesson. For this next half hour, at least the first part of it, we’re going to start at I Corinthians chapter 4. This is a little different approach. Paul is writing to the believers at Corinth who were not exactly the most spiritual of all the people. And he says:
I Corinthians 4:1
“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers (See, there’s that word again.) of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.” What’s a steward? Well, let’s look at Scripture. Go back to Genesis chapter 15 – Abraham.
Genesis chapter 15, but first let’s stop at chapter 12 and the Abrahamic Covenant. Just for a second so that you’ll know what Abram, as his name was still, what he was up against.
“And I will make of thee a great nation,…” Now, that’s as far as we’ve got to go to make my point. What would Abraham have to have if a nation is going to come from him? Children! How many did he have? None!
All right, so here he’s getting almost befuddled with the idea—how could people come from me and even my own wife Sarai when we don’t have a child? All right, now you come over to chapter 15 in Genesis and still no child. Still the promises keep ringing in his ears.
“After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”
Now verse 2, don’t forget the fact that Abram is 90 and Sarai is 80, and they still won’t have a child until he is 100 and she’s 90. But nevertheless, they’re already past childbearing age.
And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?” What’d he mean? What’s a steward? A manager, an overseer, an administrator.
And we know that Abram had tremendous wealth. He had men servants and women servants. He had cattle and sheep and goats, and he couldn’t run it all himself. So he had this steward, this overseer, this manager, Eliezer of Damascus. All right, now come back to I Corinthians 4 and maybe this verse will mean a little bit more to you.
I Corinthians 4:1
“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards (Or managers, overseers, promoters, all the things that make an operation go. That’s what we are to be. Not of a business, nor of a farm and ranch operation, but of what?) of the mysteries of God.”
So every one of us as believers are stewards of this body of truth. It’s up to us to get it out in front of people every opportunity that we get, in one place or another. You don’t have to use all of them at once. But let people know – hey, this is where it’s at! You won’t find this back in the four Gospels. You won’t find this back in the Old Testament. You won’t find it in the Book of Revelation. You find it only between Romans and Philemon.
That’s why I’m constantly stressing—study Paul’s epistles. Now, you don’t throw the rest of your Bible away. You know I don’t teach that, because I just used it. Man, I love to use Genesis. I love to use the prophets. But I’m not going to take people back there to show them how to be saved. I’m not going to take them back there to show them how to live the Christian life in 2,000—wherever we are. But we are to be stewards of these basic premises that we are calling now the mysteries of Christ and God and so forth. All right, let’s read on here a little bit—verse 2.
I Corinthians 4:2
“Moreover it is required in stewards, (overseers, managers) that a man be found (What?) faithful.” Now I imagine everyone in this room has known of someone who has been a victim of embezzlement or of a floor manager. I’ve known several in my lifetime who just simply got taken to the cleaners by an embezzler. I think of another fellow who had managers of his operation, and they stole him blind until he almost went broke. Well, you see, it’s the same thing in the spiritual.
If we are going to keep all this to ourselves and never pass it on, are we going to enhance the Body of Christ? No. We’ve got to share it. Like I said, you don’t know all seven of these and pass them out at one time, but be ready. Be ready to share these things that most of Christendom knows nothing of. They won’t hear it. Most of Christendom don’t have a clue about these things, because they’ve never been taught it. But this is where we ought to understand that as believers in this Age of Grace, we are stewards. We are household managers of this body of truth that we call the Dispensation of the Grace of God.
All right, I hardly know where to go first, because there is so much to cover, and I don’t want to get it all mixed up. But let me just continue on here in I Corinthians 4. Some of these verses disturb people. Well, I can’t help it, because it’s what the Book says. Come on over with me now in this same chapter, I Corinthians 4, and go to verse 16. Remember, what’s the basic instruction in the beginning of the chapter? Be stewards and ministers of Christ of these mysteries of God.
Now how are we going to be a good steward? Well, we have to be taught. You don’t just automatically come in and run somebody’s business without some training. So, where do we get our training? I Corinthians 4 verse 16, and as I said, most won’t like this.
I Corinthians 4:16
“Wherefore (Paul says by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Not by Paul’s own ideas. But he says–) I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” Most people say it should say Jesus. But it doesn’t. It says, “Be ye followers of me.” Paul. Now don’t worry, I’m coming to the right point. Here’s I Corinthians chapter 11. Now verse 1, and now this will set your mind at ease.
I Corinthians 11:1
“Be ye followers of me, (But don’t leave the rest of the verse out.) even as I also am of Christ.” Do you see that? Now see, this Apostle had direct communions with the Christ in Glory. He had direct fellowship in more than one area. In fact, let me give you an example. I’ve got to back everything up with Scripture. I can’t help it.
Come back with me to the Book of Acts chapter 22. This is even besides his experience on the road to Damascus. This is years later. So I know that the man was in fellowship with the ascended Lord. Now he’s been out amongst the Gentiles and has been establishing these little congregations. Now he’s back in Jerusalem. Because he always had a heart for his fellow Jews, and he would bring back offerings to take care of the poor Jews in Jerusalem. Here’s one of his instances where he has come back to Jerusalem from his Gentile travels.
“And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, (See, this wasn’t the first time.) even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; (in a vision) 18. And saw him (the Lord Jesus Himself) saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they (the Jews) will not receive thy testimony concerning me.”
All right, then he actually argues with the Lord.
“And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: 20. And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept (or I held) the raiment of them that killed him.
“And he, (the Lord Jesus) said unto me, Depart: (Depart what? Jerusalem. Get out, see?) for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.” That’s where Paul’s ministry was. Not in Jerusalem. But on into the Gentile world. So we know that he had constant communion with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
All right, let’s go over a little further to Philippians chapter 3 and verse 17. Now here are three distinct instructions of who we are to follow. And most of Christendom gets all bent of shape, and says, “I’m not going to follow some man. I’m going to follow Jesus.” Well, listen, God gave to this man this place of Apostleship. Christ Himself designated Paul as “The Apostle of the Gentiles.” And as this man follows Christ, we are to follow him. And here’s the third one now in just these few references, and there several more like them.
“Brethren, be ye followers together of me, and mark them who walk so as ye have us for an example.” Now, how did Paul walk? Above reproach.
You cannot find one word of Scripture that anybody ever had anything to malign the Apostle’s Christian walk, if you want to call it that. Never! He was above reproach. And he suffered for it for twenty some years. So when I maintain that as our Apostle this is where we are to spend our time—in his letters—it is because they are God’s letters to us as Gentiles. And it’s through his letters that we not only find Salvation, but the Christian walk.
In fact, let’s just go to Titus chapter 2 for a minute. Now who in the world can argue against these kinds of admonitions? Titus chapter 2 verse 11.
“For the grace of God…” See, Paul is always on that grace thing. We’re saved by grace, we’re kept by grace, and we look forward to whatever eternity is coming by grace. We don’t deserve any of it.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” No one is going to be able to say, “I never had a chance.”
I just told my class the other night here in Oklahoma. Don’t ask me to explain that. I can’t. But there are three Scripture references that maintain that every human being has had an opportunity. Now I’m getting looks of consternation, so I have to stop right there. Come back with me to John’s Gospel, because I don’t like to say things like that and then leave it hanging by a cotton thread. Go back to John’s Gospel chapter 1. I might as well, in order to make it clear as clear can make it, start at verse 6. Here we’re dealing with John the Baptist.
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, (Now the word Light is capitalized, so it’s a reference to Jesus Christ of Nazareth.) that all men through him might believe.” How many? All!
“He was not that Light, (speaking of John) but was sent to bear witness of that Light.” Now verse 9—my, this blows me away. I can’t explain it. I have to just leave it where it sits, and you can do the same thing.
“That was the true Light, (Jesus of Nazareth in His earthly ministry) which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” How many? Every last one!
The Aborigines in the middle of Australia? Yeah. The pagans wherever they may be in the world? Yes. Nobody is going to come before the Throne and say, “But God, I never had a chance.” You know why? Scripture! Now come over with me to Romans and then we’ll go back to Titus. I’m not through in Titus, yet. Romans chapter 1 and we’ll start at verse 18.
“For the wrath of God (Notice it doesn’t say the love of God, but rather the wrath.) is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them;…” In other words, God put them in the spotlight. And there it is. No argument.
“…for God hath showed it unto them. (Shown what? Their unrighteousness. Their wickedness.) 20. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; (In other words, who He is.) so that they (the unsaved multitude) are (What?) without excuse.” Now just let that soak in.
Every human being is somehow or another enlightened enough where they could cash in and have salvation, but they refuse to. So when they come before the Great White Throne, they’re not going to have one word of argument, because they’re going to know they are there without any excuse. Now that’s one of the quirks of Scripture. Like I said, I can’t answer it. So we’ll just wait until we get there. But it’s a fact that Christ died for every human being that’s ever lived.
You know, I get a lot of things in the mail. And I had an interesting one. If the lady is watching me, so be it, because I wrote back the very fact I’m going to say now. A good friend of hers had given her the previous Sunday’s service bulletin in which the pastor had an article that I could agree with. I had no problem. But this lady was all shook up, and she wrote across the bottom. She said, “Les, I don’t think I can agree with it.”
What the pastor was pointing out was how Christ suffered so horrendously for the sins of the world. And she didn’t think she’d agree with it. So this is what I wrote back. By the time this program reaches her, she will already have read my letter. I said, “My dear lady. Now you’re talking like these Jesus Seminar Liberals, who, the last comment I read from one was, ‘how in the world could any Father cause his son to go through what Jesus went through?’” And that’s how they ridicule it. How would anybody with any common sense make their son suffer like that?
So I said you sound like some of these Jesus Seminars Liberals. I said, listen, the whole idea of His suffering was that He was taking the sin debt for the whole human race. Not just a few, but for the whole human race.
I gave her an example that we had experienced in Israel one day that goes back quite a few years, and we were still able to go into the Dome of the Rock. The Muslims don’t like to call it the mosque, it’s a Shrine. But in those days, we could still take off our shoes, and we could go in. Inside the Dome of the Rock there’s this huge rock where supposedly Abraham offered Isaac. And it’s got a retaining fence around it.
But anyhow, the guy had our small group right there at the high point of the rock. He was explaining how that some of the Jews feel that that was the exact place of the ark at which they slaughtered all the animals. And the unique thing was that the animal blood would go right down into a cavern and it would go out into the River Kidron. So our little Jewish guide was expressing the same kind of thought. He said, you know folks, I just cannot believe that God would require people to kill those innocent lambs. And he said many times that lamb would be the household pet.
I stopped him right there. I said, now, wait a minute. Don’t you understand the reason God set up that sacrificial system? And there would be more of an impact if it was the household pet. But it was that Jew’s sin that caused that animal to die. He had to see the horribleness of his own sin.
Well, the same way with the cross. We’ve got to understand that when Christ suffered and died, He did that because of our sin! And sin in the eyes of God is awful! We’ve lost it. All right, so this is what we have to understand. That God wasn’t being unfair to His Son. He wasn’t being morbid. He was doing what had to be done. Someone had to suffer and die for the sins of mankind, and who could do it but God Himself? He had to be God.
All right, that was all free for nothing. Come back to where we were in Titus, and then we’ll close. Titus chapter 2—this is what we mean by following the writings of Paul. It’s so logical. It’s so appropriate. Verse eleven again.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” But for us who believe, now the next verse kicks in. The Grace of God teaches you and me as a believer, as a Child of God, and as a Joint Heir with Christ. We’re taught.
“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, (Now that doesn’t mean that you can’t ever laugh or smile or have a good time.) righteously, and godly, in this present world;”
Now, where did the word Christian come from? Christ-like. That’s right. To the pagan world it was actually a slur term. When it first originated, the pagan’s put it on these believers who they thought were Christ-like. They called them Christians. All right, that’s what they’ve got here. We are to live Christ-like.
Now there you go with the teachings of Jesus, and I have no problem with that. When he said that we are to be salt of the earth, absolutely, we ought to be. Are we to be the light? Sure, we’re to be light. And so many other things that He taught are certainly appropriate.
But, by-and-large, we come back to how did the Apostle Paul put it? We deny ungodliness. We deny worldly lusts and desires. And instead we live soberly, we live righteously, we live godly in this present world. Even in our daily life, this is how we are to live. And at the same moment, while we are living the Christian life—that doesn’t mean that you can’t pursue happiness. It doesn’t mean that you can’t pursue enough to leave for your kids. In fact, Scripture admonishes us to. Parents are there for children and not children for parents.
So, there is not anything wrong with working and, as we say in America, trying to get ahead. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as it doesn’t become first place on your agenda. But while we’re working, while we’re doing whatever we’re doing, what should we be doing?
“Looking for that blessed hope, (And what’s the blessed hope for us as believers?) and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ:” And then see the next verse.
“Who gave Himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar (or a set apart) people, zealous of good works.” Of course we’re going to do all we can to help our fellow man. Nothing’s better than to help someone who is destitute, and that’s all part of our being stewards of the mystery.