Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 76
CONNECTING THE DOTS OF SCRIPTURE – PART 33
Genesis – Revelation (The Mysteries Continued)
Now let’s get started on these next four lessons which will complete book 76. For those of you out in television, we just want to welcome you to an informal Bible study. I guess you’ve heard that often enough. I’m going to address a few things that keep coming over the phone, and that is do not – please – do not apologize, you folks out in television, for not being able to give a large offering. We appreciate your prayers as much as any cash that you could possibly give. So don’t apologize if you’re not in a position to give a lot, and always remember, it’s the widow’s mite that the Lord recognized. So that’s the first thing.
I had to write a few of these things down, because I’ve been forgetting them. Again, we want to thank you for your letters. They continue to be such an encouragement to us. My, when we realize what the Lord is doing. In fact, we’ve got folks visiting us from Indiana. Where are you? And Brenda said last night as we were sharing some of these letters, “This is what we like to hear, as this tells us that our money we give to the ministry is accomplishing things.” You bet it is.
In fact, I had a conversation yesterday with a couple of Jehovah Witnesses. The lady has already come out of that cult and her husband’s on the fence. I had a nice conversation with him, and he’s studying the situation. So we’re reaching a lot of people from various backgrounds that are beginning to see the truth of these “Pauline Mysteries.”
Now the other one is our prison ministry. We haven’t mentioned that as often as I suppose we should. For you fellows that are watching the program in prison. If you would like our transcribed books, we send them out free to any prison inmate that asks for them. We send them out three at a time starting with number 1. So we’ve got a lot of these older fellows in prison who are already up to books 40, 50, and 60. If any of you out there are interested, just drop us a note and we’ll get that in the mail to you.
Another one is the newsletter. We have a quarterly newsletter that we send out free. If you’re not getting it and would like to, just call the girls and give them your name and address and our newsletter will come. And I always emphasize there’s no begging for money in our newsletter. I won’t ask for money on the program. I won’t ask for it in the newsletter. It’ll be strictly some tidbits of Scripture and our itinerary and so forth.
The other question that comes in so often is: Can I copy your material? Absolutely! Anybody can copy anything they want—off the Internet, from the books, or from the tapes. Because again, we’re not in this for the money. We want to get the Word out. So, if some of you out there want to make copies, you go right ahead and copy. All we ask is that you don’t sell it for a profit. That’s the purpose for it being copywrited. We have to be protected on that. But other than that, if it’s for the Lord’s service, then you go ahead and copy all you want.
I think that’s enough of that. Let’s get back into our mysteries as we see them listed on the board. We’ve covered the Mystery of God’s Will, the Mystery of Christ, and the Mystery of the Body of Christ. We’re having a question here in the studio of whether we’ve actually done the Mystery of God in Colossians. I think we did, but if not, we may have to get it later. But for right now, I’m going to jump in at the Mystery of Godliness. That is in I Timothy chapter 3 verse 16.
Now, while you’re looking that up, I’m going to remind you again of our rule of thumb for Bible study. And what is it? Who wrote it? Well, it’s the Apostle Paul. Who was he writing to? His young son in the faith, Timothy. It’s a letter that is preparing Timothy for picking up the mantle, as it were, if Paul leaves before the Lord comes. And I’m of the impression that all of these early men of God connected to Paul and the Body of Christ were of the impression that the out-calling or Rapture of the church, which we think is getting close, would come in their lifetime. Now, not everybody is going to agree with that. But they certainly didn’t think it was going to be 2,000 years. That I know for sure.
So anyway, Paul is writing to Timothy in preparation of his taking over his roll as the Apostle of the Gentiles, or whatever. So what he writes here, I think, makes all difference in the world if you understand those circumstances. But let’s come in at verse 14 of I Timothy chapter 3.
I Timothy 3:14-15a
“These things I write unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: 15. But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God,…” Well, let’s just stop and show you what I’m talking about. Come back to Ephesians a moment, because we have to find these things out from Scripture. Otherwise, it’s just the words of another human being. Come back to Ephesians chapter 1. And again, let’s jump in a few verses ahead of what I want, verse 20.
“Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenlies, 21. Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:” In other words, to establish again who Christ really is. Now verse 22:
“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head (not the King, but the head) over all things to the church, 23. Which is his body,…” Now you see, most of Christendom can’t differentiate that. They think the church is the church is the church. In fact, those of you who were with me last week, you saw that evidence.
But listen, there are all kinds of churches listed in Scripture. And in my experience last week, that’s what I tried to do – the word church comes from the Greek word ecclesia. Always. Well, good heavens, when Stephen writes in Acts chapter 7 about the church in the wilderness, he wasn’t talking about a New Testament church. He was talking about Israel having been called out of Egypt and assembled around Mount Sinai. But it was called an ecclesia by the translators.
Well, you have several of those things. But you always have to differentiate which church Scripture is talking about. And most can’t handle that. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. I can still hear it. But this is what we’re talking about.
“…(the church) Which is his body, (and it’s) the fullness (or the complement) of him that filleth all in all.” I’m going to make the point later today, and I’ll make it again next taping and maybe the next one, and that is that this “Body of Christ Church” is never ever alluded to or hinted at or spoken of anywhere else in your Bible except Paul’s epistles. You cannot find it. It’s not addressed anywhere. These things make all the difference in the world. Now if you’d come back to I Timothy with me a minute to chapter 3 verse 16.
I Timothy 3:16
“And without controversy great is the mystery (There’s that word—great is the secret–) of godliness: (And here it is. This is the secret.) God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, (Beginning with Paul’s apostleship) believed on in the world, (As a result of the preaching of the Gospel.) received up into glory.” Of course, He’s at the Father’s right hand.
But, you see, all of these things were still in an untold mode until it comes out in this Apostle’s epistles. That’s why he’s always referring to these things as mysteries or secrets. And again, you know the verse in Deuteronomy 29:29. I hope most of my television audience already knows it. “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God.” Why? He’s Sovereign. He can do what He wants. And if He doesn’t want the human race to know something, He doesn’t have to tell us. But the verse goes on to say, “the things that are revealed belong to us…”
Well, it’s the same situation that I use in Romans chapter 10, that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing cometh by the Word of God.” And I’m always asking the question. Can you believe something that God hasn’t said? No way! So we have to wait until God says it as a revelation from the ascended Lord of Glory before we can believe it. And that, again, is what people can’t comprehend. And that’s why Paul is constantly referring to all these mysteries. These were all doctrinal truths that were never addressed anywhere else in Scripture. God kept them secret for His own purposes. And that’s why there’s so much confusion. That’s why there is “blenderizing” all the time. So, let’s look back at verse 16 again.
I Timothy 3:16a
“And without controversy (without any room for argument) great is the mystery (this revealed secret now) of godliness:…” Not according to Israel’s law. Not according to being forced to do things in response to their religion. But under this whole system of Grace, it becomes an automatic. And this Lord Jesus who has made all this possible:
I Timothy 3:16b
“…God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, (Of course He was) preached unto the Gentiles,…” Now, let me just make a point here again. Come back to Ephesians again to chapter 3 verse 1. Just for an example, so that you know where we’re coming from.
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ (Now again, you’ve got to ask yourself, well, where is he writing? Well, in prison in Rome. And he’s writing to Gentiles. This is why he can say by the inspiration of the Spirit–) I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.” See how specific this is. Now come back again to I Timothy chapter 3
I Timothy 3:16c
“…received up into glory.” Well, what’s that a reference to? His ascension. But before He ascended, He was seen of not only the Twelve, but of 500 others. And then Paul says, last of all He was seen of me also. Then, of course, He went on up into Glory to take that position at the right hand of the Father.
All right, now I think there’s another Scripture that we can refer to in this same light. That would be in Titus chapter 2, and drop down to verse 11. Here it’s still from the pen of the Apostle Paul writing, again, to one of his other associates who I think he refers to in one of his passages as “fellow apostles and prophets.”
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath (past tense) appeared unto all men. (In other words, it wasn’t just confined to the few. And here it is in the next verse. This is what the Grace of God coming through the Word of God is now doing for you and me as Gentiles. It’s–) 12. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, (or desires) we should live soberly, (in other words not frivolous) righteously, (In other words, we are always attaining to do that which is right before God as well as before men.) and godly,…”
Now that’s a small “g.” That means the very opposite of living according to the god of this world. We live according to the dictates and the teachings of the Word of God.
“…in this present world;” See, as we live from day to day—Monday through Saturday—not just on Sunday morning. For most people, that’s the only hour they practice their faith. But it’s a seven day a week responsibility. And then at the same time, while we’re living and walking the Christian life, what are we also to be doing?
“Looking for that blessed hope, (As we’re going to see later this afternoon, which so many in the world today are scornfully ridiculing. But for you and I who believe, it’s the blessed hope. Don’t you ever forget it.) and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” That’s the Rapture and not the Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation. This is the appearing for the Body of Christ before the Tribulation starts. Paul is constantly associated with. “The glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.”
Now all of that, I think, is what Paul made reference to when he wrote in I Timothy about the Mystery of Godliness. It is the fact that believers can live a godly lifestyle. It’s not impossible. Now for Israel under the Law, it was just about an impossibility. But now again, let me just use Scripture as an example of how believers are to walk in this Age of Grace. I think it fits perfectly with what he just said in Titus. Go back with me to Galatians chapter 5. I use this several times a week in my phone calls or letters to the listening audience. Galatians chapter 5, let’s start at verse 16.
“This I say then, (Now remember, Paul is writing to Gentile believers, not the Nation of Israel. He’s writing to us Gentile believers.) Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill (or give in to) the lust (or the desires) of the flesh.” See that?
“For the flesh (the Old Adam, the old nature, the lost world around us) lusteth (or warreth) against the Spirit (life), and the Spirit against the flesh:…” That is in the life of a believer. We have these two entities within us, the Old Adam and the new Spirit life; and they’re in a constant warfare.
“…and these are contrary the one to the other: (absolutely, as opposite as daylight from dark) so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
Now, you’ve heard me use this before. That’s sort of like floating in a canoe on a swift flowing river. If you’re going to just float, which way do you go? Well, back. In order to make headway, you’re going to have to constantly put effort into the paddle to take that canoe upstream. That’s the Christian life. You can’t just sit back in your easy chair and say, well, I’m living the Christian life. No, you’re not! You’re being lazy. You’re inept, and you’re accomplishing nothing. We have to be out there going against the stream. Now verse 18:
“But if ye be led of the Spirit, then ye are not under the law.” This is the mystery of godliness. You’ve got to remember, Israel didn’t have this, did they? Israel didn’t have the indwelling Holy Spirit to help them keep the Law. All they had was that heavy “thou shalt. Thou shalt not.” But see, we don’t have any of that. That’s been set aside, and in it’s place we have the indwelling Holy Spirit. So here it is. If you’re a believer and the indwelling Holy Spirit is now leading you, you don’t need the Law. You don’t have to have the Law to tell you what’s right and what’s wrong.
Now then, in order to define it clearly so that there’s no doubt as to what you and I as believers should be avoiding, here they are. The works of the flesh. And it’s not pretty. You’ve heard me do this before. As we go through these things, ask yourself: would I like to live in a community that is based on this lifestyle? Is this where I would like to live? Well, let’s look at it.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery,…” What brings in more pain and more heartache and more upheaval in the home than adultery? It never brings joy and happiness. We see it in the world all the time. Would you like to live in the midst of that? No way.
“…fornication,…” Well, that’s just the next step down from adultery. In fact, I had a lady write just the other day. She was shocked at Webster’s definition of fornication. She thought that that was just vile, vile, vile sexual acts. No, fornication, according to Webster is sexual relationships between any two people who are not husband and wife. That covers the whole gambit. Look at the world today. They’re wallowing in it.
“…uncleanness, lasciviousness, (Now, that’s just another fancy word for constantly living in the gutter level.) 20. Idolatry,…” Now you go back into Israel’s history. Idolatry was actually compared to what? Adultery. Why? Because idolatry is spiritual adultery. I’ve got you thinking. I can tell by looking at you. How do I come to that conclusion?
Well you see, Israel had the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, right? Under the Law with all of its stipulations. Now then, when an Israelite would go and bow down to an idol, he was now entering into a spiritual relationship with somebody other than who he belonged to. And when you do that, what have you got? Adultery. So spiritual adultery is just as much an anathema to God as physical adultery. Always remember that. Idolatry is spiritual adultery. Boy, I taught you something today, didn’t I?
“…witchcraft,…” Now, we like to think in America we’re not plagued with that. Are you kidding? It’s popping up all over the country. On the east coast they tell me it’s just unbelievable the amount of young people that are getting involved in witchcraft.
In fact, Iris and I had a first-hand experience. We were taken into a women’s prison. Before we got there, one of the ladies that was going to take us in said, “Now remember, Les, we were talking about witchcraft last night out here, and you’re going to bump right into it when we get into this group of ladies.” Well, I know Iris and I both thought she was kind of stretching the envelope. But you know what? We hadn’t been in there five minutes (they had about twenty young ladies) and up came witchcraft. Unbelievable. And so there it is. And it’s one of the things of the flesh.
“…hatred,…” Hatred. What’s the opposite of hatred? Love. Would you like to live in a community where there’s no love ever expressed. That your neighbors hated you and you hated your neighbors. That would be a horrible lifestyle. But that’s the world. Next word:
“…emulations, variance, wrath, strife, (Never, never a calm minute—It’s always a community in uproar.) seditions, (Which is really a rebellion against governmental authority.) heresies,” Can’t believe a thing you hear.
“Envyings, murders, (My, we’re seeing that, aren’t we?) drunkenness, (Which a lot of time leads to murder.) revellings, (Which leads to drunkenness.) and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do these things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” These people are not going to be there. And it may be good church members. They may think they’re okay. But if this is their lifestyle, then there’s no evidence that God has ever entered into their life. None whatsoever.
But now you go into verse 22. I guess we can finish the half hour. This is the other side of the coin. This is the life of the Spirit-indwelt believer. And he may not necessarily be the most spiritual, because that’s a process, you know. We don’t all get spiritual overnight. But for the believer, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, this is the result. The first word is what?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love,…” Love—which is the very benchmark of all of true Christianity. It was the love of God that put Christ on the cross. It was the love of God that caused ol’ Saul of Tarsus to suffer for twenty-some years to get this glorious message of salvation into the Gentile world. Love is the key. You’ve heard that before. The next one is joy.
“…joy,…” My, what a difference between “joy” and “happiness.” Joy is that which Paul had in the dungeon. Miserable. His back probably still healing from beatings. Cold and wet. And yet what could Paul exclaim? “Rejoice.” They could sing hymns in the midst of it all.
Now happiness—that’s a shallow thing. Happiness is something when everything is going your way. The stock market is going up. Your health is good. Your bills are paid. You’re secure in your job. You’ve got a good wife. Got good kids. That all builds what? Happiness! But what does it take to dump it? Any little accident and happiness just goes out the window. But joy? Joy is eternal, beloved!
You know, that’s why I love mountains. I just love mountains, because they are so eternal. Well, that’s joy. That is an eternal result of our faith. Let’s get a couple more.
“…peace,…” Now when Paul speaks of peace, he speaks of two kinds of peace. The peace with God, which we experience the moment we are saved. And then we have the peace of God, which carries us in our daily life. That come what may, we have the peace of God that is carrying us through. All right, got to go a little quickly.
“…longsuffering, (That gives us patience.) gentleness, (Sometimes I get prone to be tempted to lose that gentleness. But I pray constantly, Lord, keep me gentle, keep me kind.) goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance:…” Now there’s a word that too many people confine merely to being temperate with your alcohol intake.
No, temperance is something that carries into every facet of life. How you raise your children – under a heavy hand of the whip, under the loose hand of permissiveness. Neither one are going to work. But when you are temperate, you re what? You’re in a balance. In everything we are to be temperate. We maintain a balance, and we don’t go head over heels one way or the other.
“…against all these things (Paul says) there is no law.” There is nothing that would forbid any of these fruits of the Spirit to be functional in the life of the believer. All it takes is being submissive to the leading and the guiding of our precious Holy Spirit. And we do that, of course, through an attitude of prayer. Lord, give me wisdom, lead me, and direct me, day by day.