Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 78
Christ as the Rock of Scripture – Part 4
It’s good to see you all back here again in program number 4 this afternoon. Then that will be the first four programs of Book 78. For those of you joining us on television, in case you’ve never caught us before. I know a lot of people that write and say, “Well, I saw just a little flick of you and I thought who could get interested in something like that?” And they go on. But sooner or later they listen long enough to get hooked and they become avid listeners. So, if you’re one of those that just happened to catch it, and you wonder what it is, we’re just a simple Bible study. But the Lord has permitted us to make it interesting enough to build a pretty good-sized audience. So bear with us, because we do think that the Word of God is exciting; and it’s definitely the spiritual food, the manna, that mankind needs.
All right, we’re on a whole new concept this afternoon of the Rock and the Stone of Scripture, which is always a picture of Jesus Christ. In this fourth program, we’re going to look at Christ as the foundation stone. It’s a well-known passage of Scripture that we’ll start with—Matthew chapter 7 and we’re going to look at verses 24 and 25. Then we’ll go from there. This is Jesus speaking during His earthly ministry.
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock: (Here comes the basic part of a foundation.) 25. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” (Or something stable.)
“And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, (Or they reject it in unbelief.) shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand: 27. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”
Now, of course, that is where most of Israel fell short. I trust you all realize by now that even all the way up through Israel’s history as the chosen people, the favored nation, yet the vast majority of them never entered into a saving belief. In fact, I have to do this all the time. I mentioned in the last program that when I was in Charlotte I hit people with it all day long—listen, don’t get discouraged if we feel that we are such a small minority. It has always been this way. The vast majority of the human race does not want to believe what God says.
Go back with me to Isaiah chapter 1. Keep your hand in Matthew, we’ll be coming right back. But Isaiah chapter 1 and verse 9 just says it all. And this wasn’t a unique period of Israel’s history. It was very commonplace. All through Israel’s history that was the lament—why, why can’t you believe? You remember at Kadesh-Barnea when God said to go in and take it; it’s yours. Did they? No. Why? Unbelief. It has always plagued them, but not just Israel. We don’t point the finger at just the Jew. It’s the whole human race. But look what Isaiah said.
“Except (or unless) the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant,…” Now you can put whatever percentage you want on a small remnant, but it can’t be over 5%. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a very small remnant. So out of the millions of Israel, there were just a few percentages that were true believers. If God had not kept those, then Israel would have been like Sodom. They’d have been like unto Gomorrah. God would have had to destroy them. But because of that little remnant, you see, He kept dealing with the Nation of Israel.
All right, now flip back up to Matthew. Since you’re in chapter 7—I didn’t intend to do this either, but here they are—the words that say the same thing in chapter 7. Go back to verses 13 and 14. You know these verses. And it means exactly what it says—verse 13. Jesus is speaking.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to (What?) destruction,…” Not salvation, but just the opposite. That’s where most of even the Jews were going. Oh, they were religious. They wouldn’t miss temple worship for anything. They wouldn’t miss a feast day. But saving faith? No, they didn’t have it.
“…and many there be which go in thereat: (To destruction. Now the next verse is the flip side of the coin.) 14. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, (That is eternal life.) and (How many?) few there be that find it.” And it’s never been any different.
And I always use the point—come back with me to Acts chapter 1 and verse 15. This is almost heartbreaking. After three years of signs and wonders and miracles by the Son of God Himself, He’s now ascended back to Glory after His rejection. And Peter and the Eleven are calling the believers together to wait for Pentecost. How many believing Jews do we have? Why, you’d think they would have had to hire a stadium, wouldn’t you? But did they? How many? One hundred and twenty. Let’s read it.
“And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, (That is these followers of Jesus, not just the Twelve. All of those who had become believers that Jesus was the Christ, remember.) and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)” Horror of horrors, that’s all? Yes, that’s all. Now, he may have had more up in Galilee, but in the area of Jerusalem, that’s all there were. And it’s never been any different.
My goodness, at the time of the flood, and I maintain there were 4 to 5 billion people on earth. Why couldn’t there have been? They lived for a thousand years. They probably all had two or three hundred kids. So don’t think I’m stretching it when I say 4 to 5 billion people in that 1,600 years of time. How many were spared? Eight. That’s all. What happened to the rest? They were lost. And so it’s always been. But we have to still get out and proclaim salvation for the few.
Even the Apostle Paul, when he made his comment that God had called him out to save—“the multitudes?” No. How many? “Some.” How many are some? Not very many. So always be aware of that. Don’t get discouraged because you don’t get the multitudes. I don’t want the multitude. If I filled a football stadium, I’d run scared, because that’s not where it’s at. All we get are the few, the small percentage.
All right, so back to our study of the Rock here in Matthew. Jesus uses the analogy that the man who built his house on a rock foundation was able to withstand the storms of life. And that’s what it really amounts to. But those that are built on the things of the flesh and tough times come, what happens? They fall apart. They go into depression. They can’t handle it. The admonition again is just like it was back in Exodus where we started this afternoon. That when the Rock was smitten, out flowed that water of life for the whole nation and all their livestock, and how it was supplying all their needs to the place where even the enemies wanted to come in and take it over.
All right, so that’s the concept of Scripture. Let’s look at one more while we’re in Matthew. Come over with me to Matthew chapter 21 and drop down to verse 42. Jesus is still speaking. And remember, He never addressed anybody but Jews, with two exceptions—the Roman Centurion and the Canaanite Woman. Otherwise, this is always a conversation between Jesus and the Jews. And the Jews are usually the religious leaders. I think that’s what we have here. He is addressing the Pharisees and Sadducees.
“Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, (Just like we’ve been reading all afternoon.) the same is become the head of the corner: (In other words, their rejection didn’t end God’s program for Israel, not by any stretch.) this is the Lord’s doing, and it’s marvellous in our eyes? 43. Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”
Now, I think that’s a reference that after they have rejected Him, God is going to turn to the Gentiles—not through Israel, but through one Jew. Not through the Nation, but through the Apostle Paul. We’re going to look at that before we leave, hopefully.
“And whosoever shall fall on this stone (speaking of Himself, the Stone of Offence, the Stone of Stumbling) shall be broken: (That is spiritually because of their unbelief.) but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” In other words, there’s the other aspect of the Stone, the judgment. It’ll grind them to powder in judgment because of their unbelief. Now I cap this with a smile when I read verse 45.
“And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived (or understood) that he spoke of (Who?) them.” They knew who He was addressing. Did they do anything about it? No. And, you know, it’s so sad. It’s even the same way today.
Some of the toughest nuts to crack are those that are standing behind the pulpits and are in the seminaries and so forth. But we are getting phone calls. I just shared a couple with some people. My, it’s thrilling. But the sad part is, it’s after they retire. After they’ve retired, then they’ll say, “Les, will God ever forgive me for misleading people for 40 years?” Well, isn’t it great that God is a forgiving God? But see, those are the kind of phone calls I get. They see it when they’ve got time to sit down and contemplate it and study it—and from various denominations.
But here it is, the fact of Scripture. If they do not want to recognize Christ for who He is, then He becomes a Stone of Judgment, or however you want to put it. All right, now let’s move on, all the way up to I Peter chapter 2 and verse 1. I was there for a little bit, I think, in the first program. But now we’re going to come back to I Peter and spend a little time here. Then hopefully have time to get back to Paul’s reference to our foundation, which is not a Rock concept, but it’s just a foundation.
Now before you go any further, come back with me to I Peter chapter 1 verse 1. Because what’s my first rule of thumb? Who’s writing? Peter. Who’s he writing to? Jews. And what are the circumstances? They’re believers. They’re waiting for their Messiah to return. But before He can return, what are they going to have to go through? The Tribulation. So, these little epistles back here are really preparatory letters to the believing Jews if and when the Tribulation comes.
Now, most of Christendom misses that. I read another one the other night. The guy was good. And it was enjoyable reading. But you know, as I got to the end of the book, it dawned on me. He had never once used one verse from Paul’s epistles. Not one. He never mentioned the Body of Christ. He never mentioned the Rapture. He was writing everything as if everybody from John the Baptist until the Second Coming were Christians. And consequently, they’re all going to come under the beheading of the Muslim world. And, you know, I’m kind of slow on the draw myself. Now why didn’t I see this earlier? But you know, you get to the end of the book and then it hits you. They’ve totally missed it. But I Peter, chapter 1 verse 1:
I Peter 1:1-2a
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, (I’m going to put in the word “writing” without violating Scripture, because that’s what he’s doing. He’s…) writing to the strangers throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (And they were.) 2. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God…” So, who’s he writing to? Believing Jews who had been scattered out of Jerusalem because of Saul of Tarsus’ persecution. Now to these believing Jews, then, chapter 2 becomes so appropriate. We can gain from it, but this isn’t doctrine for us. This is for Israel. This is Jewish.
I Peter 2:1-2
“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2. As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” Now that’s appropriate for us, absolutely it is.
I Peter 2:3-5a
“If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, (Now what’s ringing the bell? Jewish. We’ve been seeing it all afternoon. The Stone and the Rock concept are between Israel and God, and here it is again.) disallowed indeed of men, (See, the Stone was rejected of the builders.) but chosen of God, and precious, 5. Ye also, (you Jewish believers) as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy (What?) priesthood,…”
I’m going to take the time. I’ll probably regret it, but go all the way back, keep your hand here. Go all the way back to Exodus chapter 19. You know, I don’t intend to do these things. That’s why I get way off schedule. But Exodus 19 verse 5, Israel is just out of Egypt and has just crossed the Red Sea, and they’re gathered around Mount Sinai. God has called Moses up into the mountain. And up there in the mountaintop, He says to Moses:
“Now therefore, (Now remember, Moses is representing Israel, the Nation.) if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: (See, that’s not church language. This is God and Israel.) for all the earth is mine:” God’s Sovereign. If He wanted to call Israel His, that was His prerogative, and that’s what He did. Now here it comes.
“And ye shall be unto me (at some future time) a (What?) kingdom of priests,…” Now that’s plain language, isn’t it? That’s what Israel was to become. A kingdom of priests. In other words, every Jew was to be a believer and a priest of Jehovah. All right, come back to Peter, and it’s a perfect fit. It doesn’t fit for us, but it does for Peter’s listeners. All right, back to I Peter chapter 2 verse 5 again.
I Peter 2:5-6a
“Ye also, as lively stones, (Because they have now placed their faith in that Stone, the Rock, Christ Jesus.) are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, (not animal sacrifices, but spiritual sacrifices) acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone,…” Now here we go again. Now it’s not the stone which the builders rejected; it’s the Stone as the head part of the corner.
Now if you mull these things over, if you’re going to build a building of any kind—if I’ve got it right, I hope I do—you’re going to start from some designated place. Right? And from that designated place you’re going to draw your dimensions wherever it is. But you have to have a starting place. Now normally when you begin to build a pretty good-sized building, you’re going to start with what? The cornerstone. That’s what’s going to be there as the place you shoot from, from every direction. The cornerstone. And that’s exactly what Christ will be at the beginning of the Kingdom. He is going to be the Headstone. He’s going to be the Cornerstone. He’s going to be that Rock that all Israel can rest on. All right, so he says:
I Peter 2:6b
“…Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, and precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.” But who’s the Cornerstone? Jesus Christ! So even for Israel’s future, they’re going to have to recognize—after the Church Age is ended, the Tribulation comes in—that Christ returns as the Chief Cornerstone in whom they have placed their faith. All right, if they do, “He that believeth on him shall not be confounded,” or I like the word disappointed. They’re not going to suddenly realize they’re lost. They’re going to know they’re saved. And they’ll not be confounded. All right, now verse 7:
I Peter 2:7
“Unto you therefore who believe (Not to every Jew. Again, it has to be the faith element. And it’s always been the few. I’ve been saying that all afternoon, haven’t I? Again, to the few who believe–) he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, (then Christ becomes) the stone which the builders disallowed, (And what did they do with Him then? They stumbled on Him and they were crushed. But nevertheless, even though He was disallowed at His first coming–) the same is made the head of the corner.”
I Peter 2:8a
“And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them who stumble at the word, being (What?) disobedient:…” And disobedient in what area? Faith. They refuse to believe who He is. And that’s the world’s problem today. That’s the whole world’s problem. They refuse to believe the work of the Cross. They refuse to believe that Jesus Christ is the Creator of everything. They make Him anything and everything but. And they’re going to miss it, because they are disobedient. Then He comes back in verse 9, again, to head up what we just saw in Exodus.
I Peter 2:9a
“But (Peter says) ye (speaking of the Jews to whom he was writing) are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people;…” See, that’s not language for us. But it’s so appropriate for the believing Jews of Peter’s day.
All right, now for us in the Body of Christ, I have to come back and spend our closing moments in what Paul calls our foundation. Because after all, I won’t be helping anybody out there that’s lost if we don’t touch on where Paul comes from. I Corinthians chapter 3, whenever I’m in this, I always start with verse 9. Now this is where we are today. This is where every human being has to confront the God of Scripture. Remember, Paul always writes to the believer, and he says:
I Corinthians 3:9
“For we are (himself included, as we are) laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s (Now what’s the word?) building.” We’re not talking about a Rock; now we’re talking about a building.
I Corinthians 3:10
“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the (Not a, but rather the, which makes it singular.) foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.”
Now here’s a perfect parallel with a verse we read earlier in the book of Acts. Where Peter said, “There hath no other foundation been laid than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus.” All right, Paul is saying the same thing with regard to our foundation for the Body of Christ in this Age of Grace.
I Corinthians 3:11
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Now I know a lot of people think that because I use Paul so much that I’m putting Paul as the foundation. Don’t you believe it! Paul is NOT the foundation.
Paul is the architect that is building on that foundation. And he is preparing people to come in from generation after generation and to keep building and calling out a people for His name from amongst the Gentiles; because Israel, for the most part, has been set aside. Now, I wish I had three minutes instead of one. But anyway, here we have the one and only foundation for salvation in this Age of Grace—and that is faith in Christ crucified, buried, and risen from the dead (I Corinthians 15:1-4).
Turn back real quick to Romans chapter 11. I’m going to have to do this real quick. And again, here is the definite promise that God is not through with Israel. That, yes, they fell; but they’re still going to be brought back into God’s program to finish His program for the Ages. Drop in with me at verse 11.
“I say then, Have they stumbled (Over that Rock of Offence, remember?) that they should fall? God forbid: (Don’t even think such a thought.) but rather through their fall salvation is come unto(Whom?) the Gentiles,…”
So what does it all say? By their stumbling they crucified their Christ. But when they crucified the Christ, what did they open up for us Gentiles? The plan of Salvation. So never, never look at the Jew with any kind of disdain. They were instruments in God’s hands to bring about everything that had to happen for our salvation. And when God is through with us, He’s still going to turn to His Chosen People.