Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 2
Adam and Eve’s Faith and Salvation
Now if you remember where we left off the last time we were together, we had just watched Adam partake of the forbidden fruit, knowing that he was up against a choice that he had to make. If you remember we emphasized the fact that Adam was evidently absent when Eve partook of the forbidden fruit. And when he came on the scene, he knew what she had done, and as the New Testament tells us:
I Timothy 2:14
“And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”
So we see Adam was not deceived. In other words Adam was in a totally different state of mind than Eve. Eve was caught in a moment of weakness, and before she even realized what she had done, she had eaten. But then along comes Adam, and he has to decide whether to eat or not. He knew what she has already done, so his decision was based with regard to her, and without regard to the Creator, and he ate willfully, and disobeyed that revealed will of God!
Also in our last lesson we closed with the fact that when Adam sinned, immediately he died spiritually. Now I’ve put the three circles back on the board as we had a few lessons back, only for illustration purposes. And for those of you who are super critical, I realize that the soul and the spirit are so closely intertwined that we usually think of both of them as the same, but the Scripture does separate the soul and spirit, as well as the body.
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit,…”
So we see man is a makeup of body, soul and spirit. Then we showed that when Adam ate, immediately his spirit died and lost fellowship with his Creator, and his body also began to die. Now Adam didn’t die until he was 930 years old, but the moment he ate, the seeds of death entered and he began to die, but remember he immediately died spiritually.
Then in our last lesson we went to John’s gospel, chapter 3, and we might want to look at it again, because the name of the game for any kind of education is repetition and review. I always have to remember that a couple of years ago, the academic community was all shook up by a mathematic professor here in Oklahoma, and if I remember correctly it was at Rose Junior College in Oklahoma City where he had all of a sudden taken average mathematic students and had raised their testing level sufficiently so that all of education all across the country was taking note of it. They were wondering how in the world he was getting these kids to learn math to the place they were scoring so much better than the national average.But do you know what it amounted to? He was constantly reviewing. Instead of teaching a segment of higher mathematics for a week and go on to something else, all through the semester he would be constantly be going back and reviewing. So by the time the semester ended these kids were ready for a test having freshly reviewed what they had learned nine weeks earlier.
And I think that has helped me in my Bible classes also, as a lot of times I have to apologize for reviewing something, but every time I do, someone will come up to me after class and say, “Well this is the first time I saw that.” So I’m trying not to apologize for reviews, so let’s go back to the Book of John chapter 3. This is all because of what had happened to Adam, and we’ve been emphasizing that for the last several weeks, how that Adam was the Federal head of the human race. It was in Adam that all of us inherited our sin nature! We’re not sinners because we have done something wrong, but rather we’re sinners first and foremost because we’re sons of Adam. Now being sons of Adam, what are we prone to do? Sin! And this is what the Bible teaches so clearly, and this is what we’re going to try and show more clearly on the chalk board using these circles, which again is a format that I’ve had more comment on than anything I’ve ever taught. People tell me over and over, “Let’s go back and study those circles,” so this is the reason I keep at it. Now here in John chapter 3 Jesus is speaking:
“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”
Now that’s the Adamic Nature. That’s the very first thing we saw in Adam way back in Genesis chapter 3. Even though Adam and Eve had sewed fig leaves together, and thought they had their nakedness covered, when they heard the Lord was back in the Garden of Eve with them, and was ready to spend that time of communication with them in the cool of the day, what did Adam and Eve do? They ran and hid! They didn’t want to meet God. And that has never changed. It is human nature to run from God.
Now we’re going to also see in the next few moments, and again for those of you in television, we’ll never get all of this done in the first thirty minutes, so we trust that even though we do shut it off almost instantaneously, we’ll pick it up in our next program. As we said, mankind will always run from God, but God comes right back, as Martin Luther used the expression and when I read it I was almost aghast and thought that wasn’t a very nice way of putting it. But the more I thought about it the more apprapo it became. When Martin Luther referred to God in his Approach to Sinful Men as the Hound of Heaven, but really, that’s exactly the way it is. How does hound operate? He pursues, and pursues until he finally has his quarry. And that’s exactly the way God pursues the person. He just keeps after them and after them.
And as I read that I couldn’t help but think of Psalms 42 and verse 1. Keep your hand here in John. We’re going to wear out Bibles out today, I just know we are. Psalms 42 says it so appropriately. And this is exactly the way it is. In fact after I’d used this illustration in one of my classes, a gentleman came up afterward and he said, “You know Les, that’s exactly the way it was with me. For forty something years I ran from God. I can see it now, looking back. But as soon as I was brought to the Lord, (in fact it took place in our kitchen, round that old kitchen table, I just showed him the Scriptures and he believed) and ever since then, I just can’t get enough of the Word. It’s the last thing I read at night and the first thing I look at in the morning.”
The hound of Heaven has pursued until He finally brings that person into the plan of salvation and believing it and then what happens? As David puts it so appropriately:
“As the hart (sort of like our deer) panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.”
Isn’t that it? Oh, once we’ve come into this relationship we just can’t get enough of God. But until then, what did we do? We ran! That’s human nature. Now flip back to John’s gospel then and continue on in verse 20.
“For every one that doeth evil hateth the light,…”
Men don’t love God naturally. And we’re going to see in Romans in just a second that they are natural enemies of God. Now let’s read on.
“…neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21. But he that doeth (or believes or responds to the truth) cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”
Now let’s turn over to Ephesians. We looked at these verses a week ago, but let’s look at it again as we review as well as an introduction to the lesson this evening. Let’s go to chapter 2 verse 1 and also verse 5. This is Paul writing and remember he always writes to the believer. And then the unbeliever has to be approached by simply the Spirit of God dealing with him. But here Paul is writing to you and me as believers.
“And you hath he quickened (made alive. That’s a past tense experience. He writes to a believer that sometime in the past he was made alive) who were (again, past tense verb) dead in trespasses and sins;”
Now some of you I know were in a class some time ago when I asked the question, how much faith can a dead man have? NONE! How much can a dead man do, spiritually?NOTHING! Now let’s come down to verse 5 and it’s emphasized again.
“Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved:).”
Now getting back to the three circles, and while I go back to the board you can be going back to Matthew chapter 16. Now the plan of salvation is so simple that a child can comprehend it, but on the other hand, as I’ve said before, it is so complex, so deep, that none of us will ever really comprehend all that God accomplishes when He grants us His salvation. Remember Adam, as the head of the federal race, has left the condition of every child born into the human race, beginning with his own first children, Cain and Abel in spiritual darkness. They were in this spiritual situation. They were functioning bodily, physically A-OK. The seeds of death were within them. They are going to die some day but the body is alive and well.
Within the body, they have a soul. They haven’t lost that like they lost the spirit part of them. But, again, for the sake of illustration only, this soul immediately, instantaneously as the spirit died, the soul, or the very personality became a sin nature. Now, again, I should have pointed it out when we were there in Ephesians, where in the next verse in Ephesians chapter 2 verse 2, Paul says that we do these things that are contrary with God. How? Naturally! And maybe we should look at it. Ephesians 2:2 it says it so plainly what I’m trying to bring across. That now as sons of Adam, we are spiritually dead and as a spiritually dead person this is how we operate. This is exactly how lost people around us are living. Someone has made the expression, “The world is full of walking dead people.”
“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, (who is that? It’s Satan! He’s the god of this world. And when we’re without Christ, he is the one who is in control of our life.) the spirit (the spirit of Satan) that now worketh in the children of disobedience.”
Who were these children of disobedience? Every child of Adam that has not experienced salvation. Now let’s go back to Matthew. The thing that is hard to comprehend is that if we as individuals are what the Bible says we are, and we’ll be looking also in Romans chapter 3 and verse 23, where it says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Everyone of us by virtue of being sons of Adam, here’s where we begin. We’re nothing more than a body with a sin nature. An unbeliever has got nothing going within him that would make him want to approach God.
Now when people become religious that is something that is pressed upon them by society, parents, or whatever, our inhabitations are put into place and it’s fortunate that they are or society would never operate. But that is not what is required to get right with God. Now, when I can help people see this, then they can begin to understand a little more of that expression “born again Christian” that President Jimmy Carter used and it was made to seem less than it should have been. What did that do to the term “born again?” Oh, the world just picked it up and used it. The Chrysler Corporation picked it up and spoke of being “born again”. Defunct professional teams who got back on top said they had a “born again” experience. That’s not what the Bible was talking about. So now, rather than using that particular term again, I prefer to use what it should have been used in our scriptures in the first place and that is “born from above.” What did God do? Here we are in a body with nothing but a sin nature and no concept of God. No communication with God. How, if we’re spiritually dead, do we become capable of believing anything? Now I always maintain that the first step of faith, and you remember what faith is? Taking God at His word. The first step of faith is believing that the Bible says we are sinners. That’s the first step. That’s the first thing that people rebel at. They say, “I’m not that bad. I’m pretty good.”
The Bible says we are sinners and remember, not because of what we’ve done, but because we’re sons of Adam. So God must do something and this I know can cause controversy in a hurry. In fact, it’s been debated by theologians ever since the Reformation. And it’s the idea of Calvinism over again Armeninism. Now a lot of people don’t even know what that is, unfortunately. But you see, back in the Reformation, men such as Calvin and I think Luther. A lot of people probably wouldn’t agree with me, but I think Luther was more Calvinistic than most people think. But you see, Calvin came up with this idea that nothing can happen, spiritually, unless God makes the first move.
Then there were those who followed Calvin who took it a step too far, I think. And they became what we call today, extreme Calvinists. And they are the folks who maintain that it doesn’t make any difference if we preach the Word or if we send missionaries, because if a person is going to be saved, God is going to see to it he is saved, so why worry about it? Well, that’s not Scripture. But on the other hand the Armenian view, who was contemporary with Calvin. He came up with the idea that Calvin was all wrong and that everything with regard to man’s salvation, was based on man’s on free will. That if a man decided to become a child of God, he was the one who made the decision. Well that is certainly not according to Scripture. In fact, I normally don’t like to read things but I just happened to run across this last night. It’s a statement by a great theologian of by gone days, Dr. Louis Sperry Chaffer. He’s quoted so many times on varies subjects and if I may, let me just read just one little paragraph:
“Within the whole enterprise of winning the lost, there is no factor more vital
than the work of the Holy Spirit in which He, the Holy Spirit, convinces or re-
proves the cosmos world respecting sin, righteousness, and judgment. The
Holy Spirit does that. The wholly, the completely unscriptural and untenable
notion of a common grace, which asserts that all men at birth are so wrought
upon by the Holy Spirit that they are rendered capable of an unhindered res-
ponse to the Gospel invitation, has the aid of human vanity, so disseminated
it’s misleading errors that little recognition is given to the utter incapacity
of the unsaved natural man to respond to the Gospel.”
Now that’s a rather deep way of putting it, but what he’s really saying is that none of us have anything within us that energizes us to approach God for salvation on our own. It has to be the work of the Holy Spirit. Now, let’s just show you some Scripture verses to back that very thing up. Matthew 16 and verse 13 and here we have the setting of Jesus and the twelve, shortly before He’ll be going up to Jerusalem to be crucified. Coming toward the end of His three years of earthly ministry.
“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14. And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? (and as was typical, Peter was the spokesman and he says,) 16. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
See, that was the question that had to be answered at this particular time. And this is what most Jews could not comprehend. They couldn’t believe that He was the Messiah. I mentioned the little quip last night out of the Jerusalem Post and I thought it was so amusing and I think the class last night thought so as well. This Jewish Rabbi was having a discussion with an evangelical Christian. The evangelical was speaking of Christ returning very soon. And this Jewish Rabbi said, “No, He’s not going to return, but He’s going to come.” Well you see, they don’t recognize that He’s been here the first time. The evangelical said, “No, He’s coming. He’s been here before and He’s going to return.” And the Rabbi responded, “Well, let’s just wait till He gets here and we’ll ask Him if He’s been here before.” And you see, this is the whole idea that they couldn’t believe that Jesus was the Christ. But Peter does. Now let’s read on.
“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”
Now the Holy Spirit has not come down in a functional roll as we know Him now today and so the term “Father” is appropriate. Now, let’s go to John 15 and verse 16
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of
the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”
How did these disciples get to where they were? Jesus chose them. . Now let’s move on to Acts chapter 16. Now we come into Paul’s ministry. And here we’ve got Paul in the land of Greece. He has just recently come over after that Macedonian call. And he’s in Philippi. And on the particular Sabbath day he goes out to a little riverside park where evidently Jewish people were meeting, since they didn’t have a synagogue. Now let’s look at verse 14.
“And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God (she had a concept of God. But she knew nothing of God’s salvation. There are a lot of people like that, even in Scripture. Cornelius was one and the Ethiopian Eunuch was one. And we see them scattered throughout the Scripture where they had a knowledge of God, a concept of God, but they knew not God) heard us; whose heart (who opened) the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.”
It wasn’t Paul’s fancy preaching that got to her. But what? The Lord opened her heart and when she opened her heart, she attend to the things which were spoken of Paul. Who made the first move? God does. Now let’s go to Ephesians again, in chapter 1.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. 4. According as he (God) hath (what’s the word?) chosen us in him (when did he choose us? I know this is mind boggling, but we have to take it by faith, because the Word says it.) before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”
I hate to leave this here, but I told the television audience I’d probably leave them hanging by a string and they are going to have to wait a week. But nevertheless we’re going to pick it up right here the next time we get together.