Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 31
II CORINTHIANS 8:7 – 11:22
Now let’s pick right up where we left off in the last lesson, and we’ll go into verse 13. Remember the whole theme here is that the apostle Paul is still defending his authority as an apostle. And I would remind you that’s it’s just as appropriate today as it was in that time. There are many many people who refuse to give this man any room in their thinking. I try to show people that if you take Romans through Hebrews out of their New Testament, then you’ve gutted it completely. The scary part is the Gospel of our salvation for this age of Grace was only revealed to this apostle, and is only found in his Epistles, and yet they refuse to look at this area of the Scriptures as much as they should. Oh, they’ll make reference to Paul’s writings, but yet to teach what the apostle Paul writes, I’m afraid that too many of them fall far too short.
I hope I’m never found guilty of not teaching his writings enough, and that’s why we’re taking our time as we move through these epistles. Remember Paul only writes to the Church Age believer directly. You won’t find the Gospel of salvation, that the ascended Lord gave to Paul, for us anywhere else in Scripture All the rest of Scripture is written primarily to the Jews, the Nation of Israel. Now we take prophecy from those writings, and we can make application from those writings, but just always remember that was written to Jews under the Law, and does not directly apply to us. Paul tells us to rightly divide the Word and he’s not talking about dividing the Old Testament from the New Testament.
II Timothy 2:15
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” So we have to learn how to discern these things. Now beginning with verse 13.
II Corinthians 10:13-14
“But we will not boast of things without (or beyond) our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, (do you see how slyly it insinuates here that everything he has, and everything that he does, and writes is not originating with him, it originates with God, and Christ Himself in glory) a measure to reach even unto you. (Now verse 14.) 14. For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: (but he did reach unto them, and he had response. Why?) for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ:”
Now I know that most of Christendom today, without even realizing, is preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom rather than the Gospel of Christ. It’s that vast difference that is leading so many glibly down a wrong road I’m afraid. We’re seeing, and hearing over and over that people are not hearing the Gospel of Grace, the Gospel of Christ, the Gospel of God, what Paul calls my Gospel as we find in I Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 10:9,10 and many others in Paul’s teaching, all of which tell us for salvation we must believe in our hearts that Jesus died for our sins, He was buried, and rose again! But instead most people are hearing the Gospel of the Kingdom which Jesus and the Twelve proclaimed to the Nation of Israel under the Law. Now verse 15:
II Corinthians 10:15a
“Not boasting of things without (or beyond) our measure, that is, of other men’s labours;…”
Paul is referring to the Twelve. He’s not an extension of what the Twelve have accomplished, or building on what they have done. But we find, rather, Paul out there in virgin territory. Remember the Twelve’s ministry was confined to the Nation of Israel, within the borders of Israel. Very seldom did they ever go beyond the Jordan River. But here this man is out in pagan Gentile territory all by himself, and the Twelve have had nothing to do with what he has been accomplishing. So Paul says again in verse 15:
II Corinthians 10:15,16
“Not boasting of things without (or beyond) our measure, that is, of other men’s labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged (blessed) by you according to our rule abundantly, (and for what purpose?) 16. To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, (Rome, and Spain, and Great Britain) and not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to our hand.”
Now do you see how clear that is? Now had the Twelve, under the Lord’s ministry, covered the whole area of the Mediterranean and they had been to Corinth or Athens or Ephesus or even Asia Minor, if they could have ministered in those territories, then the apostle Paul could have come along and built on what they had begun, then Paul couldn’t have said this. But the Twelve didn’t. They had no ministry outside of the Nation of Israel. So every place that Paul goes is virgin territory as these people had never heard that Christ had died for their sins, and had been raised from the dead. Do you see that? Now verse 17.
II Corinthians 10:17
“But he that glorieth, (Paul’s not taking credit for all he’s accomplished) let him glory in the Lord.”
It’s God who is using the man. God has an instrument that was willing of course, but without the power of the Holy Spirit and God, even the apostle Paul would have accomplished nothing. You know one of my favorite verses, and we’ve looked at many times on this program, and now let’s look at it again in the Book of Acts. This verse just shows it all, and for every one of you that are Sunday School teachers or teaching classes in your home this is basic to everyone of us and it was to the apostle Paul.
“And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, (see she was a religious Jewess, but lost) heard us: (Luke is writing) whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things that were spoken of (by) Paul.”
Now do you see how clear that is? Who opened Lydia’s heart? God did. But what instrument did God use to attend to her salvation needs? Paul. And it’s the same today. No minister, no teacher can accomplish anything unless the Lord opens the heart. See, that’s why we so appreciate prayer, not only on our behalf, but on everyone who will pass these things on. Oh, it just thrills my heart when I realize how many people, even if they don’t use our tapes and books, just take what they’ve learned and share. And for sure you don’t have to give me credit for your learning. Just share with people just like the Lord has revealed it to you, that’s what’s important. Remember we are instruments that God can use when He opens a heart that somebody can give them the Word. Very, very seldom, and I won’t say it can’t happen, but very seldom can a person find salvation by themselves without anyone giving them any outside input. I’ve run across two now, and I’ll share one of them with you now.
This one was a young man who got caught up in the Canadian wilderness for a whole winter, and all he had to spend his time on was an old Bible he found in that trapper’s cabin. So all he could do for that whole winter was read that Bible. But by spring he had come to a knowledge of salvation. Now I say that’s rare because you see in the Book of Romans it says:
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”
So how can they believe unless someone proclaims it? And God has seen fit to use human instruments, and that’s why you teach Sunday School classes, that’s why you teach a home Bible class, people have to have a human instrument to show them what the Word says. Another one comes to mind right now in Acts Chapter 8, and who was it? The Ethiopian eunuch. And what did he tell Philip?
“And he said, `How can I, except some man should guide me?…'” So this is the whole concept of Scripture. Now coming back to II Corinthians and verse 17 again.
II Corinthians 10:17,18
“But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (because the Lord has to open hearts) 18. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.”
Now what is the man refuting? The charges against him that all he was doing was what he had drummed up in his own mind. They thought Paul didn’t have any authority, but he said, “Oh, look I’ve got all the authority of the universe because God is the One Who sent me to you.” When we get to the Book of Galatians Paul is going to make it so abundantly clear that every thing that he understood of the Spirit, the ascended Lord Jesus in Heaven had revealed it to him, but by the working of the Holy Spirit.
Now coming on into Chapter 11 of II Corinthians and I know that there are differences of opinion about the Church, the Body of Christ, being the Body of Christ or whether it’s Israel, but they haven’t changed my mind. I’ve been deluged with information from both camps but I still I hold that the Church is the Bride of Christ. And as I said when we started the study in the Book of Romans, I agree with old William R. Newell the teacher of the 20’s and 30’s in the Chicago area when he made the statement: “That when the Bride of Christ is ready to be presented to the Groom, the apostle Paul will be the introducer.” And I like to think of it that way. I think Paul is just going to stand head and shoulders above everyone else. And William R. Newell took that from the Scriptures when the disciples asked Jesus:
“…which of them should be greatest. (in the Kingdom?)
And do you remember Jesus’ answer?
“…for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.”
Well when the apostle Paul comes along, what does he speak of himself as?
“Unto me, who am less then the least of all saints…”
William R. Newell put that together and I tend to agree with him. On that basis I think the apostle Paul will indeed be the one who will introduce the Bride to her Groom. Now verse 1 of Chapter 11:
II Corinthians 11:1-2a
“Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. 2. For I am jealous over you…”
Now don’t forget who he’s writing to. He’s writing to Gentile believers which include Jews in the age of Grace. But he’s writing to members of the Body of Christ, and says:
II Corinthians 11:2
“For I am jealous over you with godly (small g so it’s appropriate) jealously: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste (or pure) virgin to Christ.”
Now isn’t that a beautiful picture? Now then that is why the Bride is depicted in the Book of Revelation as:
“And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”
You see that’s the whole concept of a virgin bride, and that’s why she’s always been depicted as wearing white, because of, hopefully, her purity. Now looking at verse 2 again. Paul says to the Church-
II Corinthians 11:2
“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I (see that’s where I think that Newell got the idea that Paul will be the introducer) may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
Now this goes back to cultures in days gone by which were contrary to the way we do things today. Back then the parents would literally pair the children. You know that. So when the father would find the appropriate girl for his son’s bride, then the father would make all the arrangements and he more or less consummated the espousal. In other words, what we today would call the engagement. Now Paul is taking that same concept , that he has made the engagement between the Body of Christ, and Christ, the Head of the Body, in lieu of the wedding that will one day transpire, I think, in glory. Now I know that there are some who feel that the Body of Christ is not the Bride, but rather Israel. But I don’t go along with that line of thinking and the reason is as Paul writes to the Corinthians who are members of the Body of Christ, he says in verse 3:
II Corinthians 11:3
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
Now what’s Paul driving at? Well as Adam and Eve were the first couple that God ordained as the first human family, and as God ordained the set-up, He made the man the head of the woman. Now let’s turn to the Book of Ephesians Chapter 5, to chase that down. And here Paul draws the analogy between the husband’s relationship with his wife and Christ’s relationship with the Church. Again, if there was not that groom and bride concept I don’t think the apostle would do this. Let’s begin with verse 23:
“For the husband is the head of the wife, (that doesn’t mean that she is his slave, but he is positionally the head of the wife) even as Christ is the head of the church: (do you see the analogy?) and he is the saviour of the body. (that is, the Body of Christ or the individual, however you want to look at it.) 24. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be (subject) to their own husbands in every thing.“
Now all I’m doing is drawing the analogy between the wife and the husband in the physical, and Christ as the Head of the Body of Christ as, I feel is, the Bride. Now verse 27:
“That he might present it (that is the Body of Christ) to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
Now the concept is going back to that beautifully white clad bride. You’ve know I’ve always made the statement that I have never seen a bride that wasn’t attractive. Have you? Regardless whether she may have been more or less a plain girl otherwise, but when she puts on that wedding gown she is so attractive. So this is exactly the picture that God is drawing. That the Body of Christ as the Bride is white and clean, and without wrinkle, and without blemish. And then Paul comes back to physical analogy in verse 28. Now I have another one that I like to use in this instance, and the connection may not be as clear cut, but on the other hand I have to feel that the Holy Spirit gave Paul this particular picture again for our own doctrinal understanding. And we find that in Romans Chapter 7:4:
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; (that is His crucified physical body) that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”
Now I think when we taught Romans we brought this out. What is the primary purpose of God bringing man and woman together in a marital relationship? Fruit. And what’s the fruit? Children. That not the sole purpose, but the primary purpose. Well it’s the same way here. What is the primary purpose of God uniting Himself to us as members of the Body of Christ, and claiming us as His own. We are to be fruitful and bring forth spiritual children. Now we’re all getting anxious I trust for the Lord’s soon return. We are seeing the world just plunging into the end-time phenomena, and the things that are getting bad are going to only get worse. While you’re in Romans stop with me at Romans 11:25 because here’s the whole concept that as in a physical marriage God expects the fruit of that marriage to be children so also the fruit of the believer should be other believers, and we call that soul winning. And soul winning has to be done scripturally.
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, (secret) lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness (a spiritual blindness) in part (one day this blindness will end) is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”
Now what’s the fulness of the Gentiles? When the Body of Christ is complete. When God has finished drawing that last person into the Body of Christ then we’re out of here. After that happens God will pick up where He left off with the Nation of Israel. Now coming back to II Corinthians Chapter 11 and reading verse 3 again.
II Corinthians 11:3
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve (in that first marital union) through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
If Eve is a symbol of the Church, the Body of Christ, then it stands to reason that it’s the Church that Satan is constantly attacking. Satan knows that it’s in the realm of the Church that he has his greatest opposition. Now we hear over and over, “When good men do nothing, then bad things happen.” And Satan knows that, so if he can neutralize the Body of Christ to where it says nothing then he can have full sway. Now then verse 4.
II Corinthians 11:4
“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, (not the One of the Cross, not the One in resurrection power, but preaches the Jesus of His earthly ministry, with all His signs and miracles) whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”
Now I would go to Galatians Chapter 1, and what does Paul say?
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel; (something other than faith in His death, burial and resurrection for salvation + nothing) Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8. But though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”