Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 32
PERVERTED GOSPEL – PART 2
Now in our last lesson we went over the timeline. It is so self-explanatory how everything just unfolded and fell into place. The thing we have to understand is that the Church Age was never revealed until the apostle Paul came on the scene. So consequently, there is nothing of the Church in the Old Testament or the Four Gospels, and we have to realize that, doctrinally, the Church today has to go to the letters of Paul for its faith and practice. And when you do that it just solves a multitude of problems and confusion, because there are many people who think the Bible is contradictory. But when you show the difference between Law and Grace, between Israel and the Church Age, then that settles it all. It’s not contradictory, but rather a different method of operation. Naturally, Law was a whole different program, and it was a works religion, but Grace is all of Grace. We will see this now as we get into Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Remember the Holy Spirit was in total control of all this man accomplished.
Remember, Paul was under constant attack wherever he went about his apostleship. This was done primarily by the Judaisers, when they would say that he was an impostor. The Judaisers claimed he had turned his back and was a turncoat against the traditions of the fathers of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They even went so far as to claim that he didn’t have the authority that Peter had because he didn’t walk with Christ like Peter did. So Paul was under that constant attack for both reasons. Even when we come into the Book of Galatians, the first thing he’s going to declare is his apostleship. He was an apostle, not declared by any group of men, but by God Himself. In fact let’s look at how this bothered Paul, that he was under this constant attack. Let’s look at it for a moment in II Corinthians Chapter 11. And remember this is Holy Spirit inspired. This is just Paul writing from his own spirit, this is the inspired Word of God.
II Corinthians 11:5
“For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.”
Well who was the chiefest apostle? Peter was. And he’s not letting Peter have an advantage on him. Now skip down to verse 22.
II Corinthians 11:22a
“Are they Hebrews?…”
Well, who do you suppose he’s talking about here? I think he’s talking about the Twelve in Jerusalem whom his Gentile people are being told by Judaisers, “This guy Paul wasn’t ever with Peter, this guy never spent three years with Jesus. So how can you listen to him?” Looking at verse 22 again.
II Corinthians 11:22,23
“Are they Hebrews? so am I, Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. 23. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) (he knows he may sound a little braggadocios, but remember he’s inspired by the Holy Spirit to write. He says) I am more; (do you see that? This apostle says he was more than those back there at Jerusalem. More) in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.”
Then he goes on to show how he suffered for the sake of the Gospel, the likes of which Peter, James and John never did. Now coming on into Chapter 12 and, for emphasis, the Holy Spirit has Paul repeat this for the third time in just a few verses. So this is very important to the Spirit of God.
II Corinthians 12:11
“I am become a fool in glorying; (Paul didn’t like to bring up his own credentials, but he had to defend himself because they were trying to put him down as no account.) ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.”
Paul knew he was nothing. He never took any of the credit, but he has to constantly affirm his apostleship, and even in this day and age we have to defend him even as much as when he was writing. I’ve stressed it on this program over and over, how many theologians, pastors, and preachers, and ministers totally ignore this man’s writings? His writings are almost treated like a plague. And yet this is where we get our doctrines of salvation, this is where we have to be if we’re going to know the truth of God during this age of Grace. Now for the Book of Galatians.
Remember Galatia was that central part of what is now the country of Turkey. It was probably in the southern half of Galatia where Paul had his first bad experience on his first missionary journey as he visited these cities of Antioch, Persidia, Listra and Derbe. Remember, Listra is also where he was stoned and left for dead. But here he writes to this group of little Churches that no doubt he had planted. And now they were being bombarded by these Judaisers. They were the Jewish element from Jerusalem. Whether it was the Orthodox who still rejected Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah, or whether it was the Judaisers who had embraced Christ I don’t know. Either way it doesn’t make much difference.
They both were so hung up on the fact that you had to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses or you couldn’t be saved. So these Judaisers were coming into these little congregations that Paul had been able to plant through his sweat, blood, and tears and they’re telling them, “You can’t be saved by Paul’s message alone (which was “By believing in your heart that Jesus died for you, was buried and rose again.”). These Judaisers were saying “You can’t be saved like he says, but rather you must be circumcised, and keep the Law.” They just couldn’t get it out of their craw. Let me show you what I’m talking about. We’re going to see it again in Galatians Chapter 2, but we won’t be able to get there in this series of lessons. Come back with me to Acts Chapter 15.
I don’t think there are too many Church people who know these verses are even in their Bible. These verses say it so clearly that I don’t even have to explain the verses. Remember now this is about 52 AD and some 12 years after Peter went to Cornelius’ house. It’s about 22 years after the Cross. This is 15 years after Paul’s saving experience on the road to Damascus, so time has been rolling on. Now look what the Scriptures says.
“And certain men which came down from Judaea (that’s Jerusalem) taught the brethren, and said, (see they somehow wiggled their way into Paul’s converts who had recently came out of paganism. But these Judaisers said) `Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.'” Do you see how plain that is? Now jump over to verse 5 in this same chapter.
“But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, (now these were people who had believed like the Twelve that Jesus was the Messiah.) saying, `That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.'”
Now these people were trying to pervert Paul’s Gospel. And they didn’t just suggest that they keep the Law of Moses, they commanded them to do it. And when they commanded it they were attaching the keeping of the Law to Paul’s Gospel. Now that’s what your Bible says. I don’t care what translation that you have they can’t foul it up that much. I know some of the translators do a pretty good job of fouling up the Word of God. Now then back to the Book of Galatians.
Here the apostle Paul is probably back at Corinth if I’m not mistaken. Now at this writing it’s about 60 AD, so it’s been about 20 years since he began his ministry to the Gentiles. He is now getting word that his little congregations up there in Galatia are being bombarded to go under the Law of Moses. So this little Book is written to correct this false teaching and bring them back under the pure Grace of God. Now listen, it’s just as appropriate for the world today as it was then. I’m even speaking of the world of Church people. Now verse 1, and I know we looked at a few of these verses in our last taping so we’ll just skim over them.
“Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man, (in other words the Antioch Church didn’t commission him an apostle) but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) 2. And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:”
Now the brethren that were with Paul would probably include Luke, and Silias, and maybe Timothy. Now verse 3:
“Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,”
Now I’ve got to make a point about something up there in verse 2. Because they had given in to false teaching, we find Paul leaves an important part out of his address to the Galatian Church. Now you probably won’t catch it unless I tell you. Look at the verse again.
“And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:”
Let me show you. A good example is found in the Book of Romans Chapter 1:7. Let’s compare Scripture with Scripture. That’s the only way you learn some of these things. And it’s a subtle way of telling us how far these Galatians had already degenerated because of the perverted Gospel.
“To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:…”
Do you see that? Now that’s quite a commendation isn’t it? He is commending the Romans for that kind of a position. Now let’s look at the Corinthians. I’m pretty sure that it’s in there also.
I Corinthians 1:2
“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,…” Now I don’t know whether II Corinthians does it or not. Let’s look and see.
II Corinthians 1:1
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:”
Even the Corinthian Church. Remember when we studied Corinthians, what kind of a church were they? Carnal. Now let’s look at the Book of Ephesians and that will be far enough because I think I’ve made my point.
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:”
Do you see that? All right now come back and look at the Galatian letter again.
“And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:”
Isn’t that something? There is nothing about them being saints of any kind. They now have become just “the churches of Galatia.” You know when I first started seeing this some time ago it reminded me of God’s attitude toward the Nation of Israel back when He was writing to Daniel. Often He would refer to the Nation of Israel as “Thy people.” God didn’t call them “My People.” Why? Because they had degenerated so far from their love of Jehovah that God wasn’t really even claiming them. They were Daniel’s people, they were Moses’ people, but He didn’t say “My People” like He did at the beginning. At the beginning He called them “My People” and He will again when Israel finally responds at His second coming. Let’s look at it in Jeremiah Chapter 31 and verse 33. Some day I’m going to get into trouble trying to do this from memory. This is the point that I want you to see with regard to the new Covenant.
“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, `I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be (what?) my people.'”
Now they’re not tonight. God doesn’t call Israel “my people” tonight because they’re far from Him. Oh, they may be religious, but they’re not God’s people per se, but the day is coming when they will be. Oh, listen God is not through with that nation. Don’t you believe all of this garbage that He has completely forgotten His Covenant promises, and that’s all it is. God is going to yet complete His prophetic program because prophecy cannot stop in mid-place. Now coming back quickly to the Book of Galatians. Now here in verse 4 comes Paul’s major message throughout all his letters.
“Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: 5. To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
Now here we come to the crux of this letter. You know what it means to correct someone? For example, we might have a rocket headed out into outer space, and for some reason or another it gets off track a little bit, what do they have to do? Well, they’ve got to get busy with their computers and bring it back on track or else it’s a disaster. Well, it’s the same way here. The Galatians were off course, and the whole purpose of this little sixth chapter of the Book of Galatians is to correct and bring them back on course to the knowledge of truth, and get them away form the false teachings that were besieging them.
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:”
And yet he goes on to say in the next verse it’s not really another, it’s not really a totally different one, but it’s the same Gospel that he had used in establishing them, but now it was being perverted, and polluted. Let’s go for a moment to the Book of II Corinthians Chapter 2, and this will be a good place to compare Scripture with Scripture again.
II Corinthians 2:17
“For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”
Now you remember when we were studying this I took you back to the Book of Isaiah Chapter 1:22 because it explains it so graphically, and it’s in such simple language. Kids can understand this. And you see the Jews understood all this. This was part of their everyday experience, and this is exactly what Paul was referring to when he said, “He didn’t do this with spiritual commission.”
“Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:”
Now I’m not a buff on wine, but I can imagine that if you have an expensive French wine, and you water it down with water, what do you have? Well you’ve got something that isn’t worth trying to swallow. What was the illusion? That somebody was corrupting them. And that’s exactly what Paul is talking about back here in Galatians. Now come back with me to that Book. So in verse 7, Paul says, “You’re not falling for a totally different Gospel,” but there are some that would corrupt, or pollute (or like mixing water with wine, that’s what these Judaisers are doing with Paul’s Gospel). Why? Because Paul’s Gospel says, “You are saved by Faith + NOTHING! And yet these Judaisers are coming in and saying, “You can’t be saved that way. Yes you can believe what Paul tells you, but you have to also practice circumcision, and you have to keep the Law of Moses. If you fail to do this then you can’t be saved.” Now folks that’s a pollution. That’s a corruption of the truth, and that is why Paul had to write this letter to the Galatians to correct them from this error of believing something that wasn’t correct because it was perverted.