Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 35
REPROOF IN RIGHTEOUSNESS
Now we’re going to look at something just a little bit different this lesson. Instead of the timeline of all of Scripture, we’re going to look at a different timeline that covers Paul’s Church Epistles. The reason I like to teach these things is to show how intrinsically, how beautifully, all the Bible fits together. Everything fits from Genesis to Revelation, and everything is so programmed that no human could have ever dreamed it up. Now we’re going to see that there are seven of Paul’s epistles that were written to the Church, and they’re called the Church epistles. Now do you think that the apostle Paul sat there and beat his brains out wondering, “Well how can I divide this up so I can come up with the number `seven?'” And we know `seven’ is God’s perfect number.
Paul didn’t do that, I mean Paul just wrote those letters as it was appropriate and it just fell out that there were seven of them that were written directly for the Church. In the Book of Romans we find that he comes out with seven distinct things that God had accomplished with the Nation of Israel. Now do you think Paul sat there trying to figure all that out? No way! All of this just points out the inspiration of everything, even to the way they were lined up in our New Testament, which is not according to the chronological order that he wrote them.But the Holy Spirit put them in the way they were supposed to be when men of God put the New Testament together.
Now I’ve previously made the point that all the Books of the New Testament are sometimes in various copies of antiquity in different orders. In other words, New Testaments in libraries across the world are not always Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Even the Four Gospels may be mixed up, and the same way with the little epistles of Peter and John, as they’re not always in that order. But every one of Paul’s epistles are always (in every copy of the New Testament that’s available) in the same order that we have them today. Now that tells us that the Holy Spirit was in total control when the men who met (in approximately 350 AD) put the cannon of Scripture together, formulating our New Testament. So always remember that God has particularly brooded over these Pauline epistles because they are the one appropriate for us today. Now let’s turn for a moment to II Timothy 3. Our lesson is going to be in Ephesians chapter 1, and we’ll be looking at Ephesians verse by verse, but before we do that let’s look at II Timothy, where the apostle Paul writes in verse 16 –
II Timothy 3:16
“All scripture (the whole Bible from cover to cover) is given by inspiration of God,…”
Now you know nothing irks me more when (even) good men, and I’m sure they mean well, for example will say Luke was a Gentile. Remember Luke wrote a good portion of our New Testament, the Book of Luke and Acts and I’ve said for years that he was not a Gentile, but rather he was a Jew. And now I’m getting articles from out in television land proving almost beyond a shadow of doubt that Luke was indeed a Jew. I always just based it on a verse in Romans where Paul says –
“What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? 2. Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them (the Jew) were committed the oracles (Word) of God.”
Now how in the world can you make a statement like that and then have something like the Book of Luke and Acts written by a Gentile? Well I’m sorry but it just won’t fit, and so on that basis I’ve always felt that Luke was a Jew. Now granted he had a Roman name, but Paul did also (see Saul was Paul’s Jewish name). Paul was a Roman name and I think much of the same thing happened with Luke. You know they tell us Luke must have been a tremendous diarist. In other words he must have kept a perfect diary every day, especially as he traveled. No. I’m sure a lot of these things were in Luke’s mind, as he remembered things that took place, but he didn’t write the Scripture from what was in his memory. Luke wrote the Scripture as the Holy Spirit inspired him to write it, and it was the same way with the gospel writers.
They may have remembered a lot of the things that took place in Christ’s earthly ministry, but they didn’t write from what they remembered. They wrote from what the Holy Spirit inspired them to write, and always remember that. All writers of Scripture even though they were part and parcel of that point in time and their personality shines through because of it, yet what they wrote was not from notes they had gathered, it wasn’t from hearsay, but as the Holy Spirit moved them to write. Now looking at verse 16 again.
II Timothy 3:16a
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctorine, (good teaching) for reproof, (when things have to be straightened out) for correction,…” (for someone who gets off course)
Now driving up here today I was mulling this word correction over in my mind, and I remembered when we were putting men on the moon. And as those rockets were going though space that they had to constantly correct their trajectory because if they were off just a fraction of a degree with the distance involved they would have missed the moon by who knows how much. So what did they constantly have to do? Correct. Now that’s what the Scripture has to do. It’s so easy to get off course, but the Scripture is here to bring us back on course, and that’s what correction stands for. So the Scriptures are profitable –
II Timothy 3:16b
“…for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
Now it’s kind of unique then that all of Paul’s Church letters especially the seven that we’re going to put on the board, all fall into doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness. I’ve said before that all Scripture from Genesis to Revelation is a progressive revelation. In other word, as we come up through the Old Testament, God is always revealing something that the fellows back there didn’t know. We come into the New Testament, and God begins to reveal things that weren’t in the Old Testament, and especially when we get to the apostle Paul’s writings. Revelations that were never hinted in the Old Testament, revelation that Jesus never spoke of.
But within the letters of Paul and especially the seven Church letters that we’re going to be looking at on the board, again it’s a progressive revelation going from the beginning of his writings to the end, but it’s going to be under this format. First doctrine, then reproof, then correction, and last instruction in righteousness. Now I point that out only to show you how beautifully this Book is put together. Paul didn’t sit down and say, “Now how can I do this, I’ve got to be able to put doctrine first, I’ve got to somehow be able to write in the area of reproof.” No. I don’t think the apostle Paul, when he wrote his letters, even realized that he was writing Scripture. I think that he would have been aghast if he could have seen down through the corridors of history what his writing has become. Paul just wrote as the Holy Spirit inspired him to write, and fired the letter off to these various Churches by courier.
The Book of Romans he sent to Rome from Corinth with Phoebe, a lady. Other letters went with some of his other friends such as Titus and Timothy, but I don’t think he had any idea that this was going to become what we call cannon of Scripture. But whether he knew it or not he put it out with this very format of doctrine, reproof, correction and then instruction in righteousness.
Now I’m going to put again a timeline of sort dealing with Paul’s epistles and we’ll start back here with his letter that was written during early missionary travels. Most people are aware of his missionary travel when he left Antioch and went up into Asia Minor, Derbe, and so forth. And then later on in his second journey he went all the way over to Greece, and so forth. Those journeys began about 40 AD, when he came back from Arabia and his three years of instruction with the Lord and Mount Sinai which began about 37 AD. These letters then became what we now know as Romans, I Corinthians and II Corinthians, and then came the Book of Galatians.
Romans was written about 64 AD, and Galatians was written earlier than that in about 60 AD. Then the Corinthian letters were written somewhere around 61 or 62 AD. Those four letters then were written during his time of missionary travels and so forth. By virtue of the Jews being in every city in the Roman Empire, wherever the apostle Paul went, where did he go first? To the Jew, to the Synagogue. So being a Jew himself and having been steeped in Judaism, having a love for his kinsman according to the flesh as he calls them, he would always go first to the Jew. He would expound to them out of the Old Testament because you want to remember that there is no New Testament. Even the Four Gospels weren’t written until after Paul had written his letters, so he couldn’t even tell people, “If you want to know a little more about Jesus and His earthly ministry, then read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.” So, everywhere he went he had to simply speak the Word verbally, because there was nothing written until he began his letters.
Now over here on the far right of our makeshift timeline we’re going to come to I & II Thessalonians which are going to be at the very end of the seven letters to the churches, and they’re going to be the ones that are “instruction in righteousness.” But the amazing thing is, even though they’re at the end of the line of revelation given Paul, these were written first, probably about 57 or 58 AD. But the Holy Spirit, even though He prompted the apostle Paul to write them early, saw fit to put them at the end in our New Testament order. Now then, I want you to turn to Acts chapter 28. Now again, this is all history as well as Bible study, because if you understand the historical setting, then you can understand where the apostle is coming from and why the Holy Spirit does what He does.
Now remember his missionaries journeys up into Asia Minor beginning about 40 AD around the city of Antioch up in Syria. During those years from 40 AD until he goes to prison probably in about 64 AD, but during this period of time of about 25 years, he is constantly appealing to the Jew on the basis of the Old Testament, but he has now written Romans which is the Book of Doctrine. So even though Galatians was written earlier, yet the Holy Spirit put Romans in our New Testament exactly where it belongs because all Scripture is given and is profitable for first of all “Doctrine.” Then the next 2 Books that we studied I & II Corinthians were for the next part of the format and that was for “Reproof.” You’ll remember when we studied the Corinthian letters, what did they need reproof in? All the problems they were having. They had immorality, they had dissension in the Church, they had divisions, they were having problems with legal matters with one another. They had problems with what they could eat and couldn’t eat. The Church was just beset with all kinds of problems. So Paul had to reproof them with those two letters of I & II Corinthians. But they’re still appropriate for us even today.
Then you come to the Book of Galatians, even though it was written earlier, but is 4th in the order of the Church epistles. Now we have a Book that was written for “correction.” Do you remember what the Galatians needed to correct? Where were they slipping off course to? Legalism. They were slipping off course, and going back into legalism. So the Book of Galatians was written to simply bring them back on course. You’re not under Law, but rather under Grace, the whole six chapters of that little Book were on that theme, and that theme alone. But if you remember when we were in Galatians, what was he constantly referring to? Abraham. And then we used the allegory of Isaac and Ishmael as pictures of Law and Grace, see? Constantly flipping back into the Old Testament, and using the Jews as examples and appealing to the Jews to come out of their blindness, and out of their legalism, and step into the light of God’s Grace. Now that covered this whole period of time while Paul was roaming the Roman Empire, establishing Churches. Now do you still have Acts 28? All of a sudden there’s an interruption in Paul’s ministry, and he’s going to be arrested, and he’s going to be taken to prison in Rome. So let’s look at that. Remember Paul had arrived at Rome after all the shipwrecks and turmoil of getting from Caeserea in Israel.
“And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews (that is the Jewish community in Rome.) together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, (Israel) or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans;”
Now you all remember how the Jews hated the apostle Paul. They treated him just like he treated them earlier. So they were constantly after his life, trying to kill him one way or another. Then you remember the Romans took him under their wings and he had to appeal to Caesar, now he is in Rome waiting for justice to be meted out. Now verse 18 & 19.
“Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. 19. But when the Jews spake against it, (that is his message of salvation) I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; (and that’s why he’s in Rome.) not that I had ought to accuse my nation of. 20. For this cause (because he had no controversy that had caused his arrest) therefore have I called for you, to see you, and speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.”
See the man never lost his love for his kinsmen according to the flesh. Even in spite of the fact that they were constantly trying to put him to death. They were trying to upset his ministry, but Paul never lost his love for them. Now after these Jewish leaders in Rome had come to meet with him where he was under house arrest. We find in verse 25-
“And when they agreed not among themselves, (that is these Jewish leaders at home) they departed, (in other words they left. They couldn’t agree on anything) after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias (Isaiah) the prophet unto our fathers, 26. Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: 27. For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”
In other words, Israel has been constantly covered with a veneer of blindness even way back in Isaiah’s day. And here Paul is saying the same thing. “I’m in the same situation. I have tried to get you see the truth, but you would not.” All right now, verse 28. Now remember where Paul is. He’s in Rome in prison. Now he says-
“Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.”
Now he had told them earlier in his ministry that if they’re not going to believe it, then we’ll go to the Gentiles, so this isn’t the first time, but it’s the final time. He told them earlier, “I’m going to go to the Gentles,” and of course he always did, but he would still come back and appeal to the Nation of Israel. But now it’s final as we saw in verse 28.
“Be know therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” It doesn’t say they will all believe it, but rather they will hear it. And now verse 29.
“And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning (or arguing) among themselves.”
Now you say, “What are you bringing all this out for?” Well, you see this makes again a point of departure of the Jews in Paul’s writing of the Gospel of Grace written to the Church, and I’m going to do it like this. On our timeline we have Romans, I & II Corinthians and Galatians. But now I would like to draw another timeline above the first elementary timeline. And now we reach a plateau that goes above Romans, I & II Corinthians and Galatians and when we get now up to the letter of Ephesians we come to what we call the prison epistles or prison letters. After Acts 28, while in prison, Paul writes Ephesians, Philippians and Colossian, we’re going to have the same format that we had on the first line with Romans, I & II Corinthians, and Galatians. Except now Ephesians is now going to be a higher level of doctrine. Philippians is going to be a higher level of reproof, and Colossians is going to be a higher level of correction. Now you won’t see that until we get to it verse by verse, but now here’s the point I want to make. Once Paul makes this jump up into higher or deeper spiritual truths you will find there is no longer any mention of a Jew or the Old Testament. Now isn’t that amazing? After the statement of Acts 28-
“Be it know therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles and that they will hear it.”
There is not another word out of the Old Testament, and not once is the Jew mentioned again in the inspired letters of Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, and what’s the purpose? Well, as soon as we get into these prison epistles and higher or deeper Church truths, we’re no longer concerned with that demarcation between Jew and Gentiles because now God is dealing with the whole human race on one level. Every person that is saved comes into the Body of Christ on the same level whether he’s Jew or Gentile.
The Jew has lost his identity so far as the Church Age is concerned as such. And this is what we have to be aware of that this is in God’s purposes that now the whole idea is the bringing together of Jew and Gentile into one Body, and there is no difference. Now this is what a lot of even our messianic Jews, I think, are beginning to turn away from, and this is this Pauline teaching that for the Age of Grace there is no difference. A Jew has to be saved today as a sinner, as a fallen son of Adam just exactly like you and I (Gentiles), and too many of them are losing sight of that. They’re trying to jump back up into that place of privilege that they enjoyed before, and listen it’s not there, and they have to understand that. We are now all one in Christ, and in these prison epistles of Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. there is no dividing between Jew and Gentiles. There is no reference to the Old Testament, and it’s all for a purpose.
Now this again leads to my teaching over and over that people have to get out of the Four Gospels and get into Paul’s writings because the Four Gospels are still 90% Jewish. All of that has now been set aside, and is no longer in God’s program. Now that doesn’t mean that you throw it away anymore than you throw away the Old Testament. But it’s just as ridiculous to say, “Well I go by what Jesus says” as it is what we discussed in the first lesson about touching dead things, and bringing a sacrifice to the Temple. It’s the same difference. So we have to put all these things in the perspective of the unfolding and the progressive revelation even of the letters of the apostle Paul. So in our next lesson we’re going to start a verse by verse study of Ephesians and be constantly aware that God is no longer making any reference to the Jew or to the Old Testament, and it’s for His own purposes.