Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 36
EPHESIANS 2:1-10 – PART 2
Now we trust you will just get your Bible and study along with us. I guess one of my favorite expressions is, “now that’s what the Book says.” After all His Word is all we can go by. It doesn’t matter what I think, or what somebody else thinks, or what some denomination thinks, but what does God’s Word say about it. We know a lot of people try to twist some of these things and make an argument out of it, but usually the Word is so plain, and we can just take it for what it says. As we saw in our last lesson, what God is looking for more than anything else is “Faith!” Just believe what He has said with all your heart.
I guess we had better take a minute and explain “believing.” I’ve had 2 or 3 questions come up in the past week where people will ask, “Les what do you mean when you say believe?” I suppose everyone thinks about that sometime. I said, “Well it’s not just a mental accent to an historical fact.” That’s not believing. Just because somebody says, “Oh yeah I believe that Christ was crucified, yeah, I believe that He probably arose from the dead.” Hey that’s not what the Bible calls believing. Believing is when with our whole being, this whole mind, will, and emotion, recognizes that it’s hell bound, it’s hopelessly lost, it’s without God. And then it can say, “Yes I believe with all my being, “That Christ didn’t just die a historical death, but rather He died for me, and He arose from the dead for me,” and that’s why we call salvation personal.
We have to come to the place and understand and believe with all our heart that He died for me. Not in a wholesale number, but for me, and for you. This may be hard for some people to believe that He knows everybody individually, but I compare everything again to the stars in space. Out there God has trillions of them, and God has never lost track of a single star. Not only that but God also knows everyone of them by name, so if He can keep track of all those stars. then He can keep track of a few million believers. So when I maintain that it’s by believing, and believing alone, it’s not just a mental accent to something, it is literally saying, “God I am casting my whole eternity on what you have done for me.” That’s what I mean by believing, and that’s faith, because God has said in His Word what He has done.
Now let’s go back to Ephesians chapter 2 again, and it looks like we’ll be a long time in this chapter, because it’s so loaded. I compare it, like I said in an early lesson, to Romans chapter 8. I would like to start with verse 3. This is the lifestyle of a person who has never entered into salvation. They are under control of the old Adamic sin nature. Satan is the god of this world to them whether they know it or not, and so this is what happens:
“Among whom also we all had our conservation (manner of living) in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
Now let’s go back to Romans, and again let Paul give us a graphic description of the lost person’s frame of mind. Remember at one time that’s where you and I were. Naturally when we believed we were saved out of it. But for the person who has never been saved, he’s still in it and whether they practice it or not is beside the point. God sees they have the potential for it, the old sin nature has the potential for it. Have you ever wondered, how can people do the things they do? We read of the horrible murders, or we hear of the horrible carnage that soldiers will bring upon countries that they’re over running, and we wonder, how can they do that. Well because that’s just exactly what the old sin nature revels in. The only reason there’s not more of it is because society has inhibited it, and kept it under control to a certain degree or we wouldn’t have a society. But you turn society loose without government restraints in what we call anarchy, and this is what you’ll have. Now I hope you’ve found Romans chapter 3, and let’s just start with verse 12. Now this is the manner of living that Paul is referring to in Ephesians chapter 2, out of which everyone of us have come.
“They are all gone out of the way, they are together (Jew and Gentile) become unprofitable: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit, the poison of asps is under their lips: 14. Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15. Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16. Destruction and misery are in their ways:”
Now stop a minute, go all the way to World War II, what is usually the result of war? Destruction, and misery. My, I was reading yet the other day of how Germany, as a result of the allied bombing, was totally demolished. Those beautiful cities just reduced to rubble. But that was only the half of it, and I had never read it before. When the Russians came in from the east they literally raped the German women by the thousands. Now that’s war and destruction, and misery. It’s the very makeup of this very individual we read about in the preceding verses. If you give that person the license to do, he’ll do it. Now reading on with verse 17.
“And the way of peace have they not known:”
A lot of time young people will say, “Why does God sanction war?” God doesn’t bring it on, it’s the work of the curse. It’s the work of mankind in his satanicly inspired sin nature. Now read verse 18..
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
It’s a wonder the world has lasted as long as it has isn’t it? Now let’s go on over to the Book of Galatians chapter 5, and this again describes the life style of the lost person under this sin nature personality given no inhabitation. Now granted, in a society like we’ve enjoyed up until the last few years we have inhibited this kind of behavior just by simply influencing kids, and teaching them how to behave and so forth.
But whenever a kid jumps the traces, and goes against what maybe his good parents have taught him, what does he do? Here it is in this chapter. This is the life style of a person who has shown restraint to the wind. Let’s start with verse 19, and it’s not a pretty picture. Every now and then my pastor will begin his sermon on Sunday morning by saying, “Now folks I’m going to warn you before I ever start, I’ve got a negative sermon this morning, and you’re not going to like it, but hopefully I can turn it around and something positive will come of it.” But there is a lot of negatives in Scripture, and here’s a bunch of them, it’s not pretty, but it’s true.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; (looks like our every day newspaper doesn’t it?) Adultery, fornication, (gross immorality) uncleanness, (moral uncleanness) lasciviousness, (making light of these things) 20. Idolatry, (something to worship other than the Creator God) witchcraft, hatred, variance, (constant arguing) emulations, wrath, (have you ever wondered why the world just constantly erupts in demonstrations of one sort or another? And they get so angry, well here it is) strife, seditions, heresies. 21. Envyings, murder, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Why? Because these are the results of living for the flesh. Now you can’t make it any plainer than that. That’s what the Book says! I didn’t make it up, that’s what God’s Word says. This is the life style of the natural man, and unless he’s inhibited, these things are going to run rampant, and of course we see it everyday. Our newscasts, our newspapers are full of it, because restraint is being taken away, and consequently we’re seeing the results. Now let’s come back to Ephesians chapter 2, and we’re going to turn from the negative to the positive. And again it’s going to hinge on my favorite little three letter word, and what is it? “But.” Now let’s finish the last part of verse 3 so that but really comes out.
“…and were by nature the children of wrath, (headed for eternal doom, and the second death, and separation from God forever) even as others. 4. But (not I, not you, not some denomination, not some church, but who?) God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.” When did He show His love? At the cross. Love put Him on the cross, not the Romans. So let’s see what the last part of that verse says.
“…rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.”
Oh goodness, in the next verse, here comes the repetition I warned you about in the first lesson this afternoon. He’s going to say the same thing he said in verse 1. Well what happened? Well the Holy Spirit didn’t lose His mind. The Holy Spirit is emphasizing. Do you see that?
“Even when we were dead in sins, (God) hath quickened (or made us alive) us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)”
It’s by Grace. We didn’t deserve it, we didn’t work for it, we didn’t do anything for it. Now let me take you back to Exodus chapter 32 and 33 for a moment. I hadn’t intended to use this verse, but it comes to mind, so we’ve got to use it. You know back in chapter 32, the children of Israel worshipped the golden calf, and there was a lot more there than met the eye. There was wickedness there, it was awful. God and Moses were up there at an altitude where they could have looked right down on them and still they did it. Here in chapter 32 Moses and the Lord are now conversing over these horrible things that the Israelites are doing around that golden calf.
“Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: (and in so many words God is saying, “Moses I’ll start over with you.”) and I will make of thee a great nation. 11. And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? 12. Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. 13. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.”
Moses said, “Lord you remember saying all that, don’t you? Now don’t destroy them.” But you see it wasn’t the words of Moses that changed God’s mind. Now go to chapter 33, verses 18 and 19.
“And he (Moses) said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. 19. And he (the Lord) said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee;…
Now here comes the mind of God, and that’s why I brought you back here. This is exactly what Paul is proclaiming in Ephesians, when he said in verse 4, “But God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.” How could God do it? Well here it is, and don’t you forget it.
“…and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will show mercy.”
What is God declaring? His Sovereignty. He is absolute, and if He wants to spare the nation of Israel in spite of all their sins, He can because He’s Sovereign. It wasn’t just because Moses pleaded with Him to spare the nation He could show mercy and spare the nation because of His Sovereignty. Remember there at the cross as those Romans were driving those spikes into Him, what could God have done? He could have zapped the whole lot of them. He could have said, “Enough, I’m going to start over.” But what withheld that kind of action? His mercy. What nailed Him to cross? His love, and His mercy, all because He is Sovereign. If He was not Sovereign He could not do this, but it’s His universe, it’s His world full of people, it’s His cattle on a thousand hills. He can show mercy if He wants to show mercy.
But what’s His other prerogative of being Sovereign? He can pour out His wrath, and one day He’s going to. One day He’s going to say, “I’ve had enough!” And I think we’re getting close to that day. One day He will say, “I’ve poured out My mercy, but now I’m going to end it.” At that time God will pour out His wrath, and it’s coming. The world is getting ready for it. My goodness, one of the big things took place this past Monday that I think very few people realize is just exactly what this Book was telling us was coming, and what was that?The introduction of the new currency in Europe, the Euro. Oh it’s bringing this Book right up into the spotlight.
I told Iris when I read about the Euro, “I told them so.” A couple of years ago I was telling people, to watch western Europe, they are coming to the fore. Their population is already beyond Americas. Their gross nation product is catching up real fast, and one of these days it will surpass ours, and what I’m about to say, I say with all the love for our country, that a person can have. But I can see the day coming when this new European currency is going to make the dollar blush with shame. Why? Because that’s where prophecy has to be fulfilled. It’s going to be out of the western European or the old Roman empire revived. Now coming back to Ephesians chapter 2.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.”
Now there again I don’t think we’re going to comprehend the love of God until we get to glory. We’re human, and everything is so limited for us. But oh when we enter into the realms of glory, then we’re going to have a full understanding of all these things. We’ll be able to understand at that time what love He really had when He poured out His mercy.
“Even when we were dead in sins, (and were living in that sinful lifestyle, God reached in and, what did He do? He) hath quickened us…”
But first what had to happen? Now come back with me to Romans chapter 6. This is really a review of some of the things we’ve taught in months gone by. After we look at that portion of Scripture, then we’ll get back to our three circles on the board. Some people told me at break, “that they had to leave after this lesson, but please finish that third circle. dealing with the invisible make up of mankind.” So I’m going to try to do that. But for now Romans chapter 6, and verse 5.
“For if we have been planted (buried) together in the likeness of his death, (we identified with it) we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:”
Now to put that in plain English, what is it? “If we die with Christ, we’re going to be raised at the trumpet sound with Him in the Rapture.” Now verse 6, and this comes by faith, because the Word declares it.
“Knowing this, that our old man (old Adam sin nature) is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
Now let me get back to the third circle if I may. Now to begin with we have this old sin nature dwelling within the body of flesh with no Spirit, but now when we have taken this old Adam, this old sin nature, and by faith we have let him be crucified by an act of God which is precipitated by our faith. The moment we believe the Gospel that Jesus died for sins, was buried, and rose again, and that all of that was done on my behalf, then God reckons old Adam, that old sin nature as crucified. That old sin nature is striped of his power, and control over the acts of the body, and as soon as he is reckoned as crucified, God moves in and supernaturally gives us a new nature, a Divine nature. This new nature now has eternal life, and it’s not going to go to Hell.
When the believer dies, the moment the soul separates from this body, it goes up to paradise into the presence of the Lord. But until we die we are functioning in this 3d circle. We’re still in the body of flesh with all of it’s passions and desires, but the new nature combats that, and we keep the old nature under control, by virtue of the regenerated Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit now has fellowship with our sprit, and so this new regenerated Spirit, working with the new nature is going to control this old nature. So this third circle completed now represents a saved person walking on the earth today. Now for just a moment let’s go to Galatians chapter 5. A lot of people don’t realize that when we become a believer, we are left here on the earth with two natures. A new Divine nature that wants to please God, but God still leaves the old nature and He expects us to deal with him. And here it is in Scripture in verse 17.
“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these (these two nature) are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (and the reason is, you’re in a mode of spiritual warfare, and we have to keep that uppermost in our thinking.)