Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 36
EPHESIANS 2:10-19 – PART 2
Now as we begin the last lesson in Book 36 let me just say what a joy it is to be able to share the Word of God with each of you. When I was first approached about teaching on television, the first thing that struck my mind was a program on public television that I used to watch many years ago. This Algebra teacher had a program with a classroom setting, with students, tables, and a black board, much the same way we have here. I used to just love that program, and I thought when I was approached about a Bible study, well if it works for Algebra, maybe it will work teaching the Word of God.
So that was the approach I took when I came up here to channel 47 in Tulsa to begin this ministry. They were agreeable with that approach, and it has all just sort of evolved from there. It doesn’t seem possible, but that was 8 years ago when we started in the Book of Genesis. So we just give the Lord the praise and glory that He has blessed us so richly. Now back to Ephesians chapter 2, and we’ve just left off with verse 16. The Lord has made this new Body of Christ the Church comprised of Jew and Gentile.
“And that he might reconcile both unto God,…”
Now I suppose the average Church or Bible people probably wonder, “well what’s the enmity that Paul is talking about when he says “that He might reconcile both unto God?” Well you have to realize that from day one, as soon as God separated the Jew from the Gentile there was enmity between the races. Now let me take you all the way back to the Book of Exodus, chapter 11. And here the nation of Israel is getting ready to move out of Egypt, out of their slavery, and here again this is really the beginning of miracles so far as Israel was concerned. Just look at what it says.
“But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: (anything that belongs to the nation of Israel) that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.”
You see a lot of people don’t understand this difference. Did that difference ever stop? No! It carried all the way through. Now come on up to chapter 19, and now the children of Israel are gathered around Mount Sinai. Moses is up on the mount and is conversing with God, and he’s going to be coming down with Ten Commandments before long. But look at the conversation between God and Moses. Let’s begin with verse 3.
“And Moses went up (that is up into Mount Sinai) unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; 4. Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.”
Now right there anybody who knows anything at all about the Old Testament, what happened to the Egyptians at the Red sea? They were drowned. What happened to Israel? They came through unscathed on the other side. What did God do? He put a difference between them. I mean He separated them but good.
“Now therefore, (because God has already shown how He can put a difference between Israel and the rest of the world) if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye(as a nation) shall be a peculiar treasure (something of tremendous value) unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:”
Now, where does that put Israel? Just like it says. “above all people.” What was that? Separating them. And of course Israel was very human, and when they begin to realize that they were in an exalted position above all the other people of the earth, then they became bigoted. They got to the place that they just despised those uncircumcised Gentiles. Now I’m not saying that God expected them to, but they did it because they were human. You know people still do that today. As soon as someone can get the upper hand over somebody, what do they usually do? They show how despicable they are. So the Jew came to that place where all through their history they are understanding that they were exalted in God’s eyes, and these uncircumcised Gentiles meant nothing to them. So all of this had an effect on their whole outlook toward the non-Jewish world. Now reading on, and remember the whole idea of the Abrahamic Covenant, and being enlarged upon to Moses was what?
“And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation,…”
Now when we were teaching this back years ago when we were in Exodus, I always asked the question, “What even today is the role of a priest?” Well he’s a go between. In the future every Jew was someday to be a go between for Gentiles and Israel’s God. Now that was the whole idea, but Israel lost sight of that, and so Israel almost begin to look within themselves, and had no time for the Gentile world. All right but now come back to verse 6.
“And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation….”
Now the word holy does not mean sinless, does not mean like God is Holy, but rather it means “Set apart.” And that’s what the nation of Israel understood. They were a set apart nation of people, and this is what God told Moses to say to the people. They were to be a set apart people, but on the other hand stop with me in the Book of Isaiah as we go back to Ephesians and I’ll show you what I’m talking about. These are some verses we haven’t looked at in a long time. But in chapter 42 we’ll see this is what the Jews lost sight of.
As you know I get the Jerusalem Post, and I clipped an article a year or so back written by a Rabbi where he was speaking of the coming of their Messiah. The Messiah would be a God King who would not only just bring goodness and prosperity and peace to Israel, but to the whole world. The Rabbi had the right idea, because that is the purpose of Christ’s return. He’s going to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Yes, first and foremost over the nation of Israel, but to the whole world, not just Israel. Now here’s where prophecy alluded to that here in Isaiah.
“Behold my servant, whom I uphold mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: (upon the servant) he (the servant) shall bring forth judgment (or rule, government) to the Gentiles.”
Well who’s the servant? The Messiah, the Christ! But you see Israel lost sight of that. But nevertheless in the divine purposes, God was going to use Israel as a nation of priests to bring all these Gentile nations to a knowledge of Himself, so that He wouldn’t be just the King of Israel, but that He could rule and reign over the whole world. Now the next verses I like to use to go along with this are over in chapter 59 of this same Book. Now this is prophecy. This is all going to be out in the future from Isaiah’s time, and it’s still in the future from our time, but we feel we’re getting awfully close. I just don’t see an awful lot of time left.
“And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, (Jerusalem) and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. 21. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD;…” Then the Lord repeats the new covenant that Jeremiah 31:31 expresses, but now to complete the thought about Israel being a light to the Gentiles let’s drop on down to Isaiah 60:1
“Arise shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. (Now here we’ve got to watch our pronouns. Who is the thy to whom the LORD’s glory is coming? Well the nation of Israel. And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you, Israel, the nation.) 2. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, (a spiritual darkness) and gross darkness the people: (Israel. And did it? Sure it did.) but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” Remember this is all future, but again, we’re getting close.
“And the Gentiles shall come to thy light,…”
And who was Israel’s light? The Messiah, The Christ! Now this of course is still future when Christ sets up His Kingdom. For you and I living in this day of Grace have entered into this simply because of the Gospel, and not because of the covenant promises made to Israel. Now coming back to the Book of Ephesians, verse 16 again.
“And that he might reconcile both (Jew & Gentile) unto God in one body (the Church) by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17. And came and preached peace to you which were far off,…”
Who was far off? Gentiles. Do you see that? It was those people who were out there without a Messiah. They, our forefathers didn’t have the Word of God, they didn’t have a knowledge of the one true God. They knew gods, but they didn’t know the God of Israel. But now as we saw in an earlier verse because of the finished work of the cross, God can do all of this on behalf of the whole Gentile world. Always remember when God sent the Gospel, as we find in I Corinthians 15:1-4, to the Gentiles predominantly through the apostle Paul, where did that put every Gentiles with relationship to God? He had access to God just like Israel did in the past.
Remember from Abraham all the way up to Paul’s conversion, a period of 2000 years, it was only Israel who had access to God with just a few Gentile exceptions. Then Israel dropped the ball, and God turned to the Gentiles through the apostle Paul. And now for the past 2000 years on this side of the cross it’s been Gentiles that have access with God with a few Jewish exceptions.
Do you see how God always evens things out? Do you remember in Romans chapter 11, you have the analogy of the rootness and fatness of the olive tree which was setting on the promises and covenant made with Abraham? But Paul tells us, “because of Israel’s unbelief, God broke off their branches, and put the Gentiles in their place.” When I was teaching that I told you that for 2000 years the nation of Israel was literally living in that place of privileges, on the promises God made to Abraham. I mean every Jew had access to God. But did that make every Jew a believer? Oh heavens no! Now I suppose the Jewish people would argue with me on that point, but nevertheless only a small few were true believers.
All right now come on this side of the cross. The Jew has been broken off of that root & fatness of Abraham, and who’s been grafted in? The Gentile world. Don’t just look at Romans chapter 11 as for believers. I feel it’s the whole Gentile world that has been put in that place of privilege. And my what a privilege. They can have a knowledge of salvation if they want it. But does that make every Gentile a believer? Of course not. It’s still has to be a choice by faith. Do you see that?
One of the beauties is now that the Body of Christ is being formed even though they’re resting on the root and fatness of Abraham, it’s now a combination of Jewish and Gentile believers. Oh the Jew must come the same way as the Gentiles now and that’s faith in the finish work of the cross for salvation. But now, in this age of Grace there is Jew and Gentile coming together into the Body of Christ and there is no enmity.
Iris and I know a Jewish couple who are believers that live in St. Paul, MN. When we have a seminar up there we usually spend that Friday night in their home. My, when we’re with them we have such sweet fellowship. They believe like we do, and we’re one in the Body of Christ. I’ll never forget a conversation I had with her the first time we went up there for a seminar. She came up to me and said, “Now Les, I’m a Jewish believer, does that mean I won’t go in the Rapture when you go because I’m Jewish? I said “Heavens no! I mean if you’re in the Body of Christ then we’ll all go together whether you’re Jew or Gentile.” There is that immediate affinity between Jew and Gentiles when we’re in the Body of Christ, it’s just that simple. Now coming back to the text here in Ephesians, and this is what Paul is hammering home. Once we enter into this salvation experience, we enter in under the blood of Christ. We enter in into that resurrection power, we can be united with all races of people from every country in the world, it doesn’t matter because we’re one in Christ.Now verse 17.
“And came and preached peace to you which were afar off,…”
Who was far off? The Gentiles. Oh they were so far off they couldn’t even comprehend God. But all of a sudden they’re brought to a place where they have access and an opportunity at salvation. Now they have the same opportunity as the Jew had at salvation in the Old Testament economy. So let’s read the verse again.
“And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, (that’s Gentiles) and to them that were nigh.” (the Jews)
You see He doesn’t ignore the Jew during this age of Grace. The only thing the Jew now must come to salvation the same as the Gentile, and that’s by believing Paul’s Gospel. Now verse 18.
“For through him we both have access by one (Holy) Spirit unto the Father.”
Now I’ve got to go back to one of my favorite verses, and you’ll find that in Acts chapter 16. Almost every morning I ask the Lord, “Give me hundreds if not thousands of Lydia’s today.” Now I think it’s possible for him to do that. And here’s what I’m talking about in verse 14. Remember Paul had been up there in Northern Greece in Troas, Samothracia & Neapolis, and he’s establishing little Gentile congregations. Now he has come down to Philippi, and evidently there wasn’t a synagogue there, because he comes up on a few Jewish women meeting at a river side. They evidently are having their devotion. Anyway Paul had the opportunity to address them, and look what he says in verse 14.
“And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, (so that makes me think they were Jewish) heard us:…”
Now I have to think every time that the apostle Paul had an opportunity, he stopped and put forth the Gospel. It didn’t matter whether it was group like these that he was sharing with, or pagan Gentiles coming out of their temple, Paul was at them with this Gospel of Grace. So in the first part of verse 14 the Scriptures tells us that these women heard us. But oh now is the part that I love to teach, I revel in, and I pray for.
“…whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.”
Now we want to remember that the Holy Spirit is a member of the Godhead just as well as God the Son, and God the Father. So I have to feel that the Lord in this case is the Holy Spirit that opened the heart. So the Holy Spirit opened the heart, and understanding of this Jewish lady of Thyatira. And as soon as that happened she believed the message that Paul was proclaiming.
You know it’s no different today. You can have the greatest evangelist just preach his heart out, is he going to get any fruit without the Spirit? No way! I can teach until I’m blue in the face, but won’t get any response until the Holy Spirit opens understandings. Now back to Ephesians chapter 2. Let’s look at verse 18 again.
“For through him (what Christ has done on our behalf) we both (Jew and Gentiles) have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;”
Now just look at that verse we just read for a moment, and compare it again with verse 12. Because you have to compare Scripture with Scripture. Read verse 12 again if you will.
“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:”
Now look at verse 19 where we just left off. and oh what a difference. You can see we’re not like our forefathers up there in verse 12 any more Now we have a chance.
“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;”
Now what a position, and we don’t work for it. We don’t strive, we don’t brow beat ourselves, we don’t grovel in the dirt, we don’t somehow cause physical misery. My we just step in by faith, and God does it all! Always try to remember that it’s not what you and I do, but rather it’s the fact that “GOD DOES IT ALL.”