Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 37
Now back to Ephesians chapter 3, and we’ll jump in at verse 6. Remember all of these things that we just looked at in these first 3 or 4 verses now tie into verse 6.
“That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promises in Christ by the gospel.”
Now up to the writings of Paul this is something totally unknown in Scripture. Isaiah didn’t write about it, Zechariah didn’t write about it, Jesus didn’t talk about it, Peter didn’t talk about it. Why? Because it was something that was totally kept secret in the mind of God, that there would be a period of time where God would go to the pagan Gentile world without the Nation of Israel. Now all the verses we looked at earlier in the Old Testament that referred to the Gentiles getting the light, it was to be through the Nation of Israel. They would be the vehicle to accomplish that, but when Israel rejected the Messiah, and refused to accept Him for what He said He was, then that began to change God’s program. Remember, God never changes, but His programs do. Israel had the chance to be the light for the Gentiles.
Then even after Peter and the eleven preached their hearts out in those early chapters of Acts, for the most part what is the Nation of Israel doing with it? They’re walking it under foot. In effect they were saying, “We’re not interested, thank you! And I always use Acts chapter 7, the stoning of Stephen, as the crescendo of that rejection. “We’ll not have that man Jesus of Nazareth to rule over us.” And so they stoned Stephen. After the stoning of Stephen the first thing we’re introduced to is Saul of Tarsus, whom God said, “He would send to the Gentile world.”
So the Holy Spirit keeps repeating all of this through the apostle Paul. None of this was known before, because it was supposed to go through the Nation of Israel. Now we don’t want to take anything away from the Jewish people because they have given us this Book. Every word in this Bible was written by a Jew! So they were still the vehicle which God used for that purpose. But when it came to this Gospel of Grace going to the Gentile world, they were left out. So this one little Jew almost single-handedly in the early going turned the Roman empire inside out. The more you think about it, the more you have to be amazed at the tenacity of this little Jew. I think he was short in stature, but he was long on energy and toughness. And as I said in our closing remarks in our last lesson, in spite of all the suffering and beatings, shipwrecks, and all the other taunts and torments that were thrown at him, he never slowed down. He just continued to preach the Gospel of Grace to the Gentile world.
Now in the last verse we looked at we come to a word that is strictly Pauline. I’ve begged my listeners over the years, whether it’s in my weekly classes or whether it’s on television, if you can ever find an Old Testament prophet referring to the Gentile Body of Christ, then you let me know where you found it. If you can find a place where Jesus in His earthly ministry ever referred to the Body of Christ I want you to show it to me. If you ever find Peter in the early chapters of Acts refer to this Body of Christ, show it to me, because I haven’t been able to find it.
But on the other hand, Paul is constantly referring to “The Body of Christ.” Consequently it has to be what I call a Pauline phenomenon. This, as I’ve said so often, is why I am so adamantly in favor of the pre-tribulation rapture. The Body of Christ will not fit in the Tribulation, which is Jewish. It would be as out of place as fish out of water, and it would flop even more, because we just don’t belong there. So we have to realize that some of the things are confined to what we call “the revelation of the mysteries.” So let’s read verse 6 again.
“That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers, of his (God’s) promise in Christ by the gospel:”
So as you see by believing the Gospel makes all of this possible. The Gospel of the Grace of God, that He’s going to save hell bound sinners if they’ll just simply believe with all their heart that Christ died for them. Now I always have to stop and qualify that. I’m not talking about an easy believism. I’m not talking about someone who says, “Oh yeah I believe that Jesus died, and I think I believe that He rose from the dead.” I’m not talking about that kind of person. I’m talking about the person who just out of his whole being rests on the fact that Christ died for his sins, and rose from the dead. We believe it. We’d be willing to be martyred for it, because that’s the very heart and soul of our life, and that’s that Christ died and rose from the dead, and as a result of our believing it then He has now placed us into the Body.
Now for a moment let’s come back to I Corinthians chapter 12, and again these are all verses that we’ve looked at before. When we taught I Corinthians we brought in these verses in Ephesians. And now since we’re in Ephesians we’ll use the Corinthian verses. And some day, if the Lord tarries and we get into Colossians, we’ll come back and use Ephesians and Corinthians with Colossians, because you see this is the way the Scriptures work.
I Corinthians 12:12-13a
“For as the body (this human body) is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body: (so Paul is talking about the human body with all of it’s members, our hands, feet, eyes, all of these members make up our physical body.) so also is Christ.” (or the Body of Christ, the Church!) 13. For by one (Holy) Spirit are we all…”
I always have to stop at the word “all” because we have so many groups today that maintain that unless you have done this or that then you’re not spiritual, or some even go so far to say that you’re not even saved. But you see Paul doesn’t do that. Paul says that every believer, whether he’s a giant in the faith, or is weak and still carnal, all have been baptized into the One Body of Christ. I read sometime ago that in California alone there’s something like 1500 denominations. That’s not according to this Book. Regardless, if we’re a believer of the Gospel we have been placed into the One Body of Christ. Now look how Paul defines it.
I Corinthians 12:13
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; (remember slavery or servitude was still part of the Roman world so those were the two classes of people. To be in servitude you had nothing, you had no property, and no rights, but on the other hand those that were free could have had whatever. But in the Body of Christ there is no distinction.) and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
The work of the Holy Spirit places every believer into the Body of Christ. That’s the only Baptism that you have in Paul’s epistles. The Holy Spirit places that believer of the Gospel into the Body of Christ the moment he believes. And just like our bodies, when they were in our mothers womb, as they were finally completed, and all the functions of the body were now ready, we were delivered. All right now, the same thing happens with the Body of Christ. When the last soul is saved and the Body is complete, then the Lord is going to call the whole Body of Christ, the Church, out and up to glory in what we call the Rapture. I think we’re getting so close, in fact we’re closer than we like to think.
I tell people constantly, that if you’re getting in a hurry for the Lord to come, then you get out, share the Gospel, and become a soul winner. Go out and talk to people about the glories of salvation, because we’re living in a materialistic world to be sure, but the world still knows that they’re hungry for something. You know Sharon came up when I had the circles on the board a few lessons ago, and I had shown that it was the spirit that died, and how it needs to be generated. She said “This is why people are hungry.” Yeah it is. It’s a vacuum that has to be filled with the power of God.
So the moment we believe the Holy Spirit baptizes us, or places us, into the Body of Christ regardless of our status in life And remember no one has greater access to the Spirit than anyone else. Now verse 14.
I Corinthians 12:14
“For the body (whether you’re speaking of the human body or the Body of Christ,) is not one member, but many.”
And we’re all members of that same Body of Christ. Now just to show you how much emphasis the apostle Paul puts on this term “The Body of Christ” let me show you by hitting just a few of them. Look for example in I Corinthians chapter 12. And in verse 26 he’s referring to the human body.
I Corinthians 12:26-27
“And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; (you hit your thumb with a hammer, you hurt all over.) or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. (if you have an extra delicious dessert, boy you just revel in it. And the analogy is it’s the same with the Body of Christ. If a fellow believer is hurting, then we all hurt. If a fellow believer is being sumptuously blessed, we can all be blessed with him, and that’s the beauty of it. Now the next verse.) 27. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”
Now let’s look at another one for a moment in Ephesians chapter 1, and let’s just drop down to verse 22 and 23.
“And hath put all things under his feet, (the Triune God has put all things under the feet of Christ) and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23. Which is his body (I read it that way purposely, because at the end of verse 22 there’s just a comma so you continue to read. Do you see what a difference that makes to read it like that? and the Body is) the fulness (or complement) of him that filleth all in all.”
And remember when we taught this a few lessons ago, I made the analogy that it’s the same word that is spoken of as Eve was the helpmate or the complement for Adam, which meant that Adam was not complete until he had the wife. Well Christ is looking at it in the same way. He’s waiting, and waiting, and waiting for His Bride, the Body of Christ to finally be consummated with Him in glory. And so He is the head over all things to the Body, which is His Church.
Then across the page to Ephesians 2:16 we find another one, and all of these are just complementing what he says in chapter 3 of Ephesians, that all of these revelations of the mysteries were to bring about this one Body.
“And that he might reconcile both (back up in verse 14 the both is Jew and Gentile) unto God in one body by the cross,…”
That’s why Paul says, “We preach crucified, and risen again.” It’s that death, burial and resurrection of Paul’s Gospel that makes the appearance and consummation of the Body of Christ possible. I would like to get a couple more before we quit. And this one is over in chapter 4. These verses that keep popping up about the Body of Christ, so if you don’t remember anything else this afternoon you’ll remember that Paul is constantly teaching the Body of Christ, and it’s the only portion of Scripture that teaches it. It’s absolutely not in the Bible anywhere except in Paul’s writings.
“For the perfecting (or the maturing ) of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”
Now let’s go to Colossians chapter 2 for a moment, and drop down to verse 16 and 17, but before we read those two verses, I can’t miss verse 14 since we’re so close to it, because I just simply love that verse.
“Blotting out the handwritings of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, (that includes everything that was in the Jewish law and ordinances to include Leviticus chapter 5, the first 5 or 6 verses that we use so often dealing with having to bring sacrifices for touching anything dead) and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15. And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”
Now I think those are the powers of Satan. Satan was utterly defeated at the Cross and resurrection tomb, and we never again have to succumb to his power because it’s broken. Now verse 16. Because the work of the Cross, because of the out pouring of the Grace of God, he tells us the following.
“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: (see that was all Law, and they were all crucified with Christ. But they had their place. How?) 17. Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body (which is here and now) is of Christ.”
I mean the Body of Christ is real. Oh we can’t see it in it’s whole, but we can experience it as we fellowship with like-minded believers. Just be aware that as you read Paul’s epistles that this term Body of Christ is a Pauline doctrine that comes out of the revelation of the mysteries, these things that were kept secret until they were revealed to this apostle. Now let’s come back to Ephesians chapter 3, and verse 7.
“Whereof (to be the apostle of the Gentiles) I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God…”
Now remember what I taught earlier this afternoon at the times through human history God had reason enough to just wipe out the human race. Over and over He could have done that. I’ve been reading a book lately, a biography of a little girl who came out of the Ukraine during the communist rule of Russia, and the torment that people went through. First by the communists, and then along comes the Nazi army, and being taken back to Germany to become prisoners and slaves. She begins her story when she’s just an infant, and by the time that WW II is at it’s height she was 4 or 5 years old. She told of the horrors of all of that period of history, and all because of evil men.
Why didn’t God just zap them? Well He didn’t because of His Grace. Even a man like Hitler, as evil and wicked as he was, did God love Him enough to save him? Sure He did. Had Hitler recognized his shortcomings, God would have saved him. Now that’s beyond our comprehension, but He would have. But we look at from the point, “Why didn’t God zap them, because that’s what they deserved.” But oh the Grace of God that the ungodly knows nothing of. How does Paul put it in Romans chapter 5?
“…But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: Now looking at verse 7 again in Ephesians chapter 3.
“Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God, given unto me …”
Now Paul’s not writing from an egotistical standpoint, but rather he’s writing through the power and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God Himself. Now completing verse 7 we find the following.
“… by the effectual working of his power.”
The power was of God. Paul was just simply the clay, he was just the instrument that God was using. It was God’s power that turned the Roman empire inside out, Paul was just the instrument. But again had Paul not been willing to suffer for the sake of the Gospel, could God have used him? Well of course not, and it’s the same way with anyone of us. God can’t use us unless we’re willing and pliable, and will let Him do what needs to be done. That power of course was epitomized, it was released at the resurrection. At His resurrection the power of God became all sufficient to fight all the powers of the Satanic forces, death and everything that went with it.