Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 38
The Walk of the Believer
We’re finding that by the work of the Holy Spirit we’re getting people into the Book, and that’s one our main purposes. It’s so thrilling when people write or call and say that “for the first time they are studying their Bible and are understanding it.” And of course the secret to accomplish that is to separate what Paul has shared with us concerning the Body of Christ. From Genesis chapter 12 to the end of Revelations you have basically God dealing with the nation of Israel. However right in the middle of the New Testament there are the Books written by Paul to us Gentiles in this day of Grace. So when you discover that secret, then the Bible will come alive, and you’ll be able to understand what is required for eternal life, and how to live the Christian life after salvation!
Now for starters today let’s begin where we left off in the last lesson and that would be Ephesians chapter 4, and verse 25. In the verses we have just studied, Paul has reminded us that as a result of our salvation, by believing the Gospel as found in I Corinthians 15:1-4, we have a new creation living within us which overcomes that old sin nature. When that happens then the new nature and the old nature are always battling each other, and it behooves us to feed the new nature with the things of the Spirit, because the old nature feeds on the things of the flesh.
We had that illustration as a beautiful picture when Noah first let the raven out of the ark, and it didn’t come back because it could feed on the old creation. But when Noah let the dove out, which is a picture of new life, the spirit life, the dove couldn’t feed on the old creation, and so it came back to the ark. Then I believe it was seven days later he let the dove out again, and it came back with an olive leaf which showed new life. Well it’s the same way today, once we become a believer we don’t feed on the old life we just came out of, but rather we feed on the things of the Spirit that enhance the new life.
Now I’ve been debating all the way up Tulsa whether I should do this or not, but I think in light of the fact that we have so many people constantly calling and writing, “Well what about all this trouble in Kosovo with regard to prophecy?” And the first thing I tell them is that we are not living in the time of prophecy being fulfilled, because that won’t happen until the last 7 years of Tribulation begins. But we are living in days where the end times are certainly coming to pass, not in fulfillment of prophecy, but to set the stage for prophecy which I feel will begin when the anti-Christ signs that 7 year treaty in the Middle East. Always remember that my definition of prophecy is when things are foretold within a time frame. So the Church Age is not in a time frame, therefore no body knows when it will end, so consequently it’s not an area of true prophecy. But certainly things are happening that are setting the stage for when prophecy will kick in, and as I said, that begins when the anti-Christ signs his 7 year treaty.
I just read a couple of interesting things about the European situation. A gentlemen sent me an article from the news magazine call “Europe” which is strictly a magazine to report the events in Europe, and out of that I picked up something that I had totally missed, and if I missed it I feel a lot of other people also missed it. Beginning in the late 50’s and through the 60’s and 70’s, we had those original 10 nations of western Europe which for the longest time, the world referred to as the “Ten,” then later on they became the common market, and European union, but the connotation was that it was the “Ten.”
So when I taught end time events of prophecy in this Through the Bible study a few years back I naturally referred to the “Ten” then as what I thought was the revived Roman Empire. It fits so beautifully with Daniel and Revelation that I was very comfortable with that, and then all of a sudden the “Ten” expanded to eleven and twelve, thirteen, and fourteen. I just explained to my classes, well maybe it will go on up to fifteen, sixteen, or seventeen, but by the time the anti-Christ is ready appear on the scene, it’ll drop back to“Ten.”
Well now I learn from this magazine “Europe” that there are two separate organizations in western Europe. One of them is the original “Ten.” And for our television audience, I’ll put it on the board, the “Ten” ever since the 60’s is equal to the western European union, it is now referred to now as the W.E.U., but it’s still the “Ten.” But the organization we’ve been hearing the most about lately is the European union without the Western on it. But within that European Union are the original “Ten,” but it’s now up to nineteen nations. So I’m still on solid ground because the “Ten” are still intact, they are a separate organization from these nineteen nations, and so they can still be the revived Roman empire out of which the anti-Christ will come.
Well when we left Indiana last Sunday, somebody had given me the Sunday edition of the New York Times, and one of the front page articles was that the “Ten” was frantically getting their own military established so that the next time something comes up they won’t have to depend on the American military for their power. As I read that I couldn’t believe my eyes. So they have already set a time table to have a real Czar, a real chairman of the board who by sometime in the year 2000 will be in total control of their military, their security, and they hope to have as strong a military force as we now have with the United States involved as well. They want to be able to do what we’ve done in consort, they want to be able to do it themselves. So that just tells me again that we’re getting so close to the time that out of that “Ten” nation complex which will be the real revived Roman empire, out of it will come then the anti-Christ.
So these are just little interesting items of tidbits and all I wanted to bring out of that is, Kosovo in itself, I don’t think, has a real implication on all this, but indirectly now, because of the Kosovo deal the western European union suddenly realized that they are inept militarily for such another fracas, so they’re going to have to really speed things up and get ready in case something else comes along and not have to depend on America. Always remember, there’s going to be three major areas of military power by the time we get to the Tribulation. That will be Western Europe, China, and Africa. I feel that Russia and the United States will somehow meet their demise and will no longer be a factor in the events of the Tribulation period.
Well that’s just something for you to chew on, but don’t worry about it, because as Church Age believers we won’t be here for any of the Tribulation. It’s so much more important to know what God wants us to know today, and how to live a full life. That’s another reason I spend so much time in Paul’s epistles, in which there is no prophecy, so we just continue to teach that which people need today. I’ll let the prophecy people take care of what’s going to happen after we’re gone. Now some of these things are appropriate because it tells us how close we are to the sudden coming of the anti-Christ, before which I feel we have to leave.
Now I suppose that takes care of half of this lesson, and so in the time we have left let’s pick up where we got to in the last lesson, and that would be in Ephesians chapter 4 and verse 25. Now I guess for a little quick review go all the way back to verse 12, where Paul has told us that God is leaving with the Church Age, three different kinds of men to carry on the work of the Body of Christ, and that was up there in verse 11 of this same chapter.
“…and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;” Then the next verse told us the purpose for them being given.
“For the perfecting (or the maturing) of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”
Now I think I made the point when we taught those verses that there was no mention there concerning the lost. Was it that Paul wasn’t concerned about the lost? No, not at all. But when the Body of Christ is matured and edified they’re going to win the lost, and that’s the whole concept then of Paul’s teaching. If we can prepare the members of the Body of Christ, and make them skilled in the use of Scriptures, we’re going to accomplish more on a one on one basis than any huge evangelistic rally could ever hope to do. I’m also hoping that people will just simply talk to their loved ones, their people at work, their neighbors and be prepared to share the Scriptures one on one, because people are hungry. But they don’t want to be approached by somebody that doesn’t know what they’re talking about, and that’s understandable, I wouldn’t either. I wouldn’t want to waste my time with someone who was trying to tell me about something, when I know he didn’t know anything about that subject. But if somebody approaches me with whatever subject it is, and he’s skilled at it, hey, I’ll listen and I think you would also.
Well it’s the same way with this Book, we’ve got to be skilled, and be ready as Paul says in another place, to share these things with those who ask, “why we have such hope.” So all the way through these intervening verses then he is preparing us for this out reach to those who have never yet understood. Now coming back to our text in verse 24 & 25.
“And that ye put on the new man, (that new creation that happens the moment we’re saved) which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
And since we now as believers have that new nature, what’s the next word? “Wherefore…” That means we’re going to be different than the world around us. Like I said in the last lesson, not oddball different, not peculiar, where the world says, “Oh I wouldn’t want to be like them, they’re a bunch of kooks.” That’s not what God wants. But Paul’s converts, even in the midst of those idolatrous cities, weren’t something that made fools of themselves, but rather they were the kind of people that made such an impact on their pagan friends and relatives that this is the reason it turned the Roman Empire upside down. Now you know that would have never happened if those new believers would have acted so kooky and queer. But you see these believers knew what they believed, and what God had done for them, and of course that’s where we’re to be even today. Now verse 25. Because of what God has done in our lives we are to do the following.
“Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour, for we are members one of another.”
Now I had a bell rung when I read this verse, and said to myself, I’ve seen this before. As you know I spend quite a bit of time also in the Old Testament, and sure enough there is a verse in the Old Testament under Law that almost says the same thing. So even though we’re not under Law, yet many of the attributes of the Law are still applicable. Turn back with me to the Book of Zechariah chapter 8 and verse 16. And remember Zechariah is almost entirely prophecy, and yet as Zechariah wrote to the Jewish people, he says almost the same thing that Paul says to us.
“These are the things that ye shall do: Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour;…”
Isn’t that something? That’s under the Law granted, but now flip back to where we were in Ephesians and what does Paul say? Almost the same thing, and we’re not under Law, but Grace, but the same God. That’s what I always try to stress, when I say, we’re not under Law but Grace. Yes all the things that God hated in the lives of Israel, He still hates to day. God hasn’t changed His mind about these things, but we’re under a different set of circumstances. Now Paul the apostle of Grace can tell us the same thing, but it isn’t under the heavy hand of the Law, but rather it’s under the freedom of Grace.
“Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.”
And now then in everyday experiences especially in the household of faith we are constantly to be truthful with one another because after all we’re all in this together, we’re all in the same Body, and Building. Now verse 26.
“Be ye angry, (that’s one of the human parts of our nature, and we’re going to get angry occasionally, but we don’t have to lose control of our anger. So the admonition is) to be angry, and sin not….”
Don’t let it become something of your nature that is uncontrollable. I personally don’t think that a believer can have uncontrollable temper tantrums. Now we can all get angry, but we certainly can and should control it. So if there’s something that basically wrong with a person, then I have to wonder if God had done a work of redemption. We have this certain amount of freedom that we can be upset by things, but not to the place that it become sinful. or that it has an effect on our family and loved ones, and co-workers. And for goodness sake, if you want to keep your health then don’t take it to bed with you.
“…let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”
There’s nothing that will ruin your health quicker than to have these bugs literally churn in your stomach with anger. You can get mean ulcers for being upset often. So always remember it’s ok to be angry, but don’t let it control your life, and don’t go to bed angry. Now verse 27, and if we don’t finish it in this lesson, then we will in the next. And as you look at this verse you might say, “Well there’s nothing there.” But I tell you there’s a lot there. Se we’re to avoid lying and uncontrolled anger.
“Neither give place to the devil.”
In general terms how much print does Paul give to Satan? Very little. He’ll just make a statement about Satan here and there, and we’re going to look at a couple of them here in a bit. Turn with me to II Corinthians chapter 4, verse 3. Now these aren’t the only two instances, but this is the way it usually pops up. The reason I want to take time to do this is because we see so much lately of where the so called Christian community is being admonished to war against Satan. We have to fight against Satan, we have to do things against Satan, but Paul doesn’t teach that. Paul recognizes his power, but he doesn’t spend long verses at a time telling us how to fight a war against Satan.
Now we’ll see this a little bit in Ephesians chapter 6, but all he does is let’s us know that he’s there. Paul’s emphasis is not Satan, but rather is the Christ of glory. And when Christ rules our life, and when He’s in control, Satan can’t touch us, and we don’t have to worry all that much about fighting against Satan if we center on Christ and His work of the cross. And I think for this reason Paul doesn’t give a lot of ink to Satan.
II Corinthians 4:3-4
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4. In whom (the lost of this world) the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
Now for goodness sakes who’s the god of this world? Well Satan is. See how subtle Paul puts this in here? He could have just came right out and said, “Satan had done it.” But he doesn’t, but rather he gives him another term, “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not.” Now still in II Corinthians, turn over to chapter 11.
II Corinthians 11:13-14
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14. And no marvel; (don’t let this surprise you) for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”
Do you see that? Oh he’s the god of this world back here in the earlier verses, and keeps people blind from the truth, but many times he blinds people with his light. And it’s a counterfeit light, and people are so gullible and will say, “Oh that must be the work of the Spirit.” But you see it isn’t. but rather it’s the work of the evil spirit, it’s the work of Satan the counterfeit, the impostor, the deceitful individual. So keep these things in mind, “for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” Now look at verse 15.
II Corinthians 11:15a
“Therefore (since Satan can do this, and we know he does) it is no great thing if his ministers also (human being that he’s using) be transformed as the ministers of righteousness;…”
That’s what they try to tell people that they’re the ministers of righteousness, but Paul tells us they’re emissaries of Satan. So what do we have to know? The truth from the false!And the only way we can do that is just keep our nose in the Book, and when we do that then the Holy Spirit will certainly do His part to be able to keep us discerning truth from error.
I pointed out in Indiana the other day that you always want to remember, and I don’t care what it is, if you’re aiming a rifle at a target, how far do you have to miss to miss everything. Just a little bit. I was a marksman in the military, I could hit that bull’s eye at 500 yards when I was young, but one thing I know for sure, that if you’re off just a little bit on the windage or anything else you’re going to miss the whole target.
Well it’s the same way with Scripture, these people can come in, and they can come close, but so far as the end result is concerned, they can totally drive people into a lost eternity with their false teachings. I’ve noticed this over the years, I’ve listened to them on television and on the radio, and at the time you think, “this old boy is right on.” And then after you listen for a little while, there’s about 5 or 10% error and he takes you clear off into left field. Well there’s only one way you can avoid that, and that is to just keep in the Word, and be able to discern.