Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 38
Now at this time I would like to commend our television audience, because I really thought that I would have a hard time keeping interest in these Church letters, because everybody likes prophecy today. But we’re getting so many such good comments on these lessons in Galatians and Ephesians and so forth, and I’m so glad to see so much interest in Paul’s teachings. Now let’s come back to where we left off in the last lesson, and that would be verse 2 of Ephesians chapter 5, but again let’s begin with verse 1.
“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; (it’s just like a child who loves his parents, and the parent love his children, and this should be the relationship) 2. And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.” (or aroma)
Such as an incense or maybe a perfume or that which would come from flowers. That was what His offering and sacrifice was to God in reality. Even though the cross was a horrible place to look at physically, and the suffering that He went though, but you see the end result was the salvation of countless numbers of sinful people. It won’t be as many souls I guess as we would like to think, but nevertheless that work of the cross is having it’s fruition in the salvation of multitudes throughout the last 2000 years. So it becomes then a sweet aroma to God because of what Christ has done. Now you know I always like to use as many Scriptures as I can, so let’s go on over to the Book of Philippians chapter 2. And this passage fits so perfectly as we walk as dear children, then naturally it has to be a mental thing, as everything we do starts in the mind. So now Paul instructs us to how this all has to work.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (do you see how close that brings unto Him? I mean we get to the place that we think as He thinks. Now speaking of Christ)6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:”
Now that sounds likes a play on words of some sort, but what it really meant was, that Christ did not feel or think that He was robbing something from the Godhead because He was God! Now verse 7.
“But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, (or bond slave) and was made in the likeness of men;”
Now you remember a few months back when we were studying in the unsearchable riches of Christ? Remember I tried to get people to think in these terms, but it’s beyond human comprehension to think that the Eternal, Sovereign, Creator of the universe lowered Himself to such a place that He went the way of the cross. It’s beyond thinking, but we can only take it by faith.
“And being found in fashion as a man, (Christ had all the attributes of a man although He was still God) he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Christ humbled Himself and permitted the Romans and Jews do what they did. Oh goodness, have you ever stopped to think that as they were laying him on that wooden cross, He could have zapped the whole caboodle of them, couldn’t He? Then there wouldn’t be anything left except He Himself, but He didn’t. Why? Love! Love kept Him on the cross, and so He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death on that cross.
You know the Romans crucified Jews by the thousands. I read one time, that there were 2000 Jews hanging on crosses along one of the Roman roads all at one time, so it wasn’t just the death by crucifixion that made it so extraordinary, but that in His death, He took upon Himself all the sin of humanity. That’s what makes his death so unique as Paul speaks of it here, “even the death of the cross.” It wasn’t the matter of fact that He was crucified, as bad as that was, but that all the sins of the whole human race from Adam until the last person that will be zapped at the end of the Kingdom Age. All their sins were laid on Christ!
Now you see that could have never even been a thought in our mind had He been anything less than the Creator God. If He’d been anything less than the all powerful, Sovereign God, He could have never taken all the sins of the world on Himself, but He did, and we have to take that by faith. If Christ didn’t do that, then we might as well fold this book up and go home, but He did, and we can believe it. Now let’s come back to Ephesians chapter 5 again.
So we’re to walk as a result of that. Since He has paid the sin debt, and He has now declared us “a child of God,” not by anything we have done, but rather what He has done. Now there’s a lot of Churchy things that a person can do after salvation such as joining the local Church, being baptized, and so forth, and I’m not against any of that, but there are multitudes that are doing that for their salvation, and are ignoring this finished work of the cross, and believing in it for their eternal destination. Do you think God’s pleased when people ignore the work of the cross? Heavens no He’s not pleased. When He’s done everything that needs to be done, and then people get the idea that if I just join the Church, then I’ll make it? Man I’ve got to be blunt, they’re not going to make it. I don’t care what Church it is, whether it’s mine, or yours, or anybody else’s. But rather we have to come back and recognize that it was that death of the cross that made it possible for God to make us His dear children. And consequently since He loved us first, that love is to be returned, and we are to walk the walk that He wants us to walk. And then as Paul does so often, shows us the other side of the coin.
“But fornication, (that is sexual immorality in all it’s rankest form) and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you as becometh saints;”
Now Paul doesn’t go through all the long list like he did in Ephesians chapter 2 or Galatians chapter 4, or Romans chapter 3. Oh it’s a horrible list, but he does name some of the key ones, and among them is covetousness. Now that reminds me of Romans chapter 7, so let’s look at it for a moment. A lot of people have problems with this chapter in Romans because they can’t quite figure out what Paul’s talking about. Whether he’s talking about a lost person, or about a believer who has all these problems, but the one thing I want you to see here is here in verse 7.
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? (is the law in itself evil?) God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, (or my old Adamic nature, which is really what sin is. He said I wouldn’t have ever known about my old Adam) but by the law: for I had not known lust, (or desire) except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”
Now over the years I’ve always taught that you can hardly commit a single sin against God without coveting first? That’s why Paul will constantly refers to coveting, because it is the bench mark for everything else. Now it’s the same way back here in the Book of Ephesians.
“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, (desires that are not good) Let it not be once named among you as becometh saints;”
Then Paul goes on and lists some more of these terrible sins. Oh my as we look at those listed we can see the bag is full isn’t it?
“Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: (or normal) but rather (use your breath to) giving of thanks.”
Now I’ve had people come to me with this verse and say, “You mean it’s not right for us to tell a joke, and have a good laugh?” No that’s not what that verse means. Man, nobody appreciates a good laugh any more than I do. There’s nothing wrong with a good laugh, it’s healthy for you. My goodness David had all kinds of opportunity to rejoice, and Paul says in Philippians to rejoice, we don’t have to walk around with a long face. We don’t have to walk around like death has just been warmed over on us. But when it comes to foolishness, and the filthy thinking of the world, then, no, we’re not to have it because it just doesn’t fit.
But rather we are to use our breath and tongue to give thanks. Let’s look at that for a moment in chapter 4 of the Book of Philippians. This is one of the best two verses on prayer in the whole Bible. When people today call or write about prayer this is the first place that I take them. These are absolutely the best verses on prayer.
“Be careful (or worry) for nothing;…”
You’ve seen these little wall plaques that say, “why worry when you can pray.” Well there’s more to that than meets the eye. We’re not supposed to worry. Now we can be concerned. I think everyone of us have concerns, and we have that right to have those concerns, but we’re not to fret and worry.
“… but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving…”
It doesn’t do you any good to petition God if you forget to thank Him for it in advance as you pray.. Thanking God is the criteria, that’s the modus operandi for prayer. Make it with thanksgiving.
“…let your requests be made known unto God….”
He isn’t limiting your request. It can be anything as long as it’s in Godly reason of course, but let your requests be made known unto God. Here we can come, and ask with thanksgiving, but God may say, No! He may say, no not right now, maybe later. He may say, Yes. But regardless how He answers in verse 6, you’ve already got the answer in verse 7. We’ve got the answer to our prayers here in verse 7, and what is it?
“And the peace of God, (no matter how God answers our request) which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Do you see why we don’t have to worry about anything? It’s because we have that peace of God, and that’s what keeps us. I know that’s beyond human understanding. I know we’re all human and we do worry and fret, and get overly concerned, and yet I think most of us have to admit that through all of our tight spots, we came through it with God’s help. Now that’s where we have it over on the world. God never promises us that we’re going to go through life without problems. We’re going to have just as many problems as many in the world around us, but what’s the difference? We have God with us in our problems, we have Him to take us through and we can rest assure in that.
Another Scripture comes to mind in Psalms chapter 37. Now this is from David even under the Law, but I can still go back and use it in application, and it’s a beautiful couple of verses. This passage fits right along this same line of thinking. The peace that passeth all understanding will keep our heart and minds through Christ Jesus. Now let’s look what David writes, and let’s start with verse 5. My what a promise.
“Commit thy way unto the LORD trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass”
Maybe not in our timing, but in His. Isn’t that a promise? My I’ve gone through trying times myself, and I just about wear that verse out. But do you know what it means to commit something? It means you take it to God and leave it with Him. I think I’ve given this example before. Regardless what you think of the Post Office, I think most of you just go and drop your letter in the mail slot. Do you go home and for the next week fret and worry whether it got to it’s destination or not? No. Because as soon as you dropped that letter, what did you do? You committed it to the Postal Service to take care of it. You don’t go home and lose sleep over worrying if the letter got there. Because you’re assuming that it will. You committed it, and you let it go at that. Now this is what verse 5 means.
“Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”
When you have a need, a problem, or concern, you simply commit it to the Lord. You take it to Him, and you leave it there, you don’t hang on to it. If you hang onto that letter, it never will get down into the mail, because you’ve still got it. But if you let it go then it’s committed. The other verse I like here in this chapter is verse 7.
“Rest in the LORD,…”
Do you know what it means to rest? It means to relax. Turn those concerns over to Him, don’t hang on to your problems. But rather “Rest in the Lord.”
“…and wait patiently for him:
See, we’re in a society of instant gratification. Give it to me now Lord, I’m in a hurry! No we have to learn to “wait patiently for him.”
“…fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.”
Boy we see that every day don’t we? We look at the young ungodly world around us, and all their prosperity, and wealth, and wonder, “Why?” Don’t worry about that, because those are things that are in God’s hand. But our responsibility is to commit our way unto the Lord, trust in Him and let Him bring it to pass in His own time. Some times it takes a lot longer than we think. It may take years, but God will do it in His own time. Now back to Ephesians chapter 5 for a few moments. Now verse 5, and again Paul comes back to the opposite side of the coin. Now in the next verse I can’t think that professing Christian would do this kind of a lifestyle, but if so then a professing Christian better read some of these things. Remember we’re living in a society any more where these things are almost a norm.
“For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”
Now that’s plain language isn’t it? How can people say, “Well don’t you think the Grace of God will be sufficient?” No not in this case. My Bible says, “They will not be in the Kingdom of Christ! In fact turn on over to the Book of Colossians chapter 1, verse 12 and 13. Now these are all the same words that Paul is using throughout his letters.
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet (or prepared us) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13. Who (the Father) hath delivered us from the power of darkness, (where all these things take place constantly) and hath (already) translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:”
Now come back and compare that with Ephesians chapter 5.
“For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”
There is no way they can, because the Scripture says they can’t. I don’t care how they shake it out, they will not be there. Now then verse 6.
“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.”
Now I’m not going to have enough time for this verse, I can see that already, but remember God is not pouring out His wrath today, the whole world is under His Grace, but His wrath is coming. His wrath is coming and it is sure! For a moment let’s turn to II Timothy chapter 2, and we’ll read verse 16 and 23 both. Now here again within a matter of a few pages in your New Testament you’ve got three times where we are to look out for deceitful, false teachings. And this false teaching is abounding. My goodness like I told my folks in Indiana the other day, “You ought to hear some of our phone calls on Monday morning after they’ve been to Church the day before. It’s ridiculous what teachings are going on.”
II Timothy 2:16a
“But shun (turn your back on) profane and vain babblings:…”
When I see the word babbling, do you remember back in the book of Acts when Paul came down to Athens and the big intellectual philosophers called what he had said- what? Babbling! Let’s hear what this old babbler has to say. But you know a few years ago Iris and I were on Mars hill, and you know I couldn’t help but smile, inwardly and well as outwardly. Here on that this big stone on the way up to Mars Hills is this beautiful bronze plaque. Not to Socrates, nor to Plato or Homer, but to the apostle Paul. So all the babblers have long been forgotten, but the Greek government or whoever did it put a huge plaque up to honor the apostle Paul. So Paul wasn’t the babbler, but rather they were. Well anyway we’re to shun profane and vain babblings.
II Timothy 2:16
“But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”
It’s not going to bring you into more godliness. Now skip all the verses in between and now come down to verse 23. This verse is along that same line of thinking.
II Timothy 2:23
“But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.”
In other words don’t ask foolish questions over and over. I’ve told people umpteen times when they have a question, not to ask me who’s the third son of the second wife of King so and so back in the Old Testament. Because to me that is vain. There’s no need to get all hung up on some of these little details that are way back there in the Old Testament, they have nothing to do with us today, and yet some people can get so hung up on these things, when actually all they need to do is get down and see what Paul really teaches.