Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 38
Now we’ll be turning to Ephesians chapter 5 again as we begin this lesson. In our last lesson we finished verses 19 and 20, but before we read verse 21, I think I’m going to go back up to verse 18, because all of this ties together so beautifully. After seeing how Paul tells us how to walk the Christian walk, and so forth in those verses up in 10, 11, and 12, then he comes to verse 18.
“And be not drunk with wine wherein is excess; (don’t respond to the spirits of alcohol to mind bend your thinking) but be filled with the (Holy) Spirit:”
Of course that goes along with my concept that at salvation we get the fullness of the Holy Spirit. My we just get a whole fresh start, but just like anything else it kind of wears down, and then periodically we’ve got to be refilled. So according to Ephesians 4:5 and I Corinthians 12:13 there is one Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and that happens the moment we’re saved, but after that you can have many fillings. I think it behooves us then to continue to be filled by the Spirit, which comes of course by the soaking up of the Scriptures, the study, prayer time, fellowship, and so forth, but we need that constant filling of the Holy Spirit.
Now then, when we’re filled with the Holy Spirit as you look at verse 19, it’s going to have an effect on our whole life style. It’s going to be a life of speaking of songs and hymns, and spiritual songs. Now that doesn’t mean we will never have bad times. Christians have just as many problems as the world around us. The difference is we have the Lord to take us through those times. Don’t ever accuse me teaching, that when you become a believer, you’re going to have a rose covered pathway, because it’s just not going to happen, but we do have the Lord to carry us through when it does happen.
And then in verse 20 in our closing remarks in the last lesson, that along with our rejoicing, and our happiness, we are to be constantly in an attitude of thanksgiving, and it’s all to be given to God though the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I’ve had people ask, “Are we still supposed to pray in Jesus name?” Absolutely. He is still interceding for us at the Father’s right hand, and so we pray to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now in this same line of joyful Christian living, of all things what does Paul bring in? The marriage relationship, isn’t that amazing? In other words, at the very heart of a Christian community is the family and the home. And there’s a lot of talk lately about family in politics, but unfortunately they’re not using Paul’s approach to it, but rather they’re using the secular world, and the world view. But in this lesson today we’re going to look at the marriage relationship according to the Scriptures.
About a year or two ago, one of our major denominations made a statement concerning this very part of the marriage relationship “that the husband was to be the head of the wife,” and remember the liberal press just about went into orbit. I remember all the feminist movements just about had a fit, and one lady said they had set equal rights back at least 30 years. No, the Christian community is not setting anything back, but rather we’re exemplifying what the Scriptures says about the husband and wife relationship.
I’ve said it as long as I’ve been teaching there has never been anything so instrumental in giving women their freedom, and their rights as Christianity has. You want to remember all the way back in human history, not just Israel, but in all of human history, the women were nothing. They couldn’t get an education, they couldn’t read, they couldn’t work math, they were kept ignorant purposely. Christianity is what opened the door for you. I’ve said it over and over, don’t ever accuse Paul of being anti-feminist. He did more for the female gender than any other man of the human race.
I had a lady call and said, “Les I used to hate the apostle Paul, I wouldn’t read any of his letters, in fact I didn’t even think it should be in the Bible. It was such a strong feeling that I also passed it on to my two married daughters. But thanks to you, I can now see the Scriptures completely differently. I see now that Paul is our apostle, and now I’ve got both my daughters convinced.” Well praise the Lord that her eyes were opened. Here the apostle simply goes back to format that God intended. Oh it’s not what the sociologists think, or the psychologists say, or what the advice columns say, but what God says. Now don’t lose sight of this. In this whole format of being filled with the spirit, speaking and singing in songs, and making melody, giving thanks to God for everything, what does the next verse say?
“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”
Now you see we’re in a time when people don’t like to submit to anybody. We’re in the period of the big ego, the big number ONE. But the scripture says, “that we are still to be submissive first and foremost to God. That’s an attitude of the Christian life. A verse just comes to mind in the Book of Psalms. I hadn’t intended to use this, but I referred someone to this a few days ago who was going through some trying times. They were almost despairing that God was even aware of them. So let’s look at Psalms 37:5 and I can pass this on to anybody that’s going through trying times, whatever the case may be. Even though it’s Old Testament, and David speaking it, yet God hasn’t changed.
I told someone early this morning that called that they were putting too much of your doctrine on the Old Testament, that Law. He said, “Well what am I supposed to do, throw it away?” No. You don’t throw the Old Testament away, it’s the same God, the only thing is He’s operating differently under Law than He does with us under Grace. But many things that David says are very appropriate for us in the Church Age, and this is one of them.
“Commit (that’s almost in the category of submit) thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; (remember there’s three words that means the same thing, Trust, Faith, and Believe,) and he shall bring it to pass.” Now we don’t know when, we just rest in the fact that’s it’s in God’s hands, and we submit it into His care and keeping. Then you come down to verse 7, and what’s the first word?
“Rest in the LORD,…”
Once you’ve committed something to God, we can rest. I’ve used this illustration more than once. Say you’re taking a trip on an airplane, you find your seat, and get all squared away and take off. Do you start fretting and sweating and wondering, “is this plane going in the wrong direction?” Maybe some people do, but I think the average passenger sits down, picks up something to read, and you have totally committed your life and direction to the airline. And you just absolutely trust that they’re going to take you where you intended to go. Well it’s the same way in the spiritual, once we have committed to the Lord, then we know what direction we’re going, and we don’t have to wonder and worry. Now completing verse 7.
“Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him:…”
But you see we’re not patient, we’re living in a time of instant gratification. I want it right now. But you see the Lord doesn’t move as fast as we think He should, but rest assured if we wait patiently, He’s going to bring it to pass.
“…fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.”
And isn’t that always a temptation? We see the ungodly prosper, they’re driving their big cars, and living in their huge homes, and we know that they’re ungodly. Don’t worry about it, living today will probably be the only heaven that they’ll have, their doom is waiting them. So don’t worry about that, and use those two verses when trying times come your way. Now come back with me to the Book of Ephesians. It’s the same way in the marriage relationship. We commit our marriage unto the hands of the Lord, and as the husband and wife in union commit that marriage to the Lord, then it follows that we’re going to follow God’s format. And God’s format was established back in the Garden of Eden. And here it is.
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, (not as some slave master, but like a husband) as unto the Lord.”
There’s nothing wrong with being submissive to that kind of husband. 99.9% of women would just thrive in that kind of an environment, to be married to a man who treats her, even as the Lord treats him, and that’s the analogy all through here. Now verse 23. Why should the wife submit to the husband? Because of God’s decree.
“For the husband is the head of the wife, (and again look at the analogy) even as Christ is the head of the church: (the Body of Christ) and he is the saviour of the body.”
Now in order to become the saviour of the Body of Christ, what did Christ have to do? He had to die! So what’s the admonition to you and I as husbands, men? We’ve got to be willing to die for our wives, and I think I could die for Iris, unless something drastically would happen I think I would die for her, because that’s what the Scripture demands. We are to love our wife with such a love that we’re willing to give up our life for her.
Now I’m going to take you back to the Old Testament, for the benefit of the women out in television, as well as here in the studio. How many women will say, “Well I’m not going to go by what my husband says, because he can make the dumbest decisions.” Isn’t that right? Sure, we all do. You know I’ve made a couple of whammies myself, I really have. But Iris doesn’t constantly remind me of it, she could, but she’s a good wife. Do you know what God has promised by our going back to the Old Testament? That in spite of our dumb moves, God works it out for His own good.
So come back with me to Genesis chapter 12, I know I probably can’t finish this in this half hour program, so we’ll have to continue into the next lesson if that’s the case. Iris and I are going out to Pennsylvania next week for a seminar, and a lady called this morning and wanted to know what I was going to speak on. I told her that I would tell her as soon as I stood up before them and got started, that’s probably when I’ll know, and not until. Here in chapter 12, we’re dealing with Abram and Sarai before God gave them the name Abraham and Sarah. Abram has just been given the Abrahamic Covenant, so he’s on right standing with God, he’s a believer, he’s a man of faith, and no doubt Sarai is as well, because of what Peter says about these people. So here we’ve got two believers, and they’ve just begun their walk with the God after He had given them this tremendous covenant promise earlier in the chapter.
And as I tell people so often when I’m instrumental in leading them to the Lord, “Now in short order, you’re going to come through a time of testing.” That happens every time to a new believer, God will test them. And all it does is just deepen their faith. Well here we have the same thing. Abraham has just now begun his walk on covenant ground and there’s famine in the land of promise.
Now I’m sure Abram has been instructed not to go down into Egypt, but yet he goes contrary to those instructions. Now for those of you who knows your Bible, Egypt is always a picture of what? The world. So he leaves the land of blessing, and land of promise, even though it’s being tested with famine, and drops down into Egypt, which was a lot like Washington DC is today. Egypt was at the very core of all the commerce, and economic activity and so forth, so it had all the lurement that the world even today has. So here Abram and his wife, and of course his nephew Lot is also still with him, can’t take the heat of the famine in Canaan, so down to the world they go. No doubt there’s plenty of food and grain there.
“And there was a famine in the land; and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. 11.. And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, (he’s on the border) that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: (now this is a believing husband speaking to a believing wife) 12. Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife; (she is such a knock out, Pharaoh is going to want her in his harem) and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.”
You want to remember that the ancients had a moral code, and don’t think for a moment that they didn’t. They may have abrogated most of the time but they had a moral code. So Abraham knew his life wasn’t going to be for long, and he was thinking up a plan to stay alive. Now you’re going to see the thing that Abram did was the exact opposite of what Paul instructs us to do concerning our wives in this Age of Grace. Paul is teaching that Abraham should have been able to say, “Sarai, you’re beautiful, they’ll probably kill me, but for your sake, I’m willing to let them do it.” But Abram chickened out. I mean he chickened out, and said, “Now Sarai, we’re not going to let them kill me for your sake. You just go ahead and tell them that you’re my sister, and they will spare my life.” Now isn’t that something?
Now according to today’s thinking, the sociologists, the psychologists, and the feminists, they would say, “What should Sarai have done?” She should have wrapped him on the side of the head and said, “I’m not going to do such a thing. I’m not going to end up in some pagan king’s harem just for your sake.” Isn’t that the thinking today? But you see Sarai didn’t respond that way. Sarai, obediently let them take her, and sure enough old Abram was right as they took her into the king’s harem. But you know what? The Almighty overruled. Even though Abram pulled a dumb stunt, God still overruled on behalf of Sarai. And I think the lesson for women today is, yes once in a while your husband is going to make a dumb move, but you know what we know? “God is going to intervene in such a way that the end result for both husband and wife will still be for our good.”
Now let’s look at another one in chapter 20, and by now you’d think Abraham would have known better. He got kicked out of Egypt the first go around because of what he tried to do, and so now he’s back in that same border area of Gerar, a different king of course, and now verse 1, and this was a good many years later, his name has been changed from Abram to Abraham already.
And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. 2. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.”
Now you have to understand the pagan thinking of the ancients, and that was that they would kidnap beautiful women and bring them into the kings harem against their will. So Abraham instead of standing up and giving his life for Sarah lets them take her, and so she ends up in Abimelech’s harem, but God intervenes.
“But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife.”
And of course you know what the story goes on to say. Abimelech woke up and brought Sarah quickly back to Abraham. Then there’s one more occasion this happens, and we find Isaac pulls the same stunt with his beautiful wife Rebekah in chapter 26 of Genesis. Remember this is a whole generation later.
“And Isaac dwelt in Gerar: 7. And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.”
Instead of saying, “That’s my wife and I’m ready to die for her”, he says, “She’s my sister.” In so many words Isaac is saying, “You can have her.”
“And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife. 9. And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her.”
Well we know that the Lord intervened again, before anything happened, and spared both Abraham, and Isaac, and their wives.
Do you see now how women can rest on the promises of God that if you are submissive to your husband as Sarah and Rebekah were, even though your husband can make a stupid move, God by His intercessory power can take care of the situation. So don’t ever doubt that God can overcome every bad situation.