Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 39
The Whole Armour of God
Now as we begin Book 39, I feel we need to review just a little. Remember coming out of Ephesians chapter 5, we’ve been dealing with the husband and wife relationship which goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden when God created man first and then the woman. From that very time on, God has always mandated that the man is to be the head of the woman, not as a tyrant, but rather as a benevolent, loving head of the woman, and consequently there will be no opposition for that kind of a relationship. The comparison that Paul makes in Ephesians is found in chapter 5 and verse 25.
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it;”
So that’s the way the man should love his wife, as the whole theme of these verses have been centered on love. Well you take that same concept right on into chapter 6, because there were no chapter headings when Paul wrote. He didn’t put chapter 6 and then break it down into verses, but as he was writing and the Holy Spirit is guiding his thinking, he now moves on into another area, but it’s still involved in the home. So we move from the husband and wife relationship right on down into the family relationship, and that is between parents and children.
Now we’re hearing a lot lately from our politicians about family, and the way they look at it. But we’re going to look at the family from the Scriptural point of view, and remember the very bedrock of society is the home and family. So after coming out of the teachings on the husband and wife relationship the very first word of chapter 6 is “Children…” And some might say, “So what!” Well I couldn’t help but think while getting ready for this that I had read an article several months ago, and I dug it out, and it was a description of the Jewish Passover even as Jewish people practice it today. The author of this particular article says, “One of the major participants in the Passover meal is children.”
Now I had never really thought of that before, but you see as you go through the Passover meal and they break that one piece of bread, and the largest part is wrapped and hidden some place in the home, and toward the end of the feast, the children are sent out to find that hidden piece of bread. It then just almost becomes a game for the kids. So I think we need to look at that for a moment in the Book of Exodus chapter 12. The whole purpose of the Passover, I do believe, was to not only keep the Jewish people mindful of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but it was the glue that literally held the Jewish people together throughout all these centuries of oppression, persecution, and dispersion.
I’ve think I’ve made mention of it before that as I look at the big picture in my own mind, I have to feel that the Passover has probably done more than anything else to keep the Jewish people what they are, their Jewishness, or heritage, or whatever you want to call it. Now here in Exodus chapter 12, let’s drop down to verse 23, because most of you know the account of the Passover, and the death angel passing over Egypt. And how they were to put the blood on the door, so now if we can step into the narrative beginning with verse 23.
“For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer (or permit) the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.” (now here it comes in verse 24) And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever. 25. And it shall come to pass when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. 26. And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? (or Passover feast) 27. That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD’S Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.”
The main criteria then of the Passover Supper, even to this very day, whether it’s the non-practicing Jewish people or the practicing Jews, as they go through that Passover meal, the children are given opportunity to ask questions of why we do this or that? And the answer is “because of what happened in Egypt.” So the whole idea of the thing is to get these children to think and ask questions so they are able to tell their children about that event. So this event, the Passover, became the very bedrock of the Jewish family. Now coming back to Ephesians for just a moment we find it’s that same concept of the home, parents and their children.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”
What one basic attribute of the human makeup causes children to obey their parents? Love! But it has to be a two-way street. So we have to look at this whole concept again of love as Paul talks about it in chapter 5, between husbands and wives, and that same love carries on into the relationship between parents and children. What is the definition of “LOVE? Love = Seeking the other person’s highest good!” Now that’s the best definition of true, Biblical love that I can ever think of. Now when we speak of love scripturally of course, we’re not talking about erotic love, or sexual love, or Hollywood’s view of love, but rather we’re talking about that God-given ability to love your neighbor as yourself, which Jesus in His earthly ministry calls the greatest commandment.
Now when you love your neighbor as yourself, what are you really doing? You’re seeking his highest good. Now think about that. That has nothing to do with the physical contact of the hugging and kissing and so forth that we normally associate with love anymore. But true love is just simply doing that which will bring about the highest good, whether it’s a neighbor, wife or children. Now for a moment let’s come back to the great love chapter in I Corinthians. You all know the chapter, and we’re not going to read it all, but I do want to read a good portion of it, because it says it so aptly. I’m finding out that the television audience actually gets more out of the Scripture by reading than what I say, and that’s as it should be. I want people to literally let the Word of God itself speak to them, and not necessarily myself. Now look what the Word says in verse 1. This is Paul speaking.
I Corinthians 13:1
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, (love) I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” Sort of like rattling a rock in a tin can. That’s all we are if love does not promote it. Now verse 2.
I Corinthians 13:2
“And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity,(love) I am nothing.”
Now as I read these verses, I can’t help but remember the letter to the Church at Ephesus back there in the Book of Revelation. And what was the admonition? Oh they had everything up to snuff, their doctrine was right, their works were right, but what was the Church at Ephesus lacking? Their first love! And it’s the same way today, I don’t care how skilled we are in the Scripture, I don’t care how faithful we are in attending our particular Church and all these things, if there’s no love behind it, then forget it, because it’s like nothing. Now reading on.
I Corinthians 13:3
“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, (love) it profiteth me nothing.”
Now that’s strong language and a lot of times we don’t think about it in this light. But unless we have this ability to seek the other persons highest good, and out of that motive that is God-given, then it’s totally for nothing. Now reading on.
I Corinthians 13:4-7
“Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity (love) envieth not; charity (love) vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5. (love) Doth not behave itself unseemly, (love) seeketh not her own, (love) is not easily provoked, (love) thinketh no evil; 6. (love) Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but (love) rejoiceth in the truth; 7.(love) Beareth all things, (love) believeth all things, (love) hopeth all things, (love) endureth all things.” Now, the capstone of it all.
I Corinthians 13:13
“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, (love) these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (love)
Now I’ve tried to emphasize to people over the years as I’ve taught, not just from this chapter, but from all over the New Testament, that as you go through Paul’s letters, you find no reference any more after the Corinthians’ letters, to tongues, and prophecies, but throughout his whole segment of our New Testament, these three words just keep popping up. FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE they never stop. These three things are just as valid today as they were at the very beginning of his ministry, and the greatest of them is love. Now let’s come back to Ephesians chapter 6, and so in that spirit of true agape, God-given love, seeking that other person’s highest good, in this case the children loving their parents, Paul goes right back again to the Old Testament to the Ten Commandments.
“Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)”
Now I don’t know how many of you remember the Ten Commandments. I read a little poll the other day, that even among pastors, a great percentage of them could not list more than five or six of the Ten Commandments. And among the general population, they could only list two or three. I can believe that. Is it any wonder we’re in trouble as a nation tonight? But I hope you’re not that far gone, that you can’t even remember the Ten Commandments. Let’s go back to Romans chapter 13 first, and then we’ll probably run back to Exodus if we have time.
“Owe (defraud) no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another (based on seeking the other persons highest good) hath fulfilled the law. (the Ten Commandments) 9. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shall not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness. Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Paul is quoting almost verbatim from the lips of the Lord Jesus Himself. Now verse 10.) Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Now the point I want to get across is found in Romans chapter 6.
“For sin (the old Adam, the old sin nature we’re born with) shall not have dominion over you: (why) for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
Now here’s the dilemma. If we’re under Grace, and not under Law, why does Paul repeat the commandments? And he repeats 9 out of the 10, and the one that he doesn’t mention is the Sabbath which was on Saturday under the Law. But he repeats all the others. Why, if we’re under Grace? Because even under Grace the constitution of the Almighty God Himself is still valid. Just because we’re under Grace does not give us license to steal, or license to commit adultery. They are still God’s guideline for Holy, Righteous, living. And I for one am not against posting the Ten Commandments in public places, because they are non-intrusive, and they do not scorn any other religion. The Ten Commandments are a worldwide set of rules for social activity and should not embarrass anyone. Now that’s the way I look at it, but there may be some that don’t agree with me.
The major point I want to make in this lesson is that the relationship between the husband and wife, between the parents and the children is LOVE. Love is the key to all of this. I think we’ve got time to go back to Exodus chapter 20 and just look at the Ten Commandants and refresh them in your mind. It will remind us once again that which so many people have forgotten totally. God gave these Ten Commandments to Moses, who in turn took them down Mt. Sinai and gave them to the children of Israel.
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Now that knocks idolatry right out of the picture doesn’t it.
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image…” That would be part and parcel of idolatry or any likeness.
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them…” Then you come on up to verse 7.
“Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. 8. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”Remember for Israel that was the seventh day (the Saturday Sabbath) And the purpose was to work six days and have one day of rest. Now verse 12.
“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” Paul refers to this one as the only commandment with a promise. And that was the promise, “If children would be obedient to their parents, they could have a long life on this earth.”
“Thou shalt not kill. 14. Thou shalt not commit adultery, 15. Thou shalt not steal. 16. Thou shalt not bear false witness (or lie) against thy neighbour. 17. Thou shalt not covet…”
Now that pretty much wraps up the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses, and which Paul still adheres to even for us under Grace. And that’s why I’m always making the statement that Grace is not license. Grace never gives us license to go contrary to God’s basic laws for humanity, which of course is the Ten Commandments. Now coming back to Ephesians chapter 6 to wrap up this lesson. Now not only are the children to obey their parents, but there’s a responsibility for the parents to the children, and particularly the father. And here again we as a society have gone 180 degrees against the Word of God. Today in most homes it’s the mother who has to mete out discipline, but the Scripture never gives that to the mother. But the whole concept of Scripture is that the father was to be the disciplinarian. Now verse 4.
“And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
When it comes to fathers disciplining their children one word always comes to mind, and do you know what it is? Temperance. I think it’s in Corinthians where Paul is describing the Olympic runners as they are training and preparing their bodies for the race. And he admonishes that we’re to be temperate in everything. In other words you can’t go clear off to the right or to the left. And it’s the same way with disciplining children. Some families are so strict, those poor kids are in a straight jacket, and they cannot wait until they can get out from under dad’s roof and do whatever they want to. That’s not being temperate in discipline, that’s doing the extreme. And on the other hand we’ve got parents who don’t discipline at all. They just let their kids run wild, so what must we do? We become temperate and bring discipline into the middle. You have to discipline children, and they do want discipline, they want rules to live by, and so you can’t just give them total license, but on the other hand you have to respect the fact that they are a person, they have their certain demands for a bit of freedom, and all the time as we discipline children, it has to be prompted by love. I can’t over emphasize the word love. We discipline our children because we love them! Just for a moment let’s go to Hebrews. The Scripture says it all if you look for it.
“For whom the Lord loveth (the Lord is always seeking our highest good. So that person that God loves) he chasteneth, and scourgeth (spank) every son whom he receiveth. 7. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” Now that’s part and parcel of our living. We have to be disciplined. Now verse 9.
“Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh (in this worldly experience) which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? (and then verse 10 coming back to earthly fathers) For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: (I don’t care what the child psychologists say, the Scripture is more true than they ever hope to be,) nevertheless afterward (discipline) it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Can you make it any plainer that that?