Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 39
The Whole Armour of God – Part 2
We trust that as we begin this lesson, that you will just take your Bible and study along with us. We hope that you don’t depend on a Sunday School quarterly, or what I or anyone else says, but learn to search the Scriptures and see what the Word of God really says and what it doesn’t say. So I hope you’re learning how to read, study, and understand your own Bible, and by the response we’re getting, we feel that the Lord is blessing that approach.
Now I feel we didn’t quite get through with verse 4 in the last lesson, so I think rather than going on into verse 5 as I had first contemplated doing, we’ll come back to verse 4 for a few moments. We’ll be dealing again with the relationship between parents, fathers in particular, and the children. You know children are the most important part of the next generation because we’re just one generation away from paganism. If parents do not teach their children the Word of God, their children are not very likely to ever come back to them, and say, “Hey I want to pick up with Spiritual things that you failed to teach me.”
Most generally they’ll continue on in that same lifestyle, and of course we’re seeing it all across America where our younger generations have absolutely no knowledge of the Scriptures. You can talk about a “Damascus experience” and they look at you with a blank look. You can talk about other things that a generation ago everybody knew what you’re talking about, even though some of them weren’t believers, at least they knew that it was in the Book. But you see now that’s not the case, because I’m afraid our younger generation is so close to paganism. Now when I say paganism, I don’t mean they’re out there bowing their knees in front of idols, but they just have no concept of Spiritual things. I always have to look at the masses wherever we are, how many of them ever stop to think about eternity. Not many because it just never crosses their mind. Well here again it all boils down to how these children are being raised. Are they being raised as Paul says here in verse 4?
“…but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
See, that’s the instruction from God. We are to raise our children under those set of circumstances. As I was preparing this in my mind, I couldn’t help but go back to Acts chapter 16. You want to remember that as Paul and Silas came into the city of Philippi up there in Northern Greece, there weren’t many Jews to give that community a semblance of a knowledge of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So it was primarily pagan. They knew nothing of the One True God! Into that pagan city, Paul came with the Gospel of Salvation, and because he was proclaiming the Gospel he and Silas ended up in the jail at Philippi. You remember in that account the scourging and the beatings that they took and then were locked in stocks in the dungeon. Let’s pick it up after they had sung songs with their backs bleeding, and the earthquake had opened all cells. We find the Philippian jailer was amazed that the prisoners were all still there, and he comes and literally falls at the feet of Paul and Silas.
“And brought them out, and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’”
Now whenever I read this verse, I can’t help but compare it with another verse that says a lot of the same, but yet totally different. We find that verse back in Acts chapter 2:38. It’s the same way, when I teach Acts 2:38, I’ve got to use Acts chapter 16. In fact we’ll compare the two verses right now. Keep in mind the reason we came to Acts chapter 16 is to look at the Philippian jailer and his family.
In Acts chapter 2 we find Peter preaching his heart out to the nation of Israel, which is so obvious up in verse 36, where Peter winds up this sermon.
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, (see Peter doesn’t mention any Gentiles because he’s preaching to the Jewish nation. Most preachers and teachers never mention that.) that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall (what’s the pronoun?) we do?”
So who’s asking the question? The nation of Israel? I always make the point here, that God deals with the Jews on two levels. Individually and nationally, so always keep that in mind. Here in these verses He’s dealing with them on the national level. So the nation has just asked, “What must we, the nation, do?” Remember they had just crucified their Messiah. Now look what Peter tells them.
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Now that’s Peter preaching to Israel under Law, and it was exactly what God wanted him to preach to Israel. But now look at the difference in Paul’s answer to the Philippian jailer under Grace and the Church age several years later. This Gentile comes and asked almost the same question, and yet it’s not the same, because he doesn’t say, “What shall we do,” but rather “what shall I do to be saved?” Now it becomes a personal thing, do you see that? Today, God isn’t dealing with the Gentiles as He did with the nation of Israel on national grounds, rather every Gentile is being dealt with personally. And that’s why we always empathize that salvation is not just bringing in people wholesale, but rather salvation today is that one at a time, as the Holy Spirit convicts and opens the understanding, and that person believes the Gospel. That’s also why a lot of people use that term, “A personal Saviour,”because we have to be saved as an individual.
So this is exactly the way the Philippian jailer, as a Gentile, a pagan, an unbeliever, that’s the way he put it.
“…Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
Do you notice that Paul doesn’t say, “Repent and be baptized.” Paul says what? Believe! And that’s Paul’s theme all the way through his letters, and he’s the only one in this age of Grace that has that message. Romans 1:16 is a good example.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it (the Gospel) is the power of God unto salvation to every on that believeth;…” Another good one is found in I Corinthians 1:18
I Corinthians 15:1-4
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (unto salvation.)
And how do we obtain salvation as we just saw in Romans 1:16? By believing! Not repenting as Peter preached. And this is Paul’s theme all the way through. Some more you can look at are found in I Corinthians 15:1-4. Romans 10:9-10, I Thessalonians 4:14, and there and many others in Paul’s epistles, he never changes that theme. Now let’s come back to the Philippian jailer and see that his family was also involved. It wasn’t just a one man deal, so we pick that up in verse 31. Paul is speaking here.
“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, (now these next three words throw a curve at a lot of people) and thy house.”
Well does that mean when a father is saved, his kids are automatically saved? Well of course not, but what’s implied? That if you have believing parents, you have a Christian home, Christian influence, Christian up-bringing as Paul puts it, “bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” What are the chances of those children becoming believers compared to kids that are raised in an unbelieving home? Well it’s far greater – I’m not going to say it’s 100% because even Christian homes can have kids that will end up rebellious and so forth. But percentage wise, when you’ve got a Christian home, a Christian father and mother, their kids are more apt to carry on to their homes, to their kids, this Christian tradition than when you have a family with no concern about spiritual things. Now let’s follow this Philippian jailer some more in verse 32.
“And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.”
Now we don’t know how many were in the jailer’s home, but certainly his wife and some children. And evidently the whole family must have become believers that very night. Now I’ve talked to missionaries who have seen the same thing happen in grossly uncivilized areas – when a husband and father becomes a believer, then the whole family will follow. It’s not just like a bunch of little ducks following the mother duck, but it is a real salvation experience that carries that family through thick and thin, and I think that’s what has happened here in these verses. So repeating verse 32 again.
“And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. (evidently their salvation was evident) 33. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.” (so the emphasis is the whole family became believers. Now verse 34) And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.”
So the father was instrumental in the whole family coming to know the Lord. Now let’s come back to Ephesians and carry that right on through as Paul is also using that same set of circumstances, that if the father, who not only is Godly in the treatment of his wife up there in chapter 5, but he also will be instrumental in raising his children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Now that’s just plain common sense, remember Christianity is so practical. Christianity is not pie in the sky as some would have you believe. It’s not, as one lady in Minnesota put it, “Blab it and Grab it.” But it is just simply practical, and if we have a practical operating Christian home more than likely we’re going to see Christian children, who in turn will go out and begin their own Christian home, and that’s the only thing that keeps it going. But if there’s a break in that chain, then the next generation is out in the cold.
Now I think we’re ready to move on. Back to Ephesians chapter 6, and go on into verse 5. Paul now brings it into another segment of society, and that is the work place. We have to recognize that at the time of Paul slavery of blacks and whites was still part and parcel of the economy. Today we have a hard time understanding that, but that’s the way it was, and we have to look at it in that light. Always remember when God sanctioned slavery, even back in the Old Testament times, He was not looking at the mean spiritedness of treating slave people like animals, but rather it was an economy that, had it been done in a Godly way, would have worked.
You want to remember the vast majority of those people had no education, so they couldn’t build up a profession unless they were out of the 2 or 3 percent of the elite, so the masses were totally incapable of running a business or being in production, or anything like that, so the most comfortable area for them was working for someone. So if you had a benevolent slave master, he would provide the housing and the food, and the clothing, and everything that these people would need, and life was enjoyable. But when you had a slave master who was totally the old Adam under the inspiration of old Satan, then yes, being a slave was a horrible life, and remember that most of the human race, as the biggest majority of people lived in the element of slavery. So now then Paul is bringing this into the lifestyle of the believing slave master, as well as a believing servant, and look what he says.
“Servants, (or we’d be more prone to say, ‘slaves’) be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, (because he’s your boss) with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, (and again what’s the comparison?) as unto Christ;”
Now this is talking about the believing element in society. This is not talking about those out there with their bull whips and so forth.
“Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers: but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart: 7. With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:”
Now it will be a while before we get to the Book of Philemon. I think you all understand the story behind the letter to Philemon, who also was a slave owner. He was a gentleman of means, and one of his bond slaves had evidently stolen from him, and fled the area of Colossi, which was over there in Western Turkey, and ends up where Paul is, probably in Rome, because this is one of his prison epistles. And somehow or other this slave, Onesimus, comes under the influence of Paul’s preaching, and becomes a believer. Now Paul was also instrumental in the salvation of Onesimus’ owner Philemon, and so Paul is going to bring these two people back together, the slave and his master. Now this is the whole setting of this one page letter to Philemon. And what Paul is really saying is, “Yes you own him, he’s your servant, but you are both in the Body of Christ.” Hey what does that do? That puts you on equal footing. Now Onesimus is still the servant, and Philemon is still the owner, but he no longer is to treat this man like chattel. The purpose also of this letter is for Philemon to accept this slave back into his good graces, not as a wayward slave who would now be punished severely for what he had done, but as a fellow believer, and it’s a beautiful little letter. Let’s just drop in at verse 5. The setting here is that Paul is a prisoner in Rome and Philemon is probably a wealthy individual living over east of the city of Ephesus in Colossi.
“Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;”
Now who’s that including? Even Onesimus, because now he’s also a believer, and numbered with the saints. Now verse 6.
“That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. 7. For we have great joy and consolation in thy love,…”
Even this slave owner, this man Philemon, is exercising the theme about love that we had on the board last lesson, “Seeking other peoples highest good.” Even his servants. Now that took something didn’t it? Now verse 8.
“Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient, 9. Yet for love’s sake I rather beseech thee being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. 10. I beseech thee for my son (in the faith) Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:”
In other words, because of Paul’s witnessing while in prison, he was somehow able to get the Gospel across to Onesimus. Now verse 11.
“Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:”
Paul tells Philemon that this man in the past was unprofitable. Why? Because he had fled his place of service, and he had also no doubt stolen something from Philemon. But now since he’s become a believer, Onesimus has become profitable to Paul as well as Philemon. That’s what salvation does for people. Now verse 12.
“Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels.(heart or innermost being) 13. Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel: 14. But without thy mind (or agreement) would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly. 15. For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever: 16. Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord? 17. If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself. 18. If he hath wronged thee, (and we’re pretty sure he did)or oweth thee ought,(for anything he might have stolen, Paul says,) put that on mine account;”
So these two people, slave master and his slave, are brought back together in the bonds of love because of the intercessory work of the apostle Paul. Now come back to Ephesians chapter 6. You see that even though we’re no longer under the economy of slavery today out in the work place of the world we have the masters and the hireling. And it’s about the same set of circumstances today as it was then. A believer who is a owner and the boss over people should constantly reflect his Christianity. He should reflect his love for the Lord as well as his love for the people who are under him. Now verse 8.
“Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.”
And again the Scripture says over and over that God is no respecter of persons. It doesn’t impress God if a believing man is over a thousand people any more than a servant who is a believer, because in Christ we have that unity. Now verse 9.
“And, ye masters, (owners) do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening; knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is respect of persons with him.”
God is saying to the masters and owners to forbear their workers, listen to them, because they’re human beings just like you are, so don’t threaten them. So the lesson carries through right to our own day and time. When a corporate manager or owner of a business has people under him, especially if he’s a believer, and he treat his employees as God treats him, he’s going to be successful. He’s going to have a happy work force, and I’ve known some small companies like that. Most of their employees were Christians and the owners were Christians and they didn’t have any labor trouble. They had excellent production records because it’s so true. What God has mandated is going to work.