Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 39
Titus 2:13 Declares Jesus Christ as God
Well 9 years ago this month we started with this format of “Through The Bible” and we just trust that the Lord will continue to use this program for His glory. And how we thank you for letters that reveal that hearts which have been hardened for years and years the Lord has opened and brought to a knowledge of salvation. And also for those of you who for the first time in your life are now enjoying your Bible, and we just give the Lord the praise for it.
Now let’s turn to where we left off in our last lesson and that will be in Philippians chapter 1 and we had gotten as far as verse 28. And remember that Paul is writing this letter while he is in prison in Rome. As we pointed out in the first chapter he had already won numerous of the various Roman soldiers to a knowledge of salvation who had come in to be his personal guard. And we’ll see at the end of this letter these very same people actually became then, part of his greetings to the Philippian believers. So I think there is a theme of joy that comes out of this letter to the Philippians over the fact that he was reaching right into the upper echelon of the Roman empire. Now verse 28.
“And in nothing terrified by your adversaries which is to them (the adversaries) an evident token of perdition,…”
Do you know what that means? We read these things but we don’t really stop to think on them. It’s those who oppose the believers. Those who have brought persecution on the believers over the centuries have simply set their nose with flint to their eternal doom. And that’s not going to change. Anyone who opposes the Gospel, anyone who brings persecution on the believer, short of his own salvation of course, are headed for any eternal doom, now that’s what perdition means. So that’s what Paul is saying, “For those who persecute believers and bring pressures on us, are headed for their own perdition, their own doom.”
But it’s also an evidence of our own salvation, when they bring persecution on us. You had better be careful if everybody has nothing but good to say about you. Because the unbelieving world really shouldn’t be able to complement us much because they don’t like who we are and what we stand for. So Paul makes it so plain to these Philippians that when the pressures from the outside world, whether it was the Judaisers or the Pagans or the Romans
Also remember at the time of Paul, Emperor worship had almost superseded the god and goddesses of mythology. Mythology was still out there of course, but especially the intellectual community of the Roman empire was into Emperor worship. And every Emperor, Nero included, set themselves up as a god, and to be worshipped as a god. So along comes something like Christianity, and that flew in the face of Emperor worship, and so this is why Paul is making the point, that when someone opposes the believer, it an evident of two things. The opposers are headed for their own perdition, and the believer a confirmation of what and who he is. Now verse 29.
“For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.”
Now that again is contrary to what most of Christendom has been led to believe in the last 50 years. Too many people have gotten the idea that when you become a Christian you’ve gotten a bed of roses. When you become a Christian the money just comes rolling in, your debts get canceled, and all of a sudden you’re just rolling in wealth. But you see that’s not what my Bible teaches. My Bible teaches that for the most part, when we become a believer we’re going to come under the hatred and the pressures of the unbelieving world. Yes we have that hope of His glory, the hope of eternity, but in the present life we do not have that much promise to us from the Scriptures.
I always have to remind us that we here in this great country have been so spoiled because we’re so blessed, and we do not realize how much Christians have had to suffer down through the hundreds and hundreds of years since the time Paul wrote this. Most of the time Christians suffered for their faith, most of the time they were driven from place to place because they didn’t conform. It’s only been since our beloved land has been blessed and we’ve had our constitutional rights that we as Christians have become complacent. It hasn’t always been this way, we are rare according to the annals of history, so we had better be aware that we may yet have to suffer for His sake. And that of course is more than compensated by the glory which shall be revealed to us, as Paul tells us in Romans chapter 8. Now verse 30.
“Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.”
Now here I’m sure he’s making reference to all the times that he had to suffer for his testimony, which were the scourging and beatings, and imprisonments even as he writes. And all of these sufferings were for the sake of the Gospel. He was guilty of no law breaking, or anything else, but he had proclaimed Grace instead of Law and it was of course because of the accusations of the Judaisers. And here you have to go all the way back to what got Paul in prison in the first place. Remember when he started standing on the premise that you’re not under Law, you’re under Grace, and the unbelieving Jewish people and even the believing element in Jerusalem to a degree didn’t like that.
They came down on him even to the place of trying to take his life, and then of course while he was in prison in Caesarea, and couldn’t make any headway with the authorities, so he appealed to Caesar. Paul was convinced as a Roman citizen he would get a fair shake in the Roman courts. Well I imagine had it been anybody but Nero he would have. But Nero was such a horrible personality that it ended up in his martyrdom. Now chapter 2, and we come into the chapter that I could hardly sleep last night thinking about it, and how I could comment on especially after we get to verse 5, because these are some tremendous verses.
“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels (inner-most part,) and mercies, 2. Fulfil ye my joy,…”
Now we pointed that out in chapter 1, what was pumping this man up with so much joy and rejoicing? The fact that Paul was penetrating the higher echelons of the Roman empire. He was actually seeing these hardened Roman soldiers come to a knowledge of the saving Grace of Jesus Christ. Most of these soldiers carried out all the gruesome acts that Nero wanted. I read once that possibly one of these soldiers even killed Nero’s own mother and step son. So these were the kind of people that were in contact with the apostle Paul and were coming out of all that wickedness and that horrible sin background and becoming testimonies of God’s Grace. Hey that would be enough to make anybody happy, so here was the sound of his joy.
“Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, (as joyful as I am) having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory;…”
Now again, compare the life of the average Philippian believer in their mundane, everyday Christian experience, compared to where Paul was chained to a Roman soldier, with his life on the line. These Philippians could bicker over any little thing, and we’re no different today. And I think Paul is trying to get them to see that comparison. “Don’t bicker over little incidentals that amount to nothing, but always stop and think of my circumstance, what if you were where I am, then these little things wouldn’t seem so important.”
Well it’s the same message for us today in this age of Grace. How many Churches bicker, bicker, bicker. Iris worked in the nursing profession, and worked with people from every background you can imagine. She came home once and said, “Isn’t it amazing what Churches will fight and split over?” Well one of her co-worker’s Church had just split because they couldn’t agree on the color of the upholstery for their new pews. Who cares what color the pews are? The only thing that should matters is “is the Gospel of salvation going out? So this is exactly what Paul is saying, ” That they were not to be so concerned about the little nitty gritty things of everyday life, but to consider the fact that they are not where he is. Now completing verse 3.
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Now that comes right back again to my definition of love. Do you remember what it is? “Seeking the other persons highest good.” So this is exactly what he has in mind.
“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
Now he’s not advocating covetousness. Paul isn’t saying, Look at your neighbors stuff and wish you had it. But rather what he’s saying here is, “everything that you do with regards to your friends and neighbors and relatives, do it in the spirit that you’re going to seek their highest good.” A verse comes to mind in I Corinthians chapter 13, the great love chapter. Maybe this is an appropriate place to go back and look at it again.
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 here it comes, and this is exactly what he’s telling the Philippians and what he’s telling us.
I Corinthians 13:4-5
“Charity (love) suffereth (endureth) long, and is kind; charity (love) envieth not; charity, (love) vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5. (love) Doth not behave itself unseemly, (or unnaturally, love) seeketh not her own, (love) is not easily provoked, (love) thinketh no evil;”
Boy when I read it like that you almost think I’ve got an NIV don’t you? But I don’t have, I’ll just stick to my King James Version. Now back to Philippians. So that’s exactly what Paul has on his mind in verse 4 and the Holy Spirit inspiring it. Looking at the verse again.
“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”(with that attitude of love, and not with an attitude of covetousness.)
Now I wish I had more time to compete the next couple of verses in this lesson, but we’ll get as far as we can and pick them up in the next lesson. Now beginning with verse 5, and this is the portion that I just about laid awake all last night thinking on how I can bring this portion out clearly so that anyone whether they’re 5 or 105 can understand completely what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”
Now to put that in plain English, how would I put that? “Have the mind of Christ! Think as He would think.” I always remind people when they say, “Walk in the footsteps of Jesus.” Because I say tongue in cheek, what are you going to do when He gets to the shore of Galilee, and He keeps going? So it gets kind of hard to walk in His footsteps at times, but nevertheless, how can we think as He thinks? Well there’s only one way, and that is to be saturated with the Word, literally saturated.
My goodness I was talking to a lady last night who said there was an elderly gentlemen in her community, whose heart was as hard as nails for years. She said nobody could ever talk to him about spiritual things, and finally as he was in the final stages of chemotherapy, which wasn’t working, but nevertheless, this lady talked to the guy’s wife, and wanted to know if he had ever softened up on spiritual things? She said “Yeah, all of a sudden he doesn’t want to do anything but read his Bible.” So this lady offered this gentlemen’s wife some of our little books for him to read, and she said, “Wait a minute, there’s only one guy that my husband listens to, he’s a tall fellow who teaches from a music stand.” So to make a long story short the Lord opened the old boy’s heart and he had just literally begun to saturate himself with the Word.
Now isn’t it sad that some people waste a whole lifetime of perhaps 90 some years and then finally in the last few months of his life, they can begin to do what they should have been doing for a long time and that’s to study the Word of God. But you see this is the secret of having the mind of Christ, we just literally saturate ourselves with the Word, but remember, God doesn’t expect us to get so heavenly minded that we’re no earthly good. And that’s possible. I mean people can just simply get freaked out and can think and talk about nothing else. Now that isn’t what God wants because we’re still functioning in this old body here on the earth. But when it comes to having the mind of Christ, there’s only one way, and that is to just be in the Word.
It’s the same way with witnessing. I tell my Oklahoma classes the reason that most Christians don’t witness is because they’re so ignorant of this Book that they’re scared to open their mouth. They know if somebody asks a question, they’re immediately backed into a corner and can’t answer it. Now that’s not God’s fault. God has given us the wherewithal to study, and to become skilled in the use of the Scriptures. I don’t care who it is if they know their Bible, and if they can at least show people where a few things are written, they don’t have any trouble witnessing. They don’t have any trouble talking about the Lord, because they’re confident. But the average believer doesn’t have that, so consequently he clams up. But isn’t it sad, because all they have to do is simply get into the Word.
You’ve heard me say it on this program probably dozens of times, that if old William Tyndale wanted a copy of the Scriptures in the hand of every plowboy in England, what does that mean? You don’t have to be college educated to understand this Book. The Holy Spirit gives us what we need, so whoever we are, don’t just say, “Well I can’t understand it anyway, so I’m not going to spend time reading it.” No, if you get into the Word, the Holy Spirit will begin to open your understanding. So looking at the verse again.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”
Even though we can’t obtain to His perfect righteousness, we can’t obtain to Who He was, because He was God. But we’re to endeavor to be more like Him tomorrow than we were today. We’re to endeavor today to have more of a mind to think like Christ does than we did yesterday. In fact let’s look at another verse on this in the Book in Romans chapter 12.
“I beseech you therefore,…”
Because of everything he had written in these previous chapters, especially the first 8 chapters. Remember chapters 9, 10, and 11 are parenthetical. So what Paul wrote in the first 8 chapters is what I think he’s referring back to here with the therefore.
“I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, (not sinless perfection, or that you sprout a halo, but holy simply means that you’ve been set apart, you’re different, you belong to God, you’re no longer a part of the world. So this is what we are to be, holy,) acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
See God isn’t unreasonable. God’s knows we’re made of dust. He knows we’re sons of Adam, He knows all these things, but He does expect your reasonable service. Now the verse I wanted to come to.
“And be not conformed to this world: (we’re to be different) but be ye transformed (changed) by the renewing of your mind,…”
Now we’ve got to remember that everything we say, do, and see comes and goes through our mind. The mind is the core of everything. You look at me and the first thing the mind tells you is my name or whatever the case may be. You can look at a wall and the first thing your mind tells you is what you’re seeing. It’s the same way spiritually then, that if our mind is lined up with the things of God, and according to the teachings and exhortations of the Holy Spirit then our mind is going to think as God wants us to think. I read a cliche the other day,“A person is what he thinks!” So if our mind is on the world’s garbage then that’s the way we’re going to think. If on the other hand the mind has been saturated with the Word of God, then that’s what we’re going to think, and it’s going to start showing.
“…that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
We get letters that ask, “How can I know the will of God?” I’m sure everyone of us have asked that question. Well I think you put all this I’ve just said in this lesson in a thought, “By being saturated in the Word.” And when we’re saturated with the Word, then God operates through our mind which is now the mind of Christ and we will begin to fulfill the will of God. I for one have never gone out and just knocked down doors so that I can do something for the Lord, that hasn’t been my style, and still isn’t. I wait till the Lord opens doors, and I think that’s still the proper way of doing it. And as we wait for these open doors, and go ahead signals, then we end up in the will of God. And as long as we don’t rebel and say, “I won’t do it,” God will get us where He wants us. Remember this is the reason that He’s left believers on the earth, so that we can function as emmisaries of His Grace, and that we can constantly be promoters of the Gospel of Grace.
Now coming back to Philippians chapter 2 for the few seconds we have left. Let’s read verse 5 again and then verse 6 which we’ll pick up in our next lesson.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (now I’ll go on into the next verse although we won’t have time to comment on it. Speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ) 6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery (He did not think it was something that He was grabbing that was not rightfully His) to be equal with God;”
Why? Because He was God! My, the Scriptures declares that He was God. I know there’s one particular group that their main hang up is that they just can’t believe that Jesus Christ was God. You can show them some of these verses and they’ll say, “Well that isn’t what it means.” Well it’s hard to deal with someone like that, but I guess my favorite Scripture to prove to them that Jesus Christ is God is found in Titus chapter 2.
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”
There’s no room to argue with Scriptures like that!