Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 44
I Timothy 1:1-16
Okay, good to have everybody back. I usually have to explain what that means. We take a break between each half hour taping, and the coffee and cookies are kind of hard for the people to leave behind. Iris used to bake the cookies, but now most of the ladies and some of the men are chipping in and bringing them.
Okay, we’re just an informal Bible study. We always like to let folks know that we appreciate your financial help, your prayers, and your letters. Nothing thrills us more, as I’ve said over and over, than when people let us know that they’ve found salvation. As one person wrote, “If it weren’t for you, I’d still be lost.” Well, that’s encouraging, you know. And so many others say that for the first time in their life they enjoy their Bible. Well, that’s the only reason we teach. We don’t try to twist arms. We don’t try to convince someone that they’re wrong and we’re right. But just simply to get people enthused about reading and studying their own Bible.
All right, we’re going to pick up right where we left off in I Timothy chapter 1 and down at verse 8. Paul is still admonishing Timothy, of course, as to what to be aware of as he would soon be leaving the scene. I think even at this point in time—I think Paul realizes it wouldn’t be too long until either the Jews or the Romans would bring his ministry to an end. So now verse 8:
I Timothy 1:8
“But we know that the law (Now whenever he speaks of the law, we think primarily of the Ten Commandments. But it could also envelope the whole Mosaic system of temple worship and so forth. But generally, we think of law as the Ten Commandments.) is good, if (the condition is) a man use it lawfully (rightly);”
And I think we pointed that out a couple of programs back. Going back to Romans chapter 13, “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” When we use it in that respect, it is – it’s a good instrument. It certainly shows us the very mind of God—which is the benefit of all humanity. But now go into verse 9 and we have the other side of the coin – how the law affects the unrighteous.
I Timothy 1:9-10a
“Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10. For whoremongers,…” and so forth.
Now I want to take you back again to Romans chapter 3, where we see both those facets explained from Paul’s letter to the Romans with regard to the Law for Israel who were under the Law, and how the Law applied to the pagan, wicked, immoral Gentiles. Romans chapter 3 and I’ll drop in at verse 19. Now this shows both sides of what Paul is talking about in Timothy. For the righteous man, it’s good if you use it right. For the unrighteous man, it is his condemnation. All right, Romans 3 verse 19:
“Now we know (no ifs, ands, or buts) that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law:…” Now stop right there. Who was under the Law? Well, Israel! Israel was under the Law and Israel alone.
The world around Israel had no concept of what it was to have the Ten Commandments as part of their moral code. But don’t stop there. Even though it was given to those who were under the Law, the overall impact of the Law was that all the world, not just Israel, all of humanity:
“…that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”
Now you see, the Law had two premises here. Number one for Israel—it was the very backbone for their national behavior. It was around which everything revolved. It was their national entity.
But for the unbelieving world, it was an instrument of condemnation. Every person on earth, according to the Law, was an enemy—a law-breaking citizen of the earth. And all the world was declared guilty by virtue of the Law. Even Israel under the Law became almost as lawless as the Gentile world around them.
I always like to point that out by going back to Judges, the last chapter of Judges—chapter 21. And, of course, this was that 400 year period of time that Israel was on a roller coaster spiritually. They would come from the depths of despair overrun by their enemies and their neighbors, and then God would bring in a judge. Then Israel would have a spiritual renewal. They’d come back up and would enjoy the blessings of God. And then down they’d go, back into idolatry and all that it entailed. Then the day would come, and they would come back up. At the end of the Book of Judges, of course, they are down at one of those low levels again. They are in a place of a spiritual desert. And verse 25 says it all. And you know, whenever I look at our American fabric of morality today, this is the verse I have to think of. As Israel went, so many times we see our own beloved nation going.
“In those days (when Israel was at the bottom of her spiritual life) there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” What do we call it today? Situation ethics. If you’re in a situation and you’re comfortable with it, and it is okay in your own eyes, do it! But that doesn’t line up with the Word of God. So here again we find that the Law—so far as Israel was concerned, and it was used lawfully—it was good. But to the Gentile lost world, it was condemnation. It showed them their horrible sin.
All right, if you’ll come with me to I Timothy 1:10—where Paul, again, is delineating the behavior of the lost world. These are those who are operating under the energy of the flesh.
I Timothy 1:10
“For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;”
All of that is laid out in the open by the Law. Because when the Law said, “Thou shalt not—,” this is what God knew was best for the human race. Because (as I said in one of the previous programs even this afternoon) if society could keep the Law, then this world would be a good place to live. But man can’t do it. Man’s greed, man’s old Adamic nature flies in the face of the moral code. Now let’s move on to verse 11.
I Timothy 1:11
“According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to (Whose trust? Paul’s – not Jesus’, not Peter’s, not John’s, not James’s—to no one but the Apostle Paul was committed this Gospel of Grace.) my trust.” And, you know, the vast majority of Christendom still doesn’t know that. They, as I’ve said over and over—especially the last several months of our teaching—treat Paul as an unwanted step-child. Oh, he’s there, but they don’t want anything to do with him.
How many times have Iris and I both experienced it in our travels. Even here in Oklahoma someone will come up and say, “I’ve always detested Paul. He’s a woman hater. He’s arrogant. He’s an egotist. But you’ve shown me something totally different.” Again, in just the last few weeks, it has happened a couple of times. Someone has said, “You have totally changed my attitude toward the Apostle Paul. I see now he is the one that we have to adhere to. He is the one that God designated as our apostle.”
All right, so look at the verse again.
I Timothy 1:11
“According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.” Who did God give this gospel to? The Apostle Paul! You know, I’ve so often used the verse, and before we go back and look at Paul’s Gospel, we’re going to look at it again for the umpteenth time.
II Peter chapter 3 verses 15 and 16. I’m going to drum this home every chance I get. Because how many people, when they ignore Paul say, “Well, I go by what Jesus taught.” And Peter, of course, is the epitome of what Jesus taught. He was with Him those three years. This is why, as I’ve said on the program before, and I’ll say it again—I suppose 90% of our Sunday morning preaching is out of the four gospels. That’s where they think it’s at. Well, I’ve got news for them, that’s NOT where it’s at.
That’s background like the Old Testament is background. It’s for our learning. But you won’t find the gospel of salvation in the four gospels. It’s not in there. I pointed out to someone just the other day. Stop and think. When Christ was walking the dusty roads of Palestine and the Twelve were with Him, He hadn’t gone to the cross yet. He hadn’t died yet. How can they be proclaiming a gospel of salvation that hadn’t been finished? He told the Twelve in Luke 18:
Luke 18:31b, 33-34a
“…we go up to Jerusalem, and all things written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. 33. And they shall scourge him, and put him to death; and the third day he shall rise again. (So far so good, but what does the next verse say?) 34. And they (the 12) understood none of these things:…”
They didn’t know He was going to die. And after he was crucified, they had no idea He was going to be resurrected from the dead. That was all unknown to them. It wasn’t until God reveals that post resurrection. That post ascension Christ who now reveals to the Apostle the gospel of the blessed God as he calls it here in Timothy. Look at II Peter chapter 3. Now this is Peter himself, the legalist of Galatians chapter 2, who now at the end of his life writes to his Jewish readers.
II Peter 3:15
“And account (or understand) that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation; even (Now look at this carefully.) as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;”
Well, what do you suppose is the wisdom that Peter is referring to? The revelation of those mysteries! Paul is always saying, behold, I show you a mystery. I am the minister of the mystery which was hid in God. It was kept secret. All right, this is what Peter is telling us—that the wisdom given unto Paul now comes through his epistles. Now verse 16:
II Peter 3:16
“As also in all his epistles, (Not just the Book of Hebrews, which I think he refers to in verse 15.) speaking in them of these things; (that which pertains to salvation and our eternal destiny) in which are some things hard to be understood, (At the end of his life, probably A.D. 65 or 66, Peter still couldn’t comprehend the whole revelation that had been give to Paul. He said it’s hard for him to understand and not for him only.) which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, (twist) as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”
Well, what is this gospel of salvation? Back to I Corinthians, if you will, chapter 15, which we use so often. I trust that people who have been listening to me for a period of time can almost recite it in their sleep. I Corinthians 15 and the first 4 verses is the most explicit, clear-cut explanation of the Gospel in all of Scripture. This says it all, yet not quite all, because Paul doesn’t mention the blood here. That has to be implied from other Scriptures. I Corinthians 15 verses 1-4. Here is the Gospel for us Gentiles today. This is the Gospel of the blessed God he referred to in I Timothy chapter 11. This is what you must believe in your heart for salvation.
I Corinthians 15:1a
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel…” Not A gospel. Now we’re down to one. I grant you, in the last program I said there were two: the Gospel of the Jew—which was the Kingdom Gospel; and the Gospel of Grace—which was for the Gentiles. But the Kingdom Gospel dropped off the scene. Now we’re left with ONE Gospel—the Gospel of the Grace of God—Paul’s Gospel.
I Corinthians 15:1b
“…which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, (After all, these Corinthians to whom he is writing had come out of paganism.) and wherein ye stand;”
I Corinthians 15:2
“By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” And I always qualify that: it is to know what you believe. And here’s the Gospel in verse 3.
I Corinthians 15:3-4
“For I delivered unto you first of all (That’s the first thing that Paul brought to the Corinthian people.) that which I also received, (From whom? Peter? No. From John? No. From Christ in His earthly ministry? No. But rather from the ascended Christ after His death, burial, and resurrection. That’s when he received it.) how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; 4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures:” That’s our Gospel of salvation!
Now, you hear a lot of invitations, and they will speak of—do you believe that Christ died for you—and that’s as far as they go. That’s not the Gospel. The Gospel is that Christ died and was buried and rose from the dead.
And as Paul says in this same chapter a little further on, if we cannot believe in the resurrection, we of all people are most miserable, because that’s the heart of our Gospel. That’s the heart of our hope for eternity. If Christ had not been raised, then we’re just like an animal. We die and it’s over. But that’s not the way it is. Christ DID arise from the dead. He IS alive evermore. And as such, of course, He will one day take us unto Himself.
And now I’m going to show in a few verses what Paul is constantly referring to as his Gospel, even as we did in an earlier program. Turn with me now to Romans chapter 2 verse 16. A verse, again, and maybe I’ve said it before—very few church members realize this verse is in the Bible. They don’t even know it’s here. I’ve experienced it over and over when they come up and tell me, “I didn’t ever see this verse before.” But look how it is again so exclusivist. Verse 16 of Romans 2.
“In the days when God (in the person of Jesus Christ at the Great White Throne) shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ (And how are they going to be judged?) according to my (Paul’s) gospel.” That’s what it says. Now I know that there were people that lived before Paul began preaching the Gospel of Grace. But as I’ve said so often, even when we teach Tribulation events, it’s numbers.
There have been more people living on the planet in this last 2,000 years since Paul’s Gospel than ever lived before. So the vast majority of the human race is going to come before God lost, and they are going to be judged according to Paul’s Gospel. That’s what it says – “According to my gospel.” And, you know, most people don’t even realize what that is.
All right, let’s look at another one. Romans chapter 16 verse 25. This is a verse that I use often. And it is a verse that you will not hear routinely in Sunday morning preaching. You just don’t hear it. It’s just like it isn’t here, but it is—right in front of you.
“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel,…” Now you see, whenever Paul teaches or preaches this Gospel, he always associates it with the power of God.
You go up into Romans chapter 6 and some of these other chapters, and he likens it to the same power that raised Christ from the dead. It is the power that raised us from our lost position. That’s the kind of power we have exercised. That’s what we are trusting in. It isn’t just a matter of easy-believism, but by faith we trust what God accomplished on our behalf when Christ died, shed His blood, and rose from the dead. And then it’s the power of God that does everything that needs to be done. All right, back to the text, verse 25 again.
“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, (Now here’s Paul’s Gospel again.) and the preaching of Jesus Christ, (not according to Peter, not according to John, not according to Christ’s earthly ministry) according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since (How long?) the world began.”
That’s why I said several programs back, that there was no way that Abraham could be saved by Paul’s Gospel. It hadn’t been revealed yet. They had no concept that God would save a pagan Gentile out of his deepest sin by just simply exercising his deepest faith in what God had done. It was unbelievable. It had never been heard of.
Oh, God had the Gentiles on His mind in the Old Testament, of course, but it had to be through Israel. But now He’s going to the Gentile world without Israel. And that was unheard of. That’s why it was a secret kept in the mind of God. That’s why Paul is constantly referring then to his revelations of these things that had been kept secret since the world began and now have been made manifest, as he says in verse 26. Now let’s go a little further with Paul’s Gospel. Let’s turn the page, at least in my Bible, to I Corinthians chapter 1 verses 17 and 18.
I Corinthians 1:17a
“For Christ…” Now always remember, when Paul speaks of Christ speaking to him, where is Christ? In Glory! Ascended. The work of the cross is finished. Everything that God demanded of the human race was fulfilled in that work of the cross. So now look what he says.
I Corinthians 1:17a
“For Christ (the ascended Lord) sent me not to baptize, (Notice that is not the same as Matthew 28:19. Paul had a different mission for the Body of Christ.) but to preach the gospel:…” What gospel? Paul’s Gospel. And what is Paul’s Gospel? That Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead.
I Corinthians 1:17
“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, (In other words, not with smooth oratory. Not with some preacher that can keep an audience in his lap with comedy, but–) lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” And then verse 18 says it so plainly.
I Corinthians 1:18
“For the preaching of the cross (that death, burial, and resurrection) is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved (Here it comes now. I just said a moment ago–) it is the (What?) power of God.”
You see, that’s why good works can never save anybody. Our good works do not involve the power of God. Joining a church does not involve the power of God. Being baptized does not invoke the power of God. This is something that God releases the moment He sees our faith. And that’s a heart thing only God can see!
My, I always have to just shake my head. How can people keep on doing that which only God can do? Man can’t look on another man’s heart. Only God can do that. No deacon can look at somebody and say, “Oh, yes, you’re a believer.” It’s impossible. No preacher can look at a man and say, “Oh, yeah, you’re a believer.” It’s impossible.
We go by their words, but only God can look into the heart. And when God looks into the heart and He sees that faith, then He does all the rest. He invokes the power of eternal life. He invokes His justification. He invokes His forgiveness. He invokes the power of the Holy Spirit to indwell us. Hey, that isn’t anything that man can do. That is all involved in that work of the power that is released the moment we believe. And then, of course, yes, we’re going to grow in our Christian experience to become more involved in Scripture, in prayer, and in witnessing.