Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 44
I Timothy 1:17 – 2:2
Okay, good to have every body back in again. For those of you out in television, when I start every program that way, it’s simply because we dismissed them for a coffee break. And it’s not always easy to get them to stop visiting and get back in here for the next half hour. So there is a reason for my madness.
And for those of you out in television, we appreciate your letters, calls, and comments. I’m so blessed that out of all the communications we get, hardly ever do we get a letter that we don’t enjoy. I’ll admit, when they first asked me to do this on television that was my number one worry. Could I handle the flack of people who would get nasty and disagree? But the Lord has seen fit to protect us from that. We appreciate every letter that comes in. Oh, once in a while, you know, you go through and you have some trepidation and wonder if you’re going to get a bad one. But so far so good, you’ve been so gracious in your letter writing. And in your financial help, we just have to say thank you, thank you, thank you.
All right, we’re going to get right back in again and pick up our study where we left off. We were in I Timothy chapter 1. Jerry’s got it on the board. We’re going to finish verse 19 and go on into 20. And then from there, I don’t know. We’ll just see how far we get. But I Timothy again chapter 1, picking up where we left off.
I Timothy 1:19
“Holding faith, (You remember in our last program, we reviewed all the, or not all, but some of the men who were destitute of faith. I’m going to pursue that a little further because of verse 20. So now he tells Timothy–) Holding faith, (taking God at His Word) and a good conscience; (Which all works, of course, hand-in-glove.) which some (And we looked at some of those in our last program.) having put away concerning faith (In other words, they rejected what God said.) have made shipwreck:”
Well, you see, that’s exactly what happened to Esau, our example in our last program. When he refused to believe what God said, it caused him to go immoral. It caused him to, as we saw in Hebrews, he wept bitter tears—and all because he was destitute of faith. He became shipwrecked spiritually.
Well, we’re going to pursue this a little further. Even the Nation of Israel more than once—and we covered one of them in our last program—at Kadesh-barnea, when God said they could go in and take the Promised Land. It was all ready and waiting for them. But in unbelief they turned away and ended up shipwrecked spiritually out there in the wilderness. Well, now let’s go back and look at another instance before we look at the two gentlemen that Paul is dealing with. Let’s go back and look at the Nation of Israel at a later time—Christ’s first advent.
Come back with me, if you will, to chapter 2 of the Book of Acts. Acts chapter 2 verse 22. And remember that when Christ came, He came to the Nation of Israel to fulfill all the Old Testament covenants and promises. “He came unto His own, (John wrote.) and His own (What?) received Him not.” Why didn’t they? Unbelief. No faith!
What was their question? “Could anything good come out of Nazareth?” Well, why not, if God is in it? But see, their faith was so blind and so lacking that they, in spite of all of His signs and miracles and wonders, they still couldn’t admit that anything good could come out of Nazareth. They still couldn’t admit that He was the promised Messiah.
The Nation was steeped in unbelief. Oh, they were religious, don’t ever forget that. My, they were religious. They wouldn’t miss a Sabbath. They wouldn’t miss a feast day. They wouldn’t do anything contrary to the Law of their religion. But when it came to faith, they were destitute. Consequently, they crucified Him. He’s risen from the dead, and now Peter comes back to the Nation of Israel here in Acts chapter 2 verse 22, and he says:
“Ye men of Israel, (He’s not talking to the Gentiles, yet. He’s talking to this Nation to whom Christ came and presented Himself as the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises.) hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth,…” And I’m sure he used the word Nazareth to complement the fact that they thought nothing good could come from there.
“…Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs,…” Isn’t that amazing? Miracles and wonders and signs. And for how long? Three years. Up and down those dusty roads of the land of Israel and yet they couldn’t come out of their unbelief.
“…a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23. Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, (Now look what Israel did with their promised Messiah because of unbelief. And he says–) ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:” Killed Him!!
All right, let’s go on to chapter 3 and verse 12, where Peter and John have now just healed the lame man, much the same way that Jesus did just a few months previously. Again, the Nation – why are they stupefied? Why are they alarmed at the healing of the lame man? No faith. They couldn’t believe that God was doing this.
“And when Peter saw it, (That is the consternation of the Jews of his day.) he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? 13. The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our Fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; (Whom he called Jesus of Nazareth in chapter 2.) whom ye delivered up, and (What’s the next word?) denied…”
Why? Unbelief! They couldn’t believe that He was who He said He was. Isn’t that awful? In spite of all the signs and wonders and miracles, they could not believe that He was the promised Messiah. All right, reading on.
“…whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he (Pilate) was determined to let him go. 14. But ye (the Nation) denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; (Now look at verse 15. This is graphic language. He says to the Nation of Israel–) And you (What?) killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.”
So, here Peter makes it so plain that the Nation of Israel had rejected Jesus of Nazareth, and had put Him to death by virtue of the crucifixion. Why? Unbelief! In fact, a verse just comes to mind. I Corinthians chapter 2 is where I think it is. Keep your hand in Acts. I’m not through there. I Corinthians chapter 2 dropping down to verse 7, where Paul is now writing to the Gentile congregation at Corinth. So this is directed primarily to us as well.
I Corinthians 2:7
“But (Paul says) we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:” In other words, the Apostle Paul wasn’t an accident. He says in Galatians that God by Grace separated him from his mother’s womb. He was a chosen vessel. All right, now verse 8.
I Corinthians 2:8a
“Which none of the princes of this world knew:…” Now who was he referring to? Well, the leadership of Israel, first and foremost, but also even the leadership of Rome. Now Pilate had an idea. He had a sneaking suspicion that this was somebody special, but he still carried it out.
Israel, on the other hand, didn’t have a clue as to who He was. The high priests, the religious leaders, thought he was nothing more than a blasphemer and an imposter and to get rid of Him was doing the God of Abraham a favor. And, of course, that was Saul of Tarsus’ idea. All right, so now Paul as the Apostle of the Gentiles can write:
I Corinthians 2:8
“Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” Well, that’s common sense, isn’t it? If they would have known who they were putting on that Roman cross, they would have never dared to carry it out. But they didn’t know. And why didn’t they know. Unbelief.
They blinded their spiritual eyes as Esau of old. They were as blind to the truth as Israel at Kadesh-barnea. And over and over and we can’t just point the finger at the Jews. We’re no better. As I said in my last program, look at our nation today. We are a nation steeped in unbelief. Oh, our churches may be full—but our churches, for the most part, not all, of course, fortunately. But so many of them, as we’re going to see in the next part of Timothy, they’re denying the fundamentals of the faith. They’re denying this Book. But Israel is an example to us over and over that because of their unbelief they missed out on the blessings of their God.
All right, back to Acts, again, if you will, for just a moment. Only now come over to chapter 7 and we’ll start at verse 1. Where Stephen is full, it says in verse 8 of chapter 6, full of faith and power. Now remember the word faith—he had already taken God at His Word. Stephen had a full understanding of who Jesus was. And now he’s been brought before the high priests and the religious leaders of Israel.
“Then said the high priest, Are these things so? (In other words, the things he had said concerning Jesus of Nazareth. Now look at verse 2.) 2. And Stephen said, Men, brethren, and fathers,…” Now you know, when I taught the Book of Acts I was constantly emphasizing—who are we still dealing with? Israel. Israel, the Covenant People, the favored Nation. And there are no Gentiles in here yet. Stephen makes it so plain.
“Men, brethren, and fathers, listen, The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, (Now Abraham is not the father of the Gentiles. He’s the father of the Jewish people.)when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran. 3. And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall show thee. 4. Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans, and dwelt in Haran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, (the land of Canaan) wherein ye now dwell.”
All right, now this is kind of rabbit chasing, I know. But keep your hand here in Acts for just a moment and turn over to Romans chapter 4 for a graphic comparison between people of unbelief and no faith, and this man Abraham who is the epitome of faith. This is why Abraham was the “friend of God.” He could believe what God said without question. And that’s what faith amounts to. All right, Romans chapter 4 verse 1. And I’m doing this just to show the direct opposite of unbelief and faith.
“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, (That is the father of the Nation of Israel.) as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2. For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.” You know, we were in Minnesota a few weeks ago. And at the home where we were staying, I was waiting for a phone call. And as I was sitting there waiting for the phone to ring, there was their denominational paper. It doesn’t make any difference what denomination they were a part of.
And I started reading the article. It was just a one page article. And, my, how I wished I would have just asked if I could have brought it home. I read that article. I could have written it. No kidding! I could have written it. There wasn’t a word in there that I would have disagreed with, and it sounded like Les Feldick teaching faith plus nothing! In fact, I think he even used the term. It is faith plus nothing! And then he quoted a poll that he had recently read of the major denominations in America today and what percentage of these various peoples believed that works were necessary for salvation.
I won’t name them, but he started with the one that had the smallest percentage—which was about 28%, if I remember correctly—that believed that works were part of salvation. Then he went to the next denomination—thirty-some percent. And then he went up to another one—forty-some percent. Another one—fifty-some percent. And then he went up to some of the cults, where it ended up at 100% who believed you had to work for salvation.
And he said, and he used the word, “I am aghast that so many American people who claim to be Christians will still say that you have to work for your salvation.” Now that wasn’t my denomination. It was one of the major protestant denominations. It was the denominational magazine. And I was thrilled. I mean, how can people read this and miss it? It was so plain. All right, that’s exactly where we’re coming from in Romans chapter 4. Read on in verse 3.
“For what saith the scripture? (Not some theologian. Not some preacher. Not me. Not anybody else, but what does the Scripture say?) Abraham believed God,…” Now there’s a good example of what I said at the beginning of the first program. How many people will try to put something else in here besides “he believed”?
Want me to give you a few that we hear every day? Abraham repented and got baptized. Doesn’t say that. Abraham spoke in tongues. Doesn’t say that. Abraham gave 90% of his income. Doesn’t say that. Abraham joined a local assembly. Doesn’t say that. And, oh, I could go on and on of what people think they have to do as a part of salvation. No, it doesn’t say that. That’s man’s idea. The Scripture says, and that’s what Paul is saying. What does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God plus NOTHING for his salvation.
Yes, as a result of his faith, then what did he do? He moved out. Of course he did. But his original getting right with God was based on his believing what God said. So, reading on in verse 3.
“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it (his believing) was counted unto him for (What?) righteousness.” The man was declared righteous without circumcision. That didn’t come until later. Without anything else except that he believed God. Now isn’t that beautiful? Simple and, oh, like somebody wrote the other day—why does everybody muddy the water with all the extra stuff? Well, I don’t know. Except, of course, it’s the ploy of Satan to keep people from the truth.
“Now to him that worketh (Now remember all of your percentages? All these people that are saying they are working for their salvation, regardless of what group they were in, this verse hits them right between the eyes.) is the reward is not reckoned of grace, but of (What?) debt.”
And who are they putting in debt? God! And will God ever be in debt to a mortal being? Never! But that’s what they’re doing. They are saying—God you owe it to me because I’ve worked for it. No, He won’t have it. But it’s just the opposite. He says—I’ve done it all. I’m giving it to you as a free gift. All I ask you to do is believe it. But, oh, people can’t do that. They are destitute of faith as Esau himself.
All right, back to Acts chapter 7 again, if you will, for just a moment or two. Acts chapter 7 verse 51, Stephen is coming down to the end of his message, all directed to the Nation of Israel. He gives the whole history of the Nation in this chapter 7 beginning all the way back from Abraham. And now he comes up to verse—what’d I say? Yeah, okay. I thought I said 57, but 51, and he says to the Nation:
“Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye. (Go all the way back to Kadesh again. The instance I gave in the last program.) 52. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:” Stephen used the same language that Peter did.
“Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. 54. When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.”
“Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58. And cast him out of the city, and stoned him:” Why? Unbelief. They couldn’t believe a word the man was trying to tell them. And the Nation from this point on goes down until they finally end up in a total dispersion amongst every nation under heaven. All because of what? Unbelief.
Now, let me give you one more instance before we finish up the verse in I Timothy. Come back to Hebrews again, if you will, chapter 3. I’ve got to do this quickly, or I’m going to run out of time. Hebrews chapter 3, we’ve used this periodically over the years as the perfect example of unbelief. And, of course, it is the event at Kadesh-barnea. He comes down in Hebrews chapter 3 and, oh, goodness, verse 8. All got it? Where it says:
“Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, (In other words, when they had a chance to go in and take the Promised Land.) in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9. When your fathers (Now remember, Hebrews is written to the Nation of Israel.) tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. 10. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.” Why not? No Faith! They can’t take God at His Word. Verse 12:
“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of (What?) unbelief, in departing from the living God.” See, that’s what it does to people when they have no faith. They become godless. They become ungodly!
Now that doesn’t mean that they’re skid-row material, but they’re without God. They have no faith. All right, for sake of time come all the way over to the last part of the chapter, verses 18 and 19, still in chapter 3.
“And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, (That is the Promised Land waiting for them.) but to them that (What?) believed not?” That was their problem. And you want to remember, just a few weeks before that they’d made the golden calf.
But that isn’t what God reminds them of. He doesn’t tell them about the immoral activity they went into around the golden calf. No. His controversy was their unbelief. Okay, now I’ve got two minutes to finish up the last part of I Timothy chapter 1 verse 20. We have two more examples from the pen of the Apostle of men who were destitute of faith. They were even involved in a local congregation. And they were giving Paul heartache with their false teaching. All right, back to I Timothy chapter 1 verse 20, of those who had been made shipwrecked Paul says:
I Timothy 1:20
“Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.” All right, now let’s turn a couple of pages to II Timothy chapter 2 verses 17 and 18. Then I guess we’re going to have to close it.
II Timothy 2:16-18
“But (he writes) shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. (Don’t forget Esau) 17. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; (And he also mentioned Alexander in I Timothy. Now here was their lack of faith.) 18. Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; (In other words, they denied the resurrection of Christ and consequently, what did they do? They destroyed or–) and overthrow the faith of some.”
How did they destroy some of their fellow church members’ faith? By teaching that there was no such thing as a resurrection to be looking forward to. They said that was something that happened in the past. Ring a bell? Hey, you’re hearing the same thing today.