Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 48
Coming Up Short of God’s Promise – Part 2
There’s a big difference between studying the Word of God and reading it. A lot of people read a few verses and they think, well I’ve done my daily duty. Well, that’s not studying. Studying is when you really sit down and put some work into it and compare Scripture with Scripture. Because, hopefully, as I teach I can tie it all together from Genesis through Revelation without just picking out a few verses on which we can build a doctrine. But rather it has to be on the complete Word of God.
Now, of course, that means we also have to be careful, because not all the Scripture is directed to us today for our doctrine in this Age of Grace! I have a pet little way of showing this, because when someone says, “Well now, Les, you are always emphasizing Paul, but I use the whole Bible.” I always tell them, “Well so do I!” They’ll come right back and say, “Yeah, but you stick pretty much with Paul.” That’s true. Because Paul writes to us in this Age of Grace. If you want an example of what I’m talking about you go to Leviticus chapter 5.
Leviticus chapter 5 says that if someone touches an unclean thing such as a dead animal, a carcass, then that man will bring a lamb of the flock and bring it to the priest. Now are you going to do that? Well, you can’t do that. So be careful how you talk, and how you use the Word of God. We realize that all Scripture is inspired, and all Scripture is the Word of God, but not all Scripture is written to us in the Age of Grace. That’s where we have to come to the Apostle Paul, because Paul over and over, emphasized that he’s the Apostle of the Gentiles as we see in Romans 11:13.
“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles; I magnify mine office:” Another good one is in Ephesians chapter 3, and verse 1, where he says:
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.” And this is what we have to be aware of. Alright, now on that same line then, we’re going to keep continuing where we left off in the last program, and that was out of Hebrews chapter 4 verse 2, and we’ll just continue with that thought.
“For unto us (in other words, you and I in this Age of Grace, under Paul’s Gospel) was the gospel preached….”
Well what Gospel does Paul preach? The Gospel of the Grace of God as we’re going to see in just a moment. Now continuing with the verse.
“…as well as unto them:…”
Now, as I’ve pointed out in the last program, as we began that chase up through the Old Testament, we found that the Gospel was the “good news.” And there were a lot of good news opportunities that God used first to the whole human race. Not just to Israel. And then beginning with Abraham, of course, it was all dealing with Israel and so they had all kinds of good news preached, but, unless it was mixed with faith, it was of no profit.
Well, the last thing we talked about in our last program was the faith of Abraham. And because of his faith, it was accounted unto him for righteousness. Now we’re going to continue that same concept of what Gospel was preached when. And I’ll take you now from Abraham’s experience, in Genesis 12 and in Romans 4, to Matthew for just a moment, in Christ’s earthly ministry, and we’ll drop in at chapter 9, and verse 35. And again we’re going to see the word Gospel. The good news!
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching (what?) the gospel of the kingdom,…”
Now remember, the Abrahamic Covenant had promised that the Nation of Israel would appear through the man Abraham and later on through Isaac and Jacob. And then one day God would put them in a territory of land that He deeded to them, which we call their homeland, and then at a later date, He would yet provide the government. A King. Now Israel, of course, had to wait centuries and centuries for that last part of the Covenant to become a reality, the coming of their King. And so, this is the purpose of Christ’s earthly ministry early on. He came first and foremost to fulfill that Abrahamic to include bringing in their King. Now, if you’re going to have a King, you’re also going to have a Kingdom.
So, consequently, when Jesus came to the Nation of Israel and began His earthly ministry, He was now proclaiming the good news of a glorious Kingdom over which He would be the King. Now is that so hard to comprehend? Because that was all of His thrust, see that’s what John the Baptist’s purpose was, to announce this coming King. Now the King is there and so His message becomes then the good news that Israel is about to have the King and the Kingdom. I know that’s hard for people to swallow, but that’s why He came.
Just to show you what I’m talking about, turn with me, and keep your hand in Matthew, I’m not through there yet. Come all the way back to Romans once again and see how even the Apostle Paul makes this so clear. How can people miss this? Romans chapter 15 verse 8. Romans 15 verse 8. Now, remember, Paul is writing in the book of Romans to us Gentiles, absolutely he is. But look what he’s telling us as Gentiles. Romans 15 verse 8.
“Now I say (Paul writes) that Jesus Christ was (past tense, in His earthly ministry) a minister of the circumcision. (who’s the circumcision? Israel, the Jew! And He was definitively the minister of Israel, not the whole world, during His earthly ministry.) for the truth of God,…” He’s the one that was responsible for everything that’s been taking place, and so, Jesus Christ was the Minister of the Nation of Israel based on the truth of a Sovereign, Holy, Omnipotent God, now read on.
“…to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” For goodness sakes, who were the fathers? Gentiles? No! Israel! Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And what were those promises? That one day they would become a nation of people. God would put them in a homeland, and God would be their King in the person of the Messiah.
Now, isn’t that plain? And so, Paul reminds us that this was the purpose of Christ’s appearing to the Nation of Israel. Now the big picture, of course, is He’s going to go to the Cross and become the means salvation for every human being. But, He came to Israel to fulfill the promises made to the fathers, and they should have known Who He was.
They should have recognized Him as that promised Messiah. But, here again, and we’re going to see this in another later verse almost a repeat performance by the Nation of Israel of when they rejected the Promised Land. A repeat performance of abject disobedience, brought about by what? Unbelief! Are you with me?
Alright, now come back to Matthew, and here we’ve got this Jesus to confirm the promises made to the fathers, Who now goes into the synagogue on every Sabbath day and what did He do? He preached the good news of the Kingdom. Well, where was the whole idea of a Kingdom originated? Well, back in the Covenants. That was the whole idea of bringing about the Nation of Israel to give them this glorious Kingdom, on earth. Heaven on earth, if you please. And so that’s why it’s called the Gospel of the Kingdom, or the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
Now then, in response to the ministry, of Jesus of Nazareth among the Jews, we have an example of one who hit the nail on the head with Peter in Matthew 16, and we’ll start at verse 13. Now again, so that I don’t lose you. We’re showing how that all the way up through human history good news was proclaimed to the human race in one way or another, and not always the whole race. Back in Genesis, of course it still was. But by the time we get to Genesis chapter 12, now God is dealing with only the Nation of Israel. And here as well in Christ’s earthly ministry. This good news was proclaimed only to the Nation of Israel.
The Gentiles couldn’t partake of this. They didn’t have any Covenant promises to be fulfilled, because that was Israel’s role. Alright now, Peter then becomes the epitome of what the ordinary Jew on the street should have believed. This is Peter’s confession of faith. Alright, let’s start at verse 13, toward the end of His three years of earthly ministry. They are up in northern Israel and when Jesus came to the borders of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His Disciples saying:
“…Whom do men say that I the Son of man, am?”
What was He driving at? What does He mean when He said, “whom do people say that I am.” Well, according to all the promises since Abraham, what was Israel looking for? Their Messiah! Their King! And now He’s there to fulfill those promises.
If they’d had an ounce of faith, as Peter and the ten did, what should they have known? Who He was! He is that promised King. He’s ready to give us the Kingdom, and they should have been just a elated as their forefathers should have been at the gates of Canaan at Kadesh-barnea, when they were ready to go in and take the land. So you see it’s almost a repeat performance. In fact, I’ve used this over and over to prove that God was not playing games with Israel when I say that Jesus offered the King and the Kingdom to Israel. A lot of people don’t buy into that, and they’ll say, “Well He couldn’t have, because He had to go to the Cross.” That’s moot. The important part is that when He appeared to the Nation of Israel, He appeared to fulfill those Old Testament promises and it was a valid offer.
Just as valid as when He told Moses and Aaron and the children of Israel to go into the Promised Land. I don’t think anybody argues that that was not a valid offer. I’ve never had anyone argue with me and say, “Now Les, God never intended Israel to go in and take Canaan.” I’ve never had anybody say that, because they can’t buy that and so I’ll turn around and ask them, “Alright then, when God told Israel that they could have it, that He would drive the Canaanites out with hornets was He playing games or was He making a valid offer?” A valid offer. They could have had the land right then.
And it’s the same way here. But see, we’re always blocked by the things that stand in our way, but nothing is impossible with God. He could have brought about that sacrificial death, one way or another. Now, all we can look at is, it had to go the way it went, which so far as we’re concerned is true. But, on the other hand, God being God, He could make a valid offer. “Alright, Israel, I’m here as your King, I’m going to give you the Kingdom, if you’ll just believe it.” But, they didn’t believe Him and so that valid offer, just like Kadesh-barnea, fell through the cracks. Do you see that? Alright, now here’s what every Jew on the street should have been able to say as Peter did when the Lord asked him that question concerning the Son of Man. Dropping in at verse 13.
“When Jesus came into the coast of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, says, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14. And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist; (isn’t that amazing?) some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. (they say everything but the right thing) 15. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? (and now look at Peter’s answer.) 16. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, (the Messiah, the Anointed One, the King, see.) the Son of the living God.”
Remember what we had in Hebrews just a few weeks ago? Hebrews over and over refers to the Living God. Well, that’s what Peter knew that Jesus was. He was the Living God! That’s Peter’s confession of faith. Alright, now look at the next verse.
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee….” In other words, Peter, you didn’t come to all this conclusion of who I am because of what people said. You didn’t suddenly realize that I am the Messiah because of what your Mama said, nor did you suddenly realize that I am the Messiah because of what one of the priests said. So how did Peter know? The same way a believer understands salvation today.
“…for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven.”
Now, of course, we know that the Father in this case operated through the Spirit, and so when Jesus was walking the shore of Galilee and He says, “Come and follow me,” what prompted Peter and the others to drop their nets and follow the Lord? Well, the Holy Spirit, of course, and they suddenly realized that this was the promised Messiah. And so they believed the good news of the Kingdom, because the King was in their midst. Now is that so hard to comprehend? And that was the good news. That Israel now had the King. And the Kingdom was just over the horizon. But, what did Israel do with it? They rejected it in unbelief, and what did they cry? “Crucify Him. We’ll not have this man to rule over us.”
You see how clearly that shows what had been presented to them? How could they scream, “We’ll not have this man to rule over us,” if they didn’t understand that was the concept of His offer. But, they did. They knew that He was offering Himself as the King. They knew He was offering a Kingdom. And then they had the audacity to say what? “We have no King but Caesar.” What a travesty, what a pity, what another example of abject unbelief.
But, listen don’t blame Israel. They’re no worse or any better than all the rest of us, and I’ll show you why in just a moment in Acts chapter 20 verse 24. Now, of course, Acts is transitional and so we move from Peter and the eleven as the major players in the early chapters and then after we get past Acts chapter 10 or 11, the Apostle Paul fills the rest of the Book of Acts. And now here we are. The Apostle Paul is on his way back to Jerusalem for the last time and he’s meeting with the Ephesian elders and they’re having a tearful goodbye. But look what he says concerning his own ministry in Acts 20:24.
“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, (like I said this is a final goodbye to the Ephesian elders.) and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel (of the Kingdom? I want all your heads shaking! No way is that what it says!! But rather testify what?) the gospel of the grace of God.”
And listen! The twain can never meet! You can never bring the Gospel of the Grace of God into the Gospel of the Kingdom or vice versa, as they are two totally different concepts. Same God! The same Christ! But on the one hand it’s the Minister of the circumcision fulfilling the promises made unto the fathers. The Gospel of the Grace of God is going not just to the Jew but to the whole world. Offering what? Salvation to any and everyone that will just simply believe, as we see in I Corinthians 15:1-4, or Romans 10:9-10.
Alright, now turn with me to Romans chapter 3, and verse 9, and I’ll continue with the thought that I had a moment ago, that Israel is no worse or no better than the rest of us. When we lay the blame of some of these things on Israel in their Old Testament economy, that’s not to put the Jew down. It’s just simply to teach us that what they experience is a tremendous lesson for the rest of us. And here’s the reason in Romans chapter 3. Here Paul has been building God’s case against the whole human race. Against the gross immoral people, in chapter 1. In the grossly moral people in chapter 2 and in the grossly religious people in the first part of chapter 3. And the conclusion is what? Verse 9.
“What then? are we better than they?…”
Now you want to remember while we are reading this, when Paul says “we,” who’s he referring to? The Jew. Israel. Are we Jews better than those filthy, Gentile pagan dogs. And what’s his answer? Well it’s “no” of course. See! This is why the Jews hated Paul.
“…No in no wise; for we have before proved, (see, proved beyond a shadow of a doubt.) both Jews and Gentiles, that they are, all, (including the priesthood. Including the prostitutes, including the kings and emperors, including the princes and the religious leaders of the Gentile world. They’re all, where?) under sin.” They’re all under the curse, they’re all sons of Adam. Alright. Then come on down to verse 10.
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one:” And then you come to that glorious remedy over there in the same chapter, verse 21 and 22. Here’s the remedy for Jew and Gentile alike.
Now when Paul says but now, and he uses that so often, he uses it in Ephesians a couple of times, and in various other places. But now, what’s he talking about? On this side of the cross. On this side of the cross was salvation, and we’re going to look at that, hopefully in the next half-hour. With salvation completed and finished, there’s no more need for Temple, there’s no more need for priests, and there’s no more need for legalism, because we’re on this side of the cross, and the Grace of God has been poured out. The wrath of God was poured on that cross. Alright, now look what he says:
“But now, (on this side of the cross) the righteousness of God….” Not the righteousness of the Pharisees; not the righteousness of Les Feldick or any of the rest of you, but rather it’s the righteousness of God.
“But now, the righteousness of God, without the law is manifested, (has been put in the spot light) being witnessed by the law and the prophets;”
In other words, I think one of the things, I think Paul said was, “Hey, this wasn’t done in a corner.” We’re not pulling something out of the woodwork that’s just to shock people. Hey, this was something that was laid out since Genesis chapter 3. That God was going to provide a salvation that would include the whole human race, a salvation so available that no one need ever miss it.”
And like I just told someone within the last 48 hours: This is why no one that goes to that eternal Lake of Fire will offer one word of argument. And when they get there for the eons of eternity, the only thing they’re going to be able to say is, “Why did I choose to come to this place?” It wasn’t that there wasn’t an alternative. They chose it! God had done everything He could do. They could have had it free for nothing just like we got ours. Alright, now read on.
“Even the righteousness of God which is by the faith of (or in) Jesus Christ unto all them that (what?) believe:…
What’s the opposite of believing? Unbelief! And so if God hates unbelief what’s His response to believing? All the joy of Heaven. Nothing thrills God more than to see someone say, Lord I believe it! I trust it! See? Alright, but now the part I want to see in these last few seconds.
“…for there is no difference:”
It comes to all them that believe for there is no difference between Jew and Gentile.
There is still no difference between Jew and Gentile today. We’re all on the same level playing field. A Jew has to be saved today, just like a Gentile, and a Gentile has to be saved the same as a Jew, and that is by FAITH + NOTHING!