Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 56
I John 3:1-24 – Part 2
Again we like to welcome our television audience and thank you for your letters, your prayers and your support. What else can I say because we just can’t believe that the Lord is doing what He’s doing. But, I’m always reminded in Corinthians – God takes the foolish things of this world for His purposes – so if ever that was true, it is with us. Okay, let’s get right back to where we were I John chapter 3 and let’s look at verse 23.
I John 3:23
“And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name (now underline that word ‘name’) of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another as he gave us commandment.”
All right, now let’s go back and see what I’m trying to show everybody as we go through these little Jewish epistles – how that they ring true with so much of the Jewish Scriptures, and the first one would be Acts chapter 3. Peter and John have just healed the lame man and the Jews, of course, are wondering, “How did they do this?” Now, like I’ve always said, isn’t it amazing – this is only a matter of eight or nine weeks after Christ was performing miracles Himself; but yet when the disciples raised the lame man, they are just aghast. All right, but now verse 12, after Peter recognizes that they’re all wondering up there in verse 11 and they’re amazed. See the Jewishness of all this? Now this is shortly after the Day of Pentecost in chapter 2.
“And when Peter saw it (that is, the amazement of the Jewish people) he answered 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 made this man to walk? 13. The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, (see how Jewish this is?) hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. 14. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15. And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.” Peter doesn’t come out and claim faith in His death, burial and resurrection for salvation, but in the next verse, what was the core of this man’s faith that brought about the healing?
“And his name, through faith in his name hath made this man strong,.…” Now flip back again, if you’re still there, to I John so that you can compare Scripture with Scripture. Now instead of Peter saying it, it’s John, but nevertheless, it’s still in that Jewish economy and here we have it in verse 23.
I John 3:23a
“And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another,.…” What were they to believe? Who Jesus of Nazareth was. That was the whole core of their faith system. Now they’re still under the Law remember? The Temple is still operating. Nobody has told these Jews to stop Temple worship. In fact, in Acts chapter 3 and the first verse, Peter and John went up to the Temple to pray because it was the prescribed hour of prayer. They’re still under the Law.
But their faith is not in the finished work of the cross, their faith is in Who Jesus was. All right, now let’s back up a little bit, and come back to Matthew chapter 9 verse 35.
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching (what?) the gospel of the kingdom, (now see how plain that is? He is preaching the gospel of the kingdom.) and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.”
All right, this Gospel of the Kingdom, then, is not for anybody but Israel. And to prove that let’s go to the next chapter. Here He chooses the Twelve. Now verse 5 – my goodness, this is plain language. And either people refuse to believe it or they get mad and say, “That isn’t what it means.” Yes, it is what it means. It’s so simple it can’t mean anything else.
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans, enter ye not:” Why not? This is a Jewish message. This is following in the path of the prophets and the covenants made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and that had nothing to do with the Gentiles. And so Jesus is particular in keeping everything in line with the Old Testament promises.
“But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Now that’s as plain as language can make it. That was the Gospel of the Kingdom. Now I said earlier today that when the Tribulation begins, the Church is gone, the Gospel of Grace has come to an end, and so what Gospel has to pick up again? Well, the Gospel of the Kingdom! And here you have it in Matthew 24, from the lips of the Lord Himself. Matthew 24 verse 14 and, oh, this verse has been twisted all out of shape for whatever purpose they want to use it And the key word in this verse is ‘this.’
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
Why this gospel of the kingdom? Because that’s what they had been preaching for three years of Jesus’ earthly ministry. They’d been preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom to the Nation of Israel. And during the Tribulation “this gospel of the kingdom then shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations and then shall the end come.”
Now that’s not the Gospel of Grace going into the whole world, but rather the Gospel of the Kingdom. So, you’ve got to put everything together. When will they start preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom again? At the beginning of the Tribulation. And those 144,000 commissioned Jews are going to take that Gospel of the Kingdom around the world supernaturally. And they are going to reach every tongue and tribe and nation because Revelation says they will.
And when John sees in the Book of Revelation those martyred people out of that preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom, he says, who are these. And John in so many words says, well tell me? And what does the angel say? “These are they that came out of the great Tribulation.” They had become believers of the Gospel of the Kingdom and were martyred because of it and they’re already there in the throne room in Heaven.
But it was that Gospel of the Kingdom that was interrupted by the Gospel of Grace, that will be picked up again when the Church is gone and Israel is once again in the forefront of God’s dealing with the human race. Well, let’s go to John’s Gospel chapter 11, and the death of Lazarus. Lazarus has died and Martha and Mary are bereft, and Martha is almost upset with Him that He didn’t come and heal him. But in verse 23:
“Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (see there’s your salvation right there for those Jews.) 26. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die, Believest thou this? (now look at Martha’s answer. Just exactly word for word what Peter said in one of our previous programs when I used Matthew 16:16. Now for Martha’s answer.) 27. She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” See how plain that is? “I believe that thou are the Christ, (the Messiah, the Anointed One) the Son of God which is come into the world.” And that’s all she needed. Jesus didn’t ask for anything more. And so it was all based on believing Who He was.
All right, now for comparison sake, let’s use the next few moments that are left to see the difference in the language coming from the Apostle Paul. Let’s go first back to Acts chapter 9, and we won’t take time to look at his conversion experience. I trust most of you know that forwards and backwards. But what a lot of people miss is what God is doing behind the scenes. He’s dealing with old Saul out there on the highway. But somewhere in the city, God is now dealing with one of the Jewish believers in Damascus, a man named Ananias, whom the Scripture called a devout man according to the Law. He was a Jewish Kingdom believer. All right, now to this Ananias, verse 11.
“And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth. 12. And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem. (via his persecution. Ananias goes on) 14. And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.” Lord this guy is here to raise havoc even like he did in Jerusalem. But the Lord said:
“But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he (this Saul of Tarsus) is a chosen vessel unto me, (and his commission is) to bear my name before the (what people?) Gentiles,.…”What a difference!
What did Jesus say to the disciples? “Go not into the way of a Gentile, but go only to the lost sheep of Israel.” But now this apostle is going to be sent just the opposite direction to the Gentile world. Now see, what most of Christendom does not understand is, that from Genesis chapter 12 and the beginning of that Abrahamic Covenant, there was no overture to the Gentiles, except Nineveh. None. The Jews were never instructed to go and evangelize the Gentiles. In fact, they took it to the extreme and they hated them!
They wouldn’t have anything to do with a Gentile if they could possibly help it, and so I suppose the best way I can explain that is while you’re in Acts, turn on over to chapter 22. And I use this just to show you the mentality of Jews like Saul of Tarsus concerning Gentiles. My, how that man’s heart must have sunk when God told him, “I’m going to send you to the Gentiles.” That must have been almost the worst thing he could think of. All right, Acts 22 verse 17. Now here Paul has already been out amongst the Gentile world for almost 20 years, but he’s always had a heart for his kinsmen according to the flesh, the Jew. And so he comes back to Jerusalem. And he still thinks that he can win the Jewish people to a faith in their Messiah. And so here he comes. Verse 17.
“And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem,.…” Now remember this is Luke quoting Paul. Paul is speaking to a great crowd in Jerusalem. Even though we know Luke wrote the book of Acts, nevertheless, it’s Paul that is speaking to a large Jewish audience.
“…even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance;” Now that raises a question. Why did Paul have so many dealings with Judaism and the Temple when he himself had been removed from it? Well, I think this is the whole reason. He had such a love for the Nation of Israel that he was almost ready to do anything to, as he said in Romans I think, win some.So some of the things Paul does here in the book of Acts are hard to reconcile, but like I just told somebody at break time, don’t ever build doctrine in Acts. You’ll get in trouble every time. For your doctrine, wait until you get to Romans through Philemon. Paul’s epistles. That’s where we build our doctrine. But this is all, again, just background showing us how everything moved out of the Jewish economy of Law and the Kingdom Gospel and moving into Gentiledom and Grace and Paul’s Apostleship. All right, verse 18.
“And saw him (the Lord in verse 16) saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. 19. And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: 20. And when the blood of thy martyr, Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment (or the clothes) of them that slew him. 21. And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.” Now look at the next verse.
“And they (this Jewish audience) gave him audience (or they listened to him) unto this word,.…” One word. And what do you have? A riot. A literal riot. When he dropped the word Gentile from his lips.
“…and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live. 23. And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air,” And the Romans had to actually come in and make a protective arrest of the Apostle. This isn’t to downplay the Jewish people, this is only to show you how separated they had become from the Gentile world – taken to extreme as people are prone to do. Not because they’re Jews, but only because they’re human They took it to such an extreme that they hated the Gentile. They hated everything about them. And of course you could see why. The Jews were meticulous in their eating habits. In their hygiene and in their worship of the One True God. And the Romans were just the opposite. The Roman pagans were gross in their immorality. They, in the eyes of a Jew, ate like pigs because what they ate was pork. And all that just flew in the face of the Jewish people. And so they detested the Gentiles. And so now, here is the beginning of it – that to this Gentile world, the Apostle Paul is going to be sent by a direct command from the Creator Himself.
All right, now then real quickly let’s just go and see the difference between some of these things that Paul proclaims compared to John – whether it’s in his Gospel or whether it’s in the little epistle, makes no difference. All right, Romans chapter 2 verse 16 is a good one to start with. Now the reason I’m doing this, is that just in the last few days, I’ve had several letters wanting me to qualify and explain more fully – what Paul meant when he said, “My Gospel.” Well that’s exactly what he calls it. “My Gospel.” What is it? All right, let’s look quickly, verse 16.
“In the day (the Great White Throne Judgment day) when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” That’s what men are going to be judged by, what have you done with Paul’s Gospel? Someone told me just the other day that they’ve heard it several times in the last week – where people say, “I hate Paul.” Well then they’re going to be before that Great White Throne having to admit that they did nothing with Paul’s Gospel, which means they’re lost. Now the next one is Romans 16:25.
“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to (what?) my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,” That’s who he writing to, he’s writing to those of us who have placed our faith in Paul’s Gospel. Not Paul, but Paul’s Gospel of salvation. And what is Paul’s Gospel? “The preaching of Jesus Christ, (not according to His earthly ministry, not according to the promises made to the prophets, but)…the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation (or a revealing, an unveiling) of the mystery (the secret) which was kept secret since the world began.” And what’s the secret? Paul’s Gospel. The next one is Galatians 2:1-2. This is fourteen years after his conversion on the road to Damascus.
“Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. 2. And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.” In other words, the Lord had instructed Paul to go up and meet with the Twelve. But what I want you to see is here. “I went up by revelation and communicated (in other words, without any gobbledy-gook. Without anything that couldn’t be clearly understood) I communicated unto them.” That is the Jerusalem church – Peter, James, John and the rest of the leadership. And “I communicated unto them that gospel.” Now the key word in this verse is ‘that.’ In Matthew 24:14, I wanted you to underline ‘this,’ But now Paul makes a distinction that he clarified to the Jerusalem church – “that gospel which I preached among (what people?) the Gentiles.” Now what’s that doing? He is qualifying the “my Gospel” and that it was totally different from the Kingdom Gospel, which was basically believing in the name of Jesus Christ.
Come back with me to I Corinthians chapter 15: 1-4. And this is Paul’s Gospel of salvation that he preached to the Gentiles and to us in this age of Grace.
I Corinthians 15:1-2a
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel (he could just as well have said, ‘my’ Gospel) which I preached unto you, which also you have received, (they’re believers now, remember, brought out of paganism and idolatry and immorality) and wherein ye stand; 2. By which also ye are saved,.…” How are we saved? By this Gospel right here that Paul will proclaim in the next verses.
I Corinthians 15:3-4
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, (from the risen Lord) how that Christ (the Son of God) died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to scriptures:” Now that’s Paul’s Gospel of salvation that we must believe for eternal life.