Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 58
1 JOHN 5:8–18 – Part 2
I just want to thank you, our television audience, for being part of our ministry, whether it’s with your prayers for us, or your financial assistant or both. And the same for those of you here in the studio audience, we want you to know that we appreciate your effort to come in and be a part of this and as all of us labor together. I usually write a note to folks and say that that’s what we are, we’re co-laborers. And what I receive as reward someday, you’re going to be a part of it.
Okay, now we sort of ran out of time in that last program, and I didn’t realize I was down to seconds, when I looked up to see how much time I had left, so therefore didn’t have a chance to finish our thought. So I had to leave everyone hanging by a thread. So let’s go back to John’s Gospel chapter 14 and I just want to show again the stark difference between what was taught in Jesus’ earthly ministry and what Paul teaches in the Church Age of us today on this same subject. Remember in Jesus’ earthly ministry, He meant what He said. He wasn’t lying, He wasn’t stretching the truth, it was absolute, but what He said there in John 14 doesn’t work in the Age of Grace today.
“And whatsoever (and that means what it says) ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, (That’s a promise.) that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”
Now you and I know that that doesn’t work. You cannot tell me that ‘everything’ you’ve ever asked for God has done, because it just doesn’t happen in this Age of Grace! But with their (Israel’s) view of the Kingdom, and with Christ as the King, yes, then it would become a reality.
But, now come back with me to the language of the Age of Grace, the Church Age, the Apostle Paul over in the Book of Philippians. Now whenever folks call us and have a real prayer need, this is what all of us there at the ranch – myself and the girls working out in the office and Iris, always take them right back to this portion of Scripture. Philippians 4: 6 and 7, because this covers all the bases. This says it all!
Now there are other portions where Paul certainly prays as a model prayer for us, but you can always use this and feel at peace doing it.
“Be careful (or worry) about nothing; (that’s easier said than done too, isn’t it?) but in every thing…”
Now there again it means what it says. “Everything.” Now I think all of us are sensible enough that we’re not going to ask for something silly or something that’s inappropriate. But being commonsensical about it as believers we now have the freedom to come into the throne room and ask for anything.
Now I know there are those who hold that God is not concerned about our physical or material needs. And I say ‘hogwash!’ He’s concerned about the whole being. He’s just as concerned about yours and my physical well being, our material well being as the spiritual. They are all part and parcel of our whole makeup. In fact, Paul says in II Thessalonians, chapter 5:
II Thessalonians 5:23
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly: and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Well, that covers all of it, doesn’t it? All right, so, here we go again. Philippians chapter 4 verse 6.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication (which means asking, but here’s the secret) with (what?) thanksgiving…”
You see, I think this is where a lot a Christian folks are missing the blessings. They are not thankful.
In fact many almost get to the place where they think they deserve it. I don’t care where we are in our spiritual experience we never stop thanking God for everything. Starting with our salvation, our Christian experience, our health, our physical, our material. We should thank Him for everything. Constantly. For every breath of air. For every bite of food. For every comfort. And for us in America, for every what? Luxury.
My I’ve said it before, do you realize that much of what we take for granted in America is luxury to a good portion of the world. And I’m thinking primarily of hot water at the tap! What a luxury that we can just turn the tap and have hot water! My, we learned that lesson while we were down in Haiti. I don’t think in all the ten days we were there we had hot water at all. Oh, you come home and you begin to appreciate it. But those are just things that are all part and parcel of God’s blessings for which we are thankful.
“…let your requests be made known unto God.”
In other words, you pray. You verbalize it. Now God may say, ‘Yes.’ We may have almost an immediate answer. He may in so many words say, ‘not now, but later.’ Or He may say a flat what? ‘No.’ It’s not for you. But regardless and this is what I love, regardless of how you get the answer in verse 6, it’s all answered in verse 7. And what does it say?
“And the peace of God,…”
Now I always make the differential again, back in Romans 5:1 “we have the peace with God,” which was our salvation experience. Now the peace with God that comes by faith, in other words, we’re no longer an enemy, we’re now at peace with God.
But this here in Philippians is not peace “with” God; but now we have the “peace of God.”
Now let’s just sort of analyze this a minute. Can someone who is not at peace with God ever enjoy the peace of God? No. Because we’re outside of that realm. But as soon as we’ve made peace with God we’re no longer His enemy, we are now His child, now we can cash in on the peace of God. That’s a big difference.
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,…”
In other words, we can’t comprehend it, we take it by faith and as I’ve said so often, even the work of the cross, we can’t comprehend all that God did at the cross. What little we comprehend is by faith and someday in glory, yes, we’ll probably have a full understanding. But here again, this peace of God, as a result of our leaving it with Him passeth all understanding. And whether He answers ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘later’, this peace –
“…shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
What a promise! Now I don’t have to go back to John and say, “Well now God you promised that whatever I asked, You’ll do it.” That’s absurd. He doesn’t have to do whatever I ask today. But, whatever I asked He has promised that no matter how He deals with it, He will give the peace that passeth all understanding.
Now we’ve been through some economic turmoil and a lot of people have lost their source of income and they’ve gotten in dire straights. Well, I’ve been there, I’ve done that so I can identify with those kind of people, but you know what? The peace of God keeps us through all that.
And if there’s someone out there, a true believer, and you’re in financial straights, don’t despair. God is still on the throne. God is still in control. God will somehow or other bring you through it. And you’ll be the better for it. I don’t care what you’re going through when you look back, you’re going to see that it has strengthened you.
And we’re going to be looking at the same thing in I John in a little bit, with regard to sickness and death. But never forget, that as a believer today we have access to the throne room, we have that access to share our needs with the Almighty and regardless of how He answers, we have the answer – “the peace that passeth all understanding.” All right, great big difference. Big difference. Now back to I John again. I think maybe we can finish the little book this afternoon. I John chapter 5, now verse 16. This is a difficult verse. I’ve been wrestling with this one for the last couple of weeks.
I John 5:16a
“If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death….”
Now again I have to even force myself to bring my thinking into line with the Jewish economy. These are Jews that John is dealing with. And they’re still part and parcel of the legal system Mosaic Law. The Temple is still operating. And so we have to take all that into perspective. So, if a Jew here in John’s period of time, was to see a fellow Jew delving into some kind of sin that was not gross enough to bring in God’s judgmental taking of his life, he was to admonish this brother to depart from sin, whatever it was, lest it become a sin unto death.
So, it was a matter of taking concern for a fellow believer in the realm of the Jewish economy. All right, then the next statement is:
I John 5:16b
“…There is a sin unto death;…”
In other words, even in the Jewish economy, if a Jew would not refrain from living a life of sin and would not come back into fellowship, God would take His physical life. Now we don’t see that expressed as much in the Jewish Scriptures as we do in the Apostle Paul. All right, let’s go back and see how Paul dealt with it. Come back with me to I Corinthians chapter 11. Now whenever I deal with this, the first thing I’m going to emphasize to all of you here in the studio as well as to everyone out in television, be careful. You have to be so careful that you don’t get the impression that any time someone gets sick or has dire consequences that it’s because they’re in sin.
My goodness, God can bring bad health, God can bring financial disaster for the sole purpose of strengthening our faith. Not because He’s punishing us, but only to strengthen our faith because I’ll tell you what, nothing will increase your faith more than going through dire circumstances and knowing that God never forsook you. So be careful that you don’t say that when someone is suddenly stricken with cancer, or they’ve been stricken with something else – oh they must have sin in their life – don’t ever do that. But it is possible and the person who’s guilty knows what he’s guilty of.
All right, I Corinthians chapter 11 drop down to verse 28, 29 and 30. Now of course these are the verses dealing with the Lord’s table, but it’s going on beyond the behavior at the communion table, it goes right out into the everyday experiences now.
I Corinthians 11:28-29
“But let a man examine himself, (in other words, some introspection) and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh condemnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”
In other words, he’s careless about what the blood, or the cup and the bread, for the broken body, are signifying. Now verse 30.
I Corinthians 11:30
“For this cause (because someone is careless) many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” (have died)
That’s what the word “sleep” implies. But now again you have to remember that the Corinthian church was a congregation of carnal believers. They had a lot of sin in the congregation and yet they were believers. All right, now let’s go back up to chapter 5, and here we find a rather gross situation, and I’m going to be careful of the language that I use because I know I’ve got a lot of young kids watching the program, and I don’t want to do anything that will embarrass parents. But here we have a case of gross immorality. Such immorality, as Paul says, that even the Romans, the Gentiles, did not practice.
I Corinthians 5:2
” And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that done this deed might be taken away from among you.”
The congregation was “puffed up” and instead of being “mournful” over this hideous sin in their group, they had evidently been making light of it. See what Paul is saying? That if this individual did not come back from that sinful lifestyle, God would take him. And he would still be saved. Oh, I know it’s hard for some people to swallow, but he wouldn’t lose his salvation, but God would take his physical life. All right, read on. Verse 3.
I Corinthians 5:3-5
“For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present concerning him who hath so done this deed. 4. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (in other words, in the realm of the spiritual congregation there at Corinth) when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, (in other words, Paul even though not present would be present with them, probably prayerfully that they would be able to handle this) with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5. To deliver such an one (who is practicing this sin, not just falling once he was living in it) for the destruction of the flesh, (his physical life, much like God with Job, told Satan he could touch his flesh but he couldn’t take his life) that the spirit(the soul,) may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
See how plain that is? This man was not going to lose his salvation but they were going to deal drastically with him, if he didn’t repent or come back out of that sinful lifestyle. All right, now then, he comes down to verse 9, and having consort with a believer who is in gross sin that was one thing and that had to be dealt with. And if that individual would not respond then he was under danger of having his life taken as we saw back in I Corinthians 11. But now in order to qualify where we are in this world of rank immorality and wickedness all around us, here’s how we have to face it.
I Corinthians 5:9-10
“I wrote unto you in an epistle, not to (keep) company (or have fellowship) with fornicators. 10. Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortionist, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.”
Because if you’re not going to rub elbows with any of those people, in the five days of the work-a-day world, you’d have to “leave the world.” Because you cannot avoid it. You’re going to find yourself in the workplace up against, rubbing elbows with these kinds of people, that’s the world we live in. Even then already.
I Corinthians 5:11-13
“But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a immoral or covetous or an idolater, or a railer or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one not to eat. 12. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge (or deal) with those that are within. 13. But them that are without (the unbeliever) God judgeth (He’s going to take care of them. But what about the believer in this group?) Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”
But the believer put away from among yourselves that wicked person. And then God will deal with them as according to I Corinthians 11 and consequently amongst the Corinthians who had, like I said, a lot of problems, many of them had already died as a result of their sinful lifestyle, as believers. And that’s why it behooves us to be careful how we live because God is not going to permit a believer to bring reproach to His name. And if he will not turn from it, then we know from Scripture, God will take them.
But now like I said earlier and I’m going to repeat. Don’t ever – don’t ever look at someone who’s going through tough times whether it’s health or anything else and say well they must be living in sin. No. Because usually it’s to increase our faith. Okay, now let’s go back to I John again for a moment. Verse 18. Now this is a verse that’s thrown a lot of curves at people.
I John 5:18a
“We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not;…”
Have you known people who claim to be believers and that they’re so holy that they don’t sin anymore? Sure you have. I have. Ridiculous. There’s no such thing as living in the flesh and being totally above sin. We’re still in the flesh. We still are bombarded with the things of this world. But, what part of us as believers cannot sin? The ‘new man’. The new man cannot sin, it’s Divine, it’s from God Himself. But, we’ve got to remember when we become believers we become a two natured person.
Come back with me to Galatians chapter 5, because again a lot of Christendom does not teach this. But it’s a Pauline doctrine that when we become a born from above individual, we are now a two-natured person. We have the new Divine nature as a result of God’s saving us, but we’re still kept with that old Adamic nature. Oh it’s defeated. We can render it powerless, but it’s still there and here’s where we deal with it the most clearly in Scripture. Here, Paul writing to Gentiles up there in what’s today central Turkey. And they too, were being deluged with the idea of keeping the Mosaic Law along with Paul’s Gospel of Grace. And so this is why the little book of Galatians is written that you’re not under the Law, you don’t have to keep the Ten Commandments hanging over you, but instead we have that empowering of the Holy Spirit within. And the Holy Spirit does what the Law could never do. Verse 16.
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, (that is under His control) and ye will not fulfil the lusts of the flesh.”
The Spirit will never direct a believer into a lustful experience. That’s not the Spirit’s domain. Now here’s the reason, verse 17.
“For the flesh (the old nature, the one that we crucified with Christ at the time of our salvation. The old nature) lusteth (or in another portion the word is ‘wareth’) lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary one to the other:…”
Now you can’t make it any plainer than that. Those two natures are in a side-by-side and they are so totally opposite that they’re in a constant warfare.
“…so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
Now you’ve heard me use the illustration on this program more than once. If you’re paddling a canoe up river, and you pull the paddle out of the water and lay it in the canoe, which way are you going to go? Right back down stream. A canoe is something that you have to constantly keep battling the forces of the stream.
All right, the Christian life is the same way. The minute we let down our guard. The minute we go several days without prayer and Bible study, we’re going to see ourselves spinning around and going backwards. It’s a constant warfare. And this is what Paul teaches, see? But now verse 18.
“But if we’re led of the Spirit, (we keep that paddle in the water) ye are not under the law.”
Which means, that we’re under a whole new set of circumstances. The Spirit has taken the place of the Law and I’m going to show this in just a minute. And then he goes on and shows the two different lifestyles of those natures. The old sin nature is listed right up there in verse 19, 20, 21 and they are terrible. But then the new nature is listed in 22 and 23,
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness and faith. 23. Meekness, temperance: against there is no law.”
See? Totally different makeup than the flesh. All right, now in the one minute we have left. Turn back to Romans chapter 7, and this is why the believer is under totally different circumstances than the Jewish believer under nothing more than the Mosaic system. All right, got Romans chapter 7 verse 5 and 6.
“For when we were in the flesh, (Before we experienced the saving power and the Holy Spirit coming within) the motions (or the acts) of sins, which were by the law (in other words, coveting and stealing and so forth. They) did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.”
“But now (see, flipside but now since we’re saved,) we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held: that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”
See the difference. Now we’re going to live under the leading of the Holy Spirit, and not under the demands of the letter, or the Mosaic Law. What a difference!