Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 4 * Book 65
BUT GOD! (The Body of Christ – How do we get in?) – Part 4
Matthew 6:33 and Various Other Scriptures
With this lesson, we will end book 65. As I ended the last program, we were talking about how are we to live, how are we to behave as members of the Body of Christ? We have a responsibility, you know. We’re not saved to sit. God does expect certain things, rightfully, because after all He’s done for us, the least that we can do is what He expects in return. So, we’re going to look at Titus chapter 2 as an opener of “how we are to live.”
Now, I’ve made the comment over and over through the years that true Christianity is the most practical thing on earth. There is nothing impractical about the Christian life. It’s just simply the good life. It’s contrary, of course, to the old nature. It’s contrary to the forces of Satan, but nevertheless, for happy living, for a happy home, for a good business relationship, there’s nothing better than the Christian experience. Okay, now in Titus chapter 2 we’re going to start at verse 11 where we have the admonition of how to live.
“For the grace of God (We can’t do it any other way.) that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,” Now, that’s the big subject we’ve been talking about all afternoon. Salvation through Paul’s Gospel! “Believing that Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead!” (I Corinthians 15:1-4)
All right, as a result of believing the Gospel, we are placed into the Body of Christ. We have the Holy Spirit indwelling us. He empowers us to do what the Scripture wants us to do. We have the hope of glory. All of these good things come in the moment we believe the Gospel. And, “that Grace has appeared unto all men.” I’m not going take time to comment on that just now, but here we come in verse 12 to that Grace of God.
“Teaching us that, (we’re to) denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, (or appetites. On the other side of the coin–) we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” Now, that’s a small ‘g’. It doesn’t mean that we become gods, it merely means that we live a God-like or a Christ-like life.
In fact, where did the term Christian originate? Christ-like. It was actually a derogatory term when it first appeared. They derided these believers for being so Christ-like. Well, in the pagan world, you know, that was almost unacceptable. But that’s what the term means here as well, that we are to be “godly.” We’re to be Christ-like. We are to do this, not in some ethereal future, but where? “In this present world.”This is how God expects us to live.
Now, that’s not gobbledy-gook. Look at them again. “We’re to live soberly.” Now, that doesn’t mean you run around with a long face. That would just fly in the face for me, you know that. You don’t run around like death warmed over. You don’t go around every day as though the whole world is on your shoulders. The whole little book of Philippians is an admonishment to be what? “Joyful. Rejoice!” And where was Paul when he wrote it? In a dungeon! With a back that was beaten to a pulp and yet he could say, “Rejoice!” Why? Because we’ve got so much to be joyful about.
Even though we may not have that much in this life, oh, the riches of Glory that are waiting for us. All right, so we can live “soberly,” which merely means that you take things seriously, not flippantly. We’re to live “righteously.” In other words, as God gives us the wherewithal to do all things honest to all men, as Paul says. We are to give an honest day’s work for a day’s pay, and everything is to be above board. All right, “and godly.” Again, Christ-like. Now, where does that come in? Compassion. A love and a concern for those less fortunate.
Our America has had an opportunity to do that in the last month, because we’ve had so many that have been left destitute. Have you been praying for them? Have you given of your material wealth, somehow or other? That’s our responsibility. Now again, I’m going to say something publicly that I probably shouldn’t say, but listen, if you give your money, give it to an organization that is biblically based. And there are enough of them helping the poor folks down South. Don’t give it to an organization that has no concern about spiritual things. I had an old missionary tell us that years and years ago, and I’ve always adhered to that. So, give, but be careful where and how you give.
All right, we’re all to do this “in this present world.” All right, let’s back up and see how Paul treats it in yet another portion of Scripture. Come back with me to Galatians chapter 5, and again, these are verses that we’ve touched on more than once in days gone by. But they are always appropriate. We can drop down to verse 16. When we come to verse 16, the first thing I think of is Romans chapter 8, so I guess that’s where we’ll go next.
“This I say then, Walk (In other words, your daily life) in the Spirit,…” Now, does that ring a bell? Sure. How do we maintain what we just saw in Titus? By the power of the Holy Spirit. You can’t do it in the flesh. That’s why law-keepers are always in trouble. The Law gives them no power to keep it. But we’re not under the Law. We’re under Grace. The Holy Spirit empowers us to live a good life. You can’t do it on your own, because we’re still flesh.
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill (or give in to) the lusts of the flesh.” Now, the first thing I always have to remind people: that doesn’t just mean sexuality. Lusts can come in any form in any part of life. It can be disruptive. Absolutely it can. All right, but now read on:
“For the flesh (this Old Adam) lusteth (Or in another portion, the same word is translated warreth. I like that word better because that’s what it is, it’s warfare.) the flesh warreth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh:” What is it? It’s a constant conflict, because it’s so much easier to give in to the flesh. That doesn’t take any energy. That’s just doing what comes naturally.
“…and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Now, what does that mean? You can’t just float. You can’t just think, oh well, everything will turn out all right. No. You have to work at it. You know, I’ve got grandkids in college and one a senior in high school, and I happened to be on my senior in high school just this morning. I said, “You work! You work! If you can slough off and get a B and C, then you work and get A’s.” I’d say that to anybody’s child, because that’s the whole Christian experience. You don’t just slough along; you work.
“But if ye be led of the Spirit,…” See how plain that is? What did I just say two minutes ago? Everything we say, think, and do is by the leading and the empowering of the Holy Spirit who is dwelling within. That all happened the moment we believed. That’s what makes us different.
“But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” Now, I’ve got to go back to Romans even quicker than I intended to. Sorry about that. Come back to Romans. Not chapter 8 yet, but chapter 7, because I think a lot of people still don’t understand what I mean when I say that we’re not under Law. So far as you and I as believers are concerned, the Ten Commandments are a dead issue. They have nothing to do with us. Now, for the lost world, yes, they’re still condemning. The lost world is under the condemnation of the Law, but you and I as believers – No. The Law has been crucified with Christ. It’s dead and gone. Now, here’s the proof of it, Romans 7 verse 4. I’ll bet you have never found this in a Sunday School lesson. All got it?
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another,…” Now of course, Paul is using the illustration that if a husband and wife have been married for a number of years and one of them dies, the other is free to remarry. That’s scriptural as well as civil law. All right, now he’s using that, like losing a spouse, if you have become dead to the Law, it means that you are free to hook up with somebody else. And who’s the somebody else? Christ!
“…even to him who is raised from the dead, (Paul’s Gospel again) that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” So, the Law no longer has its heavy thumb upon you, because you’ve died to that and it’s died to you. So, now we are set free to become unionized with Christ Himself. That’s the picture, and we’re to get productive. All right, now here comes the explanation of all this.
“For when we were in the flesh, (While we were still lost.) the motions (or the acts) of sins, which were by the law,…” Well, what does that mean? Oh, we had idols. We didn’t worship God or love God with all our heart. We bore false witness from time to time. We stole one way or another from time to time. We committed sexual immorality from time to time, in thought if not in deed. We coveted from time to time. All the things that the Law said we were all guilty of breaking, one way or another, that’s life. Like I told the young lady in her work environment, that’s the run of the mill world. That’s their lifestyle. All right, so when we were in that condition—
“…the motions (acts) of sins, which were by the law (which the law pointed out), did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. (Spiritual death. But what’s the first word of verse 6?) But…” I’ll probably come to it when we get back to the ‘But now’s and But God.’ And this is a good one!
“But now (What does it mean? On this side of our salvation, because now that we’re a believer, we now have the indwelling Holy Spirit.) we are delivered from the law,…” You don’t hear that do you? But we are! We’re not under the Ten Commandments as a believer. They have no control over us, because we have something far better. And here it comes.
“But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; (The Law had its heavy thumb upon us, condemning us every minute of our life.) that we should now serve in newness of spirit,…” What’s he talking about? The Holy Spirit. Instead of having the Law condemn us, we now have the Holy Spirit to empower us to live righteously, to live godly, in this present world.) and not in the oldness of the letter.” Now the word letter here is another word for Law.
Now, there’s a companion portion of Scripture in II Corinthians chapter 3 and I like to use the two together because it just so upsets people when I say that the Law is death. The Law has no life whatsoever and I’ve got to show it from Scripture. II Corinthians chapter 3 and I have to read verse 5 in order to feed into the verse that I want which is verse 6 and 7. Where Paul writes:
II Corinthians 3:5
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; (In other words, we’re powerless. Of ourselves we’re nothing.) but our sufficiency (as a believer) is of (Comes from where?) God;” We can’t do it. We’re helpless. Now, that’s just a semi-colon, so the thought feeds right into verse 6.
II Corinthians 3:6
“Who also hath made us (as believers) able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, (What did I say that spoke of? The Law. So, we’re not of the law.) but of the Spirit: (Now here it comes.) for the letter (The Law – gives life? No. What does it do?) killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” Now, I’m always making comparisons. Do you see the comparison? The Law is death. The Spirit is life. Next verse. If you don’t think it’s talking about the Law–
II Corinthians 3:7a
“But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones,…” Now good heavens, do you know of anything else in this Book that was engraved in stone except the Ten Commandments? Do you? No. There’s no such thing. So, that’s concrete proof that Paul is talking about the Ten Commandments. They were ministrations of death.
Now, the big controversy in the country is all over the Ten Commandments. I guess that’s well and good, because it’s the Ten Commandments that condemns lost people. It wakes them up that they are guilty. But you and I have nothing to do with them. Nothing whatsoever, because to us they’re nothing but a ministration of death, and we don’t want death, we want life. So, we consider the Ten Commandments as dead and gone because we are now on this side of our salvation experience, and we have the Holy Spirit that takes the place of the Law.
All right, let’s come back to where we left off, in Galatians chapter 5. Now then, since the Holy Spirit has come in, He takes the place of the Law. The Holy Spirit will teach us the same things that the Law did only in a different approach. The Holy Spirit teaches us to love God with all our heart. How can you help but do otherwise? The Holy Spirit teaches us how to refrain from sinful living. And He can empower us to do that. Otherwise we can’t. All right, so now verse 18, he says what I just got through talking about for the last five minutes. That is, that if we have the indwelling Holy Spirit leading us, we have nothing to do with the Law.
“But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” You know, I used an illustration years and years ago, probably in our early days on television. If you want a good picture of the law, picture a young couple just having gotten married, and the young man puts a whole list on the refrigerator door of what she’s going to do. On Monday you will wash. On Tuesday you will do this. On Wednesday you’ll wash the car. On Thursday you’ll do this. On Friday you’re going to do this. And she turns right around and puts her own list up. This is what you’re going to do!
All right, now that’s a marriage based on what? Law. But a true loving marriage can throw both those lists away. And they’re both going to be appropriate, because when she loves him she’s going to do the things that he expects and visa versa. All right, now the same way in the realm of the spiritual. When the Holy Spirit comes in, you throw away the Law because you no longer need it. The power of the Spirit, the love of God, is going to take over and you don’t have to have the Law tell you not to steal. You don’t have to have the Law say ‘thou shall not covet.’ You won’t want to, because that’s the way it works. Okay, now let’s read on quickly, our time is going. Verse 19:
“Now the works of the flesh…” That Old Adamic nature, the lost person, and again, I’ll come back to the lady and her workplace. This is the average attitude of the lost world. They may not all practice it, but it’s certainly in their mind and in their language. And here they are.
“…are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,” All four of them are associated with the sins of sexual immorality. You realize that? They’re at the top of the heap. All right, then you move on from them, you come down to:
“Idolatry,…” Now remember, you can have an idol that isn’t necessarily a wood or a stone idol on the mantel. Anything can become an idol – your home, your car, your kids, your wife. Anything can take the place of God.
That reminds me, I’ve got to make you smile once in a while. I had a lady call yesterday. She says, “Les, I listen to you every day, but there’s only one time that you were dead, dead wrong.” I said, “When was that?” “Well,” she said, “You said you loved your cows, and you’re not supposed to love your cows, you’re supposed to love God and your wife.” I said, “I put it in that order!” But anyway, these are the works of the flesh.
“Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, (in other words, always argumentative) emulations, wrath (losing control of the temper) strife, (My, how many households aren’t just filled with strife? Why? Because it’s the old satanic powers at work.) seditions, heresies,” Now that’s an interesting word. We’re seeing a lot of theologians accusing other theologians of heresy and rightfully so. But where I get into the hang up is, can a true believer be a heretic? It would seem to me that a true believer should be able to overcome heresy.
You know what heresy is? No? Well, heresy is when you just deviate from the truth. That’s heresy. You start embracing something that is just not biblically pure. Anyway, here it is. It’s listed in things of the flesh.
“Envyings, murders, (And like I pointed out in one of my seminars, I think in the last few weeks, what’s right next to murder?) drunkenness,…” And we’re living in a society that sees nothing wrong with it anymore, until you kill somebody. Then they can bring them up for manslaughter. But the whole attitude toward drunkenness anymore is, if you’re drunk, don’t drive. That’s awful. Drunkenness is a vile sin of the flesh. And it is condemned by Scripture. You can never condone it under any circumstance.
“…revellings, (Which usually leads to drunkenness.) and such like: of the which I told you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the (What?) kingdom of God.” You see that? These people who live this lifestyle are not going to be in the Kingdom of God. They’re going to miss it. And then where are they? If you’re not in the Kingdom of God, come eternity, you’re in the other place.
Revelation makes it so plain that these very same kinds of people will never see the Kingdom of God. That’s what Revelation says. All the way through Scripture we have that same admonition, that people who do these things will not be in the Kingdom of God. They’ll not be in the Body of Christ. They will not be in anything except their eternal doom.
All right I’ve got one minute left. But now we come down to verse 22 and 23, and what a complete opposite side of the coin.
“But (See the flipside! Instead of all the things pertaining to the flesh, under the satanic impulses, here is how the Holy Spirit leads.) the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, (or patience with one another) gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Why? Because they are all good.
You put all these things together, and you get just exactly what Paul said in Titus. “That the Grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we’re to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.” When you live that way, you’re going to have an impact on people around you.