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Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 66
BUT GOD! (Rightly Dividing the Word) – Part 1
Matthew 6:33 and Various Other Scriptures
We want to thank every one of you for coming in this afternoon for another session of taping. We’ve got folks visiting from Minnesota, from Idaho, and all the rest of you, of course, are pretty much “old hands.” But for those of you out in television, if you’re catching our program for the first time, we always like to emphasize that we’re not associated with any one large group. I’m not a pastor of a church. Don’t ever write and say ‘Dear Reverend’ or ‘Dear Pastor,’ because that’s not true. I’m a layman, and the Lord has given us these opportunities to teach the Word only for the purpose that you learn how to do it on your own.
One young man called from Tennessee just the other day, and he said, “Les, up until this point in time I sat in church with my arms crossed on my chest and just took whatever came from the pulpit to be the truth. But,” he said, “Your program on the radio made me realize that that wasn’t always true.” “So,” he said, “I started getting into the Book on my own, and I found out that most of what I was hearing across that pulpit was not true. It was false.” This is what we want people to do – not go by what I say. Don’t go by what some preacher or evangelist says – go by what the Word of God says, and if it’s Church Age doctrine, then it must be from the pen of the Apostle Paul.
I mentioned in the last taping that Tyndale thought the Word of God should be in the hands of every “plowboy in England.” Now, England plowboys were not seminary graduates. They were fortunate to just simply be able to read. Yet, that’s all it takes, because the Spirit of God will open the Bible to the understanding of anyone if they’ll prayerfully look for it. So, our purpose is to get people to study the Word on their own.
Okay, we’re ready to move on. We’re going to pick right up where we left off in our last series of lessons. We’re still going to be in the same verse, but we’re going to move on to the last half of it today and then move on to some of the other “But God and But Christ” and so forth throughout the New Testament.
All right, so come back with me to where we’ve been for the last several weeks or months, whatever the case may be, in Matthew chapter 6. We’ve been on verse 33, but we’re going to go on now to the last half of the verse.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;…” And that’s why we’ve still got the circles on the board. The Kingdom of God is that area of God’s influence and control that are on the righteous side and not of the things that pertain to the unrighteous. They are not in the Kingdom of God. Within the Kingdom of God we have discerned, for the last several programs, that there are two other entities – The Kingdom of Heaven, which has been promised to Israel since especially the Abrahamic Covenant and involving all the other covenants after that – the Davidic Covenant, the Palestinian Covenant, and the New Covenant. They’re all associated with this Kingdom of Heaven.
But when Israel rejected all that at the stoning of Stephen, God did something totally different. It was kept secret from all the generations, and Paul calls it “the revelation of the mysteries.” That is the opening up of the Church Age or the calling out of the Body of Christ. We’ve been defining that now for the last several programs. All right, now we’re going to move on to the last half of the verse where He says:
“…and all these things shall be added unto you.” The material things that He listed up above this; how the lilies of the field don’t have to worry about how they’re dressed. We don’t have to worry as believers; what we are going to eat or what we are going to drink, because that’s all under His Divine provision. All right, so if we seek first the Kingdom of God, become a member of, for us today, the Body of Christ, then we can rest assured that God will take care of all of our needs and bless as He sees fit.
Now we have to remember, God does not promise two cars in every garage. He does not promise three homes. He doesn’t promise a million dollar bank account. All He promises is our daily needs. That’s what we’re promised. Everything beyond that is by the grace of God. If He’s seen fit to bless some of us, or some of you I guess I should say, with wealth or with abundance, it isn’t because you’ve earned it. It isn’t because you became a believer, it’s because God’s grace has permitted it. That’s about as far as we can go, but He does promise to fulfill all our needs.
But now remember this is Old Testament yet, even though it’s in the Gospels. So, we’re going to look at how this was established by Old Testament credentials, that these things, material things, shall be added unto you. Now, let’s take verse 34 as well, He says:
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Now, until the middle of the night last night I still didn’t really have a handle on what I was going to use from the Old Testament. I woke up at 3 o’clock and it hit me like a ton of bricks, as we say, Psalms chapter 1. Let’s go back and look at it. It’s a chapter that I learned when I was a kid in Bible School, so I didn’t have to get up and go read what the text said. I knew what it said. “Blessed is the man.” Psalms chapter 1. Now, these are some of the “things” that I think Jesus was referring to. This was for His Jewish readers, or listeners, concerning the things that are appropriate for the child of God even in the Old Testament economy. This is a beautiful chapter, Psalms chapter 1 starting at verse 1.
“Blessed (We can say today ‘happy.’) is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, (So, where is this gentleman? He’s in the Kingdom of God. He’s a believer. And of course, I think it’s David.) nor standeth in the way of sinners, (He’s not outside the Kingdom of God, he’s in it, so he has no concourse with the unbelieving world.) nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” Which means ridiculing things that are spiritual. He’s a man of God. He appreciates knowing God. He appreciates the blessings of God. Now verse 2, now remember this is Old Testament.
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD;…” Now, for the Old Testament believer what was this Law? Well, the Ten Commandments. They reveled in it. The Ten Commandments were their staff of life, as it should be. And, you see, that’s what Moses saw would one day disappear, not realizing how and when. But now we know that it was when the finished work of the cross came into being. We are now saved by grace, not by Law. The Ten Commandments have disappeared. But for the Old Testament believer it was at the core of his understanding of the things of God. All right, read on.
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (Now, this is the Old Testament believer.) 3. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; (And then the physical part, or the material part, for the believer.) whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Now, of course, that was Old Testament constantly, that if a Jewish believer was obedient and he was faithful, he could expect material blessings. We don’t have that kind of promise today. We don’t have to say, “Well, God, I’m a believer. I’m doing what you want me to do. Where are my prosperity blessings?” No, that’s not promised today for us by the Apostle Paul, but for the Old Testament believer it was.
Now, I couldn’t help but think of a vivid experience that Iris and I had a few years ago. We were having seminars out in New Mexico, and if you remember, a few years ago they had tremendous drought and forest fires out there. I’ll never forget, we had gone from Roswell down to Elephant Butte and from Elephant Butte we were going to go up to Albuquerque. We were on high ground, and when you looked way down, there was this golden bordered river. Now, this was in the fall and the aspens and the cottonwoods were just as yellow as Susie’s blouse over there. But they were only like that for a few feet away from the river. The rest was absolute desert! But, the river of water kept those trees alive and beautiful. That’s the life of the believer. Our tap roots go right into the very blessings of God, even in the Old Testament.
So, it’s a good analogy that as you watch the trees along the river, they are constantly fed from the waters that do not come and go, like in a drought season on the rest of the land around it,. That’s the believer, even in the Old Testament.
“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; (And then the promise, as I’ve already said, to the Old Testament believer was that…) and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Now of course, David sometimes had some problems with that; didn’t he?
Now stay here, I’m going to come back. These are portions that come to mind while I’m teaching, so forgive me. Come up to chapter 37, and this too is a Psalm of David, but this is looking at the other side of the coin. Sometimes it’s the world that seems to have their taproot in the river water, and David had a problem with it, as we do even today. We look around and we say, “Why do the ungodly prosper? Why do they seemingly just have everything going their way?” Well, that’s typical. We’ll look at how David puts it.
“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. (Why?) 2. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.” Now, we have certainly noticed that wealthy people die just as fast as the poor people do. You know, I always have to come back to the founder of Wal Mart. My, you would have thought that when they first diagnosed his cancer, that with all of his billions he’d make. But did he? No. He went right on like everybody else. All that wealth couldn’t cure his cancer. All right, now look at the next one.
“Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” Now, you see how Old Testament this is? This is a promise to David in the Land of Promise under the blessings of Jehovah God. All right, verse 5; this is a verse that I usually refer to people who are going through adversity. It’s just as applicable to us today as it was for David in 1000 BC, 3000 years ago.
“Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he (the Lord) shall bring it to pass. (That is, the things that are according to His will. It’s a beautiful promise.) 6. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. (That is righteous judgment.) 7. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way,…”See, what he’s driving at? Don’t get all shook up by the ungodly person who’s making it over and over and over – nothing ever seems to go against them. Don’t worry about that. He’s getting all the heaven he’s ever going to have here on earth. The rest is eternal doom. So, this is what David is saying here, fret not for the one who is doing the ungodly things. All right, finishing the verse.
“…because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. 8. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. (Now, here it is.) 9. For evildoers shall be cut off: (When this life is over, it’s all done for them. But for the believer, now read on!) but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the (What?) earth.” So, what does that tell you? This is Old Testament. See that? You know, I always have to go back – I bet I share it I don’t know how many times a week with people, and they say well, how did you see all this? How did you see rightly dividing the Scripture? The difference between God dealing with Israel and God dealing with the Church?
It goes back to when I first started teaching outside of my denominational Sunday school class. A lady came up and bombarded me with one question. It about blew me away. Iris and I were talking about it at breakfast this morning. And the question was, “Why isn’t heaven taught in the Old Testament?” Well, I’d never dreamed of such a question. It had never crossed my mind, and I told her so. I said I never heard of such a thing. She said, “Well, it’s not back there!” So, I had to look and look and look some more! And she was right! Because they weren’t looking at dieing and going to heaven, they were looking to die and go into this earthly kingdom. Here it is, even in David’s psalm. That was their hope and their prospect, that — you know, I always go back to Job 19. How did Job put it?
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the (Portals of heaven? No. Where?) earth: 26. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh (In a resurrected body, Job says.) shall I see God:” Well, what was he talking about? The earthly kingdom – just like David is referring to here in Psalms 37. He’s not talking about heaven. He’s talking about the earthly kingdom that’s still going to be Israel’s eternal abode. All right, let’s go back to verse 9 of Psalms 37 for a minute.
“For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.” That will be once Christ sets up His Kingdom. All right, back to chapter 1. We’re still looking at how the Old Testament saints could realize the physical and earthly blessings that were promised them beyond the spiritual. All right, back to Psalms 1 verse 4. Now, here’s the comparison again with the ungodly, those that are outside this Kingdom of God.
“The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.” Now, you’ve got to remember that Israel was an agricultural, agrarian society, so most of their language is in that direction. Now, a lot of metropolitan people don’t know the difference between grain and chaff, but we’re in a rural area of the country and hopefully you all do. What’s chaff? Well, it’s that outer shuck that holds the kernel of wheat or whatever it may be.
It’s worthless. It has no feed value; it has nothing. So, as they go through those fields with those huge combines and you see that cloud of dust going out in the air, what’s blowing away? The chaff. It’s worthless, and the grain remains; it goes up into the tank. All right, now this is a biblical analogy. The ungodly and all his deeds are just like that worthless chaff that blows away into oblivion. They will come to the end of their days on earth, and they’re going to go on into a lost eternity. They’ve had all the heaven they’re ever going to have while they’re enjoying their wealth and their riches here.
“Therefore (Sounds like Paul, doesn’t it?) the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,…” Now, the judgment here does not mean punishment, it means righteous government. I’m always pointing that out. The word judgment in the Old Testament does not mean punishment, it means a righteous government.
“Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, (righteous government of the earthly kingdom) nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.” They’re going to be separated out. They’re not going to have any part in it.
You know, that reminds me of something else. You know, this is why I love to teach! I love the way things can be flip-flopped back and forth and they all fit. Now, when you get into Matthew “two women shall be at the mill grinding, one taken, and the other left.” Now, there’s still a lot of confusion across Christendom about what that is talking about? Well, the unbeliever will be taken, because the Earthly Kingdom is about ready to come in, and the believer of those two will be left. “Two shall be sleeping in the bed, one taken and the other left.” Who’s taken? The unbeliever, because the Earthly Kingdom is about to come in and only believers will go into it. All right, you’ve got the same analogy here.
“For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” The ungodly aren’t going into the Kingdom economy. They’re going to go to their eternal doom. It’s just as much a teaching of the Old Testament as it is of the New.
Well, I don’t know if I’m going to have enough time to cover everything that Paul says that would fit for “to seek first the Kingdom of God.” That, of course, is to become a member of the Body of Christ, and I’ve shown that for the last several programs. But now what is beyond the spiritual? The material.
Now, let’s go up to the New Testament again. Let’s look at how Paul puts it. Of course, there’s no better letter of Paul’s to start with when it comes to the things of joy and blessing than Philippians. The little letter to the Philippians and we’re going to jump in at chapter 4. There’s so much here again, let’s back up to chapter 3. Let’s jump in at verse 12, no let’s go to verse 10. Let’s go to verse 10. Philippians chapter 3 starting at verse 10, now this is, of course, the Apostle writing from the first person, but as he says over and over, “be ye followers of me as I follow Christ.” So, these could also be our words.
“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; (Here’s where the identity of His death, burial, and resurrection comes to the fore.) 11. If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” Now, in so many words, he’s just saying that Paul was stopped on the road to Damascus. God saved him in an instant. But for what purpose? To be the Apostle of the Gentiles, to take the Gospel of salvation to the ends of the earth.
All right, now it’s the same way for every one of us. We’re not just saved as a fire escape. We’re not just saved to escape hellfire. We are saved to spend the rest of our life, whatever it is, long or short, in His service. Whatever it may be. It may be some less and others more, but nevertheless, we’re saved to dedicate our life to service even as the Apostle Paul did. All right, now then, verse 14.
“I press on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Now, what’s he’s talking about? Well you see, after we have attained salvation in this Age of Grace, we don’t work to complement salvation, we work now for what? Reward. We’re going to be rewarded in glory.
I don’t know what they’re going to be, let God be the judge. But I know this, for the faithful believer there are rewards that are piling up that we’re going to enjoy for all of eternity. Well, the Apostle Paul was in that same estate. Now, of course, he suffered and served more than any thousands of us will do. But it’s the same picture. As he labored and as he suffered, it wasn’t to gain salvation. He had that! But it was for reward. For the crowns that are going to be laid at the Lord’s feet. All right now let’s come on into our own situation.
“Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, (or have become spiritually mature) let us be thus mined: and if in any thing ye be other wise minded, God shall reveal even this to you.” Let God lead. You know, someone asked the other day how I got to this place. “Well,” I said, “I’ll tell you one thing. I never put the first foot forward. Never did I make a move to accomplish what we’re doing. God always opened the door first and then we were obedient to walk through.” And all the way up unto this present time, I can honestly say that I have never made the first move. God does. So, I think I can share this with all of you. Don’t necessarily feel that you’ve got to be out there pushing to get something done. Just be willing. Know that when it does come that you’re going to do what God wants you to do.
“Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.” Then verse 17, now these are portions of Paul that a lot of people detest. They think he should have said “follow Jesus.” No, he doesn’t say that. He says:
“Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example. 18. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:” Now, that’s powerful language. They’re not true believers. My, I had a letter yesterday and I told Iris, I wish I could share it, but I can’t.
But it is so typical of what’s going on, even in Christian circles today. Where they’ve got the attitude that just because they’ve gone through the motions of being saved, they are now free to do whatever they want to do. They think they don’t have to worry, once saved always saved. I wish I could share the letter, but it was too explicit. But listen, you and I cannot take that attitude. Paul condemned that kind of thinking in Romans, and he decried it. Just because we’re under grace doesn’t mean that we can do whatever we want to do and then say, I don’t have to worry, I’m safe. Baloney! That’s not true.
So, here again we have all these people that seemingly are saying the right things, are doing the right things, but what are they? They’re enemies of the cross of Christ. Why? Well, there’s a multitude of reasons, but mostly because they’re not Spirit-led. They’re doing it in the flesh and have never believed Paul’s Gospel for their salvation!
“Whose end is (Not eternal glory, it’s not reward, it’s what?) destruction, whose God is their belly, (In other words, all they’re really thinking of are the material things.) and whose glory is in their shame, who mind (What?) earthly things.)” That’s all they’re living for, but under the, how shall I put it? Under the whatever of being spiritual, but they’re not. They’re enemies of the cross of Christ. All right, now I think I’ll just go on and finish the chapter. We’ve probably covered it in our daily program, but it never hurts to repeat it. Let’s just finish the chapter.
“For our citizenship is in heaven; (We do not mind earthly things first and foremost, because our citizenship is in heaven.) from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:” Now that, of course, is the blessed hope for the believer. We know, maybe today, maybe tonight, tomorrow, next week, or sometime soon, we trust – the Lord’s coming! He’s going to call us out! Paul was already looking for it in his day. Now verse 21, and when He comes:
“He shall change our vile body, (This body that’s prone to sickness and disease and injury, and this body–) that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body,…” Now, I always tell people that all you have to do is study the forty days of Christ after His resurrection until He was ascended and you’ll get a vivid description of the kind of a body we’re going to have for eternity. He could be one place one instant and way up the road the next. He could eat and He could drink with the Eleven. He could converse with them, but He could also go through a wall without a door or a window. It was a body that was fit for eternity, and we’re going to have one just like it! What a blessed hope. All right, so He’s going to be giving us a body like unto His glorious body:
“…according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself.” Why? Because He is the Creator God of everything. Even though He loved us and gave Himself for us, never forget that He was and is the Eternal Creator God.