Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 68
BUT WHEN -THE FULLNESS OF THE TIME – PART 3
Galatians 4:4; Galatians 4:9; Ephesians 2:4
We’ll pick right up where we left off. I don’t feel that I quite did justice to the end of verse 9, in Galatians 4. So, you can be turning back to it if you’ve lost it here in the studio.
For those of you out there in television, again, we’d like to invite you to open your Book and take out your pen and pad and study with us. My whole premise is, “What does the Book say? And what doesn’t it say?” And if it doesn’t say it, don’t try to push it in there, because you get in trouble when you do. Here we go, with a continuation of our last program in Galatians 4. We were in verse 9.
“But now, after that ye have known God,…” After these pagans had come out of their idolatry, it becomes not only known of God, but they knew God themselves. They come into a relationship through their salvation.
But, as we were explaining in the last program, they were being besieged by Judaizers from the Jerusalem church who were still under the Law, primarily. The Temple was still operating. I think a lot of people forget that. I think they forget that when they read these things in Paul’s letters, especially. They forget that the Temple is still going. My goodness, the Jews are having animal sacrifices every day. The mainstream orthodox Jew is still completely under the Law – the dietary laws and everything. So, the Jerusalem church is still those kinds of Jews. They had simply embraced Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Messiah. And as such they became believers in that or the believing of the Gospel of the Kingdom. So, they were separated from the mainstream of Israel. But they were still law keeping Jews.
My, I can prove that so easily. Let me show you a verse. I always do everything with Scripture. Go back to Acts. I think it is chapter 22 verse 12. Now, this was a believing Jew up in Damascus, but he was still on the same page with these Jerusalem believers. This says it all.
Acts chapter 22:12a
“And one Ananias, a devout man, according to the law,…” But what was he? He was a believer that Jesus was the Christ. That’s why he was so fearsome of Paul coming to Damascus. He was one of those that Paul was trying – or Saul – was trying to stamp out of Israel. But what was he? “Devout according to the law.” Another good one to prove that is Acts 21:20. Let’s look at it.
“And when they (believing Jews) heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, (Paul) Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:” Now, this is what we have to understand. And as soon as Paul’s Gospel becomes evident to the Gentiles, it’s “not under law.” We’re going to look at that right now.
In fact, coming back from Acts, stop in Romans chapter 6. I just have to repeat it and repeat it and repeat it, because the vast majority of Christendom is still just about in the same situation, as these Gentiles were always hearing, “You can’t be saved by just Paul’s Gospel, you also have to be baptized.” Others say that you’ve got to join a church. A lot of them now are saying that you can’t be saved unless you speak in tongues. You can’t be saved unless you give tithes and offerings. That’s all extraneous. Just like the Judaizers are pulling at Paul and his Gentile believers, but beloved, we’re not under any of that.
Romans chapter 6 verse 14. This is one of the first verses that you have to show to people.
“For sin (Or the old Adam as he’s dealing with it in this chapter.) shall not have dominion over you: (Why?) for you’re not under the law, (You’re not under demands for Temple worship and sacrifices. You’re not under any demands to do something.) but under grace.” And grace is just what it says – the complete favor of God to us who don’t merit a thing. I always like to use Saul’s conversion as the perfect example of the grace of God.
Here was this rebel, this guy who was killing people. Throwing them into prison, just because they’d embraced Jesus as the Messiah. He was all hung up in the traditions of the fathers. And as he approaches the city to Damascus, God doesn’t put him through a whole week or two of conviction. God doesn’t have somebody preaching at him all the way from Jerusalem, but instantly God stops him, and He says, “Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Of course, old Saul didn’t know who the voice was, except that it came from heaven. What was his response? “Who are you Lord?” Now you see, the Lord prompted all this by grace. He didn’t have to. But by pure grace, He stops that raging bull, is the best way I can describe him. Stops him in his tracks and saves him by a simple question. “Lord, what would you have me to do?” And there it was. So, he became the epitome of Salvation by grace through faith alone. All right, here it is. We’re not under the law, we’re under grace.
Now again, I think I almost have to bring you back to Galatians, because this is where he primarily addresses the problem of people adding to his Gospel. All right, let’s turn for a moment to Galatians chapter 3. Now, I’m continuing on last program’s approach of why the weak and beggarly things appealed to these Galatian Gentile believers.
“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you,…” Well now, we can answer it, can’t we? The Judaizers from Jerusalem were telling them they had to keep the Law. They had to practice circumcision.
“…who hath bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” How? By Paul’s Gospel. And never forget, what’s Paul’s Gospel? “That Christ died for our sins, that He was buried, and He arose from the dead the third day.” That’s Paul’s Gospel. We must believe that for salvation!! Why do people hate it? I can’t understand it, but they do. They fight it tooth and toenail. And so did the Galatians. Not because they were against the gospel itself, but they thought that now it wasn’t enough. They had to also do what the Judaizers were promoting.
“This only (Paul says) would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit (In other words, the evidence of their salvation. Did you receive the Spirit–) by the works of the law, (Is that when the Spirit came in? When you were circumcised, and you ate right, and you did everything that the Law demanded?) or by the hearing of faith?” Now, that’s a simple question, isn’t it? Tell me Galatians, tell me you Gentile believers, did you come into this relationship with the crucified Christ by keeping the Law? No. But wasn’t it when you heard the Gospel? Yes. Well then, why isn’t it still enough? Why do you now think you have to add to it? And that’s what we’re seeing all around us today.
They bombard people with you can’t be saved by faith alone, you have to do something. Well, I’m just like Paul. What’s the matter with you people? If you were saved by faith alone, don’t you think God can keep you by faith alone? I hadn’t been on television here in Tulsa but for just a couple of months. I guess it was within the first couple of months, way, way back. A guy called, and boy he jumped all over me, because I was teaching this kind of a salvation.
He said, “Les, you can be saved by that, but you mean to tell that you don’t have to worry about losing it?” I said, “Now, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Do you mean to tell me the grace that saved you wasn’t enough to keep you?” Well, I had him. He couldn’t answer it. That’s what you have to look at. If the grace of God is sufficient to save you, don’t you think it’s sufficient to keep you? Well you’d better, because that’s where it’s all at. If He saves us, He keeps us. That’s a promise. All right, read on.
“Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, (That is without the works of the Law.) are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Do you come to a full fruition of saving grace by works of the flesh? Now, what are works of the flesh? Well, the number one that’s been hoisted and foisted on the human race for the last 1900 years. What is it? Baptism. Hey, that’s a work of the flesh. Don’t ever tell me it isn’t, because there isn’t a person alive that can’t all of a sudden get the desire to want to be baptized. And he can find a preacher someplace that will gladly do it. Am I right? You know I am. But what is it? It’s a work of the flesh. And Paul says it won’t fly. It has to be the work of the Spirit.
I can go into the same thing with speaking in tongues. All right, now you can go to some preacher and say, hey, listen to me. I can speak in tongues. Are you going to accept me into your church? Oh, you bet. Come on in. That’s one of our requirements. And Paul will just fly in the face of that, because it’s by the work of the Spirit, the Gospel – the cross plus nothing!
All right, let’s go to another one, still in Galatians. Like I said, this is the letter that deals primarily with extraneous things attached to Paul’s Gospel. Come on over to chapter 5. Now, he’s made his argument in chapter 4 using an Old Testament allegory, the picture of Ishmael and Isaac. Well, Ishmael, you see, was born by the works of the flesh. God didn’t tell Abraham to go have a child by Hagar. That was all of the flesh. But the son of promise, which came 17-18 years later, was Isaac.
All right, now Paul by the Holy Spirit inspiration in chapter 4 uses those two young men as perfect examples of Law and Grace. Law is of the flesh. It’s what you can DO. Grace is all the work of the Spirit. All right, he brings that allegory to a close then, when he says:
“Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son:…” Who was a picture of legalism and have no part with it. So, if you cast out the bondwoman, what are you left with? Grace. Now chapter 5 verse 1.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty (without any demands of the Law or the flesh) wherewith Christ hath made us free, (Not Paul. Not some church. Not Les Feldick. I don’t have a thing to do with it. All I can show you is what the Scripture says. Christ has made us free.) and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Well, now back up to our verses that we just left in chapter 4 verse 9, same language. That’s what you have to learn to do. And when Scripture repeats something, it’s for emphasis. Don’t miss it. Here’s our verse.
“But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” Well, what was the perfect picture of bondage in antiquity? The oxen.
And what did the oxen have around their necks? The yoke. And what was the purpose of the yoke? To hook up the plow. And what was the plow? A burden! The poor animal tugged on it all day long. That’s the picture. That’s what people are doing religiously. They are putting the yoke around their neck. They’re hooking themselves under a plow of good works. What a waste. All right, now come back to chapter 5 again. He says don’t be wrapped up in a yoke of bondage. Don’t let somebody hook you up to a works religion. Now verse 2:
“Behold, I Paul…” (Now, why does he put that in there? The Holy Spirit, yes. But why does the Holy Spirit put Paul’s name in here? Well, come back with me now. I don’t think we touched on it in the last programs. I wanted to, but I didn’t get there. Come back to Romans chapter 11. Keep your hand in Galatians, we’ll be right back. Romans chapter 11 verse 13. The first time Jerry Pool came into my class some 20 years ago– Jerry? He’s sitting there smiling. He knows exactly what I’m going to say. After class he came up, and he said, “Les, I never saw that verse in Scripture, and I’ve been in church all my life. So use it and use it and use it.” Well, I do. Here it is, Romans 11:13.
“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the (singular) apostle of the Gentiles.”
Now, that’s not a man writing from braggadocio. That’s Holy Spirit inspired. Every word that the man writes is as the Holy Spirit wanted it written. And remember, that makes it Scripture. Anybody that doubts that Paul is Scripture hasn’t read II Peter 3:16, where Peter says that Paul’s epistles are like all the rest of Scripture. They are just as much the Word of God as the first five books of Genesis or any of the prophets or the four Gospels or anybody else. It’s all Scripture.
All right, let’s see, I thought I had another one. Back up a little ways in Romans, chapter 2. My goodness, when preachers say they won’t have anything to do with Paul, look what they’re doing with their listeners! Just stop and think of what they’re doing to their listeners. Romans chapter 2 verse 16. And again, it’s plain English. I like to make sure that you’ve found it. I want my television audience to see it with their own eye.
“In the day when God shall judge (What day are we talking about? The Great White Throne for the lost in Revelation 20.) the secrets of men by Jesus Christ (Who will be the Judge. And what are they going to be judged by?) according to my gospel.” Paul’s Gospel. Not John’s. Not Peter’s. Not even Jesus’ Himself in His earthly ministry. They’re going to be judged according to this gospel that has been revealed to this apostle. That’s scary isn’t it? Because a lot of people aren’t hearing it. But they’d better, because this is going to be the criteria.
All right, I’ve got one more and then we’re going to move on to our next “But Now.” Colossians, come all the way up past Galatians now – Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians. This is the Scripture you have to use when people confront you with keeping the seventh day Sabbath. I had a letter just yesterday that said, “Do I keep the Passover Feast?” Well, not as they were talking about it. My goodness, we certainly realize the Passover was that time of the year when Christ was crucified and buried and rose from the dead, but we certainly don’t practice the Passover Feast any more. And here’s why.
“Blotting out (What does that mean? You just simply blank it. It’s gone.) the handwriting of ordinances that was against us,…” Now, what do you suppose I think that is? I think most of you are going to agree. The six hundred and thirteen laws and rules and regulations that govern Judaism, all based on the Levitical commandments – 613 rules!
I always get a newsletter from a Jewish Mission up in St. Louis. A year or so ago, in every month’s newsletter, he had a series of those 613 laws until he covered all of them. I’ve always wanted to write and get a complete list of them. It was interesting, all 613 over a period of months that he put in the newsletter. Well, this is what he’s talking about blotting out, removing.
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordnances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” Now, come right back to the picture that we just used, the yoke. What’s the yoke to the poor oxen? Well, it’s a burden. It holds him back. He can’t walk freely. He’s got a plow behind him. Same thing here. These 613 rules were just like a plow dragging behind you. They were contrary to us. And He took it out of the way. Who did? Jesus Christ! He took it out of the way and “nailed it (Where? Oh, I love this verse! I can’t help it!) to his cross.” Can you get it any plainer than that? That’s why, when Christ finished the work of the cross, He fulfilled every demand of this Law. Every bit of it. You and I can’t. So, we back away from the Law, and we say, I’ll trust Him. He did it for me. Now verse 15:
“And having spoiled (or He defeated) principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly,…” So that the whole world could know. Well, what’s He talking about? When I speak of the resurrection power, who was defeated? Satan and all of the powers of sin and death and Hell – the cross defeated it – openly! And you and I don’t have to make any apology for it. I don’t have to follow a works religion. That did it all! All right, read on, so consequently verse 16.
“Let no man (nobody) therefore judge you (Or try to put you on a guilt trip. Don’t let anybody put you on a guilt trip.) in food, or in drink, (Here it comes now.) or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the (What?) sabbath days:” Come on you Sabbath keepers on Saturday, here’s your verse. Pitches you right out the back door, doesn’t it? The cross settled it all! You don’t keep a seventh day Sabbath anymore. They all had their place; of course they did – in the past. You know, I love the illustration, I’ve used it over and over – Verse 17.
“Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body (the real meat of the matter) is of Christ.” And that work of the cross. Now you remember when I used the shadow? Oh, I like it. I don’t know, maybe it doesn’t mean much to others, but it does to me. When that beautiful tree stands there and it casts its shadow and a guy wants to buy the tree. No, it’s too pretty to sell. It’s a beautiful shade tree, but I’ll sell you the shadow. Well, how much furniture can you made with a shadow? Nothing. All right, that’s what the Old Testament economy was. It was the shadow of the real thing to come. And what was the real thing to come? Jesus Christ and Him crucified and risen from the dead. Isn’t it glorious? Oh, it’s glorious!
We don’t have to try to pick up a shadow. That’s all done away with anyway. But oh, we can go and embrace the tree, because it’s the finished work of the cross.
Well, anyway, we’ve got a couple minutes left. I hardly dare go into my next “But Now.” It won’t do it justice, anyway. So, let’s back up a little bit and work this Law thing a little bit more. Let’s come back to Romans chapter 3 and finish the half-hour with it. Because look, I hear it from every end of the country, people think that by keeping the commandments they’re going to make it. I see heads nodding. They think they can keep the commandments and do it good enough that God will let them into His Heaven. Well, they’ve got it all backwards. The Law is not to help you get to Heaven; it’s to give you the push into Hell. That’s what it does. All right, here it is.
“Now we know (This is from the same apostle. The apostle of Grace) that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: (In other words, to Israel with their Temple worship and the whole nine-yards.) that every mouth (Not just Jews. Now it goes to the whole world.) may be stopped, and all the world (From one end of this planet to the other, every human being, regardless of their race or nationality or religious background) may become guilty before God.” That’s what the law does. Now verse 20:
“Therefore by the deeds (or the keeping) of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight:…” Nobody is ever going to make heaven by keeping the commandments. Why? For the Law only has one purpose. What is it? To convict, convict, convict and that is all the Law can do. It has no redeeming value. It has no redeeming power. All the Law can do is condemn the lost person and trigger then the first step of salvation. Then once the Law has convicted, the lost person can then go to the Gospel and have total salvation, redemption, and peace with God and all the things that are attendant to it. But you will never gain Heaven’s portals by simply keeping the Law. God will not have it, because He finished it with that work of the cross!