Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 68
BUT NOW – YOU ARE MADE NIGH – PART 4
Eph. 2:13; Eph. 4:20; Phil. 2:27
Okay, it is good to see everybody in. Once again, we’re on program number four. We’ll keep right on going, and then we can all head out to our various places. But, before we go any further, I want to again remind folks of all the books available. We’re finishing up book number 68 and then take note of our webpage – www.lesfeldick.org. It is really easy to find. For the Canadian folks out there, call our regular phone number if you can’t get through with the “800” number, 918-768-3218. Again, we want to make mention of how we appreciate your prayers and your letters and your financial help.
All right, this is a Bible study. Our primary concern is to help you study on your own. I don’t want anyone to just sit back and hear what Les has got to say about it. I want people to study. And we’re getting response aren’t we, Honey? Jim, you probably even saw a few letters that said the same thing, how that they are getting into the Word and studying it on their own.
Okay, we’re going to move on to a different “But Now” or “But…whatever.” We’re going to move on, still in Ephesians, to chapter 4, verse 20. And again, not so much because it says “But Now” or “But God,” but it is a great turning point from what went before to what comes after. That’s what we’re trying to stress on all these series of lessons. All right, Ephesians 4 we’ll read verse 20. Then we’ll go back and see what went before.
“But ye have not so learned Christ;” Now, what’s he talking about? Go back up to verse 17. What were we before we became a believer? What were these Ephesians before they became believers?
“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth…” Paul uses that word over and over to mark a time of something stopping and something beginning. And over and over he’ll use that. We used it, I think, a few programs back. Keep your hand here in Ephesians.
We’ve got to go to I Timothy chapter 1, where Paul identifies himself as the beginning of the Body of Christ. There couldn’t have been anybody before Paul, because he was the first one who was a result of the Gospel of Grace. He makes it so plain here. I Timothy chapter 1 dropping down to verse 15, where before we even read the verse, I’ve got to define the word chief found in this verse. It never means the worst, like most preachers make it. It always means the head man, or the first man, or the leader, or the primary reason. Now, I’ll give you one verse for example. Romans 3 verses 1 and 2, where Paul asks the question:
“What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there in circumcision? (He answers in the next verse.) 2. Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them (the Nation of Israel) were committed the oracles (Word) of God.” Now, what does that mean? Well, the main number one reason that they were set apart, was that unto them were revealed this Book. So, the word “chiefly” means first or primarily or whatever. With that in mind, now look at verse 15 in I Timothy chapter 1.
I Timothy 1:15
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” He was the first, the leader, the uppermost. Not worst. And we’ve done this before; wherever the word “chief” is used, it never refers to someone sinful or wicked. It always refers to someone who was number one.
He gives an example back there in Acts when he was shipwrecked on Malta. The “chief man” of the island took them in and was good to them. Well, I asked the question then, and I’ll say it again, was he the worst on the island? No! He was probably the governor. He was the head man. So, all the way through the Scriptures that word “chief” never means worst. It means the first, the leader, the best, and so forth. All right, now the next verse and this is why I came here, the “hereafter.”
I Timothy 1:16a
“Howbeit for this cause (because he’s the first sinner saved by grace) I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, (or patience) for a pattern (That’s what he is. Paul is the pattern.) to them which should (Now here’s the word.) hereafter…” Okay, we’ve got a point in time before which people were saved by something other than the Gospel of Grace and after when they are saved by this Gospel of Grace. Plain as English can make it. All right, back to Ephesians then. So, verse 17, now, from our salvation point forward.
“…that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,” All right, now Paul is going to give us a just a brief description of the Gentile unbelieving world. And it’s just as evident today as it was in Paul’s day. We’re getting closer and closer to the horrible moral depravity of Paul’s day as we see the things going on in our own world today. All right, now verse 18, this is the unbelieving world.
“Having the understanding darkened,…” Wow! Do I have to go any further? What’s this whole garbage with the DaVinci Code? It’s just simply smattering the understanding of the masses. A lot of this other stuff would fall into the same category.
“Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:” Well, that’s one way Paul puts it.
Let’s look at another way in II Corinthians chapter 4. I have to look a minute. I think it’s three and four, II Corinthians chapter 4: 3 and 4. This is another reason why the masses do not come to salvation. And you know I’ve said it over and over. Why don’t they? It’s so simple. It’s so free. It is so life enhancing. But they won’t. They refuse to. All right, here’s the reason.
II Corinthians 4: 3:4a
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4. In whom (the lost of this world) the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them who believe not,…” Who’s blinding them? The god of this world. Did you use that verse, Jim? Jim had – can I share it? He passed one of our books on to someone, and after they read a little bit, they said, well, they couldn’t quite agree with me about who the god of this world was. Jim used the illustration of when Satan offered the kingdoms of this world to Christ. Well, how could he offer the kingdoms of this world, if he wasn’t the god of this world? Well, the individual bought that much. But here’s another verse. It’s the god of this world. And who is it? It’s Satan.
II Corinthians 4:4b
“..hath blinded the minds of them who believe not, lest (here it comes now) the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” But they don’t want it. They just don’t want it. So, we have to rely on the working of the Holy Spirit to energize them, to convict them, and to reprove them as John 16 says.
But anyway, back to Ephesians chapter 4, verse 18 again. Now, after just reading of who blinds them, verse 18 should make a little more sense.
“Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:” And who puts that blindness in there? Satan does. And the Holy Spirit is the only thing that can overcome it.
“Who (the unbelieving Gentile world in particular) being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness (Now, this is moral uncleanness.) with greediness.” But here comes the breaking point. That’s not where we are. We have come to the verse that follows.
“But you have not so learned Christ;” You’ve got a new beginning. Some of you had been on that side for a long time, now you are on this side. All right, verse 21, how do you know you’re on this side of this statement?
“If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: (Now, here comes what becomes part of our salvation experience.) 22. That ye put off (You lay it aside with no more desire to energize it.) concerning the former conversation (or manner of living) the old man, (That old satanic nature that is in control of the lost person. We have put that aside.) which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;”
All right another verse comes to mind – II Corinthians chapter 5 again, where we’ve been before. II Corinthians chapter 5 verse 17 – I’ve got to wait until you all find it. Then they all get it out in television.
II Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, (I could also add, and Christ in you, as we saw in the last program.) he is a new creation: (It’s a work of God.) old things are passed away; (See what Paul just said in our Ephesians letter? They are the things that are of the corrupt mind.) behold, all things are become (What?) new.” It’s a different life. Again, I wish you could read our mail. Over and over they say that it’s just like somebody has taken a sandbag off of my back. It’s just like a big load has been lifted. All my guilt is gone. I’m at peace with God. That’s what it is! And then the world shrinks from it? I can’t understand it, but that’s where it’s at. It’s a new life. “Old things are passed away, all things become new.” All right, back to Ephesians chapter 4, verse 23.
“And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; (It’s a whole changeover) 24. And that ye put on the new man, (Now, that’s a Pauline term. You won’t find that anywhere else in Scripture that you become a new person.) which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Now then, if you’ve experienced God’s true saving grace, here’s part of the change in your lifestyle.
“Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another. (Now he’s speaking, of course, of fellow believers in the Ephesian church.) 26. Be ye angry,(We can be upset. Paul was. But don’t let it bring you to a place of anger that becomes dangerous.) and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”
“Neither give place to the devil. (Who is our adversary, remember. These are all just simple admonitions for the believer.) 28. Let him that stole, steal no more:…” Now let me ask you. Do you suppose these converts of Paul, coming out of paganism, think stealing was something strange to them? Are you kidding? That was their normal lifestyle.
I remember a missionary, years ago, and Iris, remember? They had been down in South America someplace, and in that particular culture it was not wrong to steal anything less than $300. That was the limit. If you stole over $300 worth, then you were committing sin. But see, that’s man’s approach to all these things. But the Bible says you don’t steal at all!
“but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he have to give to him that needeth. (Now verse 29, my, if this isn’t appropriate for movies and television today.) 29. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
Now verse 30, remember we just saw in the last program how the Holy Spirit is indwelling. So now the admonition is:
“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; 32. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, (Now, I like this one.) forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath (Already what?) forgiven you.” If you’re forgiven, then who are you to say I can’t forgive my neighbor.
All right, I think we’ve got time for our next one which will jump into Philippians chapter 2, verse 27. And this will wind up the fourth program this afternoon. Philippians chapter 2, verse 27, and we’ll go back again the same way. We’ll go to what went before and then hopefully, if we have time, we’ll pick up what goes after. Now, when we come back and read it, we’re talking about Epaphroditus up in verse 25, but indeed, Paul says–
“For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; (But God! Otherwise Epaphroditus would have probably passed on.) and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.” All right, let’s go back and see what leads up to this man Epaphroditus being sick nigh unto death. All right, let’s jump all the way up to verse 17. I want to bring it, if I have time, into our everyday situation of prayer requests on behalf of those who are sick or maybe injured or whatever the case may be.
“Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. 18. For the same cause also do ye joy and rejoice with me.” In other words, it was that fellowship between the Apostle and these Philippian believers.
“But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state.” In other words, you’ve got to remember, back in antiquity, he couldn’t pick up the cell phone and call Philippi could he? Here he is down in a far off place. It’s a prison letter, of course, so it was written from prison in Rome.
He’s in prison in Rome, and he’s concerned about the fate of all of his little congregations of Gentiles. And the only way he can find out what’s going on up in Philippi is to have Timothy go up and report back to him how the believers up there were doing. All right, now then verse 20.
“For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.” See what he’s concerned about? How are the believers up there in Philippi faring? He’s in prison. He can’t go and see them, so he sends Timothy. All right, now that’s the man that he means when he says, who is like minded. Verse 21:
“For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. 22. But ye know the proof of him, (They knew all about Timothy.) that, as a son with a father, he hath served me in the gospel. 23. Him (Timothy) therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. 24. But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.” In other words, he was hoping to get out of prison and be able to continue his journeys. Now verse 25:
“Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labor, and fellow soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.” In other word, Epaphroditus was a member of the Philippian congregation. He had come down to visit Paul in Rome, and evidently in Rome he had gotten sick nigh unto death. And when the Philippians heard about it, my, their heart was just poured out to God on his behalf.
“For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he (was or) had been sick.” Now see? That’s common everyday experience, isn’t it? We’ve all had it. We all have someone that we love getting sick. That’s why we have prayer time before we start the television. We like to be able to share our needs and corporately bring them into the Throne Room. Well, this is a good lesson in that. Paul is commending the Philippian church for remembering one of their fellow people in prayer because of his sickness.
“For indeed (Paul says) he was sick nigh unto death: (Now, here’s the But God. Why? Because of their prayer, they had prayed for the man and God heard their prayers.) but God had mercy on him;…” Not only for healing the man from his sickness, but to spare Paul the grief of losing him.
Now, you’ve got to remember the man’s circle of friends in prison in Rome was not all that large and to have lost one of his closest workers, it would have been devastating. But oh, “But God” moves in. You know I’ve had such response to this series of programs on the “But God’s and But Now’s,” because I think it’s pointing out that it makes a difference. When God moves in, it’s going to make a difference. So, this is the whole thing here. All right, now then verse 28.
“I sent him therefore the more carefully, (Now, I think by that he means he had trepidations for whatever reason. He says, I sent him…carefully.) that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful.” Because he is removing himself from Paul’s companionship in Rome in prison. He’s evidently going back to Philippi.
“Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold him in reputation: 30. Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, (No, we don’t know what the situation was.) not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.”
All right, now with that I’m going to end up the program here with chapter 4 verses 6 and 7. I’ve used them over and over when people call in on the phone or write for prayer for whatever the need may be: a job, maybe a family member is in trouble with the courts, or whatever. Oh, you’d be amazed the problems that people have to endure. It’s unbelievable. All right, well here is a concrete Scripture that we can share with every one of them and you can.
“Be careful (or worry) for (about) nothing; (Here’s the other flipside again.) but in every thing (God doesn’t limit you to what you can bring to the throne room, as long as it isn’t frivolous and silly, of course. But you can come into the throne room with whatever prayer need you may have. Whatever it is.) by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving….” Do you know what? That’s the key to the successful victorious Christian life. Thankfulness.
Thank the Lord everyday, Beloved, for whatever you’ve got: your health, your home, your family, your fellow believers, your relationship with God, everything. Be daily thankful. That’s what God expects. And when you have a specific request, you thank Him ahead of time for what He’s going to do. Okay, reading on:
“…by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Well, what does that tell you? You verbalize it. Don’t take the attitude – well, God knows. Well of course He does. But what does Scripture admonish? You tell Him. You verbalize it. You communicate with Him. Don’t just go on your way and think, oh well, God knows all about it. No, we pray. That’s the whole idea. All right, let it be made known unto God. And then verse 7 is where we always leave everybody we talk to, whether God answers specifically, immediately, or whether He says maybe later, or whether He says no. The answer to every prayer is verse 7.
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Could you ask for anything more? My, we can pray. We can leave it in the throne room. Then we can rest assured it’s in His care. We’ve verbalized it. We’ve told him our needs. And then we thank Him for what He’s going to do. And we can go on with the “Peace which passeth all understanding.”