861: The Big Picture: Salvation and Good Works – 1 – Lesson 3 Part 1 Book 72

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Through the Bible with Les Feldick




My, it’s good to see everybody in today. We’ve even had to set up some bleacher seats back there.  And we’re sorry about that.  We’re going to have to see about more tables or something.  But anyhow, we’ve got folks from, I hope I can remember, Indiana and Michigan and New York.  Was that right?  And then a lot of new folks from right around here in Oklahoma. We’re glad to see everybody. We trust that the Lord will bless us with a great afternoon in the Word.

Again, for those of you joining us on television, in case this is the first time you’re catching us, if you’re like everybody else, “I was just going through clicking and I saw the blackboard.”  And they stop.  Well, if you’re one of those today watching the program, we’re just an informal Bible study.  I never attack anybody, hopefully.  All I want to do is just show folks what the Book says, and then you do with it what you will.  Then it’s no longer my responsibility, it’s yours.  We know that the Lord has been blessing that approach, because we are getting such a response.

I could stand here for twenty-four hours just telling you of pastors and Bible teachers that are calling to tell me how they have finally seen the light.  Some will say, “How did I miss this for forty years?”  It’s just amazing.  I’ll just briefly give you one example.  He had two Ph.D.’s in theology and had pastored for forty years. He retired and somebody gave him a satellite. The first day he had the satellite, he caught my program.  Got hooked, and after twelve months of studying and seeing all this, he called and said, “I had to tell you. How did I miss all this through all that education and forty years of preaching?   I’d never heard it before.”  And that’s just one.  I could stand here, like I said, for twenty-four hours.  But anyway, we want to open the Word and let people study it and see it on their own.

Okay, Iris is my promoter, you know, and she said to let people know that we have this eight-hour video of our last cruise on the Aegean Sea.  The theme of all of my lectures on board ship was “Why Paul?.” And of course I start out with: the Lord had Twelve  Apostles, why did He need another one?  So we titled that series “Why Paul?.”  That’s available on an eight-hour tape.  Then she wants me to keep reminding you that this one and only book we’ve published has been received fantastically.  Invariably, if somebody gets a copy, they call right back and order several more for gifts.  It’s just amazing.  And they get a copy into the hands of all their friends and relatives.  So, it’s really a good little book that we sell for $11.  It is eighty-eight questions, and the answers are taken from the program material.   Okay, I think that’s enough for announcements.

We’re in the last four programs now of book 72.  The whole series of this book I’ve been using to prove, at least from my mindset, why we believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.  Hopefully now in these next four programs I’ll be able to open a lot of minds with the Lord’s direction and get a lot of people who previously were doubtful and convince them that, yes, we can stand on a Pre-Tribulation out-calling.  That we will not go into the Tribulation.  So, that’s the whole theme of these twelve programs.

All right, still on that basis then, moving into the last four lessons, we’re going to start with Ephesians chapter 3.  And I admit a lot of this is repetition.  I just saw a little bit of the program before we left this morning and that was way back in book number 6.  And I was on almost the same thing that I’m going to be touching on today.  But my, that was 15 years ago.  And a lot of people have missed all that, so we don’t apologize for repeating some of these things.   All right, Ephesians chapter 3 and let’s start reading at verse 1.

Ephesians 3:1-2

“For this cause (In other words, because of what he has written in those first two chapters – we’re saved by faith plus nothing!) I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2.  If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given to me to you-ward.”   That is to Gentiles.

Ephesians 3:3-5 

“How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote before in few words, 4. Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ.) 5. Which in other ages (or past generations) was not made known to the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;”  In other words, Paul’s co-workers.

Ephesians 3:6-7

“That the Gentiles (Now I’m hitting that word extra hard for a purpose.) should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7. Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.”

Ephesians 3:8-9

“Unto me, whom am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9. And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world (in other words, going all the way back to Adam) hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:”

All right, now our key verse of course goes up to verse 2.   This is where we stress that the Body of Christ is something that was never revealed anywhere in your Bible.  You cannot find a reference to it.  You cannot find even a hint of it in any portion of Scripture except from Romans 1:1 to the last verse of Philemon.  Even Hebrews, which is written by, I think, the Apostle Paul, was directed to the Jewish people and not to the Gentiles like the rest of his letters are.

All right, now within this scope of Romans through Philemon we have over and over, and we didn’t get time before to get it on the board (Sharon’s going to get it on at the next break.) the references in Paul’s epistles to this word “mystery.”  It’s used in other portions of Scripture but not in the same context.  When Paul uses the word mystery, he’s referring to biblical, doctrinal things that have been kept secret.  That no one else ever had any idea of until it was revealed to him.

Now, I’ll make a statement.  It may upset some people, but I can’t help it.  It’s the truth of the matter.  The only reason they cannot agree 100% with my take on all these Gentile doctrines coming from Paul is because they refuse to admit that this is the case – that none of these things were ever revealed anywhere else in your Bible.  You cannot find them in the four Gospels.  You can’t find it in the Old Testament.  You can’t find it in the first eight chapters of Acts.  You can’t find it in the Jewish law.  It’s just not in there. So we have to immediately open our eyes and realize that the things I’m talking about were definitively, separately given to this one Apostle.

Now, when I introduced the tape “Why Paul?” at the beginning of the program today, I hope you heard what I said.  Jesus had how many Apostles?  Twelve!  Well, why did He need another one?  For the simple reason that the Twelve were sent to Israel as they were the Apostles of the Nation of Israel who were still under the Law.  The Temple is operating.  But Paul is sent the other direction, contrary to even the Lord’s own directions in Matthew chapter 10 where He told the Twelve “Go not into the way of a Gentile, but go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  And then He comes to this man and He says, “You’re going to the Gentiles.”

That’s what you have to understand.  When you see that, the whole thing just lays out as clear as noonday sun.  But most don’t want to see that.  They want to keep hanging on to Christ’s earthly ministry.  They want to keep hanging on to Peter, James, and John. And as long as you do that, you’re never going to see it, because that’s the blinder that blinds.

All right, now I’m going to take you to one more verses of Scripture that we use quite a bit.  I guess you can leave Ephesians for the time being.  Come back with me to II Timothy chapter 2 verse 15, the verse that’s on all my little books. We refer to it over and over, but I haven’t referred to it a lot of times on the program.  II Timothy 2:15 and again it’s a key verse if you’re going to really get a handle on Scripture.  Most of you know that.

II Timothy 2:15

“Study (That’s what I emphasized in my opening remarks.  I want to get people into the Book.  They don’t have to listen to what I say, just get into the Book.) to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (or separating) the word of truth.”

Now that says it all.  It doesn’t mean clarify between Matthew and Malachi.  What you divide are the Jewish scriptures from what Paul has given to the Gentiles.  And when you separate those two – there it lays!  Just as plain as plain can be.  But again, most of Christendom refuses to do that.  They just have to use the four gospels.  They have to use the words of the Lord Jesus Himself.  Not realizing that every word that comes from the pen of this other Apostle is also from the ascended Lord.  My, in the Book of Acts Paul was addressing Jews when he said the Lord spoke to me and He told me to get far hence from Jerusalem.  They will not hear you concerning me.  I’m going to send you far hence to the Gentiles.

Well, you have to understand that every word that Paul writes is by inspiration from the ascended Lord after the death, burial, and resurrection!  Now, you’ve got to let that soak in.  Everything else He spoke was before the cross.  Remember, the Temple is still operating, and Israel is still under the Law.  Acts, just for an example, I take these things as they come to mind.  Back up now to Acts chapter 3 and I know people read this and they don’t even see it.  It doesn’t register.  That’s why I have to, like Paul says, “I have to raise my voice,” otherwise people don’t pay any mind.

But all right, Acts chapter 3 and verse 1, just as an example.  Now, this is shortly after Pentecost.

Acts 3:1

“Now Peter and John went up together into the (What?) temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.”  See that?  Peter and John go up to the Temple at the hour of prayer according to what?  Judaism.  That was part of Judaism that they had their hours of prayer, just like the Muslims do today.  Why do the Muslim’s drop on their knees five times a day?  Because their religion demands it.  All right, Judaism wasn’t any different, as it was a legalistic religion.  All right, so these men are still under it.

Well, that’s just one glaring example of how the Twelve, you see, were still under the Law. They were still under temple worship.  But his other Apostle is completely separated from all that and given this whole new Dispensation of Grace, which involves what he refers to over and over as “the mysteries.”  Hopefully we’ll have them on the board by the time we start our next half hour.

(Transcriber note:  I went ahead and listed the mysteries here from the list Les gave to Sharon for you the readers’ benefit:  Romans 11:25, Romans 16:25, I Corinthians 2:7, I Corinthians 4:1, I Corinthians 15:51, Ephesians 1:9, Ephesians 3:3-9, Ephesians 5:32, Ephesians 6:19, Colossians 1:26-27, Colossians 2:2, Colossians 4:3, I Timothy 3:9,          I Timothy 3:16)

But over and over he’s going to refer to a different mystery.  If I’m not mistaken there were 13 or 14 of them.  All right, now another verse I want to refer to before we go back into my theme for this half hour is the plan of salvation for the Body of Christ.  I want you to look for a moment at Romans chapter 16 verse 25.  This is a verse that I use over and over, but nobody else does.  You never see this verse used in a Sunday morning sermon.  You’ll never see this verse used in a Sunday school quarterly.  They avoid it like a plague, but look what it says.

Romans 16:25

“Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of (What?) the mystery, (And what’s the word mystery?  A secret) which was kept secret (Totally unknown—the Twelve knew nothing of this Gospel of Grace.) since the world (or the ages) began.”

All right, let’s move on over one more and then we’re going to go back and look at some definitive salvation verses.  Come back with me to Colossians chapter 1 and verse 24.    Remember, all this is written by the Apostle Paul primarily to the Gentile world and to Gentile believers.

Colossians 1:24

“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, (In other words, he suffered for 25 or 26 years of ministry for the sake of the Gospel.) and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh (the beatings, the imprisonments) for his body’s sake, which is the church:”   The Church, which is His Body.

Colossians 1:25-26

“Whereof (or because of) I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, (Almost identical with what we started out with in Ephesians 3.) to fulfill (or to bring to completion) the word of God; 26. Even the mystery (There’s that word again.) which hath been hid from ages and generations, but now (On this side of the cross and through this Apostle) is made manifest to his saints:”

Colossians 1:27

 “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this (particular) mystery (This singular one.  It’ll be on the board in the next half hour.) among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” You won’t find language like that anywhere else!  Jesus never said something like that.  Peter never said anything like that.  The Old Testament prophets never said anything like that.  Why?  Because this is a whole new program for the human race.  And this is what we’re going to show before we get, hopefully, to the end of the afternoon.

All right, now some salvation Scriptures.  I’m going to start all the way back in Romans, but on your way, stop at I Corinthians 15.  Now, I know a lot of you say, “Oh, Les!  Again?”  Yep, again!  Because we’ve all used John 3:16 that way haven’t we?  Man, we’ve used John 3:16 until you almost thought it was the only verse in Scripture.  That’s what we’ve got to do with I Corinthians 15 instead.  Because, like I’ve been shocking people over the years – John 3:16 doesn’t mean a thing unless you bring Paul’s Gospel into it.  Then, of course, that’s why Christ came.  But you leave John 3:16 as it sets in the chapter and there’s nothing of the death, burial, and resurrection in there.  Not a word.  Not even a thought.  But now I’ll show you that when you take I Corinthians 15:1-4 and put it alongside or shove it into John 3:16, it’s a workable thing.

All right, turn to I Corinthians 15:1-4, and this is what Paul calls “my gospel.”  This is the Gospel of the Grace of God!

I Corinthians 15:1

“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;” Now remember, who’s he writing to?  Corinthians—Gentiles who had come out of abject, wicked paganism, but now they’re believers.

I Corinthians 15:2a

“By which also ye are saved,…” It’s by THIS Gospel you are saved.  And that’s the whole theme of Scripture, of course.  Even Adam and Eve had to be saved.  Israel had to have a saving faith.  Christ had to certainly preach a saving message.  All right, for us today, this is it!

I Corinthians 15:2-4

“…if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, (Here it comes now.  This is the heart of the salvation message for us today.) how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” That’s our Gospel of salvation, and you can’t just take part of it.  You have to have all of it, or God won’t accept it.

All right, now let’s just do this for the fun of it.  Go all the way back to John 3:16.  Everybody has been steeped in it since, you might say, the day that the Lord said it.  But when the Apostle Paul came along after the work of the cross, then John 3:16 became rather inadequate.  It does not say it all.  And that’s what we have to understand.  All right, you got John’s Gospel chapter 3?  Look at verse 16.

John 3:16a

“For God so loved the world,…” No doubt about that, is there?  It was love that sent Him.  Love is the epitome of our Christian faith, isn’t it?  I made the statement in one of my seminars in Florida, that that is where we are totally opposite of Islam.  Islam says that if he’s not a believer, kill him.  We say that if he’s not a believer, show him the love of God.  We don’t want him to go to a devil’s hell just because he’s a Muslim.  Quite the opposite. All right, but that’s the whole idea.  Our faith is based on the love of God which drove Him, of course, to the cross.  Absolutely, it did.  But the cross isn’t mentioned in this verse.  We have to interpolate if you’re going to do it.

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  Well, since we know the work of the cross, since we know it’s based on the death, burial, and resurrection, we just take for granted that that’s what everybody knows.  But that isn’t what John 3:16 says.

John 3:16 says that if you believe in Jesus as the only begotten Son then you will not perish but have everlasting life.  Well, in Christ’s earthly ministry that was the message for Israel.  If they would believe who Jesus was, that He was the Son of God and that He was the anointed coming King of the Kingdom, they had salvation, without any mention of the cross.

But, beloved, once the work of the cross was finished, then that takes preeminence so far as God is concerned, because that’s where salvation was accomplished.  When Christ died, He died for you.  He died for me.  When His blood was shed, it paid your sin debt.  It paid my sin debt.  When He was buried, you and I were buried with Him—by identification.  When He arose from the dead in power, we arose with Him.  And we, too, are imbued with the power of the Holy Spirit.  But you see, when you use John 3:16 by itself you don’t have any of that.  So you’ve got to bring in some of these Pauline things, or you’re still only halfway there.

All right, now let’s come back again quickly.  I’ve got a lot to cover in four minutes.  Romans chapter 1 verse 16.  I’m just going to show what the plan of salvation is in this dispensation of the Grace of God.   Here we’ve come all the way since the Old Testament, as we’ve been stressing in the last eight programs especially, where everything was Jewish.  Everything was looking forward to the coming of Israel’s Messiah.  He began His three years of earthly ministry going up and down the byways of Israel with the Twelve Apostles at His side.  But Israel in unbelief rejected Him and crucified Him.  And after His burial, His resurrection, and His forty days with the Twelve, He ascended back to Glory.

All right, then according to all the Old Testament prophecies, after having ascended, a short time later in would come the wrath and vexation of God, which we call the Tribulation.  The Old Testament is full of it.  All the prophets spoke of His rejection and of His ascension, and of His bringing in the wrath and vexation.  Then that would end with the Second Coming, and Jesus would establish His earthly Kingdom.  That’s all the Old Testament writers knew, and that was all under Israel’s Law.

But after Pentecost, Israel keeps rejecting it and rejecting it.  Then God just, you might say, gives up on the Nation of Israel.  He let’s them go into their unbelief and their dispersion.  He permits the Romans to destroy the Temple and the city.  They are scattered into every nation of the earth, and God does something totally different.  He turns to the Gentiles with this glorious dispensation of the Grace of God.

All right, now then, our dispensation of Grace has been running 1,900 and some years.  Ever since the Apostle Paul was converted.  You can do it with your own pen and a notepad.  I feel that Saul was converted in A.D. 37.  So, you just subtract 37 from 2007 and how many years has it been?  I did it before I left home, but I’ve already forgotten how many would it be.  But that’s how long this Gospel of the Grace of God has been going out to lost humanity—ever since Saul’s conversion or shortly after.

All right, now in Romans 1:16 he’s going to make reference to this Gospel, not John 3:16, but rather I Corinthians 15:1-4.

Romans 1:16a

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: (the death, burial, and resurrection) for it (Paul’s Gospel) is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;…”  And is baptized?  No, it doesn’t say that.  To everyone who believes and joins the church?  It doesn’t say that.  To everyone who believes and speaks in tongues?  We’re hearing that a lot lately.  It doesn’t say that.  To everyone who gives his tithe?  It doesn’t say that.  But that’s what they’re doing to people today.  They’re adding to this finished work of the cross for a person’s salvation.  But you must take what the Scripture says and don’t add to it. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.

Well, I guess I’m only going to have time for one more reference.  Turn over, still in Romans, to chapter 3.  It says basically the same thing.  Romans chapter 3 dropping in quickly at verses 23 and 24.

Romans 3:23-24

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Every human being is a lost sinner until they’re saved.) 24. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” Then down to verse 26 and we’re going to run out of time.

Romans 3:26a

“To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him that (What?) believeth…”  Plus nothing!   And what do we believe for salvation?  That Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again.

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