175 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 3 - Book 15 - Parables of Luke 15

175: Parables of Luke 15 – Lesson 2 Part 3 Book 15

YouTube video

 

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 15

PARABLES OF LUKE 15

Let’s turn to Luke Chapter 15. I’m still standing on the same premise that the way you can get any sense out of all these parables, and everything that Jesus said, is to leave them first and foremost where they belong. It’s Christ dealing with the Nation of Israel under the Law, and the Temple is operating. Jesus hasn’t said a word about not keeping the Law or Temple worship. Gentiles are not being ministered to. Through His miracles He’s still trying to prove to the Nation of Israel Who He is, as found in John 20:30,31.

However, we don’t dismiss these teachings, as there are great moral lessons found there that we can apply today. But in the flow of Scripture, you must realize that this is all part and parcel of God dealing with the Nation of Israel under those covenants and promises He made in the Old Testament.

In Luke Chapter 15 I’m going to point out something that I think has been totally confused, and I’m going to give a songwriter part of the blame for that. We are going to deal with the one sheep out of a hundred.

Luke 15:3,4

“And he spake this parable unto them, saying, `What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness,…'”

According to the song (and I’m sure you all remember it), where were the ninety and nine? “There were ninety and nine that safely lay…” Where? “In the shelter of the fold…” And I dare say just like people have a picture of the Ark as you saw it in kindergarten and in Sunday school, with that little boat with a shed in the middle and the animals looking out (unless they have actually studied those Scriptures), it’s the same way with this parable. The first thing they see is ninety-nine sheep laying safely in the fold, but one is out there alone. Now that makes good preaching. I remember a long time ago a preacher was in my classes and we had taught the flood. I teach the flood as an instantaneous cataclysmic event. Everything just burst! After the teaching, this preacher came up to me and said, “You just blew one of my best sermons right out of the water.” I told him, “I know how you preached it. It starts out by raining, and the water got ankle deep, and they came knocking on the door; it got knee deep and even more came knocking. By the time it got up to their shoulders, they were just clamoring to get in the Ark.” This preacher said, “That’s the way I’ve always preached it.” I said they didn’t have time for that sequence of events, and he told me that he could see that now. But all of us have been given wrong impressions of these events in Scripture. And it’s the same way here. The sheep are not in the fold. They are out in the wilderness.Now continuing on with verse 4:

Luke 15:4

“…and go after that which is lost, until he find it?…”

What does He do with the ninety and nine? He leaves them alone in the wilderness. I know very little about sheep except what I have heard from others and what I’ve read. But sheep are dumb. You leave a bunch of sheep out in the desert, and in a very short time those sheep are all over the place, and they are lost. They don’t know they’re lost. But the little sheep that’s caught in a crevice some place, he’s just crying his heart out. Why? He’s lost and he knows it. Do you see the difference?

When you try to put that into Church language it just doesn’t fit at all. But let’s leave it with the Nation of Israel and we can see the ninety and nine are the Sadducees and Pharisees and majority of Jews. They were without a shepherd Jesus said. But did they know it? No. They were so self-righteous and self-content. They were just like a bunch of sheep out in the wilderness wandering around, thinking they were alright but they were desperately lost. But the one that knew he was lost that was the sheep that the Shepherd went and saved. Who was indicative of the one sheep? That little remnant of Jews that followed the Lord and became believers that He was the Christ. This very small percentage of Jews realized they were lost and needed the True Shepherd, and let it be known. But the vast majority of Jews went on their merry way not knowing they were lost. Do you see what a difference that makes? It fits so beautifully if you leave it where it belongs.

Remember through the Scripture God deals with Israel on two levels. National and personal. So you always need to look at the Scriptures and ask if God is dealing with the Nation here as a Nation, under the Covenant, or is He dealing with an individual. Most of the time He’s dealing with them on the national level, because that’s where the covenants come in. But an individual Jew can still even today be saved, but nationally, to this day, the spiritual condition of the Jew is blindness.

The next parable of the lost coin also fits only if you leave it where it is. And that’s in the customs of the Jews. What we really have here is ten pieces that are part of a dowry that is very precious to them. Again, you have the same analogy. The woman lost one of those that were hers, and didn’t give up until she had found it. So just leave this parable as a condition of the Nation of Israel, that which was God’s by Covenant promises. But the one that is lost is the one that He brought to Himself, just like He did the little lost sheep. Always remember a lost individual of the Gentile world, you or I, has never originally belonged to God. Remember Ephesians 2:12 “…ye (Gentiles) were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:” But the Jews belong to God under the Abrahamic Covenant.

Let’s look at the prodigal son. I can remember years ago when Iris and I were young and our kids were little, we would be driving home from church, and we would have just heard a good sermon on the prodigal son. But I always had a question. Why don’t they ever preach about that other brother? Well, you see the other brother doesn’t fit. So if he doesn’t fit, leave him alone. But I maintain that he’s in here and he fits. But again, you must leave it right here where it belongs.

Luke 15:11,12

“And he said, `A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.'”

Now right here is where you always need to ask a question. Was this our state in our own experience? Had we at one time been a child of God? And then decided that we wanted to turn our back another direction? Of course not. We have always been sinners. And that’s what a lot of people can’t understand. People try to tell me that they have always been a Christian. But we know they haven’t. We’re born in sin! We have all sinned and come short. We weren’t children of God. But in the prodigal son parable they were both children. Do you see how that doesn’t fit. Now verse 13.

Luke 15:13

“And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.” He just blew all the money he had, and finally ended up in the pigpen. That makes good preaching, but it isn’t good theology.

Luke 15:14,15

“And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.” Of all things for a Jew, to end up feeding hogs!

Luke 15:16

“And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.”

So now he’s destitute. Now he realizes that in himself there is nothing he can do. This is just the point in all of Jesus’ parables, He was trying to show the Jew that this was their state, and that they needed Him? And in the Book of John there are eight signs. Seven of them before Jesus’ Crucifixion, and one after His Resurrection, and all eight of them had a specific message for the Nation of Israel. It would fill a particular need if they would have just rested on the One Who could fill the needs. Now let’s come back to this youngest son. He, too, like that one little lamb caught in a crevice, realizes his need. And he realizes there is only one place he can go for substances, and that is back to the Father. He’s got to come back to the Giver of those Covenant promises, and to the Giver of spiritual life, and so he does. You all know the story, how the younger son came back, and they killed the fatted calf, and was having this joyful celebration when the other brother heard the commotion.

Now let’s talk about the other brother, because he fits. You bet he does. Now let’s look at him:

Luke 15:25-29

“Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, `Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.’ And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, `Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment:…'”

What part of Israel does that sound like? The Pharisees. This older brother is typical of the Pharisees in Israel. They had been under the Covenant promises just like the other brother. But they were so self-righteous, and were filled with their own importance, their pomp and circumstance, that they didn’t see a need for anything. Yet when they saw this little element of believers who were embracing Christ as the Messiah, it made them very angry – like Saul of Tarsus, who was a perfect picture of them. They thought they could stamp out the Jewish believers by putting them to death or in prison. That’s the mentality of the other brother. Self righteous! Now let’s read on:

Luke 15:30

“But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.”

Jesus Himself said (and I’m paraphrasing), “The well person doesn’t need a physician, but rather the sick.” The Apostle Paul makes it so plain when he says, “You can’t be saved, and enter into salvation if you think you can make it on your own. You must come as a sinner.” That’s mandatory. That’s the way God works. But the self-righteous brother couldn’t get that through his head. He said, “I’ve always served you and been obedient.” And now verse 31:

Luke 15:31

“And he said unto him, `Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.'”

Do you see how that fits Israel? They were under the Covenant promises nationally, and if they would come and believe what God wanted them to believe, they could have enjoyed all the promises He had promised. But in their self-righteous attitude it could never come to pass. Now let’s look at Chapter 17, and a verse that I think has been twisted all out of shape. Simply because the Greek has not been translated as clearly in the King James as it could have been. I still feel that the King James is the best. I never tell people to not use the others, but I just like the reliability of the King James version. Here in verse 21 Jesus is still speaking:

Luke 17:21

“Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is (the King James says) within you.”

That has thrown a curve at so many. The Greek word here is “entos.” “Entos” is not translated “within” in most places, but rather, “in the midst.” What a difference that makes. As soon as John the Baptist came on the scene what did he start preaching to Israel? The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Why? The King was here in their midst and the Kingdom is centered in the King. Had Israel accepted that, they could have had the King and the Kingdom. It was a valid offer but they couldn’t see it, and rejected it. So instead of trying to use this verse for us today, and trying to teach from what Jesus is telling the Jews about the Kingdom of Heaven being within us, let’s go to the Book of Colossians and see what the Apostle of the Gentiles (Paul), inspired by the Holy Spirit, says about it. First, let’s see why I call him the Apostle to the Gentiles. In Acts 9, Ananias, a believing Jew, has heard about Saul.

Acts 9:13-15

“Then Ananias answered, `Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priest to bind all that call on thy name.’ But the Lord said unto him, `Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before (who?) the Gentiles,…'”

The Jews had never heard of anything like this before. The word “Gentile” was anathema to a Jew. Just to say the word “Gentile” would cause a riot. When we get into the Book of Acts, I’ll show you that. Now, let’s stop at Romans Chapter 11. This is Paul speaking.

Romans 11:13

“For I speak to you Gentiles (those he is writing to), inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles,…” The “Twelve” were the apostles to the Jew. Now stop at Ephesians Chapter 3:

Ephesians 3:1

“FOR this cause (Paul is referring to everything he had written in Chapters 1 and 2) I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,” And then in verse 6:

Ephesians 3:6

“That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ (not by the Law, or works but) by the gospel:”

Paul only knows the Gospel that Christ Himself revealed to him, and him only, and that is: “That Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead. I Corinthians 15:1-4. Now to Colossians Chapter 1, and let’s pick up the Kingdom so far as you and I are concerned. The Kingdom was in the midst of Israel, because the King was there. And for the most part, Israel rejected it. A little flock believed, but the nation overall rejected it. They crucified the King. After His burial and Resurrection, He now goes to Heaven at the ascension to sit at the Father’s right hand. So now the Kingdom is in Heaven. Always remember the Kingdom is where the King is. But now be careful, because Paul never, never alludes to Christ as the King of the Church. He is The King, but not our King. Because as members of the Body of Christ, we are joint-heirs with Him. and part and parcel of Him. He’s the Head, and we’re the Body. We’re not subjects of the King, but co-heirs. What a difference! That’s our position. We only find that in Paul’s writings. Here Paul is praying for these Gentile believers in Colosse.

Colossians 1:12,13

“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who (The Father) hath (past tense) delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath (past tense) translated us into (what?) the kingdom of his dear Son:”

And where’s that Kingdom? In Heaven. Where are you positionally as believers tonight? Already in Heaven. And look at what it says in Philippians Chapter 3. Remember we have been translated into the Kingdom by virtue of our salvation, based on the Gospel. And here is our position.

Philippians 3:20,21

“For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the (King? No. But rather our) Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

174 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 2 - Book 15 - Unpardonable Sin

174: Unpardonable Sin – Lesson 2 Part 2 Book 15

YouTube video

 

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 15

UNPARDONABLE SIN

Take your Bible and join in with us for this study. Once you get into the Book of Books you just can’t beat it. It is just so fabulous. So many people have the idea it’s just a musty, dusty, old Book and just a bunch of Bible stories, and it’s not. Everything fits from cover to cover, and it’s all written so miraculously. That’s why we know it’s not an ordinary Book, but rather the Divine, inspired Word of God, and is everything that God said it is. As I’ve said before, I just want to look at the “overall plan of the ages,” as someone has put it, and hit some of the high points, and some of the passages that questions arise from.

In Matthew Chapter 12, beginning with verse 31, we have a few little verses that have raised so many questions. This passage used to bother me also, but when you come to any portion of Scripture, be ready to constantly ask questions from your own point of view. Right here we have what people normally call the “unpardonable sin.” When something is unpardonable, that means it’s going to be your doom. In other words, if you are guilty of the unpardonable sin, then you have no hope of glory, and are headed for the lake of fire. I’ve looked at these verses in the knowledge that, the only sin that is going to condemn anyone, Jew or Gentile, black or white, rich or poor is not any particular thing we have said, or deed we have done. There is only one thing that will condemn a person to the lake of fire, and that is “UNBELIEF.”

We are not talking about unbelief here, we are talking about something that is spoken. Let me prove my point. Before we look at Matthew 12, let’s look at the Book of Hebrews Chapter 3 for a moment. Maybe I can make my point from the reverse end. I don’t want someone to go through life scared to death that maybe they have committed the unpardonable sin, which most people feel, according to Matthew 12 is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Blaspheming the Holy Spirit is a sin, and there is no doubt about it. But if I understand Scripture correctly, there is no sin that the Grace of God doesn’t reach beyond. In other words, the most violent of sinners are still candidates of the Grace of God. But what do they have to do?“BELIEVE.”

I think the Apostle Paul wrote the Book of Hebrews that we are now going to look at. He is taking the experience of Israel having just come out of Egypt, with God leading them to the Promised Land. When they got to Kadesh Barnea, who’s idea was it to send in spies? It certainly wasn’t God’s. God had never intended for them go search out the land. God said, “Go in and take the land, and I’ll send in hornets ahead of you and drive the people out.” But Israel couldn’t even take God at His word at that point in time. So they hedge and say,“Well let us spy it out first.” God in His goodness then condescended to their request and said, “Alright, choose out twelve men and let them go in.” And that was one of the biggest mistakes that Israel ever made. Ten of them said, “Oh, we can’t do it. There is no way we can drive out the Canaanites, we are as grasshoppers in their sights.” God had already said that He would drive them out. So what was their problem?

Hebrews 3:15-18

“While it is said, `To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation (in other words, as Israel was there in the wilderness). For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he (God) grieved forty years? Was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that (what?) believed not?'”

They had committed many sins of immorality; the golden calf; all pagan practices of worship. But God is not holding that against them – He doesn’t even mention that, as vile as it was. He could forgive that kind of sin. But what was Israel’s problem? “UNBELIEF.” They couldn’t believe what God had said.

Hebrews 3:19

“So we see that they (the children of Israel) could not enter in because of unbelief.”

Has anything changed? No! God can forgive to the uttermost, any sin except the sin of UNBELIEF (when people refuse to believe that Christ died for them, paid their sin debt, and rose from the dead in power. And that’s all He’s asking). So believe it for your salvation! If a person refuses to believe that Gospel, then that person’s doom is sealed. Remember Hebrews 11:6 says to you and I in the Age of Grace:

Hebrews 11:6

“But without faith it is impossible to please him….”

Let’s go back to Matthew 12 and look at the unpardonable sin. We need to leave this verse right where it sits. This is God dealing with the Nation of Israel. This doesn’t mean that we can’t take some warning from it. I certainly don’t tell people to go out and blaspheme the Holy Spirit, because after all, God will forgive you. I would never do that. All I’m saying is that this is something that doesn’t fit Church doctrine. If you can learn to leave these things where they belong, you don’t have to pigeonhole them, and say you’ll come back to this at a later time. It’s so perfectly set. So to the Nation of Israel He says:

Matthew 12:31,32

“Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man (Christ), it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world (age), neither in the world (age) to come.”

Now let’s look at a parable that explains this so beautifully in Matthew 21. Jesus is speaking again to the Jews:

Matthew 21:33,34

“Hear another parable: `There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:'”

“And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants (to get some return on the investment that he had made) to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits (or profit) of it.”

Matthew 21:35-42

“And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, `They will reverence my son.’ But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, `This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.’ And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him, When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen (and remember this is Jesus asking the Jew). They say unto him, `He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall r render him the fruits in their seasons.’ Jesus saith unto them, `Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?'”

Matthew 21:43-45

“Therefore say I unto you, `The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.’ And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables (plural, not just this one, but everyone that He had spoken), they perceived that he spake of them.”

They suddenly understood that Jesus was pointing His finger at them. Now what was the parable all about? God called the Nation of Israel out, and gave them the Covenant promises. He called them His son, His favored nation. And He dealt with them through the Old Testament years by sending the prophets. What did they do to the prophets? They killed them. We always like to talk in terms of the Trinity. So let’s look at it this way. Remember the Jew only knew about God the Father. So God the Father sent the prophets to His Covenant people and they killed them, or threw them in the dungeons. They refused to hear them. Did God cancel the Nation of Israel because of that? No. God sent His only Son next, The Christ. And Christ presented Himself to the Nation of Israel, on the basis of the covenants that we have been emphasizing for months. And what did they do with the Son? They killed Him. So these Pharisees are picking up on it. He’s talking about them. And so it is in all of Jesus’ parables.

But we have one Person of the Trinity left out. The Holy Spirit. Let’s look at the Scripture that pertains to the Holy Spirit. And if you can’t go along with this, don’t worry about it. I’ve always said in my teaching there is room for you to disagree on some things, and this is one of them. But to me it makes sense in light of the fact that there is one sin that condemns us, and that is unbelief concerning the Gospel. In other words, I maintain, someone could blaspheme the Holy Spirit tomorrow or next week and God can still save him in this Age of Grace. But let’s not lose sight of what the unpardonable sin is dealing with, and that is Israel the Nation! She is the one that is coming under this anathema of God.

Now go to Acts Chapter 6. Israel has rejected the overtures from the Father by killing the prophets. They rejected the overtures of the Son by killing The Christ. But how are they going to deal with the Holy Spirit, because here is the unpardonable part now – how they deal with third Person of the Godhead. He could forgive the first two, but not the third one. We have, in Acts Chapter 6, the appointment of seven men, normally referred to as deacons. They get the word “deacon” from the description of their duties. We find in verse 3 that the early Jewish church in Jerusalem was having some problems and so the following happened:

Acts 6:3

“Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.”

Acts 6:5

“And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost,…” Now we have the Holy Spirit mentioned twice in two verses. So Stephen comes before this whole Jewish crowd.

Acts 6:15

“And all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.”

What is permeating Stephen? The presence of the Holy Spirit. It was so radiant they could see the difference. Go to Chapter 7 verse 2. Now watch the language of whom Stephen is addressing:

Acts 7:2

“And he said, `Men, brethren, and fathers (all Jews), hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham,…'” Can any Gentile claim that? Of course not.

If you ever want the history of the Nation of Israel in a nutshell, read this whole chapter. It even gives a lot of little details that the Old Testament leaves out.

Acts 7:54

“And when they (these Jews) heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.”

Acts 7:55

“But he, being full of the Holy Ghost (do you see the emphasis over and over that the Holy Spirit is on display here?), looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus (not sitting but rather) standing on the right hand of God,” In a future lesson, we’ll pick up the reason these Jews got so mad when they heard Stephen say that Jesus was standing.

Acts 7:58-60

“And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, `Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, `Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep (died).'”

From this point on, what is the future as we see here in the Book of Acts concerning the Nation of Israel? All down hill. And why? Because they had now committed that unpardonable sin of not only rejecting the Father and The Son, but now had also rejected the Holy Spirit. And for nearly 2000 years, what has the Jew been going through? Suffering, turmoil, in a state of spiritual blindness. Here in America they are pretty fortunate, but overall for all this time, basically they have been going through the mill. But when this age ends and we come into the next age, which is the millennium reign, Israel is going to come into God’s goodness and Grace. If you don’t like that approach about the unpardonable sin you don’t have to agree. But for me it fits so beautifully, because we have left it in place. Notice we didn’t take it out of the Nation of Israel and try to put it in the Church Age, but left it right where it was, with the Jewish economy.

Another point I would like to make is this. After the stoning of Stephen and the Holy Spirit aspect, the next event of importance in the chronological unfolding is the conversion of what great man? Saul of Tarsus (Paul). Even though Peter will go to the house of Cornelius in Acts Chapter 10 (after Saul is converted in Chapter 9), Chapters 11 and 15 mention Peter, and from there to the end of the Book of Acts Peter is never mentioned again. Why? Israel is now falling out of all the things that God had been promising, and now here comes Paul with the Body of Christ, the predominately Gentile Church. When we study the Book of Acts, I’ll show you the transitional aspect of this Book, how God deals with His Covenant people Israel under the Law with all the Old Testament promises; and how when they rejected it, God now does something totally different – something the Old Testament knew nothing of. He turned to the Gentiles with the Apostle Paul.

173 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 1 - Book 15 - Matthew Review

173: Matthew Review – Lesson 2 Part 1 Book15

YouTube video

 

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 15

MATTHEW REVIEW

Before we start our lesson, I would like to tell you how God got me to the place where we are today. It’s interesting to look back and see how God does work in all of our lives. But, as I have told people so often, I never dreamed, nor did it ever enter my mind, that I would be on a television program. That is the beauty of the Christian life, you never know what the Lord has in store for you.

It all began with my local church where I was teaching a class of high school kids. Periodically, we had a missionary family that would come home from Bolivia on furlough, and they had four or five children. I would have at least one of them in my Sunday School class for the year that they were home. And then in 1970 this missionary, Dick Wyman, while on furlough, began a home Bible study with two couples in northern Iowa. When Dick was ready to go back on the mission field, he didn’t just want to drop the class. So he drove out to our farm one morning and asked if I would go in once a week and teach those four people as he had been doing in the home. You know I had never done anything like that before. I had taught my Sunday School class and that was it. So I went to my own pastor, and asked, “How can I go into a home with people I only know casually, with totally different denominational backgrounds, and teach those people without them getting the idea that I’m trying to proselyte them into my own church?”

My pastor gave me good advice. He told me to start at Genesis 1 and go all the way through to Revelation. I said, “That’s easy for you to say, but I’ve never done anything like this before.” And he said, “Trust the Lord and He will take care of it.” So that’s when Iris went and bought a two-bit blackboard for me to use (as you know, I must have a blackboard for my teachings). So I’ll never forget that first night, it was the first Friday night in September of 1970. There were four people, and Iris and I made six. By Thanksgiving, that class had grown to where the house was so packed with people from several different denominations that it had to split. Within a couple of years we were having classes every night of the week, plus my Sunday School class.

Then in 1975, the Lord had other plans and He uprooted us from Iowa and brought us to Oklahoma. And the same thing happened here. As most of you know, I never go out and try to open up something. I wait until someone says, “Come down and start a class here.” It was the same way with this television program. I had never thought of being on television, but one of my students over at the Tahlequah class called one day and asked if I had ever thought about teaching on television. And I’ll never forget my answer. I said, “Are you crazy?” But he had already talked to the people at the station, and they had shown an interest, so we came and talked to them and they thought it was a great idea. Recently, I got a call from North Carolina, and the gentleman said, “I like your low-key informal approach.” I think this is why the audience has responded so well. We try to keep it simple, and hopefully never change. The Lord is blessing us beyond our fondest dreams. So that is what got us to where we are. And, of course, the more you teach the more you learn. I could never do it without the Lord’s help and the prayers of all of you believers, not only in our classes, but the television audience as well.

I’m going to review for a little bit as we have been in the New Testament for about six lessons. It’s always tough for someone to come into our classes right in the middle of a study, but maybe this little review will help. I’d rather you come in at the middle than never learn how to study your Bible at all. The reason it’s so tough is because studying the Bible is a progressive process. The Bible is a constant unfolding of human history past, present, and future. It is a progressive revelation. What’s in the Old Testament concealed is in the New Testament revealed.

We started back in Genesis and the creation of Adam, and came up through the Old testament and studied the flood, and the Abrahamic Covenant, the Exodus, and the giving of the Law under Moses. Then we came through prophecy which was primarily Isaiah. By the time we got to the Book of Daniel, we dealt with the time period of 606 B.C. when Nebuchadnezzar came into Jerusalem, destroyed the Temple, and the city was taken to Babylon. Then the return to Jerusalem under Ezra and Nehemiah and we covered all of that. Then we were ready to come into the New Testament and Christ’s earthly ministry at His First Advent. But before we could study the New Testament, we had so many requests to study prophecy and the Book of Revelation and eternity future. So this is what we did. In the past few lessons,we have been studying Christ’s earthly ministry: those three years.

Always remember as we have studied, coming into the New Testament we found that it was an extension of Old Testament programs. All of those covenants and promises that God made with the Jew are being fulfilled, or at least offered to the Nation of Israel, here in the Four Gospels and the first few chapters of Acts. We have not seen the appearance of the Church as we know it. That is where so many people get confused. I had a fellow tell me at one of our classes, “For years, people have been putting the Bible in a blender, turning it on high and then spooning it out to us, and then wondering why we get indigestion.” That is a little more extreme than the way I put it. But it is a good illustration. I always say that they put the Bible in a big mixing bowl, stir it all up and then pick out just the things they like. But the overall result is the same. You come up with a mish-mash. No wonder people are confused. I try to let it be the progressive revelation that it is. Let it unfold and keep it where it is; don’t try to move Scripture into a place where it’s not supposed to be. Christ didn’t and we shouldn’t either. When you lift Scripture out of context, you do violent harm to the Word. If Christ wanted the Scripture where so many put it, then He would have put it there Himself. Just leave it where it sits. If it doesn’t make sense, wait awhile and it will.

The first thing you have to determine when you read or study the Bible is to whom was it written or spoken. Remember God only deals with two groups of people in Scripture – Jew and Gentile. Don’t try to claim something that was meant only for God’s Covenant people, the Jew. If you can separate that, it will make Bible study more exciting for you and the Scripture will be opened. All Scripture from cover to cover is for us, absolutely it is. Paul writes all Scripture is inspired of God and is profitable. But not all of the Scripture is to us. Do you see the difference? For example, I had a lady question me on the Book of James. It was a valid question. And it’s hard to understand from our position in God’s Grace here in the Body of Christ. Rather than trying to answer her question from the verse that she was using in Chapter 3 of James, I told her to go back to James 1:1, as that will make all the difference in the world in what her verse is saying.

James 1:1

“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to (whom?) the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.”

Is James including Gentiles? He’s writing to Jews and that makes all the difference in the world. That doesn’t mean you tear the Book of James out and throw it away. God forbid! But, if it throws a curve at you stop, and think who James addresses. He was writing to Jews. And James is probably the earliest of the New Testament Epistles so James is still predominately legal. It has so much of the Law in it. It was written before Paul’s Age of Grace revelations from Jesus Christ. And so it wouldn’t be appropriate to take something from Paul’s writing and put it in James writing or vice versa. Law and Grace cannot mix. Don’t try to fight it, rather just leave it alone for the time being, because in this case it was written to Jews in particular. But it is for us but not to us. In other words, when it speaks of the tongue as being a fire, that is very applicable for us in the Age of Grace or any age. But as we have seen over the past few lessons, with John the Baptist coming on the scene and introducing Christ to His earthly ministry, that every thing has been to the Jew. No mention of Christ’s death, burial and Resurrection. No mention of the power of the shed blood to forgive. But only that Israel was to recognize who Jesus was. And He was their Messiah. The Christ.

In my Tahlequah, Oklahoma class, I had a gentleman who was about 86 years old. He was a retired Presbyterian pastor of a very large church in Chicago. He had been their pastor for about 26 years. He had two seminary degrees – Wheaton College and Moody Bible Institute. He attended our class for about two years before I found out all of that. That he was content to sit and listen to me was beyond my comprehension. Anyway, we were talking about these very things and I asked the class this question, “Why did Jesus perform all these miracles in His ministry?” I’ll never forget his answer. The old gentleman said, “To validate Who He was.” I loved that, because it hits the nail on the head. This was the whole problem with Israel’s rejecting Him. They couldn’t understand that He was the promised Messiah. A Carpenter’s son? Out of Nazareth? But nevertheless they should have understood that no one else could perform the miracles that He performed. Even John the Baptist while in prison, sent two of his disciples to ask Him if He was the One or did they need look for another? And Jesus told them to go back and tell John that the blind receive their sight, the dead are being raised, and the deaf can hear. What was that to prove to John? Who Christ really was!

We need go to the Book of Acts Chapter 11. I always comment that from Adam to Abraham is 2000 years. And from Abraham to Christ, where God is dealing with Jew only (with exceptions), is also 2000 years. All the Old Testament prophets are writing only to the Nation of Israel. In our last lesson, as Jesus sent the Twelve out He commanded them to go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. You find that in Matthew 15:24. Then we looked at several verses in the Four Gospels where Gentiles wanted to talk to Jesus, or have Jesus minister to them in some way, and in almost every case He refused. Why? Because the Gentiles would be saved under a completely different program than the Jews. The Jews had the Covenant and promises, and the Gentiles didn’t. In Acts 19 we have mention of the stoning of Stephen, and then the next event is the conversion of Saul. But as late as the stoning of Stephen, which is about seven years after Pentecost, the Book says that those Jewish believers preached to the Jew only, because the Nation of Israel knew they were not supposed to minister to the Gentiles. Now verse 19:

Acts 11:19

“Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.”

The Book says it, I didn’t. Jew only. That’s the terminology I use also, except I temper it a little bit by using “Jew only with exceptions.” God is dealing only with the Jew. I know I’m coming into territory that some people are unaware of. Jesus told the disciples in John Chapter 6 the following (I’m using this hoping you don’t turn my teaching off also):

John 6:53

“Then Jesus said unto them, `Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.'”

John 6:61

“When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, `Doth this offend you?'” They were turned off.

I hope you’re not offended that I’m showing many of you things you may never have been taught. I hope you will stay with me and together we’ll see what the Scriptures say. The disciples in verses 53 and 61 couldn’t comprehend what Jesus was telling them, but I hope you are beginning to comprehend exactly what the Scriptures do say, and can become a real Bible student. Let’s look at a Scripture in Ephesians where Paul makes it so plain:

Ephesians 2:11-13

“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision (Jew) in the flesh made by hands: That at that time (when it was Jew only) ye (Gentiles) were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world (that was the lot of the Gentiles. But look at the next verse): But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” See the difference? But until that was revealed, the Jews had to believe that Jesus was The Christ.

Now let’s turn to John’s Gospel. I tell my classes that as I teach I, too, am learning. I see things that I had never seen before. Studying in John recently, our class read Chapter 20:

John 20:30,31

“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:”

“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (Who died for the sins of the world and rose from the dead? Our Bible doesn’t explain that here. Isn’t that amazing?); and that believing ye might have life through his name.”

I add my comment to make people realize that our Gospel of Grace message is missing here. A lot of the things we think are in here, aren’t. You can’t find the Gospel based on His death, burial, and Resurrection until you get to Paul’s writing, so don’t try to bring in his writing about salvation here. But this is what the Nation had to believe for their salvation – who Jesus was.

Recently, I showed you four professions of faith for the Jew. The first one was Peter in Matthew 16:16, “And Simon Peter answered and said, `Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.'” The second one is at the death of Lazarus, where Jesus is talking to Martha and had told her that He was the resurrection, and the life: “Believest thou this?” She answers Him in John 11:27,”She saith unto him, `Yea, Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ the Son of God,…'” Then Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts Chapter 8, where Philip is reading to him out of Isaiah 53, and the Ethiopian eunuch comes to an understanding of the verses. They come to some water and the eunuch asked Philip if he could be baptised. Philip told him that he could if he believed, and the eunuch said in Acts 8:37, “…And he answered and said, `I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.'” They never mention the Cross or shed blood or the power of Resurrection. Why? It was still a secret in the mind of God, and Paul wasn’t on the scene yet. But their profession of faith was their salvation because that was what was revealed to them.

Then you have Saul of Tarsus (Paul), a raging bull who was converted on the road to Damascus. He wanted to arrest those believing Jews, haul them back to Jerusalem to throw them in prison. He thought he was doing God a favor, but guess what happened? The Lord saved him by Grace. BUT not the basis yet that he understood that Christ died, was buried and rose again for him, but rather on the same basis as the other three. We see that Saul gets his sight back, is baptised and starts to preach immediately in the synagogues in the Book of Acts 9:20, “And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.” We will cover Paul’s conversion better when we get to the Book of Acts, but at this time, this is all that Paul knew. We know that later on God will reveal to him the Gospel of Grace mysteries. Now, we as Grace Age Believers also must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. It’s foundational, but by itself is not enough. Christ makes that so clear in the writings of Paul. For the sake of comparison, let’s go to Romans Chapter 3. And what a difference you will find here. The Cross makes all the difference in the world. What did The Christ, the Son of the Living God do? He went to that old rugged Cross.

Romans 3:23-26

“For all have sinned (the whole human race), and come short of the glory of God (but we don’t have to stay short); Being justified freely by his grace (there are no works in Grace)through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood (that’s never been mentioned before), to declare his righteousness(the righteousness of Christ) for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just (fair), and the justifier (that puts Him in the place of doing) of him which believeth…” Faith + Nothing!

172 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 4 - Book 15 - Christ's Earthly Ministry

172: Christ’s Earthly Ministry 4 – Lesson 1 Part 4 Book 15

YouTube video

 

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 15

CHRIST’S EARTHLY MINISTRY

Let’s continue our study of Christ’s earthly ministry in Matthew Chapter 10. In the first four verses, The Lord has just called the twelve disciples:

Matthew 10:5

“These twelve Jesus sent forth (remember this was at the beginning of His earthly ministry) and (underline the next word, because when Jesus commands, you can’t get it from any higher authority) commanded them, saying, `Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:'”

The Samaritans at this time were half-breed Jews. They had lost their pure character as Jews. And, consequently, were looked down upon and detested by the pure Jew. Later in His ministry Jesus will go to the city of Samaria. Philip will also go to Samaria in the Book of Acts, but for now Jesus is qualifying that they go not to a Gentile or Samaritan. Remember this is a commandment by Jesus:

Matthew 10:6

“But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Many people will say, “I thought He came into the world to save sinners.” That’s what I’ve been trying to show you, that as He is in His earthly ministry, He will be dealing with the Jew only with very few exceptions. Why is He confining these instructions to the Jew? Because this is Covenant ground. And that included no one but the Jews. Remember, the Nation of Israel here is under the Law; the Temple and sacrifices are still going. Also remember Jesus is there to fulfill the promises and covenants made to the Nation of Israel (the Abrahamic Covenant was a promise of People, Land, Government and kings, but He would also have to be their Redeemer as well as King). All the way through the Old Testament we see the promise of a King and Kingdom, but also of a suffering Savior. The Jews of Jesus’ day wanted the King and the Kingdom, but didn’t want to deal with the sin problem, because that got too close to home. Jesus said in Matthew 5:17, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”

Yes, the Apostle Paul tells us that Jesus did come to save all sinners, but remember, Paul teaches in the Age of Grace. Here, Jesus is still under the Covenant economy and that meant Jew only – that’s hard for people to swallow. Many people can see this just as I do. However, the majority think that as soon as you open the Book of Matthew you have Christianity. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is Covenant ground and you can’t take Covenant promises to a Gentile. Now let’s look at Matthew Chapter 15. I’m always reminded of someone I heard years ago while riding in my pickup. He was preaching on this text. I was totally shocked when he said, `You’ve got to remember that Jesus had just begun His earthly ministry. He was still bigoted, and as of yet He didn’t realize the real purpose of His coming.’ I thought, “How can you be so blind.” Jesus knew what He was doing. Far more than most theologians do today. Here in verse 21 we have almost the same situation:

Matthew 15:21-23

“Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.” They were wicked cities on the Mediterranean Sea coast.

“And, behold, a woman of Canaan (a Gentile) came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, `Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.'”

“But he answered here not a word (what does that mean? He ignored her). And his disciples came and besought him, saying, `Send her away; for she crieth after us.'”

What were the disciples saying? “Lord get rid of her, because she’s a pest. We don’t want something like that tagging along after us.” Can’t you hear them? Evidently, she had been following them. Remember the disciples had been in Christ’s presence for sometime and they, too, understood that she was a Gentile, and that they could have nothing to do with her.

Matthew 15:24

“But he (Christ) answered and said, `I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel:'”

Is that plain language? You can’t get it any plainer. Jesus himself said it. Why? Because of the covenants. There were no Gentiles in those covenants. It was Jew only. So the Gentile woman was presuming upon something that she had no right to presume. However, where she made her most costly mistake was when she addressed Him,“Thou Son of David.” Now that really qualified Who He was, and where she was coming from. But she had no business addressing Him “Son of David,” that’s a Jewish term, and she’s Gentile. Now verse 25. She doesn’t give up:

Matthew 15:25,26

“Then came she and worshipped him, saying, `Lord, help me,'” Now she drops that Son of David acknowledgment and addresses Him as Lord. That brings her a little closer for sure.

“Bet he answered and said, `It is not meet (right) to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.'”

Who are the children? The Jews! Who are the dogs of Christ’s day? Gentiles. So put it in that light. Jesus in so many words said, “Now look, lady, its not right for me to take this which belongs to the Jew and give it to a Gentile. It just won’t work.” But this is a persistent lady who won’t give up. And I like her application here. Verse 27:

Matthew 15:27

“And she said, `Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.'”

I used to have a little house dog that would sit right beside me when I ate, and I bet most of you do too. My wife could never quite condescend to that, but I would say, “Honey, it’s so Scriptural. Because way back in Jesus’ time the dog was there waiting for a crumb to fall. But the analogy was, how in the world can you take that which belongs to family of Israel and give it to a Gentile. It just wouldn’t work. Now verse 28:

Matthew 15:28

“Then Jesus answered and said unto her, `O woman, (the word woman as it is used here, and also as Jesus addressed Mary as He hung on the Cross, was not a degrading term. Today, you wouldn’t call someone `woman’ if you respected her. But in the Greek it was a term of respect. So when Jesus was calling her `woman’ He was not putting her down, but rather respecting her person. So He says, woman), great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”

In contrast to the Jew, can you see that her faith was great? The Jew couldn’t condescend to acknowledging that this Nazarene was the Son of David. But this Canaanite woman did. Now I want to make a point. This is only one of two Gentiles that Jesus ministers to in His whole earthly ministry. This Canaanite woman, and a Roman centurion. Other than those two, there is no account that He had anything to do with Gentiles. To prove my point from Scripture, go to John Chapter 12, This was just before Christ’s Crucifixion. He’s come through the whole three years of earthly ministry trying to convince the Jew that He was The Christ, their Messiah, knowing full-well what Israel was going to do, and that He would suffer for the sins of the world. Christ knew that. Now in Chapter 12, the crowds are already gathering from all over the then known world for the Feast of Passover.

John 12:20

“And there were certain Greeks (Gentiles) among them that came up to worship at the feast:” I think Gentiles would mingle among this Jewish crowd to witness all that was going on among the worshiping Jews. Remember though, the Gentiles could not go into the Temple.

John 12:21

“The same (these Gentiles) came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, `Sir, we would see Jesus.'”

They had probably had heard of His miracles and all that He had done, and would like to see this man. Philip remembered only too well what had happened the times before when Gentiles wanted to see Jesus. He knew he couldn’t bring them to see Jesus, but on the other hand he didn’t really want to take the responsibility of refusing them, so he goes to Andrew. Now verse 22:

John 12:22

“Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.”

Now remember what they tell Jesus: “There are Gentiles who want to see you.” And now look at Jesus’ answer. It certainly wasn’t, “Take me to them,” or, “Have them come to me.” But instead, He explains why He could not deal with Gentiles during His earthly ministry. And here is the reason:

John 12:23

“And Jesus answered them, saying, `The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.” Which of course took place at His death, burial, and Resurrection.

John 12:24

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, `Except a corn (kernel) of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.'” Most of us know that before a seed can germinate it has to be taken out of its container, and placed into the ground where it can receive moisture and sunlight. Then before that seed can sprout new life, what has to happened to it? It has to die. That seed, for all practical purposes, dies. Out of the death of that seed then comes new life, and like Jesus said, “…it bringeth forth much fruit.”

And the Apostle Paul uses that same analogy in Romans 6:5, “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:”We have to be buried with Christ or we can’t have new life. There has to be that experience of death. And this is what Jesus is explaining; that up until His death, burial and Resurrection, He could not be the true object of faith to a Gentile because He was on Covenant ground – and being on Covenant ground meant He could only deal with the Nation of Israel, the Jew only, with very few exceptions.

Even the Apostle Paul writing by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tells us this in the Book of Ephesians Chapter 2. This shocks people, but I like to teach to help people see what the Book really says and not what they think, or have been told, what it says. And you don’t need any theological degree to understand it. It is in plain English. And yet I wonder how many people even know that these verses are in their Bible. That is why I use verses like this to point out that Jesus didn’t deal with Gentiles. Paul is writing to Gentile believers under Grace rather the Law. Ephesus was a Gentile city of the Gentile Church, the Body of Christ.

Ephesians 2:11

“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh (do you see that?), who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands,” Now to qualify that, who were the Circumcision? The Jews. What did they call Gentiles? Uncircumcised dogs, most of the time.

Ephesians 2:12

“That at that time (back when you were called uncircumcised dogs. Back when God was dealing with His Covenant people, the Jew, including Christ’s earthly ministry. Back before the Gospel of Grace that was given to me for you, what kind of hope did you have?) ye (Gentiles) were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise (do you see how plain this is?), having no hope, and without God in the world:

I didn’t write that. Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit did. And he said that you Gentiles were not in the Covenant promises. You were not Jews or citizens of the Nation of Israel. And so while God was dealing with Israel on the basis of the covenants (which would be from Genesis Chapter 12 all the way to Acts Chapter 9), where were Gentiles? Outside. And without hope. And that is why Jesus did not receive those we have looked at in this lesson. Remember, He had not yet died for the sins of the world, been buried, and rose from the dead. That’s the Gospel of Grace that was given only to the Apostle Paul for the Church Age. Jesus and the Twelve couldn’t preach that Gospel. Why? He hadn’t died yet. Plus, in the mind of God that was a secret that had been kept from the foundation of the world and then revealed only to the Apostle Paul.

In that same light, you all know the story of Jonah. God told Jonah, a good Law-abiding Jew, to go to the city of Nineveh, a Gentile city. Now Jonah was of the same mindset that Peter was in Acts Chapter 10 when the Lord told him to go to the home of Cornelius. Did Peter want to go to Cornelius’ house? No! Did Jonah want to go to Nineveh? No! Jonah even went so far as to go in the other direction, and you know the story of how he was cast overboard and swallowed by a whale. In type or in picture, what happened to Jonah when the great fish swallowed him? For all practical purposes Jonah died. How long was he in the belly of the fish? Three days and three nights. In fact, Jesus made that same allusion in Matthew 12:40, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly: so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” After three days and nights, the fish spit Jonah out upon dry land. And for all practical purposes brought him back to life. In type or picture, a resurrection.

After experiencing death, burial, and resurrection where can Jonah go? To the Gentiles. And that’s where he went. And what happened? Nineveh repented in sackcloths and ashes. But Jonah was not a fit servant until he had fulfilled the type.

And that was what Jesus was saying in John Chapter 12. He could not be the object of faith for the Gentiles until He had experienced His death, burial, and Resurrection. In Ephesians Chapter 2, look at verse 13. I wouldn’t want to leave you with verse 12, because that’s hopeless. But look at the next verse:

Ephesians 2:13

“But (I’ve told my class for many years that little three letter word is one of the most important words in Scripture. “But”) now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off (as Gentiles were then) are made nigh (to God, not by the Law or covenants, but by what?) by the blood of the Christ.” The finished work of the Cross.

I don’t know how to make it any plainer. That is why the Jew was under the Covenant promises and under Law. Through the Apostle Paul’s teachings, the Gentile is under Grace through the finished work of the Cross. Law and Grace cannot mix. The Gentiles could not have any part or opportunity in those Covenant promises. But the Jew now has the same opportunity as the Gentile under Grace. However, since the Jew has temporally been set aside (because of their unbelief as we see at the close of the Book of Acts), God then turns to the Gentiles in Grace. In past programs we have pointed out the difference between Law and Grace. In Grace, based upon Christ’s death, burial and Resurrection, God can now impart salvation to the whole human race. He doesn’t confine it to the Jew, and He doesn’t confine it to the Gentile. But it goes to All!

171 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 3 - Book 15 - Christ's Earthly Ministry

171: Christ’s Earthly Ministry 3 – Lesson 1 Part 3 Book 15

YouTube video

 

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 15

CHRIST’S EARTHLY MINISTRY

When I teach the Four Gospels, I don’t go through them verse by verse. It’s not all repetition but, as we go through the Book of Matthew, we will cover most of the other three Gospels. We are trying to cover the overall theme of God dealing with the human race from Genesis to Revelations in our “Through the Bible” study. I trust you’ll get your Bible and study with us. Let’s begin in Chapter 6 at what we call the “Lord’s Prayer.” I don’t particularly like that title, because it’s not the “Lord’s” Prayer; it’s really the “disciples” prayer. The Lord merely gives it to them as an example to use. The real Lord’s Prayer is in John Chapter 17. That’s where the Lord pours out His heart to the Father on behalf again of His chosen ones and the Eleven in particular. But here Jesus is instructing the disciples how to pray:

Matthew 6:9

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”

The Jew here is still under Temple worship and Law. This is a pattern; this doesn’t mean you have to open every prayer with these exact words, but it does give us an indication that, as we approach the throne room, even in this Age of Grace, we still give God His due. We still recognize Him as the Almighty. He is our heavenly Father, and so we can certainly benefit from this. Now verse 10:

Matthew 6:10

“Thy kingdom come (where?). Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”

I imagine the average believer or church goer voices these words not having the foggiest notion of what they are really talking about. But every time the Lord’s Prayer is uttered, “Thy kingdom come…in earth, as it is in heaven,” what are they really requesting? It’s the Kingdom that we have been talking about that has been promised ever since Abraham. This Kingdom over which Christ is offering Himself as King (and it’s going to be here on the earth) is in Heaven tonight. but this Kingdom’s coming back to earth at Christ’s Second Coming. Most people have the idea that when this old earth passes away and time as we know is no more, we will go up to Heaven. That flies in the face of Scripture. Heaven’s going to come down on earth. Let’s show this is by going back into The Book. Turn to Isaiah Chapter 11. The Old Testament is full of verses like these. Here we have such graphic descriptions of this Kingdom on earth that the Twelve were instructed to pray for, and over which Christ will one day reign and rule.

Isaiah 11:1-3

“AND there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse (the family tree of Christ. Jesse is the father of David. Out of David comes this Branch. Christ is referred to as a Branch in several other places in the Old Testament), and a branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him (this coming Messiah, the King), the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge (or rule) after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:”

We need to explain this verse. We don’t expect the President in the White House to have his finger on every segment of our lives. It would be impossible. What we do expect him to do is pick out good men who can cover various areas of our system, and report intelligently to the President. He has to have help like that. But when Christ comes to rule He won’t need advisors. That’s what this verse says. He won’t have to judge what He sees or hears. He will be so absolute in His power and authority, and yet benevolent.

Isaiah 11:4

“But with righteousness shall he (rule) judge (absolute fairness, no one is going to get a raw deal) the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth:…”

People like to talk about the poor and meek, as in the Beatitudes we find in the Sermon on the Mount. The Beatitudes become the very constitution of this Kingdom that is going to come and about which we are reading here. The Beatitudes don’t fit the Church Age but rather were presented for the Kingdom economy. They will fit perfectly in that economy. Continuing on with verse 4:

Isaiah 11:4,5

“…and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth (the closing days of the Tribulation), and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.” No unbelievers will go into His Kingdom. “And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.”

Now we come to the Animal Kingdom within the Kingdom. People want to know if there will be pets there. Not just pets as you and I think of them, but rather every animal will be a pet of sorts. The curse will be gone, so that means fear of each other will be gone. Animals won’t be meat eaters as they were before sin entered.

Isaiah 11:6-9

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together (who is in the midst of them?); and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed (together); their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp (a very poisonous snake) and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain (Kingdom): for the earth (not Heaven) shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”

These verses here in Isaiah are what the Lord’s prayer is instructing to pray for! Isn’t that what the world is looking for, a world of utopia, peace, prosperity and peaceful living between all the various groups and races? That will never happen until the Prince of Peace comes. One of our faithful class members asked me, “Why are we instructed to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (found in Psalm 122:6)?” That city has never had any peace. When you pray for the peace of Jerusalem you are praying for the Prince of Peace to come. He will bring peace, and bring this horrible age of the curse to an end. There’s the Kingdom as the prophet Isaiah writes.

Let’s look at Ezekiel Chapter 37 regarding the Kingdom. In this chapter we find the “dry bones.” We have made reference to them in earlier lessons, but again, this is a prophecy that is unique to the Nation of Israel. The dry bones are the Israelites or the Jews out in the Gentile nations, which is really their grave. They don’t have a life when they are out of the Land of Promise. In the first ten verses, Ezekiel prophesied that the dry bones would finally come to life (and they really did in 1948 when Israel became a nation once again). And then the interpretation of it begins in verse 11:

Ezekiel 37:11-14

“Then he (The LORD) said unto me, `Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel (that is what the vision is about. The Jew): behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.'” They have been out of the land thousands of years, and almost without hope.

“Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; `Behold, O my people (Israel), I will open your graves (release them from these Gentile Nations), and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.'” Hasn’t that been happening now for almost 50 years? “And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live (that hasn’t happened yet, but it’s getting ready), and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.'”

Then He tells the prophet to take two sticks and put them end to end. One stick stands for the northern Kingdom; the other for the southern. They were a divided nation, but when the prophet does this, the nation will become one stick, no longer divided.

Ezekiel 37:21-23

“And say unto them, `Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen (Gentiles), whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land (that’s God speaking, and we are seeing that happen tonight). And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God,”

When will they be God’s people again? When this Kingdom comes down out of Heaven, over which Christ is going to be King. Israel will be the head of the nations, although the other nations will be there, but in a lesser role than the Covenant people. Also remember, only believers will be there. Let’s look at one more verse in the Book of Zechariah Chapter 14. This is at Christ’s Second Coming:

Zechariah 14:4

“And his (Christ’s) feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives,…”

Can it be any clearer than that? You don’t have to try and spiritualize that as some do. It means exactly what it says. I think of a dear gentleman who teaches almost identically to the way I teach. I was invited to a church where he was speaking, and he told about when he was young and active in a particular denomination. This denomination did not agree that there would be a Second Coming and the Kingdom. He remembered going into his pastor’s study one day and showing the pastor Zechariah 14:4. He asked the pastor, `What does this mean?” The pastor answered, “Oh, that doesn’t mean what it says.” This gentleman told me he was too young to raise any argument. About four or five years later he had another pastor. This verse kept coming up and bothering him so he took it into that pastor also. He said to him, “Now, pastor the way it looks to me, Jesus is actually going to return and stand on the mount of Olives.” The preacher looked him in the eye and said, “Oh, forget that. That’s apocalypse.” That was a big word for a theologian, and it impressed him and he left because he didn’t know what the pastor was talking about. Today, he knows better. Zechariah 14:4 means what it says. Christ is going to return and stand on the mount of Olives! Now verse 9 and this is so plain. It hasn’t happened yet. But it’s going to:

Zechariah 14:9

“And the LORD shall be king over all the (what?) earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.”

Before we return to the Lord’s Prayer in Chapter 6 of Matthew (and this is under the Law as Jesus is teaching), never lose sight of the fact that the doctrine of the Lord’s prayer is legal. I am amazed how many people right here in the Bible belt have no concept of the difference between Law and Grace. But there is as much difference between those two as there is between pitch midnight and noon-day sun. Let’s look briefly at what Paul says in Roman 6:

Romans 6:14,15

“For sin (or the old Adamic nature) shall not have dominion over you: (it’s not going to rule over you like a sovereign king) for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What should that tell you? There are two totally different concepts.

“What then? shall we sin (in other words, exercise our liberty), because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.”

See the difference? We are under Grace, not Law. The Book of Galatians is written to prove that very point – that under Grace, the Law has no power over us. Now that doesn’t give us license to do as we please. God will chasten the believer who does that. But we are under a different principle the Law. Back to the Lord’s Prayer and I’ll show you the difference between Law (or legalism) and Grace.

I read an article where a man who was held hostage was released. This person was a very religious man. He claimed it was his belief in God that had brought him through this terrible ordeal. A reporter asked this man if he was bitter toward those people who had tortured him. The man said, “No, because I believe I have to forgive them or I will never be forgiven by God.” Now isn’t that sad. It sounds good and noble. And that is what the Law demanded.

Matthew 6:11,12

“Give us this day our daily bread (this is an appropriate request for any age), And forgive us our debts (or our trespasses or sins as some will put it. When?), as we forgive our debtors,”

As we forgive those who sin against us. Most people don’t really understand what Jesus is saying. Under Law you could not be forgiven until you had forgiven the other person.That was what the Law demanded. This is exactly what this ex-hostage was talking about. He said, “I must forgive them if I want forgiveness.” THAT IS LAW! But we are not under Law, we are under Grace. What does Grace say? Turn to Ephesians Chapter 4 for the answer. The Apostle of Grace is writing here. He said in Romans Chapter 6 we are not under Law, but under Grace. Now look at what Grace says:

Ephesians 4:32

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath (past tense) forgiven you.”

In other words, whether I forgave my neighbor or not, what has God done for me? He forgave me! If God was gracious enough to forgive me when I was as a sinner condemned, then who am I to say that I can’t forgive the other person. Do you see the difference between the two? Instead of begrudgingly saying, “I forgive so I can be forgiven,” I recognize that I amforgiven already! Now, one more verse in Colossians Chapter 2. In future studies you will see that we are not under Law as Christ ministered to Israel, but rather under Grace, which makes a world of difference. Paul always writes to believers, not to the unsaved, so to us he says:

Colossians 2:13

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, (Gentiles), hath (past tense) he quickened (made us alive) together with him, having (past tense) forgiven you all trespasses;”

If God could do that for me, can I do any less for my neighbor? Now that is the teaching between Law and Grace.

Subscribe To OurDaily Bible Study Lessons

Subscribe To OurDaily Bible Study Lessons

Join our mailing list to receive daily Bible lessons from Les Feldick.

You have Successfully Subscribed!