170 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 2 - Book 15 - Christ's Earthly Ministry 2

170: Christ’s Earthly Ministry 2 – Lesson 1 Part 2 Book 15

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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 15

CHRIST’S EARTHLY MINISTRY

In this lesson, we will study the temptations in Matthew Chapter 4, so get your Bible and search the Scriptures with us. Here Christ is about to begin His earthly ministry. As we have stressed in past lessons, it was to prove to the Nation of Israel (to which He had come), who He was. Now in His temptations, He’s not only going to prove to the Nation of Israel, but will embrace the entire scope of God’s dealing with the whole human race. We will see in the references that are coming that the very fact of His going through these temptations is a comfort to you and I today. And we will see that in just a moment.

Matthew 4:1

“THEN was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.”

Unless you have been to the Middle East you don’t really understand what wilderness means. The wilderness of Judea is the most awful forbidding landscape of barren desert, but also rugged and mountainous. So the word “wilderness” is probably more than we Americans picture.

Matthew 4:2,3

“And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, `If (now that’s the way Satan likes to come, isn’t it? He likes to put conditions on things) thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.'”

Satan knows our weakest point at any point in time. Jesus has just come out of forty days of fasting and, naturally, in the physical realm, He’s hungry. What did Satan tempt Him with? Food. I’m sure all of you have experienced this: you may be driving down the road and realize that you’re a little hungry, but that appetite really isn’t wetted until you see a billboard of some delicious piece of food. Then, all of a sudden, those hunger juices start flowing and you just can’t get something to eat fast enough. Well, that is the physiological response when we are hungry. Satan tries to pull that same thing on Christ. He’s hungry so what does Satan mention? Bread. I don’t know about you, but fresh baked bread is hard to beat, so where does Satan attack Him? In that fleshly desire for something to eat. Remember, He’s God and He’s man, and He never lets one interfere with the other. Christ answers in verse 4:

Matthew 4:4

“But he answered and said, `It is written (now what does that mean? Christ goes back to the Word. And it should be no different today for you and I. How are we going to maintain our guard against the evil one? Remember in Ephesians 5:26), “…that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,” We have to stay in the Book, study it daily), Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.'”

And remember when you take God at His word, God calls that faith. That is why faith is not only the necessity of salvation but also for the Christian walk. Because how are you going to know how to walk if you don’t believe what God hath said? So it all comes down to taking God at His Word. So this is the point that Jesus is making. Now Satan tries a different ploy.

Matthew 4:5,6

“Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city (Jerusalem), and setteth him on a pinnacle (highest point) of the temple, And saith unto him, `If thou be the Son of God, cast thy self down: for it is written, (Satan know Scriptures), He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.'”

So he tells Christ, “Go ahead and jump” The Temple complex was usually filled with Jews coming and going to worship. So what was the temptation? “Get all of these people to see Who You really are. Jump off this high point of the Temple and before you strike the ground, the very angels of Heaven will bear you up and gently set you down.” My, wouldn’t that be the show of shows! And this was the temptation. Appealing to the eyes of those multitudes who would witness such a phenomenon.

Matthew 4:7,8

“Jesus said unto him, `It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God (Satan backs off, but he comes right back).’ Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them.”

Now you want to remember that Jerusalem and that area was pretty much the center of the world, especially in the time of Christ. The Roman Empire went west as far as Great Britain, and east as far as India, It involved North Africa and Egypt, and all of those areas. So from that high vantage point, they could envision all of the great empires that had ever existed, back through history, and even, I think, in the future. And Satan has the audacity to say:

Matthew 4:9

“And saith unto him, `All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.'”

I always like to make a point in asking this question, “Was it in Satan’s power to give those Kingdoms?” Yes! Absolutely. Many people don’t realize this. Because who is the god of this world since Adam fell? We are told in II Corinthians 4:4, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” So you see old Satan is referred to as the god of this world here in this verse. So these Kingdoms are his tonight, but what Satan didn’t realize was The King is going to have them one day, anyway. Only it will be under totally different circumstances. Not by bowing down to Satan, but by utterly defeating him. Nevertheless, the temptation was valid.

Matthew 4:10,11a

“Then saith Jesus unto him, `Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written; Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.’ Then the devil leaveth him,…”

What does it say in James 4:7 “…Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” So this is a lesson for us as well. Now keep these three areas of temptation in your mind because we will be coming back to them. But first come with me to I Corinthians Chapter 15, which of course is from the pen of the Apostle Paul. We are going to see a Biblical truth, that, as far as I can tell, has never been revealed before. There is nothing like this in the Old Testament, and there is nothing like this in the Four Gospels, but here from the pen of Paul we come across what I call a basic doctrine.

I Corinthians 15:45,46

“And so it is written, `The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening (or life giving) spirit.'”

“Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.”

I have stressed over the years that all through Scripture this is the process – first the natural, and then the spiritual. For example, Adam the natural and then the second Adam which is Christ. Cain the natural and then Abel the spiritual. Esau the natural and then Jacob the spiritual. Another one is King Saul the natural, and King David the spiritual. This goes all the way through Scripture. You can even take it into the end-time in the final seven years. First we have the Anti-christ then we have Christ. In our own experience we come on life’s scene as natural, and then when we experience salvation we become spiritual. It is just a fact of Scripture. And so Paul makes that point in verse 46. Let’s read it again:

I Corinthians 15:46,47

“Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.”

“The first man is of the earth, earthy (God made him from the elements of the dust): the second man is the Lord from heaven.”

So as Adam is the federal head of the human race in Genesis, now Christ is the response to that Federal head, because Adam fell. That is the whole understanding that when Adam fell, there had to be some way of restoring that headship. And the second Adam, Who is Christ, was the One Who would restore. I can’t prove this from Scripture, but I like to think that Adam, before he sinned, had a body identical to Christ’s in His earthly appearance. Maybe you have never thought of that before. But you see Adam, before he sinned, was incorruptible. He could have lived forever if he had not fallen. Christ of course as we saw from the temptations did not fall. And as they laid His body in the tomb, did it begin to decay? No, because it was incorruptible. And it never started the decaying process. So always hold those two in contrast.

Adam, the Federal head of the human race, was given dominion over everything that God had created. It was his to rule and reign over. That is what the word `dominion’ meant. And yet Satan came on the scene, with one little temptation, and Adam with all of that power at his disposal; beautiful circumstances; nothing to be desired; it was all there for him; yet he fell.

Now in contrast, here comes Christ in His earthly ministry, not as the royal King as yet (although He is presenting Himself as the King), but He is coming more as a lowly servant, riding upon a foal of an ass. This is what confounded the Jews. They were looking for Someone to come riding on a white steed like a Roman General or Emperor. Jesus epitomized the servant when He washed the disciples’ feet. And that is why they couldn’t understand how this One, Who was the very Creator of the universe; The One Who had come to be the King of Kings not only of Israel, but of the whole planet could get down on His knees and wash the disciples’ feet. And now at His temptations He comes under wilderness circumstances. Whereas Adam had it all, Christ, as the Spiritual, comes under those adverse conditions but did not succumb as Adam did. All the areas of temptations are covered that you and I as believers face even in the twentieth century. In those three temptations Christ suffered the attacks of Satan that cover everything that Satan can throw at us. And let’s look at them here in this passage in I John Chapter 2:

I John 2:15

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

The Greek word for this word “world” here is Kosmos, from which we now get the word `Cosmos.’ Add a few letters on to it and you get Cosmopolitan. And what is a Cosmopolitan? The dictionary gives a very simple definition. A Cosmopolitan is a citizen of the world. Think about that. So what is the world as this text uses it? This whole world system: economic, politics, entertainment, pleasures, the good as well as the bad things. That is all wrapped up in this word, “world.” That doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the good things, and have a nice home, or have a good living. But it’s like the Scripture says in I Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all evil:…” Remember money isn’t, but the love of money is! Loving money is what makes people become corrupt in order to get it. It’s the same way with the world. Don’t love the world or it will grab you, and you can’t let go. This is what the things of the world try to do, and when that happens you will become part of the world and your Christian witness will be destroyed. Verse 16:

I John 2:16

“For all that is in the world (this world system), the lust of the flesh (what was Christ’s first temptation? Bread, because He was hungry. So He suffered the lust of the flesh), and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

Now in applying this verse to the temptation of Christ, the first one we discussed is obvious. That was the lust of the flesh. He was hungry. The second one was the appeal to the eye because of that vast crowd that would witness His miraculous plunge from the pinnacle of the Temple. But the third one is when Satan says, “I’ll give you power over all these Kingdoms.” What did that appeal to? His pride. That what makes some politicians what they are – people who quest for power. It feeds the ego and pride. Applying this to Eve, what was the first part of Satan’s appeal to Eve? Look at the fruit, its good to eat. It was appealing to the eye. But the basis of the whole temptation was, “You can be like God!” And we call that the lie.

Now to be like God, what would that give her? Power and Pride. And it is the same way for you and I tonight. Let’s look at another Scripture, Hebrews Chapter 4. I’ve had people ask me after a class, “How in the world can the Scriptures say that Jesus tasted of every temptation that I’m faced with. He couldn’t have.” Remember, not each individual one, but in the categories He did. Because you can place every temptation that befalls you and I into these three same categories. It will always be the “lust of the flesh,” “lust of the eye,” or “pride of life.”

Hebrew 4:14,15

“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession (because He’s there!). For we have not an high priest(Christ) which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities (but rather we do have a High Priest Who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities); but was in all points tempted like as we are, ye without sin.” Let’s look at one more verse in I Corinthians Chapter 10. I hope you are seeing how all of this fits together.

I Corinthians 10:13

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man (you can’t say, `I’m in a unique position, no one has ever been faced with this before – Christ was!): but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation (Satan is going to hit us) also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”Now that’s a promise. If we look for the situation to get out of temptation you can, because God has made all the provisions to escape. It’s based on the fact of Christ own experience.

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

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

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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 15

CHRIST’S EARTHLY MINISTRY

I would like you to get your Bible and study the Scripture with us as we continue our study in the New Testament. We try to reach across all denominational lines. We don’t attack anyone, we just simply teach the Word as I see it. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on every point, but, basically, I like to help people read the Bible in a way that they can understand. So many read it, but don’t really see what they are reading.

Luke Chapter 1. I think the average church person, whether they are members or not, somehow have the idea that as soon as you get into Matthew Chapter 1, that this is Christianity. And that’s not correct. This is not yet Christianity. This is still an extension of God dealing with Israel, based on all those Old Testament covenants and promises, and Christ is going to come on the scene, as we will see here in Luke 1, as the angel announced it. Not with the message that He’s going to the Cross to die for the sins of the world, although that’s certainly in the mind of God, and don’t think for a moment it isn’t. But He’s going to come first to fulfill the promise made to the Nation of Israel. So it’s all Jewish with few exceptions. And as we come through the Four Gospels we will point them out.

Remember, too, it’s all under the Law, The Temple is still operating, sacrifices are still being offered. And even these people who become believers and followers of Christ don’t shed their Judaism. They still maintain everything that is associated with the Law. And Christ doesn’t rebuke them for it, and neither should we. No one has told them that they’re not under Law, until a lot further down the road when Paul the Gentile Apostle will. That is why we always emphasize that the Bible is a progressive revelation. God doesn’t just suddenly tell the Old Testament people everything that’s coming. Now there is a lot of prophecy, but always remember God hid some things until He saw fit to reveal them. Now Luke Chapter 1; we find the angel is announcing to Mary what is about to happen. This is just another little introduction as to why Christ is making His first Advent to the Nation of Israel.

Luke 1:30-33

“And the angel said unto her, `Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.'” Now where is that coming from? Old Testament promises? Now read on:

“And he (This Son) shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his (what?) kingdom (see why I’m always talking about the Kingdom? Because the Bible does) there shall be no end.”

All of this is based on what God had promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and then as a further ramification of that, the Law is given to Moses. Then as David comes on the scene he is promised that out of him will come a genealogy that will lead to the King. This is all coming into fulfillment. Look again at verse 67. We have looked at this before but repetition is the mother of all learning. Here we are dealing with the father of John the Baptist, Zacharias. And Zacharias was an active priest working at the Temple in Jerusalem. He had been stricken dumb during the pregnancy of his wife, Elisabeth. But now suddenly he has his voice back, and the Jews realize that something supernatural is taking place.

Luke 1:67,68

“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied saying,…” Now when Scripture speaks of someone being filled with the Holy Spirit, everything they speak is going to be God directed. This is not just the wishful thinking of a good patriotic or religious Jew. These are the very expressions of God Himself concerning the Nation of Israel. Now look what He says:

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel (are there Gentiles in there? Of course not. He’s dealing with the Jew); for he hath visited and redeemed his people,”

This is all an extension of the Old Testament. And since Abraham, it’s so plainly stated that Israel was God’s chosen people. When the children of Israel were in Egypt, God said He was going to put a division between His people and Egypt. God kept emphasizing all through the Old Testament that His people, the children of Israel were not to commingle with the Gentiles, but to be a separated people. They were not to intermarry, or have anything to do with pagan Gentiles around them. They were never told to go and evangelize them. That recalls what Jesus said in Matthew 15:24, “But he answered and said, `I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'” Paul tells us in Romans 15:8, “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision (Jews) for the truth of God, (Why?) to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) Keep this in mind as we study the New Testament.

Even in Acts Chapter 10, what was Peter’s answer to the Lord when, in a vision, the Lord let down a sheet before Peter filled with creatures, and told him to kill and eat? “Not so, Lord. Why? I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” Why did Peter say that? He was a Law-keeping Jew, and he wasn’t about to break the Law by eating something that wasn’t kosher. And then as Peter gets to the very door of the Gentile Cornelius’ home in Acts Chapter 10, what does Peter tell Cornelius? Acts 10:28, “And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing (Jewish Law) for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me…” Well, God had something else now in store. He’s now going to turn to the Gentiles through the Apostle Paul. But up until that time it was predominately only His Covenant people. Let’s read on:

Luke 1:69-71

“And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (see how Jewish that is?); As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:” That’s the Old Testament, of course.“That we should be saved from our (sins? No, from our) enemies (the same ones that are Israel enemies tonight), and from the hand of all that hate us;”

That is why Israel is in such a quandary tonight. They want peace, and yet how can they have peace when everybody all around have sworn statements in their governmental archives that they won’t rest until Israel is driven into the sea.

Luke 1:72,73

“To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,” What was the Covenant God made with Abraham back in Genesis 12?

That out of Abraham and Sarah, one day would come a nation of people, and that God would put them in a geographical area of land. That’s why we call it the Promised Land. And then at some future day, He would come and be their government as spoken of in Isaiah 9:6, and that government would be epitomized in The King, The Messiah.

That’s the Abrahamic Covenant in a nut shell. Out of that Covenant all of these other things of the Old Testament are going to revolve. Let’s look at that verse for a moment. And here is the promise of that part of the Covenant, as the prophet writes to the Nation of Israel.

Isaiah 9:6,7

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: (who is this going to be that is going to be the government?) and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace (The Christ). Of the increase of his government (His rule and reign) and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.” The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Zacharias is still resting on this. However, by the time Zacharias is speaking, Israel is a nation of people, they are in the Promised Land, they have their Temple, priesthood, and worship. But they’re looking for their KING. Another word for The King is the “Anointed One,” or The Messiah. The Greek for The Messiah is The Christ. So when you speak of Jesus Christ you’re actually saying, “Jesus the Messiah!” It’s out of those Old Testament promises that He now comes. Go back to Matthew Chapter 4. We went through Christ’s appearance and His baptism. He is about to start His earthly ministry. I’m going to keep emphasizing, as we come through the Four Gospels, the reason for all of His miracles, preaching, and teaching is to prove to the Jews that He was that promised Messiah. This was the whole scope of His ministry. Look at Chapter 11. This says it as plainly as Scripture can say it.

Matthew 11:2

“Now when John (John the Baptist) had heard (where?) in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,”

Now always try to project yourself into these people’s shoes. John the Baptist had announced the coming of the King, and preached repentance and baptism (I think he saw quite a few come to his preaching). He was there at the baptism of Christ, and saw all the things surrounding the baptism. Now where is he? In prison. Well how would you feel? John felt the same way. Is Jesus really the Christ? Because if He is, what am I doing here? Now look at it:

Matthew 11:3

“And said unto him (these two disciples of John are talking to Jesus), `Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?'” Look at Jesus’ answer. I like to bring this part down to the kindergarten kids “show and tell.” That is what Jesus is saying in the next verse. Go back to John and show and tell.

Matthew 11:4,5

“Jesus answered and said unto them, `Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.'”

And what was that supposed to tell John? – that he didn’t have to look for another. He is The Christ even though you are in prison. Now just carry that all the way through His earthly ministry. Everything that Jesus says and does is to prove to the Jew of His day that He is this promised King. The Apostle Paul writes in I Corinthians 1:22 “For the Jew require a sign,…” Jesus starts His ministry with a miracle and He ends it with the greatest miracle of all, and that was when He arose from the dead! But all of these things were to prove to the nation of Israel who He was. Now lets go to Matthew Chapter 5 for a moment. This is Jesus speaking:

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,”

Fulfill what? These Covenant promises, basically, this one, because two have already come on the scene. Israel has already become a nation. They are already in the Promised Land, but the government part hadn’t happened yet. But He’s here to bring in that government, Kingdom rule, and that reign for which He had been prepared. So He says He’s here to fulfill. By comparison let turn to Paul’s writings and come all the way back to I Timothy Chapter 1:15. This is not a contradiction, Paul isn’t flying into the face of what Jesus said back here in Matthew, but what is it? It’s a further revelation. Something else has now been added to what we have had in the Four Gospels.

I Timothy 1:15

“This a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to (to be the King of Israel? It doesn’t say that. But He came to) save sinners;…”

What a difference. And yet not different, it’s just an extension. First He came to be the King, but what happened? Now let’s get that answer in the Book of Romans Chapter 11. When He presented Himself as The King, and did everything to prove He was their King, what did Israel do? They crucified Him, and said “Away with Him.” But that didn’t stop God; that didn’t interrupt Him. It was already preconceived in the counsels of the Godhead before eternity past. God wasn’t caught by surprise. But now you see in this chapter, Paul says it again so clearly:

Romans 11:7

“What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for (what was that? The King and the Kingdom! They wanted it, but they didn’t recognize Him. So they missed it); but the election hath obtained it (those that did believe), and the rest were blinded.” Now come on down to verse 11. And remember Paul writes by inspiration to the believer today.

Romans 11:11

“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall (in other words that God would just do away with them)? God forbid: but rather through their fall (through their rejection of all these promises) salvation is come unto the Gentiles (without the Nation of Israel), for to provoke them to jealousy.”

Paul is saying the Jew had those promises, but they rejected them. God had to send them out into dispersion, and He has now turned to the Gentiles. And that is you and I as believers in the Church Age tonight, with this tremendous Plan of Salvation, based not on temple worship, or keeping the Law, or the things we have been studying about, but rather by faith in Christ’s death, burial, and Resurrection. The Gospel of Grace. Faith plus Nothing! He paid the price for your sins and mine. But don’t think for a moment God is through with the Jew. Look at this next verse:

Romans 11:12

“Now if the fall of them (because they rejected their Messiah) be the riches of the (Gentile) world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?

In other words, what Paul is saying is this. “Yes, God had to set them aside, because they rejected the blessing, and now He’s turned to us with this free Gospel of Grace, Faith plus Nothing. But He is still going to come back to the Jew.”

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