216 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 4 - Book 18 - Acts Chapters 6, 7, & 8 - Part 4

216: Acts Chapters 6, 7, & 8 – Part 4 – Lesson 3 Part 4 Book 18

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 18

ACTS CHAPTERS 6,7 & 8

Let’s pick up in Acts Chapter 8. We had been introduced to Simon the sorcerer, who had been bewitching the Samaritans. Remember he was using Satanic power to accomplish that. Now verse 12:

Acts 8:12

“But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”

Does Philip or any of these people say anything about our Lord’s death, burial and Resurrection which is the very core of our Gospel. Our Gospel is that we have to believe that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead. Philip doesn’t mention that. He was preaching that Jesus was The Christ, The Messiah, The Son of the living God. And then they were baptized. John the Baptist started with, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, repent and be baptized.” That was the Jewish message. It was tied to it. I would be the last one to say you can separate it back there in that economy. Today I maintain that baptism has no part in Salvation. It has to be the finished work of the Cross plus nothing. Otherwise we are telling God, “You didn’t quite finish it. I have to complete it with my baptism.” So here is where we have to be so careful. When someone questions my stand on baptism, I tell them,“Don’t ever make it part of your Salvation, because then you are adding to the finished work of the Cross. We rest totally on what Christ accomplished on our behalf.” But here in this passage, this is not the message yet. That revelation hasn’t been revealed.

Acts 8:13

“Then Simon himself believed also; and when he was baptized (Simon went the whole nine yards; he professed believing; evidently did his repenting, and was baptized) he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.”

What is Simon majoring on? Signs and miracles. What’s he minoring on? The Person of Christ. Our priorities have to be based on Scripture. But since that had been Simon’s trade, it was right down his alley to have signs and miracles. He jumped on that bandwagon and said, “Hooray, this is my kind of thing!” But was Simon a true believer? No! He’s a fake. He’s a counterfeit. Now read on:

Acts 8:14-17

“Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem (that would be the Twelve. This Philip is one of the seven if I understand Scripture correctly) heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:” James is dead already because as a rule it was always Peter, James and John.

“Who (Peter and John), when they were come down, prayed for them (these Samaritan believers), that they might receive the Holy Ghost:”

“(For as yet [in spite of all of the success of Philip’s preaching] he [The Holy Spirit] was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)” Why aren’t they given the Holy Spirit? God had His reasons. Let’s look at verse 17:

“Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.”

Amazing isn’t it? Why did God withhold the Holy Spirit from these baptized Samaritans believers until Peter and John came down? Go to John’s Gospel, Chapter 4. Here we have the account of Jesus and the woman at the well, and you all know the story:

John 4:15-20

“The woman saith unto him, `Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.’ Jesus saith unto her, `Go, call thy husband, and come hither.’ The woman answered and said, `I have no husband.’ Jesus said unto her, `Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: (Sounds familiar doesn’t it?) in that saidst thou truly.’ The woman saith unto him, `Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.'”

We’ve got to go back into Israel’s history, when the Kingdom was divided under Rehoboam and Jeroboam. The Temple was in the Southern Kingdom of Judah, and it carried on as usual. So what did the Israelites of the Northern Kingdom set up? A secondary temple worship. They had their own counterfeit as it were. The presence of God wasn’t in it. It was another man-made religion. They didn’t realize that God was dealing with Israel at the Temple in Jerusalem. Now I need to make another point as we go along. All through Israel’s religious history, Jerusalem is the headquarters of God’s operation. For the New Testament Church there is no earthly headquarters. That’s the vast difference. The Church today is headquartered not on earth, but in Heaven! And even though Antioch was more or less the fountainhead of where the Gospel went out to Gentiles, yet the Scriptures never place Antioch as the headquarters of the New Testament Church. Nor is Jerusalem. There is no headquarters of the New Testament Church.

But under Judaism, Jerusalem is understood that that is where Christ dealt with His people. But the Samaritans said, “What’s the difference?” Now with that kind of historic mentality what did God have to show these Samaritan believers? That Jerusalem was the headquarters of God dealing with the Nation of Israel. The Samaritan believers were certainly saved by the preaching of Philip, yet they did not get the full frosting on the cake until representatives of Jerusalem (Peter and John) came and manifested their divine office. By the laying on of hands, they received the Holy Spirit. What did that tell the Samaritans? Jerusalem is where we have to worship, not Samaria. Now back to Acts Chapter 8 again. Old Simon is seeing all of this, and he is the curious one.

Acts 8:18

“And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given (and remember under this economy when the Holy Spirit came down there was visible evidence of it), he offered them money,”

Doesn’t that show where his heart is? He has been gaining wealth for years in performing the miraculous. But now he sees something that was even better than what he had been able to do. It had more power. Simon wants to buy into this. Now here is where you have every right to discern the spiritual condition of this man Simon. As a true believer would he make a statement like that? No way! But he’s not. Oh he made a profession, but it was as empty as a bucket. It had absolutely nothing that was life-changing. He had even gone through baptism. Does that ring a bell? We’ve got millions doing it all time. They go through the process, they get baptized, they join the church, and they are as lost as ever. Why? Because there hasn’t been a change of heart.

Acts 8:19-21

“Saying, `Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.'” Simon wasn’t concerned about the Spiritual aspect of the Holy Spirit. All he could see was the money he could reap. Peter sees right through Simon.

“But Peter said unto him, `Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.'” They’re both going down the tube, not just the money, but Simon too!

“Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter (do you see what that says? Even though it says in verse 13 that he believed, yet Peter brings us to the truth of the matter. It wasn’t any real belief, he was a fake. He was in it strictly for what he could get out of it): for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.”

Let’s go to Romans Chapter 10. Recently, we taught in this Chapter, and I came away just knowing that hearts were really touched by the Gospel. These are verses that I think every servant of God uses when dealing with someone in the area of Salvation.

Romans 10:9

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe (where?) in thine heart (not just in the head) that God hath raised him from the dead (now what does that imply? He died, was buried and rose from the dead. If you believe that with all your heart), thou shalt be saved.” That’s the Gospel by which we are saved.

Not if, maybe, or hope so, but when we believe that God promised it as a fact. Thou shalt be saved. And that’s a promise. What does God expect us to do with promises? Rest on them. Not doubt them nor wonder. But we have every right to say, “God, that’s what you told me, and I believe it.” God calls that faith. This is one place where we can hold God accountable, if I may put it that way. Because He said it we can hold Him accountable.

Romans 10:10a

“For with the heart (not with the head; not with the mind) man (what?) believeth unto righteousness;…”

Now do you see a lot of things that people think should be in there but are not? Paul doesn’t even allude here to some of the things here in the Book of Acts. But all he says is that if we believe with all our heart that God in Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose from the dead, we shall be saved. That’s a promise, but it has to be in the heart. Now back to Acts. Simon didn’t believe in his heart. He just saw what was to be gained materially and said, “I want that.” Read on. In verse 22 Peter says to Simon:

Acts 8:22

“Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.”

Scripture doesn’t give the slightest hint that Simon ever changed his mind. We read a book recently saying Simon probably was the promoter of what was later called Gnosticism – a counterfeit of Christianity. He went from Samaria, according to some archaeological and historical findings, and became an enemy of the Gospel. I believe it as he was Satanically endowed. Peter says in Verse 23:

Acts 8:23

“For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.”

Is that the description of a believer? No way. Salvation breaks the bond of iniquity. Salvation breaks those chains of Satan. Salvation sets us free! I often tell my classes that back in the sixties during the hippie movement, they thought they were free. They thought their lifestyle had broken all bonds of social behavior and they could do as they pleased. Those people weren’t free. They were in the very bonds of Satan himself. They were bound. But, the believer is truly set free. All those shackles are broken by the power of God. But Simon couldn’t believe. He only saw the material.

Acts 8:24a

“Then answered Simon, and said, `Pray ye to the Lord for me,…'”

Does that work? No way. Let’s go back to Romans 10. Over the years I believe that God has given the majority of my teaching for the benefit of the believers. But that doesn’t mean we don’t recognize there are many lost people that we touch, and we’ve seen a lot of people come to know The Lord. I know I don’t express a lot of evangelistic output in my teaching, and I am the first to admit it. That might be a failure on my part, but here it is in Romans 10:

Romans 10:11,12

“For the Scripture saith (no one else but The Word, saith), `Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed (he brings in this which got Paul in trouble with the Jews). For there is no difference between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all (not in a blanket effect, but to whom?) that call upon him.'”

Then you come to that great verse 13. Here, I’m reminded of a lady in Minnesota who years ago, when we brought her through all these verses down to verse 13, through her tears said,“I never saw this verse before.” She claimed to be a Sunday School teacher for years. But see, here’s the capstone of the whole thing; when we believe what The Bible says about ourselves, that we’re sinners. Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned…” Being sons of Adam. When we take that verse by faith that God has called me a sinner, then I can believe that Christ died for my sin. He died in my place, and God expects us to believe it and recognize it verbally. You don’t have to shout it to a crowd or shout it from a housetop. But even in the privacy of your own prayer closet, or driving down a road or washing dishes in the sink. You verbally say, “Lord, I’m a sinner. Save me because I believe that you have done everything that needs to be done.” That’s what verse 13 means.

Romans 10:13

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord (and what’s the promise? That person) shall be saved.”

I can’t understand it. I don’t think that you can. But that’s what The Book says. That if we call upon him, we shall be saved. I’ve always given the old, simple, childlike illustration of a swimming pool on a hot summer afternoon. The kids are screaming and laughing and having a ball. There’s so many heads in there that you can’t see one from the other. But a lifeguard who knows what he or she is doing, even though they may be carrying on a conversation with some one, what is their ear constantly trained for? That feeble cry, “Help.” And then Bingo, that lifeguard is in the water saving that child. This is a perfect picture of God. He is constantly listening for the feeble call of a sinner who says, “I am wanting to be saved.”And the second that God hears that cry, He’s there. That’s what Salvation is all about. And as I left that lady, I told her, “Now tomorrow, Satan is going to come back and cast doubt, and make you say, `Now did anything really happen?’ And you come right back and open your Bible to Romans 10:13 and you again, verbally, just say out loud, `God you promised it.'” That’s what faith is all about. God promised and I did what He said to do. I called upon Him, believing the Gospel. Now I want the assurance that it is true.

I’ve had so many people long after the fact tell me, “This is what I did, and what a difference.” I’ve always told my class, if you have any doubt about your Salvation, drop to your knees and just say, “Lord, if I’m not truly saved, I want you to save me right now.” Don’t go through life doubting. Am I going to make it? Am I alright? The Scripture says, “Make your calling and election sure” And that’s one way of doing it. Briefly, let’s go to Acts Chapter 8:

Acts 8:25

“And they (Peter and John), when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord (where did they go?), returned to Jerusalem,…”

They didn’t keep on going because they knew they had no ministry to Gentiles until Israel had The King and the Kingdom, so they went back to Jerusalem.

215 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 3 - Book 18 - Acts Chapters 6, 7, & 8 - Part 3

215: Acts Chapters 6, 7, & 8 – Part 3 – Lesson 3 Part 3 Book 18

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 18

ACTS CHAPTERS 6,7 & 8

Now back to Acts Chapter 8, where we left off in the last lesson. For some time, I never liked to teach the Book of Acts. But now I just love to. The Book of Acts just comes alive when you are able to see that God was still dealing with the Nation of Israel during these early Chapters, and how Israel rejected the message. Then God in so many words said, “I’ll just turn to the Gentiles without you.” That is exactly what happened. In Chapter 8 we are still pretty much on Jewish ground. In the last lesson we have just seen the stoning of Stephen, and Saul of Tarsus consenting unto his death. He was actually promoting and leading the assault on these early Jewish believers. So let’s begin with verse 1:

Acts 8:1

“AND Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church (assembly of Jewish believers) which was at Jerusalem; and they were all(I’m a stickler for every word of Scripture and when it says they were all scattered, I’m sure that every Jew who had embraced Christ as The Messiah is in that word `all‘) scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria except the apostles.”

Now analyze that verse for a moment, exactly as it is. I’m not going to try to be a theologian or do like some rabbi’s do with the Old Testament, trying to think of a million ways I can interpret it. But rather, I’m just going to take it for what it says. Every believing Jew now had been scattered out of Jerusalem because they had to run for their life or else Saul would have had them. And yet the very leaders of those Jewish believers sat tight. I’ve got another question. Remember we are about seven years after Pentecost, and according to Matthew 28:19, where should these Twelve men have been by now? They should have covered the whole Roman empire in those seven years. Even in the transportation of that day they could have covered a good portion of the then-known world. But where do we find them? Having never left Jerusalem. Are they derelict in their duties? No. They knew they could not go beyond the borders of Israel until Israel had her King. They still had that hope that Israel would yet repent of their national sin of having crucified their Messiah, and then Christ could return and set up the Kingdom. Zechariah 8 is as clearly put as any Scripture in the Old Testament regarding what Israel was to have done, getting the message of Salvation to the Gentile world.

Zechariah 8:20

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass (it hadn’t happened at this time because they hadn’t had the Kingdom yet. Oh, they had the glory of Solomon and David but they hadn’t had what God had been promising, so it’s still future), that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities;”

Zechariah 8:21-23

“And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, `Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong(now what’s the next word?) nations (we’re dealing here with Gentiles) shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in (Heaven? No but rather in) Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.'”Now verse 23, and you don’t have to twist this and analyze it.

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass (which days? When Christ is ruling in Jerusalem. His Kingdom is set up) that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, `We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.'”

And indeed He will be. And this was the prospect for the Nation of Israel. Resuming Acts Chapter 8, we find then these Twelve men were not derelict in their duties, they know their role, and they know they cannot have a ministry to the Gentiles until Israel has come to recognize that the One they crucified was their Messiah. Then He could have returned and set up His Kingdom. I’ve always used this analogy. You go to an airport to meet a loved one, but the announcement comes that the flight is late. So you’re tempted to go somewhere else for awhile. But what’s uppermost in your thinking? “Just as sure as I do the plane will come in and I won’t be here to meet it.” I think that’s the thinking of the Twelve. They weren’t about to leave Jerusalem because they knew that Christ would return to the Mount of Olives from where He had left them just as the angel had told them in Acts Chapter 1. And they were going to be there when this happened. So in spite of all the pressure of persecution that old Saul of Tarsus could bring to bear, those Twelve men sat tight. They’re still in Jerusalem seven years after Pentecost. Turn to Acts Chapter 11 and let the Scripture speak for itself.

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 (Old Testament) to none but unto the Jews only.”

That’s what The Book says plainly. They knew they couldn’t minister to Gentiles, the Old Testament Scriptures wouldn’t permit that until the whole nation was a Kingdom of priests. So they didn’t go to the Gentiles, they didn’t go down into Egypt or over to Greece, (if they did it was to Jews). They were still preaching to Jews only. Remember the Old Testament was used to prove that the One that Israel crucified was The Christ. That was the Jewish message all the way through here. Now how in the world can you put Gentiles into anything in that first few years, when the Scriptures says they preached to none but Jew only. Back to Acts Chapter 8, verse 2:

Acts 8:2,3

“And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul (you will see more and more of him now), he made havoc of the church (this assembly of Jewish believers), entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.”

Saul was ruthless in the name of religion. He is a religious Jew, and everything he does he thinks he is doing it for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Let’s look at Acts Chapter 26. And remember there are three accounts of the conversion of Saul in the Book of Acts. Now that tells me that three is an important number all through Scripture. And here this sort of puts the capstone on it. Here Paul is talking to King Agrippa in particular.

Acts 26:9,10

“I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” He hated that Name. Because he thought it was making inroads into Judaism, and it was.

“Which thing I also did in Jerusalem (see how that fits with Acts 8:1?): and many of the saints (now those are Jewish saints) did I shut up in prison, having received authority from (not from Rome but rather) the chief priests;…”

Rome let the Jews take care of their religious Laws, even Laws concerning death sentences. You may ask, “How about Christ’s death?” Well, prophecy said that Jew and Gentile would both be responsible for that. Secondly, all Scripture intimated a lifting up, a Crucifixion. Remember the serpent in the wilderness? What did Jesus say in John Chapter 3?

John 3:14

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:”

So there had to be that kind of death. Stoning would not have fulfilled those prophecies. Now Paul continues on in the first person as the Apostle, he is reflecting back. Now reading verse 10 again.

Acts 26:10

Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priest; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them”

They actually killed some of these Jewish believers in the name of religion. If Rome was so benevolent toward the Jewish religion, then why did they turn so vehemently against Christianity? Here they put up with the Jewish religion until 70 A.D., with Rome never giving them opposition. But as soon as Christianity made itself known, then Rome did everything it could to stamp it out. And here is the reason. Rome, pagan as it was, had respect for any ancient religion, whether their own or someone else’s. And in the eyes of Rome you see, Judaism was as ancient as you could get it. But when Christianity came on the scene, that wasn’t anything ancient, that was something new, so that they couldn’t go for it. But I want you to realize that Paul makes it plain that he voted to have these Jewish believers, not just thrown in prison but put to death.

Now that reminds me of something that came up in a class last night. Was Paul ever married? I think he was, even though the Scripture never gives any indication. But does Peter ever talk about his wife and family? We know he had a wife because of his mother-in-law. But the main reason I think Paul was married and must have had children was that in order for him to vote here in Chapter 26, he must have been a member of the Sanhedrin. And in order to be a member of the Sanhedrin, what was one of the qualifications? You had to be a husband and a father. Because if you weren’t a husband and father how could you pass judgment on what parents had to deal with? In the Book of Philippians we know Saul of Tarsus was a Pharisee of the Tribe of Benjamin. He was also a member of the Sanhedrin, but what happened to his wife and family? Who knows? The Scripture is silent. Now back to Acts Chapter 8.

Acts 8:4

“Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” Now don’t forget in Acts 11:19, they preached to none but Jew only.

Now we are going to see a change of venue. Philip now goes to Samaria. You want to remember that Israel is a small country where everything is close. Samaria is only a few miles due north of Jerusalem. So let’s look at verse 5:

Acts 8:5

“Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria (that’s north of Jerusalem), and preached Christ unto them.”

Now let me show you a comparison. Look at I Corinthians, and see how Paul puts it. And this is just for comparison sake. So that we don’t put them both into the same kettle. It just won’t mix. Philip goes down to Samaria and he preached Christ.

I Corinthians 1:17,18

“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel:… For the preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

I Corinthians 1:23

“But we preach Christ (notice Paul doesn’t stop at `Christ’ like Philip did. Paul continues with) crucified,…”

Now can you see the difference? Philip goes to Samaria and preaches Christ. But for Salvation he doesn’t preach Christ crucified. The Jewish message has been from Pentecost on that Jesus was The Christ. Remember all the references I have given you? Peter’s confession back in Matthew 16:

Matthew 16:15,16

“He saith unto them, `But whom say ye that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said, `Thou art The Christ, the Son of the living God.'” And then Martha at Lazarus’ death in the Book of John Chapter 11:

John 11:25-27

“Jesus said unto her, `I am the Resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; And whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die.’ She saith unto him, `Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art The Christ the Son of God,…'”

There was never any mention of death, burial, and Resurrection in any of these confessions of faith. And then we have the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts Chapter 8:

Acts 8:37

“And Philip said, `If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest (be water baptized).’ And he answered and said, `I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.'”

And we will see Saul of Tarsus at his conversion on the road to Damascus, he is going to go into the synagogue after his conversion and preach, but he’s not going to preach Christ crucified, but rather the following:

Acts 9:20

“And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.”

Now can you see the difference? Oh, it’s all the difference in the world. Remember faith in our Lord’s death, burial and Resurrection for Salvation had been kept secret, until He revealed it to Paul in Arabia a short time later. Now back to Acts Chapter 8: So we see Philip in Samaria, preaching Christ unto them. In other words, that He is The Christ, their Messiah.

Acts 8:6

“And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.” So you see nothing has changed? No! Miracles are still used to convince the people, Jesus and the Twelve did the same thing. Remember in I Corinthians 1:22:

I Corinthians 1:22

“For the Jews require a sign,…”

And Samaritans are basically more Jew than Gentile. They were half-breeds. They see the miracles and pay attention to Philip.

Acts 8:7

“For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.”

Here’s something for you to think about. I don’t set these things in concrete. But someone sent me some information the other day about exorcism, casting out demons. I’m not comfortable with it. The reason I’m not comfortable with it is because the Apostle Paul never once gives the Grace-age believer any instruction in dealing with demon possession. That’s just something for you to think about. My own personal belief is that the person must need Salvation, and if we can present them with the plan of Salvation and see them genuinely saved, then I think that will take care of their demon possession. But here Philip has that same power that Jesus had in His earthly ministry.

Acts 8:8-10

“And there was great joy in that city.” The next verse starts with “But.” You notice that when everything starts going well, the devil comes in and there is a flip side. We just can’t escape it. He’ll never let us get away with good things very long.

“But there was a certain man called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria giving out that himself was some great one:” Because of the miracles he could perform.

“To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, `This man is the great power of God.'”

Was he? No, but rather the power of Satan. Now never lose sight that this is not new. Remember when Moses and Aaron went before Pharaoh, and they did as God instructed. And when they threw their rod on the ground it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh’s magicians did the same thing. Fortunately the one serpent from Aaron’s rod swallowed up the other serpents. Which shows us and them that God’s power is greater than Satan’s. But listen, don’t you ever sell Satan short. I can remember missionaries coming back from some of the dark uncivilized tribes of this world back when I was just a kid. And they would rehearse the power of some of those witch doctors and they had great power. It wasn’t a gimmick. It was Satanic. And don’t ever sell it short. And so it was the same way here. Old Simon was performing miracles, and he had the people confused thinking he was some great one. But it wasn’t the power of God, but rather the power of Satan. Read on:

Acts 8:11,12

“And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God,…”

Some people will question what the difference is between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven? The Kingdom of God is that whole sphere of God’s influence, which is to the very outer reaches of space, all of Heaven and all of earth. The Kingdom of Heaven is that sphere of influence concerning the earthly Kingdom. The Kingdom of Heaven is within the Kingdom of God like Oklahoma is within the United States of America.

214 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 2 - Book 18 - Acts Chapters 6, 7, & 8 - Part 2

214: Acts Chapters 6, 7, & 8 – Part 2 – Lesson 3 Part 2 Book 18

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 18

ACTS CHAPTERS 6,7 & 8

I trust you will see what The Book says, but also what it doesn’t say. We hope you learn to enjoy this Book. Someday we will stand before The Lord and be judged on this Book, and nothing else. So that is why it behooves us to know what The Book says, and know where to find the places pertaining to your Salvation. Now Acts 7:

Acts 7:19

“The same (the new Pharaoh) dealt subtilly with our kindred (the Children of Israel), and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live.”

Again I’m going to hammer home what I’ve been trying to teach for the last 6 or 7 Chapters – that it is all Jewish. Nothing in these chapters deals with the Gentiles except, of course, Egypt, and you certainly don’t won’t to align yourself with Egypt. But here Stephen is addressing the Nation of Israel. Now verse 20:

Acts 7:20

“In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair (that doesn’t mean that Moses was a pretty baby, although he may have been. Moses was a special child in God’s line of service. His parents took special steps to save his life), and nourished up in his father’s house three months:” In Acts Chapter 7, we pick up details that are left out in the Genesis and Exodus account. There are many in just this one Chapter.

Acts 7:21,22

“And when he was cast out (upon the river), Pharaoh’s daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son.” The next verse gives us some things that the Old Testament does not.

“And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians (that stands to reason, being raised in the palace of the king. But Scripture gives us knowledge that Moses was the top man in Egypt under the King. He was highly educated and he had a lot of power), and was mighty in words and in deeds.”

Then we have the breakdown in Moses’ life that is not in the Old Testament. It was in periods of forty: forty years in Pharaoh’s palace; forty years on the back side of the desert herding sheep; and forty years leading the Children of Israel.

Acts 7:23

“And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.”

This is the first time Moses will approach the Children of Israel as their deliverer. God did not specifically instruct him here, but Moses, using his own position and power, by faith, knew that Israel had to be taken out of Egypt.

Acts 7:24,25

“And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them:…”

When Moses went out as the second man in Egypt, with all the power and wisdom that he had, he honestly thought he was going to lead the Children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. He supposed they would have understood that God, by using him, would deliver them. What’s the rest of the verse say? “…but they understood not.”

Now do you see what a parallel you have when Christ came to the Nation of Israel the first time? He came and presented Himself as their Messiah and King, but they never comprehended Who He was. Only a few did. Remember, Stephen’s whole purpose of this sermon is to bring the Nation of Israel to the knowledge that the One they had killed was The King. This is the whole premise of the early Chapters of Acts. Yes, they killed Him, but God raised Him from the dead, and He can still be their King if they will just believe it and repent of that awful deed. Peter, in Chapters 2 and 3, states it plainly. “You killed Him! You murdered Him!” And Stephen is going to make the same accusation. Stephen is laying the groundwork for this conclusion: “Why do you always have to have the second offer.” Joseph showed it. Moses is showing it. Christ has already accomplished it. Now you’ll to have to wait until He comes the second time. Remember Moses had hoped the children of Israel would have understood in verse 25, but they didn’t.

Acts 7:26,27

“And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, `Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another?'”

“But he that did his neighbor wrong thrust him away, saying (this is exactly what they said to Christ), `Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?'” And Stephen is driving this point home. Over the years I’ve said Stephen is sort of putting the dagger into the heart of the nation, twisting it and making them squirm.

Acts 7:28-30

“Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday? Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons (here is another time element), And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.”

You all know the story of Moses and the burning bush. How God sent him back to Egypt and his confrontations with Pharaoh. Stephen is rehearsing it with the Nation of Israel’s religious leaders. Let’s go to the end of Stephen’s sermon. Verse 47:

Acts 7:47-50

“But Solomon built him (The Lord) an house (the first Temple),” See how Stephen is coming up through Israel’s history.

“Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in Temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, `Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things?'”

Stephen is emphasizing the fact that this Messiah that they crucified was the promised Son of God, The King of Israel, The Son of David. All of these terms filled the Old Testament promises.

Acts 7:51

“Ye stiffnecked (stubborn) and uncircumcised (not in the flesh, they certainly kept that. But what were they lacking?) in heart…” Which is that part of Salvation in any dispensation. That when a person came to believe, then God exercises a spiritual circumcision. And Israel knew nothing of that. They knew the physical, they kept that to the last jot and tittle. Reading again:

Acts 7:51,52

“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do ye.”

“Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?…”

What’s that in reference to? The Old Testament economy. The prophets would come, even as Jesus put it in the parable of the vineyard and husbandman. The husbandman planted a large vineyard and went into a far country, and as the fruit was about ready for harvest he sent servants back to his vineyard. And what did they do with the servants (Prophets)? They killed them. And then he sent his son, saying surely they won’t kill him. But they killed the son also (Christ). Stephen is showing them the same thing. The prophets came to their forefathers and they killed them. Remember Jeremiah was thrown into one of the dankest, deepest, wettest dungeons in Jerusalem, because the Nation of Israel didn’t like what he was prophesying about them. The same thing may happen here in America. When people don’t like what they hear they get rather nasty. Now finishing the verse:

Acts 7:52-55

“Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One (Stephen is speaking mainly to the religious leaders of Israel); of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:” Now that’s not very kind is it? But that’s what Israel was guilty of. They had killed their Messiah.

“Who have received the Law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.” What did they do with it? They didn’t keep it. Now verse 54, Stephen has been building his case against the Nation, and God is convicting their hearts.

“When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.” People never get more vicious than in the name of religion. These are religious Jews, civilized people, but because of their religion, they suddenly lose it all. They went berserk because of their convictions.

“But he (Stephen), being full of the Holy ghost (and here is another place we have all three Persons of the Godhead in one verse), looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” Usually, we think of Christ seated at the Father’s right hand, after His ascension. And Scripture says so. But here Jesus is standing. Most people never catch that, but these Jewish religious leaders did. Stephen saw Him standing rather than sitting.

Acts 7:56-58

“And said, `Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.'” At that statement: “Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord. And cast him out of the city, and stoned him:…”

Now just think. Why was Jesus standing at this point, rather than sitting as all the rest of Scriptures say? In Acts Chapter 3, Israel could still have their King and Kingdom if they would only believe. Christ is alive! God has raised Him from the dead and called Him back to Heaven. But He is ready to return and set up the Kingdom. Of course the Tribulation would have to run its course.

Acts 3:19,20

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord (that’s the fulfilling of the Covenant promises and Kingdom promise); And he (God) shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:”

Israel was aware of what Peter and the rest of the disciples had been preaching, that they killed Him, but God raised Him from the dead, and He can still be our King because He’s alive. Now Acts Chapter 7. In verses 55 and 56 we see Jesus standing on the right hand of God. Turn to Psalms Chapters 67 and 68. I don’t know if this is the exact answer for this, but it’s the one that I’m comfortable with. Something was attracted to the fact of Stephen seeing Jesus standing that aroused the Jews’ anger. The religious leaders knew their Old Testament, And I think this was the cause.

Psalms 67:1-7

“GOD be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth, Selah.” (what’s this referring to? The Kingdom, when He would come and set up His Kingdom) Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.” Now there is the setting of the promises of the Kingdom, when He would yet be their King.

Psalms 68:1,2

“LET God (remember God The Son is just as much God The Father, and God The Spirit) arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him.” This struck those Jews Stephen was preaching to. Stephen was saying that He had arisen from His seated position, and He was ready to come.

“As smoke is driven away, so drive them away (His enemies): as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God” Was Israel ready for that? No, and they knew they weren’t. So rather than bring down conviction and a Godly fear, it aroused their anger. Back to Acts 7. They weren’t ready for Christ to return. They were too happy with their own religion.

Acts 7:58

“And cast him out of the city, and stoned him (under Roman government there was no way a Jew could get away with stoning a Gentile. But this was a Jewish situation and the Romans let the Jews pretty much handle their own religious matters. Jews were permitted to kill their own in the name of religion): and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.”

Now remember as we have come up through the Book of Acts it’s been Jewish, Jewish, Jewish. But here at the stoning of Stephen, Israel has come to the crescendo point of her rejection. We’ll not have this Man rule over us. So as they reach their pinnacle of rejection, we see God introduce Paul to the scene. The man who will now go to the Gentiles, without benefit of Israel. The man who will make all the difference to the rest of the world. A few years ago even one of our news magazines gave the Apostle Paul credit for the influence that he had upon the world. And for being the one that introduced Christianity. Normally everyone will say Jesus The Christ introduced Christianity. Always remember that Jesus is the very foundation and basis of it, but it was the Apostle Paul who took it out to the Gentile world. Now, as Saul is introduced, he’s not in a very good light is he? He is standing there holding the garments of those that are throwing the stones.

Acts 7:59,60

“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.”

Acts 8:1

“AND Saul was consenting unto his death….” He was more than consenting, he was driving it. Let’s go to the Book of Galatians to shed some light on that.

Galatians 1:13

“For ye have heard of my conversation (my lifestyle) in time past in the Jews religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it.” That was the Jewish assembly there at Jerusalem. Saul wasn’t just a casual onlooker here at Stephen’s stoning. Rather he was the leader of it. And he hated anything concerning Jesus of Nazareth. Why? Because he was a good religious Pharisee, and thought Jesus was an impostor.

213 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 1 - Book 18 - Acts Chapters 6, 7, & 8

213: Acts Chapters 6, 7, & 8 – Lesson 3 Part 1 Book 18

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 18

ACTS CHAPTERS 6,7 & 8

It thrills us to receive letters telling us we are teaching on a level that almost anyone can comprehend. We always try to teach on a common man level. I believe that is the way The Lord wants us teach. We trust as you study with us, The Lord will bless you and hearts will be opened. We especially appeal to those who have never been saved, that you might understand that the Gospel is so simple (I Corinthians 15:1-4), and yet so complex that I’ll never understand it all (nor will any other human being). In Acts Chapter 6, Stephen’s brought before the religious leaders of Israel. I have stressed, contrary to tradition, that the early Chapters of Acts are still to the Nation of Israel – no mention of Gentiles. The language is Jewish, everything is there in Jerusalem.

Acts 6:15

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

They could see there was something beyond the natural here. Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit, as is mentioned several times in Chapter 6 and 7. Now as you come into Chapter 7, the Jews had many accusations they had put forth against Stephen.

Acts 7:1,2

“THEN Said the high priest, `Are these things so?'”

“And he (Stephen) said, `Men, brethren, and fathers (again, analyze those three words, there is not room for a Gentile here. Stephen was referring to the Nation of Israel), hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran (before he moved from Ur),'”

Stephen is saying, by inspiration, that God actually appeared to Abraham in a form that he could see with his eye. Back in Genesis 12:1 it says, “NOW the LORD had said unto Abram,…” It doesn’t clarify it like it does here. We now see that God not only spoke to Abram, but He appeared to him in a human form which we call a “Theophany.” Chapter 7 is a beautiful review of Israel’s history. Beginning with Abraham, Stephen keeps building and building, as we have tried to do coming through the Old Testament; how that God was constantly unfolding and revealing, and preparing the Nation of Israel for the coming of their King, Messiah, and Redeemer. Stephen starts with Abraham and shows how he came out of the land of the Chaldeans in verse 4.

Acts 7:4

“Then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Charran (Haran): and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.” Now verse 6:

Acts 7:6,7

“And God spake on this wise, `That his seed (his offspring, the coming generations) should sojourn in a strange land (Egypt): and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years (this is all back in Genesis 15), And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place.'”

Let’s go to Genesis Chapter 26 and 46 so we will know what Stephen is talking about. All of these things are fundamental to our understanding of even the New Testament. That’s why I spent as much time in Genesis as I did when we first started this Through the Bible study. If folks don’t understand Genesis, they will never understand the Gospel of Grace. In Genesis 26:1 God has made this Covenant agreement with Abraham, and now He is conferring it to Isaac, the true son of promise.

Genesis 26:1-5

“AND there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar (down on the border between Canaan and Egypt) And the LORD appeared unto him (Isaac), and said, `Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of (the Promised Land. Everything connected with Canaan was based on the Promise of God): Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I swear unto Abraham thy father (the Abrahamic Covenant); And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries (or tribes living in Canaan), and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice,…'”

In Chapter 46, Joseph is in Egypt. He has all kinds of food and grain stored up during this famine that was covering that region of the world. Jacob has been invited together with the sons and the rest of the family to come to Egypt, and take part in all the food that had been supplied. Here, The Lord is talking to Jacob:

Genesis 46:2,3

“And God spake unto Israel (Jacob) in the visions of the night, and said, `Jacob, Jacob.’ And he said, `Here am I.’ And he said, `I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt for I will there make of thee a great nation:'”

God had told Abraham and Isaac to stay in the land of promise and He would bless them. But now in a future generation, it’s time for the Nation of Israel to explode with population. God had told Abraham that would occur in Egypt. Now God comes back to Jacob and tells him to not fear going down into Egypt. Here is what I want folks to understand. This statement tells us where the Nation of Israel began to bloom. It was in Egypt. You see that in the last part of verse 3. Up until now the Nation of Israel is composed only of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob comes back with the twelve sons and their children, but that’s still not much of a nation is it? When they end up in Egypt, in those years of slavery (beginning when they go in under Jacob with about 75 people), they will come out under Moses with several million people. So note that Israel became a Nation of People down in Egypt. Back to Acts Chapter 7:

Acts 7:7-10

“And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place (that’s Canaan). And he gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs. And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him, And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.”

I’m taking this verse by verse as we can learn some things from the Old Testament to prove some things in the New Testament.

Acts 7:11-13

“Now there came a dearth over all the land of Egypt and Chanaan, and great affliction: and our fathers found no sustenance (you know the story). But when Jacob heard that there was corn in Egypt he sent out our fathers first. Ten of the sons. In verse 13 is a statement you need to underline. “And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren; and Joseph’s kindred was made known unto Pharaoh.”

Let’s Go back to Genesis once again. You all know the account of how Joseph, when he was wearing that coat of many colors, would share his dreams with his older brothers and how it would infuriate them, that they would have to bow down to him. And then he had another dream that made it even worse. A dream where he saw eleven stars, with the sun and moon. And they also bowed to Joseph. Now it’s coming to fruition. I don’t put any stock in dreams today. I had someone ask me the other night if I knew anything connected with believing what dreams say. I said none whatsoever. If it were true, I’d be in a mental institution – I think we all would. Don’t tie anything to dreams. But back here in the Old Testament economy, God did speak through dreams – no doubt about it.

Genesis 42:1-3

“Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, `Why do ye look one upon another?’ And he said, `Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die.'” And again you know the story. They come before Joseph in verse 8:

Genesis 42:8

“And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.”

Just as soon as those ten men stepped into his presence, Joseph immediately knew who they were. But did they know him? No! Now what’s the analogy? Christ at His first coming. The Lord knew Israel from their very beginning. He presented Himself to them in language that was clear as day. But did they recognize Him? No! And this is exactly what Stephen is driving home. Now let’s read the second event in Chapter 45. The brothers have come back the second time to refill their sacks with grain.

Genesis 45:1-4

“THEN Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, `Cause every man to go out from me (the Egyptians).’ And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself know unto his brethren (see that? Look at the results). And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. And Joseph said unto his brethren, `I am Joseph; doth my father yet live?’ And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. And Joseph said unto his brethren, `Come near to me, I pray you.’ And they came near. And he said, `I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.'” Down to verse 15:

Genesis 45:15

“Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him.”

You have an emotional reunion here. And I mean it was emotional. When after all these years they are finally brought back together. What’s the analogy? Before we go back to the Book of Acts let’s stop at the Book of Zechariah. At His first advent, Israel didn’t recognize Jesus as their Messiah, but He knew them. And that analogy draws all the way through Acts Chapter 7. And they said, “Away with Him, we will not have Him rule over us.” So He went back to glory, sat down at the Father’s right hand. But He’s coming again to the Nation of Israel, whether they believe it or not. He’s coming again! There will be that same emotional reunion when Israel recognizes their Messiah. I was reading in the Jerusalem Post that the ex-mayor, who is now in his eighties, said the first thing he was going to ask The Messiah when He comes is, “Have you been to Jerusalem before?” And that’s their hang up; they can’t recognize that He has been here before. They know He’s coming, but they can’t see it as a second event. Well, here in the Book of Zechariah we see the emotional turn of events when He will return.

Zechariah 12:10-12

“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced (a reference of the Crucifixion), and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem,… And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart;”

I don’t think this is a mourning of grief, but a tearful mourning of reunion that they have their Messiah. Another is in Chapter 13:

Zechariah 13:6

“And one (the house of Israel) shall say unto him, `What are these wounds in thine hands?’ Then he shall answer, `Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends,'” This is Old Testament.

Back to Acts Chapter 7. Stephen is stressing the fact that at Christ’s first Advent they didn’t know Who He was. So far as Israel is concerned, it’s a good thing they didn’t. Because had they performed the rejection that they did, knowing Who He was, then God would have had to destroy the nation. There wouldn’t have been any excuse. But even as Christ hung on the Cross, one of those seven statements that He made on the Cross was, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” And as Stephen is stoned, he, too, will say the same thing. Forgive them because of their ignorance. I always tell my class people, that everything rests on the Old Testament economy. Back in Israel’s history if someone was killed by accident, that person that killed could flee to a city of refuge. If he had done the deed through ignorance then he could tell his situation to the city fathers. If the city fathers maintained he was innocent of doing anything intentional, then he was set free to return home. He was not guilty if he did what he did through total ignorance. That’s the backdrop for Israel’s response to their Messiah. Had they have known Who He was, and then demanded His Crucifixion, they would have been put to death like a common murderer. But they escaped that because they did not know what they did. Keep that in mind. A verse I usually associate with that thought is found in I Corinthians Chapter 2:

I Corinthians 2:7,8

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory (Paul is speaking of his own ministry): Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it (Who He was), they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” They just didn’t know, so The Lord could rightfully say, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” And it is the same way when they kill Stephen. Stephen will say the same thing. Now back to Acts 7:13:

Acts 7:13-16

“And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren; and Joseph’s kindred was made known unto Pharaoh. Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls. So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers, And were carried over into Sychem (in Israel), and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem.

Now this is interesting because this is the very same burial site that is a holy site in Israel today for the Moslems as well as the Jews. And it’s the very same burial cave where a Jewish doctor a few months back killed all of the Moslems in their time of prayer. It’s the burial place of Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Rebecca and others. Abraham bought it from the Canaanites and Jacob had to pay for it again, but nevertheless, this is the same burial place that is still held in reverence by the Jews and the Moslems. Now verse 17:

Acts 7:17,18

“But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt, Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph.

212 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 4 - Book 18 - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

212: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 – Lesson 2 Part 4 Book 18

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 18

1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-4

Let’s go back to where we left off in our study of Acts a couple of lessons ago and start in verse 28 of Chapter 5: After the High Priest had said in verse 28:

Acts 5:28,29

“Saying, did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name?… Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, `We ought to obey God rather than men.'”

Acts 5:30,31

“The God of our fathers (notice the language here is all Jewish. That term didn’t apply to Gentiles. The God of our fathers was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) raised up Jesus whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.” And we told you earlier that goes back to Deuteronomy 21:18-23 And then verse 31:

“Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour (He was going to be the political King, as well as the Spiritual Savior); for to give repentance to Israel (see any Gentiles in that? No, only Israel, that’s what The Book says. I’m not twisting it, I’m just leaving it where it is), and forgiveness of sins.”

That reminds me, come back again to Luke Chapter 1, and see how appropriately this all fits together. My, if only folks could just understand that the Scriptures are like a fine-tuned watch, and I’ve used that analogy more than once. It is so meticulously put together, but so many people throw monkey wrenches in it and try to move the Scripture around to make it fit their belief. Just let the Scriptures sit where our Lord intended them to be. Now here in Luke Chapter 1 compare with what Peter has just said in Acts 5:31. That He was to be a Prince and Savior, and to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sin. In Luke 1:67, Zechariah one of the believing priests, the father of John the Baptist, says:

Luke 1:67,68

“And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Ghost (why? Because what he says is not going to be just the mouthing of a good Jew, but the Word of God coming forth. The Spirit is prompting him to say what he says), and prophesied, saying,”

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,” Who are His people at this time? The Nation of Israel!

Luke 1:69-71

“And hath raised up a horn of Salvation for us (Israel) in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world (Age) began: That we should be saved from our (not sins in this verse but what?) enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us,”

Their enemies then were the same ones that are their enemies tonight. The same ones who had been their enemies for almost 2000 years. They included the Romans, Greeks, and everybody else that lived around them. They all hated the Nation of Israel, and so Zechariah is just speaking in plain language again.

Luke 1:72,73

“To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant (what Covenant?); The oath which he swear to our father Abraham.”

This is all Covenant ground and what I’m referring to when I say that everything is on the basis of the Covenants made to Abraham. And Zechariah is repeating it by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:74-77

“That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies (physical enemies), might serve him (This King, and Messiah, This God) without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways (now look at verse 77); To give knowledge of Salvation unto his people (Israel) by the remission of their sins,”

Notice nothing has changed between here and Acts Chapter 5. Peter is saying practically the same thing in Acts, that Zechariah did in Luke Chapter 1. That Christ had come to give them remission of sins but also to be their King, if they would just repent of what they had done, and that was having killed their Messiah. Then everything would still come along as God had intended it.

Acts 5:33

“When they (the religious leaders who have Peter and the eleven on trial) heard that, they were cut to the heart (oh, the Spirit is working, even on these religious leaders. And remember religionists always hate the truth. And religionists only have one way to deal with their enemies and that is what? Kill them. That’s what religion does. Now this may shock a lot of people but this Book never uses the term religion in a good way. Never. Religion is a bad word according to this Book. When Paul says in Galatians Chapter 1, how he profited in the Jews religion, it was bad thing. And the same way here. These people were the religious leaders of Israel, and as soon as they saw the truth of what Peter and the eleven were proclaiming, they have only one option), and took counsel to slay them,”

Acts 5:34,35

“Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, (he’s the one who taught the apostle Paul Judaism) a doctor of the Law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space: And said unto them, `Ye men of Israel (do you see the language), take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.'”

And then Gamaliel goes on and gives examples of what had happened before. It didn’t amount to anything, and nothing came of it. So Gamaliel says of this present situation, “Don’t worry about it. If these guys are nothing but a bunch of heretics and a bunch of loonies, forget about them. Nothing is going to come of it. We don’t have to do anything drastic.” And in verse 38 he says this:

Acts 5:38,39

“And now I say unto you, `Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.'”

We were looking at a verse last night that speaks to you and I today. Let’s look at it now because it just comes to mind. And what a promise! We are in such a minority that we almost get a little fearful, and get a little timid, and I’m probably as guilty as anybody, but look at the promise here in God’s Word. Just like Gamaliel said concerning the Twelve, Paul says we can take the same approach.

Romans 8:31

“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”

Oh men may dare, and they may get by for a while, but listen God is Sovereign, He’s in control, and He is going to be the final Avenger. That’s why Paul says in this same Book of Romans, “Avenge not yourselves.” We don’t have to, God will do it for us.

Romans 8:32

“He that spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”

Well, if God was willing to give the best that ever inhabited Heaven, if God was willing to put Him to the shame and the suffering of the Cross for you and I, is there anything else that He can withhold? No. He will give us everything that we need.

Romans 8:33

“Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect (to the believer)? It is God that justifieth.” In Acts, in the Jewish economy, it’s the same God. God hasn’t changed. Just because He changes His program of dealing with the Jew to the Gentile, God doesn’t change. Now back to Acts Chapter 5:

Acts 5:40

“And to him they agreed (these religious leaders listened to Gamaliel): and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.”

There again, they were not to preach the Name of Jesus. Now had they been dealing with Paul, I think they would have said, “Don’t you ever again preach death, burial, and Resurrection.” There were many people who couldn’t believe in resurrection. But here they tell the Twelve not to ever again teach in the Name of Jesus.

Acts 5:41,42

“And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the (where?) Temple,…”

The Temple was still operating, and still the center of Jewish life. That hadn’t changed. Oh, I want you to see that. Now when we get to Paul I know there is going to be a time or two when he is going to take a Jewish vow in order to reach Jews. But you see Paul has nothing to do with the Temple in his missionary journeys. He doesn’t tell his new converts up there in Asia-Minor (which is present day Turkey) to be sure and get to the Temple the first chance they get. No, he doesn’t do that. But instead what does he do? He sets up little congregations of believers in homes, small groups of believers. I have been blessed now for over twenty years by being able to teach these small groups outside the church environment. I’m not against the church, not at all, and those of you who know me personally know that. I have never told anyone to quit going to their church. Quite a few years ago, I was teaching in a college here in Oklahoma. It was an evening Bible class in their adult education section. We always had a paid enrollment of between 40 and 45 people in that college class room.

We taught there for thirteen years, just exactly the way I teach to you. No opposition at all. The dean of academics would come when he could. One night after class he said, “You know Les, I had an interesting experience several weeks ago, my own pastor stopped me on the street and said, `Doctor what kind of a kooky Bible class do you have there at your college anyway?'” And the dean told me that he didn’t even try to argue the point with him. He just said, “Pastor, I’ll just get a roster of Les’ class, and the next time I see you I’m going to show it to you.” He said about three days later he met the Pastor on the street again and said, “Oh by the way, Pastor, that kooky Bible class you were asking about? Here’s Les’ roster of class people.” The Pastor went down that roster, almost turned pale, and said, “That’s mostly Deacons and Sunday School Teachers.” But this is exactly what most of my classes have been. Most of you are active in your various churches. I have never encouraged anyone to leave their particular church, and they certainly don’t have to leave to follow me. We teach so they can go in and teach and share these things with other folks.

But getting back to the original Church. Paul didn’t set up huge congregations on a corner place, but rather a little group of believers in a home. I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe there’s a reason for teaching small groups, as there are many at the present time doing that. I’m always reminded of Watchman Nee. He was a Bible teacher in China, just before the communist took over. And he did much the same as I and many others are doing. He never taught that much in the local organized church. He taught in little home Bible classes, all over Shanghai in particular. And he was preparing them, without them knowing it, for the day when the organized church doors were locked. But these little Bible studies could just continue on. Consequently, when we went back into China a few years ago, because the doors had somewhat opened, the western world was aghast at all the believers that were in China. Why? Because of these underground little home Bible studies.

We may face the same thing in our own beloved America some day, where our churches will be locked, and we will be forbidden to worship. But it will be difficult for them to stop three or four families to meet and study the Word in homes. But anyway, that’s how the Church was started by Paul. It was small group meeting in a home atmosphere. In verse 42 they are still meeting in the Temple. They’re still under Judaism, but have separated themselves from the mainstream of Judaism, by recognizing Who Jesus was. Now remember they have been selling all their goods, and land they have been cashing in their C.D.’s and they are putting all their money in the common kitty, and they are all living out of it. Now everything has been going just great for about 7 years after Pentecost now. No discord, no disagreement of doctrine, the Twelve are under complete control of the whole thing. And now in Chapter 6, I call it “The first signs of trouble in paradise.”

Acts 6:1

“AND in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, (quite a few thousand of them) there arose a (what?) murmuring (now you haven’t seen language like that in the first five Chapters. It said they were all of one mind, and in one accord. No one lacked anything, everyone had all they needed because the kitty was full. But I don’t imagine they had 20% interest in those days either, and so what happened? The kitty was getting a little short. So now we have the first sign of trouble) of the Grecians against the Hebrews, (now here is where we have to be careful. Definition is so important. Greeks are pure Gentiles. The Hebrews are self-explanatory – that’s the Jews. A Grecian was simply a non-Palestine Jew. Remember all the Jews didn’t return from the Babylonian captivity. They went into many different countries. After they had become citizens in those various nations, naturally they would take that nation’s language for their own, but kept their Judaistic practices. Those people who would come to Jerusalem were the Grecians! They were Jews but they had been a generation or two outside the land of Palestine) because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.” So these Grecian widows were being cheated, they were being pushed aside. They were what we call today `outsiders.’

Acts 6:2

“Then the twelve (notice the Twelve are in control of all of this) called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, `It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.'”

I know a lot of people and commentaries will say the first deacons were selected here. The Bible never calls the seven men deacons. They played much the same role as a deacon, but The Bible doesn’t call them deacons. It just says we need someone to serve tables, because we need to continue to preach the Word. Read on:

Acts 6:3-7

“Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost (watch this language) and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business (to bring back fairness in the distribution). But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen(now watch this language), a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.”

These Jews were responding to Peter and the eleven and are becoming part of the Jerusalem assembly of Jewish believers.

Acts 6:8

“And Stephen, full of faith and power did great wonders and miracles among the people. The continuation of that same Jewish program. It was an extension of Christ’s earthly ministry.

Acts 6:9-14

“Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephens. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. Then they suborned men, which said, `We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. And they stirred up the people and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council (they were like a mob, and brought him before the religious leaders), And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the Law: For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.'”

What had Stephen been talking about? The coming of The King and the Kingdom, and naturally, when The King would come this whole format of the Mosaic system of Law and Temple worship would fall by the way side, because The King, and the new Covenant would become a reality, and they would no longer have to study and witness. Everybody would be in the right relationship with God. And when Stephen and the rest of these Jewish believers were proclaiming that, the religious section of Judaism said, “No way! We are not going to let anything change the way we have always done things”