307 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 3 - Book 26 - 1 Corinthians 2:6-3:9

307: 1 Corinthians 2:6-3:9 – Lesson 2 Part 3 Book 26

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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 26

I CORINTHIANS 2:6 – 3:9

Now let’s get right back to where we left off in the last lesson, and that will be in I Corinthians Chapter 2, and verse 13. We get such a thrill when we receive letters and phone calls from people who tell us that, for the first time in their life, they are enjoying Bible study. Well, that’s as it should be, and I think the number one criteria for understanding the Scriptures is to separate God’s dealing with Israel from His dealing with the Gentile Body of Christ. That answers most of your questions right up front.

Now to get back to our study, and remember the whole theme of this Chapter 2 especially, is comparing the wisdom of men against the things that are of the wisdom of God. And we must also understand that this Book is a closed book to the unbeliever. He cannot comprehend it, it’s beyond him, it goes over his head, but for even the new believer, it just becomes so understandable, and of course we grow in our understanding as we grow in our Christian experience. Verse 13:

I Corinthians 2:13

“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

And remember that’s what we looked at in our last lesson, how that all the way from the Book of Genesis to the Book of Ephesians we have one continuing premise, and that is that man in his natural state is spiritually dead. He’s died by virtue of Adam’s original sin. Now we begin verse 14 with our flip side word again.

I Corinthians 2:14a

“But (even though we as believers can understand the Scriptures, and we can compare Scripture with Scripture) the natural man (the unsaved person) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God :…”

The unbeliever cannot comprehend the deeper things. They may be able to understand the story of Bethlehem, and maybe some of the other things, but when it gets down to the deep doctrinal aspects of the Word of God, it’s a closed Book to them. For example when it comes to end-time prophecies they can’t understand it. Now basically, why doesn’t the natural man comprehend these things? He doesn’t want to, and why doesn’t he want to?

I Corinthians 1:14b

“…for they are foolishness unto him:…”

I think most of you are aware of that. Your unsaved neighbors think that there’s something a little bit wrong with you to go to a Bible study on a week night. Oh it’s all right if you go to Church on a Sunday morning, because that’s normal, but go to a Bible study on a week night? Hey, there’s something wrong with you. That foolishness! Well that’s the unsaved worlds opinion. So consequently, since all of this is foolishness to the unbeliever:

I Corinthians 1:14b

“…neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

In other words it’s just like a layman like me trying to converse with a medical doctor. Our languages are just not the same. Have you ever been in the midst of two or three doctors, and try to comprehend what they’re talking about? If they are talking “shop” can you and I get anything out of that conversation? No, because they’re talking a language all their own. Of course you can bring me in with a bunch of farmers, and you try to understand all that we’re talking about, and you wouldn’t be able to understand that either usually. But we’re all like that. When we talk shop of that which we live and breathe, someone from another discipline can’t understand what we’re talking about. Now just think how much that is magnified then when we bring it into the realm of the “spiritual versus the natural.”

I always have to go back to poor old Paul when he came up in Athens to Mars Hill, where those philosophers called him, “The Babbler.” But even today there’s a bronze plaque dedicated to Paul there. You don’t find one of the other philosophers. Paul the babbler is still held in high esteem, and tourists coming to Athens are constantly reminded of this man, and not the philosophers of the Greeks. So Paul is bringing out that all the things that he taught were inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, and not the natural intellectual aspect of men’s thinking, and what a different that makes. But you know it hasn’t changed a bit today. The media is always expounding on the think-tanks, all the great intellectual minds, but how much do they ever put of the Word of God on national television? None. Why? Because to them this is foolishness, it has nothing to do with everyday man, but if they only knew, it’s the other way around. Once you get an understanding of the Word of God, then you get an understanding of almost everything. Now verse 15:

I Corinthians 2:15

“But he that is spiritual (he that has been regenerated by the power of God, he that has believed the Gospel for salvation (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4)) judgeth (or discerns) all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.”

Now the reason I used `discern’ is I’m not a grocery shopper, my little wife takes care of all that, very seldom do I get into a supermarket. But I know that the once or twice in the forty-plus years we have been married that I have gone with her, that as we went down the aisle, we pick and choose. Well to a certain extent we’re judging aren’t we? “This isn’t what we want, but this is.” But I prefer the word `discern.’ We have that capability of discerning, and we can compare. Now that’s exactly what Paul is talking about. We have that ability as believers to discern. “Is this scriptural or is this something that man has thought of?” I’ve been warning my classes here in Oklahoma, and most of you have heard me say this over and over. We see this in Matthew Chapter 24 when those Twelve disciples approached Jesus:

Matthew 24:3

“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, `Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?'”

Jesus didn’t say to look for globalism, and look for the Anti-christ, but rather He said:

Matthew 24:4

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, `Take heed that no man deceive you.'”

Now just add to that in your own thinking, if Jesus said, “Don’t be deceived,” what is going to come on the world in the closing days? Mass deception! In other words they’re going to use the Word of God, but they are going to be deceptive as they use it. For a moment let’s go back to the little Book of Jude, and this is exactly how the world thinkers operate. And this is why the little Book was written to prepare us to not be deceived by all this good-sounding stuff. And I’ll admit it sounds so good. In fact, I just finished reading a good book about a gentlemen that had got sucked into the “New Age Movement.” And he went into very high echelons of it, and became a well-known author, and suddenly the Lord opened his eyes, and saved him, and fortunately brought him out of it. But you’d be amazed at how this New Age stuff appeals to seeking minds. And here we have it in verse 10 of the Book of Jude.

Jude 1:10,11

“But these (speaking of false teachers who are going to be deceptive in the closing days) speak evil of those things which they know not (these people are going to ridicule, and scorn the truth of God’s Word, and they are going to have their own Bible so to speak.): but what they know naturally (from the energy of the flesh), as brute beasts (in other words their thinking does not go any deeper spiritually than an animal. And that’s why their behavior almost becomes animalistic), in those things they corrupt themselves.”

Jude 1:11a

“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain,…”

What was Cain’s major problem? He rationalized from the human side, and as he rationalized, remember Cain said, “Well surely God won’t expect me to go beg, borrow, or barter for an animal from my brother Abel. I’ll just bring God what I’ve grown by the sweat of my brow, and surely God will accept me.” So you see Cain rationalized, and so do these people. Listen to these New Agers, read some of their stuff, and every bit of it is rationalization from the human side. That’s what it is, and it sounds so good. Now reading on in verse 11:

Jude 1:11b

“…and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward (now those of you who were with me back there in the Book of Numbers, who was old Balaam? He was a false prophet, and he was after money, that was all that motivated him: “What’s in it for old Balaam,” and it’s the same way with these false teachers, they are motivated by materialism), and perished in the gain saying Core.”

And what happened to Core? He introduced strange fire into the altar, and what did God do? The earth opened up, and swallowed them. But what was their premise? They were going to institute something that was foreign to what God had instructed. Now reading on down:

Jude 1:12

“These are spots (now he’s talking about false teaching) in your (love) feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear (now look at the description of these false teachers): clouds they are without water (they are like clouds in a drought that come, but all of a sudden they’re gone, and that’s what these false teachers are. My, they get people pumped up, and they think they’re really getting into something, but it never satisfies that inner longing, that inner peace.), carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth (before it’s ready to eat. It looked so good coming along, and all of a sudden it’s not worth eating), without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;”

Jude 1:13

“Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame (I’m sure most of you have visited the sea shore at least once in your lifetime. And as those waves come breaking in what does it leave on the sand as it backs out? Foam, nothing pretty about it at all, and that’s exactly what these New Agers do.); wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.”

Now all of that is exactly what Paul is referring to, and now if you will come back to I Corinthians again, and we’ll look at verse 16:

I Corinthians 2:16

“For who (in the secular world) hath known the mind of the Lord (how many of these intellectual, the philosophers have known the mind of God? Almost zero), that he may instruct him? But (and there in the last part of this verse is the flip-side where Paul is bringing you and I back into the picture. What do we have?) we have the mind of Christ.”

You see we are to think differently, our whole attitude, our whole mindset is totally different from the unsaved world. Now I’ve always told my classes, my own kids, and every body that I have an opportunity, to become a believer doesn’t make you some kind of an odd ball with a halo over your head, but rather the true believer is the common, ordinary good parent, good citizen, good church member, he is the person who is operating according to God’s precept. And yet I think our lifestyle is such that the world can recognize us everywhere we go. At least they will sooner or later. Now let’s go into Chapter 3:

I Corinthians 3:1a

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual,…”

Remember these people are believers, and if you don’t believe me come back to Chapter 1 for a moment.

I Corinthians 1:2a

“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints,…”

These are believers, they’re in the Body of Christ, and even though they have all these hang-ups and shortcomings, and failures, they’re still Christ’s, they’re His own. Now if that isn’t enough, come on over to Chapter 12, and remember Paul is still talking to the same people in Chapter 12 that he talked to in Chapter 1. Paul hasn’t changed the direction of his approach, and look what he says in verse 13:

I Corinthians 12:13

“For by one Spirit (that one and only Holy Spirit) are we all baptized (notice he says we are all baptized) into one body whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”

So you can see that Paul’s not picking out just a few of the more spiritual at Corinth, but rather he’s addressing all of them. Now what kind of people were most of them? Look now at Chapter 3 again, and we have that answer.

I Corinthians 3:1

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal (or fleshly), even as unto babes (but where are these babies) in Christ.”

Now don’t you forget that, because it’s awfully easy to say, “Well these people weren’t even believers.” Oh yes they were. They were in the Body of Christ, but they’re carnal, they’ve got a long way to go. Remember a month ago in our last taping, I told you the reason that Paul wrote these two letters to the people at Corinth was because these believer had questions. Number one, “How were they to handle the marriage relationship?” And the other big question they had was, “How are we going to handle meat that had been offered to idols?” Now these were all hang-ups of these people mostly because they were so carnal, and that’s why Paul had to address it. Now verse 2:

I Corinthians 3:2

“I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it (bear what? Strong meat. They couldn’t any more handle meat than an infant could handle solid food.) neither yet now are ye able.”

Isn’t that a sad commentary? I mean let’s face reality. We don’t know how long after these people were saved that Paul is writing this letter, but it was probably a year or two. And they haven’t gone any further in their spiritual experience than what they were at the beginning. They are still babes in Christ. I’m sure that it just tore the Apostle Paul up. Why can’t these Corinthians begin to grow? But listen! Look at us today. How many professing Christians today are in the same state. They have nothing that they can handle of the meat of Scripture. They’re not ready for it, they’re still down there on the milk of the Word. And I think it’s a sad commentary today as it was then, but nevertheless this is the way it is. Now verse 3. Why can’t they grow?

I Corinthians 3:3a

“For ye are yet carnal:…”

Remember the word carnal here refers to believers who are still controlled by the flesh, rather than by the Holy Spirit. I shared with our class last night that God, through the Word, divides the whole human race into three categories. First in two, they are the Lost and Saved, but the saved He divides into two more categories, giving us a total of three. The believers are divided into the Spiritual, and Carnal. So you have spiritual believers, carnal believers, and unbelievers, and those are the three segments of the human race as God sees us. Now the Corinthian believers for the most part were carnal believers, they were not growing as Paul expected them to. How did they show they’re carnality? The first thing he deals with was:

I Corinthians 3:b

“…for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions,…”

They had their pet people that they want to follow, and that’s the first thing Paul is going to have to deal with in Chapter 3. Now we were talking about some of this in our Wilburton class last night, and I shared with them this very same thought. Divisions! In other words, even though their congregations weren’t up in the hundreds and thousands like so often we think of churches today, yet I would make a guess they didn’t have over 50. Because this Church met in the house of Chloe, and I don’t know how rich she was or how big a home she had, nevertheless it was small enough in size that they could meet in a home. Yet even in that little congregation there were divisions, and I will just give it to you quickly as we close this lesson. There were four divisions: there were those who followed Paul, those who followed Apollos, those who followed Peter, and those who followed Jesus Himself. And it just played havoc in the Church, because there was no unity. They couldn’t get anything done because of the constant bickering, and their bickering was all centered on an individual man. And many churches are caught up in that same problem today. Don’t set your eyes on man, set your eyes on the Word of God, set your eyes on the Crucified One, the One Who died for you, and rose from the dead.

306 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 2 - Book 26 - For We are Labourers Together with God

306: For We are Labourers Together with God – Part 2 – Lesson 2 Part 2 Book 26

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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 26

FOR WE ARE LABOURERS TOGETHER WITH GOD – PART 2

Now to pick up where we left off in our last lesson in I Corinthians Chapter 2. We had just commented on verse 9 so we’re ready to go into verse 10. But before we do, let me state that as usual we have people here today from many different denominations, but that’s not important because we’re just here to teach the Word. And after all, God is not going to have a special set of requirements for one group, and other requirements for another group, there is only one Word, and as Paul says in the Book of Ephesians:

Ephesians 4:4-6

“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism (Ref. I Corinthians 12:13), One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

So we trust as we teach we can reach into the hearts of whoever you are, and whatever your background, and get into the Book. So now let’s get back to our study in I Corinthians, Chapter 2, and let’s read again verse 9 where we had stopped.

I Corinthians 2:9

“But as it is written (Old Testament), eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

And then verse 10 starts with the word “But.” So that’s the flip-side again, and if it’s not been revealed to the heart of man, to whom have these things been revealed? To the believer. We do have a concept of what eternity holds in store. We do know that there’s a great city with streets of gold, in which one day we are going to live. We do know that there’s a glorious reign of Christ (1000 year reign) in which we will take part. We do know that there are all of these good things awaiting us, but for the unbelieving world, they have no idea. They don’t know what they’re missing, and they certainly don’t want to know where they are going. So they just don’t know. Now verse 10.

I Corinthians 2:10

“But God hath revealed them unto us (the believers) by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”

The Holy Spirit is the one Who communicates these things of course from the Word of God. He also searcheth the deep things of God. And again I’m concerned because what I hear from people all across the land is that they are not getting in-depth teaching from the Word. It’s all so shallow, and I know that too much Sunday School material, as good as it may be, just doesn’t get into the deep things of God. And Paul is admonishing here that we have to let the Holy Spirit take us into the deep things of God’s Word. Now verse 11.

I Corinthians 2:11

“For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?…”

Now that goes into the secular world doesn’t it? How can a child function in the secular world if he isn’t taught the things he needs to know to function? And you know that even today we’re bringing kids out of high school and college that can’t read or write. They can’t fill out an employment form, or write a check, so what’s happened? They haven’t even been taught the rudimentary things of the secular world, and they can’t function. Now bring it into the spiritual realm, is it any different? No! And this is what Paul is going to be dealing with as soon as we get to Chapter 3. This was one of the Corinthian’s problems. Remember I told you in our first lesson in I Corinthians that the Church at Corinth had more problems than any of the other congregations that Paul dealt with? In fact let’s look for a moment at Chapter 3 so you will know what I’m talking about.

I Corinthians 3:1a

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual,…”

In other words, they hadn’t gone into the deep things. Granted, they hadn’t had that long of an opportunity, but we can reflect on the Thessalonians and how Paul had been able to teach them with all things from the rudimentary to the very deep things, and they had grasped it, but the Corinthians didn’t. Now reading verse 1 again.

I Corinthians 3:1

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual but as unto carnal (believers who have not come out of the fleshly experience, and are still under the control of the old Adam rather than the Holy Spirit. However, in Romans 8 when Paul speaks of `carnal’ he is speaking about an unsaved individual. But here Paul is speaking of believers who are saved, but are still so weak spiritually that he speaks of them), even as unto babes in Christ.”

I Corinthians 3:2a

“I have fed you with milk , and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.”

You don’t give that new-born baby solid food, you have to start with milk, and it’s the same way with the believer. Now I think that the Lord has given me patience with new believers. I don’t expect them to all of a sudden comprehend all the deep things of God’s Word. They don’t have to, but you know what I look for? I want growth. I tell my classes if you aren’t more steeped in the Word now than you were a year ago than I’ve failed, and you’ve failed. God expects growth from His children. But the Corinthians (and this is why Paul is so uptight), were still so steeped in the flesh. But always remember Paul calls them believers, don’t ever lose sight of that. They’ve been born-again, and placed into the Body of Christ, but they are still so fleshly minded. Now back to where we were in Chapter 2. Now verse 11:

I Corinthians 2:11

“For what man knoweth the things of a man (our system of secular education), save the spirit of man which is in him (in like manner)? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”

In other words you cannot know the deep things of God unless the Spirit of God reveals them to us. And the Spirit can’t reveal these things until we become a Child of God. The unsaved person can’t comprehend these things, the Bible is closed to them. But once we enter into a salvation experience the Book opens up. There is nothing that thrills me more than when someone writes or calls, and says, “Les, it’s just like you turned on a huge light bulb.” I didn’t turn it on, the Holy Spirit did! And after that these things become so understandable.

I Corinthians 2:12a

“Now we have received (past tense, and he’s not only speaking of himself, but to believers everywhere.), not the spirit of the world,…”

Speaking of the spirit of the world, Paul didn’t put the Corinthians through grade school, high school, and college did he? He took these people and began to teach them the preaching of the Cross. That’s all Paul knew, “Christ crucified, and risen from the dead.” Now continuing on with verse 12.

I Corinthians 2:12b

“but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”

Oh, the Creator, Sovereign God is the One Who reveals these things to us, and we have to look at it in that light. We are not attaining this knowledge by the energy of the flesh, but rather as the Holy Spirit works through the Word, and reveals it freely. Now verse 13:

I Corinthians 2:13

“Which things also we speak (the things that are of the Spirit of God), not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

Now what does comparing spiritual things with spiritual mean? Your whole eternal destiny. Are we going to spend eternity in this glorious place that Paul has alluded to? Or is it going to be the opposite? Well how are we going to know? You and I can’t look at someone and say, “Yeah, they’re a Christian,” because we don’t really know. That’s something God must discern. But I’ve always maintained that I know what I am, you know what you are, and how do we know that? By lining ourselves up with the Word of God.

Now I learned years and years ago when a young lady came bouncing into one of my home Bible classes, and said, “Les Feldick, do you teach such and such a heresy? And I said, “Well, that’s what I teach, but I didn’t realize that it was heresy.” And then she lambasted me for a few minutes, and finally I said, “Now just wait a minute. On what basis do you think you’re going to go to God’s Heaven?” She said, “I’ve done this, I’ve done that, and I’ve done that.” I said, “Well that’s great, can you show me from the Word that will take you to heaven?” She said, “Well no, not really except Jesus did say, `Suffer these little ones to come unto me, and forbid them not.'” I said, “Is that it?” She said, “Well I think there’s a verse that says, `Go into all the world and baptize them.'” I said, “That’s it?” She said, “Well yeah, that’s pretty much it.” I said, “In other words you are basing your whole eternal destiny on bits and pieces of just two verses?” I had her backed into a corner, you know that I did.

Then I said, “Now let me tell you why I have the hope that I have,” and I showed her verse after verse, after verse, and this was not only for her benefit, but also for the benefit of the whole class. And we just compared Scripture with Scripture. Well by now all the wind was out of her sails, and do you know what she said? “If I had a salvation like that then I guess I could be as sure as you are.” It’s sad isn’t it? But yet that’s where multitudes are tonight, they have settled on something that is just bits and pieces here and there, and they really don’t know where that is. I maintain that you have to know what you are, where you’re going based on comparing Scripture with Scripture and then you’re on solid ground. Let’s look at a verse in II Peter Chapter 1 for a moment. And we just want to give you an example of what we mean by comparing Scripture with Scripture.

II Peter 1:19

“We have also a more sure (or certain) word of prophecy (I think here Peter is not telling the future, but rather just to speak forth the Word of God); whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts;

And I think the Day Star that is referred to here is that Day Star in the Book of Revelation that Christ is the bright and Morning Star. He is going to appear in all of His glory at the very beginning of the millennium that’s back there in Revelation which will be the end of time, and human history as we know it. He is going to be the Bright and Morning Star, and I think that is what the Holy Spirit is implying here from the pen of Peter. Now verse 20.

II Peter 1:20a

“Knowing this first (he says you had better get one thing straight), that no prophecy …” Or as The Word is sent out. Prophecy here is not telling the future. Remember the gift of prophecy in the early Church was gifted men who simply gave forth the Word of God. Now completing verse 20:

II Peter 1:20

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture (or the Word being sent out) is of any private interpretation.”

Now I know this verse is a little hard to understand. When you speak of something private, what do you speak of? That which pertains to one person. That which is yours, that’s your privacy. All right, now carry that over into the Scriptures. Nothing that God has sent forth to us, the human race, is all wrapped up in just one verse. See this is why a lot of people get hung up on Bible study. They’ll say, “Well, why didn’t God make it a little plainer, or more simple?” God knew He wasn’t dealing with third graders. For the most part God is dealing with adults, and so He knows we have the ability to search the Scriptures. And how are you going to search the Scriptures? By comparing scripture with scripture. And when you compare Scripture with Scripture from Genesis to Revelation you can’t be on a more solid rock. And that’s all I beg people to do, just search the Scriptures, don’t go by what I say or what someone else tells you. And so Peter is making it so plain. In other words he is saying, “Don’t build your eternal destiny on one verse, or you’re going to end up in the wrong place. But rather build your eternal destiny on a series of doctrines and teachings that fit from cover to cover.” Now verse 21.

II Peter 1:21

“For the prophecy (or again the speaking forth of God’s Word) came not in old time (Old Testament writers) by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved (or inspired) by the Holy Ghost.”

You know I’ve read skeptics, and scoffers, and they will attribute especially the Old Testament to nothing more than stories that came up around the old ancient camp fires of Israel. And as they began to compare stories, and after generations and generations of verbalizing, then someone came up with the idea of writing some of this stuff down. And so that’s how they got the Old Testament. Well that’s ridiculous. Peter says nothing, even in the Old Testament, of men dreaming it up. None of this came by men going out and doing some research on this, but rather as the Holy Spirit caused them to write. Moses wrote, David wrote, Elijah wrote, Jeremiah wrote, and then of course when you get into the New Testament it’s the same thing.

Now if the Holy Spirit is the Author of this Book, then you know that there is no confusion. See that’s the first thing that the scoffers say, “Well, it’s a Book of contradictions.” No it isn’t! Everything fits so beautifully if you will just compare Scripture with Scripture. Now for a moment let’s go all the way back to the Garden of Eden, and that would be in Genesis Chapter 3. Now we’re going to compare Scripture with Scripture. And here Eve is being confronted by the serpent, the Devil, and now verse 3, and we find Eve saying:

Genesis 3:3

“But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said (now with God saying it that puts it in concrete doesn’t it?), `Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it(that of course Eve added), lest ye die.'” Now I always call this the very first law of man’s dealing with a Holy God, and if he is going to disobey the revealed will of God, it’s sin, and he’s going to die of his sins. A spiritual death as well as physical. Now let’s compare some Scripture with that in the Book of Ezekiel, Chapter 18 and see what Ezekiel says.

Ezekiel 18:4

“Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”

Now what did God tell Eve back in Genesis 2? He said to Eve, “The day thou eatest thereof thy shalt surely die.” Now here in Ezekiel He says basically the same thing doesn’t He? “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Now to compare Scripture with Scripture let’s turn to Romans Chapter 3, and we will find that Paul will not disagree with Eve and Ezekiel. Let’s look at verse 9 first.

Romans 3:9

“What then? are we (Jews) better than they (the Gentiles)? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;” In other words every Jew, and non-Jew that has ever lived has been guilty of disobeying the revealed will of God, and that is what? Sin! Do you see how that all fits? He goes on through these verses, and we find a horrible description of the human race. And then the conclusion of course is wrapped up in Romans 3:23.

Romans 3:23

“For all have sinned (everyone), and come short of the glory of God:”

Now remember my definition of sin is real simple. It isn’t just an adulterer, or drunkard, but rather anyone who has disobeyed the revealed will of God. Now that’s sin in any of it’s colors, and Paul says, “All have done that!” Everyone of us are guilty of having gone against the revealed will of God. Now just in four different scriptures I’ve been able to show you that all have sinned, and now to look at it further let’s turn to II Corinthians Chapter 5. So now all have died spiritually, and all will die physically. I’m just doing this to show you how to compare Scripture with Scripture, and then there is no compromising it because it all fits.

II Corinthians 5:14

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:”

Do you see that? I remember one of my pastors years ago saying, “Folks do you realize that we’re living in a world of dead people?” Now that kind of slaps us in the face for the moment, but that’s exactly true because we are living in a world full of spiritually dead people. Now read on.

II Corinthians 5:15

“And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”

Now turn with me a little further to the Book of Ephesians Chapter 2, and we will look at a well-known verse. And that should be sufficient for this line of thought on comparing Scripture with Scripture.

Ephesians 2:1

“And you hath he quickened (or made alive, spiritually, as a result of their salvation), who were (past tense) dead in trespasses and sins:” How did we get to that point? We were born in it. Adam, the federal head of the human race plunged everyone of us into that kind of a state, and so we’re born spiritually dead.

305 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 1 - Book 26 - For We are Labourers Together with God

305: For We are Labourers Together with God – Lesson 2 Part 1 Book 26

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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 26

FOR WE ARE LABOURERS TOGETHER WITH GOD

Now with Bible in hand let’s begin again where we left off in our last lesson, and that will be in I Corinthians Chapter 2, and verse 8. I would like to back up a couple of verses and remind you again that throughout this early part of I Corinthians, Paul is constantly bringing up the word “Wisdom.” And it’s usually in a comparison of man’s wisdom, and God’s wisdom. The Apostle Paul was probably more aware of the emphasis on man’s wisdom than we can have any idea about, because just shortly before he came down to the city of Corinth he was at the very seat of psychological thinking which was Athens. And you remember up there at Athens as he confronted all those Athenian Philosophers, they subscribed to him the term, “Babbler.”

Do you remember that when we were studying the Book of Acts? What would this babbler have to say? Well compared to the philosophers of his day it was really the other way around. Paul was the one who had the heavy stuff, and the philosophers were the ones who had the babble. And you know what? It isn’t much different today. The world’s heavy thinkers, and the think tanks, and all we read about, compared to the Word of God, they’re nothing but babble. They try to envision what’s going to happen, and how things are happening, and here the writers of Scripture knew it thousands of years ago. So as Paul now comes on the scene at Corinth, as we explained in the last several lessons, we find a city that was beset in idolatry, steeped in the mythological worship of the gods and goddesses, and along with that of course there was gross immorality. We think we’re in a bad state of affairs today, but we’re not yet as far as they were at Corinth.

Into the very midst of all that comes this apostle and he didn’t come to them with oratory, or smooth talk. He didn’t have a big advance team getting him ready for a big crusade, or anything like that. He just came into the synagogue first, and from there probably out into the busy market place, and he just simply began to approach people, as he says in this letter, “With the preaching of the Cross.” And I’ve maintained for as long as I’ve been teaching that if pastors would forget about the gimmicks, and programs, and just simply start preaching the Word again, then I think they would find that their church would once again have new life, and began to grow because this is the way that God has ordained it. We need to back up a little bit to Chapter 2, verse 6, and again this hits the nail on the head.

I Corinthians 2:6,7a

“Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect (`perfect’ in the King James means mature. So these Corinthian believers, even though they were carnal, yet they had enough of the basic fundamentals of Paul’s Gospel that Paul could refer to them as mature); yet not the wisdom of this world (does he bring to Corinth or to us today?), nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:”

“But…”

Here’s the flip side again. Paul says that he didn’t come to you with the wisdom of this world, but the simple Gospel of the Cross. And you know the simple Gospel of the Cross hasn’t lost it’s power one iota. We have heard in just the last few months of people who have just watched a portion of our program, not even a whole program, and the Lord has entered their lives, and transformed them and just totally changed the direction of their life. Now that’s not Les Feldick, but rather that’s the power of the Word of God, and work of the Holy Spirit. And anyone of you can experience the same thing as you share the Gospel (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4) with those you come into contact with. So Paul tells us that he didn’t come with the wisdom of this world:

I Corinthians 2:7a

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery (or Secret),…”

The word `mystery’ or `secret’ is a Pauline word, and I like to use as much Scripture as we can because this is a Bible study. So let’s turn to a verse that we’ve used over and over to follow up on this word “mystery or secret.” And we’ll find that in Deuteronomy 29:29, and it’s from this verse that I think Paul is constantly using that same word. It’s mystery in the Greek, but it’s also secret. So back here in Deuteronomy we see that very word `secret’ as being a part and parcel of God dealing with not only Israel, but the whole human race.

Deuteronomy 29:29

“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed (and are no longer a secret) belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

Now of course that was Moses writing to Israel, but you see the same thing applies to us today. God has seen fit to keep things secret until such time in His Sovereign Grace He saw fit to release it, and reveal it. Which of course is this whole Pauline doctrine, it had been kept secret until revealed to Paul. The Old Testament knew nothing of what we call, “The Gospel of the Grace of God.” The Four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John know nothing of Paul’s Gospel, “That Jesus died for your sins, that He was buried, and that He was raised from the dead, and you must believe that for your Salvation.” So Paul uses the words over and over, “Behold I show you a secret or a mystery.” Now back to I Corinthians Chapter 2, and this is exactly what Paul is referring to. That the wisdom that God had now given to this apostle, the revelations that have now been given to this man had been kept secret. And now they are coming out into full view, and full understanding:

I Corinthians 2:7a

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery (Paul had the privilege of having all these secrets revealed to him by the risen Lord.), even the hidden wisdom…”

You see when Abraham first had his encounter with Jehovah, and if I’m not mistaken the Hebrew name that God ascribed to it was Jehovah Olam. And the word Olam as you come all the way up through the Old Testament can be used in various other settings. For example King David refers to the Psalms, “Why O LORD have you hidden these things.” Well what do you suppose is a Hebrew word for hidden? Olam. And so way back there in Genesis we already realize that God in His Sovereignty does keep things hidden from human understanding until it’s His time to reveal it. And remember Paul is constantly referring to this fact, that these things revealed to him were indeed hidden in the mind of God. And again I always have to take folks back to Acts Chapter 2 where Peter is preaching to the Nation of Israel concerning their having crucified their Messiah.

Acts 2:23

“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:”

So was God surprised when Israel rejected the Messiah? No. Was God surprised when Rome crucified Him? No, because it was all predetermined back in eternity past, and the same way with these truths. This wasn’t just God changing His mind all of a sudden, and saying, ” Well I guess I’ll do it a different way.” Oh no, this was all in a predetermined Sovereign plan of the ages that through this man Paul, God would reveal these hidden wisdoms. Now continuing on in verse 7.

I Corinthians 2:7b

“…even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our (my) glory:”

Now turn with me to Galatians Chapter 1 so that we know what Paul is talking about. And we’ve looked at these verses quite often, and I’m going to keep repeating, because that is how people learn. And here in Galatians is the Apostle Paul’s own account of how these revelations came to him. And let’s begin with verse 11. And remember Paul is writing here to a Gentile congregation.

Galatians 1:11,12

“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.” Do you see that? In other words he’s not just falling into someone else’s footsteps, and taking up their material, and passing it on. But rather Paul is starting with something totally new. Now verse 12:

“For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it (by man, so how did he get it?), but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Now stop and think, where was Jesus Christ when He revealed these things to the Apostle Paul? He was already in glory. This isn’t during His earthly ministry, but rather after our Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection and ascension to glory. And now He is revealing all these truths to Paul from glory so he can take it out to Jew and Gentile alike.

Galatians 1:13a

“For ye have heard of my conversation (manner of living) in time past in the Jews’ religion,…”

And remember by the time Paul comes on the scene, the Jews’ religion had been watered down with man-made laws and rules. I hope everyone understands that when Israel was living under the Law even during Christ’s earthly ministry that was a far cry from the pure Law of Moses. By the time that Christ came to the Nation of Israel it wasn’t just the ten commandments that made up the Law but hundreds of rules and regulations that now comprised the Law of Judaism. Now when you do that to anything that God has left for the human race, it becomes nothing more than religion. And that is what Paul is alluding to here, that he had been steeped in the Jew’s religion. Now continuing on with verse 13:

Galatians 1:13b

“…how that beyond measure I persecuted the church (or assembly) of God, and wasted it:” And that was of course referring to those Jewish believers of Christ’s earthly ministry, and also the ones that Peter and the eleven were ministering and preaching to over in the Book of Acts. Now verse 14:

Galatians 1:14

“And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the (Word of God? No, but rather) traditions of my fathers.”

And you know what? People in Christendom are not one bit different. If people could come and say, “Les I’m steeped in the Word, I wouldn’t have any problem with that, but they don’t. They call, and come with their various ideas of the tradition in which they have lived for the last many, many years. Paul was no different, he was steeped in the traditions of the fathers.

Galatians 1:15a

“But (the flip side. Now as he comes out of the traditions of the fathers) when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb,…”

In other words, Saul of Tarsus was on God’s mind way back in eternity past, and at the appropriate time Saul’s mother conceived, and the baby in her womb was all part of God’s preordained plan, and that’s what he says. It was God who formed him in the womb, it was God Who brought him to birth.

Galatians 1:15b

“…and called me by his grace,”

Now you all know Paul’s background as the persecutor, as the one who hated Jesus of Nazareth with a passion, and yet God saw fit to save that man, not because he deserved it, or because he had earned it, but rather because of “Grace.” Now verse 16, and what was God’s purpose?

Galatians 1:16a

“To reveal his Son in me (now of course he’s speaking of the crucified, resurrected, and risen Christ), that I might preach him among the heathen (or the Gentiles);…”

Paul was commissioned back there in Acts Chapter 9 to preach to the Gentiles, and never forget this. I have a young man out in North Carolina who picked up our program several years ago off the satellite, and the first thing he did was order all the tapes and books, and he just became a rabid student. After he had gotten it down solid from Genesis to Revelation he wonders why with all this new knowledge why God doesn’t give him a chance to use it. And I told him to be patient, and he called the other night and was so excited, because he had became a HAM operator, and told me that he had a whole class of men on the shortwave studying the Word, and he is just thrilled that he can unload the Scriptures over the shortwave. Now finishing the verse. Paul had the Son revealed in him to preach to Gentiles, and :

Galatians 1:16b

“…immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.”

Now what does that tell us? Well, logically from the human standpoint old Saul was up there in Damascus, and the Lord has just totally made him His own. And having brought him off his high horse of Judaism, what would have been the logical thing to do? To go back to Jerusalem and look up Peter, and the eleven, and say, “Hey fellows, you were with the Lord for three years now fill me in. You certainly know a lot of things that I don’t know.” But you see Paul makes the point by inspiration that he didn’t confer with anyone. Why? Because God wanted to keep him as far from the Twelve as he possibly could, because he doesn’t want the revelation that he’s going to give to Paul to get mixed up with what the Twelve were teaching and understood. And to make sure that we understand what Paul is saying the next verse qualifies it.

Galatians 1:17

“Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.”

God took him to Arabia, and I think it was Mount Sinai. Just as surely as God took Moses up there to give him the Law for Israel, I believe He took Paul up there to reveal the doctrines of Grace. Well anyway, the Apostle makes it so plain that all of this that had been given to him, and which comes out in his letters, was by revelation. He didn’t go to some seminary in Jerusalem taught by Peter, James and John. He didn’t go back and pick up their notes and do some research. But instead God took him to the desert (and I think alone), and there, if I understand my scriptures correctly, for three years the Lord revealed to this man these tremendous doctrines of Grace which you will find no where else in your Bible. Now maybe that is sufficient to bring us back to I Corinthians Chapter 2. So this is the wisdom that Paul refers to as having been revealed to him as “The Apostle to the Gentiles.” Now then this wisdom had been revealed to this man, how that Christ was the Son of God, He was the Messiah, the King of Israel, but His own people rejected Him, and crucified Him. But it was all part of God’s eternal plan for the ages, that it had to be that way in order to purchase the salvation of every human being that would respond.

I Corinthians 2:8a

“Which (this wisdom) none of the princes of this world knew:…”

Now this word `knew’ is more than the casual word for, “Yes, there was a fellow that came out of Nazareth,” and so forth. No, they did not know Him as the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel. Had the leaders of Israel, had that High Priest, had those Pharisees known Who Jesus of Nazareth really was, would they have ever cried for His death? NO WAY! Pilot came close to recognizing Who Jesus was. He said, “I can find no fault in this man.” And on top of that his wife had had a dream not to touch this Man. Pilot came close to seeing it, but he didn’t, and so Pilot also put his stamp on the crucifixion. And so this is what Paul is now alluding to, that the princes and leaders of that then-known world did not know Who Jesus of Nazareth was. And consequently they went ahead and crucified Him:

I Corinthians 2:8b

“for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

These people had the wisdom of men, they had the wisdom of religion, but they did not have the wisdom of God. Now verse 9: So now after comparing the wisdom of men with the wisdom of God he says:

I Corinthians 2:9

“But as it is written (Old Testament reference), `Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.'”

Now I know that in our present day Christendom we hear almost nothing of the lake of fire, the eternal doom, but you know it’s gotten to the place where we don’t hear much about heaven and if we do it’s in some real divinity terms. We just hear it as some place we’ll go when we die if we’re saved. But listen, this verse gives us again a whole train load if we will just think on it. There has never entered into the thoughts of man – he can’t even began to comprehend the things that God has already prepared for those who love Him. You know I’ve been emphasizing in my classes here in Oklahoma over the past many years, as a believer get excited about your eternity. Get excited about what’s ahead of us. This old world hasn’t anything to offer us! Even though we here in America have it so good, but it’s nothing compared to the glory Paul says that one day will be presented to us.

Those of you who have traveled know there are areas in our country that are beautiful almost beyond description. I love the mountains, and make no apology for it, and if I could live my life over and could make a living out of scenery I think I’d be living out in the Rocky Mountains. But those mountains just give us a little glimpse as they are so eternal, they are so much the work of the fingers of God, and I just can’t help but feeling a little closer to Him as we drive though those tremendous mountainous areas. But even that beauty is nothing, Paul says, compared to that which is still coming. And always keep that uppermost in your mind, because this old world is nothing but a pig pen compared to that which is coming.

304 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 4 - Book 26 - 1 Corinthians 1:1-2:7 - Part 2

304: 1 Corinthians 1:1-2:7 – Part 2 – Lesson 1 Part 4 Book 26

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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 26

I CORINTHIANS 1:1 – 2:7 – PART 2

Now let’s get right back into I Corinthians, and hopefully we can finish Chapter 2 today. We left off in Chapter 1, and verse 27 where Moses had to come to the place as a lowly sheep herder, before God could use him.

I Corinthians 1:27

“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;”

Do you get that? In other words, when Paul came to Mars Hill he was just a weak vessel in the eyes of those philosophers. He was a babbler, yet Paul shook them up, and Paul is remembered to this very day. When you get over there, they don’t refer to those philosophers, but rather Paul. And so God was the winner once again. Now verse 28, and we’re continuing on with that same thought. God uses for His glory the base things of the world, and things which are even despised, and ridiculed.

I Corinthians 1:28

“And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:”

Now I think the average reader just reads that without getting the impact of it. What does Paul mean when he says that God will use the things that are not, to confound the things that are? Well it’s that same line of thought. The very things that the world isn’t even aware of, and they’re nothing so far as the world is concerned, they’re nothing in the eyes of the successful world, but yet those are the very things that God uses then to confound the high and the mighty. That’s just His way of doing it. Now verse 29 is the reason for all which seems contrary to life’s logic. Why shouldn’t God use someone who has all the talent in the world? Why shouldn’t God use someone who has a tremendous IQ? Why shouldn’t God use someone who has a whole background of wealth? Why didn’t God use Moses when he was second in command in Egypt? Well this verse 29 gives it all.

I Corinthians 1:29

“That no flesh should glory in his presence.”

No human being will ever glory or brag in God’s sight, because God won’t have it. So consequently, he will not use people with seemingly all the right credentials. Because then when they’re successful, what would they be prone to do? “Oh look what I did.”

I always have to remember the first time Iris and I were in Israel in 1975, and Israel had just come out of the six-day war which was in 1967. In that seven or eight-year period of time they had already made tremendous headway. They didn’t have the super highways that you see there today, but nevertheless they had a lot of blacktop roads, new hotels, and the nation was prospering. We came out of the hotel dining room one evening, and a gentleman approached us, and said, “You’re Americans aren’t you?” He spoke perfect English, and so come to find out he had been raised, and educated in Boston, but had immigrated to Israel. So he said, “What do you think of our little country?” And I said that it was unbelievable, and amazing what God has done. Do you know what his answer to that was? “God didn’t have a thing to do with all our accomplishments. We did it.”

Well you see that’s typical, they may think God didn’t have anything to do with it, but He did. They may think even today that they’ve accomplished it, but without the Sovereign God they never would, and it’s the same way with America. America wouldn’t be where we are without the Grace and blessing of God, but the point here is, God seldom uses gifted, intelligent, wealthy, human beings because they would be prone to brag. Come back to Romans Chapter 4, and we find even Abraham, the great man of faith who waited years and years for the promises to come to fruition, yet it was faith + nothing. It wasn’t that Abraham had accomplished so much, it wasn’t that Abraham was a great individual, but look what Romans 4 says:

Romans 4:2

“For if Abraham were justified by works (by what he could accomplish), he hath whereof to glory (or brag); but not before God.”

No one is ever going to brag to God, “Look what I’ve done.” God will never have it, not even with a man like Abraham would He allow him to come to the place where he could brag, “God, do you realize all that I’ve done for you? God do you realize that I was patient, and waited, and waited until you finally gave me that son?” No Abraham couldn’t do that. In fact while he was waiting he failed miserably, he fell flat on his face. So Paul in the same way, even though he had accomplished a lot in Judaism, yet by the time God is ready to send him out to the Gentiles three years after his conversion, do you know what he is? He’s a nobody. He’s no longer high up in Judaism, he’s no longer held in high esteem by the Jews as the student of Gamaliel. Paul is just a nobody who is has been brought down to nothing. Now let’s look at another one in II Corinthians Chapter 12. Here’s Paul own account, and we know in various other verses he describes his speech as being contemptible. He wasn’t an orator like Apollos. Evidently he was not a big tall handsome fellow that simply drew people.

I remember one of the men that had a lot to do with my own learning experience, he was a tremendous preacher, about six-foot-four, as handsome as handsome could be. He always dressed just perfectly, and he had a tremendous voice and delivery, and on top of all that, had a tremendous knowledge of the Scriptures. He was the first one to give to me what I’ve passed on to you over and over, Whenever you read something in the Scriptures always ask yourself first, “To whom was this addressed?” He was a great servant, and I’ve always held the man in high esteem, but he’s one of the very few. Now look what Paul had to put up with? Paul had an experience, and wasn’t quite sure it had all happened, but he knows it happened.

II Corinthians 12:4

“How that he (Paul) was caught up into paradise (the heaven of the heavens), and heard unspeakable words, which is not lawful for a man to utter.” In other words, he had actually heard the angelic conversations, he actually saw the very throne room of heaven.

II Corinthians 12:5,6

“Of such an one will I glory (it was such a thrilling experience that it was all he could do to keep from bragging about it, because Paul was human.): yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. For though I would desire to glory (It was all Paul could do to suppress that feeling of wanting to share with others what he had seen and heard, but he knew he dare not because God told him not to. On top of that God had to do something physically to Paul so he would never forget he was not to share.), I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.

In other words, it’s just like many other things concerning the Scriptures. If Noah’s ark could be discovered, and laid out there for public scrutiny, and there wasn’t any doubt that it was Noah’s ark, what would mankind do with it? They would make it a shrine, and worship the silly thing. See? And here Paul is saying the same thing. If I were permitted to share what I saw and heard in that experience people would be falling at my feet trying to worship me. So he says, “I dare not,” and in order to keep Paul humble, what does God do?

I Corinthians 12:7a

“And lest I should be exalted above measure (in other word unless I should come to the place where people would try to worship me, because of what I’ve seen and heard) through the abundance of the revelations (do you see that?), there was given to me a thorn in the flesh,…”

Now I imagine that everyone of you at one time or other has had a thorn, and they just pester you, until you can finally get rid of it. Paul was given a constant pestering thorn in the flesh as a constant reminder, “Paul don’t you repeat these things that you’ve heard and seen, don’t you get puffed up, don’t you try to reveal to the world all that I’ve shown you.”

II Corinthians 12:7b

“…the messenger of Satan to buffet me,…”

Does God ever inflict discomfort or pain Himself? I don’t think so, but who does God permit to do it for him? The Devil himself. Do you remember Job? God didn’t afflict Job, but who did? Satan did, and God limited him. God said, “You can touch him, but you can’t take his life, you can do this, but you can’t do that.” Well it’s the same way here. God didn’t put the thorn in Paul’s flesh, but he did permit a messenger of Satan, and here again is the reason.

II Corinthians 12:7b

“….lest I should be exalted above measure.”

In other words Paul is saying, “This was all done to me to remind me that I’m not who I’d like to think I am. I’m still just a nobody.” And you see that’s what every one of us are. In ourselves we are a nobody, but the flip-side is, “In Christ we become somebody, absolutely we do.” Okay, now back to I Corinthians.

I Corinthians 1:30

“But (Paul says) of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

What more could any man or woman ever hope for? Now here again the world thinks this is foolishness, the world thinks to have the assurance of redemption is just so much foolishness. The world certainly doesn’t want any part of sanctification and holiness, that’s just not their bag. I think of a dear lady who started asking her neighbors to come to a Bible study, and their reply was, “Hey, wait a minute, we’re not into that stuff.” Well that’s typical, and I told her not to be shocked. But now verse 31:

I Corinthians 1:31

“That, according as it is written (Old Testament), `He that glorieth (or brags, or boasts, then let him glorieth in one area), let him glory in the Lord.'”

Because without Him we’re nothing, absolutely nothing, none of us are. But in Him and His power none of us have any idea what we can accomplish. We can shake this old world to its boot straps if we would just step out by faith, and do it. Now let’s move on into Chapter 2, and here we come to this concept that one commentator mentioned concerning the Corinthians, that it was based on the various wisdoms. The wisdom of this world set up against the wisdom of God. Now Paul again is using himself as an example, because he is the prime example.

I Corinthians 2:1,2

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”

In other words, Paul didn’t come to Corinth to the Bema Seat, which in Corinth was sort of like the town square, and where all the philosophers would get up on the stage and extol their philosophy. Paul didn’t come with all the knowledge of the Greek classics: Homer, Plato, and all these. No, that didn’t count any thing to Paul, he didn’t even rehearse all of his knowledge of the Old Testament even though he could have, but I don’t think that in Corinth, this wild, wicked, Gentile city, God even let Paul use his Jewish background. But Paul comes with only one message, and it’s the message that’s almost forgotten today. Very seldom do you hear it plain and simple that the Gospel is: “Christ died for the sins of the world, that He died for me and He died for you, (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4) Oh it’s circumvented, they come close.

I remember years ago I went to a funeral of a neighbor lady, and the only reason I wanted to go was I’d heard this particular church had a tremendous preacher, and I wanted to hear for myself. He had a tremendous sermon that he brought to that whole huge church full of people, many of whom I’m sure had never heard the Gospel. He had a tremendous opportunity of letting hundreds of people hear the simple message of Salvation after that great eloquent sermon. But just as he came to the threshold of the plan of Salvation, what do you suppose he did? He dropped the ball, he just simply dropped it. I came away crestfallen, and thought how in the world could a man such as this, known to be a great preacher, and all he had to do was preach Christ crucified, and he blew it. And listen, that’s happening all too often. I don’t say all, but all too often.

I’ll never forget years ago when a gentlemen that I was instrumental in bringing out of almost the same kind of background, came up one day and said, “Les, if you could just heal people you’d have thousands coming to your meeting.” Now I know that, but you see that’s not what the Apostle Paul did. Paul didn’t come announcing a great healing meeting. Paul didn’t come saying, “Hey, we’re going to philosophize, we’re going to deal in the classics today.” But rather what did Paul do? He just pointed the finger at them, and said, “You’re sinners. Christ died for you, He loves you. Believe it. And what happened? Hey, he had an assembly of believers! Oh, they were carnal, they had a long way to go, but Paul calls them brethren, and as we saw in the first lesson, when you get to verses 7 & 8, if the Lord would have come that day they would have all gone to be with Him. Now verse 3.

I Corinthians 2:3

“And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.”

Remember I was telling you about a little lady awhile ago? She said, “I would go to the door and knock, and my knees would be shaking, and I was shaking with fear.” But you see that was normal, so was the Apostle Paul. He lived in constant fear of how he would be received. What will they do with my preaching? What are they going to do with me? And Paul lived to find out what they did to him in lots of instances. They beat him, they threw him in prison, they stoned him, and left him for dead. But Paul never quit preaching that simple Gospel. Now verse 4.

I Corinthians 2:4

“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:”

There is another place that tells us that his speech was contemptible.

II Corinthians 10:10

“For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.

In other words, Paul didn’t use the most perfect Greek grammar. I don’t know, but there was something about it. He was not a polished orator like Apollos, or like some of the other Greek philosophers. And Paul had to overcome that. Paul didn’t but the Spirit of God did, and it’s the same way with every one of you. You may drop a word to someone, and may think that it will never amount to anything, but all we have to do is plant a seed once in awhile, and it will accomplish something. Oh you might not know about it in this life, but you will in the life to come. Now verse 5:

I Corinthians 2:5a

“That your faith…”

Paul wasn’t too proud of the Corinthians’ works yet, but he was proud of their faith. And you know I can identify with that. I meet people now that have heard our program, they’ve become believers, and I don’t know how far they’ve advanced in their Christian walk, but just to hear them give their testimony. I got this second-hand, but there was a dear lady not too long ago that told a friend that she had watched our program 15 minutes, and the Lord spoke to her heart and saved her out of a life that was anything but good. But you see this is what God will do if we’ll just what? Stick our neck out? Some time you just have to put your neck out on the old chopping block, and that’s what the Apostle Paul is referring to here.

I Corinthians 2:5a

“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men,…”

Why am I emphasizing that? Because this is where too much of it is today. People are willing to listen to someone who seemingly has all the answers to the world’s problems, or maybe they have all the answers to science and religion, but listen that’s not where we put our faith. We put our faith in the Gospel, in the Word of God, and from that God will begin to expand our knowledge. Now finishing the verse.

I Corinthians 2:5b

“…but in the power of God.”

Now again going back to our opening remarks in this Book of Corinthians. When these grossly immoral people were saved out of that wicked lifestyle, they were given all the Grace of God that they will ever have, but what was still ahead of them? Growth. They began as fledglings, but they were under the Grace of God, and in that Grace they’re going to grow. And I’m sure that Paul finally saw the day when the Corinthian Church had a grown a long way. But at this point and time they’re still down there embryonic, they are still just fledglings.

I Corinthians 2:6a,7

“Howbeit we speak wisdom…” Remember what this one commentator said? This Book of Corinthians is all hung up on wisdom. The wisdom of men versus the wisdom of God. I hope you’re beginning to see that now.

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:”

303 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 3 - Book 26 - 1 Corinthians 1:1-2:7

303: 1 Corinthians 1:1-2:7 – Lesson 1 Part 3 Book 26

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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 26

I CORINTHIANS 1:1 – 2:7

Now back to I Corinthians Chapter 1, and we’ll look at verse 17 again. Here Paul is admonishing the Corinthians to forget about their divisions concerning who they’re following. Always remember the central theme for all of us, whether we’re rich or poor, Gentile or Jew, black or white, makes no difference. We’re all subjects of God’s Grace which brings us not to a water baptism, but to the Gospel, and Paul tells us:

I Corinthians 1:17a

“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: …”

Remember when John the Baptist was commissioned to Israel? What was he commissioned to do? Well, to baptize. The Scripture makes it so plain that John baptized with the baptism of repentance.

Matthew 3:1,2

“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea. And saying, `Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'”

Matthew 3:6

“And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.”

Matthew 3:11

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance:…”

Now that was the mission of John the Baptist. But Paul comes along and refutes that now and says; “God didn’t send me to baptize, but instead to preach the Gospel, that Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and rose again.” And the last part of verse 17 that we didn’t cover in the last lesson reads:

I Corinthians 1:17b

“not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.”

You and I can talk until we’re blue in the face, and that won’t get anybody, but it’s when the Holy Spirit opens the heart that results take place. Do you remember I so often go back to the Book of Acts where Paul met Lydia up there in Philippi?

Acts 16:14

“And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.”

Well this is what Paul is saying here in verse 17. Paul didn’t come with the wisdom of human mentality, or come with intellectual degrees behind his name, but rather he came with the simplicity of the Gospel into this pagan, ungodly city. And it was that Gospel that transformed those Corinthian people. Now verse 18 as one of those choice verses that is so appropriate today.

I Corinthians 1:18a

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness;…”

Do you see what that says? To the lost world all around us, and again I go back to the hustle and bustle of freeways and highways, but to that lost mass of people around us, this Cross of Christ is so much foolishness. I think I’ve used this next illustration before, but it’s such a good one that I’ll use it again. I had this one gentlemen that came to our class for a long time, and he came to my place one evening. I had been bailing hay all day long, and it was late at night about 10 P.M., and when I came in there he was waiting for me. So I took him into the kitchen and I put on a pot of coffee, and the first thing I asked him was, “What’s on your mind?” And I’ll never forget, and I wish to God that more people would ask the same question. He said, “Who in the world is Jesus Christ?” A good question, because that gave me the wide open opportunity to not only tell him Who Christ was, and is, but to show him from the Scriptures all that had been accomplished because of Who He was.

A lady told me just the other night, and this just shakes us to our toe nails. She said, “Les, I was in Church all my life, and until I came to your class, I never knew why Christ died.” Now think about that, and she’s not alone. We’ve got millions out there sitting in the pews. Oh they have a mental comprehension that, “Yes, Jesus of the Bible was crucified, and yeah I can go along as my creed says that He was raised from the dead.” But most of them don’t really know why, they have no affinity to the fact that when He died, He died for them. And this is what this lady said: “When I suddenly realized that He died for me then that made all the difference in the world.” So that’s the preaching of the Cross, and the world out there wants nothing to do with it, because it’s foolishness to them. That somebody died 2000 years ago? My land, thousands and thousands of people were crucified by the Romans. That wasn’t a singular event, but it was a singular Individual Who’s crucifixion did make a difference, and has impacted the world ever since. So reading verse 18 again:

I Corinthians 1:18a

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness;…”

Most don’t want to preach that any more, but they would rather help people with all their problems, or to have a better family life, and that’s all well and good as far as it goes, but that’s not the preaching of the Cross. And when you preach the Cross all these other things fall into place. Now verse 19.

I Corinthians 1:19

“For it is written (Old Testament), I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

Now of course that’s looking toward the end-time when Christ will return and set everything straight. And it won’t be based upon the intellectual, or academic, or scientific achievements, but rather it will be based on His absolute, righteous rule. So all these things will come to their end. And now verse 20. You see he’s smacking these Greek philosophers right head on:

I Corinthians 1:20

“Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?”

Now for a moment let’s go back to Romans Chapter 1, and compare some scripture. Now here of course I think Paul is reflecting all the way back to the Tower of Babel when all the false religions of this world began.

Romans 1:21,22

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations (they began to philosophize, higher thinking), and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,” Now back to I Corinthians, verse 21, and this is another good verse:

I Corinthians 1:21a

“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by (its) wisdom knew not God,…”

Now look at most universities today, and I say most. They teach evolution, and when you can teach and believe evolution then you force God out of everything. Now that’s the pitfall of evolution, because if evolution is true then there is no need for a Creator, no need for God, no one to account to, and of course that’s the basis of most of our problems. But this is exactly what they have done. By their own thinking they have brought about all these so-called theories that leave God out of the picture, so again he says:

I Corinthians 1:21

“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by (it’s) wisdom knew not God (they have pushed God out. Evolution and secular humanism has no room for God, and that’s the core of our problem, but), it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching (of the Cross in verse 18) to save them that believe.”

It’s an act of God that opens the understanding that the One who died 2000 years ago was the answer to the sin problem. He is the One Who can impart eternal life, and that’s what he’s talking about here, that through the foolishness of preaching, the preaching of the Cross will literally transform those who believe. Faith + Nothing! Now here in verse 22 you basically have the two categories of the human race. Jew and Gentile. In those two we have them all covered.

I Corinthians 1:22,23a

“For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom (the Jews want signs, and the Gentiles say, `Give me highly educated philosophers’); But (the flip side is we don’t pay any attention to either one of those, but) we preach Christ (not the Jesus of Nazareth walking the highways of Palestine, not the Jesus Who’s walking on the water, not the Jesus Who fed the 5000, not the Jesus Who raised Lazarus, but rather the Jesus who was what?) crucified.”

And that’s where it all begins for us today. Oh it’s the same Jesus, but it’s by virtue of Him having gone to the Cross, and being raised from the dead that now we come into the picture. Now completing the verse:

I Corinthians 1:23

“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, (and indeed He was, because they were still looking for signs, and that almost makes me smile, and it should make you smile. How many more signs did they need? Didn’t He give them all kinds of signs? Sure He did, sign after sign, and miracle after miracle, and still they couldn’t believe. And the Greeks, what about them?) and unto the Greeks foolishness;”

You remember what they called Paul on Mars Hill? A babbler. Now imagine, here comes this man who had already seen multitudes saved out of pagan idolatry, had established these little Churches all throughout Asia Minor, now coming down the coast of Greece, and he comes to Athens, and by now I’m sure this man is pumped up and primed with the power of God. I’m sure Paul spoke at Athens probably as strongly as any place he had ever been, and those stupid philosophers called him a babbler. Do you get the picture? They call him a babbler. Now let’s back up a moment to verse 22. Why does Paul make this kind of statement that Jews require a sign?

I Corinthians 1:22a

“For the Jews require a sign,…”

We know that since there were those who adhered to Peter’s teaching then there must have been a Jewish element. Now as you go all the way back to the onset of God dealing with the Nation of Israel, how does He always prove to those people that He is whatever is taking place? Signs! Absolutely, and I’m always reminding people that when Moses and Aaron went into Pharaoh, and in order to get his attention what did they do? Hey, they threw the shepherd’s rod on the ground, and what happened? It became a serpent. But here’s where we have to wake up and be careful. What did Pharaoh’s magicians do? The same thing. And though the power of Satan their shepherds’ rods became serpents, but the comforting thing is what happened next. The serpent that Moses and Aaron had, swallowed up the others thus showing that God was still supreme.

All you have to do is just follow Israel throughout her hundreds of years of history to find over and over God doing the supernatural for them. One that comes to mind is Elijah up there at Mount Carmel, confronting the prophets of Baal, and Israel was at a crossroad. So he built up the altars, laid out the sacrifices, with instructions to carry water and soak the sacrifices, and the prophets of Baal couldn’t get their god to respond. But Elijah called on God, and fire from heaven fell and it licked up the water, and sacrifices. What was that? Supernatural. In that instance Israel had an awakening, but over and over God performs signs and miracles for benefit of the Jew. And then when Christ came in His earthly ministry the sole reason for His performing the signs and miracles was to convince Israel of Who He was.

All right, now Paul is bringing that into the New Testament account for us to understand that the Jew mentally was still, “Show me a sign, and maybe I’ll believe.” The Gentiles on the other hand are not hung up on signs, but rather they are hung up on intellectual philosophy. And Paul says, “I don’t adhere to either one of them. I’m not going to come showing signs, wonders, and miracles, I’m not going to come here and philosophize, but rather I’m going to preach Christ crucified, and risen again. Do you see how simple it is? And that’s all it takes. The other night I taught as I usually do, didn’t make an invitation, didn’t even stress the Gospel per se, but after we got home that night we found out that a young lady was saved. And it’s not me, but that’s the way God works.

I think of a little anecdote that I read years and years ago. These people had an elderly Grandfather, who was so belligerent toward spiritual things, they could never get him to go to church. He wouldn’t listen to anybody that tried to witness to him. But finally one day as he was way up in the nineties and they knew that he wasn’t going to live too much longer, they finally got him to go to church with them, and lo and behold the preacher preached on the genealogies way back in the Old Testament. So and so was born of so and so and he died. So and so was begotten by so and so and he died. You know what I’m talking about. And all the while this family is sitting there wondering why of all days doesn’t our pastor preach salvation instead of Old Testament genealogy? And you can understand that. Well, they took the old man home and the next day what do you suppose got to him? “And he died, and he died, and he died.” And then it hit the old man that he too was about to die. So the old fellow asked for the plan of salvation, so you see, we never know what God will use, and sometimes it’s something that we would never dream of. But here Paul is saying that the basis of it all is preaching Christ crucified. Now verse 24.

I Corinthians 1:24

“But unto them which are called (now the called of scripture are the elect, the saints, the believers, and they are all one and the same), both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Now one commentator that I read sometime ago on Corinthians said, “The main theme of Corinthians is wisdom.” The wisdom of God sat apart from the wisdom of men, and I can agree to that especially in Chapter 2 where Paul stresses that it doesn’t matter how much earthly wisdom we have, it’s only the wisdom from God that makes us something that God can use, and there’s no doubt about it. Now verse 25.

I Corinthians 1:25

“Because the foolishness of God (in man’s eyes God is being foolish, how can we say that? Well, man thinks God is foolish when He says He can save a person from the most gutter type existence, and can make him a saint. That’s foolishness to mankind, but what does the Scripture says? God’s foolishness ) is wiser than men (God’s foolishness is still wiser than the greatest philosopher, or educator.); and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

Now we know that God isn’t weak is He? But some of the ways He does things the world would call weakness. And I imagine that it’s based on the fact that even in the Old Testament, and in Christ’s earthly ministry, that if someone misuses you, and he strikes you on the cheek, what do you do? Turn the other cheek. Well that’s weakness in the eyes of men, but in God’s way of doing things that’s stronger than men. Now let’s look at verse 26 and 27:

I Corinthians 1:26a

“For ye see your calling, brethren,…”

Remember these Corinthians are carnal, they’ve got a lot of problems, but he says they are brethren, and they had a calling. Every believer has a calling, and that doesn’t mean that you have to be a preacher or pastor, or teacher, evangelist, or missionary, but there is something that God wants you to do. He has a plan for your life, and I think it’s up to each of us to seek it out. Here is the amazing thing, out of all the multitudes that have been on this earth before, and even today, we know that God doesn’t use the ones that we think He should use. Isn’t that amazing? Because:

I Corinthians 1:26b

“how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:”

Have you ever stopped to think about that? How many intellectuals, highly educated, highly polished, what we would called apt, and appropriate for proclaiming the Gospel are really called for that purpose? Very few, if any. Because God doesn’t use those kinds of people, God can only use that which in the eyes of the world is nothing. In the short time we have left, I want to take you back to Moses as a prime example. Here Moses had become the second man in Egypt, which in those days was the greatest nation in the then-known world. He was second to the Pharaoh, he had all the power and authority, I think over everything. He was in charge of it all. And Moses thought that he could go and lead the children of Israel out of slavery, but what happened? God had to send him to the back side of the desert to be a smelly what? Sheepherder, and sheep in the eyes of the Egyptians were an abomination. And yet it was into that place of abomination that God had to put this servant to bring him from his lofty position, and bring him down to nothing more than a low sheep herder. And out of that circumstance of being a nobody, God can use him.

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