331 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 3 - Book 28 - 1 Corinthians 12:1 - 14:3

331: 1 Corinthians 12:1 – 14:3 – Lesson 2 Part 3 Book 28

YouTube video

 

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 28

I CORINTHIANS 12:1 – 14:3

Continuing on in I Corinthians Chapter 12, and verse 3, in the last half of the verse where it says:

I Corinthians 12:3b

“…and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”

In other words an unbeliever may say it, but it doesn’t amount to anything because there is no genuine belief in his heart. The only person that can genuinely claim Christ as Lord is the believer. Come back to Romans Chapter 10 and look at a Scripture that goes with this verse.

Romans 10:8,9a

“But what saith it? (that is, the Scripture) The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,…”

Now that’s where the term comes into its full meaning. That as a believer, now we know that Jesus is Lord. He’s in control of our life, He is the One in Whom we eat and sleep and move and without Him we are nothing. So that is what Paul is referring to back here in I Corinthians Chapter 12:3b. Now back to I Corinthians to continue the study. So only a truly saved, born again individual, a believer, can make the statement with all sincerity of the heart, because the Holy Spirit is the One that is the evidence that indeed Jesus is Lord.

I Corinthians 12:4a

“Now there are diversities of gifts,…”

Later on in this chapter Paul is going to introduce now for the first time in his writings this concept of the “Body of Christ.” That invisible from the human element, that invisible make-up of all believers who have been baptized (spiritually) into that Body of Christ, and we’ll see it laid out in more graphic terms beginning with verse 12. But here he’s just saying, `That in the Body of Christ every one of us has a particular role.” Every one of us have been saved for a particular place of service. It may be some dear lady who never is able to get out of her house, she is very seldom seen by the public at large, she may be a busy housewife and mother, but she can be a prayer warrior. She can accomplish more for God without being seen than many evangelists who go from pulpit to pulpit. And so we have to remember that every believer has that unique capability of serving God as He intended it. Now I’m going to make a point here in a moment that we are not to beg for a particular gift. We are not to ask for it because that has to be discerned and given as the Holy Spirit wills it and not as we determined it, and we’ll be getting to that in a couple of verses.

I Corinthians 12:5

“And there are diversities of administrations; (absolutely, and in dispensations – the other word for administrations) but the same Lord.”

God is the same over all. In fact I’ve broken it down this way. When Adam and Eve were in the Garden, they were under a certain set of circumstances. The only thing they had to concern themselves with was “Don’t eat of that tree,” and that was it, because everything else was there for them to enjoy. There was nothing that would be disobedient to them, they knew nothing of sin, but they were not to eat of the tree. Well you know what happened, they disobeyed and they ate. Now the point I’m trying to make is that when they came out of the Garden of Eden, was everything still the same? No! It couldn’t be. Sin and death had entered. They had been separated from that daily walk with God, and so there was a whole different set of circumstances. They were then under the curse, they had to work by the sweat of their brow, they were no longer under the easy existence of Paradise, and Eden. So it was all different, but had God changed? No, God didn’t change, but rather Adam and Eve did.

That leads all the way up to the flood, and Noah and his family go into the ark. Now when they come out of the ark after the flood, again, is it like it was when Adam and Eve came out of the Garden? No way. Everything was different again, God laid other responsibilities upon them as they could kill the animals and eat the meat. Before the flood they couldn’t do that, so it was a different administration. Then comes along the Tower of Babel, and you know what happened there. All the people around Babel were scattered by virtue of their languages now, and they all went to different parts of the then-known world. Different than before? Absolutely! Had God changed? No!

And then God raised up Abraham and does something totally different, and promises this one man a Nation of people, a different set of circumstances? Absolutely. The same God? Absolutely. And then God brought in Law, and He says to the Nation of Israel, “Keep the Law.” We had never had anything on the planet like that before, but now Israel was under the Law. Then comes along the Age of Grace, this great Gospel that you and I proclaim that anybody, black or white, rich or poor, Jew or Gentile can now enter into God’s salvation by just simply believing the Gospel (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4) this had never been on the planet before. So it’s a different administration, but has God changed? Not a bit. So this is what Paul is referring to in verse 5. A change of operations? Absolutely, but it’s the same God. Verse 6:

I Corinthians 12:6,7

“And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” Now verse 7 is the verse that I was referring to a few minutes ago about asking for gifts. You take the gift that God has given you, and you be content with it. Look what he says.

“But the manifestation (putting it in the spotlight) of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” Now let’s just go down to verse 11 and you’ll see the same thought repeated.

I Corinthians 12:11

“But all these (the things that he has listed up there in verses 8, 9 and 10) worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally (differently) as he (the Holy Spirit)will.”

Do you see that? So it’s not for you and me to go and say, “Oh I want this gift, or that gift,” No, you just take the gift that God has given you. Now I think the greatest thing we can do is just simply say, “Lord here I am, I’m available, use me.” And let Him direct you where He want to use you. I’ve told people this for years that I don’t wait for God to say something out loud, He’s never spoken to me out loud, but I’ll tell you how He talks to me, and that’s with open and closed doors. He gets us just exactly where He want us. If something doesn’t fly and the door closes, don’t push against it, you just take it that God doesn’t want you in that direction. You will find another open door someplace else so just take that one.And then from the Word, His Word can just impress you so much. Another one is by prayer, and that’s some of the ways that we can find what God wants. But just to simply go to God and say, “I want the gift of such and such, no I don’t think this is what the Bible permits. We are to leave that up to the Holy Spirit. Now I don’t want to skip any verses or I’ll get a call saying, “Well, you copped out.” Now verse 8:

I Corinthians 12:8

“For to one (believer in the congregation) is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; (that’s a gift to have wisdom) to another the word of knowledge (but it’s going to come) by the same Spirit;” See, these were things that the Church needed, and God is providing then with these particular abilities. Now verse 9:

I Corinthians 12:9

“To another faith by the same Spirit; (now whether you know it or not, if you’re a believer where did you get the wherewithal to believe the Gospel? From the Holy Spirit, because it’s a gift, and as we exercise that gift of faith we respond by believing. Also some have greater faith than others and there’s nothing wrong with that.) to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;”

There’s no doubt they exercised this gift in the early Church. We know that even Paul himself exercised this gift in the Book of Acts as he performed miracles. But by the time you get to his later letters there’s not a word about these kind of miracles, and he doesn’t perform them himself. One of his best friends, and fellow laborers in the work was sick on the island of Miletus, and was nigh on to death, but could Paul heal him? No. So what did he admonish the believers to do? The same as we do today; pray for him. And we know that Timothy evidently had a stomach ailment, and we know Paul didn’t heal him, he gave him a remedy for it, but he didn’t heal him. And it was the same way with many of his own catastrophes in his life experience. Did he get healed? No. The Lord brought him through them, but no sign of any miraculous healing. In this area of Scripture, remember, that it’s only in the letter to this carnal Corinthian Church that he deals with these particular gifts. Now let’s finish verse 10:

I Corinthians 12:10

“To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; (to determine whether it’s true or whether it’s false) to another divers kinds of tongues;(languages) to another the interpretation of tongues: (or those languages)

Go to Ephesians Chapter 4, one of his prison epistles. It was written several years later, and he now has that revelation that I think he was referring to in I Corinthians Chapter 13. Now the steam has been wiped off the mirror, and he now has the complete revelation, and he is teaching here in Ephesians the position of the believer in the Body of Christ. If people would only look at it this way. This is where we are today! This is like coming out of 3rd and 4th Grade arithmetic, and ending up in higher mathematics. The electrical engineering that puts all our computers and everything together takes a lot of smarts. They didn’t forget simple mathematics, but they have put all that behind them. That is exactly where I put the Book of Ephesians. Ephesians is like somebody with a PH.D. in mathematics or physics.

Ephesians 4:4-10

“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism,” (not three, as a lot of people are depending on, and that’s not what the Book says now as you can see. We’ve moved on into another administration or dispensation) One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us (from the greatest to the least He has given these gifts of the Spirit that He lists here.) is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, `When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Absolutely He did.) [Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended (that of course was in His three days and nights that He was in the tomb) is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.]'” Look at the gifted men he gives to the Church in verse 11.

Ephesians 4:11

“And he gave some, apostles; (and they even faded off the scene after the apostolic age ended. We don’t have apostles in the Church today, but they were part of it even when he was writing Ephesians.) and some, prophets; (they also faded away because we now have the printed Word. Once the Word came into print there was no longer a need for gifted men to speak forth the Word, but even so, Paul still lists them here in Ephesians. Now here’s where we are today.) and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;”

Those are the three basic gifts that the Church needs today. Men who are evangelists and can preach salvation, and probably going from place to place, we all understand the role of an evangelist. And then there’s the man who is the gifted person to be a pastor. We know that not all of God’s men can be pastors, and not all can be teachers. But these are the three basic gifts that are explained here in the Book of Ephesians, and now look also at verse 12. Why did God give the Church these three categories of people?

Ephesians 4:12

“For the perfecting (the maturing of believers, getting away from the milk bottle, and learning to eat the meat of the Word) of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of(not for the evangelist, pastors, and teachers, but for whom?) the body of Christ:”

Now I’ve maintained for years that the primary purpose of the Church (and I don’t care what denomination that is), is to so feed its members that those members can go out and become soul winners among the world in which they live. That’s the way they did it in the early Church. They didn’t have great evangelistic campaigns, they didn’t have great coliseums full of people, but oh listen, they turned the Roman Empire upside down. And how did they do it? By just simply every believer being taught from the Word that he could be a living testimony to the world around him, and this is the criteria for us today. Oh, to be so taught in the Word that you can be a testimony wherever you go, whoever you are. I don’t care how little education that you have, you can be a gifted person in God’s program for today.

Now back to our study. So we did have these gifts in Corinthians that Paul doesn’t mention again in the Book of Ephesians. And just come to your own logical conclusion. For the same reason that you don’t go back and use 3d & 4th grade arithmetic books when you’re up in higher mathematics. It’s the same way here, because these things are now left in the background and we move on to the greater gifts that Paul brings out in Ephesians and other prison epistles. Now verse 12, and here in this verse, even though the Body of Christ as a doctrine is brought to its fullest forte in the prison epistles, it doesn’t mean that Paul knew nothing of it because here he introduces us to it. Here we have the description of the Body of Christ. Now I know there are a lot of people who do not understand this concept that every true believer is a member of the Body of Christ. As I’ve said before, Jesus never once mentioned the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is a term that you cannot find in the Four Gospels. You can’t find Peter using this term either, because that term was only given by revelation to the Apostle Paul in this Age of Grace. Now here it comes.

I Corinthians 12:12

For as the body (this human body from which he’s going to draw a comparison or allegory) is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” (“so also is Christ” is referring to the Church or Body of Christ)

Here we are with a human body of ten fingers and toes, our ears, and eyes, and all the functions of this physical body, but where is the control of these fingers and toes? Up in our brain. So also is the Body of Christ. We are now members of the Head Who is in heaven, and that’s why that’s where our citizenship is. That’s where the Head is, that’s where the nerve center is. So Paul says by inspiration that we believers are members of that one Body of Christ. How did we get there?

I Corinthians 12:13

“For by one Spirit (the Holy Spirit again, as it’s a capital `S.’) are we all (notice that says all. Not just the most spiritual, not just the ones that have had an emotional experience, but every true believer regardless of where he is or how great experience he’s had, we are all members of the Body of Christ because the Holy Spirit has) baptized into one body, (Now you see there’s not a word about tongues here, and yet I maintain this is the only time that Paul teaches a baptism by the Holy Spirit. When we are saved the Holy Spirit immediately places us in the Body of Christ, it’s a baptism, and there is no water involved. But rather the Holy Spirit did it, and that of course is our guarantee that we are Christ’s and He is ours. Now reading on:) whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”

Remember that a believing Jew is a member of the Body of Christ, and they will be taken out at the Rapture of the Church just like the Gentiles will. And that’s what so unique about it. Everyone who has become a believer of the Gospel (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4) has been made to drink into that one Holy Spirit. And then Paul goes on to say:

I Corinthians 12:14

“For the body is not one member, but many.”

We are part of the many into the one whole, and that’s the whole picture of the Body of Christ. That’s why you can go from here to Timbuktu and if you get into a fellowship of believers you’re never a stranger. Anywhere Iris and I have gone, when we go into a home of believers, we don’t feel strange for a moment, because there’s a oneness we have in Christ. Then Paul goes through and uses all the bodily members to show the example, and he’s belaboring the fact that:

I Corinthians 12:15,16

“If the foot shall say, `Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body;’ is it therefore not of the body?” Of course not, just because the foot is not the hand that doesn’t take it away from the body, it’s exactly where it belongs. It’s a place of function.

“And if the ear shall say, `Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body;’ is it therefore not of the body?”

Now I know the apostle is on the edge of being ridiculous, and I sometime teach the same way, because that’s what gets people attention. If you can get ridiculous enough it will make them think, and that’s what he is saying here. Every part of the body functions together for the purpose of using and energizing the body. Now reading on:

I Corinthians 12:17-22

“If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, `I have no need of thee;’ nor again the head to the feet, `I have no need of you.’ (I like the next verse) Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:”

And you know the one I’m going to refer to? Your little toe. Oh, your little toe almost seems insignificant doesn’t it? But if you ask someone who had one amputated they’ll tell you they miss that little toe almost as much as a complete hand. Why? Because that which is the most feeble is sometimes the most important.

330 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 2 - Book 28 - Eternal Excellence of Love - Part 2

330: Eternal Excellence of Love – Part 2 – Lesson 2 Part 2 Book 28

YouTube video

 

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 28

ETERNAL EXCELLENCE OF LOVE – PART 2

Now let’s pick up where we left off in the love chapter, at verse 10, and remember we had just looked at Hebrews 6 where Paul said, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ,…” In other words, there comes a point in our Christian growth where you have to leave just spending all your time on the simplistic or the elementary, and you move on into the deeper things. Paul’s writings are a progressive revelation just like the Bible is as a whole. And so the Book of Romans and the first one of Paul’s letters in the New Testament are doctrinally elementary. I’ve said so often if people could just understand two chapters in the Bible then they’ve got the battle over half won, and those are Genesis Chapter 3 which records the fall of mankind, and his problem with sin. And then Romans Chapter 3 which gives us the remedy for it.

So Romans is elementary, but then you see as the congregation was beginning to grow problems arose, and we’ll see that in our next study after we leave II Corinthians and go to the Book of Galatians. Well, there again, problems such as legalism were creeping in and Paul had to address that. But after we leave Galatians then you see we move into what I call the higher doctrines of Grace. Then we go into those deep concepts of the prison epistles, and that of course is the Body of Christ and our position in the heavenlies. But you just can’t unload all of that at once, we have to take it progressively, and that’s why I feel the Lord has blessed our system of teaching through the scriptures, as we’ve been doing.

And so Corinthians, as we’ve been stressing, is addressing problems in a congregation that was so very carnal. They had not yet moved into the deeper spiritual things, and of course they hadn’t really been revealed except through the gifted men who could preach it. But as we move on through from Corinthians into Galatians then you will see what I’m talking about. Now let’s get back to the great love chapter, and we’ve been stressing that Paul puts this little chapter, by inspiration, between two chapters that are even controversial today. And the only way we can handle the controversy, as we’re faced with day in and day out, is on the basis of the love of I Corinthians 13. I do not condemn people for practices that I don’t agree with because that’s between them and the Lord. But it is my responsibility to teach what the Book says, and not what I think. Now verse 11:

I Corinthians 13:11

“When I was a child, (Paul uses simplistic illustrations, and I also like to use illustrations that even grade school kids can understand.) I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: (Paul was just as normal as anybody else, but here’s where a lot of people fail in the next portion.) but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

Now I’m finding out that the older I get, the sharper I become at remembering things that happened when I was five years old, and I think those of you who are older than I am notice the same thing. As we become older then, yes, we no longer play with the toys of a five or six-year-old, but have we forgotten them? No! It’s still part of our make-up. We still reflect back constantly. And he says the same thing. “When I was a man, I put away childish things,” but does that mean he totally obliterated them from his thinking? Of course not. But he is now a man and is no longer on the child level of activity. Now he goes on to bring, I think, the thought that he is trying to bring through at this point of revelations. And remember, he still hasn’t had the revelations of the prison epistle.

I think he probably got those revelations while he was in prison in Caesarea. You remember, that was after all of his three missionary journeys through the Book of Acts. And then he went to Jerusalem and got in trouble with the Jews. He went under house arrest and protective custody with the Romans, and then they had him in prison in Caesarea for a year and a half while they were waiting to decide what to do with him. I think that while he was rotting away in a Roman prison for a year and a half, God was revealing the deeper revelations that would now come from the apostle’s pen when he gets under house arrest in Rome. And so this is the whole process of his revelation. He has gotten enough to bring out the doctrines of grace for salvation and so forth, but so far as that deeper doctrine of the position in the heavenlies that we now enjoy, that hadn’t been revealed to him as yet. But he evidently had an understanding, or at least the Holy Spirit knew it, so he says:

I Corinthians 13:12

“For now we see through a glass, (or we look into a mirror) darkly; but then face to face: ….”

Now the Greek implies an enigma. For years I didn’t know what that was and I don’t expect most people to know it today. But an enigma is like looking in a mirror and only getting an opaque reflection. In other words, if your mirror is covered over with steam after a hot shower, you may see the overall outlines of your face, but you do not see the little details that you’d want for putting on your make-up or shaving or whatever. Now that’s what the word “darkly” means. Paul was seeing through an opaque view. He could tell that there was more out there, but as yet he didn’t have the revelations. And so he says, “Now we see through a glass, or look into a mirror that’s clouded over, but then….” Now a lot of people think that this is referring to when Christ comes and it could be, but I prefer to think that Paul is referring to when he would have the complete revelation as we now have it. At the point he’s writing I Corinthians 13, he didn’t have it. And so he says, “We see through the glass darkly, but then….” when he has the full revelation, and the Word of God has become complete, then, he says, face to face.

He’s not talking about my seeing my parents face to face, or you seeing your loved ones or even seeing the Lord Jesus face to face, he’s talking about the fact that when the steam is wiped off of that bathroom mirror, he’s going to see himself as he really is. And so then, when the revelations are complete, he says it will just be like having the steam wiped off the mirror and I’ll see it all and we can see it all. And this is why I think we should be spending more time in, not just Paul’s early epistles, but in his later ones. The Church today needs to be taught what’s in Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. And we’re hearing precious little of it. That’s the deep stuff. That’s what makes us grow and become mature believers. Now let’s go on.

I Corinthians 13:12b

“…now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

In other words, the revelations would be complete and there would be no more explanations necessary. It is so obvious that when you start those prison epistles, the revelations go completely beyond his earliest epistles of Thessalonians, Corinthians, Romans and Galatians. Then verse 13. So after all is said and done, after all the gifts and sign gifts have come and gone, only three things abide and what are they?

I Corinthians 13:13

“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

Faith, hope and charity, or love. Now it’s interesting, and I want you to watch for this as you read Paul’s epistles, that here and there sprinkled throughout all the rest of his epistles, up will come these three words. Not always three at a time. Sometimes it’s faith and hope. Sometimes it may be faith and love. But he will constantly be using these three words to the end of his writings. Why? Because they will abide. They’re not going to pass off like prophecies did, tongues did, and some of these other things. And so he says, the greatest of all three is love.

I think we have to look at the whole picture. Naturally, without faith you cannot please God. One of the other absolutes I’ve always said is that without the shedding of blood there is no remission. But you can also say that if there is no love, it’s the same thing, it’s impossible to please God. So of the three, faith, hope and love, even love is now the greatest. Now let’s back up and pick up with Chapter 12. With love as the basis, and even as I deal with people who may not agree with me, I’m not going to get upset or angry with you. I’m just going to simply say, “Look, this is the way I feel this is the way the Lord has opened the Scriptures to my understanding and it’s my responsibility to teach what the Book says and not what some group may think.” Now look at verse 1. He is again, seemingly, referring to this letter of questions. And he says the same thing like he did in Chapter 7.

I Corinthians 12:1

“Now concerning spiritual gifts brethren, I would not have you ignorant.”

I know your King James says “gifts.” It’s italicized, is it not? So I think it would also be plainer if we would put an “s” on the word spiritual and leave it at that. “Now concerning spirituals, or spiritual things.” Now, here again, we have to be so careful because, you see, when we talk about the things in the realm of the spiritual, it’s just not the Holy Spirit’s power that we are confronted with, but also the adversary. He also is among the spirituals. Let me show you what I’m talking about. Turn to Ephesians 6, and a verse that all of you know and you’ll recognize it as soon as we look at it. This is one of those letters that I was just telling you about. Here we’re into one of the deeper aspects, the fuller and more final revelations that the apostle Paul received.

Ephesians 6:12

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Now what do you suppose? The word “spiritual” here in Ephesians is basically the same Greek word, it’s different case, but it’s still the same Greek word as what is translated the “spirituals” in Chapter 12 of I Corinthians verse 1. Now he says:

I Corinthians 12:1

“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.”

I’m going to have to jump across the page a minute in order to show you why I jumped over to Ephesians, because Chapter 12 here in I Corinthians verse 10, is interesting. Because here the Corinthian church is just beset with these problems, one of which was they were abusing some of the gifts.

I Corinthians 12:10a

“To another (not to all) the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits;…..”

Now what does it mean to discern something? Well, to analyze it and put it in it’s right category. You intelligently look at something and determine where this belongs and where that belongs. In other words, it had to be a gifted person even in Corinth to separate the spiritual things that were being prompted by Satan, and the spiritual things that were being prompted by the Holy Spirit. Now let me show you what I mean. Let me use Scripture. I’m not going to use my own ideas. Go all the way back to I John Chapter 4, verse 1. This is just as relevant today as it was when John wrote it, or when Paul wrote Corinthians. It is still the valid Word of God, and look what it says:

I John 4:1a

“Beloved (who is John writing to? Believers!) believe not every spirit….”

Now remember the word there isn’t capitalized. It’s the small case “s” and so it’s not talking about the Holy Spirit, but it’s talking about a spirit that is involved with the very mind and mental attributes of man, as well as Satan. You know the spirit of Satan is never capitalized either. And so here he says;

I John 4:1

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try (or test) the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

Now John wrote around 80 or 90 A.D., just before the turn of the first century, and if the Holy Spirit inspired him to write that there were many false spirits then, what do you think it is now? It’s far, far greater and so we have to be all the more aware of the gift of discerning these spirits. And I maintain that every believer has the wherewithal to do that if you’ll line it up with the Word of God. That’s your only criteria. You don’t go by what some preacher says or what I say, or what some seminary says, you line it up with the Word of God. And now come back to I Corinthians Chapter 12 and I think I can show you one area that Paul, as well as John, was talking about.

I Corinthians 12:1

“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.”

God does not want the most uneducated believer to be ignorant. There’s absolutely no excuse for it. There are Bibles in every book store and commentaries galore. But the Word of God can be understood by the lowliest, the most uneducated in the world. God has promised it. He may lead someone to help you understand it, but it is not beyond the comprehension of any believer. Now verse 2.

I Corinthians 12:2

“You know that ye were (in the past) Gentiles (we know it was primarily a Gentile congregation) carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.”

The word “dumb” there merely means that they couldn’t speak. It didn’t mean they had no intelligence, it just meant they couldn’t speak. And he says, “You were led to those.” Naturally, that’s all the world knew at that time, except for Judaism and Israel. Now verse 3.

I Corinthians 12:3a

“Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit (capital “S.” That’s the Holy Spirit. Do you see the difference? Small case “s” is not the Holy Spirit. It’s the spirit of man or spirit of evil, but it is not the Holy Spirit.) calleth Jesus accursed:…”

Now we think, how could anybody ever do that? Listen, what do you suppose the Jews did then and probably a lot of them do today? What do they call Jesus? Accursed! What do you think Saul of Tarsus called Him in his days of intense persecution? That accursed Person? How could you believe like that? You may say, “Les, how can you be so blasphemous?” I’m not, I’m reading Scripture. And I’ll tell you why the Jews would say something like that. Turn with me now to Acts Chapter 5. This is interesting and this is why I like to teach. This is Bible study. I’m not going to roll out a sermon at you, we’re going to search the scriptures. And here Peter is still holding forth with the 11 and they are still primarily dealing with the Jewish people, still confronting them with the fact that the One that was crucified was their Messiah.

Acts 5:29,30

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, `We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.'”

Now let’s go back to Matthew 27 and verse 5. Judas has just gone to the chief priests and in verse 4 he has admitted he has betrayed innocent blood. And now verse 5

Matthew 27:5

“And he (Judas) cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.”

Now come all the way back to Deuteronomy and you’ll see what I’m driving at. Deuteronomy 21 and here is why Jews, with a straight face and conscious, would accuse or curse Jesus because He had been hanged on a Cross.

Deuteronomy 21:22,23

“And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (does that ring a bell? Why were the Jews in such a hurry to get Jesus off the Cross? They knew this verse!) (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;)…”

Did you know that was in your Bible? Now let’s go back to I Corinthians and that will probably make more sense. Paul is admonishing, especially in the direction of Jewish unbelievers who were giving Christianity such a bad time, and reflecting, I think, in his own pre-salvation experience. He was literally telling Israel that this Man, Jesus of Nazareth, was accursed because he was hanged on the Cross, on the tree. Paul is making it so plain here in I Corinthians 12 that no man who is now a believer and under the control of the Holy Spirit would ever call Jesus accursed simply because He’d been crucified. We know better than that, but you see the Jews were leaning on Deuteronomy, and what Judas had done, and so they were calling Jesus accursed. But they were not doing it in the power of the Holy Spirit, they were doing it in their unbelief. The reason I’m making a point of this is because years ago this verse bugged me. I thought how in the world could anybody curse Jesus? But this was their reasoning. Now let’s go on and look at the last part of verse 3.

I Corinthians 12:3b

“…and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, (and really mean it) but by the Holy Ghost.”

Now that’s the other side of the coin. No unbeliever can ever claim that Christ is His Lord, it’s impossible. Christ can never be the Lord and Master of an unbelieving person.

329 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 1 - Book 28 - Eternal Excellence of Love

329: Eternal Excellence of Love – Lesson 2 Part 1 Book 28

YouTube video

 

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 28

ETERNAL EXCELLENCE OF LOVE

In our last lesson we pretty much finished Chapter 11 of I Corinthians, and in these next four lessons I hope to cover Chapters 12, 13, and 14. We’re still studying the questions that Paul had received from these Corinthians. I think Paul is doing like I do even now, and that is, when someone writes and they have several questions. then I answer the questions in the order that they wrote them. We have been studying how he has been dealing with one problem after another that they had evidently listed in this letter to him. Now when we come to Chapter 12 he starts out the same way as I’m sure they had asked him about spiritual gifts, and he is going to cover it as only the Apostle Paul, by inspiration, could cover it.

I Corinthians 12:1a

Now concerning spiritual gifts,…”

Now it’s rather interesting and I guess I had never really thought of it this way until I spent the last 3 months just racking my whole being on these three chapters, getting ready for this series like I never have before. And then it suddenly dawned on me why Chapter 13 is the love chapter, which almost everybody in Christendom knows. Why is it sandwiched right in between 12 and 14? It could just as easily have been back in the Book of Romans, or in Ephesians or any one of his other letters, but why did the Holy Spirit inspire the apostle to write the love chapter between these two chapters? I think you will see in just a little bit, as we now take off, that this is the great love chapter of the whole New Testament. And again it’s in response to the problems and questions that the Corinthian Church had. Remember, they were so carnal and had so many problems. They were babes in Christ! They couldn’t handle the meat of the Word!

I Corinthians 3:1,2

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 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.”

Now the Apostle could have just blasted these Corinthians on some of these things, and especially Chapters 12 and 14. But instead he is not only preparing the Corinthian congregation to accept Chapters 12 & 14, he is also preparing his own heart and attitude lest he become too belligerent, and become angry with them. So what does he have to do? Well the Holy Spirit has prompted him to pen Chapter 13, and now let’s look at it in that light. We want to approach the things that are so controversial, even in the Corinthian Church in Chapter 12 and 14, based on the love and the understanding and patience that we see in this chapter. It is imperative that we look at Chapter 13 before I start making any comments on the other two chapters because this was the apostles’ attitude as he approached these carnal Corinthians. Now let’s look at Chapter 13.

I Corinthians 13:1

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, (Now I’m going to stop right there. That does not say that he spoke in the angelic tongue. It is only a hypothetical statement. “If,” he said hypothetically, he could speak in the tongues of angels, and all the languages of the world, if that could be the case) and have not charity, (love) I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.”

Now what is he opening the door to? How are these Corinthians going to respond to some of the things he’s going to say in Chapters 12, and 14? Well, without the attitude of love, faith, and understanding they’re going to get upset and angry. And I shouldn’t doubt that some of my audience will also, but I guess the Lord does everything in His own way because He’s so Sovereign to the smallest detail. Ordinarily when we leave to drive the 90 miles to tape the programs we don’t have time to look at our mail. We usually do that when we get home. But this morning for some reason I went and got the mail and opened up the letters quickly, and I’m sure that this one little letter was meant for me this afternoon. It was a lady writing from Minnesota, and she said, “I’ve been watching you and even though I’m from a background far different than yours, and even though you say things that I can’t agree with, yet never have you offended me with anything that you have taught.”

And this is my whole goal, that maybe I have to say things that are contrary to what some have been taught, but I want to do it without making offense. And this is exactly what Paul is saying. “I’m coming to you in the spirit of love.” And that has to be for all of us because when you approach some person that you may know is as hell-bound as can be, don’t ever go up to them and say, “Look, unless you do such and such you’re going to go to hell!” Hey, you’ll close their mind right now because you don’t do that to people. But you approach them with this whole attitude that the apostle uses of love, and patience, and understanding, and not compromising the truth in the process.

I Corinthians 13:2

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, (which of course he admonishes the Corinthians to look for because it was far better than other things) and understand all mysteries, (now I wish I had more time. Even when you go into the pagan religions of the world, at the very core of every pagan religion, what do you find? Mysteries! The secrets of that evil religion. And so Paul is really saying here that even though he had the gift of understanding even the mysteries of the Oriental, pagan, idolatry religions [and of course he uses the same word in his own letters] that He was revealed the Mysteries of God. Nevertheless this is speaking of something beyond the norm. So he says even if he had the ability to understand all the supernatural mysteries) and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, (love) I am nothing.”

And you know the letter to the Church at Ephesus, back there in the Book of Revelation, oh, they were so correct in everything. They had their doctrine straight, they had their discipline in order, and yet as the Lord Jesus spoke that letter to that Church, what was their major lacking? No love! It doesn’t do any good to have all your doctrine straight, or to have perfect discipline, if there is no love then it counts for nothing. And so this is what this apostle is bringing out to these Corinthians. He’s saying, “Look, I’m going to be coming at you about some things that I don’t agree with you that you’re doing, but I’m going to do it in the spirit of love. ” Now reading on.

I Corinthians 13:3

“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, (how could anybody do anything better than that?) and though I give my body to be burned, (as a complete sacrifice to even the service of God) and have not charity, (love) it profiteth me nothing.”

Everything we say, think and do with regards to our family, our wife, our neighbor, our business partners, whatever the case may be, it still has to be based on this premise of love. Now understand of course that this term of love is not the erotic kind that Hollywood promotes. This is talking about the agape that is God-centered. And only the true believer can really have and exercise this kind of love, because the unsaved world doesn’t know what it is. They can’t comprehend it, but for us Paul says, this is out there for us to latch onto. In verse 4 he begins to explain all the attributes of this one word “love.”

I Corinthians 13:4

“Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity (love) envieth not; (and of course the other word for envieth is covet. If you love someone you cannot covet what is theirs. That goes right back into the commandments doesn’t it?) charity (love) vaunteth not itself, (In other words, love doesn’t become arrogant, and put pressure on the subjects of your love.) is not puffed up.”

I Corinthians 13:5

(Love) Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, (Now that doesn’t mean it can never be provoked, but it’s not easily provoked) thinketh no evil;(True love can think no evil. That’s quite a statement isn’t it? Now verse 6.

I Corinthians 13:6-8a

(Love) Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; (Love) Beareth all things, believeth all things, (Remember faith is the other word for believeth, so our faith is based on love.The whole crux of the work of the Cross was the love of God, that He showered on mankind when He sent the best that heaven had to the Cross of Calvary. So far as Christ is concerned, God’s wrath was poured upon Him while He hung there, but as God’s wrath was poured on Christ the love of God was shed abroad on the human race.) hopeth all things, endureth all things.” Then verse 8a: “Love never faileth:….”

Love will never let us down. We know human nature. We know that there are times when we may love our neighbor and may do everything we can for them and they’re still going to take advantage of you. But over the long haul, love is going to persevere. I think one of the best examples that I can remember is that of President Abraham Lincoln. He was the epitome of this kind of Christian love. At the height of the war there was a gentleman who had ridiculed Abraham Lincoln before he became President. He ridiculed him to such a state that he once admonished an explorer, traveling all over Africa looking for a gorilla, “Why go to Africa when all you have to do is go to Springfield, Illinois” (referring to Abraham Lincoln).

He also made other disparaging remarks concerning Abraham Lincoln, but besides that, when Lincoln needed the right man to be his Secretary of War during the midst of the Civil War, whom do you suppose he appointed? This man, Stanton. And as time went by and Stanton served under the President, he continued to give him snide remarks and had no respect for the man whatsoever. But Lincoln never paid any attention to it. And then when he was assassinated, and as they had laid his body in a side room, Stanton came in and through his tears, weeping, he said, “Never has there been such a leader of men.” You know, that touches our heart and well it should. But what made Lincoln what he was? He knew this whole attribute of Godly love. A man like Stanton never phased that love. He continued to work with him, appointed him and so forth. And I think this is what we have to understand, that a lot of times we don’t get the immediate gratification, but in the long run, what goes around, comes around. Our love is still going to be a profitable thing. Now, let’s move on.

I Corinthians 13:8

“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.”

In other words, the gift of prophecy, which he says back in Chapter 12 is the one that is by far the best, it’s going to fail. Well, how can something that’s so good fail? You see, before this book came into print, (the New Testament), and Paul had already been winning hundreds and hundreds of people to Christ, and congregations were being started, they didn’t have anything written to go by. None of the Gospels were even written yet. In fact, Paul will quote some of the words of Jesus as we see them in the Gospels in your Red Letter Edition. And so you know the man is moved by inspiration because they hadn’t been written yet. So here, while the world was waiting for God’s Word to come into print by way of the Four Gospels’ account, by way of Luke’s writing Acts and by way of Paul’s epistles, what did God have to provide to feed those believers? Gifted men! And so the gift of prophecy was indeed by far the most important because that’s all those early believers had to go on. And here, he says, they’re going to fail. They’re going to pass away. Why? Because the written book is coming. And Paul, evidently by inspiration, knew that there was a time coming when the Word of God would be in print for the New Testament believer, even as the Old Testament was at that time.

Now let’s move on to the next part: “whether there be tongues….” I guess I’m going to have to emphasize something and it will carry for all three of these chapters, and I’m going to do this just so that people can readily understand that in the Greek whenever you see the word “tongues” (plural) it always means a known language. A speakable, reducible to writing, language. Now, the word `tongue’ in the singular (and we’ll point this out as we go through the coming chapters, especially Chapter 14), when there is no plural, speaks to those non-phonetic sounds, and that’s all they were, just sounds, that no one could reduce to writing. Even some of our most gifted translators today, such as your Bible Societies, the Wycliffe translators, whenever they have heard someone speak in one of these so-called unknown tongues, they have never been able to pick out a single phonetic sound that could be reduced to writing. Amazing isn’t it? And so they are unintelligible and that’s why Paul said that if they are going to use it, they have to have someone to interpret or translate it, otherwise leave it alone. Whatever, we’re going to leave that aside for now.

So now, he says, that this whole gift of speaking even in known languages, being able to speak in almost any language that would happen to come up, this gift will cease. Paul makes the statement in Chapter 14, verse 18:

I Corinthians 14:18

“I thank my God, I speak with tongues (plural) more than ye all:”

Now that was early in his ministry. And from what we can gather from the time he comes to the end of his ministry, he no longer practices it either. Now I can best explain this ability to speak in languages from one of our guides when we’ve been to Israel (and we’re hoping to get him when we go again). When we’d finished our tour, the whole group that was with us had fallen in love with the guy. I asked him, “Eli, what do you do from here?” He said, “I’ve got a few days off and then I pick up another group from Italy.” I said, “Then what do you do? How do you communicate?” He said, “I speak Italian.” I said, “What if a week after that a bunch of Japanese come?” He said, “No problem. I speak Japanese too.” He gave me his business card when we left and I sat down on the plane and turned it over on the back side and there he had it down – the guy was fluent in seven languages. He could take a tour from any one of those countries and be able to converse with them as well as he did us.

Now that’s what it means to be able to speak in tongues (plural) as we see it here. And the guy had this but it wasn’t a supernatural gift. I imagine he had a talent and ability, but he still had to learn those various languages. But Paul, wherever he went in his missionary journeys, and he went into various tribes and dialects, didn’t have to stop and take six months to learn the language. He communicated with them. And even in Corinth, there was a multitude of languages being constantly used because it was a center of East and West trade. But whatever, Paul says the day is coming when this gift of being able to speak in such as he was able to do, would also disappear. Why? Because God’s Sovereign. Talk to any missionary that’s gone to the mission field over the last many years, and have you ever found one that can go right in to Brazil and speak Portuguese? Or into Bolivia and all of a sudden be able to speak the languages of those Indian tribes? No! And so what do they do? They have to study months and years learning the language. Because God has taken that whole thing away.

When we were in Haiti, I would have given anything if we could have just been able to communicate with those 700 Haitians who were out there in that crowd every night, plus the fact that it went out over island-wide radio. If I could have spoken that whole week in either Creole or French, I would have been satisfied with either one of them. But I couldn’t. I needed an interpreter. And so Paul says this whole gift of tongues is going to vanish, as well as the gift of prophecy and even this supernatural knowledge that was given to men, till the printed page came in, disappeared. Now you want to remember that God gave us this Book, which is supernatural in itself. And He has written it in such a way, as one of the old Reformers put it, that every plowboy in England could read the Bible and could comprehend it. So this is why all these supernatural things are going to fade away: because the printed Word would now come in and take over. Now verse 9:

I Corinthians 13:9,10

“For we know in part, (what does `in part’ mean? Partially, there’s not a full knowledge revealed yet. Paul understood that. That even with all the revelations that he had received from the ascended Lord, he still did not have them all, as there would be more coming and we know now that there were.) and we prophesy (or preach, particularly) in part.” He still didn’t have the whole revelation of the truth of the Gospel of Grace, this was only the beginning.

“But when that which is perfect (mature or complete) is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”

Now here I have to use a simple illustration: everyone of you went through the grade school and learned your arithmetic, your plain and simple combination of 2+2, the multiplication tables and so forth. How often do you still use them today? I mean as such? Very rarely. But whatever mathematics you do use, what’s it all based on? Those first principles. I don’t care how high you go in mathematics 2+2 is still 4. Now it’s the same way with scriptural revelations. God starts with the simple, but He is constantly revealing deeper and deeper truths. Now that doesn’t take away the simpler part, but rather puts it in a place where you’re not constantly hashing it over because you don’t have to. It’s just simply part and parcel of your make-up. Let me show you a verse that I think points it out so clearly, and that would be in Hebrews Chapter 6 right there in verse 1.

Hebrews 6:1

“Therefore (Getting off the baby bottle in Chapter 5, and getting into the meat of the Word. You don’t throw them away, or say they are no longer true, but you don’t need them anymore) leaving (just like we leave grade school arithmetic) the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; (maturity, or that which is complete)”

Don’t stay back there in the simplicity area of Scripture, but move on into deeper things.

328 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 4 - Book 28 - 1 Corinthians 10:18 - 11:30

328: 1 Corinthians 10:18 – 11:30 – Lesson 1 Part 4 Book 28

YouTube video

 

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 28

I CORINTHIANS 10:18 – 11:30

Now to get back to where we left off in our last lesson. But before we do, I just want to say this is an informal Bible study, and we want people to just study the scriptures, and we like to do it in an atmosphere like we do in our Bible studies here in Oklahoma, with a cup of coffee, or other refreshments, and a table where you can take notes if you like. And we trust that many of you are joining with us in Bible study as we know you are. Remember all we’re doing is trying to get folks to search the Scriptures and see what the Book really says, and just as important, what it doesn’t say.

In our last lesson we were studying about the Lord’s Supper and how Paul was having to upbraid the Corinthians because they were abusing it. And remember before they would have the official Lord’s supper of unleavened bread, and the communion cup, they would have a pot luck supper. Now again remember the circumstances. You see that’s what makes the Bible so interesting. Historically, and environmentally everything makes a difference with the circumstances. The Corinthian believers were a make-up of a few Jews, more than likely more Gentiles, but from the whole strata of society. Now naturally, in that day and time what kind of people were at the bottom of the totem pole socially? Slaves. Bond slaves, and then of course you had your wealthy merchant men who probably had ships out at sea, and Corinth was their home base.

So you have this whole cross-section of society even within that little congregation. So they would have this potluck supper, and people being people, the bottom echelon people would bring what they could afford, and maybe some of them couldn’t afford anything, but they were free to come. Come on up through the scale, and people bring various levels of food and so forth, but what do you suppose the wealthy brought? They brought the best wines, meats and vegetables because they could afford it. Now I can imagine, before Paul writes, that the poor people were just gorging themselves with the things that the wealthier people were bringing. They had never tasted wine so good so they just guzzled it. They were becoming gluttonous, and drunk. And then in verse 22:

I Corinthians 11:22

“What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.”

It would indicate that the people were also separating themselves during the potluck supper, and the wealthy were saying, “You’re not going to eat the good food that I’ve brought or drink our good wine. You go have your own table.” Well that’s the furthest thing from what the Church is supposed to be. So they were dividing themselves now according to their status in the culture, and Paul is shocked, and says, “In the first place, you didn’t come to Church to fill your bellies with food and drink,” but this was what they were doing, abusing. Now there is nothing wrong with a potluck supper once in a while, because I’m not one of these who say you can’t eat when you come together as believers. In fact, I think that is one of the highlights of our classes here in Oklahoma, and even here at the studio. After an hour of teaching we take a coffee break, and these gals bring out the best that there is. So all of our classes enjoy these little breaks, and it’s also a time of fellowship, and there is nothing wrong with that. But the Corinthians were abusing all of that, and some were even getting drunk. You might say, “Christians?” Yeah, no wonder Paul was shocked and upset. Now verse 22.

I Corinthians 11:22

“What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? (Now it’s obvious he wasn’t talking about the elements of the Lord’s table, but rather he was talking about their potluck dinner. He’s saying if you can’t do it right then eat at home.) or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? (Do you see what Paul is saying especially to the wealthy? He’s saying how dare they flaunt their wealth by bringing all this expensive gourmet food when they know there are other people that can’t afford anything.) What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? (What does he say?) I praise you not.”

So Paul is gently condemning them by just simply saying, “I can’t praise you for this kind of action because this is the way that it should not be done.” Now in verse 23 he is going to come in and give the real purpose for what we call the Lord’s Supper or communion table. And again I’m going to emphasize that it has nothing to do with the salvation of these Corinthians. These Corinthians are already saved, they are believers. Now for the purpose of this table in the Church program.

I Corinthians 11:23a

“For I have received of the Lord…”

Now do you see what he says? He didn’t get it from the Twelve in Jerusalem, or from seminary, or some denominational big wigs, but where did he get it? From the Lord! Let’s go back to the Book of Galatians for a moment and look how Paul received these revelations. This way you can compare Scripture with Scripture. We’ve got to look at these Scriptures because they are tantamount to our understanding Paul’s apostleship.

Galatians 1:11,12

“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, (by man, but how did he get it?) but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Now you have to remember, where is Jesus Christ all during Paul’s revelations? In glory. And so everything that Paul writes concerning our doctrine today is from the ascended Lord after His death, burial, and resurrection. And remember, until He went to that Cross, and died, He was not the object of faith to the main run of Gentiles. But once He had finished the work of the Cross, and revealed His plan of salvation to this apostle then it becomes that Gospel as he says in Chapter 2, “Which I preached to the Gentiles.”

Galatians 1:15-17

“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace. To reveal (a revelation) his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen;(Gentiles) immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.”

Do you see how the Holy Spirit is prompting the man to write definitively that he had no contact with those Twelve men at Jerusalem. So when he speaks of revelation he is always referring to that which Christ revealed from His position now in the heavenlies. Now you come into Chapter 2 to a verse that I just semi-quoted in verse 2. Paul goes up to Jerusalem now to convince the twelve that his Gospel to the Gentiles was not connected with Judaism, and so he says in verse 2:

Galatians 2:2a

“And I went up (that is to Jerusalem) by revelation, (God instructed him. “Paul, it’s time you go up and meet with the Twelve, you go up to Jerusalem.”) and communicated unto them(the Twelve) that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles,…”

So everything that Paul has revealed to him to pass on to the Roman world was revealed from the ascended Lord in glory. Now come back to I Corinthians Chapter 11 and let’s continue our study of the real meaning of the Lord’s table.

I Corinthians 11:23a

“For I have received of the Lord (by revelation) that which also I delivered unto you,…”

By the time Paul writes the I Corinthian letter, the Church of Corinth had been operating long enough to build the excesses. They had been going long enough that they were getting all these kooky ideas coming in. Because this isn’t what he taught them at the beginning. This isn’t how he taught them to practice the Lord table. I imagine that when they got ready to have the Lord’s table they realized that they couldn’t satisfy a whole day’s energy with a little cup or swallow of wine, and one little piece of unleavened bread. “My, let’s start bringing some food and we can have a real supper out of it.” But that led to excess, and so now Paul has to bring them some criticism. Looking at the verse again.

I Corinthians 11:23-25

“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, `Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.’ After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, `This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye as oft as ye drink it. in remembrance of me.'” Now let’s go back to Matthew Chapter 26 and begin with verse 17.

Matthew 26:17-20

“Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, `Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?’ And he said, `Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand: I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.’ And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.”

Remember when they ate the passover lamb back in Egypt, what was the position of each of them at the table? Standing. So if they were to be standing to eat the Passover lamb with their feet shod, why were they standing? They were ready to go, and I don’t think the custom had changed all that much, so when He sat down there was a regular meal that they ate before they killed the Passover lamb, if I understand Passover. Then let’s come all the way over to verse 26.

Matthew 26:26-30

“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, `Take, eat; this is my body.’ And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, `Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.’ And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.”

Now why did I read this to you? Does Jesus give any doctrinal exposition on the bread and the wine. Not a word. All He says in verse 26 is “…this is my body.” and in verse 28. …this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

But we see no explanation or instructions on how to practice it from here on. Now let’s come all the way back to Genesis Chapter 14 and look at the first example of bread and wine. And here comes this hard to pronounce name out of Jerusalem. Who? Melchizedek, the high priest and king of Salem, which was a little village that later became Jerusalem. And in order to get the backdrop, remember Abraham had put together a little army out of his servants and had recaptured the people that had been taken captive out of Sodom, and that included his nephew, Lot. And he’s coming back after their victory, and here’s a situation that’s loaded of course with a lot of prophetic impact, and let’s pick it up in verse 18. And we find that this Melchizedek this high priest of Salem, and remember He was not a high priest of the Jews, because that Nation hadn’t been formed yet.

Genesis 14:18

“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.”

Now that wasn’t what they normally used in the sacrifices of Abraham’s day. So why in the world did Melchizedek offer bread and wine? Well, it was a subtle prophecy. Oh, it was so subtle because what was the bread and the wine, as Jesus administered it in Matthew 26, going to represent? The resurrection. And that’s what the whole idea of the Lord’s supper is. It is to be a constant reminder that every time we partake of that bread and that cup it is a reminder of that finished work of the Cross. And this is the first time that’s it’s explained. In fact one commentator that I’ve read puts it this way: “This is probably the first time that Jesus is quoted chronologically in the Scriptures, because the Four Gospels hadn’t been written yet. Have you ever thought of that? The Four Gospels hadn’t been written so Paul couldn’t go to the Gospel of Matthew. But rather Paul’s interpretation of the Lord’s supper came by revelation. And isn’t it amazing how God does everything in His own order, as before the Four Gospels were ever written Paul writes to the Corinthians the very same words. Now read on in I Corinthians, verse 26, and here is the doctrinal reason for the Lord’s supper.

I Corinthians 11:26

“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew (or remind yourself of) the Lord’s death till he come.”

Now I’m going to point out two things. There is no stipulation from the apostle as to how often a Church practices the Lord’s supper. I don’t care if your denomination practices it every Sunday, that’s your prerogative. If you want to practice it once a year that’s also your prerogative. Because the word is whenever you have the Lord’s Supper you had better have the right mind-set when you do partake of it. And that is that you are reminding yourself that Christ died, His blood was shed, and He arose from the dead. And that’s the only purpose of the Lord’s supper, and it is to be a solemn experience. And again, the Corinthians were so abusing this beautiful, beautiful picture in type, by their indulgence with food, getting half drunk on too much wine, so how in the world could they receive the impact of such a solemn service. So Paul had to upbraid them and tell them to stop it, because it was a solemn occasion. And as the last part of verse 26 says the Lord’s table will not stop until the Lord returns. Now verse 27, and here comes the apostles description of what our attitude should be as we partake.

I Corinthians 11:27,28

“Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.”

When it says, “But let a man examine himself,…” I think that’s the secret to behavior at the Lord’s table. You don’t examine the next person to you or judge someone else, but just look at your own heart, and attitude. Am I right with the Lord? Am I right with my fellow believers? And if you can say `yes’ and `amen’ to that, then you feel free to partake. If you can’t, you’d better refrain, because then you are drinking and eating condemnation. Now verse 29.

I Corinthians 11:29

“For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”

That is speaking of someone who partakes of the Lord’s table with the wrong attitude. The Corinthians were going into that supper with almost an attitude of revelry, totally wrong. Many others of the Corinthians had a real thing against someone across the room, and their enmity was just like sparks, and Paul tells them that won’t work. You can’t take the Lord’s table with that kind of attitude. Now verse 30. Since the Corinthians were guilty of many things that should have kept them from partaking:

I Corinthians 11:30

“For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, (in other words God was already chastising them by taking away their health) and many sleep.”

What does he mean? They had died. Now there is a sin unto death recorded in one of John’s little epistles, and we won’t have time to look at it today, but John also tells us that we don’t pray for it. Even though you think that someone is awfully out of step, you never pray, “Lord take them out.” That’s not our prerogative, but the Lord does have that prerogative. That if a believer will not shape up, and if a believer continues to walk in known sin, then yes, God will take them, because He’s not going let anybody drag His name through the mud. Now we know there are people who have made profession of salvation, they’ve probably been members of the church, and they’re doing the same thing. And if the Lord doesn’t deal with them, if the Lord doesn’t chastise them, then Paul teaches in the Book of Hebrews that they are not His children.

Hebrews 12:5-8

“…My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.”

So the Lord had been chastening the Corinthians because Paul says:

I Corinthians 11:30

“For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.”

327 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 3 - Book 28 - Holy Communion

327: Holy Communion – Lesson 1 Part 3 Book 28

YouTube video

 

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 28

Holy Communion

Now let’s pick up again in Chapter 11, and we’ll begin with verse 2 where the Apostle writes.

I Corinthians 11:2

“Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, (things) as I delivered them to you.”

In other words, go by what I have instructed because I am the Apostle of the Gentiles, and of course, this was a predominantly Gentile congregation. I say predominantly because no doubt there were some Jews in the early congregation because the Scripture teaches that Paul would always go first to the Jew, and then when he saw that he wasn’t going to reap a harvest, then he would go to the Gentiles. So I’m convinced in all his early little congregations there were a smattering of Jewish believers.

Now in the next few verses we are going to deal with something that is as far removed from us in America in this day and time as what we just talked about in the previous chapters with meat offered to idols. And that is women in the Church and their covering or not to be covered heads and so forth. And it is one of those areas again that has certainly changed by virtue of customs and environment, not that the Word of God changes, but I certainly think that customs do. We know that a lot of the things that God mandated for Israel, for example, was because of their national customs and the way God had taught them. So we will take these coming verses with a little bit of a grain of salt. I’m not going to take it as no longer being the Word of God but I do want us to realize that there has been a tremendous change in the position and attitude of men toward women in Christianity.

Now maybe just for openers before we read the Scriptures, I would like to share a couple of quotes that are appropriate. You want to realize that Paul himself was not anti-women. Paul in Romans Chapter 16 commends so many women who helped him in the ministry, and he certainly recognized the fact that there was a role for women in the Church. Now in this portion in I Corinthians when it sounds like he is coming down kind of hard on the women, again, remember the circumstances in Corinth being the pagan city that it was. It was still probably closer to the Orient than what we call western civilization, and so many of the things that were part and parcel of the Hebrew, as well as the pagan attitude toward women, is probably epitomized in these two little quotes.

Sophocles, a Greek philosopher back even before Paul’s time said it like this: “Silence confers grace upon a woman.” Do you hear what he is saying? The best thing that a woman can do is be quiet. Now that was the philosophers of Greece. Now I’m not saying this to promote this, but rather I’m just saying that this was the attitude that was prevalent when Paul was dealing with these early Christian people. Now the other quote comes from the Jewish writings out of the “Talmud,” and actually the Talmud was really a commentary. But this book lists several plagues that could be laid upon the Jewish people, and of the several plagues here is one of them. Now you’re not going to like this, but I’m just trying to show you that this was the attitude prevalent when Paul is writing. The Talmud says, “The talkative widow, and the virgin who wastes her time in prayer are one of the plagues of Israel.” Now we would never dream of saying something like that today.

This backs up what I have taught for years and years, and I’ve made no apology for it. Don’t ever accuse the Apostle Paul of being anti-female, because it’s the Apostle Paul’s doctrines that opened up the world of freedom to the women. Christianity is really what set womanhood free. And as we come into these coming verses, keep in mind that even today in the Middle East, a women that is unveiled is open to anything. She can be opened to verbal abuse, and snide remarks as she walks down the street, and she may be opened to various types of attacks, but if she is veiled she can retreat into a world all her own. And then even the most brazen of men in the Middle East will recognize that that veiled women is not to be touched. So we have to take these cultures into view as we now see what Paul is writing here, and what he’s telling these Corinthians believers is, “Be careful how you handle this situation since the world is watching, lest they misinterpret.” Now we’re in the same situation in many areas of things today. We have to be careful how we do certain things lest the unbelieving world totally misinterprets our actions, and totally accuse us wrongly. Now maybe as we come into the text you can see what we are talking about. Now verse 4:

I Corinthians 11:4

“Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.”

Now we still, except for the younger generation, adhere to that. Those of us who grew up in a generation several years back wouldn’t dare wear your cap into the high school, for example, or you’d wind up in the principal’s office. Well that was discipline, and it’s the same way today, as very, very few men would walk into a church sanctuary with their hat on. I mean we just don’t do those things. Well you see, back here in Paul’s day it again goes back to customs, and so Paul is telling us us that it’s just common knowledge that a man does not come into an attitude of prayer or worship with his hat on. For the woman it’s the other way around. You don’t expect a women to go into any kind of a worship situation without her head covered as we see in verse 5.

I Corinthians 11:5

“But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.”

Now does that mean that women today have to wear a veil or hat or something to cover their head when they go into church? No. I don’t think the scripture is saying that at all, but in the culture of that day for a woman to be out in public with nothing on her head when they were used to the veil, what kind of a woman would usually flaunt herself in that way? Well, the prostitute. They would just remove these coverings from their head to unveil their profession. Now naturally, if that is the mind-set of 99.9 percent of the population do you see what an impact that makes? So Paul is dealing with it under those circumstances. Now today we’re not bothered with that, and so this is why I think custom has completely changed our interpretation of some of these things. But we’re still going to look at it because it’s still part and parcel of the Word of God. Now verse 6:

I Corinthians 11:6

“For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.”

Now that’s simple isn’t it? If a woman realizes that it’s certainly not becoming to have her hair all shaved off, and again making her right down at the same level as the prostitutes, what woman is going to do that? That’s just common sense. Now verse 7:

I Corinthians 11:7

“For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.”

And again that goes back to Adam. As Adam was created in the image of God, and also as Adam was the first created, and the woman was created next, that’s what Paul says in so many words in verse 8.

I Corinthians 11:8

“For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.”

That was the process in creation. Do you remember I stressed that when God created Adam, where was Eve? In him! And then it was out of Adam that He created the woman later. Now you see this is why God has ordained all the way up through human history. That the husband was to be the head of the woman, not as a slave master, but in the order of God’s things this is the way He has ordained it by virtue of Him creating the man first and then the woman. Verse 9.

I Corinthians 11:9-12

“Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.” Let’s go back to the Book of Genesis Chapter 2 for a moment and tie this together.

Genesis 2:18

“And the LORD God said, `It is not, good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet (or complement) for him.'”

Now we know that God at this time has already made the animal kingdom, and come down to verse 19 and He’s going to have Adam name them.

Genesis 2:19,20

“And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air; and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet (or a mate) for him.”

Now remember when I taught this, when we started in Genesis, I said can’t you imagine that Adam was seeing all these creatures come by him to be named, and they all had their mates, no doubt the male and the female, and probably after so long a time Adam got a lonely feeling and said, “Now LORD why? Why do all these creature have a mate and I’m alone?” Well, God had already said that it wasn’t good for man to be alone. So now let’s look at verse 21.

Genesis 2:21,22

“And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, (I prefer to use the term side chamber, which is also the same definition for that Hebrew word) and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”

There was the process of Eve coming onto the scene. Now from here I always like to turn to Genesis Chapter 5 to show this is exactly how it happened, that Adam was created and was alone for a period of time, but that Eve was already inside Adam to a certain degree, because she had to be, in order to keep Adam as the federal head of the human race.

Genesis 5:2

“Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.”

So what does that tell you? Eve was in Adam, and she was part and parcel of him even as God created him and named him Adam. Now you also want to remember she wasn’t called Eve until after the fall. But that was the process of creation. God created Adam with Eve within him, and then sometime later He takes that part of Eve out of Adam and creates the woman, so now he has his complement, he is now complete, he is no longer alone. Now coming back to I Corinthians 11, again we find that this is what Paul is resting on. That the whole order of the sexes is not some modern phenomenon. This originated at creation. God created the man to be the head of the women because she was created next, and that was God’s ordained way of setting up the home and family, and it holds to this day, because God never rescinded it. Now I always have to emphasize, that does not make the man a slave master. His wife is not a “go-fer” for him, but rather she is a help meet, she is a complement, and men are to understand that. Now looking at verse 12 again:

I Corinthians 11:12

“For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.” In other words they have come together in a union now that puts them almost on an equal basis, but the man is still the head of the union. Now verse 13:

I Corinthians 11:13,14

“Judge (make up your own mind) in yourselves: is it comely (proper) that a woman pray unto God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?”

Now again I think that goes back to the custom of Rome, and I think the men of those days wore rather short cropped hair. Now verse 15:

I Corinthians 11:15

“But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.”

It’s a blessing, and I think any woman would be the first to admit that to have a beautiful head of hair is indeed a blessing. Now verse 16, and here Paul is tempering all this. He’s not just coming in with a sledge hammer blow, but is constantly tempering his words to these Corinthians because he doesn’t want them to feel browbeaten, and return their feelings in rebellion. Yet he’s got to make some corrections, things have to be straightened up, and the word he uses in Chapter 14 is, “Everything that is done in the local Church must be done in order.” This is the way God does things. He is a God of order, and even in the Nation of Israel when the children of Israel were ready to move out after camping over night, did they just pick up and go like a mob? No! I mean they moved out like an organized army with all the tribes in their rightful order. He’s a God of order, and it was the same way in the Temple worship, there were prescribed ways to do everything. And it’s the same way in the resurrection that Paul teaches in Chapter 15, and we’ll be coming to that soon. What does Paul say:

I Corinthians 15:22,23

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”

Even the resurrection isn’t going to be just a great big jumbled up affair, but every man in his own particular order, so it’s going to be an orderly resurrection. Now verse 16:

I Corinthians 11:16

“But if any man seem to be contentious, (always causing problems) we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.”

Now again I think he is tempering the attitude of these people concerning the hair cuts of the prostitutes compared to the hair cuts of the Roman citizenry. He’s basically saying, “Just don’t do anything that makes the outside world think that you believers here in the Church are a bunch of kooks.” Now that’s the best way I can put it. Don’t let the world think of your Church service as something like a bunch of nuts, or you’re somebody out there in left field, because they are watching. Now verse 17, and here Paul is coming back to the instructions concerning the Lord’s table. And the Corinthians did have a tremendous problem with the Lord’s table, it was more than any church could imagine today.

I Corinthians 11:17

“Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, (in other words Paul is telling them that he is finding fault with them.) that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.”

Paul is saying, “The way you’re doing things is totally wrong. You are mixing up things that I have delivered unto you. You’re doing it all wrong.” Now verse 18:

I Corinthians 11:18

“For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be division among you; (we covered that back in Chapter 1. And remember the division was that some followed only Jesus, others said they followed Paul, some Peter, some Apollos) and I partly believe it.” Now remember Paul is getting all this by hear-say. Now verse 19.

I Corinthians 11:19-21

“For there must be also heresies among you that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. (Now here is where we’re going to deal with the Lord’s table.) When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.”

Now wait a minute, the Lord’s Supper now is nothing more than pieces of unleavened bread, and a little cup of grape juice or wine. Now that’s not enough to satisfy physical hunger or to get drunk on. Right? So what was going on? Hey, they were having a great big pot luck supper before they had the Lord’s supper. And most of the smaller rural churches still like to have their pot luck suppers where people just bring in what they feel they’re qualified to bring, and everybody eats. Well the Corinthians were doing that ahead of the Lord’s table for an evening service. I think the reason it’s called supper is because the ancients practiced more or less like rural America does . The farmer, when he gets up, wants a big breakfast; he probably won’t eat all that much at noon, but then in the evening is the big meal. Well it was the same way back here, and so these Corinthians were used to their main meal being in the evening. So before they observed the Lord’s table they would come in with the pot luck supper. And in the next lesson we’ll get into what Paul meant when he says they were using excesses at this pot luck supper, and that’s what it all amounted to, and why he had to correct them.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!