372 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 4 - Book 31 - 2 Corinthians 8:7 - 11:22 - Part 2

372: 2 Corinthians 8:7 – 11:22 – Part 2 – Lesson 3 Part 4 Book 31

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 31

2 CORINTHIANS 8:7 – 11:22 – PART 2

When we were first asked to teach on television, Iris and I dragged our feet for about three months but finally the Lord just laid it on us so heavily that we decided we would explore the possibilities. We never dreamed the program would go for more than six months. Now we’re several years down the road in this ministry. So Iris and I are in this together, and that in itself is a miracle of God, how He brought us together. Who would have ever dreamed that we’d be used the way we are by Him. Now let’s pick up where we left off in the last lesson and that would be with verse 4.

II Corinthians 11:4a

“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus,…”

Now what do you suppose Paul is talking about? Well, something other than the Jesus Who died for the sins of the world, and rose in power and glory from the dead. You don’t hear that too much anymore do you? We hear a lot of preaching about Jesus. Once, I was teaching in Northern Iowa and we had a house full of young people every Saturday night, and that was just after the Jesus Movement of the 60’s. Remember that? And that’s what they were. They just loved to sing, “Here comes Jesus walking on the water.” Well they only knew One Jesus, and that was the Jesus of His earthly ministry.

They knew nothing of the Christ of Calvary, they knew nothing of the shed Blood, they knew nothing of the power of His resurrection. And they aren’t alone. This is most of Christendom tonight. They know about Jesus, they know about Christmas and Easter, but the power of the work of the Cross, that’s something that has been long forgotten I’m afraid. But Paul says, `If they come preaching another Jesus than the One which he preached which was:

I Corinthians 1:23a

“But we preach Christ crucified,…” And here Paul says:

II Corinthians 11:4

“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received , or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” Now in verse 5 we have the crowning statement of his defense of his apostleship, and how many times hasn’t he used it.

II Corinthians 11:5

“For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles” Now who was that? Peter. Paul says he’s not a whit behind him. Now move across the page to Chapter 12 and look at verse 11.

II Corinthians 12:11a

“I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: (you forced me. Why? Because of them constantly accusing him of not being a rightful apostle. Paul didn’t have letters of commendations, he couldn’t say, “Well, I ministered with Christ for 3 years like Peter could.”) for I ought to have been commended of you: (was he? No, but he should have been. He was the one who brought them out of paganism, he was the one who brought them into the light of the Gospel of the Grace of God as found in I Corinthians 15:1-4. Now they are turning against him and not even giving him credit for it.) for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.””

I’ve told you that the Holy Spirit, by inspiration, over and over repeats things that need to be repeated, and here are two of them in two Chapters. In Chapter 11 Paul says, “For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.” and here in Chapter 12 it’s repeated again as he says, “for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles. though I be nothing. “ Paul doesn’t claim to be anybody. But when it came to being an instrument of God, he was everything. I’ve been alluding to it and I see I’m not going to get by without going to it, so turn to the Book of Galatians Chapter 2. I just love these verses when I defend Paul’s apostleship along with him. Because like I said before and I hear it so often, “Well Les, I follow Jesus, I’m not going by what some man says.” Well Who in the world do they think is speaking through this man? Galatians 1:

Galatians 1:11,12

“But I certify (or guarantee) you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man, (Paul didn’t pick up someone else’s mantle.) 12. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, (by other men) but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Now go to Chapter 2. The disciples have now called Paul and Barnabas up to Jerusalem. This is the great Jerusalem counsel of about AD 51 and this chapter is a parallel chapter of Acts Chapter 15. Now at this counsel the disciples have been coming down hard on Paul. They want him to back away from all of the claims of his apostleship, they want him to quit teaching that Gentiles can become believers without keeping the Law. (Acts 15:1 and Acts 15:5-6) They want him to embrace Judaism and circumcision, along with a belief in Christ. Now verse 5, and look what Paul says by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 2:5,6a

“To whom (these men in Jerusalem, Peter, James and John and the rest) we gave place by subjection, (see what that says? He was under pressure to do what they said. But Paul says, `We didn’t give into to them’) no not for an hour; (and what was the end result of not giving in?) that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. (Gentiles. Now verse 6) 6. But of these (the Twelve) who seemed to be somewhat,…” They thought they were still head and shoulders above him, but they’re not. They thought they were, but their authority had slipped through the cracks and Paul’s had ascended. And so these who seemed to be somewhat:

Galatians 2:6a

“But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were,…”

That’s past tense. They had been, they were the Twelve, that Jesus had chosen. But Israel has rejected it all, and Israel is slipping away. In just a few years after this is written the Temple will be destroyed, Jerusalem is destroyed, and Israel goes into a dispersion among the nations of the world. Oh sure these disciples had had their time. But because of Israel’s unbelief they had lost it. Verse 6 again:

Galatians 2:6

“But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference(when they really started comparing notes of doctrine, not experience.) added nothing to me:”

Now when it came to experience then who could have had the most? Well the Twelve. Look what they had experienced with all the miracles. Peter could even say, “Well Paul, I walked on the water.” And Peter did until he sank, but he made a few steps on the water. The Twelve could rehearse all of that because they had the experience. But you see Paul had the doctrine. Paul had the revelations from the ascended Lord. Now verse 7:

Galatians 2:7,8

“But contrariwise, when they (the Twelve) saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision (the Gentiles) was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision (the Jew) was unto Peter. 8. (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, (Jew) the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) “

What did Paul mean in verse 8 when he said, “the same?” The same Christ, the same God, the same Lord Jesus Who commissioned the Twelve to go to Israel, and they followed Him for 3 years, they ministered unto Him. But now that has all fallen through the cracks and the apostle Paul comes to the front, and now with this same Jesus he becomes the apostle of choice.

Galatians 2:9a

“And when James, Cephas, (Peter) and John,…”

I always feel that in Scripture there is a reason for the order of names. And here Peter is not first. It’s not Peter, James and John, in fact the James of the Peter, James and John we read about in the Four Gospels is already dead, he’s been beheaded. This James is the one that wasn’t even one of the Twelve. But he is now at the head of the list. Peter has already lost his place of primary authority. Peter is not even moderating this meeting, but rather James is.

Galatians 2:9

“And when James, Cephas, (Peter) and John, who seemed (they weren’t really, but they thought they were. So they seemed ) to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, (to be the primary apostle now) they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; (they shook on the whole deal, and all agreed) that we (Paul and Barnabas) should go unto the heathen, (Gentiles) and they (would continue to go) unto the circumcision. (Jews)

Now the Twelve can only go to the Jews a few more years, because the Romans over-run Jerusalem, and Israel ceases to be a viable entity (until 1948) as they are scattered into every nation on earth. But until that happened, Peter, James, and John are going to hold forth among the children of Israel. But it was practically a lost cause because of Israel’s unbelief. So the reason Paul has to constantly defend his apostleship is because of those Twelve men in Jerusalem who refused to give up their authority. And that’s just human. I have nothing against Peter. I’m going to be just as anxious to meet Peter one day as any of the rest of them. But all this just shows their humanity, that they weren’t ready to relinquish that power and authority and admit that this Jew is now in the place of God using an instrument. Come back to II Corinthians. Verse 6.

II Corinthians 11:6-8

“But though I be rude in speech, (he didn’t have all the grammar in the exact order, evidently, but he wasn’t rude when it came to knowledge.) yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things. 7. Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely? 7. I robbed (he took evidently a certain amount of wages from) other churches (in other areas of Greece) taking wages of them, to do you service.”

Paul, I think against his better judgment, actually took some offerings from those poor, poor people up in Macedonia and Achaia. I pointed out several weeks ago that Greece was mountainous and usually there was very little means of making a living by growing crops and so forth, so these people were poor. But nevertheless from that poor destitute area he did take money so that he wouldn’t have to take a dime from Corinth which was a wealthy commercial city. And I wouldn’t doubt that there were some pretty well-to-do people in that congregation. In fact we know there was. We read about them goofing up the Lord’s supper by bringing all their expensive food and wine? So Paul says, “I spared you who could have afforded it from giving me money, but instead I took it from those poor folks up in the mountains.” Now reading on:

II Corinthians 11:9,10

“And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia (Northern Greece, poverty stricken Greece, they) supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself. 10. As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.” (Southern Greece)

Now why do you think that the apostle Paul condescends so much to these carnal, fleshly, believing Corinthians” His answer is because he loved them as we see in verse 11.

II Corinthians 11:11,12

“Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth. 12. But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.” In other words, steeped in truth of the revelations from the ascended Lord. Now verses 13. 14, & 15 are tremendous doctrinal verses:

II Corinthians 11:13

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.”

What do you suppose they were doing? They were using much the same language that Paul did. Oh, they would make reference to Christ, they would make reference to His death, burial, and resurrection, and to the Holy Spirit. Does that sound familiar? I hope it does because that’s exactly what we’re up against. They use all the seemingly right terminology, but it is totally empty of doctrine.

II Corinthians 11:14

“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” He appears as though he is the one to be worshipped, and to be listened to. But it’s still Satan. He doesn’t’ change except for his outward appearance. So he’s transformed into an angel of light.

II Corinthians 11:15

“Therefore (since Satan is driving this, and he has people totally confused because of his outward appearances then therefore) it is no great thing if his (Satan’s) ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end (their eternal doom) shall be according to their works.”

Now that’s not me talking. God’s Word says that these people who seemingly can almost shine forth like an angel of light, and they seemingly have got all the power, and the world is full of it tonight, yet their end is going to be according to their works. As a great old Bible scholar from England said back in the early part of this century (referring to these kind of things), “I can envision the day when these people will stand before the great White Throne, which is a place for only the lost. They will stand there and suddenly realize that their faith wasn’t what they thought it was.” This is where we have to be so careful when what we see and hear doesn’t line up with the Word of God, then those who are proclaiming it, (and I say it cautiously) might very well be a minister of Satan who is the angel of light. Remember Satan will do anything (II Corinthians 4:3,4) to keep people from hearing the Gospel of salvation.

Let’s review what you’ve heard over and over since we’ve been in Corinthians, and that was the sufferings and pressures the apostle Paul came under in order to get the Gospel to us. Remember, our salvation is based on what Christ has done for us, (His death, burial, and resurrection) but the one who got that message out to the Gentile world was this man. Paul was literally sold out to Christ.

II Corinthians 11:16,17

“I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little.” (In other words he said, “Let me just tell why I think God has used me as He has.) 17. That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.” Remember I’ve told you that when Paul says, “I speak not by commandment as he did in Chapter 8:8.

II Corinthians 8:8a

“I speak not by commandment,…” Paul says in effect that it was his own words, and yet we know that he was inspired to write those words or else it wouldn’t be in here. Remember not a word is in here that the Holy Spirit didn’t cause each of these writers to write.

II Corinthians 11:21

“I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.” Now verse 22 gives us a clue.

II Corinthians 11:22

“Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.”

Who do you think he’s talking about? The people that are constantly opposing his apostleship. They were Jews! Now, I’m not going to say here that it was definitely the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, but way down deep I kind of think so. Because they are still not ready to accept the fact that these pagan Gentiles could enter into a salvation experience without becoming a part of Judaism. But that’s speculation. The Scripture doesn’t say, but whoever he is referring to was Jewish. Because that’s what he says: Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Now let’s come on back to Acts Chapter 3. Now this was the very bulwark of these men. And Peter here is speaking:

Acts 3:12-13a

“And when Peter saw it, (the arousing of the crowds when they healed the lame man) he answered unto the people, `Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? v13. The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, ….'”

What does that tell you? That was the very engine of everything they were doing. Their heritage went back to the father of the Hebrew race, Abraham. And the Covenant men, Isaac and Jacob. And this is what just motivated these Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. And so Paul says, “You think I’m not part of that? You think I’m not an Israelite? Well, I’m a Hebrew of the Hebrews.” And in Philippians he said, “A Pharisee of the Pharisees.”

371 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 3 - Book 31 - 2 Corinthians 8:7 - 11:22

371: 2 Corinthians 8:7 – 11:22 – Lesson 3 Part 3 Book 31

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 31

II CORINTHIANS 8:7 – 11:22

Now let’s pick right up where we left off in the last lesson, and we’ll go into verse 13. Remember the whole theme here is that the apostle Paul is still defending his authority as an apostle. And I would remind you that’s it’s just as appropriate today as it was in that time. There are many many people who refuse to give this man any room in their thinking. I try to show people that if you take Romans through Hebrews out of their New Testament, then you’ve gutted it completely. The scary part is the Gospel of our salvation for this age of Grace was only revealed to this apostle, and is only found in his Epistles, and yet they refuse to look at this area of the Scriptures as much as they should. Oh, they’ll make reference to Paul’s writings, but yet to teach what the apostle Paul writes, I’m afraid that too many of them fall far too short.

I hope I’m never found guilty of not teaching his writings enough, and that’s why we’re taking our time as we move through these epistles. Remember Paul only writes to the Church Age believer directly. You won’t find the Gospel of salvation, that the ascended Lord gave to Paul, for us anywhere else in Scripture All the rest of Scripture is written primarily to the Jews, the Nation of Israel. Now we take prophecy from those writings, and we can make application from those writings, but just always remember that was written to Jews under the Law, and does not directly apply to us. Paul tells us to rightly divide the Word and he’s not talking about dividing the Old Testament from the New Testament.

II Timothy 2:15

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” So we have to learn how to discern these things. Now beginning with verse 13.

II Corinthians 10:13-14

“But we will not boast of things without (or beyond) our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, (do you see how slyly it insinuates here that everything he has, and everything that he does, and writes is not originating with him, it originates with God, and Christ Himself in glory) a measure to reach even unto you. (Now verse 14.) 14. For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: (but he did reach unto them, and he had response. Why?) for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ:”

Now I know that most of Christendom today, without even realizing, is preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom rather than the Gospel of Christ. It’s that vast difference that is leading so many glibly down a wrong road I’m afraid. We’re seeing, and hearing over and over that people are not hearing the Gospel of Grace, the Gospel of Christ, the Gospel of God, what Paul calls my Gospel as we find in I Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 10:9,10 and many others in Paul’s teaching, all of which tell us for salvation we must believe in our hearts that Jesus died for our sins, He was buried, and rose again! But instead most people are hearing the Gospel of the Kingdom which Jesus and the Twelve proclaimed to the Nation of Israel under the Law. Now verse 15:

II Corinthians 10:15a

“Not boasting of things without (or beyond) our measure, that is, of other men’s labours;…”

Paul is referring to the Twelve. He’s not an extension of what the Twelve have accomplished, or building on what they have done. But we find, rather, Paul out there in virgin territory. Remember the Twelve’s ministry was confined to the Nation of Israel, within the borders of Israel. Very seldom did they ever go beyond the Jordan River. But here this man is out in pagan Gentile territory all by himself, and the Twelve have had nothing to do with what he has been accomplishing. So Paul says again in verse 15:

II Corinthians 10:15,16

“Not boasting of things without (or beyond) our measure, that is, of other men’s labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged (blessed) by you according to our rule abundantly, (and for what purpose?) 16. To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, (Rome, and Spain, and Great Britain) and not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to our hand.”

Now do you see how clear that is? Now had the Twelve, under the Lord’s ministry, covered the whole area of the Mediterranean and they had been to Corinth or Athens or Ephesus or even Asia Minor, if they could have ministered in those territories, then the apostle Paul could have come along and built on what they had begun, then Paul couldn’t have said this. But the Twelve didn’t. They had no ministry outside of the Nation of Israel. So every place that Paul goes is virgin territory as these people had never heard that Christ had died for their sins, and had been raised from the dead. Do you see that? Now verse 17.

II Corinthians 10:17

“But he that glorieth, (Paul’s not taking credit for all he’s accomplished) let him glory in the Lord.”

It’s God who is using the man. God has an instrument that was willing of course, but without the power of the Holy Spirit and God, even the apostle Paul would have accomplished nothing. You know one of my favorite verses, and we’ve looked at many times on this program, and now let’s look at it again in the Book of Acts. This verse just shows it all, and for every one of you that are Sunday School teachers or teaching classes in your home this is basic to everyone of us and it was to the apostle Paul.

Acts 16:14

“And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, (see she was a religious Jewess, but lost) heard us: (Luke is writing) whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things that were spoken of (by) Paul.”

Now do you see how clear that is? Who opened Lydia’s heart? God did. But what instrument did God use to attend to her salvation needs? Paul. And it’s the same today. No minister, no teacher can accomplish anything unless the Lord opens the heart. See, that’s why we so appreciate prayer, not only on our behalf, but on everyone who will pass these things on. Oh, it just thrills my heart when I realize how many people, even if they don’t use our tapes and books, just take what they’ve learned and share. And for sure you don’t have to give me credit for your learning. Just share with people just like the Lord has revealed it to you, that’s what’s important. Remember we are instruments that God can use when He opens a heart that somebody can give them the Word. Very, very seldom, and I won’t say it can’t happen, but very seldom can a person find salvation by themselves without anyone giving them any outside input. I’ve run across two now, and I’ll share one of them with you now.

This one was a young man who got caught up in the Canadian wilderness for a whole winter, and all he had to spend his time on was an old Bible he found in that trapper’s cabin. So all he could do for that whole winter was read that Bible. But by spring he had come to a knowledge of salvation. Now I say that’s rare because you see in the Book of Romans it says:

Romans 10:14

“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”

So how can they believe unless someone proclaims it? And God has seen fit to use human instruments, and that’s why you teach Sunday School classes, that’s why you teach a home Bible class, people have to have a human instrument to show them what the Word says. Another one comes to mind right now in Acts Chapter 8, and who was it? The Ethiopian eunuch. And what did he tell Philip?

Acts 8:31a

“And he said, `How can I, except some man should guide me?…'” So this is the whole concept of Scripture. Now coming back to II Corinthians and verse 17 again.

II Corinthians 10:17,18

“But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (because the Lord has to open hearts) 18. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.”

Now what is the man refuting? The charges against him that all he was doing was what he had drummed up in his own mind. They thought Paul didn’t have any authority, but he said, “Oh, look I’ve got all the authority of the universe because God is the One Who sent me to you.” When we get to the Book of Galatians Paul is going to make it so abundantly clear that every thing that he understood of the Spirit, the ascended Lord Jesus in Heaven had revealed it to him, but by the working of the Holy Spirit.

Now coming on into Chapter 11 of II Corinthians and I know that there are differences of opinion about the Church, the Body of Christ, being the Body of Christ or whether it’s Israel, but they haven’t changed my mind. I’ve been deluged with information from both camps but I still I hold that the Church is the Bride of Christ. And as I said when we started the study in the Book of Romans, I agree with old William R. Newell the teacher of the 20’s and 30’s in the Chicago area when he made the statement: “That when the Bride of Christ is ready to be presented to the Groom, the apostle Paul will be the introducer.” And I like to think of it that way. I think Paul is just going to stand head and shoulders above everyone else. And William R. Newell took that from the Scriptures when the disciples asked Jesus:

Luke 9:46b

“…which of them should be greatest. (in the Kingdom?)

And do you remember Jesus’ answer?

Luke 9:48b

“…for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.”

Well when the apostle Paul comes along, what does he speak of himself as?

Ephesians 3:8a

“Unto me, who am less then the least of all saints…”

William R. Newell put that together and I tend to agree with him. On that basis I think the apostle Paul will indeed be the one who will introduce the Bride to her Groom. Now verse 1 of Chapter 11:

II Corinthians 11:1-2a

“Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. 2. For I am jealous over you…”

Now don’t forget who he’s writing to. He’s writing to Gentile believers which include Jews in the age of Grace. But he’s writing to members of the Body of Christ, and says:

II Corinthians 11:2

“For I am jealous over you with godly (small g so it’s appropriate) jealously: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste (or pure) virgin to Christ.”

Now isn’t that a beautiful picture? Now then that is why the Bride is depicted in the Book of Revelation as:

Revelation 19:8

“And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”

You see that’s the whole concept of a virgin bride, and that’s why she’s always been depicted as wearing white, because of, hopefully, her purity. Now looking at verse 2 again. Paul says to the Church-

II Corinthians 11:2

“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I (see that’s where I think that Newell got the idea that Paul will be the introducer) may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”

Now this goes back to cultures in days gone by which were contrary to the way we do things today. Back then the parents would literally pair the children. You know that. So when the father would find the appropriate girl for his son’s bride, then the father would make all the arrangements and he more or less consummated the espousal. In other words, what we today would call the engagement. Now Paul is taking that same concept , that he has made the engagement between the Body of Christ, and Christ, the Head of the Body, in lieu of the wedding that will one day transpire, I think, in glory. Now I know that there are some who feel that the Body of Christ is not the Bride, but rather Israel. But I don’t go along with that line of thinking and the reason is as Paul writes to the Corinthians who are members of the Body of Christ, he says in verse 3:

II Corinthians 11:3

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

Now what’s Paul driving at? Well as Adam and Eve were the first couple that God ordained as the first human family, and as God ordained the set-up, He made the man the head of the woman. Now let’s turn to the Book of Ephesians Chapter 5, to chase that down. And here Paul draws the analogy between the husband’s relationship with his wife and Christ’s relationship with the Church. Again, if there was not that groom and bride concept I don’t think the apostle would do this. Let’s begin with verse 23:

Ephesians 5:23,24

“For the husband is the head of the wife, (that doesn’t mean that she is his slave, but he is positionally the head of the wife) even as Christ is the head of the church: (do you see the analogy?) and he is the saviour of the body. (that is, the Body of Christ or the individual, however you want to look at it.) 24. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be (subject) to their own husbands in every thing.

Now all I’m doing is drawing the analogy between the wife and the husband in the physical, and Christ as the Head of the Body of Christ as, I feel is, the Bride. Now verse 27:

Ephesians 5:27

“That he might present it (that is the Body of Christ) to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

Now the concept is going back to that beautifully white clad bride. You’ve know I’ve always made the statement that I have never seen a bride that wasn’t attractive. Have you? Regardless whether she may have been more or less a plain girl otherwise, but when she puts on that wedding gown she is so attractive. So this is exactly the picture that God is drawing. That the Body of Christ as the Bride is white and clean, and without wrinkle, and without blemish. And then Paul comes back to physical analogy in verse 28. Now I have another one that I like to use in this instance, and the connection may not be as clear cut, but on the other hand I have to feel that the Holy Spirit gave Paul this particular picture again for our own doctrinal understanding. And we find that in Romans Chapter 7:4:

Romans 7:4

“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; (that is His crucified physical body) that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”

Now I think when we taught Romans we brought this out. What is the primary purpose of God bringing man and woman together in a marital relationship? Fruit. And what’s the fruit? Children. That not the sole purpose, but the primary purpose. Well it’s the same way here. What is the primary purpose of God uniting Himself to us as members of the Body of Christ, and claiming us as His own. We are to be fruitful and bring forth spiritual children. Now we’re all getting anxious I trust for the Lord’s soon return. We are seeing the world just plunging into the end-time phenomena, and the things that are getting bad are going to only get worse. While you’re in Romans stop with me at Romans 11:25 because here’s the whole concept that as in a physical marriage God expects the fruit of that marriage to be children so also the fruit of the believer should be other believers, and we call that soul winning. And soul winning has to be done scripturally.

Romans 11:25

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, (secret) lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness (a spiritual blindness) in part (one day this blindness will end) is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”

Now what’s the fulness of the Gentiles? When the Body of Christ is complete. When God has finished drawing that last person into the Body of Christ then we’re out of here. After that happens God will pick up where He left off with the Nation of Israel. Now coming back to II Corinthians Chapter 11 and reading verse 3 again.

II Corinthians 11:3

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve (in that first marital union) through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

If Eve is a symbol of the Church, the Body of Christ, then it stands to reason that it’s the Church that Satan is constantly attacking. Satan knows that it’s in the realm of the Church that he has his greatest opposition. Now we hear over and over, “When good men do nothing, then bad things happen.” And Satan knows that, so if he can neutralize the Body of Christ to where it says nothing then he can have full sway. Now then verse 4.

II Corinthians 11:4

“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, (not the One of the Cross, not the One in resurrection power, but preaches the Jesus of His earthly ministry, with all His signs and miracles) whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

Now I would go to Galatians Chapter 1, and what does Paul say?

Galatians 1:6-8

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel; (something other than faith in His death, burial and resurrection for salvation + nothing) Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8. But though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”

370 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 2 - Book 31 - The Age of Grace

370: The Concept of Giving in the Age of Grace – Part 2 – Lesson 3 Part 2 Book 31

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 31

THE CONCEPT OF GIVING IN THE AGE OF GRACE – PART 2

Now we will just pick up where we left off in the last lesson, and I realize that we’ve taught 2 lessons now on giving, and we’re not going to run a good thing into the ground and move on into some new territory. So in this next lesson we will begin with Chapter 10. Now I know that some of these things are repetitious, but it’s not just me that’s repetitious, the Scripture is also. How many times the Bible will repeat and repeat, and repeat. And of course the Holy Spirit is the Master Teacher, and He knows better than any secular teacher that repetition is the very basis of good teaching. In one of our lessons in the near future I’m going to go back and put my timeline on the board again, because you have no idea how many people have written or called to say it was the timeline that gotten them interested in this program and in Bible study.

So I just trust that people will begin to enjoy their Bible to study, and to read it, not just to be able to say, “I read my Bible today.” But to really feed on it and to understand what it’s talking about. Now speaking of repetition, how many times have I said that the apostle Paul is always having to defend his apostleship. And here we have it again in Chapter 10. You see the poor man was under constant attack, especially from the Judaising Jews that he was an impostor, that he had dreamed up this new Gospel, and these revelations himself. And after all, he had no badge of authority, he had no letters of commendation, he couldn’t claim that he had walked with Jesus three years like Peter, James and John, and so this was the thing that he had to constantly overcome. They would ask, “Who do you think you are?”

That reminds me of a lady who called from Minnesota several years ago and that’s exactly what she said. I answered the phone “Feldick’s” And she said, “Is this Les Feldick?” I replied, “Yes,” and she said, “Who in the world are you?” I said, “Well, I’m a nobody.” And that’s all that I’ve ever claimed to be. Paul didn’t have to say that. Paul said, “I’m somebody, I have been commissioned as the apostle to the Gentiles.”

Romans 11:13

“For I speak to you Gentiles, (non-Jews) inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:”

So here again in verse 1 of Chapter 10 we find:

II Corinthians 10:1,2

“Now I Paul myself beseech (beg) you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, (speaking of himself) but being absent am bold toward you:”(that is in his writings) 2. But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.”

Now do you see what Paul is saying? There were people out there probably among his congregation who did not recognize his divine appointment as an apostle of Christ, because you see Paul couldn’t have claimed to walked with Jesus in His earthly ministry. In Acts Chapter 9 we have the first of three accounts of his conversion on the road to Damascus. Which I’m sure most people have heard from the pulpits and Sunday school materials, but I’m afraid too many teachers overlook one of the crucial statements of the Lord Jesus Himself here in this chapter. This is after Saul has had this tremendous experience outside the city, and we find the Lord speaking to a Jew named Ananias.

Acts 9:11-14

“And the Lord said unto him, `Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12. And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.’ (in other words the Lord is preparing everything) 13. Then Ananias answered, `Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: (that is in his persecution) 14. And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.'”

Remember Saul of Tarsus’ whole purpose was to totally remove from the Nation of Israel anybody who had recognized Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, as the Messiah. And Ananias knew that and was sort of arguing with the Lord about going. Now verse 15.

Acts 9:15

“But the Lord said unto him, `Go they way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me to bear my name before the Gentiles, (and you want to remember up until this time that was almost a dirty word in the language of a Jew.) and kings, and the children of Israel:'”

Of course he always went to the Jew first. Paul never lost his desire to see Jews saved. Now look at the next verse. Jesus says long before Paul’s ministry ever begins:

Acts 9:16

“For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

What goes around comes around. Now you want to remember he had caused most sufferings for the Jewish believers. In fact let’s look at that in Acts Chapter 26 where Paul readily admitted the havoc that he had wreaked among the Jewish followers of Jesus of Nazareth. Here Paul is speaking in the first person as he is addressing this court room before Agrippa.

Acts 26:9,10

“I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. (in His earthly ministry) 10. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints (the believing Jews who had embraced Jesus of Nazareth) did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.”

Do you see that? It wasn’t just a normal persecution, he persecuted them to the death. Paul voted against them when they were put to death. In other words when these people came up before the Sanhedrin, and made their confession of accepting Christ as the Messiah, the Sanhedrin would take a vote, and Paul said “I voted to put them to death.” He had no mercy, and his persecution I think was cruel. Now verse 11.

Acts 26:11

“And I punished them oft (the Jews like to punish with the lash. Thirty-nine stripes each time, and Paul was always in favor of it. Whip them, make them deny their confession) in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; (now listen, he didn’t do that with words, he did that with the action of the authority, and the whip masters and what have you, until the poor Jewish believers were either beaten to death, or would finally succumb.) and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.”

He didn’t confine it to Jerusalem. Wherever Saul of Tarsus heard there was a believing element of Jews that Jesus was the Christ, he went after them. And of course this was his whole purpose of going to Damascus. He thought he had pretty well cleansed the little Nation of Israel, and now he had to leave the country and get those Jews up there. Now all of that is the ground work. First God commissions him to go to the Gentiles. God tells Ananias that this man is going to suffer great things for my name sake. And on the other hand Paul tells us how much great suffering he had caused. And I have to feel that every time Paul came under one sort of oppression or another that was his first memory. “But look what I did in opposition of this myself.” God had the perfect candidate to take all the abuse, because he had handed out so much himself, and it just carried him, I think, until the day that he was beheaded. We all believe that Paul was beheaded by the Roman government, and I read some place the other night that the last few yards to the chopping block, he literally ran. He was ready to give it all up. He was ready to offer himself, and I think it’s probably true. Now back to Chapter 10 of II Corinthians. So here we find Paul again defending his apostleship Now verse 3.

II Corinthians 10:3

“For though we walk in the flesh, (Paul was only a man like you and I. He had to fight the same temptations that you and I do.) we do not war after the flesh:”

You know I’ve made the point over and over that Paul is our example. Let’s go to Philippians Chapter 3 and just look at verse 17. Now this isn’t the only time that Paul says this by inspiration. I have people jump on me once in a while and fortunately not too severely, but they will say, “But Les, I go by what Jesus said. I’m following Jesus.” I always come back and say well that’s not what my Bible tells me. Look what my Bible tells me and I trust yours tells you. Here he’s writing to Gentile believers up there in Philippi.

Philippians 3:17

“Brethren, be followers together of me, (Paul) and mark them which walk so as ye have us (Paul) for an ensample.”

I Corinthians 4:16

“Wherefore I beseech (beg) you, be ye followers of me.”

II Thessalonians 3:7a

“For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us;…”

I Timothy 1:16

“Howbeit for this cause (because Paul was first in the long line of sinners in verse 15) I obtained mercy, that in me first (Paul was the first one to be placed into the Body of Christ)Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsufferings, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

Now that’s not taking anything away from the Lord Jesus, not at all. But you want to remember that when Jesus walked the footsteps of the Galilliean Sea, He was God. I can’t walk in the steps of God. Remember He was totally man, but also totally God. When He started walking across the sea of Galilee I couldn’t follow. I’d be like Peter, I’d go down. So we have to be careful how we take some of these things. But this man, Paul, was just as human as I am. He got just as hungry, and angry at times, and he had just as many failures and temptations as you and I have. Now that’s the kind of person I can follow, because I know that is humanly possible. So Paul tells us that he is our example, and if only believers could only walk in the footsteps of this man, who, as he put it, followed Christ.

I Corinthians 11:1

“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”

Of course he followed Christ, that was his whole life. Remember he said, “to die is gain.” but he lived in order to follow and please his Savior. Now back to II Corinthians and looking at verse 3 again.

II Corinthians 10:3

“For though we walk in the flesh we do not war after the flesh.”

In other words, the things that he is writing to the Corinthians, and to us about, were not the material and the physical, but rather the spiritual. So he says, “Yes I’m walking in the flesh, I’m an ordinary human being, but the warfare is in the spiritual realm.” And we’re going to see that more and more. Satan is pulling all the plugs today isn’t he? And when the Lord Jesus warned the disciples that one of the first signs of the end-time would be mass deception. He said, “be not deceived.” Beloved, we’re seeing it on every hand, and we have only one alternative. Don’t run to me or some denomination, but rather you run to the Book to see what it really says about it. Over and over people will call and tell me what they are up against with their denomination’s teaching. I say, “What does the Bible say about that problem?” They come back with, “Well I can’t find it in the Bible.” If that’s the case then you run from it, because if it’s not Scriptural then God has no intention for you to follow that kind of teaching. But Paul says that his war was not after the flesh, but in the realm of the spiritual.

II Corinthians 10:4

“(For the weapons of our warfare, are not carnal, (not of the flesh) but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)”

And did he pull down strongholds? Oh you bet he did. As he moved into those pagan cities (remember the city of Ephesus was so completely taken over by the worship of the goddess Diana), he made such an impact on that city, that his impact was literally destroying the work of the idol maker, and those silversmiths until they caused a riot. Now one man did that to a complete city. So that’s an example of pulling down strong holds. Now verse 5.

II Corinthians 10:5a

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God,…”

Now just stop and think a minute, are we seeing it? On every hand. Oh we’re seeing all this stuff that looks so great, but does it line up with the Book? Is it the power of God? That’s what we have to ask ourselves. Now reading on in verse 5.

II Corinthians 10:5b

“…and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

Now that’s quite a statement isn’t it? I’m just like everybody else. Where do we have our largest problem. Well in the thought processes. That’s where we have to fight most of our battles. “The temptations in the thought.” As I mentioned in the last lesson, before we do or say anything, what do we have to do? We have to think it out. So we have to consider that this is where we have to fight our major battle. Now verse 6.

II Corinthians 10:6

“And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”

That’s plain language. The more obedient we are to the Word of God the more disobedient we will be to the things of the world. When you get disobedient to the things of the world, you’re going to start hearing about it, you’re going to start feeling it. Verse 7.

II Corinthians 10:7

“Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s even so are we Christ’s.”

And then he’s going to go on and say, that we have to be able to examine our own faith. To be sure that you are certain of your eternal destiny, never take it carelessly. Now reading on.

II Corinthians 10:8a

“For though I should boast somewhat more of our (now he’s using the plural pronoun but he’s speaking of himself,) authority, (talking about his apostolic authority.) which the Lord hath given us…”

Paul didn’t get it by working for it. He didn’t get it by coming up through the ranks like we normally think of things in our present world. When a corporate president reaches that pinnacle of success, usually he’s paid his dues. He comes from the lower echelons and he’s worked his way up, but you see the apostle Paul didn’t do that. He came from being an abject persecutor to the apostle of the risen Christ to the Gentiles. Now verse 8 again.

II Corinthians 10:8,9

“For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed: 9. That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters.”

Well they were making references to his first letter where he really read them the riot act, and we pointed that out as we taught I Corinthians. How he was correcting their abuses, and he called a spade a spade, and he made no bones about it. Now Paul is quoting some of the rumors that had come back to him, and don’t think for a minute that the apostle didn’t hear just about everything that was ever said. It would always get back to him.

II Corinthians 10:10

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

Now you have to stop and think about some of these things. There was something about the apostle that did not just automatically draw people to him like some charismatic men can do. He had something about him that was almost the opposite. And I think I know what it was but we will probably have to wait and cover that in the Book of Galatians when we get there. But he had a physical appearance that did not turn people on, as we say today. It just kind of held them at bay. And his speech was contemptible. Now that’s hard for me to believe except as I look at it in one light. Paul said back in I Corinthians Chapter 14, that he spoke in languages more than all of them. I think his basic language was Hebrew and Greek. There was no doubt other people throughout the Roman Empire with different backgrounds to whom he ministered.

Now I’ve told you before about our guide in Israel that we use. He speaks almost perfect English although you can tell it’s not his mother tongue. But he told us before the tour was over that he could speak seven languages, but I’m willing to bet that some of those seven languages were not always grammatically pure. They did not always ring 100% pure even as he did with us. I could catch him in English once in a while where he did not have perfect grammar. So when people get picky you see that’s all they need. So I think what they’re saying is, when it came to some of these other languages other than his native tongue, he may not have the perfect grammar, and they would grasp at anything to criticize, and remember the man is just human. Now verse 11:

II Corinthians 10:11

“Let such an one (who says things like this) think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will be also in deed when we are present.”

Now of course as he dictated these letters most agree that he used a secretary of sort with the exception of the Book of Galatians. So maybe this secretary was able to help him with some of the grammar, but they couldn’t find fault with his letters They were perfect, Holy Spirit inspired. Now verse 12:

II Corinthians 10:12

“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves; but they measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves among themselves are not wise.”

Now in so many words do you know what he saying? Folks, I know that you have people coming into the congregation who are finding fault with me. And they’re trying to elevate their own position, but in their lack of knowledge they really don’t know what they are doing. Now when we get to Galatians I’ll be pointing this out especially in Chapter 2. Because when Paul makes reference in that chapter to the Twelve down in Jerusalem he speaks of them as men who seemed to be pillars, and that’s exactly what this verse is saying. There were men who were ridiculing, and criticizing his ministry who no longer had the power and the clout that they thought they had, and they hadn’t realize that their power was slipping away. But Paul says, “I am the apostle to the Gentiles.”

369 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 1 - Book 31 - The Concept of Giving

369: The Concept of Giving in the Age of Grace – Lesson 3 Part 1 Book 31

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 31

THE CONCEPT OF GIVING IN THE AGE OF GRACE

Now to begin this lesson we will pick up where we left off in the last lesson and that would be in verse 7. We hope as you study with us you will truly search the Scriptures and see what the Word really says. We don’t claim to have all the answers, but we do trust that the Lord has revealed a lot of these things to us that are normally skimmed over.

Now to get back into our study. You will remember that in our last lesson we introduced the idea of giving from Paul’s writings, and the purpose of it. Now as I stressed then you want to remember the little churches that were founded back in the apostolic days were probably meeting in homes, and most probably didn’t have full-time pastors and such, and yet Paul gives instructions for the gathering of their offerings and then we pointed out at that time it was primarily for the poor saints dwelling at Jerusalem. They had been pooling all of their resources since Pentecost and the common kitty had run out and they were now destitute. But since they were destitute because they were obedient to the Word of God, God in turn takes care of them through the offerings of these Gentile believers, and Paul has been stressing that the Jews are worthy of our material gifts because of all of the things we owe them for their spiritual things given to us.

I think it’s amazing that Paul deals with giving for almost three chapters – 7, 8, and 9. I’m not going to over-do the whole thing, but we will spend this lesson on giving and hopefully that will be sufficient on this whole concept of Grace Age giving. We get so many phone calls from people asking, “Well how am I supposed to give my tithes and offerings?” The first thing I always say, and it shocks people and I know a lot of pastors don’t like when I teach this, we are not duty bound to give a tithe. We are not under Law but rather under Grace. Just read what Paul says always from Romans through Hebrews, and you will never see the word tithe one time. Paul never uses the word because it is no longer appropriate. Now that doesn’t mean that we don’t give. Of course we give, but we are not under any kind of a rule or a mandate to give a certain amount. So it’s that theme that we’ll bring out in the next few moments.

II Corinthians 8:7a

“Therefore as ye abound in every thing,…”

That’s the joy of the Christian life isn’t it? We may not be wealthy, and we don’t have to be, we may not all enjoy perfect health, because our blessings are above and beyond the material, although the material certainly enters in because we’re human. These believers in Greece were no different as Paul told them:

II Corinthians 8:7a

“Therefore as ye abound in everything, in faith,…”

Now faith is the beginning of it. I had a call from a gentlemen yesterday, and he said, “Les, we’re hearing so much about experience, isn’t that taking the place of faith?” And I had to tell him, “Absolutely.” We have to begin with doctrine, and doctrine comes by faith. When you put faith + doctrine then you’re going to have experience. But you see, too many folks are forgetting the doctrine, and they’re always talking about nothing but experience. Well it’s not going to fly, God’s not pleased with that, because we’ve got to start with one of the major gifts of faith. That ability and that power that is God given, that we can believe what God says.

Now remember believing what God says is the whole basis of studying and understanding the Word of God. Now granted we have to be careful. We’re not going to bring into operation things that God told Israel to do back in the Old Testament. In fact we had a call from a person who said, “Doesn’t the Book of Malachi say to bring your tithe and offerings into the store house?” And I said “Yes, but doesn’t the same Old Testament say bring me your sacrifices?” The caller said “Yeah.” Well then what are you going to do? Just because the Bible says to bring an animal sacrifice, are you going to go out and buy a lamb? Well of course not, we’re not under that today, we know better than that. And yet it carries all the way through on everything. Just because the Old Testament told Israel to do something, that doesn’t mean that’s still valid for us today, and so we have to shake these things out. You can’t just pick and choose what you want, like a lot of people are doing. Remember what was for Israel is completely different from what Paul tells us in the Church Age. Now continuing on with verse 7.

II Corinthians 8:7

“Therefore as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, (so Paul says, `You have all that, now let’s put the next thing into practice,’ and what’s that? Their giving.) see that ye abound in this grace also.”

What Grace was he talking about? The Grace of giving. Verse 8:

II Corinthians 8:8

“I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness (or zealousness) of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.”

Always take into account how many times Paul will say, “Now I’m not speaking this by commandment.” In other words the Lord hadn’t told me “Paul, you tell the people this.” But since this is in the written Word, what does it become? Inspired! It’s the Word of God. So, even when Paul says, “I’m not writing this as commandment,” in essence who caused him to write that? The Holy Spirit did. So always take that explanation into account. Now verse 9:

II Corinthians 8:9

“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, thought he was rich, (oh how rich? The whole universe was His. All the cattle on a thousand hills, All the gold and diamonds that were ever created are all His.) yet for your sakes (for the sake of all believers) he became poor,…”

How poor? So poor that He could say, `that foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of man has not a place to lay his head. Now that was a graphic illustration in the material realm. He did not have a wealthy home or live in a sumptuous environment, but in the realm of the spiritual He went far, far deeper into absolute poverty, as we will see in the Book of Philippians Now look at this because this is beyond human comprehension, and yet it’s what the Word declares:

Philippians 2:6,7a

“Who, (speaking of Christ Jesus in verse 5) being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (because He was God, the God of creation, the God who owns everything in the universe) 7. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant…”

Now too often we read that word servant and we kind of glide over it without realizing what is the better term for servant? Slave. How much material goods did a slave have? None. He may be here today and gone tomorrow. The rowers in the ships of those days were down there in the stench-ridden hot areas of the ship. They rowed until they died and then they were just pitched overboard. How much of this worlds good did those fellows have? None. Well this is where the Lord Jesus took Himself. He took Himself to the depths of being a slave with absolutely nothing of this world’s goods to call His own. Unbelievable? It is from the human side. I can’t comprehend it, but it’s what the Word declares. The Almighty God Himself in the Person of Christ became a slave in so many words. Now reading on:

Philippians 2:7b

“…was made in the likeness of men:”

Now imagine from the exalted area of the Godhead to come down to this earth, and become nothing more than a human being like the rest of us, how far can you go? And yet that’s what He did.

Philippians 2:8

“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, (He didn’t have to) and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Now why is Paul using that in relation to Christian giving? Well we have to take that same kind of attitude. If God, in the Person of Christ, was willing to leave that area of absolute control of the universe and took on the role of a slave for our salvation, then who are we to say, “Yeah, but I can’t give anything.” Now back to II Corinthians Chapter 8:

II Corinthians 8:10,11

“And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward, (zealous) a year ago. 11. Now therefore perform (or complete) the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.”

What’s Paul driving at? Well for the last year he has been encouraging these churches in Greece to get their offerings ready for the day when someone would come along and pick them up and transport them to Jerusalem. Now as I was studying this, I couldn’t help but remember something that Gary, the station manager, had told me a long time ago. For those who are in this business of television that statistically – and I know that there are lies, and then there are statistics, but nevertheless statistics do have a certain amount of relevance here. But statistically, out of 300 people who may be listening to me over the next several weeks, most will say, “Now I’m going to send that man an offering.” How many will actually get around to doing it? One. Isn’t that amazing? But you see that’s human nature, and Paul was dealing with the same thing. For a whole year they had been talking about getting these collections ready for the poor saints in Jerusalem. But they still hadn’t done it. So Paul says, “Let’s get busy and complete it.” Paul wanted it all done before he got there so they wouldn’t give because of his presence. And I understand exactly how he felt because you never like to make someone feel obligated to give just because you happen to be there personally on the scene. So this is exactly what he’s talking about. Now verse 12. Remember this is all in regard to Christian giving, and notice there’s not a word in here of him naming ten percent. He never says a tithe. All he’s talking about is the general concept of giving.

II Corinthians 8:12

“For if there be first a willing mind, (remember everything we say or do has to begin with the thought process.) it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.”

Now does God expect someone who is on a very meager income, maybe nothing more than just a little social security check, to give all that to ministry or some church? No way. More than once I’ve had to write to someone and tell them, “Now listen, if you’re on a meager income I don’t expect a dime.” Now that’s between them and God, and if they feel that God is still instructing them to give some then that’s fine. But I never want someone on a meager income to feel obligated to support this ministry. Other ministries may not care, but I don’t want it on this one. But here God is making it so clear that giving is based on that ability to give. And now in verse 13.

II Corinthians 8:13

“For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:”

In other words, Paul says, “He is not going to make anybody, whether they are wealthy or poor, to feel obligated to give because of his presence. Do you see that? Now he comes all the way down through verse 16 – 24 speaking of the men who would be coming along to pick up these offerings. And again he’s showing the need for integrity in handling the affairs of God. Paul is telling the Corinthians that the men who are probably headed up by Titus, are men of integrity, they don’t have to worry about turning over their offerings to them because they will get every penny of it to Jerusalem where it’s supposed to go. Now I want to come quickly over to Chapter 9 and begin with verse 1.

II Corinthians 9:1,2a

“For as touching the ministering to the saints, (the poor saints in Jerusalem who had been left destitute because of their offerings into the common kitty back there beginning with Acts Chapter 2) it is superfluous (or it goes beyond saying) for me to write to you: 2. For I know the forwardness (the zealousness) of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia,…”

In other words what was Paul actually doing on behalf of the Corinthian believers? He was boasting to other congregations on what a good job they were doing in making these collections. Now verse 3.

II Corinthians 9:3

“Yet have I sent the brethren, (these that will be picking up the offering) lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf, that, as I said, ye may be ready:”

Now I think Paul is using a little psychology isn’t he? He is building them up as he says, “Now look Corinthians, Titus, and the gentlemen that are already making collections up here in the poorest part of mountainous Greece, when they come into a culture and commercial center like Corinth, then it stands to reason there’s going to be more wealth available than there would be up there in the mountains.” So I think Paul is sort of setting them up and preparing them that these men are going to be expecting something of you, because you have so much more to offer than these poor churches up in northern Greece. Now reading on:

II Corinthians 9:5

“Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, (their offerings) where of ye had noticed before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.”

Do you see this constant drumming of the fact, “Now have this done when these fellows get there, don’t put it off, don’t procrastinate, have these offerings collected and ready so that they can pick it up and take it on to where it has to go there in Jerusalem. Now verse 6. Here we come to the whole concept of Christian giving.

II Corinthians 9:6

“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”

Now you want to remember that the vast majority of people in this day and time were agriculturally connected. So Paul is talking about sowing a crop of grain. And any farmer knows that if you sow half a crop of the required seed, you’re not even going to get half a crop. Now you don’t sow more grain than is necessary, but you put on the stipulated amount to get a full crop of grain. However, it’s brought into the Christian experience on the same level. If you’re going to be tight with your giving, if you’re going to hold back when you have the ability to give, then God will kind of hold back on His blessing.

And that’s exactly what Paul is teaching here. Now I’m not a name it and claim it type. I do not claim that if you give a $1000. dollars a year, then God’s going to pour you out $3000. No way does this Bible teach that. But I think that we all realize that our God is so great that if we do it with the right attitude, we do it by faith, we can’t out-give God. One of my favorite clichés is “There is a line between faith and fantasy.” By faith I can do certain things and realize that God is going to respond, but I can’t be foolish. Fantasy would say, “Well I’m just going to give that ministry $500. because I just feel that God’s going to turn back and give me $50,000.” Now that’s what a lot of people think, but it’s not going to work that way. That’s fantasy.

But we know that God is able, and here I must qualify. A lot of time we think that our giving should immediately have something returned in kind. But it’s doesn’t necessarily have to work that way. Have you ever stopped to think of all of the potential expenses that God can spare you because you were liberal in your giving? In other words, that old car may go another 50,000 miles where otherwise it may break down. You may end up as fortunate as Iris and I have over the years with practically no money spent for medical expenses. Do you know what I call that? That’s the pay back. So you have to look at this whole thing on the big picture, not just in, “If I give a $100, will I get $500 back?” That’s not the way to look at it, but rather look at the whole concept of how God is going to respond. Now verse 7. Here is the very foundation for our giving.

II Corinthians 9:7

“Every man (person) according as he purposeth in his heart, (and the Holy Spirit will motivate the heart) so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity:…” (legalism)

I can remember years ago a gentlemen up in Iowa was so upset that his particular pastor had came out to his farm, and looked at the size of his home, and furnishings, his car and pickup, and he turned around and said, “Well it looks to me like you should be able to give $600 a month.” Well, how do you think the guy felt? He was totally turned off. He said, “Nobody is going to tell me how much I’m supposed to give.” And I agreed with him. No one has a right to do that. That’s strictly between the individual Christian and his Lord. Now reading the verse again.

II Corinthians 9:7

“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: (legalism, or because somebody has laid it on you) for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

Now if you have a marginal Bible the word cheerful in the Greek meant “Hilarious.” How many people go to church on Sunday morning, and lay that offering on the plate with a hilarious attitude? Not many. They do it out of a sense of duty, they do it because they think somebody is laying a burden on their shoulder that they have to give. No you don’t. If you don’t want to give, and if you can’t give hilariously, God in so many words says, “I DON’T NEED IT, AND I DON’T WANT IT.”

But for a believer to give as God has prospered and do it joyfully, and give it to a place where the Word is honored, where the Gospel is proclaimed for salvation. (I Corinthians 15:1-4 or Romans 10:9-10) then God will give you the direction, and God will show you how much to give and where to give it. I wanted to take you back to the Book of Malachi, Exodus, and Leviticus, and the giving stipulations were all given to the Nation of Israel. All I ask people to do is go back and read Malachi 1:1

Malachi 1:1

“The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel ( not the Church in the Age of Grace) by Malachi.”

368 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 4 - Book 31 - 2 Corinthians 6:1 - 8:6 - Part 2

368: 2 Corinthians 6:1 – 8:6 – Part 2 – Lesson 2 Part 4 Book 31

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 31

2 CORINTHIANS 6:1 – 8:6 – PART 2

We will begin this lesson with II Corinthians 8:1. I always tell people that I don’t preach at them, because this is a Bible study program. All we ever hope to do is just teach the Word, and help people to understand what the Word says, why it says it, and to whom it’s being spoken to, and that makes all the difference in the world. For you see if you go back into the Old Testament, and read some of those things and try to apply it today, then you’re in trouble. So what do you have to do? It’s still the Word of God – absolutely it is. But it wasn’t written to us. It was written to the Jews under the Law.

We feel we are reaching so many people who are confused. In fact I had a lady call one Monday morning and she said, “Now Les, I’m confused. The sermon Sunday morning was about when the rich young ruler came to Jesus and said, `What must I do for eternal life?’ His answer was `Keep the Commandments.'” I said, “That’s right. That’s what Jesus told him.” Then she said, “This morning you turn around and say we’re not under the Law but rather under Grace. Now isn’t that a contradiction?” I said, “No, because God just changed programs. Remember Jesus came to the Nation of Israel under the Law. But we’re not under Law. Jesus today would not write to us to keep the commandments. Today the message of salvation is “Believe the Gospel” as Paul writes in I Corinthians 15:1-4, and Romans 10:9-10. That is not a contradiction but rather a change in God’s modus operandi.”

Now as we have been stressing over the last several programs, in I and II Corinthians Paul had to deal with a church full of problems. He almost felt bad having to do it. But now within a year we find Paul writes this second letter and we find a whole different attitude. Paul is no longer condemning them for things, but rather he is encouraging them, and exhorting them. He is also boasting about them to the other churches. But now Paul comes to a subject that is still pretty touchy even today. He’s going to touch their billfold. So Chapters 8 and 9 are instructions on Christian Grace Age Giving! You have no idea how many phone calls we get from people who want to know, “What am I supposed to do?” Hopefully from these two chapters we will answer that from the Word.

Now before we go into Chapter 8, and Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians to get their offerings in order, let’s go back for a moment to Galatians Chapter 2, and see what prompted the apostle to encourage these Gentiles to bring their offerings. Now you want to remember that these early churches met in homes. They didn’t have full paid pastors as we do now. They did not have building complexes that had to be built or maintained. So the economy of these local churches was very limited, but still Paul is admonishing them to give. What was the purpose for this?

Galatians Chapter 2, and from our last teachings this is the Jerusalem counsel at about 51 or 52 AD. This was when the Jewish believers Peter, James and John and the other members of the local Jewish congregation in Jerusalem had called Paul up to Jerusalem to really settle the issue once and for all that he could no longer tell Gentiles up there in Antioch, or in other areas where he had started churches that they could be saved without keeping the Law of Moses, without practicing circumcision, and so forth.

Well as we know, and as we’ll see when we study Galatians, Paul did go to Jerusalem and withstood them to their face. Paul told them, that there was no way that he would ever teach his pagan converts that they would have to keep the Jewish Law, and practice circumcision, because they are now saved by Grace through Faith + nothing. So we find Paul and these believing Jews have this great conference. I imagine it went on a good part of the day. Finally, (Peter, by the work of the Holy Spirit, woke up, and realized that a long time ago (about 12 years ago) God sent him to the house of Cornelius and showed him that He could save a Gentile. So Peter said, “I guess Paul’s right,” and so the believing Jews gave in. That’s in Galatians Chapter 2 which is a sister chapter to Acts 15.

Galatians 2:9

“And when James, Cephas, (Peter) and John, (I always call them the inner core of the disciples) who seemed to be pillars, (now what does that imply? Hey, they thought they were the ones in charge. They weren’t but they still thought they were. What’s happening? God’s changing the program, but the Twelve didn’t realize that. He’s coming out of Judaism, and legalism, and coming into the age of Grace. When they) perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; (just like we do today. When you come to an agreement you shake hands on it.) that we should go unto the heathen, (Gentiles) and they unto the circumcision. (or Israel, Acts 11:19)

I know that’s as plain as day, and how people miss it I’ll never know. But I missed it for years, and I guess people still do. But that was the agreement after this tremendous counsel at Jerusalem. “Ok Paul, you continue your ministry among the Gentiles, and we’ll no longer try to force you to practice legalism, and circumcision. You preach your Gospel and we’ll continue dealing with the Jews. But now the next verse is what I wanted you to see.

Galatians 2:10

“Only they would (that is Peter, James, and John) that we (Paul and Barnabas) should remember the poor;…”

What poor? Well the poor Jews who were now stranded financially in Jerusalem. Now people don’t stop to think about that. Here we are, 52 AD, and that’s 20-some years after the crucifixion, and Pentecost, and the main concern of Peter, James, and John is that Paul not forget these poor Jews in Jerusalem. How come they were so poor? Let’s chase that down in the Book of Acts Chapter 2.

While you’re turning to that text let me finish the story of the lady who wanted to know if that wasn’t a contradiction when Jesus said keep the commandments for salvation. I teach believe the Gospel for salvation because you can’t mix Law and Grace. I knew I couldn’t convince her by just making a statement so I asked if she could have a one-on-one Bible study? She said, “Oh, I’d love that.”

So I took her back all the way through the Old Testament, the Abrahamic Covenant. And how that Christ came to the Nation of Israel and presented Himself as their Messiah, and how they rejected Him. I also showed her how Israel continued to reject Him in the early chapters of Acts and when that happened then God raised up this other apostle and sent him (Paul) to the Gentiles with the Gospel of the Grace of God. When I was all through she said, “It’s so logical isn’t it?” And it is so logical because there’s no way you could bring the whole Gentile world under Judaism, and legalism, and the Law. Now with the work of the Cross completed God could pour out His Grace on the whole human family, not just Israel. But where we’ve turned to here in Acts it is God still just dealing with the Nation of Israel, there are no Gentiles involved. You know the account, the day of Pentecost, and here Peter says –

Acts 2:36

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

See He’s dealing only with Israel. Now come down to verse 42, and remember we are looking for, “Who are the poor in Jerusalem?”

Acts 2:42-45

“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine (the teaching of Jesus and His earthly ministry) and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45. And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.”

Now what was that? That was a total communal system of living. Whatever they had they put it into a common kitty, and then the Twelve, Peter James and John and the others parceled it out to these believing Jews according to their needs. Now let’s move on to Chapter 4:32, and remember these are all Jews in Jerusalem.

Acts 4:32-37

“And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: [wouldn’t that be great if we could say that about churches today? I get so many phone calls from people who are in churches that are dividing. They are in controversy of one sort or another. Well this group didn’t have that problem yet. They were all of one heart and one mind] neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and great grace was upon them all. 34. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold. 35. And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. 36. And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, [the same one who helped the apostle Paul on his first missionary journey] (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation, ) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, 37. Having land, (in Cyprus) sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.” Now let’s jump back up to Chapter 2:5

Acts 2:5

“And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, (remember this was a feast day, Pentecost) out of every nation under heaven.”

So they had come a great distance for this feast day. Here on the day of Pentecost you’ve got Jews who have come to Jerusalem from maybe as far east as India, Babylon, and Syria, Greece, Spain and maybe even Great Britain, and perhaps North Africa. So on the day of Pentecost and following, when Peter and the eleven were preaching, a lot of these Jews believed that Jesus was the Messiah and the earthly Kingdom was coming. Remember as soon as all Israel believed, the King and kingdom would come!

Acts 3:19

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing (the earthy Kingdom) shall come from the presence of the Lord;”

Acts 3:26

” Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”

Now these believing Jews, once they became believers and the King and the Kingdom are just over the horizon, who in the world is going to go clear back to Babylon for example? I mean after all, the King is coming so why go clear back to Rome? Why go back to Spain or North Africa and eke out a living amongst the pagan Gentiles when the King is just around the corner. So what did they do? Hey, it was real handy, for all they had to do was stay in Jerusalem and live out of a common kitty because after all it was a stop-gap measure until indeed the King would come and the earthly Kingdom would be set up.

But remember all of Israel did not respond so the King didn’t come, and what happened to the kitty? Well, it ran dry. Remember they didn’t have a runaway stock market to invest their money in, and they didn’t have 25 % interest, and so the kitty went dry. What happened to these believers? They ended up poor. Remember they had sold all their goods, and now they probably couldn’t even buy a ticket back home. So here they are, they’re caught in Jerusalem. But remember, God is just! These people were caught in a legitimate cause becausethey had believed the Gospel of the Kingdom that Peter had proclaimed for their salvation, “That Christ was the Son of God, their Messiah, and that the King was coming, they had repented and were baptized (Matthew 4:17 and Acts 2:38)”

So God is going to take care of them until they would die a natural death. But, how? With this agreement that Paul made with Peter, James and John that wherever he would go in his ministry he would remember the poor saints in Jerusalem. Now before you go back to II Corinthians Chapter 8 let’s stop at I Corinthians Chapter 16, and we touched on this while we were in our study. Paul just barely touches on it here compared to II Corinthians where he spends 2 chapters on the subject.

I Corinthians 16:1-3

“Now concerning the collection for the saints, (this will be for the poor Jerusalem saints) as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 2. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. 3. And when I come, whosoever ye shall approve by your letters,(of commendations) them will I send to bring your liberality (your offerings) unto Jerusalem.”

See how plain that is? So what God is now laying on the hearts of these Gentile believers is the necessity of those Jewish believers who got caught in the fact that the King and the Kingdom didn’t come so they were poor, they were destitute. Let me show you another one in Romans 15:25. I’m sure that anybody who knows anything of history realizes that at this point in time there were no mission boards to help people. There were no foreign missionaries to help support them. So what was the need? Well for the local Church there wasn’t that much. They were meeting in homes, and they didn’t have to pay salaries or anything like that, but their responsibilities were these poor believers in Jerusalem.

Romans 15:25,26

“But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. (Paul didn’t have a ministry among the Jews so he wasn’t talking about preaching to them.) 26. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia (this is the same area that his Corinthian letters are dealing with) to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.” Now verse 27 and here is the reason.

Romans 15:27

“It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. (in other words the Greeks in Macedonia and Achaia were not out in left field by giving offering to the Jews in Jerusalem. That was appropriate, that was as God intended it. Why?) For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their (Israel’s) spiritual things, their duty (as Gentiles) is also to minister unto them (the Jew) in carnal (or material) things.”

Can you see that? That was their responsibility. Because when all this was taking place, Israel had not been totally set aside, the Temple was still going, and Israel was still in the land and these Jewish believers were destitute and remember there was no welfare system. The priesthood of the Temple certainly wasn’t going to take care of them because they had embraced Jesus of Nazareth Whom these religious leaders detested. So these believers were in an island of need, and the only hope they had was the collection from the Gentile believers as it would be sent to Jerusalem. Now in light of all that let’s turn to II Corinthians Chapter 8.

II Corinthians 8:1

“Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;”

Remember Macedonia is Northern Greece and Achaia was in Southern Greece, all of Greece is mountainous, and when you have a rough mountainous countryside back when most people eked out a living agriculturally, how much material wealth did most of these people have? None. They were poor themselves. Now to these little congregations out into that mountainous area of Greece, this is who Paul is referring to.

II Corinthians 8:2a

“How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy…”

This is something that America doesn’t understand any more, and that is that there can be joy without material wealth. Now you talk to most of us who remember the 1930’s depression, how much money did we have? None. There wasn’t money for anything. Were people as downtrodden and depressed as they are today? No. People were happy. I can remember asking my dad how in the world did you stand farming with a bunch of horses especially after machinery and tractors came in? Do you know what his answer was? “Well we didn’t know any better.” And that’s so true, and it was the same way in the depression, “people were poor, but they didn’t know it.” So what were they? They were happy. And the same way with these poor people up in Greece. They didn’t have anything materially, nothing! But they had all kinds of joy and happiness because they had been removed from paganism with all of its superstition, and with all of it’s fear, and they had been set free by the Gospel of Grace. Now reading the verse again.

II Corinthians 8:2

“How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.” In other words no matter how poor they were they would still give, and they gave liberally. Now verse 3:

II Corinthians 8:3

“For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;”

Paul or Titus didn’t go in there and do a bunch of promoting and arm twisting. All they did was express the need that the Lord was laying on them to give to help the poor saints in Jerusalem.

II Corinthians 8:4a

“Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift,…”

Do you get that? As poor as these believers were in Greece they actually begged Paul for the opportunity to give to those saints at Jerusalem. That’s quite opposite from today isn’t it? Today there is a lot of promotion and telethons of one sort or another in order to get people to give. But they didn’t have to here. Now reading on in verse 4.

II Corinthians 8:4b,5

“…and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. (in Jerusalem) 5. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, (in other words they stepped into God’s saving Grace) and unto us by the will of God.” (They opened themselves to Paul and his ministry.)

Now this is where it has to begin isn’t it? It doesn’t do a nickels worth of good for an unbeliever to give for the things of God. God doesn’t need it, God doesn’t want it, and God can get along just fine without it. But oh listen, He expects the saints to give as He leads them to give. Not with any legal binding ramification that you will give a certain amount under Law. But remember under Grace, as we seen in I Corinthians 16:2, you give as God has prospered you. You give as the Lord has laid it on your heart, and not according to a set of rules and regulations. Now verse 6:

II Corinthians 8:6

“Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.”

In other words Titus is picking up the mantle from the apostle Paul to gather these offerings for the poor saints in Jerusalem.