384: Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 3 - Part 4 - Book 32 - Galatians 1:15 - 2:9 - Part 2

384: Galatians 1:15 – 2:9 – Part 2 – Lesson 3 Part 4 Book 32

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 32

GALATIANS 1:15 – 2:9 – PART 2

Now to pick up where we left off in Galatians Chapter 2, and remember this little Book was written to clarify that we’re not under Law, but rather Grace, and never lose sight of that. It was written to Gentile congregations and so it is just as appropriate for you and I today Now we had just finished our comments on verse 5 in the last lesson, and remember the setting. The Church up in Antioch, which was up in Syria, has become predominately Gentile where Paul and Barnabas have now been laboring as well as moving out from Antioch into the Gentile world of Asia Minor and Greece. But everywhere they go their little congregations are constantly being subjected to the Judaisers who are trying to bring them under the Law of Moses. They are claiming that Paul’s converts cannot be saved unless they keep the Law of Moses, practice circumcision, and so forth.

So finally after many, many years this all comes to a head, and Paul and Barnabas, by the Lord’s own direction sends them up to Jerusalem to confront Peter and the hierarchy there. So this is what Paul is rehearsing in Galatians Chapter 2. Now we’re going to take just a moment here in Galatians and we’re going to go back and pick up Luke’s account of this same meeting in Acts Chapter 15. Now verse 6:

Galatians 2:6

“But of these who seemed to be somewhat,…”

Now read that carefully, what does that tell you? What does that imply. Hey, they are not what they thought they were. Now I’m not being disrespectful of Peter and the eleven. No way. I’m going to be just as anxious to see Peter, James, and John and the rest of them as anybody else. But in the whole economy of things, here they have been promoting Christ as the Messiah of Israel, and His coming Kingship, and His Kingdom, but Israel is rejecting it. Now that wasn’t Peter’s fault. He had done all he could. He had preached his heart out all through those early Chapters of Acts. But Israel could not believe that anything good could come out of Nazareth. Well in God’s Divine purposes then as Israel kept slipping and slipping away in unbelief, then naturally Peter and the eleven and these Jewish leaders of Jerusalem were losing their clout. Because the whole system was falling through the cracks. But God isn’t going to be out of it, so as Israel is slipping in unbelief, rejecting all this, God has now turned to what people? Well the Gentiles. So as the Jews are going dow, the Gentiles are coming up, and this is Paul’s ministry. Looking at verse 6 again:

Galatians 2:6a

“But of these who seemed to be somewhat,…”

These had to be the Twelve and the elders of the congregation at Jerusalem, but they no longer had the power, rightfully, as God had entrusted to them. Let me show you what I’m talking about. Come with me to the Book of Acts Chapter 4, and again watch every word of this. Let’s begin with verse 32, and much the same thing has taken place in Chapter 2. Where they begin to have all things common, and they lived out of what I call the common kitty. Now this kitty is still operating in Chapter 4 which is probably a year or two later.

Acts 4:32-37

“And the multitude of them that believed (that is of these Jews now at Jerusalem) were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. (in other words they took all their wealth, whatever they had, and they brought it into a common kitty.) 33. And with great power (don’t miss that) 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:(remember there was thousands of these Jewish believers that were living out of this kitty.) 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:(because they were in control) and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. (Remember they were waiting for Christ to come back and set up His Kingdom) 36. And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (same Barnabas that was in Galatians Chapter 2 with Paul) (which is being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, 37. Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”

Even Barnabas, that good man who was probably coming up in the leadership, he, too, laid every penny of what he had gotten for his sold real-estate at the feet of the apostles. They were in control, they were the leadership. Now it’s these same apostles that Paul by inspiration of the Holy Spirit is led to say for our purposes:

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:) (so in God’s view Peter was no greater than anybody else.) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:”

Something else to remember is that when you see Scripture repeat something, as you see in this verse it being repeated for emphasis, He’s driving the point home that these men no longer had the preeminence of God’s dealing with the human race that they had enjoyed back in the earthly ministries and the early days of Acts. It was slipping away from them. And the reason Paul says at the end of verse 6 “that in conference added nothing to me,” was because they had no comprehension of these revelations that the apostle Paul had been receiving from the ascended Lord. They knew only Jesus in the flesh, they knew Jesus that 40 days in Acts after His resurrection of course, but they knew nothing of the ascended Lord. And Paul had received all of his from the ascended Lord in glory. Now one more verse and we’ve got to go back to Acts Chapter 15.

Galatians 2:7

“But contrariwise, (or on the other hand) when they (the Twelve in particular) saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision (the Gentiles) was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision (Jew) was unto Peter;”

Now you know that because we saw that four lessons ago. Jesus chose the Twelve, and He commanded them in Matthew 10:5,6 not to go to a Gentile but go only to lost sheep of the house of Israel. So the Twelve were apostles of what people? Israel! You know I’ve said as long as I’ve been teaching that you can’t show me one record from scripture that these Twelve men ever had a ministry among the Gentiles. Now I won’t take away the fact that they may have visited with the Gentiles, as we know Peter went up to Antioch. But to actually have a ministry among the Gentiles there’s not a word of record of that in this Book. They were the apostles of Israel and the Jews, and they understood that. A lot of people today don’t understand that, but those Twelve men did.

So in verse 7 again, Paul says that the Twelve are now beginning to understand that as he was given the Gospel for the Gentiles (I Corinthians 15:1-4) it was from the same God, and the same kind of authority that they had received the Gospel of the circumcision or the Jews which was the Gospel of the Kingdom. Now come back to Acts 15 and we’ve mentioned before that this will be Luke’s account of the same thing we find in Galatians Chapter 2 which is Paul’s account in the first person. But now look what Luke writes in Acts Chapter 15. We’ve already looked at a few of the early verses in the chapter. But let’s jump in at verse 5 and review it.

Acts 15:5-7a

“But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. 6. And the apostles and elders came together for to consider this matter. 7. And when there had been (past tense) much disputing,…”

Now I don’t know how long this disputing went on, and again with no disrespect to our Jewish people, have you ever seen two or three Jews get into an argument? I tell you what, it’s interesting. I know we’ve had it happen in the hotel in Jerusalem, and even though we couldn’t understand a word they said, I know that the fur would have liked to have flown. Because they can really get after it, and I bet they did here also. There was much disputing, and they weren’t making any bones about what they believed. Now reading on:

Acts 15:7a

“And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up,…”

Now I’d like to make a point of words. If he rose up he must have been seated. Now in the midst of all this disputing I have to think that these Jews weren’t just seated in a conference room, but they were nose to nose standing, and going at this tooth and toenail. And remember in Galatians Chapter 2, Paul said “that he would not give in for a minute.” Then all of a sudden Peter, who had been over there seated nonchalantly, just sort of taking it all in, and not all that interested, finally is nudged by the Holy Spirit, Who says, “Peter get up, come on speak up.” So that’s what happened.

Acts 15:7b

“…Peter rose up and said unto them, `Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago (12 years) God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.'”

What’s Peter referring to? Chapter 10 of Acts, the house of Cornelius. And you all remember that account. How that Peter and 6 other Jewish believers went up to the Gentile home of the Roman officer Cornelius. And while Peter hadn’t even finished preaching, hadn’t said a word yet about repenting and being baptized, what happened? The Holy Spirit came down and signified to those 7 Jews that those Gentiles had become believers. Without an invitation, without walking down an aisle, without repenting, without baptizing, all of a sudden Peter was just stopped in his tracks, and here these Gentiles are evidencing their salvation by faith, and faith alone.

It was not yet Paul’s Gospel, but rather only that Jesus was the Christ, but they had believed it, and the Holy Spirit came upon those Gentiles evidenced with tongues, which was a manifestation that the Holy Spirit had come upon them. And Peter had to just stop for moment he was flabbergasted, and as he was thinking, “Hey, this isn’t the right order of salvation. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to go. My goodness I should have been able to say, `Have you repented? I have to be able to baptize you, and then the Holy Spirit would come.'” But none of that happened. Some of you are looking at me with kind of a blank stare. It’s been a long time since we covered that so let’s look at it for a moment in Acts Chapter 10.

Now verse 43, and Peter is in the home of Cornelius. We don’t know how many Gentiles were there, it was a household so it couldn’t have been that many. It was probably his immediately family, and maybe some of his closest Roman officers, I don’t know, but anyhow Peter has now been preaching, and hasn’t said a word about the work of the Cross for salvation like Paul would have done, but all Peter could rehearse is that this Jesus of Nazareth who had appeared to the Nation of Israel, had been crucified, killed but had been raised from the dead and was alive. So Peter says:

Acts 10:43

“To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name (see, not through his finished work of the Cross. Peter as yet does not know Paul’s Gospel, but Peter does know that the name of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, the Son of God was the vehicle for salvation so he says) whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. (he hasn’t said a word about repenting, he hasn’t said a word about baptizing. But look what happened.) 44. While Peter yet spake these words, (he’s still preaching and) the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. (why? They had become believers. They had believed what Peter was saying.) 45. And they of the circumcision (remember there were six Jews that went with Peter) which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Hey, if Gentiles had been saved for the past eight years since Pentecost why would they have been astonished? But Gentiles haven’t been saved. This is the very first instance, and it was an astonishing fact to them that Gentiles could be saved without adhering to the rituals of Judaism, and proselytizing. But here they simply believed and the Holy Spirit manifested their faith, and then Peter had to hurry up and try to get the horse back up in front of the cart so what does he say? “Oh, we’ve got to baptize them.” That sounds familiar also doesn’t it.

Acts 10:47

“Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?”

Now let’s go back because you always have to compare Scripture with Scripture or you won’t know what I’m driving at. Come back to Chapter 2, and verse 38. It’s obvious what it says, you don’t have to be a theologian, Anybody can understand what this verse says. Remember here Peter is speaking only to Jews.

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.” (then verse 38)

Acts 2:38

“Then Peter said unto them, (1) `Repent, and be (2) baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the (3) remission of sins, and ye shall receive the (4) gift of the Holy Ghost.'”

Now you don’t have to be a seminary professor to understand that. That was the criteria. They were to repent, they were to be baptized in water, they would receive forgiveness of sins, and then the Holy Spirit would come upon them. The four steps. Now come back to Chapter 10 for a moment, and see how that has been totally reversed when you get into the Gentile economy. Now remember this is just the first step of opening the door to Gentiles.

Acts 10:44

“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.”

Peter hadn’t said a word about repentance, he hadn’t said a word about baptism, and while he spoke, merely concerning Who Jesus was, and what had happened to Him they believed it and the Holy Spirit came upon as evidence of their faith. Without baptism, without repentance, what did they do? They just believed. And just believing is Paul Gospel, but this is merely the beginning of it. Now come back to Acts Chapter 15 and this is what Peter is making reference to.

Acts 15:7a

“And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, `Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago…'”

How long ago? 12 years according to my reckoning. Now normally you would think that Peter and those six Jews saw what could happen if you would just approach Gentiles with the Gospel. They would have just gone out across the Roman empire. But they didn’t, but rather where did they go? Back to Jerusalem. And when they got there they got called on the carpet for going to the Gentiles in Acts 11:1-3.

Acts 11:1-3

“And the apostles, and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2. And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, 3. Saying, `Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.'”

Then Peter had to calm them down by saying in effect, “God showed us that He was in it.” But then they all forgot about it. For 12 years there was not another mention of these Gentiles in the house of Cornelius being saved until now in Chapter 15. Here is where I like the Sovereign working of a Sovereign God. I maintain that yes, God wanted the house of Cornelius to be saved, but what was the bigger purpose? To come to Paul’s defense in this counsel in Jerusalem. If Peter would not have remembered what had happened at the house of Cornelius, they never would have let Paul go back to Antioch with freedom to preach his Gospel. They would plagued him every inch of the way. But they didn’t because Peter realized- “Hey, 12 years ago God showed me He could save Gentiles without going through all we demand.” Now look at it again in the text.

Acts 15:7

“And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, `Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, (that is Peter himself) that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.'”

It doesn’t say to repent and be baptized. It says that they should believe. Now verse 8.

Acts 15:8-10

“And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, (to show Peter that God had done it.) giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9. And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. (Now Peter says in recollection, in realizing what God tried to show me-) 10. Now therefore why tempt (test) ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, (these believers up in Antioch) which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?”

That was the Law. That was a burden, see? Then in verse 11 Peter says, “Paul’s right!”

Acts 15:11

“But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.”

Now I’m going to make a comment, as we go back to Galatians Chapter 2. I’m sure that Peter forgot 90% of what he said in that verse in the years to come. Because he still could not give into the fact that Paul’s Gospel had now superseded his Gospel and position. And that’s why he writes in his little Epistle of II Peter:

II Peter 3:15-16a

“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16. As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; (of salvation in verse 15) in which are some things hard to be understood,…”

I don’t think Peter ever fully understood Paul’s Gospel of Grace. Now let’s finish the lesson with verse 9 of Galatians Chapter 2.

Galatians 2:9

“And when James, Cephas (Peter) and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, (Gentiles) and they unto the circumcision, (Jews).

383: Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 3 - Part 3 - Book 32 - Galatians 1:15 - 2:9

383: Galatians 1:15 – 2:9 – Lesson 3 Part 3 Book 32

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 32

GALATIANS 1:15 – 2:9

Now we’re here for Bible study we always say, so we’re going to buy up the time and use every minute for searching the Scriptures and we trust that you will learn how to study. Now we’re in Galatians Chapter 2, and here we find this Church that Paul had started in Galatia was having a problem. Remember this little letter was written primarily to straighten out the false teaching by Judaisers of attaching Law-keeping and circumcision to Paul’s Gospel of Grace. Now here as we saw in our last lesson, some 22 years after Pentecost in about 51 AD., Paul has already established Churches throughout Asia Minor. We know that the Church at Antioch has been more or less the home base. It’s where Gentiles were first called Christians, and where they were first interested in the things of God.

So consequently it’s at Antioch that this matter really boiled over to the place that the Lord instructed Paul to go up to Jerusalem and meet with the apostles and elders of the Jewish congregation. I refuse to call those Jewish believers Christians simply because the Bible doesn’t. Now I know that I stand alone out there and that’s all right because like I’ve always told people that come to my classes, “I have never taught anywhere, classes or even on television with the idea of having any monetary return. So I don’t have to worry if people like it or don’t like it. I told one gentlemen one night, “It fine with me if you don’t want to come back to the class, it’s no skin off my nose.” But you know what? He came back to the class a couple of weeks later and he became one of my best students.

So I feel the same way here. I can take my stand on some of these things without compromise because I only have ONE that I’m responsible to, and that’s the Author of this Book. I handle this Book realizing what a tremendous responsibility it is. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Sunday school teacher, or whether you’re going to just hold a devotion in your women’s group or whatever. Never forget that when you handle the Word of God that it’s an awesome responsibility, and I never forget that. We appreciate the letters and phone calls of encouragement that we receive. I do feel that Paul and Barnabas as they now come from Antioch and they’re going to try to prove to the leadership at Jerusalem that you cannot add anything to the relationship between Christ and the believer except faith and faith alone in Paul’s Gospel.

Now when we left off in our last lesson we were in verse 2, and I hope that I made the point that when he says-

Galatians 2:2a

“And I went up by revelation, and communicated…”

In other words they didn’t just flippantly say, “Well this is what we believe.” But rather they sat down and they looked at it point by point. Line upon line, because these revelations that came through the apostle Paul are so far above and beyond Judaism that it took some time for these people to understand where Paul was coming from. Those of you who remember my teachings back in Romans 1:16 where Paul says:

Romans 1:16a

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it (the Gospel) is the power of God unto salvation…”

And what does salvation imply according to Paul’s teachings? It’s that whole body of truth that involves justification, sanctification, forgiveness, redeemed, baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ, indwelt by the Holy Sprit, and you can just go on and on and on. These are all new revelations that you won’t find until you get to Paul’s writings. You don’t find that taught in the Old Testament. You don’t find the Old Testament believer told, “The Spirit dwelleth within you.” Do you? No. Abraham was told that he was justified by faith and faith alone, but he’s the only one of the Jews back there told that. The reason is, all of this has to be after the Cross and the resurrection had been completed. So Paul communicated carefully, line upon line, precept upon precept that Gospel.

Galatians 2:2a

“And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles.

Now why does the Holy Spirit prompt the man to use the word “that gospel?” Well to signify the difference between Paul’s Gospel, and what Peter and Jesus and the eleven had been teaching to Israel. Now you’ve heard me many times make the statement that Jesus and the Twelve operated under the Gospel of the Kingdom. And the Gospel of the Kingdom was just simply that the King is here, He is ready to set up the Kingdom offered to Israel since Abraham was given the Covenant. And that whole scope of that Kingdom message was “That Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Messiah of Israel.”

But now you see the Gospel of Grace is “That this same Messiah of Israel Who was crucified, shed His Blood, was buried, and rose from the dead is the Savior, not just for Israel, but of the whole human race.” Not to those who keep the Law, not to those who do something for salvation, but to those who simply believe. Oh, that was a whole new concept and these believing Jews couldn’t comprehend it, so they have to bring Paul to Jerusalem. Now reading on in verse 2.

Galatians 2:2a

“And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately (probably a small room where just the leaders were present) to them which were of reputation,…”

The leadership, and that would include Peter and the eleven, and maybe a few of the Jewish elders of that assembly. And so they were more or less in a separate room by themselves first, as Paul was delineating that Gospel which he was preaching to those Gentiles, and it leaves out circumcision, and Law-keeping. But the opposition couldn’t see that that was the way to do it. Now verse 3.

Galatians 2:3

“But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled (or forced) to be circumcised:”

At least Paul and Barnabas held them at bay on that point. They weren’t going to circumcise Titus in order for him to be part of this great counsel meeting. Now verse 4.

Galatians 2:4a

“And that because of false brethren unawares brought in,…”

Now these false brethren didn’t sneak in, but rather the leaders no doubt had something to do with it because they were brought in. Now that’s why I’m a stickler for every word. Now if that word brought wasn’t in there then I could say, Peter wasn’t aware of these people, but I think he was. Somebody was influential in bringing these people into this great counsel meeting of the Jewish believers at Jerusalem to confront Paul and Barnabas and Titus, but primarily Paul and Barnabas.

Galatians 2:4a

“And that because of false brethren unawares…”

Now there is another scripture that uses that same word unawares, and let’s look at it for a moment. It’s in the little Book of Jude. So when false teaching slips into a congregation or a denomination, it’s nothing new. The writers of Scriptures were already aware of it.

Jude 1:3,4

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 4. For there are certain men (not a lot of them, but enough of them) crept in unawares, (a false teacher will never come into your Church, and say, “OK folks I’m going to give you a little poison to go along with the good stuff.” So what does he do? He comes in perfectly sanctioned, he’s got all the credentials, but he’s a false teacher. And this has been a warning from day one.) who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Does that sound familiar? Sure it does. And yet the gullible just can’t see the difference. And that’s what they are, they’re gullible. Oh, these men may sound like they have all the answers, they may be polished, they may be like an Apollos. They may have all the knowledge that makes me look like what I really am – just an uneducated cow man, but they are false teachers, and they are leading people astray. Now coming back to the Book of Galatians and you’ll see that same word and they’re using the same mode of operation. They will bring false teachers in without the whole congregation knowing who they are. And look what they do.

Galatians 2:4

“And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily (or secretly) to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that thy might bring us into bondage.”

Now what do you suppose Paul is talking about when he says “Liberty?” Well, that he was no longer under the demands of the Mosaic Law. They were set at liberty from that. Now I don’t want to get risqué, but we’ve got to face facts as to how life was back in those days. Not every home had a private shower and bath, so most people had to go to public baths. Well, when these false brethren would go to these baths and there was an uncircumcised Gentile such as Titus, do you think they’re blind? Why they could pick that out in a moment. So the whole idea here that these Jews were going to slip in and spy on Paul and Barnabas, especially with their relationship with Titus who was a Gentile, to check them out and make sure that they were practicing circumcision. They probably watched how they ate. Are they eating kosher food, and it was all done to just submarine the apostle and sink him? That’s all they have on their mind, they want to sink the apostle Paul. They want him to be absolutely put out of business rather than go out to the Gentiles with the message that he’s been preaching. Now reading on:

Galatians 2:4b

“…that they (these Judaisers, although most are Kingdom believers in Christ as the Messiah) might bring us into bondage:”

They actually wanted Paul to say, “OK fellows you win, you win, I’ll go back to my congregations and I’ll just tell them, OK folks I’ve had it all wrong. I’m sorry I’ve been teaching you wrong, I guess we’re going to have to give in. Go ahead and practice your circumcision if that’s what you want to do. Go ahead and keep the dietary laws, keep the Law of Moses for after all I was wrong.” But you see that’s not Paul! Now let’s read on in verse 5. Now the real Paul stands up:

Galatians 2:5

“To whom (that is the leaders of the Jerusalem congregation) we gave place by subjection, (do you know what that means? Pressure. Paul was under pressure from these Jerusalem leaders to get rid of this idea that your converts don’t have to keep the Law of Moses.) no, not for an hour; (Paul didn’t weaken one bit, why?) that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.”

Now he’s writing to Gentiles remember so he’s writing to you and I. He’s rehearsing what he went through. And what was the purpose he fought so hard for us? So that Gentiles could continue to literally revel in the Grace of God without being weighed down with all of the burdens of Law-keeping. Now you want to remember that any kind of religion is a burden. That’s why that most of your Oriental religions, in particular their whole format for keeping people under their thumb, is superstition. They keep people scared to death that if they don’t do exactly what their religion commands then they’re in trouble. Bring it into any kind of a legalistic system and it’s the same way they keep people under their thumb, and that’s not freedom. Let’s look at that in Galatians Chapter 5:1 And this is what he’s talking about and fighting so hard for us that we would never have to give up a verse like this.

Galatians 5:1

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty (the freedom) wherewith Christ (in His finished work and power of resurrection) hath made us free, (we have liberty) and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

That yoke of bondage was what the Law was. Judaism was the religion of Christ’s day, and pretty much the extent of Orthodox Judaism today. But what were the roots of Judaism? Well the pure Mosaic and Levitical Law that you had back there in the time of Moses. But the religion degenerated, and as they came up through the centuries, and the Rabbi’s begin to make comments on the various portions of the Old Testament, it just gradually became watered down from its original purity. I’m not saying this with any criticism of the present day Jewish religion, but truth is truth. So it had degenerated down to a religion, and that’s why Paul called it that in Chapter 1:13 at the time of Christ. It was no longer resting on the Ten Commandments and the Torah, but it had become 613 rules and regulations.

Now can you imagine living 24 hours a day under the constant pressure of 613 rules? Why you couldn’t take a breath without breaking one of them. And yet they had to be scared to death of what the religion would demand of them if they broke one of these 613 commandments. Now Paul is saying that we’ve been set free from all of that. Now let’s turn on into the Book of Colossians, and this is one of my favorite verses. Oh what beautiful language we have here. I hope the new versions don’t take this out, but leave it just like it is. Paul, writing to Gentiles up there in Asia Minor writes:

Colossians 2:14

“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances (what do you suppose that was? 613 of them.) that was against us, which was contrary to us , and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;”

See that finished it. The Cross was the end of the Law, and we must never forget that. And yet so much of our preaching and teaching today is in that area before the Cross. And that’s why they can hang onto all this legalism. That’s why they can hang on to all the commandments because they are not recognizing that the Cross completely finished it. The Lord Himself nailed those things to the Cross. Yes including the Ten Commandments. We’re not under their binding power. Now we’re under their moral principles. Absolutely we are. We still live under the moral code of the Ten Commandments, I’ll never take that away. In fact Paul makes that so clear in Romans Chapter 13. It’s so obvious that they still have a valid role in our Christian experience. But it’s not a religious dogma.

Romans 13:8,9

“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath (already) fulfilled the law. (the work of the Cross was love epitomized. It was God’s love for mankind that nailed Him to the Cross. And as a result He fulfilled the demands of the Law) 9. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shall not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness. Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

That obvious enough isn’t it? But it’s not a legalistic, pressurized system whereby we have to say, “Oh I don’t dare do that. I can’t do that because there is a law against it.” No we’ve been set free. But like I always say, “That’s not license.” As soon as we come under this law of love we no longer want to break these commandments. We have now the indwelling Holy Spirit who directs our thinking and actions. Now that is not to say that we’re going to be sinless, because we’re human. And as long as we’re here in the flesh we’re still going to fail, but the Lord has made provisions for that. Now coming back to Galatians Chapter 2, and again I want to look at verse 5. Let verse 5 just sink into your thinking. Paul is under pressure to give up this Gospel of Grace, and add Law-keeping and circumcision, but he says:

Galatians 2:5

“To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; (today I guess we’d say not for a minute) that the truth of the gospel (Paul’s Gospel) might continue with you.”.

Now just stop and think? What if Paul would have given up?

382 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 3 - Part 2 - Book 32

382: The Gospel of the Uncircumcision – Lesson 3 Part 2 Book 32

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 32

THE GOSPEL OF THE UNCIRCUMCISION

Now back to Galatians Chapter 1, and we hope you take your Bible and study with us. We don’t want people to say, “Well, that’s what Les says.” I want people to say, “My Bible says such and such.” Be able to confirm whatever you may be sharing with someone from the Word. This Book is the authority; this is the only thing that we have to go on. I always emphasize that I am a firm proponent that this is the inspired Word of God from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. Remember when Paul speaks in the first person it is still inspired of God, and it is God’s Word and we can rest upon it.

So let’s begin our study, and in our last lesson we left off at verse 18, where Paul had now finished his three-year hiatus, evidently with the Lord alone down in Mount Sinai in Arabia. I had someone ask me, “Why would it take three years to get the revelations?” I answered, “It probably took 2 1/2 years to get Judaism out of his system.” And this lady said, “That makes sense, because it took me forever to get my old religion out of my system.” And this is a possibility because Saul of Tarsus had been a Jews’ Jew, a Hebrew of the Hebrew, a Pharisee of the Pharisees, and educated at the feet of the greatest rabbi of that time. So you know he was saturated with Judaism. He was more religious than many of his peers, and he was human. We’re all human, and when we’ve had something drummed into us for years and years, it takes the power of God to cleanse us of all that.

There is such a stark difference between Judaism (and all of it’s rules and regulations and Law-keeping, and Phariseeism on the part of Paul) and the Grace of God (receiving all of this free for nothing without lifting a finger). Hey, that flies in the face of human thinking, but this is where we have to begin. Now we don’t stay there, but that’s where we begin. That’s where salvation comes in, when we just say, “Lord there is nothing that I can do, but I believe You’ve done it all, and I believe that on top of dying for me, You also rose from the dead. I believe it with all my heart.” Then, yes, God expects us to move out and live a life of service, and that’s the thrilling part of it.

There is a man in our television audience in a distant state who has just come out of one of these binding religions, and he is so thrilled. He’s called just about every time that he sees another truth. He can’t get over the fact that he’d been blinded to all this for so long. Now he’s begun a Bible study on his own, and I think last night was his third Bible study, and he was so thrilled. He said “Les, I just can’t wait until tonight.” Well that’s the way it goes when you come out from underneath all that pressure of a religion of having to do something. Then, to step into the freedom of Grace, it’s just like setting a bird free out of its cage.

Now this is where the apostle Paul is coming from. He has been weighed down with Judaism and all of its demands of a religious leader, and now he’s been set free. So Paul has had three years to shed himself of all that, and to absorb some of the mysteries. I maintain that the things that he shares with us in the prison Epistles of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon, he probably had revealed to him while in prison in Caesarea before he got to Rome. Because, by the time he gets to Rome, all these new revelations are fresh on his mind as he begins to write those letters. But back here in his earlier Epistles I think of all of these tremendous doctrines that are so separated from legalism, and Judaism, and yet they all fit. It isn’t something that’s just like a thorn in all the rest of scripture. No it all fits so beautifully. In fact, I know I’ve shared it with some of my classes about the lady who called and told me that the scripture that her preacher used for Sunday was out of Matthew 19:16,17.

Matthew 19:16,17

“And, behold, one came and said unto him, `Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?’ 17. And he said unto him, `Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.'”

She said, “This morning I was watching you and you said we weren’t under the commandments, but rather Grace.” She said, “I’m confused.” Well, I gave her a one-on-one Bible study. I brought her up all through the Abrahamic Covenant, and Christ’s earthly ministry, and the Nation of Israel’s rejection and the raising of Saul of Tarsus who became the apostle Paul, the apostle to us Gentiles. And the revelation of the mysteries that was given only to him, and how that now, since the work of the Cross was complete, He has been resurrected from the dead, He’s gone back to glory and revealed these truths. How that now there was no need to work for salvation because it’s all done. After I explained all this she was silent for a moment and said, “It’s so logical isn’t it?” Yes, it’s so logical that if it’s all done then why try to work, work, work to still do more. Now this is what the man is trying to get across so he says in verse 18:

Galatians 1:18-20

“Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days, (that’s only two weeks and a day) 19. But other of the apostles (the other eleven) saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. 20. Now the things which I write unto you, (the Gentiles up in Galatia. He’s writing to us even today) behold, before God, I lie not.”

Does that sound familiar? What did he tell the Corinthians in their letters? “I didn’t bring you a corrupt message. I didn’t bring you something that has been adulterated.” Now here we have it in a little different language, but it’s the same thought. Now verse 21.

Galatians 1:21

“Afterwards (after he had been to Jerusalem, and the three years with the Lord at Sinai, and after he is ready to fulfill that commission to go to the Gentiles that we saw in the last lesson in Acts Chapter 9 then) I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;”

Now I think most of you know your Bible geography well enough to know that Cilicia was just around the corner of the Mediterranean Sea, up in the area of Saul’s home town of Tarsus. So he’s not that far removed from Palestine, but yet he is in total Gentile territory when he begins his ministry after the two weeks with Peter. He goes from Jerusalem directly up to his home area of Cilicia. Verse 22:

Galatians 1:22

“And was unknown by face unto the (assemblies or) churches of Judaea which were in Christ: “

Now why did the Holy Spirit inspire the man to make a statement like that? Why is he letting us know that he had nothing to do with those Jewish congregations in Palestine? Because this man is going to be separated from all of that. He has no ministry to the Jews there in Judaea. No more than the Twelve had a ministry to the Gentiles when Jesus sent them out. Do you see the difference? It’s just a complete fork in the road. This man is going to be sent to the very opposite direction that Peter and the other apostles were sent. So he goes up into a totally new Gentile area, and no doubt there were some Jews in these areas as they were in areas of the whole Roman empire. Now verse 23:

Galatians 1:23

“But (these Jewish believers down in the area of Jerusalem and Judea) they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. 24. And they glorified God in me.”

Of course they did, for after all it’s the same God, it’s the same Christ – but whereas the Jewish believers had come in by virtue of the kingdom economy and the kingdom Gospel, yet this man is going in a different direction but still serving the same God. Never lose sight of that because someone sent me an article the other day about theologians who are trying to promote the theory that the apostle Paul, even though he was the founder of Christianity, was in complete contradiction and in opposition of what Jesus taught. I know that promotes book sales, but how can you come to such a conclusion. It’s not in opposition, but it is a difference in His program. It’s no longer under Law, but it’s the same God, it’s the same Christ. So how can they say that Paul was in direct opposition to the teaching of Christ when in Ephesians Chapter 3:1 Paul says:

Ephesians 3:1

“For this cause (because of what he has written in Chapter 2) I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ (but for what purpose?) for you Gentiles,”

Paul is not in opposition to the teachings of Jesus; it’s an extension of them. Now that the life of Christ was culminated there at the Cross, and then picked up in resurrection power, of course that makes it different, but it’s still the same God. Now back to the Book of Galatians, and we’re ready for Chapter 2. Now remember we’ve seen him saved on the road to Damascus and we’ve seen him spend three years either divided between Arabia and Damascus or, as I feel, all down at Arabia. And so he says:

Galatians 2:1a

“Then fourteen years after…”

After what? His conversion. Once in a while the Lord has seen fit to give us the time element, and the chronologers can jump on this and they can pretty much reconstruct the whole time-table even though there is nothing definitive; and, consequently, I have not found two chronologers that agree. They are always at least a few years apart on their estimation of some of these things. But in this verse here is a benchmark as Paul says:

Galatians 2:1

“Then fourteen years after (his conversion) I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.”

Well where did Paul hook up with Barnabas? Up at Antioch. And when did he get to Antioch? After he had been up to Cilicia. So we know there’s a time frame in there between his conversion and this counsel in Jerusalem. Now I think, again, that most chronologers feel that this counsel in Jerusalem was somewhere around 51 or 52 AD. Now, you want to remember that Christ was crucified, and Pentecost took place, in 29 AD. Then I feel (and again some chronologers also feel) that there was a seven-year interval between Pentecost and the stoning of Stephen which would be in 36 AD. This was when Saul was at the height of persecuting those Jewish believers, and had brought about the stoning of Stephen. Then in the next year (37 AD) we have Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. Then adding three years for Arabia it would take us up to 40 AD when he returned to Cilicia. But if he went back up to Jerusalem here in Galatians Chapter 2, then 14 years after 37 AD would take you up to 51 AD.

Now the only reason I do this is to show that all during the Book of Acts time is moving on. This isn’t all happening just in a year or so. Time has been going by, and now here we are 14 years after his conversion. He has been out in the Gentile world preaching his Gospel of Grace, and in the meantime, as we saw in the Corinthian letters in our previous program, the Judaisers from Jerusalem are opposing him at every turn. Whether they were believing Jews, whether they were under the influences of Peter and the eleven, or whether they were from the Orthodox, it made no difference. They would come into these Gentile congregations and say, “You can’t be saved by Paul’s Gospel alone. You also have to keep the Law, and practice circumcision or you can’t be saved.” All right let me show you where the Scripture makes that so plain. We have to go back to the Book of Acts again for that. I know when we taught Acts, we used Galatians, and, when we teach Galatians, we’ll use Acts. That’s sensible, isn’t it? Back to Acts Chapter 15 and verse 1. I maintain (and not everybody is going to agree with me), that this counsel in Jerusalem is Luke’s account, whereas in Galatians Chapter 2 it’s the same counsel, but it’s Paul’s account. And they all go together. Now then, let’s go back to Acts 15 first. I’ve got to take my time here. I have to force myself to slow down because otherwise you’re going to lose the thread.

Acts 15:1

“And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren,…

Now look at that. Analyze it. What kind of Jew would come into a Gentile congregation and begin to teach them? Well, not the orthodox, nor the Pharisee. They wouldn’t have anything to do with something like this. After all, what were Gentiles in the mind of a Pharisee? They were dirty dogs! So they certainly wouldn’t. So who must have been coming into these Gentile congregations? Jewish believers that believed that Jesus was the Christ. Now they weren’t believers in Paul’s Gospel. They were still believers that Jesus was Who He said He was. He was the Messiah of Israel. And so they are still under the Law. Now a lot of people don’t realize that. Those early Jewish believers, under Peter’s preaching, were still Law-keeping Jews.

It’s so evident that I don’t have to show you the scripture. You remember when Peter had the vision of the sheet and all these creatures were in there and they came down. And what did the Lord command Peter to do? “Rise Peter. Kill and eat.” And what did Peter answer? “No way, Lord. Why, I’ve never eaten anything unclean.” Why hadn’t he? Because he’s a Law-keeping Jew. It had to be kosher or Peter wouldn’t eat it. And then a little later he gets up to the house of Cornelius and he is full of trepidation, and I’ve always put it this way. From Joppa, where the Lord revealed all this to Peter until he gets up to the house of Cornelius, some 80-90 miles up the coast, I’ve always said there must have been heel prints in the sand where the Lord just pushed him and pushed him because Peter didn’t want to go. No more than Jonah did.

And so he gets to the door of Cornelius’ house and still full of trepidation, what’s the last thing he said before he steps in? He said, “Now Cornelius, you know it’s an unlawful thing for me, a Jew, to keep company with a man of another nation.” Well why does he say something like that if he’s set free? He wasn’t set free. He was still a Law-keeping Jew.Now those same kind of believing Jews who were under Peter’s control there at Jerusalem, they had maintained a separation but they were still Temple worshippers. You can’t ever prove to me that they weren’t. And they were still legalistic Jews, but they had recognized Christ as the Messiah. Now back to Acts 15.

Acts 15:1

“And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, (these Gentile brethren) and said, (now look at it carefully because you’re Bible says it as sure as mine) `Except (unless) ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.'”

That’s what your Bible says. But it’s quoting these Jewish people from Jerusalem who are now up there in the Gentile area of Antioch. They were saying you couldn’t be saved by Paul’s Gospel. Does that sound familiar? You bet it does! We don’t use circumcision as a prerequisite today, but, instead, use a host of other things. People will tell you that you can’t be saved by what Les is teaching. You’ve got to do this and that. Hey, there’s no difference. Read on:

Acts 15:2

“When therefore (because of this kind of false teaching coming into their midst, which Paul had to constantly refute) Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension (arguing with them)and disputation with them, they (all of them together) determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem (to Peter and the eleven) unto the apostles and elders about this question.”

Now jump all the way down to verse 5. They get to Jerusalem and they ride into this big meeting of the Jerusalem believers, that believe, for salvation, that Jesus was the Christ – the ones that Saul had been trying to stamp out.

Acts 15:5a

“But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees (what kind of Pharisees?) which believed…”

They had embraced Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah. They’re not the whited sepulchers who were religious, but had nothing. No, these were Pharisees who had seen the light that Christ was Who He said He was. That’s what it says, “they were Pharisees who believed.” Now continuing on.

Acts 15:5b

“…saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”

Not only were they to be circumcised, they were to be commanded, like I pointed out in Matthew 10:5 that Jesus did to the Twelve. He commanded them to go not into the way of the Gentile. These Pharisees are commanding these Gentile believers of Paul’s Gospel, based on faith alone, that not only were they to practice circumcision, but they have to keep the Law. They have to keep the Law or they couldn’t be saved. Now reading on. And here is the bone of contention between the Jerusalem Jewish believers and these Gentile converts that Paul has now won up there in Antioch.

Acts 15:6

“And the apostles and the elders came together for to consider of this matter.”

Can you see the argument? Listen, we’ve got to understand this because this is where Christianity is at today. We are being deluged with these same demands. “Oh yeah, we believe the gospel, but it’s not enough alone. You’ve got to do this and that. You have to come this way or that way.” Listen, Paul’s gospel will have none of it. God, through Christ in this Age of Grace, will have none of it. And we’ll see that later when we get to Galatians Chapter 5. But here was the need for this counsel to consider this. And now let’s come back to Galatians Chapter 2. So, here we are at 51 AD It’s a long time after Pentecost. That makes about 22 years after Pentecost, and they are still debating, “Can you be saved by faith alone? Or do you have to keep the Law of Moses and practice circumcision.” Now verse 2:

Galatians 2:2a

“And I went up by revelation, (the Lord spoke it. Evidently the Lord told Paul, `Now Paul it’s time to get up to Jerusalem and confront the Twelve. We have to settle this matter, otherwise we’ll never be able to move out into the Gentile world.’) and communicated unto them that gospel (if you don’t mind, underline the word `that.‘ You might say that’s not an important word, but in this verse it’s all important. Because it was that Gospel ) which I preached among the Gentiles,…”

Not just that Jesus was the Christ as Peter preached, but now that he also died for your sins, He was buried, and He rose from the grave for you.

381 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 3 - Part 1 - Book 32 - The Gospel of the Circumcision

381: The Gospel of the Circumcision – Lesson 3 Part 1 Book 32

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 32

THE GOSPEL OF THE CIRCUMCISION

Now this is Bible study so let’s begin. You know I would like to get every person from whatever station in society or whatever age group interested in the Word of God. The Bible is still the greatest Book on earth, and it’s not as difficult as most people have been led to believe. The secret to understanding the Bible is to separate some of these things that you cannot mix. And so this where we come in, especially with the apostle Paul and his writings. All of his writings are of Grace and Grace alone. So if there seems to be a contradiction in Scripture, see if it’s under Grace or Law as the two won’t mix.

Now let’s jump right into today’s lesson in Galatians Chapter 1 and verse 15. Also remember that this little Book of Galatians is primarily dealing with Churches that were being bombarded with a perversion of the Gospel which Paul says:

Galatians 1:7a

“Which is not another; (Gospel) but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.”

It’s not a completely different Gospel, But what they were doing to Paul’s Gospel of Grace was adding law and legalism, and works. Now nothing thrills us more than to get letter after letter that exclaims, “My what a joy. It’s like someone took a load off my shoulders when I came out of all that legalism, and realized that it’s in Grace and Grace alone that we have to find our salvation (I Corinthians 15:1-4)” So this is the whole theme now that the apostle Paul is still defending his apostleship as he did all through the Corinthian letters.

I can see now why the Holy Spirit put the Corinthian letters where they are, and why Romans is where it is, even though they were written later. Paul declares in Romans the basic doctrine of his Gospel, and then in the Corinthian letters he had to correct and reprove them for having so many other problems. Not so much like the Galatians with legalism, but they had divisions and other problems so he had to correct those problems and in correcting them he had to defend his apostleship.

Now I know you’re probably sick and tired of hearing me say this, but I have to get this across.

As Paul’s writings and his letters are so often totally ignored, we have to remember what an Ivy League president in the late 1800’s once said. He said, “We must realize that it’s either back, back, back, to the doctrines of Paul or it’s on, on, on to an apostasy.” I believe that more than ever. If we can’t get folks back to an understanding of Paul’s doctrines, then Christianity is in dire straits. Now verse 15. So, in this verse, Paul is pretty much still declaring his apostleship and declaring his authority and so he says:

Galatians 1:15

“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace.”

Now that’s a Pauline expression. Called me by his Grace. All you have to do is stop and reflect for a moment. What else but Grace could have done what God did with that man on the road to Damascus. Here he was trying to stamp out anyone in Israel that had proclaimed Christ as the Messiah, and had become separated from the mainstream of Judaism, although they were still keeping Temple worship and the Law. Evidently Saul had pretty much cleansed the homeland and now he had gone to the chief rulers to get permission to go to Syria and bring back the Jewish believers to Jerusalem for trial, punishment and death. So on the road to Damascus with that heart of absolute hatred with anything contrary to Judaism, the Lord called Him by His Grace. If there was ever a man that didn’t deserve what God did for him it was Saul. But, contrary to what most people think, we have to do to get right with God. Saul, like Israel of old when they stood on the shores of the Red Sea, did absolutely nothing. Nothing but helplessly call out, “What would you have me do?”

Remember in Genesis when Noah and his family were in the ark? Do you remember what the picture of the sealant of those wood boards were? It was the word “pitch” but in the Hebrew it meant “atonement” So it was the atonement that sealed out the flood waters of Noah’s ark. Now with the atonement in place and the ark secure, Noah and his family were totally safe. Well, it’s the same when you come to Israel standing at their kitchen table in their little huts in Egypt. And the death angel is flying over, and wailing and weeping is carrying on in Egypt, and yet, there, those Jewish families could stand safe and secure because the blood was on the door. Then sometime later they stood on the shores of the Red Sea with no hope. And when God spoke, He didn’t tell them to do anything except to stand still and see the power of God. And, of course, that was the opening of the Red Sea. Now this is exactly where Paul had to find himself. Just exactly like Israel, there was only going to be one place of safety for the man, and that is the Blood of Christ, and how is he going to appropriate it? Not by doing something, but rather, once the Lord spoke to him, all he could say was, “Lord what would you have me do?” And it hasn’t changed a bit. So this is what he is referring to when he says in verse 15:

Galatians 1:15,16a

“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, (Now verse 16.) To reveal his Son (Christ) in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; (anybody that is not a Jew)

Now let’s go back to the Book of Acts and look at that account, for after all, with Bible study we have to use references as much as possible to see that all of scripture agrees. We never pick up a verse here and there in order to build some ideas, but all of scripture will substantiate hopefully what we are teaching. In Acts Chapter 9, after that experience on the road to Damascus, we find God working both ends to the middle. He’s working on Saul outside the city, He’s also working on Ananias inside the city of Damascus. So now we’re going to pick it up where God is speaking to Ananias, this believing Jew, somewhere in the city of Damascus.

Acts 9:11-15a

“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.’ 13. Then Ananias answered, `Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: (Saul’s persecutions) 14. And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.’ (and here it is in verse 15. Oh we want people from one end of this country to the other to understand this. 15. But the Lord said unto him, (Ananias) `Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles,…'”

Now a lot of people don’t realize this, but when Christ came in His earthly ministry to the Nation of Israel and He chose the Twelve, He had instructions for them.

Matthew 10:5

“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, `Go not into the way of the Gentiles, (the non Jew) and into any city of the Samaritans (Samaritans were half breeds)enter ye not: 6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'”

Now that was a commandment. They were to go to no one but Jews. And the Twelve understood that better than most preachers and teachers today. The Twelve never lost sight of that as we see in Acts Chapter 11. And this is many years after the Cross and Pentecost. I just want you to see how those early Jewish believers adhered to that commandment that Jesus gave to the Twelve. Now there are a lot of people that think that as soon as Jesus began His ministry, the Church began, and God’s Grace and the Gospel went out to the whole world. That’s not according to the Bible. According to this Book He ministered only to the Nation of Israel for the whole three years. That’s why most preachers and teachers think the Church today is Israel. That way they can try to make it all fit, but listen, Law and Grace won’t mix.

And even after His ascension, and Peter begins at Pentecost, then for several years it was that same format. They could not go to the non-Jew.

Acts 11:19

“Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word (Old Testament)to none but unto the Jews only.”

Do you see how plain that is? Now this is about seven years after Pentecost. They are still adhering to the commandments that Jesus gave to the Twelve in Matthew 10:5,6. The Lord Jesus didn’t want the Gentiles to have anything to do with the Jews’ religion, and we can look at that now and see that the Lord wanted the apostle Paul to go to the Gentiles and give them pure Grace. Now coming back to Acts Chapter 9. Maybe this will be more enlightening as to why the Lord Jesus had to make such an emphasis to this man Ananias, as to what was the purpose of saving this Jewish zealot who had been putting Jews to death for having embraced Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah. And yet he has to understand that now there’s going to be a change of direction in God’s plan.

People must understand that, from Genesis Chapter 12 to Acts Chapter 9, it’s God dealing with the Nation of Israel. Don’t try to draw the Body of Christ into those areas. But here in Acts Chapter 9 there is going to be a change, there’s going to be a fork in the road, and we’re going to see it explicitly as we go on in Galatians. Now looking at verse 15 again:

Acts 9:15

“But the Lord said unto him, `Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16. For I will shew him(Saul) how great things he must suffer for my name sake.'”

Did he suffer? Oh, did he ever. In the Corinthian letters we saw how he was beaten, stoned, and scourged, and cold and naked, and many times sick, and living in fear for his life, and all because of what the Lord Jesus had promised him here. Well, now if you will come back with me to Galatians Chapter 1. God is going to reveal Himself to this apostle, Saul of Tarsus, who is now Paul and reading on in verse 16:

Galatians 1:16b

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

Now we know a lot of people think this verse should read that immediately he went up to Jerusalem to check it out with the Twelve. That would have been the logical thing wouldn’t it? To go back to Jerusalem, and say, “Hey, Peter, you guys were with Him for three years. I want to know everything that He taught you. But you see the Holy Spirit here is making it so positive that He’s not going to let this man be tainted whatsoever by what the Twelve had learned at the feet of Jesus. The Lord Jesus now has something totally different to show this man, and he doesn’t want it mixed up. But you see, men are adept at mixing things up. Men have been mixing it ever since the apostle Paul left the scene. And I’m trying my very best to unmix it, and to bring it back again to this clear division between what God did with Israel, and what He’s doing with the Gentile, and the Body of Christ.

Galatians 1:16b

“…I conferred not with flesh and blood:”

In other words, with other human beings, why? Because he’s dealing with the flesh and bone, the Lord Jesus up in glory. Now verse 17. And for emphasis, to make sure that we get it straight. he repeats that.

Galatians 1:17

“Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; (Paul never takes away the authority of Peter and the other eleven apostles, so far as their position as apostles of Israel. But on the other hand he’s also not going to let them usurp his authority as the apostle of the Gentiles.) but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus,

Now the first thing I like to do when you see that word `Arabia’ in verse 17 is take you to Chapter 4 here in Galatians.

Galatians 4:25a

“For this Agar (Paul is making an allegory here but we won’t cover it now) is mount Sinai in Arabia,…”

Now, from that little statement of Paul, I have to feel that, since this man is going to be delegated to receive a whole new Body of Truth from the ascended Lord, and he is going to be given the responsibly to take it out to the whole Gentile world, God did much the same thing with Moses at that same Mount Sinai. You have seen me put that on the board before, and we’ll do it again now. When the Lord spoke to Moses there at Mount Sinai and gave him the Law, Moses took the Law down to Israel. And only Israel received the ramifications of the Law, although the Law certainly affected the whole human race.

But here we are at the time of Paul some 1500 years later, and God hasn’t changed. God is still the same, as He never changes. But now He’s dealing with a different individual. He now gives to Paul these doctrines of Grace, which is imbedded in what Paul is always referring to as the mysteries. And then this apostle is instructed to take these doctrines of Grace to the Gentiles, and for the ones who will listen to him in the Nation of Israel. That, I think, just answers all of our questions as to what part of the Scriptures are we to depend on. Now it’s all God’s Word, don’t ever take that away from me. Every word in this Book is the inspired Word of God, but He has made it so plain that this man is the apostle of the Gentiles. In fact, seeing Jerry Poole here today, I’ve got to use this verse. There are several verses that Jerry, when he first was bombarded by them 16 years ago would come up and would say, “Now Les I never saw that before, so repeat it, repeat it and repeat it.” So that’s why I do it. Go back to the Book of Romans Chapter 11:13. And this says it so plainly. There’s no arguing over it.

Romans 11:13

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:”

In other words Paul is not going to back down for anything as that role of the apostle of the Gentiles. Why can’t people adhere to that? That’s Paul’s authority. That’s why, as we saw in the Corinthian letters, he was always defending that authority. Now come back to Galatians. So evidently he went down to Arabia, Mount Sinai, and, of course, there’s a difference of opinion among Bible scholars and theologians whether he spent the whole three years at Sinai as I believe he did. Or, did he spend a portion of time at Sinai and then go back to Damascus, and then at the end of the three years begin his ministry. I have to feel that the Lord took that whole three years of dealing with this man all by himself down there in the desert at Mount Sinai.

Now the reason I take that approach is that, when you understand all the trials and tribulations that this man went through, most men would have given up long, long ago. But the apostle Paul always kept pressing on. Why? Because I think this three-year experience was so imbedded in the man’s makeup that he could do nothing less. Then, on top of that, there were several times that the Lord Jesus referred to him face to face. Paul says that He appeared unto me. So all of these things contributed to his constant pushing forward against all opposition. So, after a three-year stint, which I think was down at Arabia, he finally gets up to Jerusalem to meet Peter face-to-face for the first time. Now I imagine that was quite a meeting, because, after all, they’re coming from two totally different backgrounds.

Galatians 1:18

“Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.”

380: Galatians 1:1-14 - Part 2 - Lesson 2 - Part 4 - Book 32

380: Galatians 1:1-14 – Part 2 – Lesson 2 Part 4 Book 32

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 32

GALATIANS 1:1 – 1:14 – PART 2

Now we’re going to pick up where we left off in verse 13. Remember, as we introduced the Book of Galatians, Paul is frantically responding to false teachings that have come into the congregations that he had established up in Asia Minor, which is what we call today, Turkey. Galatia was pretty much in the middle of Turkey and especially the Galatian churches were probably in the Southern half of that part of Turkey. They were being bombarded by false teachers who were claiming that they couldn’t be saved by faith and faith alone, but they also had to be circumcised, and they had to keep the Law of Moses or they couldn’t be saved. Does that ring a bell? Well, we don’t have circumcision as such, but we’ve got a lot of other things that are required that are in the same category. It’s that which you can do and that which is of works and it does nothing but bring down the anathema of God Himself. Now verse 13.

Galatians 1:13a

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

He was a Pharisee of the Pharisees, he says in the Book of Philippians. I’m positive that he was a member of the Sanhedrin, and, as such, he must have been a husband and father or he wouldn’t have been a member. I feel that way because he says, in Acts Chapter 26, that when they were persecuting these Jewish believers, and they were brought before the religious counsels, he, along with others, voted to have them put to death or have them thrown in prison. So that tells us quite a bit right there. So Paul was high up in the echelons of Judaism as it was known at the time of Christ with the Temple worship. Now reading on:

Galatians 1:13b

“…how that beyond measure (it was despicable) I persecuted the church (assembly) of God, and wasted it:”

Now I use the word `assembly’ here on purpose because too many people get confused by thinking that the word “church” always means what we call the Body of Christ, and it doesn’t. Always remember the word translated `church’ in our New Testament is the Greek word `ecclesia’ (it can be spelled with two c’s or two k’s). All that word meant in its true translated form was “a called out assembly.” It doesn’t mean something with pastors, and bishops and deacons necessarily, although when Paul speaks of the Body of Christ and the local Church, then, yes, it does. Now the word `ecclesia’ then was what Stephen referred to in Acts Chapter 7 when he said “The church in the wilderness.” Remember that? Well, that wasn’t a church, but it was a called-out assembly because God called Israel out of Egypt unto Himself. And it was called an ecclesia.

The group of Jewish believers in Jerusalem was a called-out assembly, or ecclesia, in Jerusalem because they had separated themselves from the run-of-the-mill Judaisers. I maintain they were not yet the Body of Christ. Back in the Book of Acts there was another instance, when it’s anything but a spiritual group of people, when they rioted in Ephesus. They ran into the theater, they were a mob, they were rioting because of what the apostle Paul had been accomplishing among those pagan people and what’s it called? An ecclesia. Now, fortunately the King James translators didn’t use the word `church’ for that, so what did they use? Assembly. So the assembly was being addressed and warned that the Roman authorities were going to call them into question. So we have to be careful how we let these terminologies either confuse us or set us straight. So when Paul says:

Galatians 13b

“…I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:”

I prefer the word `assembly’ because that’s what it was. It was a called-out, separated group of Jews who I do not feel were, as yet, under the terminology of the Body of Christ which is something so different. Take that for what it’s worth; you may not agree with me, but that’s fine. So Paul persecuted the assembly and wasted it. Let’s go back to the Book of Acts and get the Scriptural account, and you can see for yourself what he is talking about. Let’s turn to Chapter 7 verse 57. Here we have Stephen now, who has addressed the leaders of the Nation of Israel. He has gone through that whole historical record of the nation, and he brings them all the way up to Christ’s crucifixion and rejection. He proclaims as Christ Himself had been doing, and as Peter had done at Pentecost, that He was the Christ, the Messiah of Israel. But remember Peter said back there in Chapter 2 that they had murdered Him.

Acts 2:23b

“…ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:”

Acts 3:15a

“And killed the Prince of life,…”

Peter goes on to say that God raised Him from the dead, and He is still in a position to be your King. And like I said earlier: when Saul of Tarsus, that religious practitioner of Judaism, saw the inroads that Jesus of Nazareth and the Twelve were making into Judaism, he just about went into orbit as we would say. And he fought it tooth and nail and was trying to stamp it out. Saul was sincere – sincerely wrong; but he was sincere in hating these Jews who had embraced Jesus of Nazareth. Look at Stephen’s account in Acts 7.

Acts 7:57-60

“Then they (these Jewish leaders) cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him (Stephen) with one accord. 58. And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. (now he’s thirty something. He was about the same age as Christ.) 59. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, `Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ 60. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, `Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”

Recently we had one of our television watchers send us a tape of their preacher’s Sunday morning sermon. The sermon that he preached was a gem, and I just listened to it from start to finish, it was a good one. He made several points and one of those points was, “It is not appropriate for us in this age of Grace in the post-resurrection era to refer to the Lord as simply“Jesus.” That was His name in the flesh of humiliation. This preacher made the point and that’s why I’m repeating it. Never in all of the scriptural accounts did the Twelve address Him as “Jesus” They called Him either “Lord” or “Master,” but they never called him Jesus. Now the ridiculers did, but His followers never did, and it’s the same way here, do you see it? Look at verse 59 again.

Acts 7:59

“And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, `Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'”

I’ve said before that the only appropriate address for Him today is either Christ, or the Lord Jesus, or the Lord Jesus Christ, or the Lord, but don’t ever approach Him as just Jesus because it is not a scriptural application. Looking again at verse 60:

Acts 7:60a

“And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, `Lord,…'”

Now it’s the same way with the apostle Paul with a couple of exceptions. I know in I Thessalonians Chapter 4 he will say, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again…” But most every place else he uses the term Lord Jesus Christ, or Jesus Christ but never Jesus alone. It’s just not appropriate now after His resurrection. Now come over to Chapter 9 and we’ll pick up a description of Saul of Tarsus in his hatred for anything connected to the followers of Jesus Christ.

Acts 9:1a

“And Saul, (the one we just read about in Chapter 7) yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter…”

Now remember, I’ve mentioned in a lesson or two that the Judaistic religious people had clout with Rome. They had quite a bit of clout. In fact, it was just their own obstinacy that brought down the city of Jerusalem by Titus. But the Romans had a lot of respect for Judaism. The reason they persecuted the Christians so was because it was something totally new and so the Romans treated it like a sect or something. But Judaism had the respect of the Roman authorities, because it was considered one of the ancient religions.

Also remember that the Jews from one end of the Roman empire to the other would send vast amounts of money to the Temple as offerings, and never was a dollar lost. Never did they lose an ounce of those gifts because Rome recognized and protected it. Now, as I said before, they also had enough clout with the Roman Government that they could demand extradition of Jews that they wanted to deal with in their own religion, and bring them back to Jerusalem. And that’s why Saul had the authority to go Damascus which was outside of Israel, and yet Rome permitted them to do just that. Now read on:

Acts 9:1,2

“And Saul, yet breathing out threatening and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest. 2. And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues,(see he wasn’t going to bother the Syrian population, all he wanted was these Jews who had embraced faith in the Messiah.) that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.”

Saul was vicious, he had no mercy. He didn’t care whether they were young or old, or men or women; if they had embraced Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah, then Saul’s attitude was, “They’re not worth living, get rid of them, they are nothing but a threat to my religion.” Have you got the picture? Now come back to the Book of Galatians. And the poor man never got over that for hurting so many. I imagine as he suffered all of the ramifications of his apostleship he must have constantly remembered it’s coming around. What goes around comes around, and his was coming around. Now verse 13.

Galatians 1:13

“For ye have heard of my conversation (manner of living) in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted (how I chased them to the ends of my authority)the church (assembly) of God and wasted it:”

What does wasted it mean? Utterly destroyed wherever he went. Now he had evidently made so much headway in the area of Jerusalem and Judea that he thought he had pretty much cleaned house, and there wasn’t anything left to do so he said, “Okay, High Priest, let me go to Damascus, because there are still some of these people up there and we know there are.” A lot of these Jewish believers who had to flee Jerusalem, for fear of Saul of Tarsus and the other religious persecutioners, did migrate up into the area of Galilee and some as far north as Damascus. Now verse 14. Not only was Saul a religious zealot who had no mercy, who had no compunction in putting these Jewish believers to death, on top of that he was motivated for money. Does that ring a bell?

Galatians 1:14a

“And profited in the Jews’ religion…”

Now I’ve told my classes that you can go into any religion of the world, and you go into their headquarters, their upper echelons, what do you find? Wealth. Tremendous wealth, and where have they gotten it? From the peons down there on the lower level. Judaism was no different. Why did Jesus drive out the money changers in the Temple? What was going on? Hey, it was corruption. These poor people living out in the small alleys and huts of Jerusalem couldn’t afford to go out into the Judean hills and buy a nice beautiful lamb, and bring it to the Temple. Nor did they have whatever it took to do that. So what did they have to do?

They had to buy some kind of a sacrifice for some kind of a peon’s wage in order to fulfill the demands of their religion, and so what were these religious leaders setting up? A market place right in the Temple. And they would try to charge high prices for whatever these poor people had to have, whether it was a turtledove, or maybe a little lamb that had something wrong with it. And remember God required a lamb without blemish so this was also a controversy between God and Israel. But these rascals of Israel were taking advantage of the poor people and selling them the off scouring of stuff that they could use for a sacrifice, and charging them bloated prices, and why? The same motivation that people have today. To get rich! Old Saul was right in the middle of that. He was making big bucks – if you don’t believe me then you need to go with us to Jerusalem.

Usually we get a chance to go down and see the home of Caiaphas the High Priest. His home has been dug out of the archeological diggings, and it’s quite a few feet below street level. But even after all of these 2000 years of laying under the dirt and sand of the Middle East, you can see by the materials that were on their walls, and with all the bathrooms that they had, they lived sumptuously.

In fact, in one area of that house you can see three or four layers where our guide pointed out that Caiaphas’ wife must have gone to Athens and she came back and said, “Honey we’ve got to have this on our walls because after all that’s what all the rich people in Athens have. And you can imagine old Caiaphas saying, “Okay, Okay.” So maybe a year or so later she went to Rome and saw something there that was even prettier and came back and said, “Honey, you’ve got what it takes, I’ve got to have this new material on our walls.” And he says, “Well, well Okay.” So there was about four layers and you could see that each one was beautiful.

They must have cost tremendous amounts of money. They lived sumptuously. Why? Because they were feeding off the income of that religion. Hey, religion has always been that way. I tell people to look at any religion on the face of the earth tonight, go up into the higher echelons and you’ll find the same thing. It hasn’t changed. The human race hasn’t changed one iota in 6000 years. As they get more they get more corrupt, remember total corruption breeds total corruption. The more corrupt people get, the more corruption there is, and corruption just keeps feeding. Listen, this was Saul of Tarsus. This is the point I wanted to make. This guy was a Pharisee of the Pharisees. He was corrupt in the religion, he didn’t have any mercy for those who opposed it and so he could drag them into the dungeons or commit them to stoning, it never bothered him then. Now read on about his account.

Galatians 1:14a

“And profited in the Jews’ religion…”

You know I detest the word `religion.’ The Bible always uses it in a bad light. I think in the Book of James there is probably an exception, but for the most part the word `religion’ in scripture is a bad word, just like it is here. Paul says, `I was profiting in the Jews’ religion,’ because it was a bad, corrupt system. Now I don’t have to tell you that. All you have to do is go back and read Jesus’ account with the Pharisees, and what were they? They were corrupt.

Remember when one of them smote the apostle Paul on the face? What did Paul call him? You whited sepulcher. That’s pretty strong language, and he had to take it back, because he didn’t know that he was talking to the high priest. I think there’s more there than reads between the lines, but anyway that’s what he called him. Now finishing the verse:

Galatians 1:14

“And profited in the Jews religion above many my equals in mine own nation, (he was probably making more bucks than most of them) being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.”

Always remember this, “Religion always banks on traditions rather than doctrine. And when we get a little further in Galatians, I’m going to show you that things haven’t changed one bit in the past 2000 years. Oh we’re not dealing with circumcision, or Pharisees, and Judaism, but we’re dealing with the same kind of mentality. It’s the same thing, it’s religion, and all of its demands on poor unsuspecting people. But look what he says:

Galatians 1:14b

“…being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.”

In other words, Saul was proud of his genealogy, and he probably was even able to chase it clear back into the Old Testament economy. Remember, his father must have been some kind of a man of influence as a Roman citizen, because Paul, remember, was also a Roman citizen, so that tells you something about his father and probably his grandfather. All of these things come into play when you look at the man’s religious fanaticism. If he could stamp out all of these Jews who had followed Christ then he thought he was the winner.