379 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 2 - Part 3 - Book 32 - Galatians 1:1-14

379: Galatians 1:1-14 – Lesson 2 Part 3 Book 32

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 32

GALATIANS 1:1 – 1:14

Now in our last lesson we stopped at verse 7, so that’s where we will pick up our text. When you study your Bible get a good concordance and start chasing these themes down from cover to cover. Because the amazing thing of this Book is that it all fits so beautifully. Now there are a lot of people who think the Bible contradicts in places, but it doesn’t contradict at all. It’s just the vast difference between Law and Grace. A good example of the difference between Law and Grace is found in why we should forgive others. Jesus, during His earthly ministry, speaking to the Nation of Israel, the Jews under the Law said:

Matthew 6:14,15

“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”Now the Holy Spirit revealed to the apostle Paul under Grace why we should forgive:

Ephesians 4:32

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath (already) forgiven you.”

So #1: the key to understanding the Scriptures is to whom the particular text is written to. It’s high time that we get a fresh view of this again, because you want to remember that when God called Moses up into Mount Sinai there in Exodus, God gave the Law to Moses and Moses took it down the mountain and gave it to the Nation of Israel. So Israel came under the Law. Not the rest of the world, just Israel.

But, as Romans 3 says, all the world came under the condemnation power of the Law and proved that no one is righteous, no not one. But so far as the mode of operation of the Law was only given to the Nation of Israel, then as we’re going to see as we get into Galatians and Paul’s account of his apostleship, we find that Paul is the central character and to that man was revealed these doctrines not of Law, but of Grace. And Grace is for primarily the Gentiles, but it also includes the Jew. A Jew today can be saved under Grace as well as a Gentile. But it is primarily God’s time of calling out Gentiles from among the unbelieving world. Now then, Paul’s message, as we saw in our study of the first two letters to the Corinthians, was to the pagan world. Paul could come into these abject pagan people with nothing but the Gospel of the Grace of God and they would come out of their paganism and become believers (or as we normally like to use the term “Christians,” although that word has certainly lost its real meaning). Today almost anybody, and anything can be called a Christian. So now let’s begin in verse 7.

Galatians 1:7

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

Now when we talk about the Gospel of Christ we have to go back to where it is the most explicitly laid out. Remember the Gospel for the Body of Christ was only revealed to Paul so we need to turn to I Corinthians Chapter 15, and look at those first four verses. This is the clearest explanation of Paul’s Gospel that you can find anywhere. Now he will refer to it as the Gospel of the Grace of God, the Gospel of God, my Gospel, the Gospel according to the revelation of the mysteries, but regardless how he refers to it, it’s this Gospel.

I Corinthians 15:1-4

“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel (not a Gospel, not a perverted Gospel, not a corrupt Gospel, but the Gospel) which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, (remember Paul even addressed the carnal believer at Corinth as saints.) and wherein ye stand; 2. By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, (not what Peter and the Twelve in Jerusalem have, but what I’ve preached) unless ye have believed in vain. 3. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, (and we’re going to see how he received it in Galatians in just a moment. Now here comes the Gospel we must believe in our heart for salvation.) how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Long before the world or the universe was ever created, God already had the whole scheme of things laid out. He wasn’t caught by surprise. The whole human experience was pre-planned, and the plan of redemption was already in place long before Adam was ever created. And here it is, how that Christ died, was buried, and rose again, according to the Scriptures. It was prophesied and now all mankind has to do for salvation is to believe it, and we’re going to see that so clearly as we move on through this little letter to the Galatians. Now come back to Galatians Chapter 1, verse 8. Oh the horrors that are going to befall people who are guilty of what Paul is talking about in verse 8. I shudder to think of what one day they are going to have to experience, because look what he says here.

Galatians 1:8

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, (and I just showed you that Gospel which was, that Christ died for you, was buried, and rose again, and if they preach any other than that unto you for salvation) let him be accursed.”

Now that’s a horribly strong word. Paul, speaking through the Holy Spirit, is not just talking about maybe ending up 15 or 20 years in prison, he’s not talking about capital punishment. Paul is talking about an eternal separation from God, an eternal doom to these people who are corrupting and are perverting the pure Gospel of Grace. Hey that’s enough to scare anybody. Now verse 9. And again whenever you see the Scripture, whether it’s Paul or Moses or the prophets or wherever, if it repeats something you take special note. It’s there for the purpose of getting our attention. So here this warning is again in verses 8 and 9.

Galatians 1:9

“As we said before, so say I now again, `If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, (from the lips of this apostle) let him be accursed.'”

Now Paul wasn’t talking there out of meanness, or out of envy of some other minister. He was writing by inspiration of the Spirit, and the Spirit is making the emphasis that if we adulterate and if we pervert the true Gospel, then we are in danger of being accursed. Now you know apostasy is a terrible thing. Most people don’t even know what apostasy means. What is apostasy? Is that something that the apostles taught? No, it has nothing to do with the apostles. Apostasy is turning the back on the revealed truth of Scripture.

Someone sent me a little booklet by the old radio pastor, J. Vernon McGee who has now gone on to be with the Lord. And the little booklet was copyrighted I think in 1971. In this booklet he was rehearsing a conversation that he and the president of Moody Bible Institute at that time had had. They were in a Bible conference out in Los Angeles, and during that week of Bible conference he and the president of Moody, and a couple of more well-known theologians were visiting with each other, and the president of Moody made this statement. Now remember the time element (1971) That man made the statement that he could never envision the apostasy of the Church at that time. He had no idea that the Church would be into such apostasy short of being in the Tribulation. Now that’s only been 27 years ago. What would the man think today? I don’t think they could handle it. But you see we’ve been programmed to see all this creeping in and we just sort of roll with it. We accommodate, but listen we are in such a state of apostasy that it’s alarming. And why can’t people see what these verses say. They’re under the condemnation of being accursed for perverting the Gospel. Now move on to verse 10.

Galatians 1:10

“For do I now persuade men, or God? (who is Paul serving? Well it’s certainly not men, because like me, he didn’t draw a salary. Paul didn’t have to be beholden to anybody. If he needed some money, he went out and sewed some tents didn’t he. So Paul didn’t have to worry about losing his pay, so he didn’t have to serve men.) or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”

Now that’s quite a statement isn’t it? Hey, you can’t serve both, you cannot please God and man. But listen, this apostle says that there is no way that I am out here suffering imprisonment, suffering beatings, suffering shipwrecks, suffering cold, and heat, and nakedness – all the things we studied back there in II Corinthians Chapter 11. He says I didn’t do that just to be serving men. But Paul did that because he was the bond slave of Jesus Christ. Now that reminds me of a verse in the Book of Ephesians Chapter 3. Let’s turn there for a moment, and this, of course, is the whole motivation of this apostle.

Ephesians 3:1,2

“For this cause (what he had just written in Chapter 2 especially) I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for (what people?) you Gentiles, (now back in the Old Testament everything was for Israel’s benefit. But this mans apostleship is for our benefit as Gentiles.) 2. If ye have heard of the dispensation (this period of time when God is calling out primarily the Gentile Body of Christ, the Church in this administration) of the grace of God which is given me (and then from me ) to you-ward:”

Now that’s exactly how I’ve got it on the board. God revealed to the apostle Paul these doctrines of Grace, and what did Paul do with them? He didn’t do like Moses did when he received the Law. Moses took it to Israel and Israel alone. But the apostle Paul takes these revelations of the doctrines of Grace to everyone. He went to the Jew first in the synagogue and they would reject it and he would then go down the street to the Gentiles. His primary mission was to the Gentile world. So this is what he’s making reference to. He was given the Grace of God and he gave it to us Gentiles. Now coming back to Galatians Chapter 1, let’s read verse 10:

Galatians 1:10

“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”

It would be utterly impossible to be a servant or bond slave of Christ if Paul seeked to please men. Now verse 11. Boy it gets interesting. I wish people would study Chapters 1 and 2 until they almost know it from memory. Know the content of these two chapters like you do your name and address, and it will just blow away all the dust and cobwebs of confusion, because this just opens it all up. Now verse 11:

Galatians 1:11

“But I certify (I guarantee) you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.”

All right I’ll repeat myself once more. What is the apostle Paul claiming? His apostleship, and his authority, and not because of any relationship with the Twelve. Also, remember, he has totally broken with his Jewish past, and now he is the bond slave of the resurrected and ascended Lord. Now verse 12:

Galatians 1:12

“For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, (by man) but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Now you want to remember what it says about this in I Corinthians Chapter 15 – where we just left off with the clearest explanation of the Gospel and let’s start with verse 5.

I Corinthians 15:5

“And that he was seen of Cephas (Peter) then of the twelve:

Remember the word `twelve’ was used as a generalized term for a group of people. Just like the Sanhedrin, or the seventy that was sent forth, and it was the same way with the disciples; they were known as the Twelve, although here Paul was speaking of the eleven others, yet he could rightfully call them the Twelve. That happens a couple of other places in scripture and we know that all 12 of them were not there. Now verse 6:

I Corinthians 15:6-8

“After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, (which is now about 60 AD or 30 years after the crucifixion) but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due (or head of the ) time.

Let’s go all the way back to the Book of Acts Chapter 22 and begin with verse 17. Here I want you to see why the apostle Paul is making such a big deal over his having seen and heard all these things from the resurrected Christ. I’m always trying to get people to see that, if you stay in the Four Gospels (and there’s nothing wrong with reading the Four Gospels. Don’t misunderstand me), that was Christ’s before the work of the Cross. That was before the atoning Blood had been shed, and it was under the Law (Gal. 4:4).

Everything that Christ said was in accordance with the Jewish legal system. You can find nothing of the Gospel of Grace back there. And Peter carries that on in the early chapter of Acts. But all this apostle talks about is the crucified, buried, and risen Lord who has now ascended to glory. Oh what a difference. You take the little Jewish epistles at the end of our New Testament, James, I and II Peter, I, II, III John, Jude and Revelation, do you know what? The word `Cross’ is not even mentioned. You won’t see the word `Cross’ in those little Jewish epistles. For them it was not the pinnacle of information like it is for Paul. Paul says, “We preach Christ crucified.” All he knows is the work of the Cross. And it’s all because Paul saw our Lord in resurrection power – he saw him in His ascension.

Acts 22:17-21

“And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, (Paul had already been out into the Gentile world) even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; 18. And saw him (the Lord Jesus) saying unto me, `Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem; for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.’ 19. And I said, `Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: 20. And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, (back there in Acts Chapter 7) I also was standing by and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.’ 21. And he (the resurrected ascended Lord) said unto me, `Depart: (from Jerusalem) for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.'” Do you see how clear that is? Now if you will come back to Galatians again and verse 12.

Paul is, by Holy Sprit inspiration, distancing himself from the Twelve apostles of Israel to keep his apostleship pure from any of the legalism of Judaism (of which Peter, James and John were the epitome). Now verse 12:

Galatians 1:12

“For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Who is now in glory so it had to be through some kind of a communication process between the Lord and this apostle. Now verse 13:

Galatians 1:13a

“For ye have heard of my conversation (now that word `conversation’ is always translated throughout the New Testament, if I’m not mistaken, as manner of lifestyle.) in time past in the Jews’ religion,…”

Why did the Holy Spirit inspire the apostle Paul to use that term for Judaism? Because that was what it had become. It had become watered down over the last 1500 years from the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai, and the establishing of the priesthood of Israel, and all of the sacrificial worship. In the beginning, that was pure, that was Law, but oh, as Israel progressed up through those 1500 years, what happened to it? It just got watered down, and degenerated, and finally, after that, it had become 613 rules and regulations (one of which was that they could only walk so far on the Sabbath day). That’s what the Law had become and it was now a religion.

There was no saving power in the Judaism of Christ’s day. Oh, there were a few bonified believers, we know there were. Zacharias, and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist. Joseph and Mary no doubt were, but oh, it was precious few Jews that were true believers when Christ came to Israel. The majority were not true believers but they were religious. Oh, you bet they were religious. They kept the feast days, they practiced the sacrifices. You know, Josephus claimed that, at the time of Christ, one million animals were sacrificed every year. Now that means that a bunch of animals had to be sacrificed every day. But whether it was that many or something less than that, don’t ever lose sight of the fact that the Jews religion of Christ’s day was, to the hilt, a practicing of those 613 rules and regulations.

378 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 2 - Part 2 - Book 32 - Perverted Gospel - Part 2

378: Perverted Gospel – Part 2 – Lesson 2 Part 2 Book 32

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 32

PERVERTED GOSPEL – PART 2

Now in our last lesson we went over the timeline. It is so self-explanatory how everything just unfolded and fell into place. The thing we have to understand is that the Church Age was never revealed until the apostle Paul came on the scene. So consequently, there is nothing of the Church in the Old Testament or the Four Gospels, and we have to realize that, doctrinally, the Church today has to go to the letters of Paul for its faith and practice. And when you do that it just solves a multitude of problems and confusion, because there are many people who think the Bible is contradictory. But when you show the difference between Law and Grace, between Israel and the Church Age, then that settles it all. It’s not contradictory, but rather a different method of operation. Naturally, Law was a whole different program, and it was a works religion, but Grace is all of Grace. We will see this now as we get into Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Remember the Holy Spirit was in total control of all this man accomplished.

Remember, Paul was under constant attack wherever he went about his apostleship. This was done primarily by the Judaisers, when they would say that he was an impostor. The Judaisers claimed he had turned his back and was a turncoat against the traditions of the fathers of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They even went so far as to claim that he didn’t have the authority that Peter had because he didn’t walk with Christ like Peter did. So Paul was under that constant attack for both reasons. Even when we come into the Book of Galatians, the first thing he’s going to declare is his apostleship. He was an apostle, not declared by any group of men, but by God Himself. In fact let’s look at how this bothered Paul, that he was under this constant attack. Let’s look at it for a moment in II Corinthians Chapter 11. And remember this is Holy Spirit inspired. This is just Paul writing from his own spirit, this is the inspired Word of God.

II Corinthians 11:5

“For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.”

Well who was the chiefest apostle? Peter was. And he’s not letting Peter have an advantage on him. Now skip down to verse 22.

II Corinthians 11:22a

“Are they Hebrews?…”

Well, who do you suppose he’s talking about here? I think he’s talking about the Twelve in Jerusalem whom his Gentile people are being told by Judaisers, “This guy Paul wasn’t ever with Peter, this guy never spent three years with Jesus. So how can you listen to him?” Looking at verse 22 again.

II Corinthians 11:22,23

“Are they Hebrews? so am I, Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. 23. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) (he knows he may sound a little braggadocios, but remember he’s inspired by the Holy Spirit to write. He says) I am more; (do you see that? This apostle says he was more than those back there at Jerusalem. More) in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.”

Then he goes on to show how he suffered for the sake of the Gospel, the likes of which Peter, James and John never did. Now coming on into Chapter 12 and, for emphasis, the Holy Spirit has Paul repeat this for the third time in just a few verses. So this is very important to the Spirit of God.

II Corinthians 12:11

“I am become a fool in glorying; (Paul didn’t like to bring up his own credentials, but he had to defend himself because they were trying to put him down as no account.) ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.”

Paul knew he was nothing. He never took any of the credit, but he has to constantly affirm his apostleship, and even in this day and age we have to defend him even as much as when he was writing. I’ve stressed it on this program over and over, how many theologians, pastors, and preachers, and ministers totally ignore this man’s writings? His writings are almost treated like a plague. And yet this is where we get our doctrines of salvation, this is where we have to be if we’re going to know the truth of God during this age of Grace. Now for the Book of Galatians.

Remember Galatia was that central part of what is now the country of Turkey. It was probably in the southern half of Galatia where Paul had his first bad experience on his first missionary journey as he visited these cities of Antioch, Persidia, Listra and Derbe. Remember, Listra is also where he was stoned and left for dead. But here he writes to this group of little Churches that no doubt he had planted. And now they were being bombarded by these Judaisers. They were the Jewish element from Jerusalem. Whether it was the Orthodox who still rejected Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah, or whether it was the Judaisers who had embraced Christ I don’t know. Either way it doesn’t make much difference.

They both were so hung up on the fact that you had to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses or you couldn’t be saved. So these Judaisers were coming into these little congregations that Paul had been able to plant through his sweat, blood, and tears and they’re telling them, “You can’t be saved by Paul’s message alone (which was “By believing in your heart that Jesus died for you, was buried and rose again.”). These Judaisers were saying “You can’t be saved like he says, but rather you must be circumcised, and keep the Law.” They just couldn’t get it out of their craw. Let me show you what I’m talking about. We’re going to see it again in Galatians Chapter 2, but we won’t be able to get there in this series of lessons. Come back with me to Acts Chapter 15.

I don’t think there are too many Church people who know these verses are even in their Bible. These verses say it so clearly that I don’t even have to explain the verses. Remember now this is about 52 AD and some 12 years after Peter went to Cornelius’ house. It’s about 22 years after the Cross. This is 15 years after Paul’s saving experience on the road to Damascus, so time has been rolling on. Now look what the Scriptures says.

Acts 15:1

“And certain men which came down from Judaea (that’s Jerusalem) taught the brethren, and said, (see they somehow wiggled their way into Paul’s converts who had recently came out of paganism. But these Judaisers said) `Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.'” Do you see how plain that is? Now jump over to verse 5 in this same chapter.

Acts 15:5

“But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, (now these were people who had believed like the Twelve that Jesus was the Messiah.) saying, `That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.'”

Now these people were trying to pervert Paul’s Gospel. And they didn’t just suggest that they keep the Law of Moses, they commanded them to do it. And when they commanded it they were attaching the keeping of the Law to Paul’s Gospel. Now that’s what your Bible says. I don’t care what translation that you have they can’t foul it up that much. I know some of the translators do a pretty good job of fouling up the Word of God. Now then back to the Book of Galatians.

Here the apostle Paul is probably back at Corinth if I’m not mistaken. Now at this writing it’s about 60 AD, so it’s been about 20 years since he began his ministry to the Gentiles. He is now getting word that his little congregations up there in Galatia are being bombarded to go under the Law of Moses. So this little Book is written to correct this false teaching and bring them back under the pure Grace of God. Now listen, it’s just as appropriate for the world today as it was then. I’m even speaking of the world of Church people. Now verse 1, and I know we looked at a few of these verses in our last taping so we’ll just skim over them.

Galatians 1:1,2

“Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man, (in other words the Antioch Church didn’t commission him an apostle) but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) 2. And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:”

Now the brethren that were with Paul would probably include Luke, and Silias, and maybe Timothy. Now verse 3:

Galatians 1:3

“Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,”

Now I’ve got to make a point about something up there in verse 2. Because they had given in to false teaching, we find Paul leaves an important part out of his address to the Galatian Church. Now you probably won’t catch it unless I tell you. Look at the verse again.

Galatians 1:2

“And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:”

Let me show you. A good example is found in the Book of Romans Chapter 1:7. Let’s compare Scripture with Scripture. That’s the only way you learn some of these things. And it’s a subtle way of telling us how far these Galatians had already degenerated because of the perverted Gospel.

Romans 1:7a

“To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:…”

Do you see that? Now that’s quite a commendation isn’t it? He is commending the Romans for that kind of a position. Now let’s look at the Corinthians. I’m pretty sure that it’s in there also.

I Corinthians 1:2

“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,…” Now I don’t know whether II Corinthians does it or not. Let’s look and see.

II Corinthians 1:1

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:”

Even the Corinthian Church. Remember when we studied Corinthians, what kind of a church were they? Carnal. Now let’s look at the Book of Ephesians and that will be far enough because I think I’ve made my point.

Ephesians1:1

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:”

Do you see that? All right now come back and look at the Galatian letter again.

Galatians 1:2

“And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:”

Isn’t that something? There is nothing about them being saints of any kind. They now have become just “the churches of Galatia.” You know when I first started seeing this some time ago it reminded me of God’s attitude toward the Nation of Israel back when He was writing to Daniel. Often He would refer to the Nation of Israel as “Thy people.” God didn’t call them “My People.” Why? Because they had degenerated so far from their love of Jehovah that God wasn’t really even claiming them. They were Daniel’s people, they were Moses’ people, but He didn’t say “My People” like He did at the beginning. At the beginning He called them “My People” and He will again when Israel finally responds at His second coming. Let’s look at it in Jeremiah Chapter 31 and verse 33. Some day I’m going to get into trouble trying to do this from memory. This is the point that I want you to see with regard to the new Covenant.

Jeremiah 31:33

“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, `I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be (what?) my people.'”

Now they’re not tonight. God doesn’t call Israel “my people” tonight because they’re far from Him. Oh, they may be religious, but they’re not God’s people per se, but the day is coming when they will be. Oh, listen God is not through with that nation. Don’t you believe all of this garbage that He has completely forgotten His Covenant promises, and that’s all it is. God is going to yet complete His prophetic program because prophecy cannot stop in mid-place. Now coming back quickly to the Book of Galatians. Now here in verse 4 comes Paul’s major message throughout all his letters.

Galatians 1:4,5

“Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: 5. To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Now here we come to the crux of this letter. You know what it means to correct someone? For example, we might have a rocket headed out into outer space, and for some reason or another it gets off track a little bit, what do they have to do? Well, they’ve got to get busy with their computers and bring it back on track or else it’s a disaster. Well, it’s the same way here. The Galatians were off course, and the whole purpose of this little sixth chapter of the Book of Galatians is to correct and bring them back on course to the knowledge of truth, and get them away form the false teachings that were besieging them.

Galatians 1:6

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:”

And yet he goes on to say in the next verse it’s not really another, it’s not really a totally different one, but it’s the same Gospel that he had used in establishing them, but now it was being perverted, and polluted. Let’s go for a moment to the Book of II Corinthians Chapter 2, and this will be a good place to compare Scripture with Scripture again.

II Corinthians 2:17

“For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”

Now you remember when we were studying this I took you back to the Book of Isaiah Chapter 1:22 because it explains it so graphically, and it’s in such simple language. Kids can understand this. And you see the Jews understood all this. This was part of their everyday experience, and this is exactly what Paul was referring to when he said, “He didn’t do this with spiritual commission.”

Isaiah 1:22

“Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:”

Now I’m not a buff on wine, but I can imagine that if you have an expensive French wine, and you water it down with water, what do you have? Well you’ve got something that isn’t worth trying to swallow. What was the illusion? That somebody was corrupting them. And that’s exactly what Paul is talking about back here in Galatians. Now come back with me to that Book. So in verse 7, Paul says, “You’re not falling for a totally different Gospel,” but there are some that would corrupt, or pollute (or like mixing water with wine, that’s what these Judaisers are doing with Paul’s Gospel). Why? Because Paul’s Gospel says, “You are saved by Faith + NOTHING! And yet these Judaisers are coming in and saying, “You can’t be saved that way. Yes you can believe what Paul tells you, but you have to also practice circumcision, and you have to keep the Law of Moses. If you fail to do this then you can’t be saved.” Now folks that’s a pollution. That’s a corruption of the truth, and that is why Paul had to write this letter to the Galatians to correct them from this error of believing something that wasn’t correct because it was perverted.

377 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 2 - Part 1 - Book 32 - Perverted Gospel

377: Perverted Gospel – Lesson 2 Part 1 Book 32

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 32

PERVERTED GOSPEL

Now always remember as we start our lesson today that we are just an informal Bible study. We don’t try to twist people’s arms or move them from one group to another. All we ask is that you get into the Book and learn to read and study it. If you really get a love for the Word, then reading the Bible is not enough, you are going to end up studying it. But if you really want to get what you need out of it you must study, and that’s what the Scripture says:

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.”

Know what is Law and what is Grace, and don’t mix the two, and the only way you will ever be able to do that is study. So we like folks to know that all we’re trying to do is emphasize the study of God’s Word. We just have a heart for people to be taught from the Word and to be taught how the Word is divided, and we don’t mean the Old from the New Testament. Once you learn how to divide the Word the whole Bible will just open up to you.

Now instead of going right on into Galatians, I would like to review our timeline for a moment. We just get so many requests and comments about our timeline. I’ve had so many people tell me that, “If you’ve ever done anything to open up the Bible, it’s using the timeline.” So in response to those requests I just thought that we would digress for this lesson and review once again the timeline and how everything unfolds and how it all fits and how everything rests on that which has gone before. So, consequently, it is hard to understand the Church Age and why God is dealing with us the way He is unless we see where it all begin.

I’ll never forget years ago, and I’ve used this story over and over in our Oklahoma classes, but it’s so appropriate. It’s the story of the Gentlemen who came to our ranch one night. I had been bailing hay all day and I was tired, and it was about 10:30 at night, and he introduced himself, and said, “Tell me, Who in the world is Jesus Christ?” Now at the time it shook me up. I thought how in the world could anybody ask a question like that? But now some five or six years later all I ask is, “Why don’t more people ask that very question?”Because most people don’t know Who He is. Oh, they know He was born at Bethlehem, and they know He went through a crucifixion, but to really know Who Christ is and how He came on the scene – many people haven’t got a clue. Well, that night we went into our kitchen, to that old round oak table where we have led many people to the Lord. We put on a pot of coffee and that’s what I did with him, I drew the timeline.

And if you want to get someone interested in the Word of God, learn to use the timeline. It’s quite simple to use. Now I’m going to complicate it a little bit today by showing the difference between what the disciples and early Jewish believers understood compared to what you and I now understand as Church Age believers. Because God interrupted His original program for the Nation of Israel, and turned to the Gentiles instead.

So as far as the Scriptures are concerned, let’s begin with the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis Chapter 12. From the timeline you will see that, if Adam was created at 4004 BC (and most chronologers pretty much agree on that), then from Adam to the call of Abraham or Abram as he was first known in Genesis 12, covers 2000 years. Now I don’t put a lot of emphasis on that in this particular lesson because eleven chapters of Genesis covers that whole 2000 year span. So come over to Genesis 12, and here we will read for a moment. Here we have that Covenant that God made with Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees, so Abram was a Syrian, although God used him to begin the Jewish race. Anyway God made a special Covenant with him and here it is beginning with verse 1.

Genesis 12:1

“Now the LORD had said (back in Chapter 11) unto Abram, `Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will (future) shew thee: 2. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing 3. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee (through a lineage of people that would come from this man) shall all families of the earth be blessed.'”

This Abrahamic Covenant is given to the man who would be the father of a race of people who had never been on the earth before. They came out of Adam, and Noah and the three sons, but God institutes now by His Sovereignty a new race or nation of people that we have come to know as Israel. So the Jews came as a result of this Covenant made with this one man. This Covenant promises a nation of people, and implied is that you can’t have a nation of people functioning and operating unless they are in their own geographical area, a homeland. And it’s also implied that if you have a nation of people and they are in a geographical area, you can not have law and order and an economy unless you have a government.

So those are the three main tenants of the Abrahamic. That God will make of this one man a nation of people, put them in their own geographical area of land, and then at some future day, He and the person of God in the flesh would be their King. And that is the promise of the Messiah, and the redeemer. Now with the 2000 BC call of Abraham we have God dealing for the next 2000 years up to Christ’s first advent with Jew only, and, of course, there are always a few exceptions. I have called this whole period of time from Abraham until we get out here to the Church Age, when the Jewish program is interrupted, the period of prophecy, the prophetic program, or the Old Testament program, and we’ll see how it was interrupted. But when I say that it is a program of prophecy, I want you to turn the page here in Genesis to Chapter 15. I always like to make these things as plain as I possibly can. True prophecy is telling the future, as we understand in the Old Testament, and is almost always when God made a promise, He put it in a time frame. Now that’s how explicit God is when He tells the future. God will name the day, and He will name the number of years that will be involved in that particular process. Now, here in Genesis 15, Abraham has now come along and he’s going to have children. The first one, Ishmael, was not according to God’s plan, but nevertheless in Genesis 15 here we have what I call a real example of true prophecy. Look at verse 13.

Genesis 15:13

“And he (God) said unto Abram, `Know of a surety (it’s going to happen) that thy seed (your offspring through Isaac) shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, (they are going to be some place other than the promised land, and we know it was Egypt) and shall serve them; (they are going to go into bondage, and now here comes the time element) and they shall afflict them four hundred years:'”

Do you see that? Now God is making a prophecy that this nation coming out of this one man, Abraham, will end up in a nation that is not theirs which we know is Egypt, and it’s going to cover a period of 400 years. Now that’s the way prophecy always works. Now according to my timeline, once we come past the first 11 chapters which is Adam, and the flood, and the tower of Babel – now comes the call of Abraham and the appearance of the Nation of Israel. Then we come 500 years to Moses and the Exodus experience, and the Law. Then we have all the rest of the Old Testament writers in the prophets, the Psalms and everything else. So everything now is prophetically looking forward to, and promising what we call, the first advent of Christ. In other words, His birth at Bethlehem when He came to the Nation of Israel to fulfill those promises.

Now what I always refer to as the outline of this prophetic or Old Testament program is Psalms Chapter 2. Now a lot of this is repetition even for a lot of our television viewers, but on the other hand we have a lot of new people every week. So here in Psalms Chapter 2 I call this the outline of God’s prophetic program.

Psalms 2:1-6

“Why do the heathen (in Old Testament language, and even in the New Testament anyone that was not a Jew born out of Isaac, and Jacob, and the Twelve sons was either called a Gentile, or heathen, or uncircumcised. So why does the heathen the non[-Jews) rage, and the people (the promised Covenant people Israel) imagine a vain thing? 2. The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers (of Israel) take counsel together, (even though the Book of Acts lays the blame on the Nation of Israel for crucifying Christ, yet never forget Rome carried it out) against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3. `Let us break their bands asunder, (that is the Godhead. Let’s not let God rule in our affairs) and cast away their cords (God’s Sovereign rule) from us.’ (Now here was the response of God the Father in Heaven) 4. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them (the nations of the world and Israel) in derision. 5. Then (now that’s not a specific time of six months or years, but nevertheless there would be a definite time element between His crucifixion, and the next event in the timeline and that is not a pretty picture. And what is it? His wrath! The wrath of God, and) shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. (the nations of the world and Israel in particular. Now that’s the Tribulation) 6. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” Now in verse 6 that’s the 1000-year Kingdom age that is coming.

Now then coming back to the timeline, we have Abraham at 2000 BC all the way up to Christ’s first advent it was all Jew, with a few exceptions, and God dealing with only the Nation of Israel. Christ came and brought about His three years of earthly ministry, preaching and proclaiming Who He was only to the Nation of Israel, (Matthew 15:24) and they crucified Him. He ascended back to glory, and now, according to Psalms 2 that we just looked at, the next event would be the wrath and vexation which would be the seven years of Tribulation and then Christ would come and yet set up His Kingdom. Now that’s Psalms Chapter 2, verses 5, 6, and 7. That’s just as plain as you can get.

It’s obvious then, there’s something missing in those verses: what is it? The Church Age. There is not a word about the Church Age in the Old Testament. There’s not a word about the Church Age in the Four Gospels that God would turn to the non-Jew, the Gentiles, and call out of them the Body of Christ of Jews and Gentiles. The only thing that the Old Testament was looking for was the fulfillment of this line of promises. That Christ would come, He would suffer, He would die. He’d be raised from the dead and then the wrath of God would fall, and then the Kingdom would be set up. Now let me show you how obvious it really is that Peter had no concept of anything other than this Old Testament timeline – Acts Chapter 2 on the day of Pentecost. Remember these Jewish believers had been accused of starting their drinking a little too early in the morning. So by 9 a.m. they were drunk. Well I don’t know how in the world they could accuse someone who was speaking in languages that everybody could understand of being drunk. My experience with drunken people is you can’t understand one language let alone many. Now in verse 15, Peter’s response was:

Acts 2:15-18

“For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. (only 9 o’clock in the morning. But Peter in verse 16 is saying in effect that what you’re seeing is fulfillment of prophecy) 16. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; (now where’s Joel? Back in the Old Testament, it was part of prophecy, and now he quotes him. This is what Joel wrote) 17. And it shall come to pass in the last days saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18. And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:…”

Peter was seeing this happen on the day of Pentecost. Now if Peter had understood that there was going to be a Church Age and that Israel was going to go into a dispersion, he should have stopped right here, and not read the rest. Because the rest is Tribulation ground. But Peter didn’t stop, because he was still hanging on that Old Testament program that Israel had to come to a knowledge of their Messiah and then the Tribulation could unfold, and then they would have the King and the Kingdom. But since he didn’t understand this, look what he continues to quote in verse 19.

Acts 2:19-21

“And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke; 20. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: (that’s the Tribulation, and Peter knew that it had to come) 21. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Now that’s not Paul, as he writes in Romans 10:9-13, but rather this is Peter. Peter is still in the prophetic program and all he’s talking about here is that the One you crucified has been raised from the dead. He’s gone back to glory according to Psalms 110:1, and He’s sitting at the Fathers right hand; and yet would come the wrath and vexation, and then Christ would return at His second coming, and yet set up His Kingdom. But Israel rejected it so the King couldn’t pour out the Tribulation wrath, He had to wait in heaven until something else glorious would come to pass.

And now we must turn a little farther in Acts to Chapter 9. Now this is just a quick review. But here in Chapter 9 I want you to jump all the way to verse 15. And here we are at Saul’s tremendous conversion on the road to Damascus. This one who detested (hated with a passion) the name of Jesus of Nazareth because he could see it as just totally rotting away Judaism. It was defaming the Temple and the Law, and so he did everything humanly possible to stamp out the name of Jesus of Nazareth. So Saul thinks he’s got everything pretty much under control in his homeland of Jerusalem and Judea and so now he has gone to the high priest and has gotten permission to even go to Damascus.

Remember, the high priest and the leaders of Judaism had a fair amount of clout even with the Roman government; that they could actually demand extradition from certain cities from the Romans like we do today with certain countries. And so Saul rehearses in Acts Chapter 26 what they would do with these who had believed in Jesus of Nazareth. They would take them back to Jerusalem, throw them in prison, and put them to death. Now as Saul of Tarsus has met the Lord on the road to Damascus (and you all know the account here is where you have that tremendous change in the modus operandi of the Sovereign God), look at verse 15.

Acts 9:15,16

“But the Lord said unto him, (Ananias) `Go thy way: for he (Saul, later to be named Paul) 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 how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.'”

Now that opens the door to the apostle Paul’s ministry among the Gentiles. Now, on the timeline, this is where we are concerned with. Prophecy had run its course with the exception of the seven years of Tribulation and the 1000 years reign of Christ in the Kingdom age. Christ had come according to prophecy. He was rejected, He was crucified; but now all of a sudden with Israel’s continued rejection, the prophetic program of Jew-only has come to a screeching halt, and God’s time clock stopped, and prophecy stopped. God then opened something completely new in Scripture. And what is it? The mysteries. Paul is always saying, “Behold I show you a mystery” Let’s look at it in Romans Chapter 16:25:

Romans 16:25

“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, (as found in I Corinthians 15:1-4. Not the gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus and the Twelve preached, but Paul’s Gospel that was revealed only to him) and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world begin,”

So now for almost 2000 years, we haven’t been in the prophetic program. We are in the Age of Grace which is the revelation of the mysteries. Things that were kept secret back here in the Old Testament – there was no concept of Gentiles being brought into a relationship with the Almighty God. But when the Church is complete and it can be taken out of the way in what we call the Rapture then you see on our timeline the parentheses around the Church on the timeline is removed and the timeline is just like it was originally.

Then the prophetic program will go right on and yet be completed. Now all you have to do is look at the situation. Israel is back in the land like she was at the time of Christ’s first coming. They’ll soon have their Temple, and they will go back under Judaism, and the Law and Temple worship. The revived Roman empire is already on the scene. The European community is just about complete, and so everything is now falling into place. It will be just like it was at the time of Christ’s first advent. Oh, granted, technology has exploded, but yet it is all for the sole purpose of bringing about the end-time scenario for that second coming of Christ to the Nation of Israel.

376 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 1 - Part 4 - Book 32 - Galatians 1:7

376: Galatians 1:7 – Lesson 1 Part 4 Book 32

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 32

GALATIANS 1:7

Let’s pick up here in Chapter 13, and I’m not going to take this last chapter verse by verse, as you can read it at your leisure. However, I do want to close the Book with the final verse which is verse 14. This verse is probably the clearest statement concerning the Trinity that you can find anywhere in Scripture, next to Christ’s baptism. I know when someone writes wanting to know where we get the idea of the Trinity (and if we can give them Scriptures for it), that the two we use the most are this one and where Christ was baptized:

Matthew 3:16,17

“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17. And lo a voice from heaven, saying, `This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'”

At His baptism you have all three persons of the Trinity there at one time. Now here in this verse we have the apostle Paul making reference also to the three Persons of the Godhead in a pure unadulterated statement. Now verse 14:

II Corinthians 13:14

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, (The Father is implied) and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.”

Now it’s interesting that, normally when we speak of the Trinity, out of habit we put them in the order of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. But when you look at this verse, there is something different. Paul changes the order of the three. Paul puts Christ first rather than the Father. Not that there is any change in the way the Trinity operates. Never. You’ve all heard me teach that there is no such thing as God the Father having power over God the Son, and over the Spirit or vice versa. They are all three co-equal. They are all three members of the Godhead. Let me take you, for a moment, to the Book of Colossians where Paul makes that same statement.

Here is where the Jewish people in their Old Testament background refer to Christianity as a polytheism. They call us a religion of three Gods. But we’re not three Gods, it’s three Persons in one God. And of course the Old Testament does not clarify that like it does in the New Testament.

Colossians 2:8,9

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9. For in him (that is in Christ) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”

Now backing up a little bit to Colossians Chapter 1. And I think all of this gives us a clear picture that the Godhead is that invisible Spirit out of which God the Son stepped and became visible.

Colossians 1:15-19

“Who (speaking of God the Son and the redeeming Blood in verses 13 and 14) is the image of the invisible God, (the Godhead) the first born of every creature: (in other words Christ was pre-eternal in His existence just like God the Father, and God the Spirit.) 16. For by him (God the Son) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him; 17. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (or held together. Remember now this is speaking of God the Son) 18. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead;(referring to His resurrection) that in all things he might have the preminence. 19. For it pleased the Father that in him (Christ) should all fulness dwell;”

So the members of the Godhead are not One above the other, but rather they are all co-equal. Now returning to our text in II Corinthians. This is why, now, that Paul in complete liberty, and again, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, can sort of reverse the order that we normally use. Looking at verse 14 again:

II Corinthians 13:14

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.”

Well, that will more or less wrap up our study of the Corinthian letters, and so we’ll just turn the page and go right into the next one in the New Testament order which is the Book of Galatians. Now I’ve put a caricature map on the board and although it’s not according to scale, I think most of you will recognize what part of the world we’re speaking of here. Some of you might wonder. “Why don’t you use a professional map?” Well the reason I stick to my mundane simplistic way of doing things is that my whole thrust of teaching is to get you to teach people like I do. I don’t know the number of times I’ve had people sit with us over the years at the kitchen table, and I get out a plain piece of typewriter paper, and simply draw. I would hope that you folks would be able also to just freehand some of these things – even if it’s a caricature, it’s not perfect, it’s something that you can recognize, then use. Always be ready when people ask questions. Have your answers ready, and if you get a chance to witness to someone in your home, get a piece of paper and just simply as you know how, draw these things out.

Now that’s what I’ve drawn up here on the board leading up to the Book of Galatians. As you see, we have the Mediterranean Sea coast, and down here, of course, would be the city of Jerusalem, the Jordan valley, the Sea of Galilee, and the Dead Sea. Now as you turn the corner of the Mediterranean Sea, and go under the underbelly of what is today Turkey, right down through the middle of Turkey was what we called Galatia. The city to whom this letter of Galatians was written. Now, at the western end of Turkey you had the ancient city of Ephesus, to whom the letter of the Ephesians was written, and the churches in that area. Then across the Aegean Sea up here was Philippi, and Thessalonica, and Berea, and all the way down to Athens. And then across to Corinth, and across the Adrian Sea was Italy and Rome.

Now as we study the Book of Galatians we’re going to be dealing with Paul’s letter to these people in this very area where we covered his first missionary journey. Antioch of Pisida, Lystra and Derbe. Remember Paul was stoned at Lystra, and after they had spent some time over here at the eastern end of Galatia, they retraced their steps and went back to Antioch. We will cover his second missionary journey at a later time.

Now to this letter of Galatians which is only six chapters. I pointed out a few programs ago that Paul was under such duress to get this letter written as quickly as possible that he didn’t even wait for some kind of secretary to take dictation – but rather he laboriously printed it in large block letters because of his poor eye sight. There was such an intense need to get this letter up to those Galatian assemblies who were being bombarded by the Judaisers to come under the Law of Moses. And the thought of this just exercised the apostle to the point that he had to sit down and get this letter up to those congregations before it would be too late.

You see this little letter is so appropriate today because we’re under the same kind of a bombardment. I had a letter today from someone who said, “Les I’m finding that most people hate Paul’s doctrines of Grace.” Well I’ve never put it quite that strongly, but I do know most people don’t like them. Because you see most people want to do something. They want to feel that somehow they have merited favor with God. But you just remember that God will have none of that. He says, “Either you believe that I’ve finished it or it will profit you nothing!” But this runs contrary to human thought. So what we’re going to see now in these little six chapters of Galatians is this constant warning by the apostle that you’re not under Law, but rather Grace. Don’t let these people pervert the Gospel by adding something to it.

Now time-wise Galatians was written probably a couple of years before the Corinthian letters. Remember the Books that Paul wrote are not in the order in which he wrote them. But also remember they are in the exact order that the Holy Spirit wanted them. Paul’s letters have always been in this exact order as we have them today. They are not in the chronological order that they were written as Thessalonians was written first and then Galatians, Romans, Corinthians, then the epistles of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, then First and Second Timothy and Titus. The whole theme of this letter is to convince the Galatians and us that we are not under Law, we’re under Grace.

Galatians 1:1

“Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)”

Now, of what does Paul immediately remind his followers? The authority of his apostleship. He always comes at that first, that he had the absolute authority to proclaim the truth that he’s proclaiming, and it had nothing to do with men appointing him. It’s interesting, that back in Acts Chapter 13 (when Paul and Barnabas left to go on that 1st missionary journey), how careful the Scripture was to point out that it wasn’t the Church that sent them, but rather the Holy Spirit.

Acts 13:2-4

“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, `Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.’ 3. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. 4. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia, and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.”

So the Holy Spirit sent them, not the Church at Antioch. And it’s the same way here. Paul makes it plain that he did not come into this role of apostleship because maybe the Twelve ordained him, or some other group ordained him or taught him or set him down. No way did that happen. He comes on the scene by the miraculous laying of this apostleship on him by the Lord Jesus. Now verse 2:

Galatians 1:2

“And all the brethren which are with me, (that was his traveling companions) unto the churches of Galatia: 3. Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Now, in verse 4, right off the bat we find Paul bringing out the Gospel by which we are saved. I mean the guy can’t help it, as in his writing, it’s constantly going to come to the top.

Galatians 1:4,5

“Who (our Lord Jesus Christ of verse 3) gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: 5. To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Now that’s the simplistic statement again of the Gospel (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4) How that Christ gave Himself. He wasn’t forced, it was of His own volition. In fact, turn ahead a few pages to the Book of Philippians.

Philippians 2:5-7

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (He was God!) 7. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, (or a slave. He was nothing in the eyes of a Roman world) and was made in the likeness of men:…”

We’ve got to be careful here. In fact, the question came up recently regarding where II Corinthians Chapter 5 says, “He became sin for us.”

II Corinthians 5:21

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew not sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Well, Christ didn’t become a sinner per se, but what did He do? He took the sinners place. He became our substitute. After that conversation I had to start thinking of other examples in the Scripture. For example when Abraham was going to offer Isaac: just when he’s ready to fulfill the command from God to offer his son Isaac, what does God provide in the thicket? The ram. What did the ram become? The substitute. The ram didn’t become Isaac. Now the same way with Christ. When He went to the Cross, He did not, as I see Scripture, become a vile sinner, but rather He took on Himself all the sins of the human race without becoming a sinner, and says, “Yet without sin.” Now that’s beyond our human comprehension. But it was His substitutionary work, that where you and I should have died, He took our place. He didn’t become Les Feldick, He didn’t become Kenneth, David, Rosalee or anybody else, but merely became our substitute. And this is what Paul is referring to here. Now verse 8:

Philippians 2:8

“And being found in fashion (form) as a man, (totally man, but also totally God) he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, (the most horrible death ever devised) even the death of the cross.”

Now that is what becomes, then, the very bedrock of our salvation. We believe that. That’s it, and yet it’s so simple that people stumble over it. But on the other hand, as I’ve said so often, it is so complex. I could live to be a thousand years old and never comprehend it. It’s impossible for us as humans to comprehend the power of the work of the Cross. It is beyond us, but on the other hand it’s so simple that all God asks us to do is “Believe it!” And the world refuses to do so. Now back to Galatians Chapter 1 and let’s look at verse 4 again.

Galatians 1:4a

“Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us (He’s the one that is delivering us from) this present evil world,…”

Remember in our last program I was making reference to the wickedness that was in place in the Roman Empire. Just beyond our comprehension. I think you’re all aware that historians have bemoaned the fact that America is going down the same road that Rome went. Just as sure as Rome rotted from within so we Americans are doing the same thing. The more I read of Roman history the more I know what they’re talking about. Do you know that Rome was almost totally given over to the welfare system. The only people who worked were the captive of their military excursions, and they just used them as slaves. The Roman citizens did nothing; and in order to satisfy all their leisure hours they had to concoct something to keep them satisfied, and that gave rise to the coliseum, and the lions, feeding of the Christians, the gladiators, and all the rest. It also then gave rise to their implacable immorality, it was beyond description. Now reading on into verse 6, and here we find Paul getting to the heart of the matter of why he is writing this letter. Remember he’s gotten word that these Galatian believers are being besieged by the Judaisers who want to bring them back under the Law of Moses. Practice circumcision, practice Temple worship or whatever was applicable. So Paul says:

Galatians 1:6

“I marvel (I can’t comprehend) that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:”

Paul couldn’t comprehend how these people, as we saw in Thessalonians in the last program, turned from idols to the living God, and now they’re not satisfied with just Grace, now they’re being hoodwinked to go under legalism. Paul tells them that they are moving from the Grace of Christ into another gospel. But what does the next verse say?

Galatians 1:7

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

Oh it’s not really another gospel, it’s not something totally different, but it’s a perversion. Now what is a perversion? Something that has been fooled with. It is no longer pure, so this is what has happened here. They hadn’t just turned their back on Christianity as we call it, they hadn’t turned their back on Christ, but they had turned their back on Paul’s Gospel of pure Grace that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again and believing that plus nothing for salvation. They were now believing these Judaisers that, yes, maybe they did have to practice the Law. So they are now bending in that direction and this is the purpose of the letter. You’re not under Law, you’re under Grace, and even today this is the heart cry. “Why can’t people see that we’re not under anything legalistic, we’re under Grace!” And Grace is simply the fact that there is nothing that you and I can do to merit favor with God. The only thing that we can do is BELIEVE!

375 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 1 - Part 3 - Book 32 - 2 Corinthians 11:22

375: 2 Corinthians 11:22 – Lesson 1 Part 3 Book 32

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 32

2 CORINTHIANS 11:22

Remember we were talking in our last lesson about Paul’s thorn in the flesh (which we do not claim to have the only answer). But a logical one for me is that it was a common eye disease in that period of time and it was repulsive in his appearance. It was painful and it limited his eye sight and, consequently, I think that is the reason that he dictated all of his letters, seemingly, except the Book of Galatians. And that’s what I closed with in the last lesson, how that he had to write the whole letter in huge block letters for his own sake so that he could read it himself.

So as we come on down in Chapter 12 again let’s start at verse 8. Here God gives him the reason for keeping the man humbled and evidently putting him through all the trials and sufferings.

II Corinthians 12:8,9a

“For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, (three times) that it (this thorn in the flesh) might depart from me. 9. And he (the Lord Jesus Himself) said unto me, `My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect (or complete) in weakness….'”

Again I have to take us back to I Corinthians because this is the whole concept of Christian service. I don’t mind a bit when, once in a while, someone will say to me, “Les, the Lord is blessing your ministry so don’t get the big head.” Because that’s always a danger in any ministry, and don’t think we don’t know that. The moment we think that we can do it ourselves we’re all done. It has to be done as a weak vessel that God has seen fit to use.

I Corinthians 1:26

“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:”

Now that says it all doesn’t it? God doesn’t go to the kings and queens of world, nor does he usually go to the ivy covered halls of universities for his servants. He never has. All you have to do is go back into the Old Testament economy and look. Don’t think for a moment that there weren’t more highly polished people to be used than Amos, Gideon, and Ezekiel and some of these people. They were just common ordinary members of the Jewish nation, but that’s what God saw fit to use. So Paul is really an exception to the rule. Paul was highly educated and no doubt had a lot of polish because he certainly moved in the upper echelons of Judaism. This is why he constantly puts himself down as nothing, because he realizes that God cannot use somebody unless they are nothing.

Do you know the prime example for that situation in Scripture is Moses. Do you remember back there in Exodus. Moses, at the end of his first 40 years, having lived in Pharaoh’s palace (and was the second top man in Egypt), what did he think he could do? Well, he thought he could take the children of Israel out of slavery because of his own power and pomp and circumstance, wisdom, and leadership, so he went out to the children of Israel and as the Book of Acts says:

Acts 7:25

“For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.”

But you see God had to get Moses in the right position before He could use him. See he was leaving God out of the picture, and was using his own position, and what did God have to do to Moses? He took him out on the back side of the desert and of all the things that the man could have done to make a living, what does God put him in? A sheep herd. Which, in the eyes of an Egyptian, was an abomination. That’s what Moses had to become before God could use him. For 40 years, living with those smelly sheep with almost no contact with any number of humans, and so he became a nothing. And when God finally approached him there at the burning bush, what was Moses’ first excuse? “Hey I can’t talk.” Well for 40 years of practically being silent he’d almost forgotten how to talk. But you see how far God had to take him before He could use him. Now the same way with the apostle Paul. Remember he was highly educated, and had studied at the feet of Gamaliel, the chief rabbi of that day, and of a wealthy Jewish family. But what did God have to do? He had to take him down to a nobody. Now reading verse 27. Instead of God choosing the noble one or the highly educated:

I Corinthians 1:27,28

“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.”

I still remember a long time ago, when the lady called after seeing our program for the first time, and her first question was, “Well who in the world are you anyway?” Well, this humbles you and don’t think it doesn’t. I’m a nobody and I still claim that, and that’s why I feel God has seen fit to use us. God does not use that which the world thinks is proper and has been rightly fitted for service. Now verse 29, and here is given the same concept to why Paul was given the thorn in the flesh.

I Corinthians 1:29,30

“That no flesh should glory (boast, or brag) in his presence. (God won’t have it.) 30. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:”

Those are things that God accomplishes and no man can take credit for it. Now coming back to II Corinthians Chapter 12. So rather in Paul’s weakness under the effect of this thorn in the flesh, whatever it was – under the effect of constantly being misused, beatings, shipwrecked, in prison, cold, miserable, hot, thirsty, you name it because the man went through it all, and only for the sake of taking the Gospel to a lost world. That’s all he could think about. Now finishing verse 9:

II Corinthians 12:9b

“Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, (his weaknesses) that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Do you see what he’s saying? Paul wasn’t wishing for power and circumstance, and political clout, he cared for none of that. But as long as he could be a nobody, who could use him? God could. You know, the more I’ve been studying with regard to these two letters to the Corinthians (and I hope I’m bringing it home to you), the more I see the insurmountable odds that this man was facing when he went into the absolutely strange territory of pagan Gentiles who knew nothing of the God of this Bible. Oh the little Jewish communities of these cities did, but the Jews never evangelize; the Jews never took their knowledge out to the pagan Gentiles.

So when Paul comes into the cities that we talked about earlier as he traveled on his missionary journeys, every one of these cities were abject pagan idolaters who knew nothing of the God of creation. And on top of that, they weren’t even good people, they were rotten morally. You have no idea how morally corrupt most of the cities in the Roman Empire were, it’s unbelievable. And yet it was into that kind of environment this man walked with no pleasant appearance, with nothing physically going for him. All he did was preach Christ crucified, and risen again, and those people turned from their idols and became believers.

They were so staunch in their faith that they were willing to be martyred by the hundreds, and they never wavered as Paul has shown over and over in his writings. In spite of everything that those early believers went through, they didn’t give up, and how in the world did it happen? Well, it was the power of God when the Gospel was preached. I think it’s the same way today. Oh, I know we’re living in times when it seems like our moral fabric is just rotting away, but when I read how things were in the Roman Empire, hey we’re not that bad yet, I believe that there is still hope. At least most of our American people have a concept of God. I read recently that 2/3 of the American people are sure that one day they’re going to stand before God, now that’s hard to believe isn’t it?

Remember Paul didn’t have that kind of an advantage. He didn’t approach people who know that there was a God. He didn’t approach people who had any concept of Biblical morality. They were abject immorally, I mean blatantly immoral pagans. And all he did was preach faith in the Gospel and they came out of that kind of lifestyle. I was told by a gentlemen several years ago who had come out of a pretty fast lane lifestyle (and he has been one of my students for at least 15 years now), “Les, do you realize that you never say a word against drinking, smoking, cursing, gambling or illicit sex? You have never said a word against any of that.” I said, “Well, I didn’t realize it.” He said “Well, you don’t but you brought me out of all of that.” How? By teaching the Word of God. That’s all it takes. You get people into the Word and you don’t have to get on them about whatever sins they may have committed because the Word takes care of it. We’re trying to somehow legislate all these problems, and trying to bring people in on a guilt trip, and yeah, they’ve got to be found guilty, but by realizing what the Word says. And this is exactly what Paul is after. Now looking at the verse again.

II Corinthians 12:9b

“Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Paul wasn’t looking for some gimmick to get people’s attention. He wasn’t looking for some Madison Avenue approach to get the masses to come and hear him. But when he preached, in all of it’s simplicity, people were convicted. And as he said when he wrote to the Thessalonians (and this is what he experienced everywhere he went. Simply because he preached Christ crucified, buried, and risen from the dead. That’s the power of the Gospel, and even though we can’t understand it, God in His own way will bring people to a knowledge of the truth):

I Thessalonians 1:8,9

“For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. (do you know what was happening? As soon as Paul saw these people converted out of paganism what did they do? They shared it wherever they went. They couldn’t shut those people’s mouths.) 9. For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;”

Isn’t that amazing? Here Paul could come into a pagan city with all of its pagan statues and their gods and goddesses, and he would preach how God came in the flesh and went to that Cross, and was raised from the dead, and they believed it. Wonder of wonders. but they believed it. So, consequently, he had so many converts that they accused him of turning the Roman world upside down. Like one pastor I had years ago said, “Well it’s just the other way around, he turned it right side up.” Anyway, there was such an impact from this one man preaching the Gospel that the world in general said, “That man is turning the empire upside down.” And we know he did. Now coming back to II Corinthians Chapter 12.

II Corinthians 12:12

“Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. 13. For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches,(assemblies) except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong.”

Remember when Paul was asking for offerings? This is the one church that he did not really come out and put any pressure on them to give. But rather he tried to intimidate them by showing them that all the poor people up in the mountains had already made collections for the poor saints in Jerusalem. And from these Corinthians (many of whom were quite wealthy), he hadn’t even asked for a dime, and this is what he’s coming back to. Then he tells them to, “forgive me this wrong.” That’s a different way of approaching it isn’t it? He says, “It’s really my fault. I should have made you aware that you should give of your material wealth.

II Corinthians 12:14a

“Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you:…”

Paul wanted believers sold out to Christ. I dare say, myself included, that we would all like to be totally sold out to God. But you see it is almost totally impossible, it seems, for a man to be totally, completely sold out to God. But this is what God is looking for. Now he won’t demand it, He won’t force us, but oh, how God is looking for men and women, boys and girls who can be literally be sold out to Him.

I think the apostle Paul probably did. You want to remember that he left all of his material wealth behind him. He counted it but dung in order to take the Gospel to the Gentile world. I’ve always said that I was sure that Paul had a wife and family because he was a member of the Sanhedrin, and in order to be a member of the Sanhedrin you had to have a family. You had to know how to deal with family problems. As a result of this tremendous apostle being sold out to Christ, he probably lost his wife. She probably turned against him (remember he had been a high man in Jewish religion). Anyway Paul turned his back on everything in order to take the Gospel to these pagan ungodly, immoral Gentiles. Now verse 15.

II Corinthians 12:15

“And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.”

Does that sound familiar? Oh does it ever. The more he loved those Corinthians the more they turned against him and said, “We’re not going to listen to that man, now we’re going to listen to Peter.” After all Peter was with Christ, where Paul never was. I showed this verse several months ago and had some calls from people who said they never knew this verse was in their Bible. It might be appropriate to stop and look at the verse again in II Timothy Chapter 1. You know this must have been a heartache for the man. After all the sufferings, beatings, imprisonment, and the shipwrecks, to simply take the Gospel to people who had never heard it. He saw them established in it, saw Churches established, but look what he says in this verse.

II Timothy 1:15a

“This thou knowest that all they which are in Asia (primarily what is today Turkey) be turned away from me;…”

Now isn’t that something? What had happened? Well I think that it wasn’t that they had pitched Christianity overboard, but I think they turned their back on the apostle Paul’s teaching of pure Grace and went back under so much of the legalistic teaching and influence of Peter, James, John and the Jewish community, as we’re going to see when we get into the Book of Galatians. So, what a heartache: all these little Churches that he suffered for and had spent so much time with, and had been encouraged that they were growing in Grace and knowledge – and yet as he now writes from prison in Rome just before he’s martyred that he has to make a statement like this. “…that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me;…” They had rejected him. to what extent I don’t know. But remember the Scripture is true. They had not remained true to the apostle who had brought them out of their paganism. Now back to II Corinthians Chapter 12.

II Corinthians 12:16-18

“But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile. (Paul did use some strategy and he caught them in places where they were failing ) 17. Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you? (did they squeeze every dollar they could out of you? No.) 18. I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?”

In other words Titus didn’t beg for money any more than Paul did. Now let’s wind up Chapter 12.

II Corinthians 12:21

“And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.”