415 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 2 - Part 3 - Book 35 - Ephesians: 1:6-10

415: Ephesians: 1:6-10 – Lesson 2 Part 3 Book 35

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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 35

EPHESIANS 1:6-10

It’s our goal to get folks once again, or even for the first time, into reading and studying the Book, and hopefully understanding it to see what it says, and what it doesn’t say. Now let’s just get back into where we left off in the last lesson. This Book of Ephesians is profound. I mean it’s not just something that we’re going to gloss over to get rid of, but rather we’re going to take it verse by verse. Now I think it will take maybe this lesson and maybe the next one for verse 10. Most people will read this verse, and say, “Well how could you spend 60 minutes on this verse. Well the answer is easy! Before we start with verse 10 let’s back up a bit to pick up the flow.

Ephesians 1:7-9

“In whom (in Christ) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8. Wherein (Grace) he (Christ) hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9. Having made known unto us the mystery (or secret) of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself.”

Now remember I made the comment in the last lesson that everything begins and ends in and with God. Especially when we teach the covenants in the Old Testament, when God made that Covenant with Abraham in spite of all the weakness of the Nation of Israel, and the children of Abraham, did it break the Covenant? No, because you see it began with God and it’s going to end with God. And it’s the same way with all these promises of Scripture, they begin and end in God Himself. Now verse 10.

Ephesians 1:10a

“That in the dispensation (or administration or that period of time) of the fulness of times…”

In other words, when human history will finally be brought to the full, when it will finally wound down, and we feel that’s it’s going to be 7000 years. We’ve already come 6000 years, so we know there’s a 1000 years left which no doubt will be this fullness of time we see in this verse which is still awaiting the human race. Now continuing on, and we’ve got to keep the thought here. Remember “having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself.” Remember God is Sovereign, and He can do it anyway He sees fit. God can keep things secret if He sees fit, and we saw that he did until He reveals many of these things to the apostle Paul. Now here is going to be the fruition of the whole program.

Ephesians 1:10

“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times (when it will all wind up) he (Christ) might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:”

Now most of you know where I’m going next already, especially with the line on the board. But before we go back to that I would like for you to turn ahead a few pages to the Book of Colossians chapter 2. I could just about go back to verse 1, but we haven’t got time for that so just drop in at verse 8.

Colossians 2:8-9

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, (Wow! That hits a lot of people right in the face doesn’t it? Oh how many people hang onto tradition? Here we’re warned against it. Be careful, don’t hang on the tradition of men, and) after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Why?) 9. For in him (Christ)dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”

All the Godhead is in Christ epitomized, and that’s what it says. He is up there in Heaven, not in some invisible mist like spirit world, but bodily! The same body that He left with at the Mount of Olives in Acts chapter 1, and ascended into glory. Now before we go back and take a run at our timeline again come back to Ephesians 1, because repetition is the only way these things finally soak in.

Ephesians 1:9b-10

“…according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10. That in the dispensation of the fulness of times (when God is going to deal with the human race in a particular way, which we call the 1000 year reign of Christ) he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and on earth, even to him:”

Ok, Heaven and earth. Take your Bible and let’s go back to Genesis 1:1, and you’ll find way back here that we’re going to have the earth made ready for Adam and Eve. But even before we get to the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis chapter 12 where it all of a sudden becomes a reality, in verse 1 of the Bible we have two spheres of God’s influence and what are they? Heaven and Earth. Now remember what you just read in Ephesians? The He might bring in one all things in Christ, both which are in Heaven and on Earth. Now you can’t ignore that. Now we’re going separate them, and then we’re going to see how they all come together. But here in Genesis 1:1 we find –

Genesis 1:1

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

Now for sake of time let’s go all the way to chapter 12 where the flood is now history. The tower of Babel is history, and the whole human race is on the scene, and remember we’re not billions yet since we’re only about 400 years this side of the flood, but there’s still lots of people, probably a few million. But here we are at 2000 BC and we have the beginning of the Jewish nation or the call of Abraham. Now look at what it says.

Genesis 12:1

“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, (Abraham) `Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:'”

Now land means what it says, and it says what it means. Where is land? On the planet. Now we’re not talking about something up in Heaven, we’re talking about something on the planet earth. Now verse 2. God says to this one man –

Genesis 12:2-3

“And I will make of thee a great nation, (and of course it’s the Nation of Israel) 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 shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

Now hang onto that in your mind, and come all the way over to chapter 13, and let’s just drop in at verse 14.

Genesis 13:14-17

“And the LORD said unto Abram, (Abraham) after that Lot was separated from him, `Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: 15. For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever. 16. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. 17. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.'”

Now here’s my reason for doing all this. Is this a heavenly promise or an earthly promise? Well it’s earthly! All of this is earthly. You’re going to have a geographical area of land over there on the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, and I’m going to multiply you as the sand of the seashore (people). Now this is all earthly. Everything that God is going to continue to promise this man, in fact let’s just take a brief run at some of this. Come on up to Genesis 46, and by now several hundred years have elapsed. Abraham has come and gone. Isaac has come and gone. Jacob is now filling the scene with his 12 sons, and Joseph, one of his sons, is down in Egypt. Famine has hit Canaan and the rest of the world, but Joseph has the remedy because he piled up the grain in the good years. Now remember God has told Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to “stay in Canaan. Don’t you go down into Egypt, because you’ll get into trouble, and the family knew that. But now God does something different. How can God now tell them to go down in Egypt? Well because He’s a Sovereign God, and God can do whatever He wants to do. It’s now time for Jacob to do something that was anathema to him before. God says, “Go down into Egypt for I have a reason.” Now in verse 1.

Genesis 46:1-2

“And Israel (Jacob) took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beer-sheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac. (Beer-sheba is down south of Jerusalem about 80 miles, and is almost due east of Goshen in Egypt where Israel would finally go into slavery) 2. And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob, And he said, Here am I. 3. And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt: for I will there (in Egypt) make of thee a great nation:”

Was that a heavenly promise or an earthly one? Earthly. There is nothing of heavenly here. This is an earthly people with earthly promises, and now Jacob is told to go on down into Egypt where his son Joseph is, because in God’s eternal purposes what’s going to happen? The Jews are going to have a population explosion, and they’re going to come out of Egypt some 215 years later with a population of 5-7 million people. And that number would be more numerous than any other nation in the Middle East. All right then, God’s purposes required that they had to go down into Egypt, they had to go into slavery, they had to be ready to come out when Moses led them out. It was all part of the divine purpose, but what I’m emphasizing is, it was all earthly. Remember that’s why we came here from Ephesians 1:10.

Now all the way up through the Old Testament we see that God never speaks of the Nation of Israel going to Heaven. When they die or the nation becomes a full participant in the Covenant promises, it’s always on the earth, and never lose sight of that. All the promises that God makes to the Nation of Israel are earthly promises. When you understand that then when Christ begins to minister to the Nation of Israel in Matthew it’s the same thing. Jesus doesn’t tell them to prepare for the glory land, they’re to prepare for what? This coming Kingdom of which their Messiah is going to be the King.

Let me take you all the way up to Daniel chapter 2. Let’s drop in at verse 35, and of course Daniel is interpreting the dream that King Nebuchadnezzar had, and this is part of the dream. The king sees this great image with the head of gold and the chest of silver, and the belly of brass, and the legs of iron and the feet and toes made of iron mixed with clay. This was a picture of all the great Gentile Empires that were in proximity with Israel. That’s why I do not feel that America herself is in prophecy. Remember all prophecy deals only with the nations of world that had something to do with Israel in the past, and America hasn’t. Now there may be a lot of Jews in America, but that doesn’t count for that.

But all the nations in the Old Testament historical setting that had proximity with Israel are in prophecy. So we have all these empires. First the great one was the Babylon, then came the Medes and Persians, then the Greeks, and finally the Romans. These were all in the area of Jerusalem and had to do with the Nation of Israel. Then lastly the ten toes of iron and clay, we feel are the revived Roman Empire which I think is western Europe as we see it coming to the forefront even today. Watch western Europe because it’s coming up, up and just be aware. European companies are buying up American companies, and we’re losing our clout, and they’re gaining. We know that the day will come when Western Europe will be the empire of the world. Now verse 35. So as this whole Gentile system then finally prepares for it’s demise, the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the Tribulation-

Daniel 2:35a

“Then was the iron, the clay,…”

This image was standing so Daniel is starting with the feet. It’s like a giant roller is going to come and smash it, and start rolling over its feet. This represents the coming of Christ, and He will destroy first the empire that is contemporary with that day which is the revived Roman empire. And then in this revived Romans empire are all the remains of the previous empires. Now if you know anything about history, you know that banking, and business, and money for usury began at Babylon. That’s why the Jews settled down so quickly in Babylon. Then came the Medes and Persians and many of their attributes are still with us today. Then the Greek culture is still very evident also, and the Romans were very careful not to destroy these cultures, and integrated them into their own empire. So much of Greek philosophy, architecture and literature are still with us. Now comes the Roman empire, and the primary thing that is still with us today that began with Rome was our whole system of courts and law. Rome was the first empire to declare a man innocent until he was proven guilty. See that’s why the apostle Paul appealed to Rome, because even Israel wouldn’t give him a fair trial. That’s when he told them, “Since you won’t give me a fair shake then I appeal to Caesar.” Paul knew that in Caesar’s court he would have as good a chance to be proven innocent, and then be released. That’s what you have in all those previous empires, but now look what happens when Christ comes –

Daniel 2:35

“Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; (totally annihilated) and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone (which is Christ at His Second Coming) that smote the image (and destroyed the world system) became a great mountain, (or Kingdom) and filled the whole earth.”

Notice it filled the whole earth. See how plain this is? Now let’s back up for a moment to the Book of Isaiah chapter 2, and verse 2. Remember this earthly aspect is all we’re talking about in the Ephesians 1:10 when all things are going to be finally consummated in that final dispensation, or final 1000 years. That’s why I wanted to come back here and reconstruct the earthly promises, because they’re all going to be aligned with the heavenly promises of the Church, and it’s all going to come under one umbrella of Christ. Now they’re not going to be mixed like a lot of folks are trying to do today. They’re still going to maintain their separate entities, but they’re both under the headship of Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Now we’ll be dealing with the heavenly part when we finish the earthly.

Isaiah 2:2

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, (that is in that final seven years that Ephesians is talking about) that the mountain (or the Kingdom) of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, (now remember a mountain in Old Testament symbolism is a kingdom. So His Kingdom is going to be above all the other kingdoms) and shall be exalted above the hills; (now no doubt under His rule there will be smaller kingdoms among the Gentile nations) and all nations shall flow unto it.”

Why? Because it’s going to be the hub of the planet. Jerusalem the capital of this earthly Kingdom will be the center of the whole world activity. I guess we could use Washington DC as an example today. We are the super power, the only one left, and so everything sort of flows to Washington today, and everything flows back from it. Well Washington is not going to last that long, but Jerusalem will. Christ, when He sets up His Kingdom, it’s going to be headed up in Jerusalem. Now let’s look at another one in the Old Testament in Zechariah chapter 14. The first 3 verses is about the battle of Armageddon, and we’re hearing a lot about that. When all the armies of the world are going to gather in the Middle East.

That’s why I’m not too shook up about the Y2K problem, because if everything crashes like they tell us it will these armies would never get to the Middle East, but they’re going to get there. So I’m not looking for a total crash, there may be some blips but, I’m not all that shook up because according to God’s time plan it’s just too early. Now if we were already out of here by way of the Rapture, and the Tribulation had begun, and that would fit with the middle of the Tribulation, then I’d say maybe, but it’s just too early. It’s just not time for the world to collapse, so I’m not jumping on that band wagon at all. But here in these verses we have the battle of Armageddon, and all the nations of the world are going to come together and be destroyed at the Second Coming of Christ. Let’s begin with verse 4.

Zechariah 14:4a

“And his (Christ) feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east,…”

Remember that’s earthly, not heavenly. Now come on up to verse 9.

Zechariah 14:9

“And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.”

414 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 2 - Part 2 - Book 35 -The Dispensation Of The Fulness Of Time

414: The Dispensation Of The Fullness Of Time – Part 2 – Lesson 2 Part 2 Book 35

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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 35

THE DISPENSATION OF THE FULLNESS OF TIME – PART 2

Now since we spent the whole last lesson on one verse I suppose it’s time to move on to verse 8. Do you realize how many times Paul uses the word Grace? It just pops up constantly. Compare to the rest of Scripture where the word is hardly ever used. Well it’s because Paul is writing about Grace in the Age of Grace. God’s unmerited favor has been poured out on the whole human race and we’re going to see that in this lesson. How all of this has been building, and building until finally we’re moving closer and closer to the end of this whole time that God has allotted to the planet earth.

Ephesians 1:8

“Wherein (Grace in verse 7) he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;”

You know I had a letter the other day that said, “How do you explain the abundant life?” Now a lot of times I like to throw these questions right back at people. How would you explain the abundant life? Well you can’t put it into words really, and I guess when I do write and answer that question, I’m going to say, “Listen, it’s that complete package of the Grace of God that has given me the assurance of salvation, eternity in God’s presence. It has given the assurance that God is in total control of every moment of my life. I don’t have to worry and fret that all of a sudden I’ve been cut loose, and I’m without hope. I don’t have to feel that I’m under a constant burden of guilt. Now that’s some of the abundant life that Christ has promised for this earthly sojourn.”

It’s a life maybe not always of happiness, maybe our circumstances are not always the greatest, but the joy is there. So regardless of our circumstances we have the joy that Paul speaks of so much in the Book of Philippians. Paul is always saying in that Book, “Rejoice” And do you remember what kind of places Paul was in? In the dungeons of prison, shipwrecked, in the water, and under the scourging, and yet the man could constantly say, “be joyful.” Well that’s the abundant life. It doesn’t mean that we’re going to have two Cadillacs in our garage, or the biggest house in town. But the abundant life is that we have been redeemed, we have eternal life, we have the hope of glory, we have that constant assurance that He knows all about us. We have access into the throne room of Heaven. We can pray at any time, and any place so that’s all part of the abundant life. But it’s not limited to just the abundant life, look what He’s giving us here.

Ephesians 1:8b

“…wisdom and prudence;”

Now what’s the word prudence? I think I can wrap it up better than Webster’s dictionary. Prudence is just common horse sense! Isn’t it? When you are prudent you merely have good sense. Now if can have wisdom and with it some good common horse sense, then you’ve got the abundant life. God has given all this to you and I as believers free. We haven’t had to grovel in the ground, we haven’t had to climb the steps to St. Peter, we haven’t had to go across the ocean. He’s given all this to us, here and now. And it’s abounding, it’s more than we can handle, and how do we appropriate all this? By faith. I don’t always feel or sense it, but I come back to the Word and here it is, and I can believe it. Now that is what God is looking for, and the more we believe, I think the more He’ll bless us. Remember there’s nothing that pleases the heart of God more than the faith of a human being. For you see it’s unbelief that He’s going to hold in the strongest light against mankind. Remember when we looked at those verses in the Book of Hebrews?

Hebrews 3:18-19

“And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? 19. So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” And the opposite of unbelief is FAITH! So here it is now then. We’ve appropriated His Grace –

Ephesians 1:8

“Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;”

Now what’s the problem with Christendom today? They don’t have that kind of wisdom. Oh they may be saved but they’re out there floundering in ignorance of the Scripture. I just had a phone call this morning from a gentlemen. He said he had been to seminary, and the further he went in those seminary courses the further they were taking him from the truth. So he dropped out, and had discovered our lessons on the Internet, and realized what they were teaching in the seminary was running contrary to the Book. Well this is the beauty of God’s Grace. He’ll pour out wisdom and common sense to any of us who will appropriate it by faith, but we have to stay in the Book to get it. We’re not just going to be able to leave it up to the pastors. Now I’m not putting the fault totally on pastors, because they’re overloaded a lot of the time, but the average individual has to learn to get into the Word, and seek these things out. Now in verse 9 and 10, we’re going to spend the next little while, maybe 2 or 3 lessons in them.

Ephesians 1:9a

“Having made known unto us (Paul) the mystery of his will,…”

What’s another word for “mystery“? Secret. Oh let’s go back and look at it in Deuteronomy 29:29 I was talking to a gentlemen recently that said, “Les after I saw that verse I just used it over and over, because it just says it all with regards to the revelations of the apostle Paul when he claims that these things were kept secret and that they were revealed to him and him alone from the ascended Christ.” Sometimes people will ask me, “Now are you taking things away from what Jesus said during his earthly ministry?” No I don’t take it away, but I know one thing, what He said from His ascended place in glory carries a lot more weight for us today than what He said to the Jew under the Law. And of course everything that Christ says from glory is through the apostle Paul. Now here it is.

Deuteronomy 29:29

“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: (what kind of things? Secret things. Now what’s a secret? Something that nobody else knows anything about.) but those things which are revealed (that’s from the word where we get revelation) belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

Now of course here Moses was writing under the Law, but he’s dealing with the same God. The same God that we deal with has told us the same thing. That He has kept things secret until He saw fit to reveal it. Now back to Ephesians 1 again for a moment then we’ll be going to Romans. Verse 9 again.

Ephesians 1:9

“Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:”

In other words, where does everything start and finish? In the mind of God. Now let’s go back to Romans a moment and look at one of my favorite verses.

Romans 16:25

“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel (do you see how Paul uses the personal pronoun) and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since (Christ earthly ministry? Since Peter’s message? No, but rather since anything was ever created. God has kept all of this secret, since) the world began.”

Now that’s the reason Jesus couldn’t preach Paul’s Gospel, that’s why Peter couldn’t preach it, because Paul’s Gospel was still kept totally secret in the mind of God until Paul received it. What is the revelation of the secret then? How that because of that price of redemption as we saw in the last lesson, because it has been accomplished, the work of the Cross is done, because of the power of His resurrection, God can now pour out on the human race this whole package of Grace and revealed truths that come from the pen of the apostle Paul. In it we have all of the truths that the Church needs today. You don’t have to go anywhere else to get the truth that we need. Now that doesn’t mean you throw away the rest of your Bible.

All the Bible is going to work for its common end, but if we would just see Christendom tonight spend 90% of its time in Paul’s epistles, and 10% of their time in the rest of the Bible we’d see things begin to happen. But it’s the other way around, most people spend 90% of their time in the Four Gospels and Old Testament, and they look at Paul’s epistles like they’re waste paper, and that makes old Satan happy. The expression I get from one of my fellow ranchers is, “They treat you like an unlovely step-child.” Well I think that’s the way most of Christendom treats Paul, like an unlovely step-child that they really don’t want any thing to do with, but you know they’ve got to admit he’s there. Now I see that all the time, but you see in Paul’s writings is where we have to be, because it was to this man that these secrets that had been held in the mind of God were finally revealed. Now just for a moment let’s turn to Ephesians chapter 3 to show you what I’m talking about.

Ephesians 3:8

“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, (this unmerited favor poured out from the very heart of God) that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;”

Now it’s interesting if you want to really do some language work. This word unsearchable really means “you can’t find the beginning of it.” It just goes back so far that you can’t trace it, and it began before Christ ever created anything. Now reading on, and remember what we’re talking about. It was revealed only to the apostle Paul.

Ephesians 3:9

“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, (this secret) which from the beginning of the world (age) hath been hid (the same word in Deuteronomy 29:29) in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:”

That’s the mystery, this whole package of revealed truths that now comes only from the pen of the apostle Paul. Let’s name a few of these truths that was revealed only to this apostle. 1. Our beautiful salvation Gospel as recorded in I Corinthians 15:1-4, and Romans 16:25. 2. Redemption by the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. Our redemption price has been paid. 3. He has justified us. 4. He has forgiven us. 5. He has given us the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

6. He has baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ, and what am I always saying about that term? You won’t find that term Body of Christ anywhere else in Scripture except in Paul’s writings. And there he refers to this Body of Christ, this composition of saved people, black or white, rich or poor, east or west, it makes no difference. Every believer becomes a member of this Body of Christ. That’s one of the revelations of the mystery. It had never been revealed to anyone before.

7. Another one of the mysteries given Paul is the rapture of the Church this sudden out-calling of the saints when we meet the Lord in the air is another one. I get such a kick out of people sending me articles and books about the Church going into or through the Tribulation. And I just can’t read them when I see where they’re headed. I just lay them down. They’re all doing the same thing. They are ignoring the apostle Paul. I know where they’re coming from, Matthew 24 where Jesus is speaking to the Nation of Israel, and His second coming to the earth. Now listen, you and I aren’t concerned about the Second Coming, we’re concerned about the out-calling of the Body of Christ, the Rapture to meet the Lord in the air, and that is strictly a Pauline revelation. No body else even mentions such a thing.

Yes, all the rest of Scripture speaks of the Second Coming, and it is coming, but before that happens, we’re out of here, because we won’t fit in that Tribulation scenario. It’s like trying to put a square peg in a round hole; the Church won’t fit. The Tribulation is God dealing with the Nation of Israel, the Tribulation comes out of all the prophet’s statements of the Old Testament. The only time Paul even mentions it is in II Thessalonians chapter 2, where he makes it so plain that after we have departed then shall appear that man of sin, and the Tribulation, and all the rest of it. Otherwise the Second Coming has nothing to do with Paul’s teachings. I just get so frustrated, why do people keep sending me this stuff that the Church will go into or through the Tribulation when all they would have to do is read Paul’s I Corinthians 15:52-58 and I Thessalonians 4:13-18. He’s the only one that has had these secrets revealed concerning the Church. So remember the Rapture and the Second Coming are two different events – separate by at least seven years.

Now there’s nothing secret about the prophetic things that the Old Testament prophets wrote about. There was nothing secret about Christ coming to the Nation of Israel was there? Why it was even revealed where He would be born. It was revealed unto Mary that His name would be called Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. There’s nothing secret about that. The Old Testament in Psalms and Isaiah were full of crucifixion, His burial and resurrection, it was all back there, it wasn’t secret. It’s the same way with the Book of Revelation. There’s nothing in that Book that’s a secret. It all fits with the Old Testament prophecy. All you have to do is read Joel and Isaiah, and Jeremiah, and they all fit with Revelation, that’s not a secret. But when you come to these things like we’re looking at now, that here we are by God’s Grace having wisdom and prudence poured out on us, the like of which has never happened before, nor will it happen again once the Church is removed. I mean, we’re on separate special grounds as believers of the Church Age. Now let’s look at another one of the mysteries in Colossians I think I’ve already mentioned 6 or 7 of them, and we haven’t touched on all of them.

Colossians 1:23b,24

“… whereof I Paul am made a minister; (Paul has to let us know that he’s God’s authority.) 24. Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, (not His body of flesh, but what”) which is the church: “

Now you don’t find Peter using that term. You don’t find Jesus in His earthly ministry talking about the Body of Christ, because all He dealt with was Israel and the prophetic. But in Paul’s writings he’s constantly reminding us that we are members of the Body of Christ, a special combination of believers from every walk of life, from every corner of the globe, by virtue of having believed the Gospel. Now verse 25.

Colossians 1:25-26

“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, (Gentiles) to fulfil (or bring to completion) the word of God; 26. Even the mystery (the secret) which hath been hid (most people don’t even want to read that. I think they must close their eyes when they come to some of these words, but here it is, these things which have been hidden) from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints.”

Now that’s from the pen of the apostle Paul. Oh goodness go on up into chapter 2.

Colossians 2:2-3

“That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, (listen this isn’t Greek, this is all so plain if we’ll just read and study it) to the acknowledgment of the mystery (secrets) of God, and of the Father, and of Christ: 3. In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Because He’s God! But what are we reading? He has now seen fit by His Grace to release these things that had been kept secret, and is now sharing them with us through the apostle Paul. God has never revealed these truths before. Now just for a moment let’s go to II Corinthians chapter 11. We studied these verses during our Corinthian study, but they’ve blessed my heart so that I’ve been using them over and over. You see this is what we’ve got to get people to understand. Oh they only want to go by what Jesus said. Well that’s all right up to a point, but Jesus didn’t reveal the mysteries in His earthly ministries. Some say, “Oh I’m going by what Peter says”, but Peter didn’t have be mysteries. But look at what Paul says in verse 5

II Corinthians 11:5

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

He’s not a step behind Peter in authority, in fact he’s ahead of Peter. Then he repeats it again in verse 22 and 23, and he’s referring to the Twelve in Jerusalem.

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) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.”

Then come into chapter 12, and drop down to verse 11. And again Paul is defending that apostleship here. He is trying to show the authority he has as the apostle to the Gentiles.

II Corinthians 12:11

“I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: (what did he mean by that? Well they were putting him down. They were constantly saying, `Now wait a minute Paul, you’re all right, but after all Peter had more authority. Peter is the big wheel in Jerusalem.’ And others used Apollos as their example, but look what Paul says) for I ought to have been commended of you; (Paul was the one that brought them out of pagan darkness, not Peter, not Apollos) for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, (but in his humility he says) though I be nothing.

Paul has now become uppermost in authority. The Twelve are now behind him. They are still beating a dead horse, so to speak, because God has turned from Israel, and they were the apostles for Israel. (Galatians 2:9) God had now turned to the whole human race, and this was all part and parcel of the revelations of mysteries which had been hidden in God, but now have been revealed to this man. And I’m sure just like the Church today, Paul was up against himself when he said, “All in Asia have turned against me.”

413 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 1 - Book 35 - The Dispensation Of The Fulness Of Time

413: The Dispensation Of The Fullness Of Time – Lesson 2 Part 1 Book 35

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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 35

THE DISPENSATION OF THE FULLNESS OF TIME

Now in our last lesson we got down to verse 6, and you remember in our last few lessons in Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians begin what I call deeper spiritual things than what we’ve had even from Romans, the Corinthians and Galatians. In these 3 books we take a jump up from the fundamentals to that which are deeper, more profound, Church truths. Paul wrote what we call his prison epistles – Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon while in prison in Rome shortly before he was martyred. So again we always like to make mention of the fact that in these prison epistles there is no single mention of the Old Testament or to the Jew, because now everything has flowed into this teaching of the Body of Christ in which there is no distinction. There is no Jew, there is no Gentile, so far as a division of their background, so we’ve all become one as members of the Body of Christ.

So we have to keep this in mind that as we study these prison epistles that this is strictly Church ground, and there is no other portion of Scripture that is so profoundly directed to the position of the Church Age believer. You won’t find these things back in the Old Testament, or the Four Gospels, or even in Acts, and I might say even in the letters of Romans and Corinthians. There is not this emphasis on our position in Christ. And as I said in a previous lesson there are over 90 times that Paul uses the prepositional phrase, “In Him, In Christ, In Whom” these are depicting our position. I hate to repeat, and repeat, but it’s the only way it sinks in. So all the things that we’re going to be looking at are primarily directed to our position in Christ.

Now the Jew knew nothing of that concept. He knew his Covenant relationship, he knew all the promises that God had made to their forefathers, but they knew nothing of a position in Christ. Now even for us today it’s hard for us to comprehend, but we’ve got to take these things by faith. I don’t feel like I’m in Christ in Heaven, but I know that I am because the Word says I am. And this is where every believer has to come to understand that what the Bible says is true, and we take it by faith. We don’t necessarily feel it, emotions are not dealt with. Now emotions are fine up to a point, but emotions can never take the place of good Biblical doctrine. So even though we may not feel like it, yet on the basis of God’s Word, that’s where we are. We are in Christ, in the heavenlies, and we are part and parcel of everything that God has been building on ever since He began with Adam in the Garden of Eden. Now continuing on where we stopped in our last lesson that He has already predestined us into the position, and that what that word adoption means up in verse 5.

Ephesians 1:5-6

“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. 6. To the praise of the glory of his grace, (we don’t deserve any of this. We haven’t earned it or merited it, but it’s all of Grace that God has seen fit to do this on our behalf.) wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

That’s how we’re accepted in God’s eyes is because of where we are in Christ. God cannot reject us, because then He would have to reject the Son Himself, and that He’ll never do. And so in view of our position then we are in the beloved. Now in verse 7 we have another prepositional phrase.

Ephesians 1:7a

“In whom (in the beloved, and Who’s the beloved? Christ) we have (we’re not working for it, and we’re not hoping for it, but we have already the) redemption through his blood,…”

Now I remember years and years ago a good friend of mine from another denomination came to visit one morning, and he was all distraught. His denomination, which was one of the big ones in America, had literally called in all the old hymn books, and they were going to dispense new ones to all the congregations of that denomination in which there was no more reference to the blood of Christ. They had taken out all those old hymns like, “There’s Power in the Blood” and “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood”. They just took them all out of those hymn books. Well if they want to do that then they can just throw away the New Testament also. You’ve got to remember that our hope of eternity rests on that blood of Christ! So here in verse 7 we have that statement again.

Ephesians 1:7a

“In whom we have redemption through his blood,…” Now you can’t throw that out. We can’t ignore that. So it’s redemption through His blood which also brings about –

Ephesians 1:7b

“…the forgiveness of sins, (and again it’s not because we’ve merited it, but) according to the richness of his grace;”

And this is all beyond human comprehension. How that God would do all this before we even came on the scene, and doing it with the foreknowledge that we would one day be His, and we would be in Him, and we would be redeemed, and forgiven. Alright as I was thinking on these things the past several days, you want to remember that redemption is not a Pauline invention, but rather redemption comes all the way from the Garden of Eden. At this time I’m not going all the way back to Genesis, but remember when God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden, they were His. Isn’t that right? They fellowshipped with Him every day. But sin came in and He lost them, because He couldn’t fellowship with them in their sin. That’s why I think He had to go out into the Garden, not that he didn’t know where they were, but to show us that they were now so separated from Him that what was the question that He asked first? “Where art thou?” Do you see that? Now He had never asked that before, but as soon as sin had separated them, and He had lost them, now He could asked the question, “Where are you?” Adam should have answered, “We’re lost!”

It’s like the parable of the little lamb in Luke chapter 15. That one out of a hundred, the only one that in the parable the shepherd concerns himself with. Why? Because that little fellow knew he was lost. The ninety and nine went out roaming in the desert in the wilderness without a shepherd, and sheep without a shepherd are lost, but what’s the difference? They don’t know it! The little lamb knew he was in trouble, and so he was bleating his head off, but the rest, while roaming around, never knew they were. Well that’s what it means to be separated when God lost the human race. Now we can go back to the Old Testament. Come back if you will to Job chapter 19. And this is one of the earlier uses of the word redemptionin the Old Testament, and Job understood it.

Job 19:25a

“For I know that my redeemer liveth,…”

Do you see how plain that is? Maybe we should stop first and define the word “redeemed” What does it mean? To lose control of something, and then pay the price to buy it back. Now that’s redemption. A thought just came to mind and most of you may have heard this same illustration. I’ve read this story more than once, but it is heart touching, as well as making the point. The story is about a little fellow who had spent the whole winter just laboriously building this beautiful little sail boat. So one day his parents took him out to the beach, and he played with that beautiful little sail boat, and it was all that he could hope for. But being a child something got his attention and he left his boat for awhile and when he came back for his boat it was gone. And oh he wept bitter tears because he had done so much to build that little boat, and for the short time he got to play with it he had enjoyed it. But now it was lost, it was gone.

Months later he and his mom were walking down the street, here in the window of a pawn shop was his little boat. He was absolutely elated. So he goes into the shop keeper, and says, “That’s my boat, I want it.” The shop keeper says, “No sonny, that’s my boat, I paid for it, and if you want it you’re going to have to pay me.” So the little fellow says, “How much do you want for it?” So the price was such and such, and far more than the little fellow had. So he told the shop keeper that he would have to find a way to get the money to buy his little boat. The little lad did odd jobs all winter by shoveling snow, and in the summer mowed grass, and finally one day he had enough to go back to the pawn shop for his boat. So he went up to the counter and told the keeper, “I want my boat!” The guy said, “Have you got the money?” And he said, “Yes!” and he plunked it down, and so he took his boat, and as he was going down the street holding that boat, he said, “Little boat, I made you, I lost you, but I have bought you back, and you’re mine.”

Well now that’s just a simple little heart touching story of a little lad, but listen that’s just exactly what God did. God lost us when Adam sinned, and for 2000 years God prepares the world for the coming of the Redeemer, and all the Old Testament like Job are looking for the time when the Redeemer would come. Now come on up to the Book of Isaiah chapter 59 because I want you to see this whole concept of a Redeemer is not Pauline. Paul puts the cap on it, Paul puts the frosting on the cake, but ever since Adam sinned God has been preparing for the coming of this Redeemer. Like the little boy out there scooping snow, and mowing lawns, he was getting ready for the day when he could go back in and pay the price of redemption. And that’s exactly what God did also. Now verse 20. This is all prophecy yet, this is all looking forward.

Isaiah 59:20

“And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.”

So here we have the promise of this coming Redeemer. Now let’s skip over into the New Testament and stop at Romans chapter 3. Now like I said Paul puts the frosting on the cake so far as the price of redemption is concerned. Here Paul comes to this graphic conclusion that a lot of people don’t believe even today. They think they’re good enough, they think that somehow God is going to let them slip in. No He won’t because the Scripture says –

Romans 3:23

“For all have sinned, (every human being from Adam on) and come short of the glory of God:”

But we know God didn’t stop there. He immediately got busy and started preparing for the coming of a Redeemer. So now verse 24.

Romans 3:24

“Being justified freely (even though we’re sinners) by his grace through the redemption (see, there it is again) that is in Christ Jesus:”

Through the whole process of buying us back. That’s what it was all for, that He could pay the price of redemption which had to be the blood of Christ. Speaking of the blood of Christ that’s another 1/2 hour lesson in itself. Why is the blood so unique? Well it was divine. You want to remember that Joseph was not the father of the baby Jesus, but rather it was God. And as I’ve pointed out over the years, the blood circulatory system always originates with the father. So Christ’s blood originated with God Himself, and so when Christ was born it was divine blood that coursed though His veins. When His blood was shed it wasn’t just the blood of another human being, but rather the divine blood of God Himself, so this was then the price of redemption. Now verse 25.

Romans 3:25a

“Whom God hath set forth (that is in Christ Jesus in verse 24) to be a propitiation (now that is what God has done. That’s the place of sacrifice and offerings, mercy, and Grace. God did all that, but it was) through faith in his blood,…”

If we don’t believe in the shed blood of Christ and it’s power for atonement we’re as lost as a goose, and you might as well mark it down. There will be no one in Heaven unless he’s been redeemed by faith in the blood of Christ! Now I’m getting right down to the nitty gritty on that as that is the Truth in the Word of God. The blood of Christ is the only purchase price for our redemption, and we have to appropriate it by our faith. We believe it, we trust in it. Now continuing on in verse 25.

Romans 3:25b

“…to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past,…”

In other words the blood of Christ covered all the sins all the way back to Adam, and all the way forward to the very last person that will be born. So it was a complete purchase price for mankind’s redemption. Now let’s look at another one in the Book of Hebrews, and we could look at lots of them as the references for the blood of Christ are plentiful. Even here in Hebrews there are so many that I can’t begin to touch on all of them, so I’ll hit the ones that are most emphatic.

Hebrews 9:11

“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;”

Now we’re teaching the Book of Hebrews in our Muskogee class on Saturday nights, and I always remind my class that the little Book of Hebrews is constantly referring to that which was good, the Law, Judaism, but Paul comes along and with this Gospel of Grace, and we’ll see in our next program the revelation of the mysteries, that it’s all so much better. So all through Hebrews we see this constant comparison of that which was good, but now we have something that is far better. And here it is in this verse. Oh their earthly tabernacle was beautiful, it was functional, they could take it down and move it at the drop of a hat, and it did everything they needed, but it was patterned after something in Heaven, the one which was far better. Now verse 12. Now the blood of goats and calves did its work as they covered the sins of Israel, but it was nothing when compared to the Blood of Christ. Now lets read the whole verse.

Hebrews 9:12.

“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, (that is up in Heaven) having (past tense, it’s all done) obtained eternal redemption for us.”

Over and over we see the blood of Christ has paid the price of redemption that had to be paid in order for God to regain control of fallen man, and He’s done it, it’s been paid in full. Verse 13 –

Hebrews 9:13

“For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: (even those things back there were good) 14. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Then I have to bring you down to verse 22, a verse I’ve used for a long, long time. This verse is one of the absolutes of Scripture. Now we know that we’re decrying the fact that our society is rotting at the seams because we have lost our absolutes. We no longer as a society say, “Well these are absolutes.” But you see the Scriptures does say these things. And when you ignore these absolutes then you’re on thin ice. You’re sliding to your doom. And here is one of them.

Hebrews 9:22

“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; (and here is what I’m talking about) and without the shedding of blood is no remission.”

Now folks we’ve got to hang on to that. We dare not side track it because it’s an absolute. Now let’s move on to the Book of I Peter, chapter 1. Even Peter agrees with Paul 100 % in his theology.

I Peter 1:18-19

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19. But (we are redeemed) with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”

Well we may have time for one more verse in the Book of Revelation chapter 5 Can you find it in 10 seconds? Well anyway it’s back there in verse 9 that He was worthy because we’ve been redeemed to God by His Blood.

412 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 1 - Part 4 - Book 35 - Instruction In Righteousness

412: Instruction In Righteousness – Lesson 1 Part 4 Book 35

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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 35

INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS

Let’s pick up where we left off in the last lesson which was in verse 4. Now we never claim to have all the answers but rather all we try to do is to get folks to search the Scriptures and the Scripture says that you will find eternal life. All I can hope to do as I teach is to whet people’s appetite to begin to study and read their own Bible, and enjoy it. And according to our mail I guess we’re succeeding to a greater degree than we ever dreamed of. In fact, when we first started up here at channel 47 in Tulsa, Iris and I had kind of determined that it would last about six months and then would die a natural death, but here we are seven years later and it’s just keeps on growing, and the Lord just keeps on blessing. Now for our study.

In our last lesson we ended with the concept in verse 4 that we are chosen in Christ, in that position that we now enjoy in the heavenlies. It was not a surprise to God when we were saved, because He said, “Well I knew that from eternity past.” And in the next verse or two, when we come to predestination, it isn’t that we were predestined to salvation or Hell but rather to this position that we enjoy in Christ. Now look at verse 4 again.

Ephesians 1:4

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy…”

Now `holy’ doesn’t mean that we stick our nose in the air, and that we’re better than everybody else, and that we are simultaneously, physically perfect, but rather it just simply means that God has set us apart for His own purposes. You want to remember even back in the Temple worship, the utensils that were used like the shovels to take out the ashes, were holy. Well what did it mean? They couldn’t be used for any other purpose. In other words, the priest couldn’t say, “Well I’m going to take the shovel home tonight fellows, because my fireplace needs cleaning.” That would never work because those utensils were holy and set apart only for God’s purposes. That’s exactly where we are. We, so far as God is concerned, have been set aside and we are intrinsically in His program to be used as He sees fit, because after all, we are His. Verse 4 again:

Ephesians 1:4b

“…that we should be holy and without blame before him…”

Wow! Without blame? Everyone of us are sinners saved by Grace, but we still have the old sin nature, and we all still sin. Then Paul has the audacity to say that we are “blameless.”Yes. Let me take you back to I Corinthians for a moment to chapter 1. And remember the Corinthians were carnal, they were not a spiritual congregation. They were nowhere near understanding Ephesians. They just simply hadn’t come that far yet. They had been saved out of abject paganism, and all of it’s immorality, but to understand this position in the heavenlies? No, the Corinthians hadn’t gotten that far. So what can Paul write and tell them?

I Corinthians 1:6-7

“Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: (by virtue of their salvation ) 7. So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:”

Paul was already like us today, waiting for the Rapture. He honestly thought it was going to take place in his life time. He had no idea that God would wait now almost 2000 years filling up the Body of Christ with believers. Now verse 8.

I Corinthians 1:8

“Who shall also confirm you unto the end, (even these carnal Christians. Remember that’s not license to sin, but it just shows you how far the Grace of God will reach down) that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Now there are just lots of people who don’t like to read that, but that’s what the Word says. Many try to make it a lot harder to get to Heaven than God does. So even these Christians at Corinth who were failing miserably, if the Lord would have come they wouldn’t stand at the judgment seat of Christ shaking in their boots, and shameful for all their unconfessed sins, they were already under the Blood. They were already forgiven, and that’s the Grace of God. But we can’t make license of that because then a person’s salvation experience is doubted. I personally cannot believe that a true born-again child of God will test God’s Grace. But if we do slip and fall, and the Lord should come and we come into His presence, then we’re blameless because that’s what the Book says. Remember you see throughout Paul’s writings that we have been cleansed, and forgiven, we’re justified from all things by virtue of our faith in that finished work of the Cross. Now back to Ephesians chapter 1.

Ephesians 1:4b

“…that we should be holy and without blame before him…”

And how can that be? Because of what Christ has done on our behalf. Not because we merit or deserve it, but because of His matchless Grace. Now in verse 4 I stopped in front of “…in love.” purposely because I think it reads better.

Ephesians 1:4b-5

“…we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (what did He do?) 5. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”

Remember when we were back in Galatians we dealt with the word `adoption.’ Remember the word adoption in the Greek did not mean to take a child from a union and legally make him ours. The word adoption in the Greek and Roman society was to train that young son of the father so that when he became of age that child who was now tutored and prepared, he could come right up along side the father and have full responsibility. Now you put that into our position as believers, the moment we’re saved we don’t have to go through a long period of training and preparation but immediately where does God position us? Equal with Christ the Son. A joint-heir! And that is all by virtue of the Grace of God that he has predestined us to that glorious position of being right with Christ in the Body, in the heavenlies. Now looking at verse 5 again.

Ephesians 1:5a

“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself,…”

Now to the average believer this probably puts you to sleep. I got a kick out of my own pastor last Sunday morning as he was in the Book of Romans and what he said was so apropos. He said, “In my sermon this morning it’s going to put some of you right straight to sleep. Some of you it’s going to make mad, and some of you are really going to enjoy it and grow from it.” Well I’m sure that’s almost always the case. And it’s the same way here in this passage. The average believer, oh he’s saved, but he doesn’t have a hunger for these deeper things and so he just nods his head and off he drops to sleep. But if you are really interested in all that God has done on your behalf when Christ died for you and arose from the dead, then these things are exciting. To think that we are positioned with Christ in the heavenlies, and that one day it’s going to come to fruition.

Now back to my display of the seven churches on the board. Here on the left side we come now through this lower level of the elementary things of our sinful estate and how the Gospel has saved and justified it. How we need that reproof, and correction constantly, as we saw in the Books of Romans, I and II Corinthians, and Galatians. But now we jump up a notch into this area of Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians – we’re going to go into deeper doctrines, and into deeper areas of reproof, but oh listen what’s it all coming to? When we can make this final step up and we get into that which is the glory, and we’ll no longer be tied to the things of this world, but we’ll be in His presence as presented in I Thessalonians when He removes the Church by way of the Rapture. (Reference I Thessalonians 4:13-18) We’re going to enjoy all the blessings of glory. How does Paul put it? Turn back with me for a moment to Romans chapter 8. This says it better than I ever could.

Romans 8:17-18

“And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; (now you all know what it means to be a joint-heir. That means what’s His is also ours) if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.(that’s still future – that’s what we’re waiting for.) 18. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time (and you know how that man suffered as he rehearsed back in II Corinthians chapter 11:23-28) are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in(angels? No but rather in) us.”

Oh we sometimes think God’s forgotten about these things, but He hasn’t for it’s coming. I was reminded at break time by someone who said they had been watching the program that was taped back in 1994 or 1995, and I thought the Lord was coming then. That reminds me of a cartoon that I saw recently showing an old fellow sitting in front of his cave’s door. And across the top of the door he had written the end is near, but then he added “er.” So here today in 1998 the end is a lot nearer than it was back when I taught those lessons. So don’t give up, God is on the throne, it is still going to happen, and we just keep getting closer and closer with each passing day. Now Ephesians verse 5 continuing – we have been adopted-

Ephesians 1:5b

“…according to the good pleasure of (who’s will?) his will.”

Remember what Paul said about his apostleship? Turn back with me to the very first verse. How did Paul become an apostle? Not by his will, but by God’s will.

Ephesians 1:1a

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,…”

How did we become a child of God? Not by our will, but rather by God’s will. Now that doesn’t take away our free choice, because again we have to constantly remember –

John 6:44a

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him:…”

Let me show you another one of my favorites. Come back to Acts chapter 16 and let’s look at Lydia, because it says it all. We have come into this glorious position in the heavenlies by His will. It wasn’t my idea, but rather He made the first move, and I responded. Maybe not as quickly as I should have, but I think that can apply to most of us. We didn’t respond when God began to woo us, but thank God at least we finally did. Now here in Acts chapter 16 they’re up there in Philippi in Northern Greece.

Acts 16:14

“And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatiria, which worshipped God, (see she was religious. She was probably a Jewish lady) heard us; whose heart the Lord opened, (now when the Lord opened her heart what did she do?) that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.”

Now do you see the format? Here she is a religious lady to be sure, but LOST. And along comes the apostle Paul and begins to explain to her the works of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. God opened her heart, but what did she do? She listened and responded. Do you see that? I think that’s the perfect Scriptural explanation of how salvation works. God opens the heart, but He doesn’t force His way in. He opens our understanding, but he doesn’t force us. And He leaves it with us, so we can choose or reject.

I got a kick out of a letter from someone in our television audience and it was almost identical with an illustration that I have used in years gone by. Remember when we were kids? I for one just lived for recess, because during that 15 or 20 minutes of recess I loved to play ball. That’s all I went to school for. And so as soon as we got on the play yard somebody would always have the bat and ball and we would literally put out a call across the yard that we were going to have a ball game. Well some of the kids would go to the merry-go-round. Some would go to the swings, but for those who came over to the ball diamond we would hurry and choose up sides and we could have a short ball game. Now I’ve always made this analogy – when we went out to the ball diamond and literally yelled at all the kids, “Come on, we’re going to have a ball game.” What were we doing? We were putting out the call. And those who came down to the ball diamond were chosen. The call went out to the whole playground but only they that responded ended up chosen to play ball.

And I think it’s still an appropriate illustration of this very concept here of Lydia. The Lord opened her heart. In other words the Lord said, “Come on Lydia.” She could have said, “No I’m not interested.” But she attended or listened to and acted on the things that were spoken by Paul. And it hasn’t changed one iota. It’s just like I said in the last lesson, over here on this side we still have that option of responding to or rejecting the offer of salvation, but over here God knew from eternity past what we would do. So when we responded it was just like it was with Lydia – I think the Lord shouted all across Heaven, “I knew she would!” That didn’t catch God by surprise. Now let’s come back to the Book of Ephesians chapter 1. So God has placed us in this position as joint-heirs with Christ according to the good pleasure of his will. Now verse 6.

Ephesians 1:6a

“To the praise of the glory of his grace….”

Now I guess if I have trumpeted any one word in the years that we’ve been doing this program it’s that word `Grace.’ Hey, we deserve none of this or nothing in this world. But what we have and what we enjoy whether it’s spiritual or material or physical it’s all by the Grace of God. I don’t deserve it and I don’t think you do either, but it’s all by His Grace. Now continued on in verse 6.

Ephesians 1:6b

“… wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

There’s that prepositional phrase again. What does it mean to be in the beloved? In Christ! Why am I in Christ? Why are you in Christ? Simply by His Grace. He could have let us slip out into an eternity lost and without hope, but by His Grace He presented us with the plan of salvation and we’ve responded. Here we are now positionally accepted in the beloved. Now another verse comes to mind in the Book of Colossians chapter 3. Now this is another one of these seven Church prison epistles and is on a higher plane of understanding than the first four Books were. So Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians are in that next step up in the area of doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. The Colossians also had some problems. They were trying to enter into the realms of angelic beings and so forth, and so Colossians had to correct them and bring them back on line. Now chapter 3 starting with verse 1.

Colossians 3:1-2

“If ye then be risen with Christ, (in other words you have experienced His death, burial, and resurrection by faith. If you have gone through that then) seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (they become now far more important) 2. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”

Remember back in the gospels, Jesus said something similar to that-

Matthew 6:33

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong with things provided our priorities are right. Now if things are more important than spiritual then it’s wrong. But if you have your spiritual priorities where they belong, and all these things have been added, so be it. God isn’t tight, but on the other hand we can’t demand them of Him. But if He has seen fit in Grace to bless us with things there’s nothing wrong as long as they are in the right order of priorities. All right now Colossians 3:3 And here’s the reason we are to set our affections on things above.

Colossians 3:3

“For ye are dead, (Wow! I thought I was living. Old Adam is dead. God reckons that old sin nature of you and I as believers as dead,) and your life is hid with Christ in God.”

Now again there is that two-fold position of the believer. We are in Christ, and in God, and nothing can touch us in that glorious safe, secure position. Now when I talk about something safe and secure like this I’ve always used the analogy in past lessons of the black walnut. You peel off that outer shell, and then you crack the next shell, and way down in the middle you find that delicious meat. All right you can find this so often that we are positioned in that place of safety. And there are two analogies in the Old Testament. When the Jews, on the night of the Passover, were standing at that kitchen table ready to eat the Passover lamb, what was going on around them? The death angel. And the wailing was already sounding across Egypt, but the Jews were safe and secure for only one reason. The blood was on the door. Then the next one I always like to use is Noah and his family in the ark. The horrors and the ravages of the flood were just totally demolishing everything on the planet, but Noah and his family were safe and secure because that wood ark had been lined with pitch, andpitch in the Hebrew meant atonement. So there they were in the midst of the horrors of the flood and they were safe. So you and I, in the midst of all of the wickedness that’s taking place on the earth tonight, we’re in Christ and we’re safe. We have nothing to worry about. Paul says, “Don’t worry about he who can destroy the body, when he can’t destroy the soul.”

411: Correction In Righteousness – Lesson 1 Part 3 Book 35

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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 35

CORRECTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS

Before we start the Book of Ephesians I had one more segment of this unfolding of the Church epistles of Paul, and that is the I & II Thessalonian letters. Now again we came through Paul’s original ministry among the area, especially Asia minor and Greece, Corinth, and the letters to the Romans and Corinthians, Galatians. Then we saw beginning with Acts 28:28 from his time in prison he writes what we call the prison epistles of Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. These three Books are just a jump up doctrinally, in depth, and understanding from what you had back in Romans, the Corinthians, and Galatians. Then we come to earlier letters that were written, but they’re really final in their content, and those are I & II Thessalonians which can now follow the format of doctrine, reproof, correction and now we go to instruction in righteousness. And again it’s up on a higher plane even than what we have in the prison epistles because in I & II Thessalonians, where does the Word take us? Up to glory! Remember I Thessalonians chapter 4?

I Thessalonians 4:17

“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” And in II Thessalonians Paul speaks of the Church being taken out of the way in verse 7, and in verse 8 we find.

II Thessalonians 2:8a

“And then shall that Wicked (one) be revealed….”

So those two letters then take us on up to that which we are all waiting for, and that is the fruition of everything, when we will finally be in glory with our crucified, resurrected, and ascended Lord. Now let’s get right into the meat of the Book of Ephesians.

Ephesians 1:1a

“Paul, and apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,…”

Paul didn’t just one day say, “Hmm, I think I’ll just become an apostle. I like the way people look up to Peter, James, and John. I just think I’ll become an apostle.” No that’s not the way it was. You want to remember he was the one who hated Jesus of Nazareth. He hated anything associated with the Christ of Calvary. He thought Christ was destroying his pet religion, Judaism. But God in His grace saved him on the road to Damascus, and immediately gave instructions that, “This man would be going to the non-Jew, the Gentiles with a whole new format,” This format was not based on Judaism or Law, not based on the Old Testament – but a whole new revelation of new truths that had never been revealed before.

He sent him out among those pagan Gentiles, and how the poor man was constantly confronted with the abject immorality of his day. It was unbelievable, and yet out of that wickedness and out gross pagan immorality the man turned the Roman empire upside down by simply preaching the Gospel that Paul was given to preach to us. Paul wasn’t a crusader, he wasn’t a great politician, he wasn’t a great moralist, but he preached the Gospel of the Grace of God. Now then as he ends up in prison because of his apostleship, he’s going to be writing these next three letters from prison. So he’s an apostle not of his own will, but by the will of God.

New then this apostle is writing this particular letter to the saints there in Ephesus. And how many times have you heard me say over the years, “to whom does Paul always write?” The Believer. The Christian. He doesn’t write to the unsaved world. Not that he didn’t have a heart for them, but Paul knew that which too many people today don’t understand, “You don’t just simply win the lost by screaming at them, and preaching at them, but rather you win the lost by discipling the believer.” And when that believer is discipled and can go out there among the ungodly world, and reflect the righteousness of Christ, he’s going to have an impact on lost people. And then the unsaved is going to say, “Hey what must I do to have what you’ve got?” And then there’s your opportunity. “Oh you believe that Christ died for you. You believe with all your heart that He rose from the dead for you, and you will be saved. (Reference I Corinthians 15:1-4)” The Book declares it, and it cannot lie.

Now I have to be careful because I had someone else call the other day with this question. “Well Les what do you mean when you say `only believe?'” Well I don’t mean just a superficial mental acsent to these things, I mean that when you honestly with all your being, say, “I believe this with all my heart without a doubt, I believe from cover to cover, but I believe especially that when Christ died He died for me, and when I believe that He arose from the dead, He rose to give me that same resurrection power.” And that of course is what we call faith, and it’s by that and that alone that we enter in to this relationship that Paul is always expounding on. So he writes to the saints. And now looking at verse 1 again we find.

Ephesians 1:1

“Paul, and apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful (now the last three words in this verse are the key to the whole letter) in Christ Jesus:”

Now what kind of a phrase is that? It’s a prepositional phrase. Now I think there are 93 prepositional phrases in this six chapter of Ephesians that always denote our position. Such as “In Christ, In whom, In Him, or similar.” The whole six chapters are constantly driving that home that we are now in a peculiar position as believers. You see back here in Romans the whole idea of the letter of Romans was to show that we were nothing but hell-bound, filthy, wicked sinners. Every one of us were capable of going to the very depth of sin, now that’s what Romans shows us. Then the remedy for it is the Gospel, that Christ has already forgiven us. He’s already died for us, His blood has already paid the payment, He arose from the dead, and all we have to do to appropriate it is to believe it, now that’s the Book of Romans.

Romans is so doctrinal, it’s so basic, and then in Corinthians with all the problems that had to be reproved, and Galatians trying to go back into legalism, and how that had to be corrected. But here in this little Book of Ephesians we’re not going to deal with any of those things. Here we’re going to deal with hammering home the fact that you are now positioned in Christ, in the Body, and to find the roots of that position, we’re going to see it in verse 3. Where are we now positioned? In the heavenlies. Do you see that? We’re not an earthly people, but rather a heavenly people. However we are on the earth, but everything that we constantly think about, everything that makes up our being even as we live, work, and move in this old sin-cursed world is our position in the heavenlies. That should be uppermost in our thinking.

So now Paul’s letter to the believers in the area of Ephesus probably went out to the other cities in that area. I’m sure it got to Colosse, and probably up to Troas, and maybe even got inland as far as Antioch, and Derbe. Isn’t it amazing that as these various letters of Paul went out to the various congregations back there in the ancient world where there were no copy machines, and no instant communication, that they didn’t get lost.

Somebody was providentially aware that, “Hey these letters are important, and we’d better protect them. Somehow or other they were kept intact for 300+ years before the Church fathers put them together and put them into what we call the Scriptures. Now that in itself is miraculous. These were just simple letters that were sent out to a congregation, and they only had the one copy, and I doubt they took the trouble to laboriously hand write each one of these for a Church. This letter especially was sent to be circulated among all the Churches in the area around Ephesus, and yet it never got lost. It’s just amazing.” This is just a little tidbit that too often we forget that makes this Book supernatural. Now verse 2.

Ephesians 1:2-3

“Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath (it’s already done) blessed us with all (not a Cadillac in every believer’s garage. Not a seven bedroom home, but rather we are already have) spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”

Now remember that all of our earthly blessings will only last till we die. Some of us might get past 90, but most of us are going to come to the end of the road somewhere after 70 or 80, that is if the Rapture doesn’t happen first, and we trust it will. happen soon. But remember these material blessings are here for such a little while. How did the Psalmist put it? “A blade of grass shoots up in the morning, and in the afternoon it’s withered and gone.” Another good example is up in the north country of Minnesota when it’s real cold. Boy you get a -30 degree morning and every breath just becomes a cloud of vapor, but how long does it last? Puff and it’s gone. Now that’s what the Bible compares our earthly life span to.

But these spiritual blessings, how long will they last? All eternity. Forever! The world scoffs and thinks we’re a bunch of nuts, and they think we have to give up all the good times, and we have to shun these things, and we’re almost living a life of sacrifice. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We don’t even have an appetite for those things. Like I told one fellow when he asked me, “Why don’t I ever see you in this particular saloon on Saturday night?” And I said, “Look, for the same reason I don’t see you in Church on Sunday morning. I would be just as miserable in your saloon on Saturday night as you would be in Church on Sunday morning.” And that says it all doesn’t it? Our appetite is now on things spiritual because the Lord has given us enough insight that spiritual things are going to last forever – not just 70 years.

In fact it won’t be that long. All you have to do is watch some of your entertainers and some of your wealthy athletes, how long can they enjoy the fast lane? Not very long because the body can’t take it. Then when they’ve reached 50, their health is shot and what for? Where as you and I, we may shun those things not because we’re missing them although the world thinks we are. And the end result is our heavenly position comes to the fore.

Ephesians 1:3b

“…spiritual blessings in heavenly places (and how are we seated in the heavenlies?) in Christ.”

Now I have to take you back to I Corinthians chapter 12 where Paul is back here in the area of the elementary things, but nevertheless it’s all part of our Christian experience.

I Corinthians 12:12

“For as the body (the human body) is one, and hath many members, (hands, feet, toes, etc.) and all the members of that one body, being many, (being many) are one body: so also is Christ.” In other words He’s made up of all of these believers that have come into the Body of Christ ever since the beginning of the Church age. And here we are in Christ, how did we get there? Look at verse 13.

I Corinthians 12:13a

“For by one Spirit (the Holy Spirit) are we all (not just a few of the most spiritual) baptized…”

Now what does the word `baptized’ really mean? To be inundated, to be completely inundated. Homer or Plato, one of the Greek classical writers, spoke of a ship being baptized at sea. Well if a ship gets baptized at sea, what happened to it? Hey it was sunk, it went down, but it was baptized, why? Because that ocean water filled every nook and cranny of that ship as it went down. And that’s what a baptism does, it just simply inundates the person. But remember this isn’t water, this is the invisible person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit.

And he has inundated us in Christ. And when does He inundate us? The very moment we believe the Gospel for our salvation. You don’t feel a thing, I mean you’re not going to shake your head and get the water out of your eyes. You’re not going to somehow say, “Ooh, something is happening to me.” No it’s a silent, unfeeling work of the Holy Spirit, and how do I know it happened? By Faith! See again you come back to all these writings of Paul coming up through these epistles of doctrine, reproof, correction; they are all based on faith + nothing. They were reproved because they had lost sight of what God had instructed. In other words they had gotten blinded by lack of faith. And it was the same way going back into legalism. Why were they leaving Paul’s doctrine of faith + nothing? Because their faith grew weak, and you come up into the Ephesian letters it’s that way. How are we going to come close to comprehending that we are already seated in the heavenlies? By faith. I can sit on that tractor when it’s 110 degrees and I don’t feel like I’m in Heaven. But yet I can sit there in that 110-degree heat and I can reflect on this and by faith where do I know I really am? In the heavenlies, now that’s what faith does. So coming back to verse 13.

I Corinthians 1:13

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body whether we be Jews or Gentiles,…”

Not a body of Jews and a body of Gentiles, but rather one Body. We’re going to see this really come to fruition when we get on a little farther in Ephesians. This is one of the great parts of the mysteries now revealed to the apostle Paul in this particular Book, and that is the Jew loses his identify when he comes into the Body of Christ. I remember the very first time when I went up to Minnesota for a seminar and at the first break there was a lady came up to me and said, “Now Les I’m a Jew, but I’m a believer. If the Lord comes tonight since I’m a Jew will I be left behind, and just you Gentiles go in the Rapture? I said, “Well heavens no. If you’re a believer whether you’re Jew or Gentile and you’re in the Body of Christ, then we all go.” She was so relieved, and that gave her so much comfort. Now finishing the last part of verse 13.

I Corinthians 12:13b

“…whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”

Now Iris and I just love it when people invite us into their home. I’d much rather do that than stay in some motel. But every home we go to, I mean it’s so exciting when we sit down at that dinner table and I don’t have to press the subject, they do, and what do you suppose we talk about? The Book, the Lord, and there’s never any feeling of, “Oh I wish we could get these people to talk about the Lord.” It just comes out so easily, because we’re all members of the Body of Christ. Now occasionally we may be in a home where it isn’t that way. And in that case you can almost sense that they do not have that love for the Word of God. You can tell it right away. If it’s a strain to talk about the things of God, if it’s a strain to talk about Scripture, then you know there’s something lacking., but that’s not very often the case. Now looking at verse 13 again.

I Corinthians 12:13

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all (every last believer) made to drink into one Spirit.” (that One Holy Spirit). So now coming back to Ephesians chapter 1, let’s look at verse 3 again.

Ephesians 1:3

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”

See there’s not a word in here about material blessings, but we hear a lot about material blessings from the name it and claim it people. But the apostle Paul never mentions that. Paul never tells us that if we are believers, whether we’re carnal or spiritual, that we’re going to be blessed with millions. Never! All Paul is concerned about is, “Do you realize how rich you are in Grace?” And whether we’re rich or poor, that’s beside the point, because we’re all one in Christ, and this is what people have to understand. God isn’t promising you and I that we’re going to become millionaires, in fact far from it. Many of us are probably going to go all the way through life with just the very bare necessaries. But what have we all got? All these Spiritual blessings in Christ. Now verse 4.

Ephesians 1:4

“According as he (Christ Himself) hath chosen us in him (when?) before the foundation of the world,…”

Now I know that’s mind-boggling, and I know it throws a curve at a lot of people. You have some that take it clear off to the end of the boondocks in a false teaching that God has already determined who’s going to be saved and who’s going to be lost, and there’s nothing that you can do about it. They also say, “There’s no use to evangelize because if God hasn’t foreordained them then they don’t stand a chance anyway.” No way, that’s not what it means at all. Now we know that God knew from eternity past who would become believers, but that does not excuse us from taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth, and to make everyone aware of their opportunity for salvation.

In other words, when we were teaching Romans chapter 9, remember how I taught it? Over here on the right hand we had whosoever will may come, but over here on the other side we have this verse in Ephesians that says you were chosen before the foundation of the world. Now humanly speaking, can you understand that? I can’t and I don’t think you can. It is impossible for a human being to understand that over here we have whosoever will may come. And over here we have chosen before the foundation of the world was formed. The two are counter to each other, but is it a problem for God? No, and that’s where I leave it.

Leave it in God’s hands, because the best I can do is bring the two to the middle. Just as you respond to whosoever will, and you come to that invitation, the Lord Jesus shouts throughout all of Heaven, “I chose him before the foundation of the world.” And that’s the best way I can explain it, but to say I understand it, I don’t. I’ve just got to leave it in the hands of God, because this is what the Word says. Just revel in those two statements. That yes, you exercised your free will when you responded to the Gospel. But on the other hand God could honestly say, “I chose you before anything was ever created.” It’s a glorious thought isn’t it?

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