Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 36
As we begin this lesson let me say that we try to reach across all denominational lines and get people to study the Word of God. I had a phone call from a gentlemen yesterday who was 69 years old, and he hadn’t been to church since he was 9 years old. He hadn’t even listened to anyone on television, but he happened to have caught our program, and said, “You have totally turned me around, and now this Book is consuming me. I can’t get enough of it.” Well we just praise the Lord for things like that, and continue to covet your prayers. Our goal through the Holy Spirit is to continue to open the Word where anybody can understand it. Now let’s go back to Ephesians chapter 2, and begin this lesson with verse 6. However to pick up the flow we will begin with verse 4.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us. 5. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ. (by grace ye are saved;) 6a. And hath raised us up together,…”
That is, after God, who is rich in mercy hath made us alive with Christ, by virtue of the work of the Cross. Remember when He died, we died, and when He rose from the dead it was by that same power we’ve also been raised out of deadness. In the first two lessons we showed you the 3 circles on the board that shows our makeup. Remember in our center circle we are born into the human family dead spiritually, with a sin nature which is the engine of all carnal activity. Now looking at the third circle we find that now as believers the old Adam has been crucified, we have been given a new nature. We have been generated by the Holy Spirit, and now we’re a completely new person.
Now in our closing remarks last lesson I pointed out that we still have the old nature to fight with, and we have to keep him under control, and let the new nature control our activity. That’s why from time to time Christians fail and behave like they’re not Christians. That’s when they let that old sin nature, that old Adam, raise his ugly head and take over their lives for a little while. That can happen to any of us, but that doesn’t mean that we have lost our salvation. Now reading verse 6.
“And hath raise us up together, (he has given us resurrection power, and eternal life) and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”
Now when we first started teaching this Book of Ephesians what did I tell you the prepositional phrase was throughout this whole little book? In Him, In Whom, In Christ, which was a positional thing.. We are in Christ as a result of our salvation experience, it’s a work of God. Along with everything else that happened the moment we believed such as He has redeemed us, justified us, sanctified us, but He has also placed us positionally into the Body of Christ. It’s a work of God, and we take it by faith. I mean, you can’t lay out a diploma and say, “See this is what God gave me.” But rather we just simply take it by faith. The Book says that it has happened and we believe it. So in verse 6 we find that Paul writes that we’re in the heavenlies, but we’re still on the earth. But positionally we are in Christ Jesus in the heavenlies. All of a sudden a verse just comes to mind. We’re living in such crucial days, and let’s let some of the Scriptures just thrill your heart. Turn to the Book of Titus chapter 2 for a moment, and let’s look at verses 12 and 13. This goes right along with what we’ve been saying in these last 3 lessons, that now because of the Grace and mercy and love of God we’ve been brought out of that life of desire to live in the nature of Old Adam. Now this is what we’ve been translated to.
“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, (desires) we should live (instead) soberly, righteously, and godly, (not when we get to heaven, but where?) in this present world: (that’s to be our lifestyle. Now here’s the verse that came to mind. We are at the same time) 13. Looking for that blessed hope; and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”
Now here Jesus Christ is claiming to be the great God, and I know this flies in the face of people who claim that Christ never claimed to be God. Yes He did. Paul claims He was by inspiration, and this is what we can be looking for. “The glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” What a hope we have. And why can we do it? Because in verse 14 it tells us that.
“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Now coming back to Ephesians chapter 2, and we’ll read verse 6 again.
“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
We’re in the Body of Christ, although we’re living here on the planet. But now look at verse 7. See this life is just a little snap of the finger compared to eternity. Oh eternity is beyond our comprehension, and I’ve said before and I’ll say again, the Bible doesn’t really tell us that much of what we’re going to be doing. But this much we know, that when we get to glory it’s going to be beyond human comprehension. All the things that we think are enjoyable on this earth will be as Paul says, “Dung” by comparison. So this much we can rest on.
“That in the ages (eternity) to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” God didn’t have to save the human race, but rather He did it out of love and Grace. Now verse 8 is one of the super, super Pauline verses.
“For by grace (unmerited favor) are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: (not something that you’ve worked for, not something you’ve decided to do, but) it is the gift of God:”
Now I don’t have to tell you what a gift is. It’s something that you do not work for. A gift a lot of times is something that we don’t deserve. I can look at some of you and say, “You’ve given Iris and I things that we don’t deserve.” But salvation was a gift of God that none of us deserves. Now the next verse tells it all.
“Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Now that flies in the face of probably 90 % of Christendom tonight. They are somehow either blatantly or by innuendo making people feel that they’ve got to do something, and some more than others. But let’s look at what Paul says.
“Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Faith + Nothing = Salvation. Let’s go to Romans chapter 4. And here Paul uses Abraham as his prime example, but of course it’s prompted by the Holy Spirit.
“For if Abraham were justified (or made right with God) by works, he hath whereof to glory; (or boast) but not before God. 3. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God,(+ nothing) and it (his believing) was counted unto him for righteousness.” And then jump down to verse 5. I’ve used this verse to lead quite a few to the Lord.
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
As soon as someone says, “I’ve got to do this or that”, then that cancels the work of the cross. But if you just believe then God will justify the ungodly. God doesn’t justify Godly people. You remember in His earthly ministry, what did Jesus say? Who needs the physician? Not the well person, but rather the sick. If there were such a thing as a Godly person he wouldn’t need salvation, but there is no such thing as an Godly person. Let’s look at Romans 3:23.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
To the unsaved person, all are ungodly whether they’re well behaved or not. God sees everyone potentially as fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and we’re children of wrath like everybody else regardless of how we have been inhibited in our training. So let’s look at Romans 4:5 again.
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
And we could just go on and on, come back a page to Romans chapter 3 for another one, and let’s just drop down to verse 24. The language throughout all of Paul’s writings are the same. It’s not by works, it’s by faith in that finished work of the cross.
“Being justified (made just as if I’ve never sinned. That’s what God does when we become a believer.) freely (without any works) by his grace (and how does He justify us?) through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Then come on down to verse 26.
“To declare, I say, at this time his (Christ) righteousness: that he (God) might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
Do you see how simple all of this is? And oh my goodness, the world of religion is just putting people under all kinds of pressure and superstition. They look for this and they look for that, and all they’d have to do is just say, “But God did it all.” It’s finished, and we are expected to believe it. Now go back to Ephesians chapter 2.
So like Abraham he couldn’t be saved by works or he would have boasted, and you’ve heard me use this before. “Can you imagine what a horrible place heaven would be if everybody could boast of how they got there. Why we’d cross one side of that golden strand to the other rather than listen to someone tell it again, and again how they got there.” But it’s not going to be that way. Not a single person in glory is going to be able to boast of what they did to get there. No not a one. And we’re all going to sing the same song,“Nothing but the blood Christ!” That’s the only way. People think that we’re kind of a know-it-all when we say, “I know I’m going to go to heaven when I die,” and they say, “Who do you think you are anyway?” “Well I’m a nobody, but the One I’m trusting is Somebody! He’s the Creator of the universe, He did it all.” Now verse 10.
“For we (who have been made alive out of deadness in trespasses and sin) are his workmanship,…” Now that doesn’t sound like much in the English, but do you know what that is in the Greek? It’s the same word from which we get the word poem, and you know what a beautiful work of art a poem can be. Do you know how our English has come down through centuries from various Greek words and do you know what word we use commonly that comes from this same Greek word translated “workmanship?” Symphony.
Now maybe some of you don’t like symphony music, but that’s beside the point. What makes a symphonic rendition of music? A putting together of all the various instruments. The bigger the orchestra the better it sounds. But what did it take to get the trumpets to play that note, and the French horn this one, and the violin that one, and the drums this one? Just what did it take? It took the fantastic mind of these composers, and do you know what blows my mind? A lot of those composers back in the 1800’s wrote those scores of music for every individual instrument in that symphony without ever touching one themselves. Now think about that. Think of a man with the wherewithal of music that he could write the score of every instrument in that huge orchestra without playing one of them himself. Now that’s what this word says that we have become in God’s hand as believers. We are like a grand symphony, and God has put everyone of us in exactly the right place, and we are to strike exactly the right sound if I may use that expression. Why? Because of His Sovereign way of putting us all together. Now let me show you another verse I like to use here. When we receive a larger offering than normal, I try to write back, and this is the verse I use so often. I Corinthians chapter 3, but it also applies if it someone who give $1.00 or a $1000.00 it doesn’t make a bit of difference, it still applies. This is again only talking to believers.
I Corinthians 3:9a
“For we are labourers together with God:…”
Do you see what a royal vineyard you and I are working in? We’re all working for the same cause. I’ve told everyone that’s been part of our ministry whether it’s our class people here, or whether it’s the people who contribute out in TV land. When I come up before the Bema Judgment Seat for rewards, it’s not going to stop with me. It’s going to be funneled out to everybody who’s been a part of my ministry, because we’re all laborers together with God. So again:
I Corinthians 3:9
“For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” Then he goes on as we’ve studied before, how God will reward us for all of our laboring. Remember not for salvation, but as a result of salvation. Now back to Ephesians chapter 2.
“For we are his workmanship, (God has intrinsically in His Sovereign Grace brought every believer into his place in the Body of Christ. Whether we’re rich or poor, black or white, or regardless what country we live in. We’re all working together to bring about the fruition of the completion of the Body of Christ. So we’re His workmanship, we’re like a poem, we’re like a symphony. Now what’s the next word?) created in Christ Jesus unto good works,…”
Now another verse just comes to mind in II Corinthians chapter 5. You know too many people think salvation is just a fire escape to keep them from going to Hell. Oh listen, that’s just a small portion of it. But God has created us to be something in His vineyard. We are to be something in that great symphony that He has constructed and created. Let’s start with verse 14.
II Corinthians 5:14-15
“For the love Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, (or conclude) that if one died for all, then were all dead: (we’ve already come to that conclusion) 15. And that he died for all, that they which live (have been raised out of their deadness in sins and trespasses) should not henceforth live unto themselves, (in other words, the attitude shouldn’t be, well I’m safe from going to Hell, and that’s all I have to worry about. Oh no, that’s not it. Once we become a believer we don’t live unto ourselves) but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
See, that’s the Gospel. Every time you turn around in Paul’s letters you get the Gospel, how that Christ died for our sins, how that He was buried, and how that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. We must believe that for eternal life, and there it is again at the end of verse 15, it just keeps popping up. Now verse 16.
II Corinthians 5:16a
“Wherefore (since Christ died for our sins, and rose from the dead) henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have know Christ after the flesh,…”
I’m sure that Paul is making reference here to Christ’s earthly ministry. That’s not our salvation today. Although it’s good in application, it’s certainly good to know of all the miracles He performed, and all that He taught, but that’s not the Gospel to get us to heaven. Remember Paul and Christ were about the same age, so if Jesus was 30 years old when He began His ministry, then the apostle Paul was about the same age, and beginning his activity in the Sanhedrin. So they were contemporary with one another. So Paul could say, “Sure I knew Christ in the flesh.” Now I don’t think they ever had a face to face confrontation, but old Saul of Tarsus knew all about Him. Now continuing on with verse 16.
II Corinthians 16b
“… yet now henceforth know we him no more.”
Now that’s just plain English. What’s Paul saying? I’m not lifting up Christ’s earthly ministry, and remember this is Holy Spirit inspired, but what does Paul lift up? His death, His burial, and resurrection, His shed blood. See that what Paul knows, that’s what been revealed to Paul from heaven. Now verse 17 is the verse I wanted.
II Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, (if we’re in the Body of Christ) he is a new creature: (or creation) old things are passed away: behold, all things are become new.”
Now who alone can create something like this? Only God! That’s why as you look at this, can you see now that works can never have a thing to do with our salvation? Because all the areas that we’re working on are the invisible. Now they’re real, but invisible. The old Adam has been crucified, and who but God could do it? It’s impossible to do that, but God can. Who but God can give us a new nature? Nobody. And that’s why it has to be all of God. You can join 15 churches, but it’s not going to give you a new nature. You could join as many churches as you want and do all the things they require for salvation, and it’s not going to take care of old Adam.
But when we let God do it, by us simply believing the finished work of the cross, then He moves in and does it all. He regenerates our spirit, He baptizes us with the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ, He gives us a new divine nature that controls the body, and we’re in fellowship with Him, and it’s all because of what He accomplished on our behalf at the cross. Oh the world thinks we’re crazy, but I don’t. I wouldn’t trade places with the world for anything.