444: Ephesians 4:1-11 - Part 2

444: Ephesians 4:1-11 – Part 2 – Lesson 3 Part 4 Book 37


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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 37

Ephesians 4:1-11 – Part 2

It’s so thrilling to hear people tell us that they have a love for the Word that they’ve never had before. That’s the reason we teach. If we can just get people back into the Book, and realize that it’s the greatest Book on earth. I mean, there’s nothing that can compare with it. I trust that most of you realize that I’m always trying to bring out how intrinsically the Word is put together. When Paul comes up with seven distinct things like these seven unities of the Church we are studying about this afternoon, that’s not just an accident. He didn’t sit there beating his head against the wall trying to figure out how he could do that. But that’s just the way the Holy Spirit keeps the Scripture flowing.

This afternoon we have been studying here in Ephesians chapter 4, and we’ve got one of these seven unities left yet. So let’s finished that one before we go on into the following verses in this chapter.

Ephesians 4:6

“One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

Now remember we’ve been talking about one all the way through this afternoon. One Body, one Spirit, one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and now one God and Father of all. Now the Jewish folks, bless their hearts, they kind of accuse us Christians of being polytheists in that we believe in a Trinity. But for the Jewish person coming out of the Old Testament, that is almost an anathema to him. So if you would go back to Deuteronomy chapter 6 for a moment, we’ll see what their reasoning is. This of course is the Jewish view of God being like Paul just said in Ephesians, “One God.” Absolutely He’s One! And as we read, remember this is part and parcel of Jewish worship.

Deuteronomy 6:4

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:” And here you have all the letters capitalized. Read it again.

Deuteronomy 6:4-5

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5. And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”

Which of course was the bedrock of the Law. Now as you come on up through the Scriptures, even staying in the Old Testament, which was written primarily to the Jewish people, stop at Isaiah chapter 9 for a moment. Again we’ll look at a verse that we’ve looked at many times over the years, and that would be in verse 6.

Isaiah 9:6

“For unto us (Israel) a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be (it’s still further, but it’s coming) upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Now you see in that one verse we have all the names, not only of God the Father, but also whom? God the Son! He’s the Prince of Peace! Isn’t it amazing? And yet our Jewish friends don’t like to admit that this is a reference to Christ. But as far as Christianity is, it is. It’s a prophecy concerning the coming of the Christ child in Bethlehem, who would be their Messiah. Now come on over to Matthew chapter 3, because this was a question on my answering machine the other morning. The question was, “Where in Scripture are all 3 persons of the Godhead mentioned in the same place?” Well here in Matthew chapter 3 it’s the most obvious, and never lose sight of the fact that we have One God, One Lord, but our view of it is in 3 Persons. The setting here is at Christ’s baptism in the river Jordan.

Matthew 3:16-17

“And Jesus when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: (so there in the Person of Jesus we have One of them in God the Son) and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God (there’s number 2, the Holy Spirit) descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: (and here in verse 17 you have the third One in the voice from heaven, the Father is implied) 17. . And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

There is also one more reference that is just as tantamount, and that would be in II Corinthians chapter 13, and let’s look at the last verse.

II Corinthians 13:14

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

So you have all three persons of the Godhead mentioned here as One God. So we’re not polytheists, as we believe in the One God, the One Father of all as Paul mentions in Ephesians. So let’s come back to our text in that Book to chapter 4, and read verse 6 again.

Ephesians 4:6

“One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

But He is also identified with the One Lord of verse 5, and the One Spirit back there in verse 4. This all has to be taken by faith, because I can’t comprehend it, and I don’t think anybody can. Three Persons as One? And yet this is the way the Bible teaches what Paul calls then in Colossians the Godhead. Now we’re going to go into another few verses before we wrap up this book, and I think these verses present a very interesting concept, which had to have taken place when Christ was crucified, and was in the grave those 3 days and 3 nights. Now verse 7.

Ephesians 4:7

“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.”

In other words, every member of the Body of Christ has a different level of responsibility of grace. I think even, yes of faith, and that’s God prerogative, as we’re all different, but we’re all members of the Body. Now verse 8.

Ephesians 4:8

“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.”

Here, you’ve got to flash back to Acts chapter 1, when they were on the Mount of Olives and what happened? The Lord went up from their midst.

Acts 1:11b

“…why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”

Now that’s when He ascended as we normally think of it. Now back to Ephesians and let’s read verse 8 again.

Ephesians 4:8-10

“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9. (Now that he ascended, (up to glory) what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10. He that descended (into the lower parts of the earth) is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens that he might fill all things.)”

Now what in the world was he talking about? Well come back with me first to Matthew chapter 12. We did this several years ago when we were back in Revelation when we were dealing with the Lake of Fire, but that’s been so long ago that most of our listeners won’t even know what we were talking about. Let’s look at verse 40. Here Jesus is speaking in His earthly ministry and is responding to the Jewish people of that day.

Matthew 12:40

“For as Jonas (Jonah) was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

Now that’s plain English isn’t it? The analogy is, that just as sure as Jonah went to the depth in the whale’s belly, went through a semblance of death of three days and three nights before the whale spit him out upon the shore, and in type that also was a picture of a resurrection. Jonah went on then to finish his ministry in Nineveh. Here, Jesus not only prophesied His own experience that is going to come, but He also adds His stamp of approval to the story of Jonah, which much of Christendom ridicules. Have you ever thought of that? The Lord Himself puts the stamp of approval on the story and Book of Jonah. It was an actual happening or He wouldn’t have said it. So what happened?

As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly and went into the deep, and came out alive, so also must the Jesus also must be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. So our question is, what was it like in the heart of the earth? To find out this we must go to Luke chapter 16. Our time is going so fast already in this lesson that I don’t have time to cover all these verses, but nevertheless let’s hit the highlights. This is not called a parable, but rather I have to feel that Jesus was talking about an actual happening. Today we call these things “little windows” of opportunities. and the opportunity here is we get a little a glimpse of the state of those who have died.

Luke 16:19-21

“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21. And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.” In other words, poor old Lazarus had a miserable life didn’t he? Now continuing on in verse 22.

Luke 16:22a

“And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom:…”

Remember Abraham died 2,000 years BC. Before Jesus’ resurrection all believers went down into Paradise. In Scripture it’s always signified as going down into the center of the earth. A good example of this is the thief on the Cross, what did the Lord say to him? “Today thou shalt be with me in paradise.” Now Jesus didn’t take him to heaven like some teach, but rather He took him down with Him into paradise, in the heart of the earth. Now reading on.

Luke 16:22b

“…the rich man also died, and was buried:”

Several weeks ago I put on the board that the soul never sleeps. The body sleeps when life passes out of it, but it will be awakened on resurrection day, but the soul never sleeps. Now it was the same way here. The rich man had died and his body was buried, and his soul had gone down into the ether part. Hell is what the Scripture calls that place.

Luke 16:23-24

“And in hell he (the rich man) lifted up his eyes, (he’s very conscious of what’s going on around him) being in torment, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24. And he cried and said, (one Jew to another) Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue: for I am tormented in this flame.”

You know the story of how Abraham couldn’t do what the rich man asked. Look at verse 26 what Abraham tells the rich man.

Luke 16:2628

“And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence (paradise side) to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. (hell side) 27. Then he (the rich man) said, I pray thee therefore, father, (Abraham) that thou wouldest send him (Lazarus) to my father’s house: 28. For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.”

Now verse 29 I always like to use when I emphasize Paul’s writing for us today in the Church Age. When Abraham was being begged by the rich man to do something for his brothers, what did Abraham say?

Luke 16:29

“Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.”

Notice Abraham didn’t tell them, “Well they can pray to God.” Abraham said, “They’ve got the written Word.” And I maintain today if we could talk to the Lord and asked him a question or two, do you know what He would say? “You’ve got the letters of Paul, and in them is everything you need to know, just read them!” And that’s what Abraham said here, “They have Moses, and the prophets, they have the printed Word, and that’s all they need.

We know that Abraham and Lazarus were on the Paradise side. We also know that the rich man who was lost was over on the torment side, and there was a great fixed gulf between them, where they couldn’t go to each other. What Jesus implied then in that analogy with Jonah, was that He also went down to hell on the Paradise side during His three days and three nights after His crucifixion. And so from Paradise, as we see Paul explicitly puts it, He ascended upon high. Now coming back to that reference in the Book of Ephesians chapter 4.

Ephesians 4:9

“(Now that he (Christ) ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

This was where Abraham, Lazarus, and all the Old Testament saints were waiting for the atoning blood of the Cross so they could then enter into what we now know as heaven. Remember the blood of animals couldn’t take away sin, and so they could not go into heaven in the presence of God until the atoning blood had been shed. Thank goodness the atoning blood has been shed now, and so now with the work of the Cross finished, Christ could take Paradise out of its place in the center part of the earth, and He takes it up into glory. Hell is then enlarged to accommodate all that would go there. Now let’s read on in Ephesians chapter 4. Let’s read verse 9 in it’s entirety.

Ephesians 4:9-10

“(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first (after His death on the Cross) into the lower parts of the earth? 10. he that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)”

Now there’s a lot more here than meets the eye. What are some of the “all things” in verse 10? Well these Old Testament believers were saved by their faith, but they couldn’t be saved by the work of the Cross, because it hadn’t happened yet. That was still clear out into the future. So once Christ finished the work of the Cross and went down into Paradise and preached to those spirits in prison as Peter says, “Now what could Christ tell the Old Testament believers? ‘I died for you, my blood has been shed, the atoning blood is done.’” And so He takes them now out of the Paradise side of hell, out of the lower part of the earth up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things, because that’s what the work of the Cross did. Today in the Church Age as believers die their soul goes right into the presence of Christ in what the Bible calls the third heaven, the very abode of God.

So remember, the work of the Cross finished the whole plan of redemption for the Old Testament saints as well as for us today in the Church Age. If Christ has done everything that needed to be done, then who are we to say, “But I’ve got to do this or that to complete salvation?” In so many words we’re telling God, “You didn’t really finish it, and I’ve got to put the frosting on the cake, regardless what it might be,” and God will have no part of that. We have to rest on that finished work + NOTHING!” After that move on into a life that is a testimony to the world round about us. Now in the few moments we have left, look what God has now left for the Church today. Remember Corinthians was back there in Paul’s earlier revelations, now we’ve jumped up into higher ground, and we don’t have all the things they had back in Corinthians. God has removed some of them, but look what we have left in verse 11.

Ephesians 4:11a

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets;…”

Now at the time Paul wrote this there were still apostles. He claimed to be an apostle in Romans chapter 11. Let’s look at it because I don’t want any doubt in your mind concerning Paul being an apostle.

Romans 11:13

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

So here we know that as Paul writes this letter to the Ephesians, he is an authoritative apostle sent to Gentiles in particular, and the whole world in general. Now coming back to Ephesians chapter 4, verse 11. So when Paul writes Ephesians this term, “apostles” is still valid, and there may have been more than Paul, but the Scripture doesn’t reveal that. But today we know we do not have apostles any longer. This is something that has now dropped off and again I think it’s because the Word is complete as we have it, and there is no longer a need for apostles.

Now the same thing goes for prophets. If you will go back to our lessons in Corinthians, when prophecy was the gift to be desired, it was because there was no printed New Testament. Even Paul’s doctrines were not yet in print. And so until Paul’s letter and the rest of the New Testament came about, God had to have gifted men to keep the thing going from the time that the Church began until these Church letters appeared. So it was a necessity that they had prophets who were capable of the gift of prophecy. But you see, that too is no longer necessary because we have the printed Word, and we have the Holy Spirit to interpret or to understand the Word.

But the last three are still valid. Every local church that is true to the Word of God should have these kind of men functioning and active in that local Body of believers, and what are they?

Ephesians 4:11b

“…evangelist, and some, pastors and teachers;”

And that literally fills the need of the local church. If you can, find a church that has an evangelist, and they have a pastor. Now you know there’s a big difference between a pastor and evangelist. Some people have the gift of just literally orating the Gospel. They just simply have that gift. Others have a gift of just simply being a friend in need, and that’s the role of a good pastor. He can call on the sick, and he can comfort, and just fulfill a multitude of the needs of believers. Then there’s that third gifted person in a local church, and that is a teacher. Not all pastors are good teachers, and God doesn’t expect them to be. All evangelists aren’t teachers, so they are three distinct gifted kinds of men that God has placed in the local Body of believers. You show me a church that has these three things going for them, and I’ll show you a church that’s alive and well. These are the three that God has left for us today. And then in verse 12 says the whole reason for it. What’s the purpose for pastors and teachers, and evangelist?

Ephesians 4:12a

“For the perfecting (or maturing) of the saints…”

It doesn’t say a word here that it’s for lost people. It’s so that saints can become mature. And what have I taught from this little old music stand for years? The purpose for teaching the saints is that you and I can go out and win the lost. That’s God program for today.

443: Ephesians 4:1-11

443: Ephesians 4:1-11 – Lesson 3 Part 3 Book 37


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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 37

Ephesians 4:1-11

Now I always like to remind folk that this class is non denominational, not that I’m not a member of a local church, but for the sake of reaching people we are just going to stick by what the Word says. I suppose that some of my own denomination don’t always agree with me, and all I can say to that is if you can show me from the Book that I’m wrong then fine, but if not, don’t come at me with tradition. Remember tradition in the Scripture is always portrayed in a bad light, and a lot of tradition has been totally misguided. All we like the people to do is search the Scriptures and our letters and phone calls are proof that we’re making some headway. Over and over they say, “They had never realized what the Bible really said, but now they have become students of the Scripture.” And of course that’s all we can ask, if people will just search the Scripture and look at what it says, and what it doesn’t say.

I thought that we’d finish all of chapter 4 today, but now it looks like we’ll be lucky to finish just a few verses. But once we get into these deeper things, I just can’t skip over what I think are little details that make it so interesting. Now in verse 5 let’s continue our teachings of these seven things that make up a unity in the Body of Christ, and they are, “The one Body, The one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all.” And the one we’ll start with in this lesson is “one Lord.”

Ephesians 4:5a

“One Lord,…”

Now we’re living in a world where we’re seeing the New Age Movement and the Oriental religions being pushed. These and others are coming in, and it’s so tragic that this stuff can be taught in our public schools and no one says a word about it. And the reason for that is, it’s all in the name of education. But as you know you can’t take a Bible to school, or pray in school anymore, but the ridiculousness of all this is there are so many gods coming up in this world, and yet you and I as believers are admonished that doctrinally that there is only one Lord. Now what I like to show here is the word “Lord” coming out of the Old Testament back in Genesis chapter 2. In fact let’s turn back there and look at it for a moment.

You have to remember back in the Old Testament you have the word Lord used in two different ways. You have it used all capitalized, “LORD” and you also have it used “Lord.” In this chapter is a good example of what I’m talking about. Now all the way through Genesis chapter 1 we just see the word, “God.” God said this, God did this, God was pleased and so forth. But now all of a sudden in chapter 2, and verse 4 we see something different.

Genesis 2:4

“These are the generations of the heavens, and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and heavens.”

Was it a typographical error? No. It’s exactly the way it’s supposed to be. Here we now have LORD in capitals. Those of you who have heard me teach Genesis, it’s from this LORD” that we really get the Old Testament term, “Jehovah.”

Where as “Lord” in the small case is the word “Adonai,” and in the Hebrew is translated over and over throughout the Scriptures as “Master”. Now that makes all the difference in the world. It’s the same God, but you see Paul is using the term, “Lord” here in Ephesians as the Master part of our Saviour and our Lord. Now coming back to the Book of Ephesians we have, “one Lord” and I think we can literally take it out of the Old Testament setting that we have “one Master!”

If I remember correctly the disciples referred to the Lord most times as “Master” didn’t they? It was such an appropriate term, because indeed that’s what He is. So when we come back to Paul’s teaching of the Lord being our Master, then that means everything, because we’re his bond slave as it were. He is the benevolent Master, He is never hard to serve, and so consequently we have a Lord that we can serve with all the energy that’s in our being, because He is so benevolent toward us. I just don’t know how else to put it. He is the only Lord that we serve. He doesn’t have these other aspects that the pagan gods have. So we have one Lord, one Master. Now for the next one.

Ephesians 4:5b

“…one faith,…”

Boy, now I could stay here all day couldn’t I? Stop and think of the world in general. How many different faiths are there? Why we couldn’t even begin to count the number of what they call various faiths . And even in Christendom, and I have to qualify that when I use that word, I’m not talking about the “Body of Christ” the True Church. When I use the word Christendom, I’m talking about anybody and everybody that uses the New Testament to some degree or other for the basis of what they practice. So within the realm of Christendom, how many faiths? Even among Protestants look at them. You have the Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Assemblies of God, and so forth. They’ve broken Christendom down to these various faith. But what does the Scripture say? There is only one faith! We are to stand for this one faith. Now turn with me to the little Book of Jude. Now we’re not to be adversarial, just for the sake of being argumentative, but on the other hand we are to never compromise our faith, which we trust is the one faith that Paul is talking about.

Jude 1:3

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith,…”

The faith, not just your faith, but rather the faith! Well what’s the faith? Well let’s just go back and look at some of the places that Paul use that word. I’m always stressing that Paul is the apostle of the Gentiles, Paul is basically the Church Age apostle, and so let’s come back to his letter to the Romans in chapter 3. He uses this word “faith” over, and over through out his letters.

Now I trust that each of you already know my definition of the word faith? It’s simply, “taking God at His Word!” That is never a bad definition. Faith is always taking God at His Word. God said it, and I believe it, and God reckons that as our faith. There is only one of those. You just can’t simply say, “Well I look at it this way,” and someone else says, “I look at it from a different view point.” No, Paul says, “There is only one faith.” It’s like I said in the first lesson this afternoon, this Book is narrow. This Book is not something that you can just look at it from 15 different directions, and say, “Well we’re all going to the same place.” No way! When Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15:1-4, and Romans 10:9-10 that for salvation we must believe in our heart that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and rose again then that’s narrow.

Now have you got Romans chapter 3? And let’s start at verse 23.

Romans 3:23-25a

“For all have sinned, (because of Adam) and come short of the glory of God; 24. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood,…”

All right let’s use my definition here for the word faith, and let’s just feed it in here. “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation”…(our everything) through taking God at His Word concerning His blood. So what he’s saying is “I’m going to take God at His Word about what He has said about His Blood.” I haven’t got time in this lesson to look at the various verses concerning the blood of Christ. But from your own knowledge of Scripture, what is the one major attribute of the blood of Christ? What does it do? “Cleanses us from all sin!” Do you see that? We know that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin, we also know that the blood of Christ is the power that has been able to withstand all the evil forces of Satan that would destroy us.

Again let me just take you back to the night of the Passover. Why did those Jews stand there at their kitchen table eating that roasted lamb with no fear and trepidation of the death angel that was striking all over Egypt? Because the blood was on the door! Remember that? And that blood was their mark of safety, and it’s the same way with us. Why are you and I as believers safe? We’re under the blood! So I have to tell people this constantly, that Satan can’t touch us because we’re under the blood. How do I know I’m under the blood? The Bible says so, and if the Bible says so, then I just simply take God at His Word. So this is a good example.

Now let’s just back up a page here in Romans to chapter 1. This is a well known verse, and the word faith itself isn’t in here, but the synonymous word is. I’ve always said there are three words in Scripture that all mean the same thing. What are they? Faith, Believe, and Trust. They’re all the same thing. Now look at them here in verse 16.

Romans 1:16

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it (the Gospel) is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;…” (or takes God at His Word.)

To every person that takes God at His Word. Now let’s come on over to where we were several weeks ago in chapter 2 of Ephesians. Here in verse 8 is a classic salvation verse.

Ephesians 2:8

“For by grace are ye saved through faith: (or taking God at His Word by believing Paul’s Gospel) and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God:”

There are many we could go to – and we need to hit several. Let’s back up a page or two to the little Book of Galatians chapter 2, and verse 20. This is Paul’s own testimony.

Galatians 2:20

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; (so being crucified with Christ is an identification process) yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh(our everyday living) I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me,”

In other words, again what’s Paul saying? “He’s taking God at His Word.” The Son of God is the One Who was declared. Now that brings me back to still another verse and that would be back to Romans chapter 1 again. I hope this all fits in your mind as at least it does in mine. Let’s begin in verse 4.

Romans 1:4-5

“And declared (that is Jesus Christ in verse 3) to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: 5. By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:”

And again what’s Paul talking about? So that people would take God at His Word. And what has the Word of God declared? “That Christ died for our sins, He paid our sin penalty, but He arose from the dead, and we must believe that for salvation.” This is all taken by faith. There’s only one faith! You can’t put your faith in some other god or by believing something else. You can’t put your faith in a denomination. Our faith has to be completely centered on the One who went to the Cross, and rose from the dead. Now coming back to Ephesians and let’s go on to the next one.

Again I hope as I’m teaching these words one by one, you’re getting the picture that out there in the world around us instead of being one of any one of these we’ve got many. Oh we’ve got many so called Bodies of Christ, and they know nothing of this beautiful Gospel that we believe. We’ve got so many spirits that are working. We have so many various hopes that people are clinging to, and really they’re hopeless. We have so many gods, and not like the pagans exactly, they had gods and goddesses both, and Paul says, “No. There’s only One!” Now we have all the various faiths, and I hope you’re getting the picture. Now believe it or not, it’s the same way with the next word in this verse which is baptism. We’ve got many baptisms also.

Ephesians 4:5b

“…one baptism,”

Oh as I’ve said on the program more than once over the years, there is probably no other word in the Christian language that will set people’s hair on end quicker than to disagree with them over baptism. And isn’t it funny. Something that is really doctrinally unimportant so far as our salvation is concerned can cause such enmity, and the sparks just fly immediately. Now let’s just look at this word for a moment. There is only one baptism, and even as your mind is floating out there among the world of Christendom, how many different kinds of baptism can you think of? Oh some sprinkle, some pour, some immerse.

I’ll never forget years back there were two churches. One baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and the other baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Other than that their teachings and their doctrines weren’t all that much different, but they wouldn’t accept one another’s members. I mean they were at complete odds simply because of the terminology that they used when they baptized. It’s ridiculous isn’t it when you really stop to think about it? But Paul says, “There aren’t four or five different modes of baptism, but only one. We’ve looked at it previously in I Corinthians chapter 12, but let’s look at it again.

I Corinthians 12:13a

“For by one Spirit (the Holy Spirit) are we (believers) all baptized into one body,…”

This Spirit baptism is the only baptism that Paul knows. And as I’ve taught my classes here in Oklahoma, it’s the only baptism that will make a difference for eternity. You can be baptized in water a hundred times and it’s not going to fit you for eternity. There’s only one baptism that will do that, and it’s this one that Paul teaches here.

I Corinthians 12:13a

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body….”

This one Body is the one we talked about in the first lesson today. It doesn’t matter about our status in life, there is only one baptism that counts for eternity. And counting for eternity is what it’s all about. The moment we believe the Gospel as outlined in I Corinthians 15:1-4 and Romans 10:9-10 the Holy Spirit in His invisible, all powerful modus operandi placed the believer into the Body of Christ. That’s the one baptism that Paul talks about in Ephesians. He never mentions water baptism in this Book, because remember we made that jump up in Ephesians to higher doctrinal things, and we’re coming even from his earlier revelations to these later ones as we had it on the board earlier, and so now he can define the fact that there is only one baptism that counts for eternity.

Now I’m not putting down what denominations may demand for church membership, that’s strictly up to them, that’s not my prerogative. My prerogative is to show what the Bible is talking about. And it is talking about the moment we were saved we were placed into the Body of Christ! Remember the Holy Spirit never goofs up. There is never an unbeliever placed into the Body of Christ! We as believers don’t know who’s genuinely saved and who’s not saved because we can’t examine the heart. But the Holy Spirit knows immediately the moment that faith is exercised in the Gospel.

This is the reason that local churches, and I don’t care what denomination, they have unbelievers baptized in water and into their membership, because humans cannot determine, but the Holy Spirit as He baptizes never makes a mistake.

Let’s come back to Ephesians chapter 1 for a moment and look at a verse on this. This is a good verse, and I would that you would use it over and over on your friends. I had such an interesting phone call this morning from a gentlemen down in Florida. It’s the kind of phone call that just makes your day. This gentlemen had a next of kin and a nephew that he could never approach about salvation. They just wouldn’t listen to him. But he said he got the idea to tape some of our programs, and took them some of the tapes, and he just simply asked that they watch them. He went on to say, that in no time at all that dad and his son were saved, and now they’re working with him to reach other members of the family. Well that’s as it should be, when you get that kind of salvation experience, and pass it on to others then it’s genuine. Well I see I’ve only got 30 seconds left in this lesson so let’s at least read verse 13.

Ephesians 1:13

“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.”

And how did the Holy Spirit seal us? By placing us into the Body of Christ!

442: The Seven Unities of the Church - Part 2

442: The Seven Unities of the Church – Part 2 – Lesson 3 Part 2 Book 37


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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 37

The Seven Unities of the Church – Part 2

Now getting back to these seven unities of the Church, let’s look at the second one as we begin our study. Let me point out again that this is another one of those times that the apostle Paul ends up with seven distinct items. Remember back in Romans we had one of those, and again in the Corinthian letters, if I recall correctly. I made the point when we were teaching back then, “Do you think the apostle Paul sat there and put all his notes together, trying to figure out how he could make a letter that would make sense? And some how or other he had to make it sound supernatural so he had to get groups of seven ever so often? Do you think he did that?” No way. I don’t think he ever put a note down, I don’t think Paul ever made an outline in his life.

Remember he always used a secretary except when he wrote the Book of Galatians, so he always dictated, and I can just see the little apostle as he paced up and down the floor, and can you imagine how hard it was to keep these thoughts flowing, and yet slow enough so someone could write it. Well, of course that was the work of the Holy Spirit, that every word that came from the man’s mind was Holy Spirit directed. So here is another one of those unique situations where he comes up with seven distinct qualities of the Church. Now let’s look at the second one of these seven.

Ephesians 4:4b

“…and one Spirit,…”

So there is one true Body, and now we find that there is one true Holy Spirit. Now let’s compare Scripture with Scripture by going back to I John chapter 4 and we might as well start with verse 1. And remember why we came here. Ephesians says, “There is one Spirit.”

I John 4:1-3

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (now here is where believers must know which Spirit is of God, and which spirit is of Satan) 2. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3. And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of anti-christ, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

Of course that spirit of anti-christ is in the world and has been ever since Satan beguiled Eve back in the Garden of Eden. Now one of the classic examples of the power of satanic spirits is found in the Book of Exodus chapter 7. Here we have Moses and Aaron approaching Pharaoh, the King of Egypt at that time before any of the plagues had come about, and they’re merely trying to convince Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go. To release them out of their slavery, and to be completely separated from Egypt, and of course you know what followed. But as they approached Pharaoh for the first time, and they’re doing exactly what God told them to do, let’s read and see what happened.

Exodus 7:10-12

“And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: (the Lord is in full control) and Aaron (with the Lord’s instructions) cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. 11. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: (these are Satan emissaries) now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. 12. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: (where are they getting their power? From Satan, and his evil spirits. Now here is the comforting part of this whole passage) but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.”

Which of course shows us that God was still supreme. But never fail to understand that the spirits of the Satanic powers are real, and numerous, and it’s up to us to determine which spirit are we dealing with. Now I’m comfortable with the fact that as believers, the satanic spirits cannot have any kind of control over us, because our Spirit power is sufficient to withstand all the powers of the evil one. But we have to understand that they are there, and we have to deal with them. In fact jumping ahead a little bit in Ephesians let’s look for a moment at chapter 6, and maybe this will make my point. This tells us that the satanic powers are out there.

Ephesians 6:11

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Now the Scripture could just as well have said it the other way around.

“Put on the whole armour of God, so that you can stand for God.” But the Scriptures don’t say that. Instead it tells us to prepare for our adversary. Then go into verse 12, and here’s the reason we’re to put on that armour.

Ephesians 6:12

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Do you see how plain that is? Now these are all spirit powers that you and I have to discern, “The only one we should be directed by is the One and only Spirit that has anything to do with us, which of course is the Holy Spirit.” Now for a moment I’d like to bring you back to the Book of Romans, because all the way up through the Old Testament there is rare reference to the Holy Spirit. It is back there, but not enough that you can say it was a real doctrine for those people.

Jesus of course in His earthly ministry, before He ascended, breathed on the disciples, and said, “receive the Holy Ghost.” Then He also promised the coming of the Holy Spirit in John chapter 14, so we know it was a promised phenomena, but we don’t have a lot of information concerning the Holy Spirit except in Acts chapter 2, when He came down on the day of Pentecost. But when you really begin to understand the Holy Spirit’s working in the lives of you and I, as Body of Christ believers of the Gospel, you find that in Romans chapter 8. In the first 7 chapters of Romans you have almost no reference to the Holy Spirit, but now you break into chapter 8, and He’s all through the chapter:

Romans 8:1-2

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2. For the law (the operating fact of our life, the law)of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”

In other words, what is the power that gives us the assurance of our salvation? The One Holy Spirit. And you don’t get any of this until we get to this chapter. Now come on down to verse 4.

Romans 8:4

“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, (as believers) who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Do you see what a difference it makes? Now verse 5, and oh how Paul just explains the working of the Holy Spirit now for us as believers.

Romans 8:5

“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but (the flip side is) they that are after the Spirit (they mind) the things of the Spirit.” Then you come on down to verse 9, speaking to us as believers.

Romans 8:9

“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

A person that does not have the Spirit of Christ is not in the Body of Christ. And oh we could go all the way through this whole chapter, and see this constant reference to the Spirit. In fact just glance at this chapter, and the word Spirit just jumps up at you off the page. For example in verse 15.

Romans 8:15-16

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” Then come all the way down to verse 23.

Romans 8:23a

“And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit,…”

Oh goodness, and now come back over to the Book of Ephesians chapter 1, and this is the One Spirit that Paul is dealing with now in Ephesians chapter 4. And it’s up to us to discernare we dealing with the true Holy Spirit, or are we dabbling in another spirit? It so evident today that a lot of people are dabbling in the evil spirits. Oh the spirit of anti-christ is every where. Remember many of them claim to be the right one, but what did the Lord tell the people in His own day and time?

Matthew 7:21-23

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

The whole purpose of this is that we discern, are we on true solid ground, or are we being hood-winked into something which is totally false. Now Ephesians chapter 1, verse 13, and 14.

Ephesians 1:13-14

“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also (that is the center part of the Gospel, that Christ, died, was buried and rose again for you) after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, 14. Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

Well on and on we could go, that as members of the Body of Christ, we are now under the control of the Holy Spirit. It’s the Holy Spirit that placed us into the Body, it’s the Holy Spirit Who directs us in our daily life, it’s the Holy Spirit Who gives us comfort. It’s the Holy Spirit Who reveals the truth of Scripture, but we have to make sure that we’re listening to the right spirit. That’s why John makes it so plain that we’re to test them, we’re to try them, lest we be led astray. Now I won’t have time to do justice to the next one in Ephesians 4, verse 4. The next one of the seven unities is hope.

Ephesians 4:4b

“…even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;”

Now there are so many verses dealing with hope, I hardly know where to start. I guess we’ll just trust the Spirit’s leading again to take us where we need to go. Let’s go first to I Corinthians chapter 13, the love chapter, and we’re going to drop down to the very last verse. Now in this chapter Paul has been dealing primarily with love, hasn’t he? The King James word for love here is charity, but coming to verse 13, and it’s an amazing statement.

I Corinthians 13:13

“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, (love) these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

But what was the second one? Hope. Now the casual reader I’m sure would never notice it, but as you read Paul’s epistles from this day forward, I want you to be aware how often these three words will just pop up. They will just jump off the page at you, and they are, “Faith, Hope, and Charity. They may not do it all at once, maybe only one or two at a time, but throughout his letters you’re going see a constant reference to Faith, Hope, and Charity. And the reason for this is that chapter 13 says, these are the only three that will remain. Everything else that is further up in the chapter is going to fade off the scene, but those three are going to remain.

Now Scriptural hope is not something that we say, “Well I hope it doesn’t do such and such, or I hope I don’t get sick,” or anything like that. Scriptural hope is manifest truth that we can rest upon. Now I’m going to take you back to Romans again to chapter 8 where we just were, but I want to look at another part of it. We’ll almost have to read these whole series of verses, because they’re all connected and even when we were here a little earlier, I hated to jump in on verse 23 by itself. So let’s begin with verse 18.

Romans 8:18-19

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us, (remember the word we’re honing in on is hope) 19. For the earnest expectation of the creature (creation) waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God,”

That’s when we come into that place that everything even today is pointing to. When we’re going to rule and reign with Christ in that earthly Kingdom with the curse lifted. And I don’t think it’s that far off. Now verse 20.

Romans 8:20

“For the creature (creation) was made subject to vanity, (the curse) not willingly, (in other words creation didn’t do anything to bring in the curse, but rather Adam did. So creation fell not willingly, ) but by reason of him who hath subjected the same (all of creation) in hope, 21. Because the creature (creation) itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption (which is the curse) into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (during the Kingdom age) 22. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23. And not only they, (the objects of creation) but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, (that is to say) the redemption of our body. 24. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25. But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

Now let’s go all the way back to Genesis chapter 3, and see what Paul was talking about when he said, “all of creation was submerged under the curse.” As soon as the curse fell, God also gave creation, what? Hope! Now look at it.

Genesis 3:14-15

“And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: (there’s God dealing with the creature that Satan used, as well as Satan himself.) 15. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

Now this was the reference to the work of the Cross. So just as soon as the curse fell, as a result of Adam’s sin, God subjected that same creation in hope. And what was the hope? The work of the Cross, the coming of the Seed of the woman. Then the curse is passed on in verse 16 and 17 so far as Adam was concerned that he would now live under the curse, and so forth. But what I wanted you see, was that when Romans 8 says, “That all of creation is looking for the day, when the hope will be realized that they’ve been lifted out from under the curse.”

Oh goodness, a verse just comes to mind, and I didn’t intend to do, but stop in Isaiah chapter 11, as we make our way back to Ephesians. To me this is such a beautiful illustration of the curse being lifted, and this is something that all of creation including you and I as believers are looking for. Now we have a hard time comprehending this, but the Scripture says it and I believe it. Even the wild animals that are subjected to the curse, and they’re under constant fear from their predators, whatever it may be, yet one day that fear will be no more. Now this is what all of creation is looking for. The curse will be lifted, and creation can revert back to the way God first created it. And look how beautiful this is.

Isaiah 11:6a

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,…”

If it wasn’t for his carnivorous character, a wolf would be a beautiful animal. I just love that big massive head, and those upright ears, I mean they’re beautiful. But we have a feeling of detestation, because they’re such enemies of so many other creatures. But oh the day is coming when they’re going to lay down with the lamb!

Isaiah 11:6b-7

“…and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; (or baby goat) and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; (in the same pasture. The same pasture that Psalm chapter 23 talks about. Oh the still waters, no turmoil, no death, and then in the midst of all this) and a little child shall lead them. 7. And the cow and the bear shall feed; (together) their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.”

Now what is this? This is the curse removed, and this is the hope that lieth in everything of God’s creation.

441: The Seven Unities of the Church

441: The Seven Unities of the Church – Lesson 3 Part 1 Book 37


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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 37

The Seven Unities of the Church

Again we just give the Lord all the praise and glory for the way He’s using this ministry to touch lives. We’re always just dumfounded at the way He uses us as we never claim to be anything more than a common ordinary Sunday School teacher But we are just thrilled that folk are coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ, and are learning to study His Word.

Now again we’re going to go right into the Scriptures, we want to use every moment that we can to search the Scriptures, and today we’ll begin with Ephesians chapter 4 and verse 1. Right off the bat, like Paul does so often he says “therefore.” And the reason he’s always using “therefore” is to remind us to constantly go back and see what he has just taught. Always remember the Scripture from Genesis to Revelation is a progressive unfolding of God’s program of the ages. And in Paul’s seven Church letters especially, you always have doctrine, reproof, corrections, and instruction in righteousness. In fact let’s go to II Timothy chapter 3 for a moment so I can make my point. Here the Spirit has inspired the apostle to write something that is more than meets the eye.

II Timothy 3:16

“All scripture (from Genesis through Revelation) is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”

Now that applies to the whole Scripture, but it has a unique application to Paul’s seven Church letters, as we refer to them. And, the first 3 would be Romans, the two Corinthians, and Galatians. The next three are where we are now and that would be Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. And then the 7th would be the two Thessalonians letters. At this time I would like to remind you again that in these first letters of Romans, the Corinthians, and Galatians, we have doctrine, correction, reproof, and then we jumped up a level in the prison epistles which get into even higher ground spiritually, in Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. Then later we will go even on a higher level than those last three when we get to the two Thessalonians letters which will be instructions in righteousness, because they refer to the Lord’s coming.

Always keep those formats in mind as we study these seven Church letters of Paul. Now that should tell us that Ephesians is primarily “doctrinal.” It’s not so much practical as doctrinal. What’s doctrine? Doctrine is what God expects us to believe! Doctrine is teaching, and today there is so little doctrine. I remember talking to an individual on one of our tours to Israel, and he was from one of these ecumenical groups. But as we were speaking to this young man in the hotel lobby, I started asking him some questions about his ecumenical group and he said, “Now Les, remember, we don’t deal with anything doctrinal.” I said, “Well then that says it all. That just tells me exactly where you’re coming from, because if you don’t have doctrine, you’ve got nothing. You might as well shut the Book and go home, because we have to rest on doctrine of what does God expects us to believe. And He has laid it out so plainly for the Church Age through this apostle.” But I know we’re living in a time now like that young man, where people think that doctrine doesn’t count. They think all we have to do is get along with our neighbors, and do the best we can, and somehow they’ll make it, but you see that’s not what the Scripture teaches. The Scriptures says, “Thus saith the Lord!”

Now coming back to Ephesians chapter 4, and remember we’re up on a higher level of teaching doctrine than even Romans was. And this is what we’re looking for. “What does God want us to believe, and what are we to share in a teaching mode with those round about us, which would be primarily believers?” Doctrine is primarily for the believer. Now it doesn’t leave the unbeliever without doctrine of course, but once we become a believer, then we have to be established in our faith with doctrine.

Ephesians 4:1

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech (or beg of) you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.”

Now we hold this to almost any profession don’t we? I don’t think any of us would like to have a personal physician, someone we commit our health and well being to, if he was someone that you couldn’t trust, and wasn’t adhering to the vocation that he was called. I know I wouldn’t want that kind of doctor taking care of my family. Well Paul is bringing that same analogy into the life of every believer. God has called us to this particular role in the midst of an ungodly world to live a life that literally reflects our vocation and our calling. Now verse 2. It’s so practical, we’re not to be arrogant, or puffed up and give people the impression that we’re better than they are, or that we know more than they do.

Ephesians 4:2

“With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing (or putting up with) one another in love;”

There is so much of that lacking today. How many local churches, and I don’t care what denomination you can think of, are in a constant turmoil because of the lack of love one for another? Just because somebody doesn’t agree right down to the last jot and tittle then hatred comes up, and that was one of the things that Paul had to admonish the Corinthians about. So here he comes now to this higher level of the Christian walk, that we do not walk with arrogance and pride, but with lowliness and meekness.

Now meekness doesn’t mean you’re a milque-toast. There use to be a cartoon character by that name who was always being walked on because he didn’t have any backbone. But that’s not what the word meek means. Do you remember who was called the meekest of all men? Moses. Now all of you know what a man’s man Moses was. I’ve always pointed out that he was the second highest man in Egypt being a military man, it meant that he was a civil engineer, it meant he was a politician, Moses was not a milque-toast. And then the best one of all was when he had to flee Egypt and goes out into Midian, and comes up to the well, and here the priest of Midian’s seven daughters watering their livestock. Well other shepherds come up about that time, and try to drive them away, but what does Moses do? Single-handedly drove them all away. Well that’s certainly not a milque-toast, I mean that’s a man’s man, but he was still meek.

So what does that tell you? To be meek just simply means that we know what we stand for, but we can do these things in the spirit of love, patience, and diplomacy, without raising the ire of people. So I think this is exactly what Paul is expecting you and I as believers to do. Now verse 3.

Ephesians 4:3

“Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Now I’ll probably be mentioning it more than once, especially when we get to verses 4, 5, and 6, that I am not ecumenical, and I think you all know that by now. I’m anything but. I’m probably closer to what they call the exclusiveness. The Bible is, it’s a narrow Book! The Bible makes stipulations that God has laid on the human race, and those things are not broad and open-ended, but rather they are particular. As such I will never bend! I’d rather just quit what I’m trying to do, as to compromise, and be as they say, ecumenical. So what we’re going to find here, is that in the spirit and the bonds of love, and peace, yet we’re going to stick to what the Word teaches. Now then we come down to verse 4, and this is where I really wanted to spend most of our time this afternoon, the singleness of purpose, in these next few verse. This is not a broad reign that just brings in the multitudes, this is going to do just the opposite. This is going to bring us down into the narrow reigns of God’s dealing with the human race. Now verse 4.

Ephesians 4:4a

“There is one body,…”

Now that means exactly what it says. For example, let me take you all the way back to Genesis chapter 11. In chapter 10 you’ve got the three sons of Noah coming off the ark, and they begin to repopulate. You’ve got all the genealogy of those three sons, and let’s start with verse 1 of chapter 11.

Genesis 11:1-3

“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 2. and it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar: and they dwelt there. 3. and they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.”

Now look at verse 4. Here, the offspring of the three sons of Noah, have already by God been delineated into three actual lines of the human race that would develop, but they’ve all stayed together. Now look at what God had made evidently so clear.

Genesis 11:4

“And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”

They were saying, “we’re not going to be scattered.” Well we’ve got to back all the way up to when they first came off the ark, and that would be in chapter 9, and this is what they were making reference to. Now remember these people were just as human as we are. They knew what God had said, they had a memory, they passed it from one generation to the next. Although in this case there was only 200 years time that had elapsed since the flood, and back then most people lived that long. But look what God told them in Genesis chapter 9:1

Genesis 9:1

“And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.”

God didn’t say replenish the Middle East, He didn’t say replenish the fertile crescent, but rather replenish the earth. And what did that imply? That they were to move out, they were to pioneer the very fringes of civilization. But what was the response of these people at Babel? We’re not going to do it! We’re not going to be scattered, we’re going to stay here and be one. Ok, but God had said in so many words, scatter. Now look at the Church today. Come back to the Book of Ephesians, and I think you’ll get what I’m driving at.. Now the admonition is that the Body of Christ is to be one. Singular in purpose around the whole planet, the Body is to be one, but what has happened to the Church?

Now when I say the Church, I’m talking about the whole gamut of Christianity. It’s fragmented. Hundreds and hundreds of groups, and denominations and divisions and so forth, and that’s not what God intended. See what has happened. God told those people in Genesis to scatter, and they said, “No, we’re going to stay together and be one.” What God has said in Ephesians is for them to be one, and now there are many. Man has fragmented the Church. It’s is amazing how Satan can always bring about just exactly the opposite of what God intended. Back here in Ephesians, God’s first intentions for the true Church made up of born again, regenerated, blood-bought believers were to be one. One in mind, one in purpose, and instead we’ve got thousands of fragmented groups all claiming to have some sort of Christianity.

But there is only one true Body of Christ, in which there are no unbelievers. In the true Body there are no professing Christians without salvation in the Body of Christ. Only a true believer ends up in the Body of Christ. Let me show you what I’m driving at in verses that we’ve used before. Come with me to I Corinthians chapter 12, and let’s start at verse 12. Here Paul is using the analogy of the human body.

I Corinthians 12:12-13

“For as the body (the human body) is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. (or the Body of Christ, the true Church) 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 made to drink (or partake) into one Spirit.” One Spirit is putting us into the One Body of Christ. Now verse 14.

I Corinthians 12:14

“For the body (or the human element or the Body of Christ) is not one members, but many.” Now come over in that same chapter to verse 27. Paul is emphasizing this concept of the Body of Christ.

I Corinthians 12:27

“Now ye (believers) are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”

Then we don’t find all that much mentioned of the Body of Christ until we get into the higher things in Ephesians. So let’s look for example in chapter 1 and drop down to verse 23, and here Paul makes another reference to the Body of Christ. Remember Paul is the only one that refers to the Body of Christ, the true Church. In fact let’s start with verse 22. This is God speaking of the Son.

Ephesians 1:22-23

“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23. Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”

So this is only a Pauline term, “The Body of Christ.” And if you come on over to chapter 3 there again he makes reference that through one of the mysteries given to him that Gentiles are included in the Body.

Ephesians 3:6

“That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:”

The Body of Christ, that consortium of only the true believer. Now I’ve made this comment before, and while I’m talking you can be turning to Hebrews chapter 13, because I’ve just got one more verse I want to use in reference to the Body. I’ve made reference to it over and over on the program, I don’t care what denominational handle people may have, all the members of that local church no doubt have been baptized and memorized by what ever rituals the church demands. But I can ask people eye to eye, “Are all your Church member true believers?” And most people will almost think it’s a ridiculous question. “You know, they’re not,” they will answer.

In fact I got a letter last week that asked the question, “What do you mean when you speak of a true believer?” I’m not talking about someone who has simply made a profession, and has joined the local church or organization, but rather I’m talking about someone who has truly and completely placed their faith, by believing in their heart, that Jesus died for their sins, was buried, and rose again, + NOTHING else for their salvation. And as a result of that salvation, they have a whole changed attitude toward life, toward others, and as John’s little epistle says, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” And when you pass from death unto life, you’re going to have a love for the Word of God, like you never had before.

We’re getting letter after letter, where people are telling us, “I’m finally loving the Word of God.” Well that’s a sign of being a true believer. The professing Christian that is merely a church member, he’s not that concerned about what the Bible says. He’s not that concerned about spending most of his or her time with fellow believers, and so when we have come to that place of completely without anything else, trusted the “Gospel” for our eternal salvation, then yes, we’re a true believer. Now that doesn’t mean that everybody is going to be as Spiritual as the next person, as there is certainly room for different levels of that within the Body of Christ.

Now even here in Hebrews chapter 13 we also find the Body of Christ. You want to remember that Hebrews was written primarily to Jewish believers.

Hebrews 13:3

“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”

So even these Jewish believers, to whom the Book of Hebrews was addressed, and does not make that much reference to the Church Body as Paul does in the Church epistle, nevertheless these Jewish believers were considered by the apostle as members of the Body of Christ.

Now I don’t put Old Testament believers into the Body of Christ. I know there are some that would disagree with that, but I just can’t see them in the Body. Now they’re saved, and in a division all their own, and of course that’s why we make that separation as we teach that God dealt with Israel on the one hand, but He’s dealing with the whole world’s population over here on this side of the Cross in the calling out of the Body of Christ. These are two separate entities, and even in eternity, I don’t think we’ll ever lose that identity. I think the Body of Christ, and the Covenant people of Israel will always be separate. God has a special role for each of them, and I can find nothing in Scripture that refutes that.

440: Ephesians 3:8-21 - Part 2

440: Ephesians 3:8-21 – Part 2 – Lesson 2 Part 4 Book 37


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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 37

Ephesians 3:8-21

Now in the last lesson we were in I Corinthians when time ran out on us, so we’ll pick up where we left off in those verses in just a moment, but first let’s look again at our text in Ephesians chapter 3. Remember Paul is writing to believers.

Ephesians 3:17-19a

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye being rooted and grounded in love, 18. May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19. And to know the love of Christ,…”

For us to comprehend these things is the desire of God, and of this apostle for every believer. This isn’t just for the clergy, or teachers, and the theologians in the seminary, but rather this is for every believer. Now coming back to I Corinthians chapter 2 we find that the apostle makes it so plain how these things are understood by the average believer. And remember, the Corinthian believers are the weakest, the most carnal of all of Paul’s congregation. They had a lot of hang ups, but he could still write these things to them in language that they could understand. And if they could, I think any of us can. Let’s read verse 10 again as we start.

I Corinthians 2:10

“But God hath revealed (the things that have not been seen or heard in verse 9. God has revealed) them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”

How many believers today go into the deep things of God? Precious, precious few. Hopefully we’re lighting the fire under a lot of people, and evidently we are because a lot of people write, “For the first time in my life I’m studying my Bible.” These people are reading and enjoying the Word of God, and that’s all we can ask people to do. That means far more to me than you’ll ever know. So how do we know the deep things of God?

I Corinthians 2:11b

“…even so the (deep) things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”

So the Holy Spirit is the One that has to enlighten us and teach us, and direct us through the Scriptures. Now it certainly helps in Bible study to have a good reference Bible. Get a good one and hopefully one with some footnotes to clarify some things that may be a little hard to understand, Just learn to do Bible study, comparing Scripture with Scripture. Now verse 12.

I Corinthians 2:12

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, (we’re not looking at this from a secular point of few. We’re not looking at this from what we have learned from education and experience in the material,) but the spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”

Now this is what we have to recognize. You can’t go into this and say, “Well I’m going to learn what this Bible says no matter what.” It just won’t work that way, because we have to depend on the Spirit of God. Now being human I like words of encouragement, and over and over people have written that they have prayed that God would open the Scripture to them. And then the next day they found our program on television, and we’ve had letter after letter that said 10 minutes into the program they’ll recognize what’s going on, and say,“THANK YOU LORD THIS IS WHAT WE WERE LOOKING FOR” But I can’t do it, because it has to be the Spirit that opens understanding. Now reading on.

I Corinthians 2:13

“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; (and how does the Holy Spirit teach?) comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

You have to constantly compare these various concepts of Scripture with other concepts and you’ll see how they all fit. They fit just like a jigsaw puzzle. You know it’s been a long time since Iris and I have put a jigsaw puzzle together, but how would you like to put one together if somebody had taken out a few of the pieces and put in a few from another puzzle, and you had no picture to go by? What would that be like? Oh it would be pandemonium, it would drive you up the wall. Because number one, you would have no frame of reference, you would have no idea where this color is on the edge unless you’ve got the picture. And number two, after you get a lot of it together you’ve got pieces that don’t belong in the puzzle. No matter how hard you try to fit them in they simply won’t fit!

Listen, that’s what too many Bible studies do. And it don’t take you very long to recognize, “Hey this doesn’t fit.” Of course it doesn’t, because it’s not supposed to. But when you keep the Scripture with Scripture, and keep Law and Grace separated, then it all falls into place so beautifully from cover to cover with no contradictions. Remember God changes His programs but God never changes like I said early while teaching this Book of Ephesians. Of course the Dispensation of Grace that was given to the apostle Paul is a whole different economy than the Dispensation of Law. Remember several lesson ago I showed you how ridiculous it is when people say, “But I go by the whole Bible, and not what Paul teaches?” And I took you to the Book of Leviticus chapter 5, where if anybody touches something that is dead, then he has to bring a particular sacrifice to the priest. Now that’s what the Bible says! But when people say things like that they put their foot in their mouth, don’t they?

And it’s the same way with the teachings of Jesus’ earthly ministry. He was teaching directly to the Nation of Israel. As we find in Matthew chapter 21 He was teaching one of His parables. This just says it all.

Matthew 21:45

“And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.”

Not us in the Church Age, but them, the Nation of Israel. And it was to them that it was appropriate, not to us. Now a lot of His teachings are applicable, don’t get me wrong. Jesus never taught anything that was completely out in left field, but He’s constantly driving his teaching home to the Nation of Israel. And in all of His parables, the only true meaning was as it sat with the Nation of Israel. When you take those things out of the Four Gospels and try to bring it into Paul’s teachings you’ve got some puzzle pieces that don’t belong there, and they won’t fit, although preachers and teachers try to make them fit. Here is the secret to why they won’t fit.

Matthew 21:45

“And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.”

Now that’s what the Book says. Now coming back to I Corinthians chapter 2, and finish the study on the deep things of God. Let’s pick up with verse 13. This is all part and parcel of what Paul is enlarging on in Ephesians chapter 3, when he prays, “That we have the might and the power of the height, and depth, and length, and breadth of spiritual discernment.”

I Corinthians 2:13

“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

All right, now what’s Paul saying? “How many people lean on what men have said?” Now I know the philosophers of ancient Greece said some tremendously appropriate things, and they made a lot of sense, but they’re not Scripture. They’re still the things that men teach. On the other hand, when you take the things that the Holy Spirit has prompted men to write, and we bring this into focus, now we have something more than what men teach. Now we have the spiritual. Now verse 14.

I Corinthians 2:14

“But the natural man (the unbeliever. I don’t care if he’s in church every Sunday. If he’s still unsaved and in the natural he) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; (it’s impossible for him. Why?) for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

So when you’re talking with unbelievers, and you try to express some of the deeper things in Scripture, then expect them to look at you with a blank look because they can’t help it. The Bible says, “They can not know about these things. The spiritual things must be spiritually discerned.” So the unbelieving world will argue and fuss with you and give you all their ideas, but listen, it’s nothing but secular gibberish. But when they finally get the Spirit of God, then they can certainly comprehend. That’s why Paul makes it so common for the believer to understand these deep things of God, and he expects us to. Now let’s go back to the Book of Ephesians.

Ephesians 3:17-18

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, (that is the love of God that brought us unto Himself. That we ) 18. May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;”

We can step into the whole spectrum of spiritual understanding, and the unbelieving world can’t get that. But oh listen, for us, it’s all here if we’ll just search it out. Now then verse 19.

Ephesians 3:19

“And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Read that verse again)

Ephesians 3:19a

“And to know the love of Christ,…”

Remember a program or two back when we were following the “unsearchable riches of Christ?” And I mentioned, “How can you and I, mere mortals, comprehend the fact that theEternal Sovereign Creator God condescended to be born of an ordinary little lady in Israel, to be born under the humble circumstances of Bethlehem, and then go through 30 years on this old planet for the sole purpose of going to that Cross.” Now listen that’s beyond human comprehension. But what did it? “The Love of God!” How God loves the human race! And how He paid the very extent of the very riches of heaven to accomplish a plan of redemption!

Now remember lost humanity is under the clutches, chains and control of a powerful, powerful being. Oh, never lose sight of that. And in order for God to bring salvation to the human race, first after taking upon Himself all the sins of this human race, He also had to break the powers of Satan. He literally had to break the bands of Satan that held everything in it’s power, which He accomplished at the Cross. And then again you repeat that for every believer that is saved, then God has to do it all over again, breaking the power of the Satanic forces that hold us. Keep your hands in Ephesians, but for a moment let’s come back to II Corinthians chapter 4, and look at this for a moment so you can see what I’m talking about.

II Corinthians 4:3-4

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: (now remember every human being on the face is lost until they’re saved) 4. In whom (in lost people) the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

So who’s the culprit? Who is keeping lost people lost? Well Satan is! We’re in a society that you almost cringe to use the term, “Satan.” People think you’re a fundamentalist kook if you use that term. But listen, the Bible explicitly tells us that his power is tremendous, and only the power of God can break his blinding the unbeliever. And that’s where I think prayer comes in. Oh let me give you another one that I use. Come back to Acts chapter 16, and Paul has been up in northern Greece, and comes to Philippi.

Acts 16:13-14

“And on the sabbath (remember that early on in Paul’s ministry, he’s still coming out of the law background, and this of course was the Saturday Sabbath, and so these were Jewish women no doubt) we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. 14. And a certain woman named Lydia a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, (she was Jewish and worshipping the God of Abraham, and this Lydia) heard us; whose heart the Lord opened, (now before the Lord could open her heart to believe Paul’s Gospel, what other power did God have to exercise? He had to break the blinding power of Satan. This Lydia was no different than anybody else. Just because she believed in God, doesn’t mean she wasn’t blind to the truth of the Gospel, for she was blinded. But here we have the perfect account of how the Lord opened her eyes, and heart, the Lord broke the bands of Satan) that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.” (Lydia believed Paul’s Gospel and became a believer.)

Now this is all part and parcel of what we’re up against even in our own day. Satan has blinded the eyes of those that believe not and only the power of God can open their understanding. Now let’s come back to Ephesians chapter 3, and let’s read verse 19 again.

Ephesians 3:19

“And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”

We can’t comprehend what love it took to drive Him to the Cross. And all the fulness of God is what we’re to be filled with. Now I don’t think any of us understand what that is do we? I don’t think there’s ever been a human alive, at least not on this side of the apostle Paul that has really understood the fulness of God. We can’t even come close, but potentially it’s there for us. Now verse 20. Here Paul ends this prayer.

Ephesians 3:20

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,”

What a prayer request on behalf of you and I. Just for a moment let’s come over to the Book of Colossians and look at another prayer for believers.

Colossians 1:9

“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, (that is their salvation, we) do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;” Does that ring a bell? It’s almost the same thing we were looking at in the Book of Ephesians. Now verse 10.

Colossians 1:10-14

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, (remember God never tells us to be a thorn in people. We are not to be obnoxious, or to make a fools of ourselves, but rather we are to be a living example of the love of the One who died for us.) being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; (now that’s a constant thing isn’t it? We don’t get all this knowledge of God all at once, and say, ‘well I’ve arrived.’) 11. Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 12. Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13. Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14. In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”

My goodness, what a prayer request for us. And that’s for every believer, not just for the preachers and teachers, but rather it’s for everyone of us. Now back to Ephesians and we’ll wind up the chapter.

Ephesians 3:21

Unto him be glory in the church (the Body of Christ) by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

In other words this isn’t the end. Eternity is out there in front of us, but our Lord Jesus Christ will never change. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever!