I Timothy 1:17 - 2:2 - Part 2

528: I Timothy 1:17 – 2:2 – Part 2 – Lesson 3 Part 4 Book 44


 

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 44

I Timothy 1:17 – 2:2 – Part 2

Okay, it’s good to have everybody in. We’re ready to begin the last lesson for the afternoon.  Then we’ll be heading for home.  So let’s be turning to I Timothy chapter 2 and verse one.

And again, we’d like to welcome our television audience. We realize that every day we pick up new listeners, and we always like to let you know that we’re not associated with anybody.  You know, that’s one of the questions we get.  Does somebody underwrite you?  Or, how do you pay for your program, and so forth?

We’re not underwritten.  We’re not associated with anyone.  We are as free as a bird.  All I have to respond to is the Lord Himself.  We rely totally on the gifts of God’s people, and He’s always provided.  We don’t foolishly go head-over-heels in debt, but we try to keep our bills paid. And as the funds become available, we reach out to more and more stations.  It’s getting to the place where we’re reaching more and more people.  And we appreciate the prayers and the letters, as well as you financial help.

All right, let’s move on.  This is a Bible study.  We go verse-by-verse most of the time, and we are now in I Timothy chapter 2 verse 1, where he says:

I Timothy 2:1a

“I exhort therefore,…” And whenever Paul uses the word therefore, what do you do?  Well, you go back and remember what he’d been talking about.  I think the main thing that he has in this therefore is the faith that we’ve been talking about in the last two verses of chapter 1.  So because of our faith, because we are people who believe what God says, we are now in a position to make:

I Timothy 2:1b

“…supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, (Not just for ourselves, but for whom?) be made for all men;”  In other words, we have a prayer responsibility way beyond our immediate circle of friends and family and so forth.

Now whenever I speak on prayer, I always like to remind people and we do.  Whenever someone says, “Well, I just don’t know how to pray.”  I want to bring you back a moment to Philippians chapter 4 verses 6 and 7, which are my two favorite verses when it comes to prayer.  Whether it’s for all men as he says here in verse 1, or whether it’s for the kings and our men in high places, or our friends and loved ones, that is beside the point.  When we pray, this should be our approach to the Almighty.

Philippians 4:6a

“Be careful (or concerned, or you might even say worry) for nothing; but in every thing (See, now that’s not qualifying.  That means what it says.  Everything – whether it’s physical, material, or spiritual.) by prayer and supplication (But here’s the secret.) with (What?) thanksgiving…”  I still think that that is the secret to a successful Christian life. It is to be a man or woman or a boy or a girl that’s full of praise and thanksgiving to God.  I think God revels in our response in thanksgiving.

Philippians 4:6b

“…in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”  Now I imagine that if there’s anything that throws a curve at a lot of us, and I’ll include myself as well—if God is Sovereign and He’s all knowing, and He knows the end from the beginning, why should we pray?

Well now, that’s a tough one to answer.  We’re not going to change God’s mind.  I don’t believe that we can do that.  The only way I can answer this is that God in His foreknowledge and in His Sovereignty knows who we’re going to pray for so things all fall in place accordingly.  In other words, if you would never pray, things probably wouldn’t happen the way they do. And that’s the only way I can look at it.  We’re not going to change God’s mind.  We’re not telling Him how to run His business.  But on the other hand, we have this constant admonition to pray and let our requests be made known unto God.  And He’s going to handle it according to His Sovereign design.

That’s as far as I can go with it.  I’m convinced that you can’t twist His arm, and you can’t finagle something out of God just by virtue of your smooth talk.  But the Scripture over and over—here we’ve already got two instances where Paul not only tells Timothy, but he writes to the Philippians that in everything we make our requests known unto God.

Well, what does that mean?  You verbalize them.  You tell Him.  You don’t just assume that God knows what you need.  We are to verbalize it.  That’s what prayer is all about. All right, now this is an interesting verse coming up then.  “…let your requests be made known unto God.”  And then verse 7 and some of you have heard me teach this more than once.  Whether God answers yes, no, or maybe later, the answer is in verse 7.  Every prayer that you’ve prayed is already answered in verse 7.  And what is that answer?

Philippians 4:7

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds (How?) through Christ Jesus.”  And why is everything put on Christ Jesus?

Well, I was going to use it a little later in Timothy, but I think this is probably as good a time as any.  Go all the way back to the Book of Revelation.  This is just an example of why everything rests on what Christ has done there at the cross.   And I think this holds true for everything that we pray for and everything that God does on our behalf.  And here’s the reason.

Revelation 5:9

“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy (Now who is the thou?  The Lord Jesus.  God the Son up there in verse 5.) to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: (And here’s what makes Him worthy of everything—not just this little instance of Revelation, but of everything.) for thou wast slain, (His death on the cross) and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood (The work of the cross is what makes Him worthy!)  out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nations;” and so on and so forth.

That’s why we can go to the Lord with every request possible. He is capable and worthy to do whatever He deems best for us.  It is because of what He has already accomplished and who He is.  He is the God of Glory.  He’s the God of Creation.  He’s Sovereign.  He’s in total control.  Total power, as we’re going to see in the next few moments as we move on in Timothy.

All right, but back to verse 7 in Philippians 4—that no matter how you pray, whatever you ask for, whether God does not do as you request or whether he may say later, or whether He answers in your own timeframe:

Philippians 4:7a

“And the peace of God,…” Now, you know what that is?  That’s something that the world in general knows nothing of.  The peace of God.  Now what does that tell you?  That if you’ve been praying for a loved one to get well, and God doesn’t answer that request, and He takes that loved one.  Now what does that mean?  That means that because of what Christ has already done, because of who He is, we don’t have to fall all apart.  We have the peace of God that even though that loved one has been taken from our midst; we have all that we need.

Now that doesn’t mean that we don’t sorrow.  That doesn’t mean that if you lose a loved one you’re not going to shed tears and you’re not going to be lost without them. But you don’t fall apart.  God sustains us.

Philippians 4:7

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

All right, along that same line let me come all the way back to Romans. Because like I said in an earlier program, you know, the more Scripture we can base our thinking on the more solid our faith.  Romans chapter 5 and verse 1 starts out, again, with one of Paul’s favorite words.  What is it?  “Therefore.”  Because of all that he has just said in chapter 4.  And we used this chapter a couple of programs back.  The faith of Abraham—how that by faith plus nothing God was able to declare him righteous.

Romans 5:1

“Therefore being justified by (What?) faith, (plus nothing!  Now it doesn’t say that.  I’m saying that.  I’m just showing that there’s nothing added to it.) we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” Now what have we got?  Peace. God-given peace!     We don’t have to fret and wonder—am I going to make it?  Have I done enough?  Am I trying hard enough?

We were just talking at break time. I don’t want anyone to ever feel that just because we’re justified by faith, that’s as far as we have to go.  Oh, no way!  In fact, I’ll go to Ephesians now.  We were talking about it at break time.  But nevertheless, let’s finish this verse, and then we’ll go to Ephesians chapter 2.

Romans 5:1

“Therefore being justified by faith (plus nothing) we have peace with God (And again, through the work of what person?) through our Lord Jesus Christ:”  Same language that he used in Philippians 4:6 and 7.  We have that transcending peace through Jesus Christ our Lord.

All right, now come back to Ephesians 2 before I forget it.  Ephesians 2:8, 9, and 10.  I was going to use it in the previous program, and I ran out of time.  So I guess it’s intended that I use it now.

Ephesians 2:8a

“For by grace are ye saved through faith;…” That is God’s unmerited favor toward us—which means we didn’t have anything going for us and couldn’t make it without God’s help. So by His unmerited favor you are saved through faith. Plus some works?   No.  Come on.  Your Bible is just as plain as mine.  You’re saved by God’s grace through what?  Faith—which is taking God at His Word.

Well, what do I take at His Word?  That He died for my sin and yours.  His Blood was shed.  He arose from the dead.  And we believe it for salvation. And the moment we believe it, God moves in.

In fact, I had an interesting letter the other day.  I haven’t answered it, yet.  And I don’t know as I will, especially since I’m doing it here on the program. Because I know the gentleman listens.

He was wondering what came first – justification or forgiveness or redemption?  And of course, he had all the Scripture verses.  He’d put a lot of work into it, I could tell that.  Well, if I were to write him in one sentence, you know what I’d tell him?  Hey, it all happened instantly!  It didn’t come in a sequence of events.  God didn’t first forgive you, and then come back and say I’ll justify you, and then come back and say, well, you’re redeemed.  That was a one-second transaction!  The moment we believed with heart-faith, God did all of that.  Instantly!  It’s all done.   All right, so we’re been saved through faith, verse 8 reading on.

Ephesians 2:8b

“…and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” Well, goodness sakes, I don’t have to tell you.  How much work do you do for a gift?  Nothing.  Somebody doesn’t say, well, I’ll give you a diamond ring IF you do this.  Someone doesn’t say, well, I’ll give you something or other IF you do this.  Then it’s not a gift.  A gift is that which comes totally without merit.

All right, so salvation is by God’s Grace through faith in what He has said.  It’s not of anything that we can do, because it’s the gift of God.  Now look at the next verse.

Ephesians 2:9

“Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  What’s works?  Anything that you can do by making up your mind to do something.  I don’t care what it is.

I’ve made reference to this once before years and years ago.  When Iris and I were young, we used to check out books from the library. She’d read one, and I’d read the other, and then we’d switch, and so forth. Before the kids came along, you know, and we weren’t just covered up with all the activity.  We read a lot more than we have time for today.  But one of the little books we read was about a little fellow up in the Ozarks. He was getting to be about 14 or 15, and one day it came into his mind that he’d been kind of an ornery little rascal, but he thought he was going to please his Mom and his Dad.  So he told his little buddy, he said, “I think next Sunday I’m going to (You remember it, Honey?) next Sunday I’m going to go up and join the church.”

Sound familiar.  Sure it does.  But you see, what was the little fellow doing?  Works!  He made up his own mind and told his friend what he was going to do.  That’s works.  And that’s not faith.  Now, his intensions were good.  I’ll bet his Mama was thrilled to death in the story.  But that’s what I’m talking about.  That’s works—when you can make up your mind and say, well, I’m going to do this, or I’m going to do that.  I don’t care what it is—then it’s a works.  And it does not count for eternity.

All right, now verse 10, here’s where we move on AFTER the Lord has saved us.  After we’ve gained peace with God.  AFTER we’re forgiven and we’re redeemed and we’re justified.  Now what do we do?  Hey, we get to work!  We get to work.

Ephesians 2:10a

“For we are his workmanship,…”  Now the Greek word here is poema—from which we get the word poem—from which we also get the word a little further down the way – symphony.

In other words, something that has been beautifully and artistically put together—that’s what we are as believers.  God has formed us and has given us particular gifts and abilities and talents for a particular use.  And that’s what we’re to do.  We’re to use it.  Everybody has a different ability, but they all work together to be just like a symphony.  So we are His workmanship.  We are something that He has now put together.  We have been created as a new creature in Christ – for what purpose?  Good works!  Of course, good works.

Ephesians 2:10b

“…created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

In other words, we live to serve.  And it’s not for salvation, but it is for what?  Reward.  Now, I wasn’t going to do this.  But here’s why I don’t get very far, Jerry.  I thought I was going to finish I Timothy today.  But see, that’s why I don’t get as far as I think I’m going to.  Come back to I Corinthians chapter 3.  Now that we’re talking about good works, we’d better pursue it a little bit.  Because, hey, we’re human.  And whenever we start doing something that is not for salvation, now we’re starting to do it simply because we’re doing good works.  Being human, what’s our question?  What am I going to get?  And there’s nothing wrong with that.

You remember when Jesus was dealing with the Twelve, and they were about at the end of His three years, and they came down toward Jerusalem, and Peter said, now, Lord, we have followed you ever since you picked us up, up there at Galilee. What are we going to have therefore?  Remember that verse in Matthew 19?  What will we have therefore?  Well, did the Lord scold him for worrying about what he’d get because of his good works?  No!  He says, Peter you’re going to rule one of the twelve Tribes of Israel when I come into my Kingdom.  So, it’s a logical question.

Now for us today, we are created for good works.  We get out. We get busy. What are we going to get?  Well, I Corinthians 3—drop down to verse 11, Honey.  All got it?  For he says:

I Corinthians 3:11

“For other foundation (Other than Jesus Christ which Paul lays as the foundation of this Age of Grace.) can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”  In other words, upon that finished work of the cross we’ve entered into a building process of works—on that finished work appropriated by our faith.  Now look what happens.  In verse 12, as a believer, God gives us a series of building materials with which we labor and put into the building on that foundation.

I Corinthians 3:12

“Now if any man build upon this foundation (as a believer) gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay and stubble;”  Six materials.  Three of which can never burn.  Three of which go up in a puff of smoke.

I Corinthians 3:13a

“Every man’s work (As a believer, we’re not talking about the lost here.  We’re talking about believers.) shall be made manifest: (going to be put in the spotlight) for the day…” The judgment day, the Bema Seat day.  Not the White Throne Judgment for lost people, but the judgment of the Bema Seat for believers.  We pick that up in II Corinthians 5.  All right, the day when we’ll stand before the Lord Jesus as the judge of our Christian life.

I Corinthians 3:13b

“…the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed (or tested) by fire; and the fire shall test every man’s work of what sort it is.”  Now you’ve got to stop there a little bit and pick this apart.  You go back to the Book of Revelation—what are the eyes of Jesus likened unto?  Eyes of fire.

All right, now these eyes of fire are going to examine the works of the believer. He’s going to look at what we have built in our little section of the wall on that foundation, which is Christ Jesus.  All right, now here we’ve been building throughout our whole Christian life with good works.  But some of those good works are going to go up in a puff of smoke.  They’re nothing more than wood, hay, and stubble.  Some are going to remain, because they were comprised of gold, silver, and precious stones.  See the analogy?  Now what’s it all based on?  Motive—why do we do the things we do?

You can be the best worker that anybody can imagine, and if you’re just doing it to elevate the self, forget it.  It’s a puff of smoke.  If you’re doing it to bring honor and glory to the Lord; if you’re doing it to enhance fellow believers, it’s gold, silver, and precious stones.  That’s what it’s going to be.  All right, now let’s move on.  Verse 14:

I Corinthians 3:14a

“If any man’s work abide,…” If it survives those fiery eyes, it’s gold, silver, or precious stones.  Now remember, what does fire do to those three elements? It purifies them and takes away all the dirt and the dust and the dross.  It purifies them.  So, the Lord Jesus will look at the works of believers whose motives are right, and they’ve been doing it for – not self – but for others.

I Corinthians 3:14b

“…which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.”  Now I know a lot of people don’t like that.  They say, oh, you don’t dare talk about reward.  Why not?  This Book does.

Paul uses the analogy of the Olympic runners.  And we’re to be like them up to a point.  How?  My, they trained and they worked and they prepared for the race.  And why did they run the race?   To gain the crown—which was only a wreath in those days.  It wasn’t even a gold medal.  But the analogy was that they went through all that period of training and training to run the race with all that was in them, to receive the reward.  And that’s what we’re to do.  We’re not saved to sit.  We’re saved to serve.

Regardless of what you are.  And when older people come and say, “Well, Les, I can’t do anything anymore.”  Oh, yes, you can!  Do you know that back in London’s darkest days, when London was about to be submerged in the most iniquitous generation that you could imagine, two elderly ladies were responsible for turning London right side up?

How’d they do it?  Prayer.  They prayed and they prayed.  They prayed and revival hit London.  So don’t ever say—I’m too old to serve.  You can always pray.   All right, let’s go on.  Verse 15:

I Corinthians 3:15

“If any man’s work shall be burned, (It’s nothing but hay, wood, and stubble.  Now these are believers, and they’ve got works that amount to nothing but wood, hay, and stubble.) he shall suffer loss: (not his salvation, but reward) but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

In other words, it’s going to be a slim escape so far as rewards are concerned. There’s the admonition.  We’re saved by faith plus nothing because of the finished work of the cross and the Grace of God.  But then we get busy and we serve.  All right, now let’s come back to I Timothy chapter 2 and maybe I can finish one verse!

I Timothy2:1-2

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; (But now we don’t just stop for the mundane men around us, our friends and neighbors, but our prayers are to extend to our men in high places.  For us today it’s presidents, senators, and congressmen.) 2. For kings, for all that are in authority; (Now believe it or not, why do we pray for our men in high places?  For our own good!  There is a bit of selfishness here.  We are to pray for these men so that–) that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” 

Isn’t that amazing?  There’s nothing wrong to pray for that.  God doesn’t want us to just grovel in abject poverty and under the heavy boot of some foreign power.  God wants us to live quiet and peaceable lives.  And we’re to pray to that end.

That’s what government is for.  Government is to—and I imagine this is where our founding fathers got the term that we are in the pursuit of what?  Happiness.  That’s our God-given right—the pursuit of happiness.  And I was telling one of my classes the other night. You know, if you know anything of human history, very few percent of the population of the world down through history have enjoyed that.

I Timothy 1:17 - 2:2

527: I Timothy 1:17 – 2:2 – Lesson 3 Part 3 Book 44


 

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 44

I Timothy 1:17 – 2:2

Okay, good to have every body back in again. For those of you out in television, when I start every program that way, it’s simply because we dismissed them for a coffee break. And it’s not always easy to get them to stop visiting and get back in here for the next half hour.  So there is a reason for my madness.

And for those of you out in television, we appreciate your letters, calls, and comments. I’m so blessed that out of all the communications we get, hardly ever do we get a letter that we don’t enjoy.   I’ll admit, when they first asked me to do this on television that was my number one worry.  Could I handle the flack of people who would get nasty and disagree?  But the Lord has seen fit to protect us from that. We appreciate every letter that comes in. Oh, once in a while, you know, you go through and you have some trepidation and wonder if you’re going to get a bad one.  But so far so good, you’ve been so gracious in your letter writing.  And in your financial help, we just have to say thank you, thank you, thank you.

All right, we’re going to get right back in again and pick up our study where we left off.  We were in I Timothy chapter 1.  Jerry’s got it on the board.  We’re going to finish verse 19 and go on into 20.  And then from there, I don’t know.  We’ll just see how far we get.  But I Timothy again chapter 1, picking up where we left off.

I Timothy 1:19

“Holding faith, (You remember in our last program, we reviewed all the, or not all, but some of the men who were destitute of faith.  I’m going to pursue that a little further because of verse 20.  So now he tells Timothy–) Holding faith, (taking God at His Word) and a good conscience; (Which all works, of course, hand-in-glove.) which some (And we looked at some of those in our last program.) having put away concerning faith (In other words, they rejected what God said.) have made shipwreck:” 

Well, you see, that’s exactly what happened to Esau, our example in our last program.  When he refused to believe what God said, it caused him to go immoral.  It caused him to, as we saw in Hebrews, he wept bitter tears—and all because he was destitute of faith.  He became shipwrecked spiritually.

Well, we’re going to pursue this a little further.  Even the Nation of Israel more than once—and we covered one of them in our last program—at Kadesh-barnea, when God said they could go in and take the Promised Land.  It was all ready and waiting for them.  But in unbelief they turned away and ended up shipwrecked spiritually out there in the wilderness.  Well, now let’s go back and look at another instance before we look at the two gentlemen that Paul is dealing with.  Let’s go back and look at the Nation of Israel at a later time—Christ’s first advent.

Come back with me, if you will, to chapter 2 of the Book of Acts.  Acts chapter 2 verse 22.  And remember that when Christ came, He came to the Nation of Israel to fulfill all the Old Testament covenants and promises.  “He came unto His own, (John wrote.) and His own (What?) received Him not.”  Why didn’t they?  Unbelief.  No faith!

What was their question?  “Could anything good come out of Nazareth?”  Well, why not, if God is in it?  But see, their faith was so blind and so lacking that they, in spite of all of His signs and miracles and wonders, they still couldn’t admit that anything good could come out of Nazareth.  They still couldn’t admit that He was the promised Messiah.

The Nation was steeped in unbelief. Oh, they were religious, don’t ever forget that.  My, they were religious.  They wouldn’t miss a Sabbath.  They wouldn’t miss a feast day.  They wouldn’t do anything contrary to the Law of their religion.  But when it came to faith, they were destitute.  Consequently, they crucified Him. He’s risen from the dead, and now Peter comes back to the Nation of Israel here in Acts chapter 2 verse 22, and he says:

Acts 2:22a

“Ye men of Israel, (He’s not talking to the Gentiles, yet.  He’s talking to this Nation to whom Christ came and presented Himself as the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises.) hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth,…” And I’m sure he used the word Nazareth to complement the fact that they thought nothing good could come from there.

Acts 2:22b

“…Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs,…”  Isn’t that amazing?  Miracles and wonders and signs.  And for how long?  Three years.  Up and down those dusty roads of the land of Israel and yet they couldn’t come out of their unbelief.

Acts 2:22b-23

“…a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23. Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, (Now look what Israel did with their promised Messiah because of unbelief.  And he says–) ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:”  Killed Him!!

All right, let’s go on to chapter 3 and verse 12, where Peter and John have now just healed the lame man, much the same way that Jesus did just a few months previously.  Again, the Nation – why are they stupefied?  Why are they alarmed at the healing of the lame man?  No faith.  They couldn’t believe that God was doing this.

Acts 3:12-13a

“And when Peter saw it, (That is the consternation of the Jews of his day.) he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this?  or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?  13. The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our Fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; (Whom he called Jesus of Nazareth in chapter 2.) whom ye delivered up, and (What’s the next word?) denied…”

Why?  Unbelief!  They couldn’t believe that He was who He said He was.  Isn’t that awful? In spite of all the signs and wonders and miracles, they could not believe that He was the promised Messiah.  All right, reading on.

Acts 3:13b-15

“…whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he (Pilate) was determined to let him go. 14. But ye (the Nation) denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; (Now look at verse 15.  This is graphic language.  He says to the Nation of Israel–) And you (What?) killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.”

So, here Peter makes it so plain that the Nation of Israel had rejected Jesus of Nazareth, and had put Him to death by virtue of the crucifixion. Why?  Unbelief!  In fact, a verse just comes to mind.  I Corinthians chapter 2 is where I think it is.  Keep your hand in Acts.  I’m not through there.  I Corinthians chapter 2 dropping down to verse 7, where Paul is now writing to the Gentile congregation at Corinth.  So this is directed primarily to us as well.

I Corinthians 2:7

“But (Paul says) we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:” In other words, the Apostle Paul wasn’t an accident.  He says in Galatians that God by Grace separated him from his mother’s womb.  He was a chosen vessel.  All right, now verse 8.

I Corinthians 2:8a

“Which none of the princes of this world knew:…” Now who was he referring to?  Well, the leadership of Israel, first and foremost, but also even the leadership of Rome.   Now Pilate had an idea.  He had a sneaking suspicion that this was somebody special, but he still carried it out.

Israel, on the other hand, didn’t have a clue as to who He was.  The high priests, the religious leaders, thought he was nothing more than a blasphemer and an imposter and to get rid of Him was doing the God of Abraham a favor.  And, of course, that was Saul of Tarsus’ idea.  All right, so now Paul as the Apostle of the Gentiles can write:

I Corinthians 2:8

“Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” Well, that’s common sense, isn’t it?  If they would have known who they were putting on that Roman cross, they would have never dared to carry it out.  But they didn’t know.  And why didn’t they know.  Unbelief.

They blinded their spiritual eyes as Esau of old.  They were as blind to the truth as Israel at Kadesh-barnea.  And over and over and we can’t just point the finger at the Jews.  We’re no better.  As I said in my last program, look at our nation today.  We are a nation steeped in unbelief.  Oh, our churches may be full—but our churches, for the most part, not all, of course, fortunately.  But so many of them, as we’re going to see in the next part of Timothy, they’re denying the fundamentals of the faith.  They’re denying this Book.  But Israel is an example to us over and over that because of their unbelief they missed out on the blessings of their God.

All right, back to Acts, again, if you will, for just a moment.  Only now come over to chapter 7 and we’ll start at verse 1.  Where Stephen is full, it says in verse 8 of chapter 6, full of faith and power.  Now remember the word faith—he had already taken God at His Word.  Stephen had a full understanding of who Jesus was.  And now he’s been brought before the high priests and the religious leaders of Israel.

Acts 7:1-2a

“Then said the high priest, Are these things so? (In other words, the things he had said concerning Jesus of Nazareth.  Now look at verse 2.) 2. And Stephen said, Men, brethren, and fathers,…” Now you know, when I taught the Book of Acts I was constantly emphasizing—who are we still dealing with?  Israel.  Israel, the Covenant People, the favored Nation.  And there are no Gentiles in here yet.   Stephen makes it so plain.

Acts 7:2-4

“Men, brethren, and fathers, listen, The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, (Now Abraham is not the father of the Gentiles.  He’s the father of the Jewish people.)when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran. 3. And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall show thee. 4. Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans, and dwelt in Haran:  and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, (the land of Canaan) wherein ye now dwell.”

All right, now this is kind of rabbit chasing, I know. But keep your hand here in Acts for just a moment and turn over to Romans chapter 4 for a graphic comparison between people of unbelief and no faith, and this man Abraham who is the epitome of faith.  This is why Abraham was the “friend of God.”  He could believe what God said without question.  And that’s what faith amounts to.  All right, Romans chapter 4 verse 1.  And I’m doing this just to show the direct opposite of unbelief and faith.

Romans 4:1-2

“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, (That is the father of the Nation of Israel.) as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2. For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.”  You know, we were in Minnesota a few weeks ago. And at the home where we were staying, I was waiting for a phone call.  And as I was sitting there waiting for the phone to ring, there was their denominational paper.  It doesn’t make any difference what denomination they were a part of.

And I started reading the article.  It was just a one page article. And, my, how I wished I would have just asked if I could have brought it home.  I read that article.  I could have written it.  No kidding!  I could have written it.  There wasn’t a word in there that I would have disagreed with, and it sounded like Les Feldick teaching faith plus nothing!  In fact, I think he even used the term.  It is faith plus nothing!  And then he quoted a poll that he had recently read of the major denominations in America today and what percentage of these various peoples believed that works were necessary for salvation.

I won’t name them, but he started with the one that had the smallest percentage—which was about 28%, if I remember correctly—that believed that works were part of salvation.  Then he went to the next denomination—thirty-some percent.  And then he went up to another one—forty-some percent.  Another one—fifty-some percent.  And then he went up to some of the cults, where it ended up at 100% who believed you had to work for salvation.

And he said, and he used the word, “I am aghast that so many American people who claim to be Christians will still say that you have to work for your salvation.”  Now that wasn’t my denomination.  It was one of the major protestant denominations.  It was the denominational magazine.  And I was thrilled.  I mean, how can people read this and miss it?  It was so plain.  All right, that’s exactly where we’re coming from in Romans chapter 4.  Read on in verse 3.

Romans 4:3a

“For what saith the scripture?  (Not some theologian.  Not some preacher.  Not me.  Not anybody else, but what does the Scripture say?) Abraham believed God,…”  Now there’s a good example of what I said at the beginning of the first program.  How many people will try to put something else in here besides “he believed”?

Want me to give you a few that we hear every day?  Abraham repented and got baptized.  Doesn’t say that.  Abraham spoke in tongues.  Doesn’t say that.  Abraham gave 90% of his income.  Doesn’t say that.  Abraham joined a local assembly.  Doesn’t say that.  And, oh, I could go on and on of what people think they have to do as a part of salvation.  No, it doesn’t say that.  That’s man’s idea.  The Scripture says, and that’s what Paul is saying.  What does the Scripture say?  Abraham believed God plus NOTHING for his salvation.

Yes, as a result of his faith, then what did he do?  He moved out.  Of course he did.  But his original getting right with God was based on his believing what God said.  So, reading on in verse 3.

Romans 4:3

“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it (his believing) was counted unto him for (What?) righteousness.”  The man was declared righteous without circumcision.  That didn’t come until later.  Without anything else except that he believed God.  Now isn’t that beautiful?  Simple and, oh, like somebody wrote the other day—why does everybody muddy the water with all the extra stuff?  Well, I don’t know. Except, of course, it’s the ploy of Satan to keep people from the truth.

Romans 4:4

“Now to him that worketh (Now remember all of your percentages?  All these people that are saying they are working for their salvation, regardless of what group they were in, this verse hits them right between the eyes.) is the reward is not reckoned of grace, but of (What?) debt.”

And who are they putting in debt?  God!  And will God ever be in debt to a mortal being?  Never!  But that’s what they’re doing.  They are saying—God you owe it to me because I’ve worked for it.  No, He won’t have it.  But it’s just the opposite.  He says—I’ve done it all.  I’m giving it to you as a free gift.  All I ask you to do is believe it.  But, oh, people can’t do that.  They are destitute of faith as Esau himself.

All right, back to Acts chapter 7 again, if you will, for just a moment or two.  Acts chapter 7 verse 51, Stephen is coming down to the end of his message, all directed to the Nation of Israel.  He gives the whole history of the Nation in this chapter 7 beginning all the way back from Abraham.  And now he comes up to verse—what’d I say?  Yeah, okay.  I thought I said 57, but 51, and he says to the Nation:

Acts 7:51-52

“Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye.  (Go all the way back to Kadesh again.  The instance I gave in the last program.) 52. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?  and they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:”  Stephen used the same language that Peter did.

Acts 7:53-54

“Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. 54. When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.”

Acts 7:57-58

“Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58. And cast him out of the city, and stoned him:” Why?  Unbelief.  They couldn’t believe a word the man was trying to tell them.  And the Nation from this point on goes down until they finally end up in a total dispersion amongst every nation under heaven.  All because of what?  Unbelief.

Now, let me give you one more instance before we finish up the verse in I Timothy.  Come back to Hebrews again, if you will, chapter 3.  I’ve got to do this quickly, or I’m going to run out of time.  Hebrews chapter 3, we’ve used this periodically over the years as the perfect example of unbelief.  And, of course, it is the event at Kadesh-barnea.  He comes down in Hebrews chapter 3 and, oh, goodness, verse 8.  All got it?  Where it says:

Hebrews 3:8-10

 “Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, (In other words, when they had a chance to go in and take the Promised Land.) in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9. When your fathers (Now remember, Hebrews is written to the Nation of Israel.) tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.  10. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.”  Why not?  No Faith!  They can’t take God at His Word.  Verse 12:

Hebrews 3:12

“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of (What?) unbelief, in  departing from the living God.”  See, that’s what it does to people when they have no faith. They become godless.  They become ungodly!

Now that doesn’t mean that they’re skid-row material, but they’re without God.  They have no faith.  All right, for sake of time come all the way over to the last part of the chapter, verses 18 and 19, still in chapter 3.

Hebrews 3:18

“And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, (That is the Promised Land waiting for them.) but to them that (What?) believed not?”  That was their problem.  And you want to remember, just a few weeks before that they’d made the golden calf.

But that isn’t what God reminds them of.  He doesn’t tell them about the immoral activity they went into around the golden calf.  No.  His controversy was their unbelief.  Okay, now I’ve got two minutes to finish up the last part of I Timothy chapter 1 verse 20.  We have two more examples from the pen of the Apostle of men who were destitute of faith.  They were even involved in a local congregation.  And they were giving Paul heartache with their false teaching.  All right, back to I Timothy chapter 1 verse 20, of those who had been made shipwrecked Paul says:

I Timothy 1:20

“Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.”  All right, now let’s turn a couple of pages to II Timothy chapter 2 verses 17 and 18. Then I guess we’re going to have to close it.

II Timothy 2:16-18

“But (he writes) shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. (Don’t forget Esau) 17. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; (And he also mentioned Alexander in I Timothy.  Now here was their lack of faith.) 18. Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; (In other words, they denied the resurrection of Christ and consequently, what did they do? They destroyed or–) and overthrow the faith of some.”

How did they destroy some of their fellow church members’ faith?  By teaching that there was no such thing as a resurrection to be looking forward to.  They said that was something that happened in the past.  Ring a bell?  Hey, you’re hearing the same thing today.

Being Shipwrecked Spiritually - Part 2

526: Being Shipwrecked Spiritually – Part 2 – Lesson 3 Part 2 Book 44


 

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 44

BEING SHIPWRECKED SPIRITUALLY – PART 2

I Timothy 1:17 – 2:2

Good to see everybody in again. We’re going to pick up where we left off in the last program.  That would be in I Timothy chapter 1 and verse 19.   While you’re finding your place, we want to remind you we’re just an informal Bible study.  That’s why we’re here, to see what the Scripture says.  I’m always reminding you to also be aware of what the Scripture does not say.   Because a lot of people are fed a bill of goods that is not in the Book.

I get a lot of phone calls telling us that their preacher or teacher taught things on Sunday that they weren’t sure about.  The first thing I ask them, “Well, have you found it in your Bible?”  “No.  That’s why I’m calling.”  “Well, if you can’t find it in your Bible, you’d better just chalk it up as a red flag, and you’d better be careful.”  So anyway, hopefully we can show clearly what the Bible says and what it doesn’t say and trust that hearts are blessed by it.

All right, now we’re going to go right into the next verse after our last program ended in verse 18—now verse 19.  He’s still admonishing the young man Timothy.  He is going to be picking up the mantle, so to speak, at least some time down the road.  And along with waging a good warfare, in verse 19 he is to be:

I Timothy 1:19a

“Holding (What?) faith,…”  You know that’s one of my favorite words.  And if I get any flack at all—I don’t get much—but if I get a little flack, it’s because of my stand that it’s faith plus nothing!

And, oh, that’s so hard for some people to comprehend.  But see, faith has always been the vehicle.  Even back when the Lord killed the animals and provided the clothing and the righteousness for Adam and Eve, it was still based on their faith.

But for the next real clear evidence of faith as the vehicle for getting right with God, you have to go back to Cain and Abel. That’s where you get the first real picture of how faith is to operate.  Now I always make the clear statement that Cain and Abel were not told to believe for their salvation that Christ died on a Roman Cross and that He was buried and that He rose from the dead, as we in the Body of Christ are told to believe.

There’s no way they could have believed something like that.  The cross hadn’t even been invented as an execution.  But when you get back as far as Cain and Abel, they were to believe what God said to them.  Now in order for the Scripture to define what I’m saying, come back with me to Romans.  We’re going to look at the word faith—probably for the next whole half hour.   Romans chapter 10 and verse 17, and it’s as plain as language can make it.

Romans 10:17

“So then faith (this word we’re going to be looking at) cometh by hearing, and hearing (comes) by (What?) the word of God.”  All right, my definition for faith over the years that I’ve been on television has been real simple.  It’s what?  That’s right!  Taking God at His Word.  That’s what faith is.  God said it, and He expects us to believe it.  That’s faith.

Now granted, I don’t want someone to say—well, when you say it’s faith plus nothing, that means I can just sit down on a chair and trust that it’s going to hold me and that’s all I need.  No!  Now don’t be ridiculous.  We’re talking about faith in what God has said concerning our spiritual need.  And He said those things to the Apostle Paul for him to share with us in the Body of Christ!

In fact, come back to Romans chapter 3 verse 23.  Now this is the Word of God.  Yes, it came from the Apostle Paul.  But Paul was the inspired writer, and it became, then, as Peter makes so plain in his epistle that Paul’s letters are Scripture.  And Scripture is the what?  The Word of God.  All right, now the Word of God tells us in Romans 3:23 that:

Romans 3:23

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Do you believe it?  Well, you can’t be saved until you do.  But see, there are multitudes of people who don’t believe that.  You know why?  They haven’t got the faith to accept the fact that this is God’s Word.  So here’s where you have to begin. God says it, and we believe it because it’s His Word.

All right, now come with me all the way back to Genesis.  It’s been a long time since we have taught anything concerning Cain and Abel.  Come back to Genesis chapter 4.  And we’re going to use the whole half hour just to look at these examples of faith and examples of no faith.  Because see, the world’s problem has always been the lack of faith—or the word I’ve always used is unbelief.

Why have we got the problems in the world we’ve got today?  Unbelief.  They don’t believe what God said.  Well, it already started in the Garden of Eden, because old Satan cast doubt when he was talking to Eve that—Did God really say that?  But then we come out a few years.  Cain and Abel are now young men, and we get the best example of two perfectly human beings—much alike in many ways and yet different.  And they both become, then, examples for us of faith and unbelief.

Genesis 4:3a

“And in the process of time…”  Now I’m not a Hebrew scholar, but I’ve read more than once that the Hebrew implies that this process of time was a day of instruction.

In other words, God told these two young men what He expected and when.  And that boiled down to when their conscience convicted them of sin, whatever it might be, they were to bring a blood sacrifice, and God would accept them.  That’s what God evidently said.  Now I have to use the word evidently, because it’s not explicit in here.  But as we go along, it will certainly become evident.  But God evidently said, now when you sin, bring me a blood sacrifice, and I will accept you.

Genesis 4:3-5a

“And in the process of time (Or after a time of instruction so that there was no doubt what God expected.) Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. 4. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock (Not something that grew out of the ground, but that which was a live animal and shed its blood.) he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5. But unto Cain and his offering (Which was something which grew naturally—it was bloodless. It was lifeless.) He had not respect….” God did not respect that offering.

All right, now we flip all the way up to the Book of Hebrews.  All the way up to Hebrews chapter 11, the great faith chapter—keeping in mind now these two young men.  Cain brought a bloodless offering—which, of course, he had gained by the sweat of his face.  It grew naturally out of the ground.  In fact, I’ve told my Oklahoma classes a lot of times. I like to just picture a big bunch of beautiful orange-red carrots with nice green tops. Maybe he could have just made a beautiful offering.  Now that’s just my imagination.  I don’t know what he brought.  But nevertheless, it was something that grew out of the ground.  And beautiful as it was, it was lifeless.  It was bloodless.

Abel, on the other hand, went to his flock and got the firstling, or the best, lamb he could find.  And he brought it as a sacrifice.  Now then, Hebrews 11 makes it so plain.

Hebrews 11:4a

“By faith (by taking God at His Word) Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,…”  Now you have to kind of read between the lines.  Cain brought that which grew out of the ground.  It was bloodless.  Abel brought a live sacrifice.  A blood sacrifice.  All right, so now then, if Abel brought the right sacrifice and he did it by faith, why did Cain bring a wrong sacrifice?  No faith!  The man didn’t believe a word God said.

Now, I don’t know how many of you have had people under your employ.  I’m sure many of you have.  You’ve given them explicit instructions on what you want them to do, and they don’t do it. Or they do it wrong.  Do you just take that as another nice event in your life?  Hardly.  There’s nothing more irritating than to have given an order or an instruction to someone and have them do it wrong.  What was their problem?  Hey, they never listened to you.  They never paid any attention to you.

Well, that was Cain. Whatever God told him concerning a sacrifice, Cain just let it go in one ear and out the other.  And when it came time that he knew he had to get right with God, instead of bringing a blood sacrifice, Cain probably said, well, surely God knows how much sweat I’ve put into growing these things.  Surely He will accept my offering even though it isn’t a lamb.

But God didn’t, and Cain got angry.  But it wasn’t God’s fault.  It was Cain’s unbelief. And because of his unbelief, he was rejected.  Not because he was worse than Abel.  It was just simply that he did not have faith, where Abel did.  So Abel was accepted.

All right, let’s go back to the Old Testament once again.  Let’s come all the way back to the account of Jacob and Esau.  The most perfect example, again, of two young men, twins.  In one respect they were probably alike in many areas. On the other hand, they were totally different.  Jacob, of course, would rather be in the kitchen cooking, and Esau would rather be out in the field hunting.

But nevertheless, here we have two men, again, with whom God is going to deal with in this area of faith and unbelief.  All right, in Genesis, I haven’t given you the chapter yet, have I?  Chapter 25.  Genesis chapter 25—a portion of Scripture you all know, probably as well or better than I do.

Genesis 25:27

“And the boys (Jacob and Esau) grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.”  He was more, like I said, more attuned to working in the kitchen and cooking rather than being out hunting.  All right, now verse 29:

Genesis 25:29-31

“And Jacob sod (or was making or was cooking) pottage (Today we’d just simply call it stew.  He was cooking a bean soup.) and Esau came from the field, (Probably been out all day trudging through the woods and so forth, and he came in famished, hungry.) and he was faint: 30. And Esau said to Jacob, (his twin brother, remember) Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; (or stew) for I am faint: (I’m hungry.) therefore was his name called Edom. (Which is translated “red.”  It was a red bean soup that Jacob was cooking.) 31. And Jacob said, (He was pretty coy, you know.  And he says, all right, I’ll give you a bowl of soup for your birthright.) Sell me this day thy birthright.”

Now very few people understand that the birthright back here in the antiquities was a spiritual thing.  The birthright had nothing to do with the physical or material wealth.  The birthright was going to be associated with the Covenant made with their Grandfather Abraham. That through that man Abraham, and the off-spring coming down the road, would come the Messiah.

This is that whole idea of the birthright.  That through that lineage of people would one day come the Redeemer, not only of Israel, but of the whole world.  But it had to be appropriated how?  By faith!  They couldn’t see the whole thing.  God didn’t lay it all out in a blueprint.  They had to appropriate these things by taking God at His Word.

And that’s why Hebrews 11 is such a beautiful resume of these men of faith.  Nothing was written.  Nothing was drawn out.  But whatever God had said, the Patriarchs believed it.  It was their faith.  All right, now coming back to this man Esau, then, he sees nothing to be gained from that spiritual birthright.  And why not?  No faith.  What God said didn’t mean anything to Esau.  He couldn’t have cared less that there was a Messiah or a Redeemer coming one day.  He’d rather fill his tummy with bean soup.  And so what does he do?  Verse 31:

Genesis 25:31-32

“And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. 32. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?” What a stupid question!  Is it?  Yes and no.  To the man who understands what’s at stake, yes, it was stupid to imagine that he was turning his back on all the covenant promises that would be coming down the road.

But on the other hand, he had no concept of what this was. Why?  Because he didn’t believe a thing God said.  Whatever God may have said went in one ear and out the other.  Ring a bell?  Hey, that’s most people today.  They don’t care what this Bible says.  But for those of us who do care, we can take it, and we can accept it as the Word of God.  We believe it, and God reckons that faith, then, as righteousness.  All right, now let’s move on a little bit more here before we leave Genesis.  Verse 33:

Genesis 25:33-34

“And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.  34. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.”

Isn’t that plain?  Look at the world around you.  Have they changed?  Not a bit.  Not a bit.  They’ve got all the promises of forgiveness.  They’ve got all the promises of redemption.  All the promises of eternal life, eternal bliss, don’t mean anything to them, the masses, for the most part.  Why not?  They have no faith!

They don’t believe any of this. Consequently, they live the way they do.  Now, let’s just turn over a little bit, and then we’re going to go back to Hebrews once again.  Come all the way over to, oh, let’s see, I’ve got to look a minute.  I wasn’t really going to do this.  Turn to chapter 36 of Genesis.  Now this is the genealogy of the people that would come from this man destitute of faith, Esau.

Esau—the perfect example of a man who had everything going for him, but because of his lack of faith, he ended up on the wrong road.  All right, Genesis 36 verse 1 and the first thing you’re going to say is, ah, this is just a dry genealogy.  No.  Not really.  Not really.

Genesis 36:1-2a

“Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom. (Which means red.  I mean, it follows him all the way through.) 2. Esau took his wives of the daughters of Canaan;…” Now to the casual reader that says – so what?  But what had God also instructed all of these people coming out of that Covenant Promise to Abraham concerning the Canaanites?  Have nothing to do with them!

You’re not to marry the Canaanites.  That’s why He sent Isaac clear up to Syria for his wife.  All right, so why can Esau glibly go and marry Canaanite women?  No faith!  No faith.  Now, if you want to know what the Canaanite women were like, you read Leviticus 18.  That gives you a graphic picture of the behavior of the Canaanite people.  And it was from those people that Esau had no trouble in identifying and taking wives.  Not even one, but two.

But he doesn’t stop there.  He goes on one step further.  He also marries, goodness sakes, I’m not seeing it.  He also marries a daughter of Ishmael.  I’m looking right at it.  I know I am, and I’m not seeing it.  Yeah, okay verse 3.

Genesis 36:3

“And Bashemath Ishmael’s daughter,…” Now I’ll tell you.  I can look at something and not see it.  He also marries a daughter of Ishmael.  So now here he is.  He’s involved with three women, all of which are out of step with God’s promises.  Why?  No faith.  Didn’t mean a thing to him what God said.

All right, now let’s follow up again going all the way back to Hebrews—to our same faith chapter.  No, I’m going to go to chapter 12 on this one.  Eleven is the faith chapter. But I’m going to go to Chapter 12.  We’re going to follow up on this man destitute of faith, Esau.

Hebrews 12:16

“Lest there be any (What’s the word?  Oh, we don’t even like to use it.) fornicator (What is that?  An immoral person with no moral compass whatsoever. And that’s what Esau was.  Now Paul writes—I trust he wrote Hebrews.) Lest there be any immoral, or profane person, as (Whom?) Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.”  And why did he sell it?  It was spiritual, and it meant nothing to him.

Since he was destitute of faith, he then became what kind of a person morally?  Immoral.  He had no compunction about going to those filthy, wicked, Canaanite people.  And he took out not just two women, but three of those gals.   And it all just showed his moral compass. And his moral compass was way off kilter, because he had no faith.  Isn’t it amazing?  No faith.  And, oh, it is such a sad commentary of people who are the same way today.  They are going on to their doom, eternally forever, simply because they will not take God at His Word.

When God tells us today in this Age of Grace that we must believe in that finished work of the cross (His death, burial, and resurrection ) in order to get to Heaven, as seen in I Corinthians 15:1-4, most just walk it underfoot.  Not taking God at His Word has ruined nations.  It has ruined individuals.  And I’m afraid it’s going to ruin our beloved nation America.  Because I’ve said it before, other men have said it—I’m not the only one.  One day this nation is going to come down like no other nation in all of human history.  You know why?

Because we have had so much of the Word of God.  Churches on every corner.  Bibles in every library.  Probably in almost every home in America.  And what are most of them doing?  Gathering dust.  Very few are taking anything of what this Book says and believing it.  Consequently, we are a nation with tremendous responsibility.  And to those responsible who have walked it underfoot, God deals sooner or later in judgment.  He always has, and He will again.

All right, I’d like to use one more quick instance of a lack of faith.  Come back with me to Numbers chapter, oh, I was going to say 14, but maybe I should look at a chapter a little sooner than that.  No, let’s go to Numbers 14.  That’ll be okay, Honey.  Numbers 14 and, again, to make a quick, quick backdrop.  Israel has come out of Egypt.  They are now a Nation of People under Moses’ leadership.  Aaron is the high priest. Just a few weeks before this, they have received the tabernacle. It’s all built and ready to function.

They’ve got the priesthood.  Everything is ready to move on forward. God brings them up to the southern border of the Promised Land, or what we today call the Land of Israel.  The Promised Land, whatever you want to call it.  He told them to go in and take it.  He would drive out the Canaanites in judgment because of their wickedness.  He said, I’ll drive them out.  I’ll use hornets or whatever else needs to be done.  Just go in and occupy it.  You won’t have to lift a sword.  You won’t have to do any hard work.  It’s all ready and waiting.

And look what happened.  Oh, I guess I do have to drop back into chapter 13, Hon.  Back into chapter 13 verse 27, the spies have now come back. And remember, the spies weren’t God’s idea, that was Israel’s.  The twelve spies had come back, and they said in verse 27:

Numbers 13:27b-29b

“…We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.  28. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. 29. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea,…” What are they saying?  Hey, we can’t do it.  We can’t take it.

Numbers 13:32

“And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.”  We saw the giants!  Had God told them to be afraid of any of that?  No.  But what was the result?  Oh, the next chapter now:

Numbers 14:1-2a

“And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.  2. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses…”  Verse 3.

Numbers 14:3

(And they said–) And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?”   That’s not what God said would happen!  God said all they had to do was walk in and occupy it.  What was their problem?  No faith!  And Hebrews chapter 3 recaps it.  And what does it tell us.  Therefore God did not let them go into the Promised Land because of their what?  Unbelief.

So the Nation missed all the promises of the land flowing with milk and honey.

Being Shipwrecked Spiritually

525: Being Shipwrecked Spiritually – Lesson 3 Part 1 Book 44


 

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 44

BEING SHIPWRECKED SPIRITUALLY

I Timothy 1:17 – 2:2

Okay, good to see everybody out again this afternoon.  It’s a rainy day here in Tulsa, and we’re thankful, of course, that you chose to come out to be part of our studio audience.   For those of you joining us on television, no matter where you may be, we always like to make it known that we’re just an informal Bible study.  And as I look up and down the tables, every one of you has your own Bible.  We appreciate so much hearing from you and sharing your thoughts.

I’ve said it before—so many of you have told us you feel like you’re right here in the classroom with us. We’ve got some new folks in from Minnesota, another couple, and they said, well, we just feel like we know all these people because we see them every day.  So again, we cherish those letters and your financial help and your prayers. Because we do feel like we’re beginning to reach a lot of folks from one end of this country to the other.

All right, now we’re going to go right into the Scriptures. After all, that’s what we’re here for.  So let’s go right in where we left off in our last program, which was I Timothy chapter 1 and verse 17.    Now, maybe I should, again, just make a quick review as to the historical setting of this little letter of I Timothy.

More than likely, although not everyone agrees, the Apostle Paul had been in prison in Caesarea, there in the land of Israel on the coast, for probably a year and a half.  Then he took that ship to Rome, whereupon he suffered shipwreck. Then finally he ended up in Rome in prison. Supposedly, declaring his own defense without benefit of any professional attorneys, he gained an acquittal.  I’m beginning to agree to that more and more.  And after being released—after probably a couple or three years in prison during which time he wrote what we call the Prison Epistles.  Which, of course, are:  Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.

But anyway, the Prison Epistles are not all of Paul’s writings.  The earlier ones, remember, were written from various places in his missionary journeys. After the Prison Epistles, if he was out—and like I said, I think more and more he probably was.  During that interval, then—before he was arrested the second time—he wrote I Timothy and Titus.  II Timothy, of course, was written during the time he was in prison the second time. After which time, he was taken out for his beheading.

So as you read I Timothy—and we’ll go from I Timothy, in a few weeks, over to Titus—both of those letters were during that period of time between the first and the second imprisonment.  It stands to reason from his language that he’s not writing from prison itself.  All those things kind of help; and, of course, by now we’re well up into the A.D. 60’s. It’s probably 62, 63, 64 or somewhere in there.  And all these little churches and congregations have been formed throughout Paul’s journeys.  Mostly, of course, in Asia—Asia Minor, which is Turkey today—and up and down Greece, and, of course, the church in Rome.  To those churches he has been addressing his previous letters.

Now you always want to remember that for the first ten years—in fact, I think I’ll put it on the board.  It’s been a long time since I’ve used the board.  Just make a timeline of Paul’s life and epistles and so forth.  I think instead of going horizontally, I’m going to take it vertically, if I may.

Let’s take approximate dates.  Now whenever we talk about dates in Scripture, I don’t care whether it’s the Old Testament or the New, chronologers never agree.  I’ve never seen two chronologers agree within a short time span whatsoever.  So there’s always that period of guesswork, and it really doesn’t make that much difference.  So when I put these figures up, I don’t set them in concrete, as it were.  They are approximations.

So, in A.D. 37 we have Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. That, of course, is back in Acts chapter 9.  And that is where we finally have a real detailed description of this new character coming up in the Book of Acts.  Then after the three year hiatus, whether it was all in Arabia or partially, makes no difference.  But in about A.D. 40 he begins his ministry.  He begins going to the Gentile world.

Then, he does not write any of his letters—there is nothing yet from the pen of the Apostle Paul—until, probably, we’re going to say about A.D. 56 when he writes the Thessalonian letters.  They were the first ones written even though they are at the end of the first group of Prison Epistles.  Then he doesn’t write much more, again, until we get up to the early A.D. 60’s.  And in the early A.D. 60’s, he writes Galatians and Romans and the Corinthian letters.  Then after you get past the early A.D. 60’s—in between A.D. 60 to 65, we have the rest of his Prison Epistles.  And somewhere in there we’re seeing the first letter to Timothy.  Then, of course, at the very end of his ministry, or the end of his life, probably around A.D. 66, he will write his final letter, which is II Timothy.

And the reason we know II Timothy is the final is because, you see, that’s where he makes reference to his being offered.   In fact, turn with me to that portion, and you can see what we’re talking about.  Just jump over to II Timothy.  This is his last writing. II Timothy chapter 4 verse 7 and you can almost sense the heart of the Apostle as he now writes this final letter to his son in the faith, young Timothy.  No, let’s go back to verse 6.   I’m sorry, verse 6, where he says:

II Timothy 4:6-7

“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure (That is from this world.) is at hand. 7. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” Doesn’t that just tear at you?  Here the man has gone all these years now—from A.D. 40 on up to about A.D. 66, a period of about 25 or 26 years—suffering inexorably, one thing after the other, just to keep the Word going out.

In fact, I had a letter the other day which reminded me of this.  He said, “Les, I’ve come to know the Lord through your program.  But is it always this way?  It just seems the minute I became a believer the bottom fell out of everything.  My business began to suffer, somebody in the family had bad health…” and, ah, he just went on event after event.  It would be enough to destroy your faith.

But as I was reading his letter, this is what I thought of.  Look what the Apostle Paul suffered for 25 years as God’s chosen vessel.  Now you would think, ordinarily, he should have just had a rose-petaled highway.  But that isn’t the way it works.  He suffered and he suffered and he suffered and only for one reason: to get the Gospel of salvation, as found in I Corinthians 15:1-4, out to the Gentile world.

And then he ends up having his head knocked off.  So you see, whenever we as believers suffer set-backs and reverses and maybe bad health, don’t despair.  Don’t think for a minute that this is a sign there’s something wrong.  No. Because this is the way it has happened invariably.  Here this man endured 25 or 26 years of suffering physically constantly, so that he could take the Gospel to the ends of the Roman Empire.  Then verse 8, but he never despaired.

II Timothy 4:8

“Henceforth (In other words, now that he’s at the end of his earthly sojourn.) there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, (But to whom?) but unto all them also who love his appearing.”

You know what that means?  The easiest crown a believer can gain is this one.  Are you looking for the Lord’s return?  Are you expectantly looking up and hoping for His soon return?  Because if you do, and you do it sincerely, you’ve got one crown for sure—it’s what I say is the easiest one to attain.

Well anyway, II Timothy was written when he’s back in prison.  He’s waiting for his execution to be carried out.  But in I Timothy, he’s out of prison.  He’s evidently won his own acquittal, and he’s writing from somewhere, probably up in Northern Greece. The language is such that we know it’s being written not in prison but rather out.  And so is the Book of Titus.  So we’ll take I Timothy, Titus, and probably Philemon, and then we’ll come back and wind up the Apostle’s ministry with the little letter to II Timothy.  All right, back to I Timothy now for the rest of this program—verse 17—where we left off last week.

I Timothy 1:17

“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”  All right, now we’re going to have to stop here a minute. Because, you remember, I’ve always made the point that Paul never refers to Christ as the King of the Church.  And he doesn’t here.

He’s not referring to Christ being the King of the Church.  He’s the Head of the Body for us as the Church people.  But here he’s merely using the term King to show His Sovereignty—that He is a part and parcel of that eternal Sovereign Godhead.  And that brings up another verse. Come back with me a moment to Colossians chapter 2 verse 9, because we’ve got to back up everything I say with Scripture.

Because I’ll tell you what, I’ve got a discerning and a critical audience.  And that’s as it should be.  I don’t mind a bit.  And if I say something that isn’t definitively written, they say, “Now, Les, you’re always saying, ‘What does the Book say?’ But this time you said something that was your own idea.”  Well, I try to always qualify that.  I’ll almost always try to say, “Now this is my idea.  I can’t show this from Scripture.”  But when possible, I’m going to come right back and show you why I’m saying what I’m saying.

Colossians 2:9

“For in him (Now, of course, you have to look up at verse 8 a minute, and it speaks of Christ, so–) For in him (in Christ) dwelleth all the fullness of the (What?) the Godhead (Or the Father, Son and Holy Spirit—what we call the Triune God.) for in Christ dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead (What’s the next word?) bodily.”

Bodily.  Now see, here’s where we have a change of venue or whatever—modus operandi.  Come back to Timothy, if you will. Because you see, all the way up until Christ’s first advent, the Godhead was—and again, going back there into Colossians 1—the Godhead was what?  Invisible.  Nobody had ever seen God at any time in the Triune Godhead.  It was invisible.

Now granted, God the Son stepped out of that, and—we’ll be looking at that maybe—well, if I’m going to look at it right now or a little bit later, but—well, I’m going to wait unto we get to chapter 2.  We’re going to look at it again, how that out of that invisible Triune Godhead back in the Old Testament economy, we have God the Son stepping out periodically and appearing in human form.  But only in human form and then He goes back into that invisible Godhead.  We’ll be looking at it, like I said, in a future program.

But what you have to understand is that as soon as Christ came in the flesh, the Godhead is no longer totally invisible. Because now, I guess I’m going to have to bring you back to Colossians, as I’ve just got to use the Scriptures.  Come back to Colossians chapter 1.  Because see, there’s so much confusion about this invisible Godhead and some of the statements concerning God and so forth.  Well, it’s really not that difficult if you just recognize what Paul says here in Colossians 1 verse 15.  The Scripture makes it so plain.  It is speaking again of the Son up there in verse 13.

Colossians 1:15

“Who (the Son) is the image (Or something that you can see and touch—God the Son is the image of the what?) of the invisible God,…” That’s what your Bible says.  God the Son is the visible manifestation of the invisible God.  The Godhead, up until Christ took on flesh, was indeed invisible.  Nobody had ever seen the Godhead.

All right, now since He has been born at Bethlehem, He has become the image, or the visible manifestation, of the invisible God.  And that has never changed.  That’s why in chapter 2 Paul goes on to say that Christ now is the Godhead in bodily form.  So the Godhead is no longer an invisible Godhead.  God the Father is still invisible. God the Spirit is invisible.  But God the Son is that visible manifestation.

All right, now coming back to verse 17 of I Timothy chapter 1, this is what Paul is again alluding to.  That the God who had been invisible is now personified in God the Son, but His Sovereignty has never been diminished.  He is still the eternal King of Kings.  He’s still the Lord of Lords, and He will exemplify that at His Second Coming.  Reading on in verse 17:

I Timothy 1:17

“…(Who is the image of the invisible God), the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”  He’s immortal.  He’s from eternity past, and He will go into eternity future.  And again, coming back to the Godhead’s invisibleness, He’s “the only wise God, (Sovereign and to Him) be honour and glory for ever and ever.”

So, Paul probably gives us a better description of the Godhead than all the rest of Scripture put together.  And never lose sight of the fact that the Deity of Christ is fundamental to our faith.  If He wasn’t very, very God, He could have never taken the sins of the world upon Himself.  This is what makes Christianity so unique, and it makes it so exclusive.

There isn’t another religion on the face of the earth that can make that kind of a claim.  Buddha never claimed to die for the sins of the world.  Muhammad couldn’t die for the sins of the world.  Joseph Smith didn’t die for the sins of the world.  You could go on to every other so-called religion on earth, and none of them can make this kind of a claim.  But this is what’s basic to our faith. It is that God the Son, because He was totally God, was fully capable of taking upon Himself the sin debt, the sin punishment of the whole human race. That’s what makes our faith so unique and yet so believable. All right, now verse 18, we’ll move on and make a little headway.

I Timothy 1:18a

“This charge…”  Now look at this carefully.  Paul is now writing to someone quite a bit younger.  He’s no longer an 18 year old.  He is probably in his mid-thirties or forties by now.  But he’s still, in Paul’s aged look-back—he’s still the young man in the faith.  Look what he commits to this young man Timothy.

I Timothy 1:18a

“This charge (or this responsibility) I commit unto thee,…”  Now remember, Paul is not in prison.  He’s free.  He has no idea how much longer he’s going to be on earth to minister.  But he realizes that he has to start passing the responsibility to someone else.  As my wife tells me over and over, you’ve got to learn to delegate.  Well, that’s so true.  You can’t do it all yourself.  We have to delegate.

This is what Paul is beginning to do now.  For the first time he is passing some of his responsibility—or as in the Old Testament case between Elijah and Elisha, what did Elijah pass on to Elisha?  The mantle.  Didn’t he?  He passed it on and delegated his previous responsibility to the next one in line.  Well, that’s basically what Paul is doing here to Timothy.  He is passing the mantle, and he says:

I Timothy 1:18

“This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies….”  Now here’s where we always have to be careful when we read the New Testament.   The word prophecy in the New Testament does not mean telling the future like Daniel and Isaiah did.  They word prophecy in the New Testament usually, and I think almost without exception, simply means speaking forth.  Speaking forth the Word of God.

Now again, if you’ll go back to this timeline, you can see that from the onset of the Apostle Paul’s ministry in about A.D. 40 up until at least A.D. 56 – 57, there are 15 or 16 years where there is no written Word.  So, how did these little congregations scattered throughout the Roman Empire exist?  How did they grow?  By the spoken Word—by men with the gift of speaking the Word.

And that’s what I Corinthians 12 and 14 re all about.  You have to understand these definitions, otherwise you’d think, well, Timothy must have been a prophet like Isaiah.  No, he wasn’t.  Timothy didn’t leave us any prophetic utterances about the future.  But he was given this gift of speaking forth the Word, because that’s what he had received up until this time.  All right, so Paul says:

I Timothy 1:18

“This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies (The speaking forth of these biblical truths without benefit of having been written.) which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest wage a good warfare;”

Now just stop and think about that for a moment.  Here this young man Timothy has been with Paul now over the last several years.  He was probably one of Paul’s first converts in that first missionary journey up to Derbe and Lystra and so forth.  And Paul has just been sort of nurturing him, teaching him, and giving him a little more responsibility all the time as he goes along.

But now, evidently realizing that his time on earth is certainly limited, Paul begins to get the young man ready to carry on the work of the Apostle Paul.  So he again reminds him of the things that had been spoken to him before—that by those things that he had learned, they might help him to fight a good what?  Warfare.

Now listen, the Christian life has never been a bed of roses for anybody.  It is a constant warfare.  Now let’s go back to Ephesians, again; as it’s been a long time since we were over there.  And nothing has changed.  You and I are in the same situation.  As soon as you take a stand for the truth, you find yourself in warfare.  You find yourself up against opposition.

You just can’t avoid it.  Because you want to remember, the vast majority of the human race does not like the truth.  They’d rather be fed a bunch of “milk-toast” and a bunch of stuff that goes down easy or as Paul says later in Timothy—“with itching ears.”  They just want something that tickles their ears and makes them feel good.  And if ever we were in a time of that kind of Christianity, we’re in it today.  A feel-good Christianity.  All right, but that’s not the way it is.  The real world is:

Ephesians 6:12

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but (We’re in a spiritual warfare. We do wrestle–) against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world,(Not a pretty picture, is it?  And we are–) against spiritual wickedness (Where?) in high places.”

Now you remember when I taught this, I said, we’re not talking about government as the high places.  We’re talking about the ecclesiastical hierarchies—the seminaries and the denominational leadership, many times.  And, oh, we’re seeing it constantly—how that these men are just apostatizing.  They’re turning against the basic truths.  All right, Paul warned us of it.

And then he starts in verse 13 with alluding to a Roman soldier.  Now you all know that Romans were feared from one end of the then-known world to the other because their military power for that day and time was awesome.  They were ruthless.  So Paul uses that as analogy.  The only way we can withstand the enemy of our day is the same way as he told Timothy—to be on guard and to be ready to take up the charge.  Because we’re going to need the whole armor of God.  We cannot go out there without a knowledge of the Scripture and make any inroads amongst the enemy.

Ephesians 6:13

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”   Then he goes through and he puts on all the armament of that Roman soldier and makes an allusion to things of the Spirit.  So as believers, whether in your everyday work in the office or wherever you may be working, or whether it’s in a ministry of one sort or another, we are all in a warfare.

And he makes another allusion in one of his other letters.  When a soldier went out to fight for the Roman government, did he take along all of his domestic responsibilities?  Hardly.  He had to leave all that behind.  He just simply had to turn his back on his domestic responsibilities. He had but one purpose in life, and that was to fight for his government, for the Romans as pagan as they were.  But nevertheless, that part has never changed.  And it’s the same way with us.  We are to be in a constant spiritual warfare against the enemy. And the only way we can wage it is to be skilled in the Word of God.

So always remember these things.  This is why we admonish people on the program constantly – get into the Book.  Don’t just sit and let it come in and think, oh, well, I’m prepared.  No, you can’t be.  You have to just simply get into the Word.  Study it on your own.  Be in it day in and day out.  And then, of course, supplement it with a prayer life. And then, as a Roman soldier of old, we can be a soldier of Jesus Christ.  It is not an easy road. Never does Paul imply that we are going to have a rose petal pathway.  It is a constant, constant battle.

I Timothy 1: 1-16 - Part 2

524: I Timothy 1: 1-16 – Part 2 – Lesson 2 Part 4 Book 44


 

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 44

I Timothy 1:1-16 – Part 2

Okay, it’s good to have everybody in again. Once more we’re going to go right back to where we left off in I Timothy chapter 1. We’re going to pick it up in verse 13.  Jerry’s got 14 on the board, but we’ll look at verse 13 first.

For those of you joining us on television—in case this is the first program that you’ve caught—we’re just an informal, non-denominational Bible study.  I don’t know how many different groups are represented here in the studio, but we don’t pay attention to that.  We’re just going to teach the Word and, as I’ve said so often, we just let the chips fall where they may.

I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on every point.  We don’t have to.  There’s certainly room enough for disagreement as long as we agree on the basic fundamentals of who Christ is and what He’s done and the inerrancy of the Scriptures—all those good things that we will not have any room for compromise.  I think I can go right on into the Scripture without any more announcements or anything more to do.  I think they are letting the folks know at the end of the program what’s available.

Let’s go right back into I Timothy chapter 1. We’ll start the program with verse 13, where Paul, of course, is still writing to this young man, Timothy, during this time that he’s out of prison.  He probably has a year or two until he’s taken back and arrested, whereupon he will be martyred.  But as he speaks with regard to the ministry that Christ gave him in verse 12, he goes back and he never forgets the fact he was–

I Timothy 1:13

“…a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: (In other words, to Jewish believers who would embrace Jesus as the Messiah.) but (Flip-side—even though he was the greatest enemy of Christ on the earth at that time–) I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” 

Again, remember that the Grace of God was poured out on this man without merit.  He had no reason to spare him.  God could have just as well zapped him and taken him off the scene.  Instead, He decides, or He chose, to use this man to become the Apostle of this Gospel of Grace.  Now never lose sight of the fact that Saul of Tarsus was intensely religious.  Saul lived and breathed his religion.  In the name of his religion he thought nothing to put the adversaries of that religion to death. He hated the name of Jesus of Nazareth, because he thought Jesus was an imposter.  Saul thought that Jesus was something that went against Judaism. Consequently, Saul was, as he says here, a persecutor of those Jews who had believed who Jesus was.  Now verse 14:

I Timothy 1:14a

“And the grace…”  Now no writer of Scripture uses that word as often as the Apostle Paul.  Just check me out.  Go to a good concordance and you’ll find that Paul uses the word gracealmost more than all the rest of Scripture together.  And so he says:

I Timothy 1:14

“And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” 

Let’s go back and take another look in Acts, if you will.  Go back to Acts 26.  I think we looked at it in our first program this afternoon.  But I want you to see the thinking of this man as he was headed to Antioch up in Syria to gather in those Jews who had become believers of Christ’s Messiahship, even though they were living outside of the land of Israel.  Now that tells me something.  That tells me that the Jewish leadership had enough clout with Rome that Rome would actually extradite these Jewish people whom the Jews wanted to arrest.

They must have, because he could go to a foreign country and, like kidnapping, take people and bring them back.  So there must have been an agreement with Rome that they would permit this to take place.  But whatever, now he explains it in the first person in Acts 26 and verse 4.  And remember, he is speaking to King Agrippa.  He has now been arrested by the Jewish authorities who are, of course, trying to get rid of the man.  But now he’s rehearsing before King Agrippa his life up through Judaism until he became an Apostle.

Acts 26:4-6

“My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation (that is among Israel) at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; 5. Which knew me from the beginning, (in other words, from his family’s beginnings up in Tarsus) if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.  6. And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers:”

Which was that one day God Himself would come in the person of the Messiah, the Son of God, to be the King of Israel.  This was the promise to the fathers.  Now verse 7:

Acts 26:7

“Unto which promise our twelve tribes, (the twelve sons of Jacob) instantly serving God day and night, hope to come.  For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.”  In other words, Paul is now proclaiming that this One who had been crucified and risen from the dead was the One promised to Abraham and the Old Testament prophets.  Now verse 8:

Acts 26:8-9

“Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?  9. I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth (Paul is admitting.).”   Now verse 10:

Acts 26:10

“Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: (Now here it comes.) and many of the saints (That is the Jewish believers in that Jesus was the Christ.) did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they (these Jews who were under Saul’s persecution) were put to death, I gave my voice against them.”

Now I know the King James uses the word voice. I don’t know what your other translations have, but the marginal is vote.  That implies, of course, that Saul of Tarsus must have been a member of the Sanhedrin.  Because they were the ones that voted to put these people in prison or put them to death.  So I take from this—and now I’m running into other writers who are taking the same approach—that since he was a member of the Sanhedrin, it was a requirement (just like Paul’s requirement for deacons and pastors) that they had to be a husband and a father.

And, of course, the premise was—how can you deal with things unless you know how to deal with a family situation.  So the Sanhedrin was a consortium of husbands and fathers with children, who were more or less the religious governing body of Israel.  And he’s the leader of that.  And as a member of that, he voted to put those Jewish believers to death.

Now again, stop and think.  Who must have permitted all that?  Rome!  They couldn’t do this without the Roman authorities knowing it.  So, I have to feel that the leaders of Israel had enough clout with the Roman government that they could carry out this kind of execution with no opposition.  All right, reading on in verse 11.

Acts 26:11-12

“And I punished them oft in every synagogue, (He was relentless in persecuting them.) and compelled them to blaspheme; (Now how do you suppose he did that?  I think torture. I think he was literally able to torture these people into finally relenting and recanting their faith in Jesus of Nazareth.) and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities. (Which, of course, was Damascus.) 12. Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,” 

Then he goes on to say how the Lord arrested him there, you might say, at the gates of Damascus and dropped the man to his knees.  Whereupon he said what?  “Who art thou, Lord?  And Jehovah says, I am Jesus…”  You know, I always like to make a point of that.  Can you imagine how the man must have just melted like butter in a hot sun?  When he suddenly realized that the name he hated was the same Jehovah that he worshipped.

Quite a come-off, wasn’t it?  And yet, that is what I think drove the Apostle for the next 20 something years.  That regardless of how many beatings he took, regardless of the stoning, the shipwreck, the suffering—he never forgot meeting the Lord Jesus face-to-face there on the road to Damascus.  It must have been a face-to-face experience for the Apostle.   Now then, if you’ll come back to I Timothy chapter 1 verse 14 again.

I Timothy 1:14

“And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”

Now then, we’re going to look into a part that I feel very few people can comprehend.  And again, I don’t expect people to agree with me until they see it with their own eyes. But I think it’s so obvious.  Here Paul is going to show that he is the first—the head of the line—of this whole composition of believers from every walk of life, from every racial background that have come in to make up the Body of Christ; which, remember, is only used by Paul.  You will never find the term the Body of Christ any place but in Paul’s writings.  Never does Peter refer to it.  Never did Jesus refer to it.  It is a Pauline revelation – the Body of Christ.  So I feel, and I don’t condemn people if they don’t agree with me, that Paul must have been at the head of the line.  Now let’s look at it.  Verse 15:

I Timothy 1:15

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, (There’s no room for argument.) that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; (That is for sure.) of whom I am chief.”

Now every sermon that I’ve ever heard on this verse, and I imagine everybody else has ever heard, they are pointing out what a wicked sinner Saul of Tarsus was.  “And if God could save Saul, He could save anybody.”  But the word chief doesn’t mean that.  The word chief in Scripture doesn’t mean the worst.  It means the first, the head man.  Now we’re going to show that from Scripture.  Turn with me, if you will, to Luke chapter 22, and we’re going to look at the word chief. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom Paul is thechief.  All right, but what’s a chief?  Luke chapter 22 and verse 26 and Jesus is speaking.

Luke 22:26

“But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, (or the head man of your group) as he that doth serve.”

Now, how is the word used?  Wicked?  Sinful?  No.  He that is chief, who is the head man of your group, let him condescend to be the least.  All I’m showing is that the word chief does not mean sinful or wicked.  It means the first.  Acts 14 verse 12.  Paul and Barnabas are now up in Asia Minor. They have performed a miracle, and these pagans are all shook up.  They began to think that these men were gods of some sort or another, and they began to worship them.  Now Acts 14:12:

Acts 14:12

“And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he (Paul) was the chief speaker.” 

Does that mean he was the most vile?  The most sinful?  The most wicked?  No.  He spoke with the most authority.  He was above Barnabas.  He was the first of the two.  All right, we can go on to the next one, and that would be in Acts 28 verse 7.  We’re still showing the same thing, that the word chief in Scripture doesn’t mean sinful or wicked or the worst.  It simply means the head man, the beginning of the line.  Verse 7 of Acts 28:

Acts 28:7

“In the same quarters…”  Now remember, it was after they’re shipwrecked in Acts 28. They’re on the island of Melita; and a serpent, I think, has just bitten Paul.  Now verse 7:

Acts 28:7

“In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously.”

Now was Publius the most wicked man on the island?  No!  What was he?  Probably the governor, the head man.  He was the chief man on the island.  Am I making my point?  Never does chief mean worst.  All right, now one more—Romans chapter 3 verse 2 and, again, Paul is showing the advantage that the nation of Israel had.  They had the temple. They had the priesthood.  They had the miracles of God.  But the most important thing going for Israel was in verse 2.  Let’s read verse 1 so we can pick up the flow.

Romans 3:1-2

“What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?  2. Much every way: (The Jews had so much going for them.) chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” (or the Word of God.  You know what the word chiefly means?  The number one reason was they had the Word of God.)

All right, now I hope I have established that the word chief doesn’t mean the most sinful, or the most wicked.  It merely means the head of the line, the first one of a group.  All right, back to I Timothy chapter 1.

I Timothy 1:15b

“…that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; (That is by Grace.) of whom (Paul says) I am chief.”  (The head of the line – I’m the first.)  Now verse 16:

I Timothy 1:16a

“Howbeit for this cause (So that he could be the first.) I obtained mercy, (grace, and love) that in me (And again, what’s the next word?) first (not second, not hundredth—that in me first) Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering…”

Now stop and think a moment.  Was there ever a greater manifestation of the Grace of God than when God saved Saul of Tarsus?  Never!  Never!  He was the most wicked, so far as Christ was concerned, that had ever lived.  They didn’t come any worse.  Oh, it was in the name of religion.  He hated Jesus of Nazareth.  He just detested him and was doing everything, even murdering and adherence of it, to stamp it out.  All right, he obtained the Grace of God, His unmerited favor that in him first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsufferingin other words, His patience, His love, and again, His mercy, His Grace.  Now the rest of the verse:

I Timothy 1:16b

“…Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern…”   What’s a pattern, for goodness sakes?  What’s a pattern, ladies?  Come on, you all go to a fabric shop, I think, at some time whether you’re young or old.  Now what do you do with a pattern?  Well, it’s the beginning!  It’s the original of whatever you’re going to make.

And if you make three or four or five of them, what are you still going to use?  The pattern!  You know, I think I gave the illustration a few years ago.  I was cutting rafters one day, and I was just a young man.  My dad came along and I had rafters cut, you know, all over the place. And he said, “Which one is your pattern?”  “Gosh, Dad, I don’t know.  I just use whatever one I pick up.”  He said, “You’re going to have a roof that’s as sway-backed as an old horse.”   Why?  Because I was not using the same pattern for every cut.  And it’s the same word here.  The Apostle Paul is the original!!

A verse just comes to mind.  I didn’t intend to use this.  Back to I Corinthians, Honey, chapter 4 verse 16.  This follows right along with what we’ve been saying.  If he is the pattern, then look what it says.

I Corinthians 4:16

“Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of (Who?) me.”  Why?  He is the pattern!  He’s the first.

Turn over to I Corinthians chapter 11 verse 1.  This will make people feel a little bit better.  Because they come back and say, “I’m not going to follow Paul.  I’m going to follow Jesus.”  Well, now wait a minute.  If you’re going to follow Jesus of the Gospels—I usually put it this way.  If you’re going to follow in His footsteps, when you come to the Sea of Galilee He can keep right on going.  What are you going to do?  Well, you can’t follow.  But this man (Paul) I can, because he’s as human as we are.  He suffered the same pains and passions that we do.  Now look what he says in chapter 11 verse 1.

I Corinthians 11:1

“Be ye followers of me, (Why?) even as I also am of Christ.”  You see that?  Now that’s so logical.  The ascended Lord has given Paul all the instructions for everything we need.

And as he listened to what Christ told him and wrote by inspiration, we can rest assured that we can follow this Apostle.  Now back to I Timothy chapter 1 verse 16.  We’ve got to go quickly.  There’s one more portion of Scripture that I’d like to cover yet before this half hour is over.  Verse 16 reading on:

I Timothy 1:16

“Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should (What’s the next word?) hereafter…”

Now go back to the rafters.  After I had 3 or 4 cut, where should I go back?  To the pattern!  Not to the 4th or the 5th one.  And it’s the same way here.  You don’t follow somebody else that came later.  We follow the one who is the pattern of the Grace of God.  Now then, reading on.

I Timothy 1:16c

“…a pattern to them which should hereafter believe…” He doesn’t say anything about all these other things that came from Peter and Christ in His earthly ministry.  Now, it’s a matter of exercising our faith in his (Paul’s) gospel of I Corinthians 15:1-4.

All right, I’ve got one more portion of Scripture that tells us the same thing.  I Corinthians chapter 3 and I hope I’ve got enough time.  I Corinthians chapter 3 and, oh, if this doesn’t make it so plain.  Now remember, he’s the head of the line.  He’s the chief man.  And we’re to follow.  Everybody comes into the Body of Christ, I feel, after the Apostle Paul.

I Corinthians 3:9

“For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, (Like a vineyard as Christ used the parable.  But Paul also uses another analogy.) ye are God’s building.”  We are building a part of that which pertains to the Body of Christ.    All right, verse 10:

I Corinthians 3:10

“According to the grace of God which is given unto me (Not because he deserved it—he was the least, but God made him the chief.) as a wise masterbuilder,…”

Now stop.  If you were to build a new home, or if you’ve already built one in the past, when do you ask your contractor to come in and take over?  When the building is a fourth finished?  No.  You find your contractor before you even set the stakes.  He’s going to set the stakes where your foundation is going to be.  Isn’t that right?  He’s the masterbuilder.  Now according to most of Christendom, Paul comes in when the first floor is finished.  Jesus and the Twelve laid the foundation and built the first floor, and now here comes Paul and he adds to it.  No, it doesn’t say that.  It says that I am the masterbuilder.  I am the one who has started from scratch.   Now read on:

I Corinthians 3:10b

“I have laid the foundation,…” Jesus didn’t lay it. You know, I appreciated one magazine years back saying that Jesus never started anything.  Oh, I couldn’t agree more.  But look at the next verse.

I Corinthians 3:11

“For other foundation can no man lay (not Peter, not John, nobody) than that is laid, (And whose the foundation?) which is Jesus Christ.”

That’s the foundation on which Paul’s Gospel rests.  That’s the foundation on which our whole eternal destiny rests.  And from that foundation our faith can grow, can build.  We bring in other believers, and all these believers together are making up what Paul alone calls the Body of Christ.