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.
“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.
“…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?
“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.
“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:
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“…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.
“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.
“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.
“…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 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.