571 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 2 Part 3 Book 48 - Hebrews 4:1-11

571: Hebrews 4:1-11 – Lesson 2 Part 3 Book 48

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 48

Hebrews 4:1-11

My, we have a tremendous amount of our prison inmates that are just literally eating up our little books, and so you pray for those fellows as there’s almost a revival of sorts amongst prison inmates across the country. They are indeed a real rewarding ministry and we just consider that a mission of the ministry because ordinarily, as small as we are, we have to charge for our material but anything that goes into the prisons or into foreign mission fields we send that out free of charge. That, I feel, is a mission work of our ministry. So you pray for these fellows that are behind bars and are really growing in the Lord. You ought to read their letters. It’s just unbelievable.

Alright, so for the rest of you out in television, we thank you for your prayers and your financial help. What a joy it is when we go out on these seminars to meet you folks face to face, and to be able to put a name with you. Okay, I guess we’re ready to go back to our study in Hebrews chapter 4 and we’re going to spend a few moments in verse 2 where it says:

Hebrews 4:2a

“For unto us (that is now in the Age of Grace under Paul’s Gospel) the gospel was preached, as well as unto them:”

In other words, all the way up through human history, God has been offering salvation. Now of course in the early days of the human experience it wasn’t a faith + nothing like we are today. But as Abel so explicitly demonstrated, that when he recognized he had sinned, he brought the prescribed animal sacrifice and God accepted it. Now of course, today we don’t have to do that. A little later on when Israel got the Temple worship and the Law, the sacrifices became instrumental, mixed with faith of course. It’s always by faith. And then now we come up to where we are today where I can stand here and adamantly proclaim that we are saved by Faith + nothing. We don’t have to bring a sacrifice, we don’t have to do this or do that. Today the only requirement for salvation is to believe in our hearts Paul’s beautiful Gospel that he proclaimed, and that was given only to him for this Age of Grace. You can see that Gospel in I Corinthians 15:1-4.

Oh, again, I wish you could see the letters we get from our listeners, some as old as 90 years. They tell us things like, “Oh, I’ve been a Sunday School teacher for 50 years, memorized my Sunday School lesson, and now all of a sudden late in my life, I heard your program and stepped into the Grace of God.” And listen folks, for those who have been under the heavy hand of legalism, to step into the Grace of God is something that you cannot comprehend. It is total freedom from all the weight of a works religion. So this is why we constantly proclaim that God is only looking for those who are willing to believe, and to exercise their faith in what God has done. We’ll be looking at that a little later in this half hour. So now the problem then has been from day one, that:

Hebrews 4:2b

“…the word preached was not mixed (or united with what?) faith in them that heard it.”

Faith! Again, lets go back to Kadesh, because that’s what the Scripture is always doing. And here we have Israel at the gates of the Promised Land at Kadesh, and God has told them in plain language, “Go in and take it, there’ll be no opposition, you don’t have to fear the Canaanites, because they’ll be gone. You don’t have to worry about starving to death, because you’re going to take over their farms and their vineyards. You don’t have to worry about the elements, because you’re going to be able to take over their dwelling places, it’s all ready for you. I’ve let them work for four hundred years to get it all ready for you.” And now because of the Canaanites’ abject wickedness, God in all fairness says “I will drive them out and let you come in.”

That’s what God told them. But they didn’t mix all of that with what? Faith. All they would have had to do is believe what God said, but they couldn’t. And you see it’s the same way when we proclaim the Gospel of the Grace of God. We can show from the Scriptures how it’s so simple that you just simply say, “Yes God I believe it with all my heart,” and expect God to respond and he will.

But, you know I’m just reminded as I go, of a little anecdote I read before we left on our last trip, and I may have shared it with some from our seminars around the country. I think this probably goes back quite a few years, but this pastor in a huge church in Chicago had the placed packed, even the balcony. And he read II Corinthians. Let’s turn to it so that we don’t just let it go in one ear and out the other. What you see, you’ll remember a lot longer than what you hear. II Corinthians chapter 5, verse 17. And he read this verse to that huge congregation at his Sunday morning service. I don’t know what kind of a church it was, it doesn’t matter. All right, listen to what he read.

II Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore, if any man (now of course, that is a generic term, means women, boys, girls, etc.) be in Christ, he is a new creature: (or creation) old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

And he read that verse and he stopped and he said “Now I’m going to ask all of you a question. How many of you profess to be a Christian this morning? Please stand.” How many do you think stood? Every last one of them. None excepted. He said all right, “Please be seated.” He read the verse again, and we’re going to read it again.

II Corinthians 5:17

“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; (or creation) old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Now he said, “How many of you know that you are in Christ and that you have been made a new creation? Please stand.” How many stood that time? One here, one there. Just a sprinkling throughout that huge congregation. What does that tell you? What I’ve said from this program more than once. Our churches are full of unsaved church members. Oh, they’re “Christian,” quote unquote, but they’re not in Christ. And you see only a true believer ever becomes in Christ, because the simplest believer is in Christ. But you see the vast majority of Christendom has no concept of what it means to be in Christ and to become a new creation. We’re talking about one who is not resting on self, one who is not resting on his denomination, one who is not resting on his local church. He’s not resting on his good works, he’s not resting on how much money he gives, he’s not resting on anything that he can do in the flesh, but rather he’s resting only on that finished work of the Cross. Then when we believe that, we become a member of Christ. We are then in Him!

See, my whole prerogative of teaching is to bring people out of their lethargy of thinking they’re a Christian because of something they have done or some act that they have precipitated, but they have never trusted Paul’s Gospel. There are legions of people in the church like that. That’s why it behooves me to just simply teach the truth. You see in this ministry I’m not trying to get church members, I’m not trying to twist people’s arms, and I’m not trying to build an organization. All I’m trying to do is to get people ready for eternity. And the best way to get ready for eternity is to study this Book.

Again, I guess I’m supposed to do it because it’s been ringing in my mind all afternoon. Several years ago I had a gentleman in one of my classes here in Oklahoma who had been saved out of a rather wild background and just became a testimony of God’s Grace. One class night, this gentleman, after the class (when almost everybody was gone), was over there cleaning up the coffee cups and stuff, which he just sort of took as his way of responding to his salvation. He was standing over there minding his own business, washing up the coffee cups and another gentleman, who was a total unbeliever, almost an atheist I would say, came up and was arguing with me and just trying to refute everything I would try to say from Scripture. Finally this first gentleman couldn’t take it anymore and he walked up from behind him and he tapped him on the shoulder and he said, “Look mister, let me tell you something. If you ever get saved, then you will realize that you are so wrong and Les is so right, because I’ve been there.” And isn’t that exactly it? My, they can argue out of their ignorance, and out of their tradition, but once the Lord saves them, then this Book becomes the Living Word of God, then they can see, yes, they’ve been wrong.

You don’t know how many letters I get, that say, “Les, I’ve been active, I’ve been this, I’ve been that for twenty years and it’s hard for me to recognize that I was so wrong for so long. But you’ve shown me from the Scriptures.” And that’s all I try to do is just simply make it as plain as God’s Word does. All right, so all of these opportunities for salvation, whether it was back there in the Garden of Eden, whether it was Abel, whether it was Abraham, whether it was Moses, whether it was Peter, or whether it was now someone in this Age of Grace, it always had to be mixed with faith. Always.

Let me show you. Come back to Hebrews chapter 11. I think most of you, if you’ve had any church background at all, know that this is called the what? The great faith chapter. The whole chapter epitomizes the word Faith. Starting with verse 1 of Hebrews 11.

Hebrews 11:1

“Now faith (taking God at his Word) is the substance (what is substance? It’s the meat. It’s the very crux of the matter. It’s the core. Alright, Faith is the substance) of things hoped for, the evidence of things (what?) not seen.”

In the invisible. The only way you can comprehend it is by faith and don’t ever lose sight of my definition of faith. What? Taking God at his Word! Don’t believe what I say, believe what God says. Next verse.

Hebrews 11:2

“For by it (faith) the elders obtained a good report.” Now when Paul speaks of the elders, of course he’s talking about the patriarchs. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the prophets. Now verse 3.

Hebrews 11:3a

“Through faith we understand (as believers) that the worlds (or the universe) was framed by (not the big bang, not by evolution, but by what?) the word of God,…”

A spoken word. God spoke and the universe came into being. God spoke and the dust came up out of the earth and formed Adam. God didn’t have to go and get putty and clay and glue. Oh, He spoke and Adam appeared out of the dust. He spoke and things happened. Alright and how do we know that? By faith. I can’t prove that that’s what God did. I don’t have to. Because that’s what God’s Word said He did. And we believe it without question. So it was by faith then that we understand the universe was framed.

Hebrews 11:3b

“…by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”

Now that’s not double talk. That means exactly what it says. Everything you see out there on a starry night came out of what? Nothing. What does that mean? Well, God spoke and out of nothing and here it came. How many religious leaders of the world can do that? Well I’ll bet Buddha couldn’t, and I’ll bet none of the other big religious gurus could, but our God did, because we serve the Living God. And so it’s by faith. Now let’s just go on for a few. Now verse 4.

Hebrews 4:4a

“By faith (by taking God at his word) Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,…”

Now here we have the epitome of two concepts. Abel simply did what God said to do, but Cain rationalized and said, “Now wait a minute, God didn’t really mean that. Surely God will accept me if he sees that I’ve done this by the sweat of my brow and I’ve gotten dirt under my nails,” but what did Cain not understand? That’s not what God said to do. God told him to bring an animal sacrifice and shed blood and so he was rejected because he didn’t do that. But on the other hand, Abel by his faith did what God said to do, as he brought the lamb, he brought the sacrifice, he shed its blood and God accepted it. So how did Abel know what to do? God had told him, and he believed Him, and that’s faith. Alright, now moving on down to verse 5.

Hebrews 4:5a

“By faith (the man) Enoch (walked with God and he) was translated that he should not see death;…”

He was gone; he’s out of here. I think it’s a good picture of what’s going to happen to us one of these days. And I imagine the world will say, “Good riddance, I’m glad that guy’s gone.” But it’s coming! We’re getting closer every day. Alright, now the next one in verse 6. It’s one of the verses that I call one of the absolutes of Scripture. It’s one of two absolutes that I always come back to.

Hebrews 4:6a

“But without faith it is impossible to please him;…” (God)

That’s an absolute! You cannot rationalize that away, you cannot compromise it, and you cannot mix it, because it’s an absolute. Now since I’ve mentioned there were two, you might as well look at the other one, and the other one is back in chapter 9 verse 22, so let’s put the two together, and they’re as absolute as anything in Scripture.

Hebrews 9:22b

“…and without the shedding of blood is no remission.”

There is no remission, or forgiveness of sin. Do you believe it? You better. That’s an absolute. There is no salvation without the shedding of blood! See, that’s why Christ had to be lifted up on that Roman cross rather than any other means of death that Rome may have practiced. But he had to be lifted up so his blood could be shed, it was an absolute. And the corresponding one is the one we just looked at, Faith. And you put those two together and listen, isn’t that exactly what was practiced ever since back there when God shed the animals’ blood for Adam and Eve. And when Abel brought the blood sacrifice. When Noah brought the sacrificial animals into the ark. And when Judaism or the Mosaic system demanded blood sacrifice? And then when Christ was lifted up, Paul could now say that we are redeemed, we’ve been bought with that purchased price which is what? The blood of Christ. And without it there is no forgiveness. Alright, let’s read on in Hebrews. This is just a good exercise in Faith. Now verse 7.

Hebrews 11:7a

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not see as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark…”

Hebrews 11:8

“By faith Abraham when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed: and he went out, not knowing whither he went.”

And all the way up through this chapter, he comes up through the whole hallmark of fame in the Old Testament. Do you see that? And they all operated under this one word we call faith. “Without Faith it’s impossible to please God.” Now lets go back to Hebrews 4, and now verse 3.

Hebrews 4:3a

“For we which have (been baptized? Have repented? Have done this or that or any other thing? For we who have what?) believed (see how simple it is. For we who have believed) do enter into rest….”

Now remember the Canaan rest, the rest of the Promised Land is not a picture of heaven. I just rebel at that. That was never a picture of heaven. It was a picture of a repose that could have come about because of their obedience of faith. God had said it, they responded to it, they could have entered in and they could have a rest. No war, no famine, it would have just been the result of a living faith. It’s not a picture of heaven, but it is a picture for us of our salvation rest. That when we enter in by faith, when we enter in because of the shed blood, what can we do? Rest in it. Oh, don’t try to somehow enhance it. But we believe it and we rest. Now that doesn’t mean we won’t work. I’m not talking about that, but so far as salvation is concerned, we settle in and we rest in what God has done on our behalf. Now let’s read some more of verse 3.

Hebrews 4:3b-4

“…as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, (going back again to Kadesh) if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation (or the very creation) of the world.” (now I’ve got to go into verse 4) For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.”

Now why in the world does the Holy Spirit prompt the apostle to bring in the creation account of Genesis? Well, let’s go back and look at it. Come back to Genesis chapter 1 the last verse. It’s an interesting verse, in light of what we’re going to see in chapter 2. Genesis 1 verse 31. All of creation is now finished. The animal kingdom, the birds, the fish, man. Everything is done.

Genesis 1:31a

“And God saw every thing that he had made, (or created) and, behold, it was (what?) very good.”

Now the Hebrew, I think, implies even more than what we can put on that very good. It was what? Perfect. I don’t think you and I can even begin to imagine the beauty of that newly created Garden of Eden and the planet over which Adam was given dominion. I don’t think we can begin to comprehend it. And he saw that it was very good. Now let’s jump up into chapter 2 verse 1.

Genesis 2:1-2a

“Thus the heavens and the earth were (what?) finished, (mark that word finished, and don’t run over it casually) and all the host of them. 2. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made;…” Or energizing the system, it was finished now remember. And so on the seventh day he what?)

Genesis 2:2b

“…and he rested…”

Why? There wasn’t anything more to do. He couldn’t improve on that particular aspect, He couldn’t make that any more beautiful, He couldn’t embellish this any better. Everything that needed to be done was done, and so what did He do? He rested. Now normally, when we have been real active and I guess the older we get the more I’m aware of it, but I’m not the only one as I advance in my years. After we’ve been working a few hours, what’s the first thing we really want to do? Sit down. My old hips start to get tired and I’m ready to sit down. Well, what’s the purpose? Rest. Are you with me? And so when God finished the glorious work of creation He literally sat down. He was all done.

Now let’s go to another one. All the way up to John’s gospel. In John chapter 19 and we find Christ on the cross; these are the accounts of His final hours of the crucifixion. And then it says in verse 30.

John 19:30a

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, (what?) It is finished:”

What does it mean? Just what it says. There wasn’t one more iota of anything that He could do to embellish that salvation that He had just accomplished. Just as surely as the universe and the Garden of Eden and everything in it was perfect and God rested, so also when He finished that work of the cross. We’ll carry it a little further next lesson.

570 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 2 Part 2 Book 48 - Coming Up Short of God’s Promise - Part 2

570: Coming Up Short of God’s Promise – Part 2 – Lesson 2 Part 2 Book 48

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 48

Coming Up Short of God’s Promise – Part 2

Hebrews 4:1-11

There’s a big difference between studying the Word of God and reading it. A lot of people read a few verses and they think, well I’ve done my daily duty. Well, that’s not studying. Studying is when you really sit down and put some work into it and compare Scripture with Scripture. Because, hopefully, as I teach I can tie it all together from Genesis through Revelation without just picking out a few verses on which we can build a doctrine. But rather it has to be on the complete Word of God.

Now, of course, that means we also have to be careful, because not all the Scripture is directed to us today for our doctrine in this Age of Grace! I have a pet little way of showing this, because when someone says, “Well now, Les, you are always emphasizing Paul, but I use the whole Bible.” I always tell them, “Well so do I!” They’ll come right back and say, “Yeah, but you stick pretty much with Paul.” That’s true. Because Paul writes to us in this Age of Grace. If you want an example of what I’m talking about you go to Leviticus chapter 5.

Leviticus chapter 5 says that if someone touches an unclean thing such as a dead animal, a carcass, then that man will bring a lamb of the flock and bring it to the priest. Now are you going to do that? Well, you can’t do that. So be careful how you talk, and how you use the Word of God. We realize that all Scripture is inspired, and all Scripture is the Word of God, but not all Scripture is written to us in the Age of Grace. That’s where we have to come to the Apostle Paul, because Paul over and over, emphasized that he’s the Apostle of the Gentiles as we see in Romans 11:13.

Romans 11:13

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles; I magnify mine office:” Another good one is in Ephesians chapter 3, and verse 1, where he says:

Ephesians 3:1

“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.” And this is what we have to be aware of. Alright, now on that same line then, we’re going to keep continuing where we left off in the last program, and that was out of Hebrews chapter 4 verse 2, and we’ll just continue with that thought.

Hebrews 4:2a

“For unto us (in other words, you and I in this Age of Grace, under Paul’s Gospel) was the gospel preached….”

Well what Gospel does Paul preach? The Gospel of the Grace of God as we’re going to see in just a moment. Now continuing with the verse.

Hebrews 4:2b

“…as well as unto them:…”

Now, as I’ve pointed out in the last program, as we began that chase up through the Old Testament, we found that the Gospel was the “good news.” And there were a lot of good news opportunities that God used first to the whole human race. Not just to Israel. And then beginning with Abraham, of course, it was all dealing with Israel and so they had all kinds of good news preached, but, unless it was mixed with faith, it was of no profit.

Well, the last thing we talked about in our last program was the faith of Abraham. And because of his faith, it was accounted unto him for righteousness. Now we’re going to continue that same concept of what Gospel was preached when. And I’ll take you now from Abraham’s experience, in Genesis 12 and in Romans 4, to Matthew for just a moment, in Christ’s earthly ministry, and we’ll drop in at chapter 9, and verse 35. And again we’re going to see the word Gospel. The good news!

Matthew 9:35a

“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching (what?) the gospel of the kingdom,…”

Now remember, the Abrahamic Covenant had promised that the Nation of Israel would appear through the man Abraham and later on through Isaac and Jacob. And then one day God would put them in a territory of land that He deeded to them, which we call their homeland, and then at a later date, He would yet provide the government. A King. Now Israel, of course, had to wait centuries and centuries for that last part of the Covenant to become a reality, the coming of their King. And so, this is the purpose of Christ’s earthly ministry early on. He came first and foremost to fulfill that Abrahamic to include bringing in their King. Now, if you’re going to have a King, you’re also going to have a Kingdom.

So, consequently, when Jesus came to the Nation of Israel and began His earthly ministry, He was now proclaiming the good news of a glorious Kingdom over which He would be the King. Now is that so hard to comprehend? Because that was all of His thrust, see that’s what John the Baptist’s purpose was, to announce this coming King. Now the King is there and so His message becomes then the good news that Israel is about to have the King and the Kingdom. I know that’s hard for people to swallow, but that’s why He came.

Just to show you what I’m talking about, turn with me, and keep your hand in Matthew, I’m not through there yet. Come all the way back to Romans once again and see how even the Apostle Paul makes this so clear. How can people miss this? Romans chapter 15 verse 8. Romans 15 verse 8. Now, remember, Paul is writing in the book of Romans to us Gentiles, absolutely he is. But look what he’s telling us as Gentiles. Romans 15 verse 8.

Romans 15:8a

“Now I say (Paul writes) that Jesus Christ was (past tense, in His earthly ministry) a minister of the circumcision. (who’s the circumcision? Israel, the Jew! And He was definitively the minister of Israel, not the whole world, during His earthly ministry.) for the truth of God,…” He’s the one that was responsible for everything that’s been taking place, and so, Jesus Christ was the Minister of the Nation of Israel based on the truth of a Sovereign, Holy, Omnipotent God, now read on.

Romans 15:8b

“…to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” For goodness sakes, who were the fathers? Gentiles? No! Israel! Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And what were those promises? That one day they would become a nation of people. God would put them in a homeland, and God would be their King in the person of the Messiah.

Now, isn’t that plain? And so, Paul reminds us that this was the purpose of Christ’s appearing to the Nation of Israel. Now the big picture, of course, is He’s going to go to the Cross and become the means salvation for every human being. But, He came to Israel to fulfill the promises made to the fathers, and they should have known Who He was.

They should have recognized Him as that promised Messiah. But, here again, and we’re going to see this in another later verse almost a repeat performance by the Nation of Israel of when they rejected the Promised Land. A repeat performance of abject disobedience, brought about by what? Unbelief! Are you with me?

Alright, now come back to Matthew, and here we’ve got this Jesus to confirm the promises made to the fathers, Who now goes into the synagogue on every Sabbath day and what did He do? He preached the good news of the Kingdom. Well, where was the whole idea of a Kingdom originated? Well, back in the Covenants. That was the whole idea of bringing about the Nation of Israel to give them this glorious Kingdom, on earth. Heaven on earth, if you please. And so that’s why it’s called the Gospel of the Kingdom, or the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

Now then, in response to the ministry, of Jesus of Nazareth among the Jews, we have an example of one who hit the nail on the head with Peter in Matthew 16, and we’ll start at verse 13. Now again, so that I don’t lose you. We’re showing how that all the way up through human history good news was proclaimed to the human race in one way or another, and not always the whole race. Back in Genesis, of course it still was. But by the time we get to Genesis chapter 12, now God is dealing with only the Nation of Israel. And here as well in Christ’s earthly ministry. This good news was proclaimed only to the Nation of Israel.

The Gentiles couldn’t partake of this. They didn’t have any Covenant promises to be fulfilled, because that was Israel’s role. Alright now, Peter then becomes the epitome of what the ordinary Jew on the street should have believed. This is Peter’s confession of faith. Alright, let’s start at verse 13, toward the end of His three years of earthly ministry. They are up in northern Israel and when Jesus came to the borders of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His Disciples saying:

Matthew 16:13b

“…Whom do men say that I the Son of man, am?”

What was He driving at? What does He mean when He said, “whom do people say that I am.” Well, according to all the promises since Abraham, what was Israel looking for? Their Messiah! Their King! And now He’s there to fulfill those promises.

If they’d had an ounce of faith, as Peter and the ten did, what should they have known? Who He was! He is that promised King. He’s ready to give us the Kingdom, and they should have been just a elated as their forefathers should have been at the gates of Canaan at Kadesh-barnea, when they were ready to go in and take the land. So you see it’s almost a repeat performance. In fact, I’ve used this over and over to prove that God was not playing games with Israel when I say that Jesus offered the King and the Kingdom to Israel. A lot of people don’t buy into that, and they’ll say, “Well He couldn’t have, because He had to go to the Cross.” That’s moot. The important part is that when He appeared to the Nation of Israel, He appeared to fulfill those Old Testament promises and it was a valid offer.

Just as valid as when He told Moses and Aaron and the children of Israel to go into the Promised Land. I don’t think anybody argues that that was not a valid offer. I’ve never had anyone argue with me and say, “Now Les, God never intended Israel to go in and take Canaan.” I’ve never had anybody say that, because they can’t buy that and so I’ll turn around and ask them, “Alright then, when God told Israel that they could have it, that He would drive the Canaanites out with hornets was He playing games or was He making a valid offer?” A valid offer. They could have had the land right then.

And it’s the same way here. But see, we’re always blocked by the things that stand in our way, but nothing is impossible with God. He could have brought about that sacrificial death, one way or another. Now, all we can look at is, it had to go the way it went, which so far as we’re concerned is true. But, on the other hand, God being God, He could make a valid offer. “Alright, Israel, I’m here as your King, I’m going to give you the Kingdom, if you’ll just believe it.” But, they didn’t believe Him and so that valid offer, just like Kadesh-barnea, fell through the cracks. Do you see that? Alright, now here’s what every Jew on the street should have been able to say as Peter did when the Lord asked him that question concerning the Son of Man. Dropping in at verse 13.

Matthew 16:13-16

“When Jesus came into the coast of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, says, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14. And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist; (isn’t that amazing?) some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. (they say everything but the right thing) 15. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? (and now look at Peter’s answer.) 16. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, (the Messiah, the Anointed One, the King, see.) the Son of the living God.”

Remember what we had in Hebrews just a few weeks ago? Hebrews over and over refers to the Living God. Well, that’s what Peter knew that Jesus was. He was the Living God! That’s Peter’s confession of faith. Alright, now look at the next verse.

Matthew 16:17a

“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee….” In other words, Peter, you didn’t come to all this conclusion of who I am because of what people said. You didn’t suddenly realize that I am the Messiah because of what your Mama said, nor did you suddenly realize that I am the Messiah because of what one of the priests said. So how did Peter know? The same way a believer understands salvation today.

Matthew 16:17b

“…for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven.”

Now, of course, we know that the Father in this case operated through the Spirit, and so when Jesus was walking the shore of Galilee and He says, “Come and follow me,” what prompted Peter and the others to drop their nets and follow the Lord? Well, the Holy Spirit, of course, and they suddenly realized that this was the promised Messiah. And so they believed the good news of the Kingdom, because the King was in their midst. Now is that so hard to comprehend? And that was the good news. That Israel now had the King. And the Kingdom was just over the horizon. But, what did Israel do with it? They rejected it in unbelief, and what did they cry? “Crucify Him. We’ll not have this man to rule over us.”

You see how clearly that shows what had been presented to them? How could they scream, “We’ll not have this man to rule over us,” if they didn’t understand that was the concept of His offer. But, they did. They knew that He was offering Himself as the King. They knew He was offering a Kingdom. And then they had the audacity to say what? “We have no King but Caesar.” What a travesty, what a pity, what another example of abject unbelief.

But, listen don’t blame Israel. They’re no worse or any better than all the rest of us, and I’ll show you why in just a moment in Acts chapter 20 verse 24. Now, of course, Acts is transitional and so we move from Peter and the eleven as the major players in the early chapters and then after we get past Acts chapter 10 or 11, the Apostle Paul fills the rest of the Book of Acts. And now here we are. The Apostle Paul is on his way back to Jerusalem for the last time and he’s meeting with the Ephesian elders and they’re having a tearful goodbye. But look what he says concerning his own ministry in Acts 20:24.

Acts 20:24

“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, (like I said this is a final goodbye to the Ephesian elders.) and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel (of the Kingdom? I want all your heads shaking! No way is that what it says!! But rather testify what?) the gospel of the grace of God.”

And listen! The twain can never meet! You can never bring the Gospel of the Grace of God into the Gospel of the Kingdom or vice versa, as they are two totally different concepts. Same God! The same Christ! But on the one hand it’s the Minister of the circumcision fulfilling the promises made unto the fathers. The Gospel of the Grace of God is going not just to the Jew but to the whole world. Offering what? Salvation to any and everyone that will just simply believe, as we see in I Corinthians 15:1-4, or Romans 10:9-10.

Alright, now turn with me to Romans chapter 3, and verse 9, and I’ll continue with the thought that I had a moment ago, that Israel is no worse or no better than the rest of us. When we lay the blame of some of these things on Israel in their Old Testament economy, that’s not to put the Jew down. It’s just simply to teach us that what they experience is a tremendous lesson for the rest of us. And here’s the reason in Romans chapter 3. Here Paul has been building God’s case against the whole human race. Against the gross immoral people, in chapter 1. In the grossly moral people in chapter 2 and in the grossly religious people in the first part of chapter 3. And the conclusion is what? Verse 9.

Romans 3:9a

“What then? are we better than they?…”

Now you want to remember while we are reading this, when Paul says “we,” who’s he referring to? The Jew. Israel. Are we Jews better than those filthy, Gentile pagan dogs. And what’s his answer? Well it’s “no” of course. See! This is why the Jews hated Paul.

Romans 3:9b

“…No in no wise; for we have before proved, (see, proved beyond a shadow of a doubt.) both Jews and Gentiles, that they are, all, (including the priesthood. Including the prostitutes, including the kings and emperors, including the princes and the religious leaders of the Gentile world. They’re all, where?) under sin.” They’re all under the curse, they’re all sons of Adam. Alright. Then come on down to verse 10.

Romans 3:10

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one:” And then you come to that glorious remedy over there in the same chapter, verse 21 and 22. Here’s the remedy for Jew and Gentile alike.

Romans 3:21a

“But now…”

Now when Paul says but now, and he uses that so often, he uses it in Ephesians a couple of times, and in various other places. But now, what’s he talking about? On this side of the cross. On this side of the cross was salvation, and we’re going to look at that, hopefully in the next half-hour. With salvation completed and finished, there’s no more need for Temple, there’s no more need for priests, and there’s no more need for legalism, because we’re on this side of the cross, and the Grace of God has been poured out. The wrath of God was poured on that cross. Alright, now look what he says:

Romans 3:21a

“But now, (on this side of the cross) the righteousness of God….” Not the righteousness of the Pharisees; not the righteousness of Les Feldick or any of the rest of you, but rather it’s the righteousness of God.

Romans 3:21

“But now, the righteousness of God, without the law is manifested, (has been put in the spot light) being witnessed by the law and the prophets;”

In other words, I think one of the things, I think Paul said was, “Hey, this wasn’t done in a corner.” We’re not pulling something out of the woodwork that’s just to shock people. Hey, this was something that was laid out since Genesis chapter 3. That God was going to provide a salvation that would include the whole human race, a salvation so available that no one need ever miss it.”

And like I just told someone within the last 48 hours: This is why no one that goes to that eternal Lake of Fire will offer one word of argument. And when they get there for the eons of eternity, the only thing they’re going to be able to say is, “Why did I choose to come to this place?” It wasn’t that there wasn’t an alternative. They chose it! God had done everything He could do. They could have had it free for nothing just like we got ours. Alright, now read on.

Romans 3:22a

“Even the righteousness of God which is by the faith of (or in) Jesus Christ unto all them that (what?) believe:…

What’s the opposite of believing? Unbelief! And so if God hates unbelief what’s His response to believing? All the joy of Heaven. Nothing thrills God more than to see someone say, Lord I believe it! I trust it! See? Alright, but now the part I want to see in these last few seconds.

Romans 3:22b

“…for there is no difference:”

It comes to all them that believe for there is no difference between Jew and Gentile.

There is still no difference between Jew and Gentile today. We’re all on the same level playing field. A Jew has to be saved today, just like a Gentile, and a Gentile has to be saved the same as a Jew, and that is by FAITH + NOTHING!

569 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 2 Part 1 Book 48 - Coming Up Short of God’s Promise

569: Coming Up Short of God’s Promise – Lesson 2 Part 1 Book 48

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 48

Coming Up Short of God’s Promise

Hebrews 4:1-11

So now let’s just go right back to where we left off in the last lesson and that will be Hebrews chapter 4, and verse 1.

Now then, in Hebrews chapter 4, we are still emphasizing the fact that Hebrews was written primarily, not exclusively, but was written primarily for Jews who were on the fence. They still had one foot in Judaism with all of it’s legalism and the Mosaic Law but on the other side they were contemplating Paul’s Gospel of Grace and so the whole idea of the letter is to prove to these people, beyond a shadow of doubt, who Jesus of Nazareth, as they understood Him, really was.

He was God the Son. He was the Creator. He was the Sustainer. And He was also, of course, the Redeemer. Not just of Israel but of all mankind. And consequently Paul uses the verse that He tasted death for every man, not just Israel. But for the whole world.

And so, as we’ve come through these first three chapters, this has been the emphasis, of Who God the Son really is and what He has done and how even we, as non-Jews, must understand. Now, in the last program we were in, in chapter 3, the Apostle is using the horrible dilemma of Israel’s refusing to go into the Land of Promise at Kadesh-Barnea, in particular, when as you all know the account, in unbelief. What God said they could do, Israel said, no we can’t. I guess if there was any one act of disobedience in all of Israel’s history that perturbed God the most, that was it. They could have fallen as they did at Mount Sinai into idol worship around that golden calf. They went into various other times of rank disobedience, but nothing pops up over and over in Scripture as an example of abject disobedience brought about by unbelief as Kadesh-barnea.

And again, I just have to remind folks, especially out there in television where we have so many people that have just never, never read or studied the Bible before, so remember, I always have to keep those folks in mind when I repeat and repeat and repeat. You want to remember that as Israel was there at the gate of the Promised Land, Kadesh-barnea, God had told them distinctly, explicitly that He would drive the enemy out. He would use hornets. He would use whatever He would have to use and all Israel had to do was walk in and occupy without raising a sweat. Without losing a drop of blood, just go in and take it.

But you see, Israel’s first step of unbelief was when they said, well, at least let us go in and spy out the land. Let us see if we can do it. And you know, God in His goodness, and I think those of us who are believers, the older we get the more we realize the goodness and the grace of God. And so, God in His grace and His goodness, says, “Well, alright. Pick out twelve men.”

Now, most people think that God told them to do that. No He did not! If you’ll go back and recap the whole chain of events, God didn’t say send in twelve spies. God says, “Go in and take the land!” But Israel in their first step of unbelief said, “Well, can’t we send in spies.” And then God said, “Yes, go ahead and appoint one from each Tribe and let them go in and spy out the land.”

And then you know what happened. Those twelve men came out with a majority report of ten to two. The ten said, “We can’t do it.” The two said, “Yes we can!” So who did the nation listen to? The majority. What have I said for the last ten years? In Spiritual things, in the things concerning this Book, the majority is usually, I didn’t say always, but the majority is usually wrong. Don’t go by the majority. Because Jesus pointed out the majority all too plainly Himself when He said, “Wide is the way and broad is the gate and many there be that go therein, but narrow is the way and few there be that find it.”

Now, you see, the two then, represented the narrow. They said, “Yes we can.” But Israel, listening to the majority of the ten, in abject unbelief said “We can’t do it.” That’s all it was. Total unbelief. And God then responded in His wrath and sent them out into the wilderness for the next thirty-eight years.

And so this is constantly brought up in Scripture, as an example not only to Israel, but to everyone of us, that there is nothing that God detests like unbelief. He can forgive a lot of things. And He can, you might say, in His Grace, put up with a lot of the wickedness and the unbelief in other areas, but when it comes to abject unbelief of something that is so easily understood as our Gospel is, then the wrath of God is kindled. And so when you stop and realize that the vast majority of the human race is headed for the lake of fire, don’t blame God. A lot of people do. They say, “How can a Holy God send people to a place like that?” Listen, God didn’t send them. They chose to go. And how did they choose to go? By refusing to believe something so simple as Paul’s beautiful Gospel, that Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and all we have to do is believe it for salvation.

And so this has been the whole emphasis now, especially in chapter 3 and even as we come in to chapter 4. Don’t forget what Israel did at Kadesh-barnea, as they failed to believe what God told them. Alright, verse 1. So it starts out with one of Paul’s favorite words, “therefore.” Because of what we’ve already covered in these first three chapters.

Hebrews 4:1a

“Let us therefore fear,…” Now that’s not the kind of a fear that just simply sends you out of your common sense. but rather this is a fear that makes you stop and take notice. This is a fear that makes you stop and really listen to what God is trying to say. And so he said:

Hebrews 4:1a

“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise…”

Now you know, I can almost stop with every word in Hebrews, can’t I? And I have been lately. What’s a promise? Well a promise is something that God has backed with His Omnipotence, with His Sovereignty and yes, with His grace. And when God makes a promise, you and I can trust it. Because God will not lie. God will not play games. And so here again we have the evidence that God has given promises, promises, promises, not only to Israel but to the whole human race. So he says, let us take up and be serious and take note:

Hebrews 4:1

“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise (one of the promises of God) being left of us of entering into His rest that any of you should seem to come short of it.”

What do you suppose he’s driving at? You know, so many of us had a criteria that we thought people had to go through to be genuinely saved. And unless they went through our circumscribed criteria, we had doubts. And I’m sure that almost every group looks at some of these things this way. They’ve got their own idea of what God expects a person to do before God can save him.

And listen, God isn’t going to set up a whole bunch of restrictive rules and regulations for a sinner to go through before He’ll save him. God will save a person with, I suppose, so little going to him that most of us would say, hey, he could never be saved, and that’s exactly what Paul is saying. Now look at it again.

Hebrews 4:1b

“…lest, a promise being left us…”

Now if something has been left to you, what does that mean? It’s still yours. It hasn’t yet slipped away from you, it’s still there for you to cash in on. And so this is what he’s appealing. Lest some of these people have been wavering and yes they’re considering what Paul has got to offer, but they’re still being drawn by all the ramifications of legalism and Judaism. Paul says, God hasn’t given up on you. God hasn’t yet crossed you off.

I know, many of you have heard sermons, I know I have, more than once, where a preacher will get up and he will just make a horrible example of someone who just stood out on a public square and shook his fist in God’s face and cursed God, and then they like to make a great big sensational event of it. And how that thirty minutes later, he was violently killed. Well, that may make good preaching, but it’s not Scripture. God never gives up on even a man who will shake his fist and curse God. You know why? Because even where sin abounds and that would be sinful, no doubt about it, but where that sin abounds, what’s even greater? God’s Grace! And so don’t you ever believe that kind of stuff that God gives up on a sinner. No, God never gives up until this soul departs. And so, this is again what Paul is saying, don’t you forget that God has not given up on you. There is still a part and parcel of His promises that are enough for you to latch on to and still escape that wrath to come. Alright, now let’s move on.

Hebrews 4:1b

“…let us fear, lest a promise being left (that’s still there to take a hold of) that of you (even the worst) should come (what?) short of it.”

Now what’s the danger when someone tarries and lingers and fails to latch on to the promise of Salvation? Well let me give you a good example. Come back with me to Acts 24, and we’ll just start with verse 24. Here, Paul, of course, is dealing with Felix.

Acts 24:24-25a

“After certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.” (now verse 25.) And as he reasoned (Felix did. Just a rank unbeliever and as he reasoned) of righteousness, (in other words, God’s saving grace) temperance, and judgment to come,…” What does that tell you? Paul laid out the whole picture. Paul didn’t refrain from telling him what his doom was going to be if he did not come into salvation. And so he reasoned of all these things that Paul had covered. The judgement to come.

Acts 24:25b

“…Felix trembled, (that’s how much he considered it and he answered what? Paul, I’m ready to believe? No, but rather) answered, Go thy way for this time;…”

What does that tell you? Felix hadn’t crossed it off. He hadn’t just adamantly told Paul – take off! I’ll never listen to you again. But he was postponing it. See? Postponing it, and that just exactly what Paul is warning these Jews and Hebrews. Don’t postpone it for today. See that’s the word throughout these chapters. Today, harden not your hearts as they did, and as Felix did. And you see, every time that Felix would listen to Paul, what happened to his heart condition? Softer or harder? Well, harder. And now, read on and we’ll see what evidently happened to this man.

Acts 24:25b

“…Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” In other words, when I’m more in line to step out of my wicked lifestyle and become a believer. When a more convenient season comes along, I’ll call for you. And then verse 26. On top of that, his wicked mind was looking for a bribe.

Acts 24:26a

“He (Felix) hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him; wherefore he sent for him the oftener,…”

So it wasn’t just once. Not even twice. Several times this Roman authority reasoned of righteousness and judgment to come. And every time, no doubt, his heart became harder and he says, “Well Paul, if you’re not ready to pay for your way out of here, then be gone.” But now the reason I know that Felix never came to the place of salvation, he put it off and put it off, is because of verse 27. What’s the first word?

Acts 24:27

“But (he never responded.) after the two years Porcius Festus came into Felix’ room; and Felix, willing to show the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.”

What happened to the man? Just exactly what Hebrews is warning against. Felix had every opportunity to yet become a believer, but what does he say? Not now. Maybe later. Now come back to Hebrews and see how apropos this is.

Hebrews 4:1b

“…(oh be careful) “lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, (that is salvation, that) any of you (even a Felix) should seem to come short of it.”

And he did, you see, as far as we know, he came short. He never did step in to that which he saw was the right way and I think we see this throughout all of human history. How that mankind is either absolutely destitute of spiritual insight, or they play around like a cat with the mouse. Until finally, what happens invariably? That little mouse slips away.

I saw my old cat do that same thing just the other day. He had a mouse and played with it and played with it and I almost was getting frantic. Kill the poor thing! But, what do they do? They fool around and they fool around with it, and all of a sudden it gets away. Well, you see, that’s what happens to many people with God’s plan of salvation. They play around with it – oh, they consider it, they talk about it but they will never give in and accept God’s saving grace and consequently, they come short of it. Well, that’s not God’s fault. God has done all He can do. And you want to remember, God never forces His salvation on anybody. It’s a matter of the free will, as God inspires us with the Spirit.

Alright, I guess we’ve got time. I hated to go into verse 2 unless I had a little more time, but I think maybe we can cover it. Here Paul continues the thought.

Hebrews 4:2a

“For unto us was the Gospel preached, as well as unto them:…”

Now don’t lose sight of your pronouns here. Who are the “them?” Israel at Kadesh-barnea. See that’s our whole idea of the lesson. Don’t forget Israel at Kadesh-barnea, when they had all the promises of God to go in and take Canaan without a drop of sweat or losing a drop of blood and because of unbelief turned away. Alright, Paul is using it again.

Hebrews 4:2a

“For unto us (today in this Age of Grace under Paul’s Apostleship) was the Gospel preached.”

Well, that’s easy enough to understand. We all know from Paul’s Gospel, that Christ died, was buried and rose from the dead, that that’s the means of salvation.

Hebrews 4:2a

For unto us was the Gospel preached as well as unto them:…”

Now we have to be careful here. What does the word Gospel always mean? Good news! Now how far back in human history does good news go? Well all the way back to Genesis chapter 3. But how far back does Paul’s Gospel go? Back to Paul’s ministry, naturally, because it’s his Gospel, that was only given to him. Alright, so now, if you look at this word Gospel as good news, then all of the garbage just falls away and you’ve got nothing left but bare truth.

And so, when the good news was presented in Genesis 3:15, what was it? Let’s go back and look. Here we have good news, but not the Gospel of the grace of God. It’s not Paul’s Gospel that you must believe that Christ died and rose from the dead. But it’s still good news! My, it’s good news. Genesis chapter 3. Most of you should know what this verse said, and the Lord is dealing with Satan, right after the fall of man, as they have just eaten of the forbidden fruit. And what’s the good news? That God is going to defeat Satan. Now that’s good news! Alright, look at it. Where the Lord says to Satan:

Genesis 3:15a

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, (who’s in control here? God is.) and between thy seed and her seed; (well, Who’s her seed? Jesus Christ!) it (the seed of the woman, Jesus the Christ) shall bruise thy head,…”

Now how do you kill a serpent? On the head. And so, what’s the implication here? That one day the Seed of the woman, Jesus the Christ, would defeat and put out of commission, Satan. And what is that? That’s good news! It’s the only thing that the human race had left. Adam and Eve had now eaten, and the race has fallen, and Satan is seemingly glowering in his victory. But, God comes back and says, “No, I’ve got good news. I’m going to provide a way back into fellowship with the Creator.”

And so here we have the first instance of good news. Now let’s go up a little further to Genesis chapter 12. I’m skipping a bunch of them in between here. But, here in Genesis chapter 12. Oh, some more good news! Now we don’t ordinarily think of it as Gospel, but it was. My, I don’t know what else it could have been so far as Abram was concerned. It was Gospel! It was good news!! And what was it? Let’s look at it:

Genesis 12:1

“Now the Lord had said (back in chapter 11. He had said) unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:” And now, here we come. Promises! I just got through telling you at the opening of the program, what are promises? Hey, they’re good news!! They’re Gospel. And what are these promises that God is making to Abram?

Genesis 12:2-3

“And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee (because through Abram would come the Christ) shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

Now if that wasn’t good news I don’t what else could have been. In order to put the frosting on the cake, let’s jump all the way up to Romans chapter 4 and see what believing this good news did for this man Abraham. Now remember what I’ve got you thinking. What has been the good news? Oh, God’s means of bringing salvation to various segments of the human race. They didn’t all believe that Christ would die and be resurrected from the dead. They couldn’t. Hadn’t happened yet. The Roman cross wasn’t even invented, until the Roman Empire. But, these people had the good news of God’s promises. So remember God’s promise to Abraham was to “leave Ur and I will make of you, I will do this and I will do that.” Now, when Abram responded to that Word of God by his faith, look what God did here in verse 3.

Romans 4:3a

“For what saith the scriptures? (not what Moses said. Not what Abraham said. Not what anybody else said. What does the Word of God say? The Word of God says) Abraham believed God,…”

Do you see that? Abraham did not do like Israel did at Kadesh and say, “No God, I don’t think you can do this. I’m a hundred years old. Sarah is ninety. I can’t do this.” But you see Abraham believed God, as impossible as it may have seemed. And what did God do? Saved him!! That’s all! Saved him out of paganism. Out of idolatry. How do I know? Because it says:

Romans 4:3b

“… Abraham believed God, (it was his believing, his faith) and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”

Now that didn’t make Abraham sprout wings. Abraham didn’t suddenly become a sinless individual. Abraham failed miserably after all this, but did he lose his salvation? Heavens no! He merely showed how human he really was. But, in spite of all his failures, God reckoned him, what? Righteous. And why was he righteous? Because he BELIEVED God!

568 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 1 Part 4 Book 48 - Hebrews 3:12-19 - Part 2

568: Hebrews 3:12-19 – Part 2 – Lesson 1 Part 4 Book 48

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 48

Hebrews 3:12-19 – Part 2

I think we are ready to move on. Hebrews chapter 3 and well take a shot at verse 15 again, where it says:

Hebrews 3:15a

“While it is said, To day…”

Remember, I have been emphasizing this today so far as these people are concerned and so far as we are concerned is this Age of Grace. Where as we have been seeing the last couple of programs that it isn’t limited to the Jew, and it’s not limited to the Gentile. It’s not limited to any one class of people but it’s for the whosoever will! Now verse 15 again.

Hebrews 3:15-16a

“While it is said, To day if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts as in the provocation. 16. For some, when they had heard,…” In other words, when God spoke and said, “Go in and take the land. It’s waiting for you. I’ll drive the Canaanites out.” Alright, to them that was the good news. That was all they needed to know, but they couldn’t believe it! Alright, so let’s finish the verse:

Hebrews 3:16b-17a

“…did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17. But with whom was he grieved forty years?…”

Remember, I made mention several programs back, when we first started here in this chapter, they came in eleven days, if I am not mistaken. Eleven days from Mt. Sinai to Kadesh and that eleven days stretched into what? Forty years! Why? Unbelief! Now you see for people today, unbelief is not going to be forty years, it’s going to be eternity lost and with no hope. Alright, so here is the warning.

Hebrews 3:15b-17a

“…To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. 16. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17. but with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned,…”

But, remember what was their sin. I pointed it out in the last program or the one before. It wasn’t the calf, the golden calf at Sinai. It wasn’t their gross immorality that they danced around that calf. But, what was their sin? Unbelief! God said they could take it and they said what? “No, we can’t.” What did the spies say? “Oh, we are like grasshoppers in their sight. The cities are walled, and we can’t take them” And yet, they had the proof of the pudding when they brought back the grapes and everything else. And yet, in unbelief, they couldn’t buy what God had said. I can’t comprehend it. I just cannot comprehend it. But, you see, this is the way it has been all the way up through human history. God told Adam and Eve in simplistic terms, “Don’t eat of that tree.” That’s all, everything else was theirs. But, in a step of unbelief, what did they do? They ate. And that brought sin into the whole human experience.

So, all of these things are just examples so that we can learn from it. It wasn’t their sin, as so far as their action. It was their unbelief, but what prompted their unbelief? Their lawlessness, they were sinners. Now remember, Israelites were just as much the offspring of Adam as we Gentiles. They’ve got the same old Adamic nature as we do, and that old Adamic nature is lawless, and so it precipitated their unbelief. Now, I’m going to just have to speculate here, and I certainly don’t claim to have the answer. I wouldn’t even pretend to have. But I like to throw the question out just to make people think. Now of all these children of Israel who came out of Egypt under Moses’ leadership, as they walked through that Red Sea, did any of them stay behind and say, “Well, I’m scared to death the water will come crashing down.” Not that we know of. So what did that take to go through the Red Sea? Faith!

Because, anybody with an ounce of sense would know that when that Red Sea water parted, and it must have parted a long ways, because three to four million people couldn’t go through a little canyon of a hundred or two hundred feet and do it in 24 hours. So that Red Sea must have opened, I think, miles. Well, however much wider it was the higher the water had to be piled. Right? And God piled it! You know He did! With invisible walls and dams to hold it. So what did it take to walk down between those walls of water? Faith. Had to. And they came up on the other side a redeemed, bought back people. Every one of them!

Alright, now then you follow them on down to Mt. Sinai and they come under the Law and even in spite of the golden calf experience, here they come under Moses’ leadership. The cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night and they encamp at Kadesh. And then the nation says, “We can’t do it,” with the exception of Joshua and Caleb and Moses, of course. Now my question is. Were all those Israelites lost? Some of them? What do you think? You can’t give me an answer, because I don’t think any of us have got one. But, it is sobering to think about. Or were they all saved because they came out of Egypt by Faith. I don’t know. I haven’t got the answer.

But, I know one thing. It’s something to make us think, because you see we are in the same dilemma in Christendom today. You know, that’s like we kind of enjoy getting into some different denominations once in a while as we have been this last few weeks. Because you see, twenty or thirty years ago, I would probably have thought that none of those had the truth. But they do! I am finding that almost in any group you’ve got a certain number of people who have a true salvation. They love the Lord, and they love this Book. And, in other groups that you probably think, oh, they are all Christians, they’ve got no love for the Book. So you see, we can’t judge. There is no way we can determine how many of that group are saved. We don’t know.

And I think this whole experience at Kadesh is a sobering experience because were they all lost, because they refused to go in unbelief? Was their Faith exercised, coming through the Red Sea all become vain? I don’t think so. But we can’t do anything but speculate. I would never say that they were all lost or that they were all saved or that half of them were. I would like to think some of them were. Because even in Israel’s history when the nation, for the most part, was going down the tube and they were succumbing to idolatry. Did they all? I don’t think so. Even when Elijah said, “You know Lord, I am the only one left.” But what did God say? “No Elijah, I have seven thousand left.” Even though the vast majority of Israel followed in the words of Baal, yet seven thousand remained true to Jehovah.

And so, all up through Israel’s history, I’m sure there were always a percentage of people who were aghast at what their leadership was doing. They were aghast at the gross immorality of the majority of people who were following pagan gods and goddesses. And then you know what I have to think? We are in the same boat today. We are getting more and more where the majority is now rejecting everything Biblical. We are seeing it, as it’s a culture war in America today, we know it is. And here we are as believers, getting smaller and smaller percentage-wise, and one day God’s going to judge this nation like He has every other nation that turns against Him, so what’s our only hope? Our only hope is that the Lord will return before that day comes. Because it’s coming.

Even though we have a percentage as Abraham had when he bargained with God over Sodom and Gomorrah. What did Abraham say? “Now, Lord if there’s ten in Sodom, would you spare it?” Yeah. But He didn’t have ten and so God destroyed it. And so here’s the sobering thought: if these Israelites who came out of Egypt by faith through the experience of the Red Sea with water piled up on both sides and yet were able to come up here to Kadesh with nothing any harder to believe that I can see, than to walk into the Promised Land. Go in and take the land of Canaan. And they couldn’t do it because of unbelief. And they wept. And they cried all night and then, horror of horrors, what did they ask to do. Send us back to Egypt. Send us back to the slave yards. Oh, that is almost beyond human comprehension.

And so, here is the constant lesson in these two chapters of Hebrews. Don’t forget what can happen to people when their hearts are hardened by unbelief, and when they can no longer trust the Word of God. And see, I have said it over the years, I think America can be, to a certain degree, a parallel of the Nation of Israel. We have been singularly blessed as a nation. No other nation on earth has enjoyed the Spiritual and material blessings that we have in America. But does that mean that God will never, never change blessing us? I don’t think so. I think the day is coming when God is going to have to come up and judge America for the responsibilities that we have walked under foot.

And you know I am always rehearsing our Founding Fathers. My when they got at loggerheads, and they had some big problems to overcome, and don’t think they didn’t. Number one was, how can the small states maintain a representation, like Massachusetts and Vermont and so forth, against the big states like Pennsylvania and Virginia. And, boy, it was a tough one to crack. But, I have said it over and over, and I read it in a secular magazine, not in any religious magazine, but in a secular magazine. What did those men do when they got to the place that they just couldn’t make any more headway? They dismissed and went into prayer rooms. They got down on their knees, everyone of them and they prayed, that the God of Heaven would give them wisdom. That’s our heritage. That’s where we’ve come from.

And then today, they ridicule the concept that our President would even think to pray in the morning. I hope you realize that’s what they are doing. They are ridiculing him for it. When our Attorney General, John Ashcroft, tries to have a Bible Study, they ridicule him for it. Well, that’s exactly the way it got in Israel. Just go back and read some of the prophets of Jeremiah and so forth. But now, my question is, were they all that steeped in unbelief? I don’t think so, but the minority of the believers had to suffer the results of the majority in their unbelief. And so, this is the constant reminder now then, as we look at it again in verse 17.

Hebrews 3:17a

“But with whom was He grieved those forty years?…”

While they were dying off in the wilderness, one commentary puts it, that they moved from place to place and the bones were just about covering the ground of where they left, as they were dying by the hundreds for forty years. See?

Hebrews 3:17b-18

“…was it not with them who had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? 18. And to whom sware he that they should not enter into His rest, but to him that believed not?”

It just repeats unbelief and repeats it and repeats it! The biggest tragedy for Israel, as well as for the human race in general, is unbelief. God says it and He expects us to believe it. And as I said in an earlier program, He’s proven himself with fulfilled prophecy. No other book on earth can tell things a hundred years in advance, let alone 3 or 500. But this Book does. And it is being fulfilled to the jot and tittle and it will be fulfilled to the complete jot and tittle. And so here is why we can believe it. It has proven itself. Let’s see what Peter even calls it. In II Peter, chapter 1.

II Peter 1:15-16a

“Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. (remember, Peter too is writing to the Jews of his day more than to us Gentiles. Now watch this, this is the verse that I had on my mind.) 16. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables,…”

And you know that is exactly what the scoffers call this Book? I read again just awhile back, where someone was ridiculing the Bible as nothing more than a bunch of campfire stories concocted while the Israelites were in antiquity and they brought all these things to mind as they were sitting around their ancient campfires. But Peter says, “no, these are not cunningly devised fables.”

II Peter 1:16b-17

“…when we made known unto you the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye witnesses of His majesty. 17. For He received from God the Father, honour and glory, (now he is speaking of the Transfiguration.) when there came such a voice to him from the excellent Glory, This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Now you remember, that was on the Mount of Transfiguration when Peter, James and John were met with Moses and Elijah. And God spoke from Heaven. Alright now verse 18. Peter says, “This voice which came from Heaven, we heard!” Proof positive that God is real. He is the Living God as we saw earlier.

II Peter 1:18-19

“And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. (The Mount of Transfiguration. Now verse 19) We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that you take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your own hearts:”

In other words, I think Peter is speaking of a Spirit enlightening, that we can grasp these things. We can believe them and we don’t have to doubt them because we understand that God has proven Himself over and over by fulfilling prophetic statements. Now verse 20.

II Peter 1:20

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation,”

In other words, you don’t just take one little tidbit here and pull it out and do whatever you want with it. You have to compare Scripture with Scripture. We have to use the whole.

II Peter 1:21

“For the prophecy (the Word of God,) came not in old time by the will of man: (they didn’t sit around a campfire and concoct these things.) but holy (or set apart) men of God spake as they were moved (or inspired) by the Holy Ghost.”

That’s how our Book came together. This is not cunningly devised fables. It is the Word of God and consequently God expects us to believe it. Alright now then I am going to take you back, I used the verse some time ago, I think in the last program. I am going to bring you back to Romans chapter 4. And we are going to look at Abraham for just a second, because I am not losing sight of what we’ve been looking at in Hebrews 3 and we will again in Hebrews 4, how that Israel at Kadesh-Barnea, with the full opportunity of entering into the land of Canaan, a rest of sorts, as they didn’t have to work, and they didn’t have to fight. All they had to do was take it by what? Faith! Believe it and move in and take it. But, they couldn’t do it. Alright now, Abraham is just the opposite. Now verse 1 of chapter 4 of Romans.

Romans 4:1-2

“What shall we say then that Abraham our Father, as pertaining to the flesh, (that is the Father of the Jewish race) has found? 2. For if Abraham were justified by works, (see that is what all religion demands. Religion will always give you a set of works) he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.” If that was possible, he could get to Heaven and say, “Look God, what I did, how I deserve to be here.” But he’ll never be able to do that before God. Now verse 3.

Romans 4:3a

“For what saith the scripture? (What does the Word of God say? The Word of God says) Abraham believed God,…”

It doesn’t say that Abraham went out and sacrificed. Doesn’t say that Abraham went out and did this or that or some other thing. All Abraham did was took God at his Word, plus nothing! He believed God. Now then reading on:

Romans 4:3b

“…and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”

God declared him righteous because he could believe. Now, it is no different today. The moment a sinner believes, God accounts him as righteous. But, at the same time God empowers him to live righteously. That’s where we get the ability and the power to live a Christian life. You can’t do it in the flesh. It is impossible and none of us can. But God empowers us and if we draw on that power, then it is possible to depart from these things that the Bible calls iniquity and we, like Abraham, can walk as people of faith. Verse 4.

Romans 4:4a

“Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.”

He’s speaking of a religious person. See, that is what we are dealing with in Hebrews. They were tied to their religion. And what did their religion demand? Temple worship, the Sacrifices, keeping the Feast Days. and yes, their tithes. All those things were part and parcel of their religion. But now, to him that worked the reward isn’t reckoned of Grace, but debt. So anytime a religious person says, “I’m doing the best I can. I’m putting God in debt to me!” He owes me. Now, if somebody owes you, he’s in debt. I don’t care how you cut it. If he owes you, he’s in debt to you. Alright, that’s what the religionist is doing. He’s going to work, and work, and work and then point the finger at God and say, “Now, you owe me. You’ve got to pay off. You’ve got to let me into your heaven.” But it isn’t going to work that way because the next verse says:

Romans 4:5a

“But to him that worketh not,…”

See now, Israel again back to Kadesh, and I can’t help but come back here. Israel at Kadesh, how much were they going to have to do to enjoy the Promised Land? Nothing! Just walk in and enjoy it. Isn’t that something? And they rejected it because of unbelief. Alright now, here we come again.

Romans 4:5a

“But to him that worketh not, but believeth…” That’s the other word for faith. That when we believe what God has said and we believe on Him who justifies the ungodly, not the person who is worthy of it.

Romans 4:5

But to him that worketh not, but believeth, on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

Let’s go back once again to Hebrews chapter 3 and I think that maybe we will slip into chapter 4 before the hour is up. And we will be ready for that then in our next taping. Alright, chapter 3 again verse 19. Boy, I want you to hear it in your sleep.

Hebrews 3:19

“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”

So then, they entered not because of unbelief. Nothing else. Unbelief. Now you see had they been able to believe God and if they would have gone in as a nation of believers, do you see what God could have done? Oh, He could have blessed them. They could have been a fabulous nation of people. But instead they had to go back out and die and their carcasses rotted in the wilderness, for forty years. Now, in the last minute or two that we’ve got left. Let’s look at the Nation of Israel with a second opportunity and that was when Christ came in His first advent. It’s almost a repeat. The Nation could have had everything. They could have had the Kingdom, and they could have had the King. He offered Himself. But what did they do? They crucified Him and God in His love and mercy came back and again, just like the forty years of wilderness, what did God do with the Nation of Israel through that forty years of the Book of Acts from His crucifixion until finally the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. You have almost a repeat performance. They rejected the offer of everything that only asked for their faith. And, as a result they went through the forty years of the Book of Acts which culminated then with the destruction of the Temple, the city and the nation.

567 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 1 Part 3 Book 48 - Hebrews 3:12-19

567: Hebrews 3:12-19 – Lesson 1 Part 3 Book 48

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 48

Hebrews 3:12-19

We’ll will be going right back to where we were in the last lesson, and that would be Hebrews chapter 3 and we’ll start in verse 14 in this lesson. And again for those of you joining us, we are just an informal, independent Bible Study. We hope not to build a big organization or anything like that. We just want to open the Scriptures for whoever you are, wherever you are. And again we always like to thank you for your letters, your prayers and, of course, your financial help. We just trust that the Lord will use us to open the Scriptures to your understanding. My, it thrills our heart to see so many lost people coming to a knowledge of salvation but many, many more believers who have never had an understanding of the Scriptures are finally getting their eyes opened.

Alright, let’s go right back to Hebrews chapter 3. And I’m going to read verse 13 again as we get ready for 14. Here, Paul writes to these Hebrews, and don’t forget that he is addressing primarily a Hebrew congregation, wherever they are. And the people are in a battle to make a clean break with Judaism and come over in to this doctrine of grace which is faith + nothing in the finished work of the cross for salvation. (I Corinthians 15:1-4) It’s faith + nothing, and without any attachment to the Law and temple worship and so forth.So always remember, that’s first and foremost the people we are dealing with here. But, as I said earlier today, we can also glean so much that applies to us even as Church Age believers. Alright, so now verse 13, the verse we looked at in our last half-hour.

Hebrews 3:13

“But exhort one another daily, (not just once a week on Sunday) while it is called To day; (your day of opportunity) lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

Remember, he is talking to people that are involved in a religious system. Now if you doubt when I call Judaism a religious system, back up with me to the Book of Galatians chapter 1, where the Apostle Paul is reviewing his own past. Let’s just start at verse 11. Because I never say any of these things to put any one group down or to make any snide remarks or anything like that. But it is just based on Scripture that the Judaism of which these people were still a part, was indeed a religion. And of course, we maintain that Christianity is not a religion. A religion is comprised of works and things that you have to do, whereas, our Salvation is by faith and faith alone in that finished work of the cross! And Paul is rehearsing his going into the ministry, so he says:

Galatians 1:11-13

“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preach of me is not after man. 12. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but, by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (now here it comes.) 13. For ye have heard of my conversation (or manner of living) in times past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the Church (or the assembly) of God, and wasted it:”

And now verse 14 he says it again. And I “profited in the Jews’ religion.” Okay? So now when I come back to Hebrews and I use the word, hopefully, I am on the right track that these people were still half in the religion of Judaism but they were also contemplating and some of them had completely embraced Paul’s Gospel of what we call the Age of Grace. So they are on the fence. Now consequently when I come down to verse 14, I am going to use the little word, “if.” And it doesn’t make any reflection on our losing the salvation that we once had, but it is dealing with these people who are battling the complete break with their religion and stepping into this whole economy of grace. It’s not a matter of their being saved and then lost. It’s a matter of making a break with that which withholds their whole salvation. Alright, I’ll come back to that again later. So he says again:

Hebrews 3:13

“But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Or as we said in the last half-hour “lawlessness.” Just a complete rejection of the things that God had laid out for mankind. Now verse 14.

Hebrews 3:14a

“For we are made partakers of Christ,…” In other words, when we come in to the Body of Christ, we are not like a subject of a king. We are a member of the Head Who is in Heaven and of which we are the Body. Now, I guess I should stop right there. We are not going to get very far today, are we? I thought I was going to get way into chapter 4! Goodness! Come back with me to I Corinthians, chapter 12, because this ties in so perfectly with what he says here. We are partakers of Christ, by the power of the Gospel, of course. But now, look what that means.

I Corinthians 12:12

“For as the body (or human body) is one, and hath many members. (now, what does that speak of? Our hands, fingers, toes, ears, eyes, all of these things make up our body.) and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” Or the body of Christ.

I Corinthians 12:13a

“For by one Spirit (by the work of the Holy Spirit) are we all. (not just some of the elite. Not just some who have had a particular experience, but every believer is) baptized (or placed into) one body, (which Ephesians calls the body of Christ.)

That composition of believers from wherever they are, whatever their station in life, at salvation they are brought in and become part and parcel of the body of Christ. Now some of us may be a little toe. Some of us may be nothing more than an ear or an eye or something like that, but we are members of the body, and we all have a function. That’s why it behooves every believer to be used of God in whatever particular purpose He has. Alright, so here we are placed into the body by the work of the Holy Spirit:

I Corinthians 12:13b

“…whether we be Jew or Gentile, whether we be bond or free; and we have been all made to drink (or partake) into one Spirit.”

The human body as well as the body of Christ is not one member but many. And so, the whole analogy of the rest of this chapter is that God is building the body of Christ, individual by individual, placing them where He wants them. Just like, and I have used this analogy over and over through the years on the program and in my classes, like the little baby in the mother’s womb. My, that doesn’t just form all at once, but over nine months those cells are going to their rightful place. The cells that compose the fingernails go to the fingernail. The cells that compose the eye go to the eye. And all through that nine-month period, that little body is finally brought to a completion. Every cell had gone to where it has to be to make that little creature function. Alright, so is the body of Christ.

Now for 1,900 and some years God has been bringing them into the body one at a time. Now you know I am a farmer and I have used the example before. You go into a grain bin. I don’t care whether it is wheat or corn or whatever. I was a corn farmer and I, more than once, would stand at the top of that huge 10,000 bushel bin and I would just be amazed. That whole bin was full of individual – what? Kernels! Individual kernels and you follow that kernel all the way back to when it was being formed in the ear, what were they? They were individual kernels, formed on the ear. Finally taken off and mixed in with the total and yet every kernel is an individual.

Alright, so is the body of Christ. We’ve never lost our individuality. And God knows every one of us as an individual and yet the composite is the body of Christ will one day be complete. And, that is why I am a proponent of the Rapture. We have to be taken out. We will not fit in the tribulation economy. That’s the best word I can find. Because the tribulation is for Israel, and for the unbelieving world. The tribulation isn’t for the believers! The body of Christ has to be taken out, and it will be. I am adamant on that!

And every book and article that people send me, and I have said it before and I will say it again. All I have to do is leaf through and the first thing I will see is that there is not one reference to Paul’s Epistles. Not one! They will quote everything from the Old Testament. They will quote the Four Gospels. They will quote early Acts. They will quote the Revelationbut they avoid Paul like a plague.

Well, no wonder they come up with their crazy ideas. Because Paul alone, tells us about the forming of the body of Christ. Paul alone tells us how the body is to function in this world. Paul alone is going to give us the end of the body on earth and it’s deliverance. See that? So, here we have then, as we find coming out of Hebrews, let’s go back there again. That the body of Christ is being formed because as we became believers of the Gospel, we became partakers or companions of Christ by virtue of the fact that the Holy Spirit has placed us into the body. What a unique position, to be a member of Christ Himself! We are not just subjects of a King. Oh, He is going to be King of Kings don’t think for a minute He won’t be, but we are not the subjects of a King. We are members of the body of Christ. Alright, back to Hebrews:

Hebrews 3:14a

“For we are made partakers of Christ, (and there is that big word I made mention of earlier.) if”…”

Oh, that scares so many people. I get so many letters that ask, “Well what about this in Hebrews and what about that in Hebrews? Doesn’t that mean that if I do something particularly wrong that I will lose my Salvation?” Well, you know, the first thing I have to ask people is this: “Does the Bible tell you what sin will take you out? Have you ever thought about that?” My, I had a gentleman come up to me when I first started teaching outside of my own particular church. And if he hears the program, he will be able to tell his wife, “Hey, that was me!” Because he came up one night and he said, “Well now, I’m in a denomination that has always taught that you can be saved and then lost.” But now, he says, “I KNOW I’m saved!” He went on to say, “The thing I realized now is, how were we supposed to know what sin took us out?!”

Have you ever thought of that? What sin will take me out so that I have to get saved again. Well, nobody knows. So it almost becomes ridiculous. And so, the word “if” here is not a matter of these Hebrews having been saved and losing it, because they have not totally entered in. They’re on the fence. They are considering it. When we get to chapter 6, I will probably spend four whole half-hours on that one. But in chapter 6 again, it is impossible, if you have been enlightened. It doesn’t say it is impossible if they have been saved. But, they’ve only been enlightened. They have tasted, they have stepped in one foot. And, then what did they do? They turned around and went back into Judaism.

Now, I have had the same problem, especially with people in cults, as we call them. I’m not going to name them, but there are more than one. And, they have the same problem. Oh, it is so hard to break with that cultic brainwashing that they have been under for maybe 50, 60 or 70 years. And it isn’t that they are going to be saved and lost. It’s because they can’t truly come in and experience a real rebirth salvation. So, that is what we are dealing with here in Hebrews. Don’t ever get the idea that we are talking about Hebrews who were saved and lost. Or that IF they can hang on they will still be saved. No, the IF is, have you really been saved? And this is where I am probably shaking a few people up. And I don’t want to make people miserable and doubt their salvation if they have truly been saved. Not at all. But, listen we’ve got millions of people out there that think they are saved, and they have never had a salvation experience. And those are the people that we have to warn. Yes, this if is a big IF for you if you have never been saved.

Hebrews 3:14

“For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.”

In other words, if salvation is real, if salvation had been totally completed by that act of God, then it can never end. It can never be taken away, because that is an act of God.I have said it over and over, through the years, stop and think of all that God does. Not what we do, but think of all that God does the moment He saves us and sees our faith. He forgives us, and as we have already seen in I Corinthians, chapter 12, He places us into the body, He redeems us, He pays the purchase price, He justifies us, He sanctifies us, He glorifies us, He puts the Holy Spirit within us, Should I keep going?! Can God undo all of that? No way. God WILL not! Or He wouldn’t be the God of His Word.

And so, the whole IF problem is, have they been genuinely saved, or have they merely tasted. Have they considered it but in their heart they are still saying, I can’t quite buy this? Alright, so let’s go on to verse 15.

Hebrews 3:15a

“While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts,…”

And that goes back again into the previous verse. What hardens hearts? Sin! And who is at the head of the sin business? Satan. Let me show you in II Corinthians, chapter 4, and let’s just look at verses 3 and 4:

II Corinthians 4:3-4a

” But if our gospel be hid (in other words, of no use) it is hid to them that are lost: (they are still in their lawlessness. They are still in their sin, and in these people that are still in their lawlessness, in these people) 4. In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which (oh, what is the word?) believe not,…”

Isn’t that simple? It doesn’t say a word about all the sins of the flesh that we mentioned in the last program. No, that’s not their problem. That’s just the result of their unbelief. But, the opposite of unbelief is belief! Faith! See? Now reading verse 4 again.

II Corinthians 4:4

“In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the visible image of the invisible God, should shine unto them.”

So who keeps people in their darkness. Well, Satan does. And, how does Satan do it? By keeping them involved in their sin. Now, can you see why we’ve got a problem today? My, our kids are hooked on the videos and the TV programs that are nothing but rot and smut, and it simply destroys their character, their thinking. No wonder it is so hard to get through to them. And the only way, evidently, churches think they can get them is to use the world’s approach. I still can’t agree with it, but more and more are going that way. The problem is they have been blinded by the deceitfulness of sin.

Alright, back to Hebrews chapter 3, and verse 15 again, and then I want to come back to Romans again.

Hebrews 3:15a

“While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice,…”

Alright, how do we hear the voice of God? How do we hear it? Well, Romans, chapter 10 tells us. I’m sure you know and you will recognize them as soon as we start. Starting at verse 13.

Romans 10:1314a

“For whosoever (none excepted, this is an invitation to the whole human race.) shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (that’s a promise. Now then, the question is,) 14. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?…” In other words, how can they become believers of someone they know nothing of?

Romans 10:14b

“…and how shall they believe in Him of who they have not heard? How shall they hear without a preacher?” I know the Greek has a better definition, I think, proclaimer. Someone that proclaims the Truth. How can they hear without a proclaimer? Now verse 15.

Romans 10:15-16a

“And how shall they preach, except they be sent? (now Who is involved? Well, God. The Holy Spirit, see?) as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach (or proclaim) the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things. 16. But they have not all obeyed the gospel….”

Regardless of what good news it was. Now, remember, when Abraham believed God, He didn’t believe the Gospel as we understand it. He didn’t believe that Christ would die and be buried and rose from the dead. How could he? It hadn’t happened. But, he believed what God said. And what did God tell him? “Leave Ur and I will make of you a great nation.” And, Abraham, Romans 4 says, believed God! That’s all! He believed God! And what did God do? Called him a righteous man. Just on the basis of his faith. That’s where I get my little cliche “Faith + Nothing!” It all began with Abraham. It dropped out of sight for centuries, but now in the Age of Grace, it comes back again. And we, like Abraham, are saved by faith + nothing! So, how do we hear it? Well, you have to have someone proclaim it. We have to have the Holy Spirit behind it. Alright, now then, verse 17. Here is the answer to our dilemma.

Romans 10:17

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

So by faith, or just, taking God at His Word comes by hearing. You’ve got to hear it to understand it. That’s why we’ve got this Book. That’s why God gave it to us. That’s why you don’t have to put your Bible on the shelf and say well, “I’ll just wait for the preacher to tell me.” No! You may have to have someone explain some of these things to you which is pertinent but you’ve got the Word of God in your hand. Search the Scriptures, and see if these things are true. Alright, so verse 17 again.

Romans 10:17

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

And it’s only the Word of God that can bring salvation to the human race. And again, I guess I should use that verse that I have referred to many times on this program over in Acts. Some of you already know where I am going to go. Acts chapter 16, and Paul is up there in the area of Northern Greece – today’s Macedonia, which is in the news again every day. He’s up in Northern Macedonia, in the city of Philippi. Now verse 14, and I think it is apropos for every believer to pray the same thing that I do, on the basis of this verse. Lord, give us Lydias. Alright, here it is.

Acts 16:14

“And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, (see, she had a certain amount of religion, but she didn’t have salvation) heard us; whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.”

Now analyze that verse. Had not the Lord opened her heart, even a man like the Apostle Paul – would he have gotten through to her? No way. Great preacher, evangelist, missionary that he was, had the Lord not opened her heart, she would have been just as lost the next day as she was the day before. But, God intervened and opened her heart. Now, if we have time, let’s go back to Matthew 16, and we will have to do this quickly. Alright and here we have Jesus dealing with the Twelve. And, we have Peter’s confession of his faith. Matthew 16 verse 16.

Matthew 16:16-17.

“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou are the Christ, the Son of the Living God. (now look what Jesus said in verse 17.) And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”

So how did Peter understand that Jesus was the Christ? God opened his understanding! See? God did! And so never forget that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God!