Learn the Bible in 24 Hours – Hour 19 – Small Groups – Chuck Missler

Learn the Bible in 24 Hours – Hour 19 – Small Groups  – Chuck Missler

Let’s do bow our hearts in a word of prayer. Father, we just come before Your throne grateful
for the gifts You have given us. The gift of your Son Jesus Christ. We thank You, too, for the Holy Spirit. We do pray Father that You just open our hearts
and lives to Your word and Your word to our hearts and lives that this would be profitable
time for Your kingdom. We just do pray, Father, that the words of my
mouth and the meditations of our hearts would be acceptable in Your sight as we commit ourselves
into Your hands. In the name of Yeshua, our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ. Amen. Well, we are in Hour 19 of Learn the Bible
in 24 Hours in which we’re going to attempt to summarize or review what are called the
Church Epistles. Or another way to put it, are the Pauline Epistles. We took one of them in detail last time, the
Book of Romans, but we have a dozen left to do. Before we jump in, we’ll get a glimpse, obviously,
of the early church through these things. I think it is important for us to realize
that these are … these were real people. Just like you and me. Real problems, just like now. And they were resolved by real people struggling to be effective pastors, leaders,
deacons, whatever. Different styles, different personalities, but just regular guys and gals. Real people struggling against the powers
of darkness. This indeed is an adventure. Now as we look at the New Testament we obviously
went through what I call the Five Gospels, Luke Volume I and Volume II makes it five. The Book of Acts being Luke’s second volume. We’re now in the 13 Epistles of Paul. And I say 13 in the sense that I’m dismissing
Hebrews as a separate topic for later. We went through Romans in detail, but now
we’re going to go through First and Second Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians,
Colossians. The Thessalonian letters we’ll touch on, but
we’ll review those next time for some special reasons. First and Second Timothy, Titus and Philomen. That’s our agenda for the evening. Now, it’s interesting that Romans, the first of
the Pauline Epistles there, and the Hebrews, the first that are listed in the so-called
Hebrew Christian Epistles, are the major doctrinal Epistles. So we’ll … just as we focused on Romans
when we get to the next session we’ll talk … we’ll focus on Hebrews somewhat. But there are seven churches that Paul wrote. Now those of you that have studied Matthew
13 and you’re sensitive to the fact that there were seven kingdom parables. And you’re also, by looking ahead, know
in Revelation Jesus Himself is going to address seven churches in a very mystical way which
we’ll review time after next. Paul also wrote letters to seven different
churches. That doesn’t leap out at you because two of those
went to … at least two went to Corinthians and two went to Thessalonians. But there are actually seven churches that have
been gathered by the Holy Spirit into our New Testament. And that’s going to be significant
to us, I think, when we get to Revelation Chapter 2 and 3. But those are the letters to churches. You then have four letters, two to Timothy,
and then two others, that are pastors. These letters are written … they’re personal
letters written to pastors that were embraced by the early church to be part of their literary treasures. And there are also three – Ephesians, Philippians
and Colossians that were written during his first imprisonment at Rome. They’re not the only ones written in prison
because Second Timothy was also written in his last imprisonment. But Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians
are typically called the Prison Epistles because they were the result of that,
or a product, if you will, of his first imprisonment. And so [pause] But our ultimate syllabus for
this course of the Epistles is summarized in First Timothy 3:16. Easy to remember because you all know John 3:16. First Timothy 3:16 is a very key verse. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” That’s quite a statement. That’s a broad statement. “All scripture is given by the inspiration
of God, and is profitable” for three things: “For doctrine, for reproof, for correction
and for instruction in righteousness.” And by reproof we really mean wrong conduct
and correction implies wrong doctrine. Both are corrective measures, but one is in
personal conduct and one is doctrinal. Slight subtle difference there, but I call
your attention to it. But if you look at the order of these
Epistles, Romans was a major doctrinal Epistle. The doctrine that Romans really focuses on
is that field of theology that would be called soteriology, which is just a fancy
word for the study of salvation. Soteriology is that segment of theology that
focuses on salvation. And the Book of Romans is the pivotal doctrinal piece there. But then it is followed by reproof and correction
of that doctrine. First and Second Corinthians and the Book
of Galatians. Then we get to the Epistle of Ephesians. It also, while it’s many things, is also doctrinal
in the field of ecclesiology, the study of the church. It’s interesting that many of the controversies
in Bible prophecy are not really controversies in the field of eschatology. That’s the fancy
word for study of the last things. Many people who argue about, “does the church
go through the tribulation or not?” are confused, not by eschatology alone, but they haven’t
done their homework on what is the church really? How does the church distin … how is it distinguished
from other believers? There are many believers in the history of
God’s plan of redemption of people that are saved that are not in the church. People were saved before the church was born,
people will be saved after the church is gathered. We need to understand that. So, please, the church is very distinctive. The study of the church is ecclesiology. One of it’s pivotal, foundational, doctrinal
books is, of course, the Epistle to the Ephesians. And then Philippians and Colossians being
reproof and correction of those doctrines interestingly enough. Then, of course, we get to Thessalonians, First
and Second Thessalonians. And there again these are probably the most important doctrinal
Epistles when you study eschatology, the study of the last things. So soteriology, ecclesiology and eschatology
are simply fancy words for three of the many major segments of theology as might be studied
in the seminary or in reading of that kind. So that’s a quick perspective of where we’re
headed. Let’s talk a little bit about Corinth. Corinthian, the Corinthian letters are a little
confusing because you have two in your Bible, but we know that there were at least four. Also, involving Corinth was at least three
visits by Paul. And so, the occasion of First Corinthians, the household of Chloe came to Paul when he was in Ephesus and the Church had
written him a letter. And apparently it was brought to Ephesus by Stefanus and a group
of others. And who probably also added their own comments. And apparently the situation was very, very
serious and Paul responded to this group by sending a letter to Corinth that we know as
First Corinthians. So they came and visited him across the sea.
He was in Ephesus. Corinth is on the other side of the Aegean, and he was very, very concerned. So that was … so his first visit, of course,
was earlier when the church was first founded. And he apparently had written them a previous
letter. There’s an allusion to a previous letter. We don’t have that letter. But the household of Chloe visit Paul in Ephesus
with a letter from Corinth expressing all these problems and Paul’s letter that we know
as First Corinthians was his response to these problems, which were very serious. So First Corinthians is full of advice and
counsel and concern. And so then there was a visit that
Paul undertook because it got worse. So he left Ephesus and he paid a hurried visit
to Corinth to try to, you know, straighten things out. This would be his … second visit,
and … he has … he makes references again in subsequent letters to the
sorrow there. He writes after that painful visit, he writes
to them a … what he calls a severe letter. This letter seems to have been lost, but he
was very apprehensive about how it would be … was received. And so this severe letter was very,
very harsh, obviously, in its tone. And if it had not been successful, it could
have been very, very destructive. And so as he was very concerned as to how
it would be taken. Now some scholars believe that portions of
that letter show up in what we call Second Corinthians. Because he … sends Titus, he agrees
to meet Titus in Macedonia to see how it went. When he gets to Macedonia, he misses Titus
at first. There’s a big … he’s very concerned cause he wants to know how it went and so
forth. But he finally does connect with Titus and
fortunately finds out that his report was received very well. And in response to that
he writes his … fourth letter really, what we call Second Corinthians. Some scholars suspect that Second Corinthians
may include fragments that were part of what was the severe letter. The scholars debate over some of these details;
but the main point is, that as you read Paul’s letters you need to realize that there are
three different visits. Because obviously after that … Second Corinthians
is a very encouraging, upbeat, joyous letter. It’s the favorite of many people. But … it may have included some … segments of it, some scholars suspect may be … appended from the
lost severe letter. But anyway, the point is, Paul, obviously,
will visit them subsequently, the third visit. So there are three visits, four letters. From
those four letters we have in our Bibles two of those. What we call First Corinthians you could,
if you want to confuse your neighborhood Bible study, refer to Second Corinthians and call
Second Corinthians Fourth Corinthians just to keep everybody confused. But anyway, for what that’s worth. But let’s take a look at this first Epistle
that Paul writes because of the problems there. One of the things he emphasizes in this is
that schisms or divisions in the church are wrong. And he talks there about true wisdom
versus the foolishness of God. And I love that phrase, foolishness of God. You know, that sounds like a oxymoron. How can you talk about the foolishness of
God? But it is interesting to realize how God seems
to go out of His way to do things in strange ways. You know, He decides to wipe out the whole
world and save eight people on a barge. And you can go right through the Old Testament,
the remedies God uses to accomplish His purposes seem to indicate a very, very
great willingness to engage in very strange remedies. The other point that Paul makes in his
Epistles to the Corinthians is that human teachers are but are stewards of God’s truth. And he then goes through a whole series after the first half dozen chapters, he then replies to the other problems. He talks about marriage, meats, the Lord’s
table, all kinds of problems that were being abused in the Corinthian church. But also in this letter is a trilogy of chapters
that are incredibly precious. Chapters 12, 13 and 14. Cause he there … this is probably the definitive
segment of scripture on the spiritual gifts and he talks about them. We’ll talk a little more about that. Then also in this letter is what some people
could argue is the most important chapter of the New Testament – Chapter 15 of First
Corinthians. The reason they would say that is because
Paul himself argues that if we don’t have what’s in that chapter, everything else is
foolishness. And that is the Resurrection. The Resurrection chapter is arguably the
most important chapter in the Bible in some respects. And that is Chapter 15 of First Corinthians. But one of the things that, just to give you
some sampling here, in First Corinthians Chapter 1, Paul says, “For ye see your calling
brethren how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble
are called.” And he goes on to make a point. And I think it was Queen Elizabeth that said
that she was saved by an “M.” What did she mean by that? Because she said in First Corinthians it
says, “For ye see your calling brethren, how that not,” it doesn’t say not any wise men
after the flesh, not any mighty, not “many.” And she feels that she crawled in under that
“M.” Being, obviously, someone of noble birth and yet saved. So, that was her little approach. But then he goes on, he says, “For God hath
chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world
to confound the things which are mighty; and And base things of the world, and the things
which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, the things which are not, to bring to nought the things
that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence.” And, so the foolishness of God. Strange phrase. Noah’s Ark, what a strange way to try to save
a segment of the world. The whole idea of putting blood on the doorposts in Egypt in the Passover. Those are fundamentally strange ideas. God is making some points here. And this whole idea of raising a brass serpent
to save these people from snake bite. It makes no sense in the Old Testament. You can read the Old Testament all the way
up to Malachi and it makes no sense until you get to John 3 where Jesus explains why
God did that. As an idiom in advance of Jesus Christ. As Moses raised a serpent in the wilderness,
so shall the Son of Man be raised up. Then you start to unravel that and you find
there’s a whole profound lesson behind all that. The trumpets around Jericho. Can you imagine Joshua briefing his staff
on his battle plan for Jericho? We’re going to march around the city once
a day for seven days keeping silent. Then on the seventh day we’re going to march
around seven times, then we’re going to blow our horns and shout and the walls are going
to fall down. Really? I would love to see a dramatization of him
selling that to his staff, you know? But then, of course, the Creator of the
universe becoming a Man and making His entrance riding a donkey? You know, these are, these … and you can
go … and the whole idea of having a group of unlettered fishermen overturn the entire
Roman Empire. Astonishing, astonishing. Foolishness of God. And what’s the ultimate foolishness of God? Paul goes on in First Corinthians and says,
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but onto us which
are saved is the power of God.” Couple of ideas here, the preaching of the
cross does sound like it’s the final capstone of these apparently ostensibly foolish remedies. But there’s something else that occurs in
this verse. Do you notice that the entire world is divided
into two parts? “For the preaching of the cross is to them
that perish foolishness, but onto us which are saved it is the power of God.” People are either saved or not saved and that’s
the astonishing dichotomy of all of mankind. So Paul then hammers on stewardship. And we
need to talk about salvation versus rewards. Fortunately First Corinthians 3 deals with
this. There’s a great deal … there’s so much emphasis
on the fact that salvation is by grace not by works. That’s obviously the whole book of Romans,
the whole book of Galatian’s going to hammer that. Because of that emphasis we have a tendency
to ignore the other side of that coin. The idea of rewards for faithful service. Jesus may have saved you. The question … I often ask an audience how
many of you are saved? Various hands will go up and I’ll say great,
what have you done with it? What fruit has it born? Is there a changed life? Has there been fruit for the kingdom? So there’s this whole issue of rewards that
Paul deals with. See there are two foundations that he highlights. Gold, silver, precious stones being one of
them. And another group called wood, hay, stubble. And you’re either building on one or the other
and fire is going to test this. And what is burned up is lost and what remains
is the reward. He’s not using … he’s not speaking of gold
and silver in a literal sense, he’s using it here idiomatically. Those of you that have been in my office, you know
there’s two major walls. One wall has all my trophies, not all, a handful
of my trophies and certificates from my corporate, 30 years of corporate mergers and acquisitions
and stuff. The other wall has all our ministry products
and things on the wall. And if you look at the top of the wall, the
top of the one says “wood, hay, stubble” and the other one says “gold, silver, precious stones.” And you can figure out which one is which,
right? [laughter] Okay, all right, okay. And it’s to be tried by fire. And the point that Paul makes is even if you’ve
built on the wrong foundation, if you’re saved, you’re still saved, but you end up getting
there as if having fled a fire. Those that have built on a sound foundation
will have rewards. That’s what he’s really dealing with. What he’s really trying to point out is inheritances
are forfeitable. Are forfeitable. And I often think, you know, it’s … there are those of us, apparently, according to scripture, that will be reigning with Christ,
but that doesn’t mean that all believers are. And you want to understand the differences. The … you may … the fact that you’re saved
gives you access to heaven, but doesn’t give you permission to rearrange the furniture. Okay. That was one way of putting it. The people that are going to be the main beneficiaries
are the metachoi in the Greek or the koinonos. These are the partakers of Christ’s mission. You can be saved, ’cause Jesus has arranged
that for you, but are you a partaker? Are you a partner? That’s whole ‘nother issue. Then we get to these three chapters on spiritual
gifts and Chapter 12 being the first of the three. And one of the emphases in Chapter 12 is that
the Holy Spirit gives the gifts as He will. Paul emphasizes the diversity of gifts but
one Spirit. The diversity of members, but there’s one
body. The diversity of service, but still one church. He’s using the term church here in it’s mystical,
collective sense. One of the great tragedies … there’s two
kinds of mistakes that you can make about spiritual gifts. One of the mistakes that you can make is to
assume that they’re over. That they were only there for the first century. There are people that teach “well they were
just there until some event” they argue. You can’t justify that event from the scripture
by the way. So the first … there are many very good
Bible teachers, very sound seminaries that nevertheless fail to recognize that the spiritual
gifts are still enduring. That’s the one mistake you can make is to
deny them. The other mistake you can make is to pick
one and say that it’s better than all the others. And there are groups that take one particular
gift and say unless you’ve got that you’re really not with it, you know. And I’m not trying to offend anyone,
but the main point that Paul makes in Chapter 12 is there are many different kinds and the
Holy Spirit gives them as He chooses in great variety. And [laugh] I remember Walter Martin
had an experience when he was a very young minister. He was in New Guinea and there was
a girl that was raised from the dead, and it made the magazines and became a talking
point. It was a part of his background. But he used to trade on that occasionally.
[laugh] When he would encounter someone that was sort of on one of these points on
spiritual gifts, he would look at them with great seriousness and say, “Do you have the
gift of raising the dead?” “Why, no, no.” And Walter would look crestfallen, “Oh, we’ll
pray for you so that you might enter in.” And he would start giving him this patter
as if one gift was really the big one to have, you see. He was, of course, being … he suddenly … he
was obviously had recognized he was being facetious or sarcastic. Because his point was that you make a mistake
picking any one gift. And incidentally, Paul tells you the one,
if you’re going pick any, the highest, it would be the gift of prophecy. He’ll do that
in Chapter 14. But anyway, Chapter 14 he mentions that the
greatest of these gifts is prophecy. Why? Cause it most edifies the church. It convinces
outsiders. Many of these other gifts are deniable. This is one that generally does convince outsiders
if they’re present in the meeting. And it’s use should be orderly. That’s Paul’s mission. The main point I’m making here between these
two chapters, Chapters 12 and 14, comes the climax. This is one of those places where the climax
isn’t the end it’s right in the middle. Right in the middle he plunges Chapter 13. Because Chapter 12 ends, “I show you a more
excellent way.” And he points out that all these gifts
are without value if they’re without love. So he emphasizes the utter necessity of love,
the moral excellency of love and the abiding supremacy of love. And so, I think most of you are familiar
with this passage. First Corinthians, 13, “Though I speak with
the tongues of men and of angels and have not love, I have become a sounding brass or
tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy and
understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could
remove mountains and have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the
poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.” Those are harsh words. Those are strong words. But for those that would make a big thing
of speaking in tongues, or having a word of prophecy, or whatever, they’re eclipsed
by love. And then he goes on to describe what he’s
talking about love in the verses 4 through 7 he says, “Love suffereth long, and is kind; Love envieth not, Love vaunteth not itself,
is not puffed up. Doth not behave itself unseemingly, Seeketh
not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in inequity, but rejoiceth
in the truth. Beareth all things, Believeth all things, Hopeth
of all things, Endureth all things,” and goes on. You know what’s interesting about this passage
is you can substitute the name of Christ. You say God is love? We use that a lot, right? Let’s see if it works. Christ suffereth long and is kind. Christ envieth not. Christ vaunteth not itself, is not puffed
up. Does not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not
not his own. Is not easily provoked. Thinketh no evil, Rejoiceth not in iniquity
but rejoiceth in truth. He bears all things, believes all things,
hopeth all things. It fits doesn’t it? Now what we should do now to get, to make
the point is, let’s put your name in there. Chuck suffereth long and is kind. Chuck envieth not. Chuck vaunteth not himself, is not puffed up. Boy, you don’t have to go very far because
you can’t help but smile, because it’s facetious. Because the gap between Christ and ourselves
is so dramatized by trying to fit our name in here. Do you follow me? Now there are some people you could put in
here surprisingly comfortably. Those are the ones that are like Christ. I could put my wife in through here very comfortably. And … interesting exercise. Sobering exercise as you put your own name. As I put my name in there it’s embarrassing. But you get my point. Another thing about First Corinthians is it
defines the Gospel. That’s a term we use a lot. The Gospel. You’ve heard that term many, many times. I ask you, “What is the Gospel”? “Well, that’s the good news.” That’s evading the question. What is the Gospel? It’s astonishing to discover what the Gospel
really is. First Corinthians 15, the first four verses
Paul defines it, he says, “Moreover brethren I declare onto you the Gospel which I preach
onto you which also you have received, and wherein you stand; By which also you are saved,
if you keep in memory what I preached onto you, unless you believed in vain.” That’s the first three verses, wait until
the fourth. What’s disturbing about that, can you believe
in vain? Eww, that’s a sobering thought for many. I believe, I believe. James is going to tell you devils also believe
and tremble. Belief is not enough in itself. But let’s go on, what is he talking about
the Gospel? He then defines it here. “For I delivered onto you first of all that
which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according
to the scriptures; that he was buried and that he rose again the third day according
to the scriptures.” Three parts, one, that Christ died for our
sins according to the scriptures. It doesn’t … He didn’t disappear. He didn’t
just die. He died fulfilling hundreds of specifications. He died for our sins according to the scriptures. Every detail about Jesus Christ was laid down
in advance hundreds of years before. That’s one of the three parts. And he was buried. It’s strange that Paul would emphasize that,
he’s the only one that does. And I suspect it’s because he builds a case
on that regarding baptism as an idiom of being buried and rose again. Then, of course, and that He rose again the
third day according to the scriptures. And one of the exercises I typically give
one of my students is, okay, where in the scriptures there means the Old Testament,
find the places in the Old Testament where it predicts that He would be raised on the
third day. Well, Jonah. Yeah, okay, Jesus pointed that. He gave you
one of them. There’s about three, four others. So that’s your challenge to dig those out. But the point is, what’s astonishing to me
about the Gospel here is what Paul does not include. Paul makes no mention of His teachings. A lot of people in the world will grant that
Christ was a wonderful teacher. There’s been a lot of wonderful teachers,
maybe none like Him, but still wonderful teacher. Paul makes no mention of His example. He will in the Book of Philippians, but that’s
the Gospel. He makes no mention of His miracles. None of these things are the Gospel. And it’s astonishing to discover how many
churches have pulpits which will talk about everything about Jesus Christ except these
three points. That He died for our sins according to the
scriptures. That He was buried and rose again on the third
day. That’s the Gospel. And it’s the old fashion covered
by the blood bit. That’s the Gospel and Paul emphasized it. But then, of course, we get to the Resurrection. If Paul were standing here I think he would
point to this as the most important chapter in the entire Bible. And the reason that it is, is because
if we don’t … if Christ was not resurrected we have nothing. That was the validation of everything that
went on. From the Book of Leviticus and all the offerings
that were anticipatory of Christ, His death on the cross, all of that, was validated. Marked acceptable so to speak, by the reality
that He rose from the dead. Because He did, we do. So that’s Paul’s whole point there. Now this whole area of resurrection is an
interesting controversy. A lot of people have trouble with the resurrection. What happens when a cannibal eats another
cannibal and some other cannibal eats that cannibal? How are you going to resurrect him? See, what, everybody gets sort of … it’s hard
for us to visualize. What do we mean by resurrection? I think for us in our culture, we have an indebtedness to Michael Crichton for his piece of entertainment called Jurassic
Park. Just a piece of entertainment, piece of science
fiction entertainment based on the premise that these creatures, prehistoric creatures,
dinosaurs, were resurrected, if I can use that term, from a piece of information. As you may recall, his novel Jurassic Park
that was made into a popular movie, the idea was that a mosquito that had taken some blood
from a dinosaur that was captured in amber, which is then preserved. Because you can find amber and you can find
mosquitos in them. The idea is to take that blood, which will
give you the DNA of the dinosaur and from that DNA you can clone or resurrect … that’s
the concept. And obviously there’s some bridges that are
pretty tough to cross, but the basic technology is comfortable to a, to a, in a prognosis
sense. So that gives, of course, the plot line to
the Jurassic Park thing. The point is, it makes an interesting point. See all … see you’re … the atoms that
make up your body, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and a bunch of others, are fungible building
blocks. God doesn’t have to have the carbon atoms
that made up you today to resurrect you 10 years from now or whatever. Those are the building blocks. What He needs, it would seem, is your DNA. With your DNA apparently that’s the definition
of you. And so it helps us at least visualize that
resurrection, it’s not the old bodies that we’re interested in anyway. And I’m not suggesting that our resurrection
bodies are going to be made of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen atoms, but if they were, they don’t
have to be the same ones. They can be whichever ones He wants to use. You understand what I’m saying? So the whole idea of resurrection is a little …
are a little more easily visualizable. Basic building blocks are fungible elements.
And the only requirement is the DNA and maybe a little bit more. Now what kind of body is involved in the resurrection? Jesus is our source, of course. His resurrection
body is the model, if you will. First of all, understand that it was tangible. It wasn’t like a ghost or a holographic
image or something. He challenged them that night when He appeared
among them. Handle Me and see. A Spirit does not have flesh and bone as you
see Me have. Remember? He’s tangible. You could handle Him and feel Him. Now what’s strange about this is they’re in
a room with a floor and a ceiling and four walls, I assume. Let’s visualize it as a six-sided geometric
figure and they’re inside. He was able to enter and leave that without
passing through the walls or the floor and the ceiling. Mathematically He’s in a hyperspace, obviously. But the point that He’s hyper-dimensional,
that’s He’s spatially transcendent is something that we, if … there’s only two kinds of people
who can deal with that, of course. As we mentioned in the very first, one of
the early sessions of this review, and that’s mathematicians with special training or small
children. But there is a statement of physics in
First John 3:2 that I think is far more revealing than most people recognize without any background. In his first letter, John says, “Beloved,
now are we the sons of God. And it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but
we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” Now what’s He saying here? I believe what He’s saying is we’re going
to enjoy the same dimensionality He does. If … we’re not going to see a two dimensional
representation of a three dimensional being. We call that a photograph. A photograph is a two dimensional representation
of a three dimensional person or party, or whatever, right? It won’t be a three dimensional representation
of a four dimensional being. Or a five dimensional representation of a
10 dimensional being. What it means, what He’s saying is we shall
be like Him because we shall see Him as He is. See that implies to me that when He was among
them in the upper room, they saw Him, they handled Him, but I suspect there was far more
there than they could apprehend. That won’t be our case when we are resurrected
because we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is. So those peculiar properties of His resurrection
body are ones that we’ll enjoy too. Strange stuff, but it’s amazing how often
in the scripture there are physics statements in effect. But getting back to First Corinthians 15 where
Paul goes on, he says, “Behold I show you a mystery.” Now the word mystery in the Greek is not like
we use the term. Mystery is something not understood. The word mysterion in the Greek from which
that’s translated is actually something that’s been secret up until now I’m revealing it
to you. The concept isn’t so much hiding as much as
now revealing in the term. “I show you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be
changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trump. For the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall
be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption,
and this mortal must put on immortality.” “For this corruptible must put on incorruption,
and this mortal must put on immortality.” Quite a statement. Couple of things about this he says, “in a
moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” He doesn’t say in the blink of an eye, that’s
a long time. The twinkling of the eye is the time it takes
light, at the speed of light, to transit your lens surface. And if you go through the arithmetic of that,
it’s pretty close to 10 to the minus 35 seconds which is the shortest measure of time possible. There’s a measurement of time, that’s what
quantum physics is about, length, mass, energy, time, all are made up of indivisible units
and the smallest unit of time, I suspect, is what he’s talking about here. Not a … anyway at the last trump. Now a lot of people try to make this trumpet,
the last trump, the seventh of the Revelation. That’s misunderstanding Revelation. We’ll deal with that when we get there. But in any case, there will be a final
trumpet as far as we’re concerned. A main trumpet. When it sounds, and there’s going to be more,
we’ll find out there’s more about this that Paul will reveal to the Thessalonians when we get
there. But this is, of course, this strange time,
when we shall … this instant. See there will be a time, there will be a
generation that won’t die. Many of us in the room may pass away before
that time comes, but some of us in this room may very well be alive at this instant when
God gathers his church. And Paul will deal with that in depth
in his Thessalonian letters. But there are seven transitions involved. We go from corruption to incorruptible, from
dishonor, this flesh, to glory, from weakness to power, from the physical world to the spiritual
world. Now this is where we usually get it upside
down. We tend to think the physical world is the
real world, the spiritual world is sort of this fuzzy, ghostly, we tend to look at in
secondary terms. It’s the other way around. We know from particle physics that you and
I live in a simulated world, a digital virtual reality, not a real reality. We’re bounded. As something … in a finite universe on the
one hand, and a digital simulation on the quantum side. We’re in this strange interval. No, the physical world is a subset of a larger
reality. The spiritual world is the embracing of the
larger reality. That’s where we’re transferred to. We’re going to earthly to heavenly, from flesh
and blood to the transcendent and from mortal to immortal. Well anyway, let’s move on to Second Corinthians. We’ve got a lot of these to cover, let’s keep
moving here. So Titus, as I said, brings a disturbing
report. Because there are detractors that are attacking
Paul’s character. His opponents are hinting at cowardice
and all this sort of thing. They insinuate doubts about his credentials and
all this. So Paul is quite troubled by this. So Paul is forced to respond for the health
of the Gospel there and throughout the region. And so he has an impassioned
self-defense in Second Corinthians. “A wounded spirit to erring and ungrateful
children,” as one person described it. A letter written with “A quill dipped in tears,”
as one person describes it from Apostle, from his anguish of heart. It contains more pathos than all his other
letters. The early letter was written from Ephesus … to Corinth from Ephesus and he was compelled to flee because there was some fanatical reactions
from the silver merchants there and so forth. The Diana thing and all that. So in any case, he eventually gets to
Corinth, stays there three months, but at the interval between leaving Ephesus and Corinth
he wrote this letter. Probably from Philippi on his way over there. Deeply affected the circumstances. So the Second Epistle to Corinthians. “Christ is our comfort amid trial.” He starts, of course, by renouncing his critics
by recounting his authority, his motive, his message and his background. And then he appeals to his converts about
things spiritual and things material. He deals with both those issues. And he answers his critics and their pretensions
and he underscores his credentials. That’s … Second Corinthians has a great deal
of his background where Paul unabashedly lays it on the line. As I mentioned, there was three visits. When it was first founded, then the previous
letter that’s alluded to, and then the one that resulted in First Corinthians, his response
to Chloe’s household. Then he has this painful visit where it was
very tense to which he writes a very severe letter that he’s very apprehensive about. Titus is supposed to check it out, and they
finally do connect and his report says they went well. And that caused him to write Second Corinthians
with this passion thing. But he’s still dealing with some problems
there. And then there’s a final visit. So, anyway, so much for the Corinthian letters. Move onto Galatians. Galatians is really a polemic against the
perversion of the Gospel. And that shouldn’t surprise us that we see
people today perverting the Gospel. It’s not a new problem, it’s been there from
the beginning and Paul deals with it head-on. See, Romans deals with what it means to be
grounded in doctrine. Corinthians how to be guided in practice. Galatians had to be guarded against error. There are three slightly different tacts here. Romans is grounded, Corinthians is guiding
and practice and Galatians is in a sense guarded with error. Some people call Galatians sort of a short
Romans in some respects. And Paul had visited there prior to writing
them. His second visit was less reassuring than
the first. So he really nails them against errors and
he speaks there of another Gospel. “If anyone preach another Gospel than the
one I preach let him be anathema, condemned to hell.” He really hits that pretty hard. And, he emphasizes the liberation
through the Gospel. It speaks of its authenticity, it’s genuine
to its origin. He argues that it’s genuine to its nature
and talks about the superiority of the Gospel of Christ. The new relation it effects, the privileges
it releases, and the true liberty we have in Christ. This is perhaps its main underscore here. Love service ends law bondage. The Galatians, just like the Book of Romans,
deal with our freedom from the law. We have a service of love rather than a bondage
to the law. So there’s a big tension between the flesh
and the spirit. The flesh being bondage to the law and the
spirit being freed from the law. And he emphasizes that very hard. There is a catalog of compromise. Faith versus work is one of them. Grace versus the law. It reflects that. Spirit versus the flesh. These are all echos of the same kind of tension. Truth versus error. The church versus the state. We see that in this country. Christianity versus paganism. We live in a culture where our government
schools inculcate paganism in our children. Christ versus the pseudo Christ. So again, there’s this whole profile. These are all echos of somewhat the same tension,
if you will. Flesh versus spirit. You know, Abraham was 430 years before the
law. And the point that Paul makes in Galatians
is the promises of God preceded the law and the law cannot … the promises cannot be
disannulled by the law because Abraham had the promises long before Moses, long before
the law was given and so on. And Paul even makes this distinction between
Ishmael. He portrays Ishmael as the son of the flesh,
Issac the fruit of the spirit. And he speaks of these two sons idiomatically,
if you will, as the flesh and the spirit. Ishmael is the flesh that is unbelief. He says, “The son of the bond woman will not
be heir.” His point is, not the person, the point is
what he represents. Isaac is of the promise. He was a response to faith. It was Abraham’s trusting God to resurrect
Isaac that saved him. See the ultimate triumph of faith was the
offering of Isaac and Paul hammers that home in Galatians 4. We’ve talked about the gifts of the spirit
in Corinthians. We are not called to be gift inspectors. We’ve been called to be fruit inspectors. So what are the fruits of the spirit? Or I call this little segment, How’s Your
Love Life? [laugh] I’m not using it in the Hollywood
sense. See fruits of the spirit: Love, joy, peace,
long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control. These are the gifts of the Spirit. There’s nine of them, right? It’s interesting the first three are fruits
in the heart: Love, Joy, Peace. The next three are fruits that affect your
neighbor: Long suffering, Gentleness, and Goodness. And the next three are those that relate …
manifest your relationship to God: Faith, Meekness, Self-control. It’s interesting the second and third of each
triad here is echoing the first. Joy is love exalting and peace is love responding. Gentleness is long suffering, it’s passive,
and goodness is long suffering that is active. See these things are not just a list of words
that sound good. There’s some deep structure behind this. And meekness is faith toward God and self-control
faith in your life. So these are the nine gifts of the Spirit. And these are the ways that you can tell where
you’re at in terms of your spiritual growth. Not by the gifts you manifest, speaking in
tongues or whatever. No. One of the fruits of the Spirit, that’s what’s
the critical thing. Now he also talks about fruit bearing. Those are the nine fruits of the Spirit. There’s also, Paul emphasized burden bearing. Bear one another’s burdens. And then he also talks about seed bearing. “Whatsoever a man sows, that’s what he shall
reap.” And finally he talks about brand bearing,
or mark bearing, if you will. “I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus he goes
on.” Let’s talk about brand bearing or mark bearing,
if you will. There are handful of places that you had brands. Slaves had a brand. That was a mark of ownership. They were branded to say who owned them. Soldiers had a mark on them, a mark of allegiance. What was their allegiance to? Criminals had a mark on them, a mark of conviction. You know, 26401 and Les Miserables, whatever,
okay. The people that were abhorred had a mark of
reproach on them. Devotees would have a mark of consecration. Paul’s body had all five. Because he was a slave to Christ; he was a
soldier for the Gospel; he was a criminal in the sense he was convicted in deed; and
he was abhorred by some. He had the marks to prove it. And yet he had also the mark of consecration. So Paul actually had all five. But the summary of the whole Book of Galatians
it can be in one verse. Paul asked them, “Are you so foolish having
begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect in the flesh?” See the Galatians were saved but, they were
all hung up with legalism. Keeping the law. He says are you guys so foolish? What God has begun in the Spirit, are you
now going to be made perfect or completed in the flesh? Hardly. And that’s the under girding … logic throughout the whole Epistle. Okay, well, we’ve … let’s take a look at
one of the capstones of the whole series, Ephesians. Its doctrinal statement is on ecclesiology. Most people have no idea what the church is. Ephesians is the secret to this in a sense. Our wealth in Christ. And Paul goes through
our price for spiritual possession, the prayer for spiritual perceptions, our new condition
in Christ, our new relation in Christ, revealing the divine mystery and the divine fullness. And our walk in Christ. So we have our wealth in Christ the first
three chapters and the walk in Christ and the last three. So we got the first three are conceptual,
the last three are practical. The church corporately, believers individually,
and all the way through, climaxing in the armor of God. We’ll talk about when we get there. But one of the things that … when did God
first start dealing with you? And that’s expressed in Ephesians, Chapters
1, verse 1-5. Paul says, “According as He hath chosen us
in Him when? Before the foundation of the world that we
should be holy without blame before Him in love.” That’s astonishing to realize God had you
on His mind before the world was created. “Having predestinated us to the adoption of children
by Jesus Christ to Himself according to the good pleasure of His will.” See the word chosen, by the way, in verse
4 there is in the aorist tense in the Greek. That means once and for all. It’s also in the middle voice. We have active voice and passive voice. The Greek has a middle voice. It adds a sense of choosing for one’s own
self. In other words, you are a participant in his
choosing. And you are chosen out of the world once and
for all for God’s own peculiar pleasure. You were chosen to be holy because we were
… not because we were holy, but in order for us to be holy. That’s why we were chosen. Now the word adoption here is misleading as
we tend to use in our culture. They had a different concept. You could be born of a father but you didn’t
accede to your rights as a son until there was a formal public ceremony called adoption. And the adoption meant the public attestation
of adult sonship. That’s when you were conferred … had conferred
upon you your privileges as a son. Up until adoption you were a son technically,
but you were treated as a slave of the house. When you are adopted as a son, you then acceded
to the rights of maturity, if you will. We are already sons of God according to John
1 and other passages. But He has predestinated us onto the adoption
of children by Jesus Christ to Himself according to the good pleasure of His will. Very powerful point. A sort of parallel if you remember the story
of Ben-Hur. When Quintus Arius a prominent Roman adopts
Judah Ben-Hur as his son. He then has all the privileges as if he was
his actual son. But, anyway, and in verse 7 he says, “In whom
we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches
of his grace;” The word redemption simply means to be released
from by ransom. We’ve been ransomed, we’ve been paid for. “In whom we have redemption through his blood,
the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” And so a ransom paid in respect of the
eternal principles of righteousness which govern the universe. The holy laws of God which humans have outraged. You say, “Gee, my sins don’t seem that big.” That’s because you don’t understand how pure
God is. The problem isn’t your sin alone, the problem
is the gap between you and a Holy God. That’s what we can’t grasp. And that’s, that’s the holiness that has been
outraged by our behavior. Then he has in this Epistle the concept
of sealing. He says, “In a whom ye also trusted after
that ye heard the word of truth the Gospel of your salvation in whom also after that
ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise which is the earnest of
our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession onto the praise of his
glory.” This was something that Paul had a hard time
really grasping. He was trained as a Pharisee, he was trained
under Gamaliel. The concept of the Holy Spirit was, had sealed
us, was mind blowing to him. He could remember King Saul! Spirit went and came. All through the Old Testament, the spirit
would be there and then he wouldn’t be. In other words, it was … he had his own volition. Here we’re entering a period in which the
Holy Spirit is God’s commitment. There’s a concept of irrevocability involved
here “which we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Which is the earnest of our inheritance.” The earnest is like a downpayment that seals
the bargain. A prepayment, if you will, to seal
the bargain and so forth. But then we have this incredible passage. People who have not memorized other scriptures
generally have included this in their list, How are we saved? “By grace are ye saved through faith and that
not of yourselves. It is a gift of God.” In other words, the faith itself is a gift. “For by grace are you saved through faith
and that not of yourselves it is a gift God.” The faith itself by which you gained
the grace is a gift of God. Why? Not of works. Why? “Lest any man should boast.” God did the whole job, He wants full credit
for it. To try to add to your salvation is blasphemy. You’re trying to add to something that God
has completed. He goes on, “For we are His workmanship,” his
poema. Same word from which we get poem. “We are his workmanship. Created in Christ Jesus onto good works which
God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Now one of the questions you sooner or later
will ask yourself is why did God bother? God knew before He created the universe that
Adam given a chance would blow it. And He puts Adam with his own free will knowing
he’s going to get himself in a predicament that nothing less than the death of God will
avail to get him out of it. Didn’t God see this coming? Of course He did. All the sin, all the pain, all the suffering
in the world caused by sin. Didn’t God see this coming? Why bother? The answer is not in these two … few verses,
it’s the verse that comes just ahead of this that people overlook. Not verse 8 but verse 7. His ultimate purpose is disclosed here. He says, “That in the ages to come, He might
show the exceeding riches of His grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” See how can God demonstrate infinite power? Well one way you can get a glimpse of that is look
through a telescope and try to understand the universe. The more you study it, the more astonishing
it is. Infinite power. The concept of infinite knowledge. We can probably
begin to imagine, not thoroughly embrace. But how do you demonstrate infinite love? Now I suggest to you that by putting man in
the situation in which to extricate him from that, it would take nothing else but the death
of God Himself. This whole panorama that started in Eden gets
its peak at the cross at Golgotha. It’s a demonstration of infinite love. We will spend an eternity trying to understand
what it cost Him. God’s creation is phenomenal, but let’s take
a look at the … in the Bible there’s what a couple of chapters? Couple of chapters in
Genesis, couple of chapters in Isaiah, Job, a few? That’s about it for creation. How many … how much of the Bible is dedicated
to redemption? Well, the whole book of Genesis, the whole
thing of the Exodus. I mean as you study each book you realize
each book is primarily focused on God’s plan of redemption all the way to Revelation, which
is the climax. Another way to measure importance isn’t just
how much the Bible spends on it. The other way is, let’s talk about what it
cost Him. What did the creation cost Him? Six days. He breathed it out of His nostrils. The creation as manifest as it is, He did
in six days. [pause] What did the redemption of you and
me cost Him? [whistle] The death of His Son. I heard a recent presentation by Joe Foch that really touched me where he described the last week of Christ from the
point of view of the Father. Joe being a father and having had his son go
through an emergency where he had to get to emergency and have … deal with doctors that
weren’t really on their toes and stuff. The pain of the Father seeing His Son abused
was vivid in his mind. It occurred to him, can you imagine God the
Father enduring the insults and the abuse of His Son? Never dawned on me the pain, the agony from
the Father’s point of view! We generally visualize, you know, try to visualize
it from Christ’s point of view. From the Father’s point of view is a whole
nother dimension. Anyway, all this to demonstrate love. Now there’s another mystery that’s in the
book of Ephesians that we want to touch on. Back in Matthew 11
Jesus made a strange remark about John the Baptist. He says, “Verily I say onto you among them
that are born of women there have not risen a greater than John the Baptist:” Now wait a minute, that’s quite a statement. Among all them that are born of women, there’s
none greater than John. Excepting, of course, Christ, let’s set that
aside. “Verily I say onto you among them that are
born of women there have not risen a greater than John the Baptist:” That’s quite a statement, but before he finishes
his sentence, look what he says, “Notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven
is greater than he.” What? Does that mean John the Baptist wasn’t saved? No. No. It’s explained a few verses later. Jesus says, “For all the prophets and the
law prophesied until John.” What He’s saying is John is the end of the
Old Testament. The same thing is recorded in Luke 16:16. See we need to recognize that John the Baptist
is the closure of the Old Testament. Not Malachi, that happens to be the last book
in our Bible, but … Old Testament … in our Bible in the Old Testament. No, the Old Testament goes until John the Baptist. Was John the Baptist saved? Yes, but he was saved as an Old Testament
saint. Jesus is introducing something fresh, and it’s
Paul’s privilege to reveal it more fully and he makes a big point of that. A mystery revealed. This is in Ephesians 3, the first dozen verses
are very important. You see it was no secret that Christ was to
come and bear the sins of many. It’s all through the Old Testament. It was no secret that He would be a prince
and a Savior to both Jews and Gentiles. Isaiah talks a lot about that. There’s no secret that the Holy Spirit would
be poured out. Joel and others speak of that. There was no secret that the remission of
sins was to be preached on the throne of David and all that. All these things are in the Old Testament. But the church is not. The church is not. Well, what is the church then? See that’s the key. See this is what Paul’s privilege was. In Ephesians 3 he says, “How that by revelation
He made known onto me the mystery…” Paul speaking. “Which in other ages was not made known onto
the sons of men, as it is now revealed onto His holy apostles and the prophets by the
Spirit.” What? “That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs
and of the same Body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the Gospel:” The implications of that are staggering. It doesn’t mean just that Gentiles can be
saved, but they are going to enjoy a relationship, a fellowship, being joint heirs with Christ. That’s a whole nother thing. And that’s what so astonishing about the …
what’s available to you and I. And Paul … many of us don’t understand his
Epistles because we don’t understand the answer, cause we don’t understand the problem. You need to understand, you won’t really understand
this unless you really understand the Old Testament to realize what a unique benefit
this is. Anyway, the Hope of His Calling, the Resurrection
and Immortality, our Joint reign with Christ, the Eternal inheritance, these are all emphasis. Perfect transformation of the image of Christ
all of these things are His hope. But there is another verse, just to show you,
Ephesians is just an incredible Epistle. In verse 18 of Chapter 3, he says, “That Christ
may dwell in your hearts by faith that ye being grounded … rooted and grounded in
love may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth
and heighth and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled
with all the fullness of God.” Incredible passage except, what did he
say? The breadth and length and depth and height. How many dimensions are there? Four. You know the Bible is the only book on the
planet earth that transcends a three dimensional universe. In many, many ways, but here’s just one example
where we see a four dimensional. And one of those words in the Greek represent
time, by the way, of that fourth dimension. But then let’s get to the final wrap up in
Ephesians here. He says … of our cosmic warfare. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but
against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against
spiritual wickedness in high places.” We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood,
he says, but what against? We have here a group of Greek words that are
actually … ranks of angels. These are the rulers of darkness of this world,
spiritual wickedness in high places and he’s not just talking about, you know, ranks as
we might think in Washington. He’s talking about the dark world. That’s what we’re up against. So here’s our imperative. He says, “Put on the whole armor of God that
you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” In other words, be completely armed, put on
the whole armor. Not just your favorite pieces. To do that, you need to know what the whole
armor is. When you do you do this? Not during the battle. You do this … you put the armor on before
the battle begins, but I got bad news for you, we’re already in it and we’re on enemy
turf. Now many people think … he’s going to get into
the seven elements of the armor. Most people assume he mentions this cause
he’s chained to a Roman soldier. He’s chained to the Roman soldier so the Roman
solider couldn’t get away. Can you imagine standing a full shift of duty
chained to Paul? [laughter] But many people assume he’s taking
these idioms of the armor by looking at the soldier. That’s naive, because he’s drawing these
idioms from the Old Testament. Isaiah 59:17 he speaks of righteousness as
breastplate and helmet of salvation on his head and garments. So these idioms are not unique to Paul’s experience
there. But let’s just look at quickly. To be girded with truth. “What is truth”? Pilate cynically asked. Well, that’s a big issue. And we obviously can’t develop it here, but
I challenge you to find out what that really means. What do you mean girded with truth? And put on the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate protected your vitals. The piercing of it usually was fatal. You need to have a breastplate of righteousness. And if you’re relying on your own righteousness
you’re in deep trouble. It’s got to be Christ’s righteousness. Your feet shod with preparation. Those of you who have been hand-to-hand or
boxing or wrestling, or whatever, you know the importance of proper footwork. Feet shod with preparation. And … we need to realize that
there is training and preparation required. How many of you, let me put it this way. In one book of the Bible seven different people
on twelve different occasions gave a Bible study that always produced a lot of fruit
for the kingdom and we never do this today. What Bible study was given by seven different
people on twelve different occasions that always was very fruitful and yet we never
do it today? Isn’t that astonishing? What is that Bible study? Presenting Jesus Christ entirely
from the Old Testament. All through the Book of Acts when they presented
Christ from the scriptures, the scriptures they were talking about was the Old Testament. They presented Christ from the Old Testament. How many of you could you present to a Jewish
friend the Messiah of Israel using just the Tanakh, the Old Testament? It’s not hard to do. It takes a little training, a little outline
to follow, but it takes preparation. And the shield of faith. You know the shield was something that they
repaired between battles. You don’t go into battle with a hole in your
shield. Are there holes in your faith? Are there things that bother you that you
never really had answers? Chase them down, fix them now. Otherwise they’ll come back to haunt you. The helmet of salvation. Boy that’s a whole nother subject. Just owning one is not enough, you’d better
be wearing it. You can tell the people who don’t wear their
helmets by the bandages. But the last one … not the last, next to last
one is the sword of the spirit. What is the sword of the spirit? The word of God. Most people recognize that idiom. The sword of the spirit. In the … history of military
technology, generally a long sword was an advantage because you had more reach. But the Romans did something very, very strange,
they developed a double edged short 24 inch machaira and with that short sword
they conquered the world. But there’s some things that you need to understand
about the machaira. The reason they did is because they had special
training on how to use it, and they practiced, practiced, practiced, practiced, practiced. The same thing is true with your sword that’s
in your lap right now. You need to be trained to use it and you need
practice. Sword of the Spirit. The seventh is your heavy artillery. That’s your action at a distance kind of weapon. Prayer. Right now there are troubled missionary opportunities
around the world. You can participate in those opportunities
without an airline ticket, in your bedroom, by getting on your knees and holding those
missionaries up in prayer. People come up to me and say, “Chuck, what can
we do for the ministry?” Number one, pray for us. It is a warfare. God’ll take care of the rest. Then our final imperative, “Finally my brethren
be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” This is the imperative mood. That means it’s a command, it’s not a suggestion. “Be strong.” Where? “In the Lord.” It’s in the present tense that means be continually
strong. Not just … it’s not just … it’s not a
once occasion kind of thing. And it’s in the passive voice. You receive the action. “Finally my brethren be strong in the Lord
and in the power of His might.” This is just a picture of Ephesis to remind
us that this was a real place. These are elegant letters with very, very
high concepts, but it was … it was real people in real places having real problems. Just like you and I have. That’s what it’s all about. Well, let’s zip through a few more here and
then we’ll wrap it up. Philippians, “Rejoices through suffering. Christ in our life, Christ in our mind, Christ
in our goal, Christ in our strength. Joy through suffering.” Paul said, “For me to live as Christ to die
is gain. What things were gain to me, those I counted
loss for Christ. I can do all things through Christ which strengthen
me.” How many athletes use Philippians 4:13 on
their signature. That’s interesting. “Rejoice in the Lord all way: and again I say, rejoice.” Joy through suffering. That’s the theme … There is a passage in here
called the Kenosis a very unusual passage in Ephesians, excuse me, in Philippians 2. “Let this mind be and you which is also in
Christ.” This sometimes is called by some the mind
of Christ. “Let this mind be and you which was in Christ. Who, being in the form of God deemed it not to be
selfishly clung to, but emptied Himself.” Wow. “And took the form of a bondman Becoming in the likeness of men He humbled
Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Ephesians 2:5 and following. It’s called the
Kenosis or the mind of Christ. The most astonishing example of humility possible
in the universe. Where God Himself deigns. There’s seven elements here. You can study them on your own, we better
keep moving. Colossians is another one of these incredible
Epistles. It’s a response to the Gnostics. Gnostics comes from the Greek word meaning
to know. This means … secret knowledge
or esoteric knowledge. Huxley coined the term agnostic, meaning without
knowledge. You see people proudly saying, “Well, I’m
an agnostic.” That’s the Greek root. If you take the Latin root the word is ignoramus. [Laughter]. It doesn’t go over so well at cocktail parties. “Well, I’m an ignoramus.” It doesn’t quite work. But, you get the idea. Anyway. The gnostics claimed to have special knowledge. It was a mixture of mysticism, Eastern speculation
and Jewish legalism. It’s fascinating this has many forms and we
see it emerging today even in Hollywood there’s a big fascination with the Kabbalah which
is a Hebrew mysticism. The pattern is pretty straightforward. At first, if you reject God you become materialistic,
and when you discover that materialism, which tends to be self-oriented, is empty or
vacuous and you’ve already rejected God, the next natural place is to look to mysticism. Is there anybody out there? So mysticism comes up in many forms throughout
history and Colossians is one of the rebuttals to that. Alexandria was a major headquarters for the
Gnostics. That’s why the Alexandrian manuscripts by
Westcott and Hort and others have come under some suspicion in more recent days. Eastern speculations plus mysticism. Man made traditions and philosophy in a sense. Matter was considered evil. They even they had a form of astrology thinking
that stars were really angelic beings and they were somehow associated with heavenly
bodies and so on. They also mixed into this some Jewish legalism. Good and evil were derived from rules. Watch out for that. Circumcision, Old Testament dietary laws were
embraced by them strangely enough. So anyway, … Colossians is, in effect, corrections
to these abuses, and so there’s a doctrinal, it’s the fullness of Christ, Christ is …
preemptive over all things. And there’s a lot of practical issues that
derive from that both individually and collectively and then he has a personal agenda. Colossians is a great book on Christology. Christ Himself – the visible form of the invisible
God. The Prior-head of all creation, in Him was
the universe created. He is before the universe, in Him the universe
coheres. He not only created, He holds it together. The Head of the Body: the church. It’s very,
very high thoughts here in Colossians. He’s the Firstborn from among the dead, and
key verse in Colossian 1 “For by Him,” Christ, “were all things created that are in heaven, that
are in the earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions or principalities
or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him. For He is before all things, and by Him are all
things held together. He is the head of the body, the church:
who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He might have preeminence.
For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of
His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things
in earth, or things in heaven.” We have the Epistles to the Thessalonians
which is a culmination. It’s actually the earliest of the Epistles,
but probably also, in some respects the climax. We’re going to deal with that in the session
after next where he’ll remind them of things Paul taught them the first few weeks of their
Christian walk. We’ll talk about the harpazo,
the rapture and all of that. In the next session we’re going to talk about
a review of eschatology, the study of the last things. We’ll talk about amillenial, premillenial, what
is the rapture? Pre-trib, post-trib, mid-trib. Does the church go through trib? All these things will be done, not in the
next session, session 21, the session after next. So there we are. We have the four pastoral Epistles which are
pretty straightfoward. How many of you are in the full time ministry? Can I see a show of hands. Good for you. How many of you are saved? Okay. How many of you are on the full time ministry
whether you know it not? Okay, you’re caught up with me, all right,
okay. So these pastoral Epistles appear to … apply to all of us. And they talk about the diversity of gifts,
the depth of commitment, the challenges that are predictable. It anticipates the problems you are having
today. These Epistles are God’s special message. Timothy was Paul’s protege and he gave him
a lot of good counsel in terms of the assembly and conduct and so forth and the offices of
deacons and elders are all spelled out there. And the assembly in general and particular
groups and how to deal with them. The second Epistle is probably one of the
most interesting ones because it is probably the last Epistle he wrote. He was in prison. He was in prison, facing death and he’s encouraging
Timothy. I love … something backwards there. He talked about true pastors under testings,
the personal reaction, the true pastoral reaction and he talks about end-time troubles that
are coming. And, he also includes warnings. Some have turned aside, some have made a shipwreck,
some fall away. In other words, the whole theme is finishing
well is the challenge. You’ve got a good start, how are you going
to finish is what’s … Some have missed the mark, some have been led astray. See our challenge, you and I, if we’re saved,
if you’re not saved, you got other issues. But once you’re saved, then your next thing
is, can you finish well? That’s what these letters are all about. Paul says, “I fought a good fight, I finished
my course, I’ve kept the faith. Henceforth there is a laid up for me a crown
of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge shall give me at that day. And not to me only, but unto all them also
that love His appearing. For the which cause I also suffer these things: I am not ashamed for I know whom I have believed,
and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed onto Him against
that day.” He’s the guardian of your real treasures. Titus is another letter he … Titus was Paul’s
troubleshooter, one of his most trusted workers. He accompanied Paul and Barnabas on the difficult
trip to the Jerusalem Council. He’s sent on diplomatic missions to Corinth
and Macedonia and elsewhere. Paul left him … often leaves him in authority. Paul … he’s his cleanup guy. And he has a great Epistle about keeping things
in order and … how to deal with members in general and so forth. There’s … every art gallery has room for
one little small masterpiece. And this list of Epistles has one little gem
at the end. A little letter to Philemon. Has a little salutation. Praise of Philemon himself. Paul’s writing him, too. And there’s a guy by the name of Onesimus
who has been a runaway slave from Philemon. He’s met Paul, he’s become saved. Paul is sending him back to Philemon, and
… he’s telling Philemon to treat him, he says you owe me buddy. And whatever is owed you, put in on my credit
card. That’s really what’s he saying. So Paul’s pledge and assurances there. See what’s interesting … it’s an example
of intercession. Paul is interceding for Onesimus to Philemon
on behalf of Onesimus. What’s … it’s a beautiful gem because you
and I are also God’s property and are fugitives. And our guilt is great, our penalties are
heavy, just like Onesimus and the law condemns us and conscience betrayed us, and yet Jesus
says, as Paul did here, “put it all on my account.” And so, there’s a benediction and a close
out thing. So that’s it. Let’s stand for a closing word of prayer. Well, Father we thank You for Your word, we
thank You for this brief opportunity to surface it, to get our arms around it, to review it. We pray Father that You would just increase in each
of us a hunger, an appetite. We pray Father too, that You would lead us
to where we should go next. Where we should probe more deeply. But in all these things Father, we just pray
that You would open our hearts and lives to Your word that we might be more fruitful stewards
of these gifts You’ve given us. We pray Father that we might be growing in
the grace and knowledge of the Lord and Savior and that we would be more pleasing in Your
sight. As we go forth and just commit ourselves without
any reservation into Your hands. In the name of Yeshua, our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ. Amen.

17 thoughts on “Learn the Bible in 24 Hours – Hour 19 – Small Groups – Chuck Missler”

  1. I love Chuck's teachings, but one of the only things that rubs me the wrong way is the emphasis of 'the Word' referring to the Bible… Jesus and only Jesus is the Word (capital). The word (lowercase) is the message of God – which isn't limited to verses in the Bible. The NT authors are very specific when referring to the Bible (scriptures) or word (verbal or spiritually spoken message). We have gotten lazy and use the 2 interchangeably. I can quote bible verses to someone all day and it won't do anything without the Spirit working through me and in them…
    I sometimes wonder if Paul is up in heaven horrified at how we almost worship the letters he wrote as much as the Lord he followed…

  2. Wow, thanks Chuck for sharing all of this information which obviously must have taken many many hours to find and put together. You are answering some questions about big words that are used in Bible college that I don't understand and never would have taken the time to research for myself. It's like getting all kinds of golden nuggets for free with out the sweat and time. Thanks for sharing. I am learning a lot.

  3. There has been a buzz on the internet about Paul being a fake apostle boy are they coming down on our gospel and the truth spoken word of our Lord and savior Yeshua God bless you Chuck Missler until I see you on the other side thank you from the bottom of my heart for being the most beautiful instructor of our Lord and savior

  4. All new King Jesus Christ was to be resurrected 3rd day and nobody was there waiting! Mind blowing! My Love

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