QUESTIONER: Hi, John. My name is Al and I praise God for being here tonight. And I also want to thank you for your teaching and for the ministries of Grace Church because it was through Grace Church and my beautiful wife that I came to know the Lord 10 months ago into obedience.
Q: I want to read a couple of verses first and then ask you a question. The first one is in Mark 11:23, Jesus is saying, "Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be taken up and cast into the sea and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says is going to happen, it shall be granted him." And now in Romans 10:10, it also says, "For with the heart man believes." And then in Mark 12:30 it says, "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and all your mind and with all your strength." And I don't want to doubt with my heart, and I want to believe with my heart, and I definitely want to love the Lord with all my heart.
But I don't understand exactly what is a heart? I don't know-- it's not this physical thing that pumps blood...
JOHN: That's good. Yeah, it's terrific. What is a heart? You know, we've got so much cultural garbage piled around the heart in our world. You see them on the bumper stickers...you know, with Beagles and dogs and parakeets, you know, "I" and then a heart, love, "K-Mart" or whatever it is. We associate the heart, you know, with emotion, that's our problem. We associate the heart with emotion. I love you with all my heart, means...whoom...you know, whatever, more than something that's cold and decisive, it's something that's emotional.
But that is not the biblical use of the term "heart." And the best way to understand it, to simplify, you know, your question is this, the heart is the core of our being in the Scripture. It is that part of us which knows and thinks and feels. The Old Testament says, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." I believe the heart is really the equivalent of the mind. And I think when you look at loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, you cannot sort out all four of those things and say, "This is this, and this is this, and this is this, and this is that," and we've got four little deals in us all going independently. I think what he's doing is simply trying to get the message across that we have to love God with every fiber of our being, in every perceivable and imperceptible dimension of existence. But the heart is the composite essence of my thinking processes. I think there, I know there, I understand there, and I feel there. And so, it is not emotion without mind. That's what I'm trying to say.
Now if you want to talk about emotion...you're going to find in the Hebrew culture that the emotion is in the Bible, translated in the Authorized version, bowels. And you go back to Song of Solomon and when his lover comes to the door and he's at the door and he says, you know, in effect, "I feel my love for you in my bowels," that doesn't sound too, you know, romantic, frankly. And if you try that on some girl, she'll probably slam the door in your face, but...the viscera.
And you know, the truth of the matter is that that's where you feel your emotion. That's where you feel your emotion in your...you know, you have, 1 John 3:16, if you say you love God and your neighbor has need and you shut up your bowels of compassion. In other words, you don't feel any emotion, you're not hurting over his need, how dwells the love of God in you? So I would say that in a general sense the Hebrew understanding was that the heart was representative or equivalent to the mind...to the thinking capabilities. That means that you can only love God in the sense that you know God or know about Him. Therefore the more I know about God, the more capable I am of loving and adoring and praising Him. The more I know about God, the more ready I am to believe Him for everything because I know Him. I cannot know God...I mean, I cannot trust God for something in a vacuum of ignorance. You know what I mean? I can't believe He'll deliver me unless I know He's a God whose proven to be a deliverer. I can't believe that He'll strengthen me unless I know He is a God of great strength. I can't believe He'll comfort me unless I know Him to be the God of all comfort.
But when I know that, it is my knowledge about God that controls my responses. I mean, that's where Habakkuk was in chapter 1, he's crying out to God, "How long am I going to keep crying, God? Come down and judge this bitter and hasty nation, the Chaldeans, and come down and revive Your people Israel." And then God says I'm going to use the Chaldeans to judge the Israelites. And he says I don't understand it. Why don't You revive Your people? Why are You judging them? And how can You judge them with this bitter and hasty Chaldean nation? And he's got a terrible problem. And so he steps back and starts to recite what he knows about God. And he says, he uses the term "Almighty God," he talks about God's eternity, that is He was before the problem, He'll be after the problem. He uses the term of God's covenant-keeping character. He says God's too holy to look on iniquity, cannot look upon sin. And God doesn't make mistakes. Therefore... And as he begins to recite in his own mind his theology proper, his knowledge of God, it begins to control his emotion and his feeling so that finally in chapter 3, after he's recited all the history of what God has done, he says, in effect, "If everything in the world goes to pieces, I'll continue to rejoice in the Lord of my salvation." I mean, if all the crops die, he says, and everything goes whacky in the world, I'm okay...I'm okay because of what I know.
So, loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, believing in God with all your heart, trusting God with all your heart is a question of knowing God in your heart.
And then that has the effect of, you know, effecting your feeling and your emotion. But that's the distinction you want to make.
And we could say more about that but that's the basic distinction that the heart is the center of thought and attitude and understanding and knowledge. It's the mind, really. Okay?
Q: Okay. Thank you.
QUESTIONER: My name is Steve and I've had many people ask me this question and they would like to know what the Christian attitude should be to the California State Lottery?
JOHN: To the Lottery?
J: I told somebody the other day, don't buy those lottery tickets but if you win, give the money to Grace Church. And..let me give you an answer to that. It's a good...I'm glad you asked that, Steve, I was going to bring that up tonight.
Personally, personally, I don't see gambling as a legitimate expression of my stewardship of what God has given to me. There is no verse in the Bible that says "do not gamble." Somebody always says, "Well, I mean, even the disciples cast lots."
Right, that was a means by which they were able to determine the will of God because God spoke through that method. That's a little different.
I do not believe that the Bible legitimizes gambling as a means of stewardship. I also feel that on the social end of it, I think the lottery is a disaster and I'll tell you why. The people who buy the tickets are the people who can least afford to buy the tickets. And an already poor populace are literally consuming those things. It plays into the hands of the people who need to learn how to work productively and not hope against hope. And it's another expression of they that would be rich fall into many snares and hurtful lusts.
I heard on the radio today something that is a bizarre illustration of this. I couldn't believe what I heard. There was a guy, a Midwest, I don't know if you heard about it, a bank manager who embezzled ten million dollars out of his bank, went to the Caesar's Casino in Atlantic City, deposited on account and gambled away every cent...ten million dollars that he had embezzled. And they have now...they're going to punish the Casino by making them stay closed for one day. Now that...that tells me several things. One, that's a joke. But, two, it must be a significant punishment, you can't even imagine the kind of money they take in. When you create an environment in which people can gamble away what they have, they will do it. And if it's legalized, you know, it's a tragic thing to think about.
And these are the people who can least afford it. And they are the people who most need to learn how to be productive by working.
You know, the Bible advocates gaining money by inheritance, that's fine. You know, the Bible talks about that. By hard work, by wise investment, but it never advocates getting rich by gambling, fast money. So I just...I mean, I'm not going to tell you it's a crime to pay a dollar and, you know, you're curious.
If you went through Las Vegas, you'd probably put a quarter in the machine once or twice, just to see what happened. And I don't want to lay some legalistic trip on you, but I do not believe that that is a legitimate way...certainly not a legitimate way to fund education at the expense of already poor people who are going to waste their substance on that. It's the reverse of what a society ought to do. If it wants to educate its people, it ought to take the money from the people like us who can assist in that properly, rather than the poor people. But that's where the money is going to come from. So...
QUESTIONER: Hi, John. I was reading through 1 Corinthians this week and I came across...
JOHN: You were reading where?
Q: First Corinthians...
Q: And I came across verse 7:12 and I was wondering, if the Bible is the Word of God, then why does Paul say, "This I say, not the Lord?"
J: Oh, okay. First Corinthians 7...
J: Right. He's talking about marriage and singleness and, you know, it's amazing, I can go all the way back to my seminary days when we were studying this passage and it...it continually is a question of people but all you have to understand is one basic thing, what he is saying is, very simple, to the rest speak I, not the Lord. Now all he means is I'm saying this, the Lord didn't say this.
Now there were a lot of things that Paul said that Jesus didn't say, right? In fact, Jesus didn't say anything in the book of Romans, Paul said all that. All Paul is saying here is this, I'm saying this, not quoting Christ...that's all. He's not saying this isn't inspired. He is saying I'm not quoting Christ, this is not something that Christ has taught.
See, go back to verse 10 and, "Unto the married I command, yet not I," I'm going to tell what my command is, don't divorce your husband, but the Lord said this, too, and he's reaching back to where the Lord said that. Don't divorce, Matthew 5, Matthew 19. So all he's doing here in his discussion of marriage is at one point he is quoting the Lord and at another point he's saying now I'm saying this, this is not a quote from the Lord. But he is not saying it is not the Holy Spirit speaking through him in inspiration. Okay?
J: Good...good question.
QUESTIONER: Hi, John. My name is Jeff. I had a question on Isaiah 7:14 through verse 16, on the context. When you read it, it sounds as though the child had to be born during the time of the prophet whereas Matthew refers it to the birth of Jesus.
JOHN: Right. That is a...that's a difficult passage and I was reading not long ago on this passage and I would commend for your reading, if you can get a hold of it, several things. My dad has recently done an awful lot of work on this passage. It's too complex to dig into there, there is, I think, a legitimate prophetic application here. And I think he's done a good job.
What I'll do is if you'll give me your name and address, I'll send that to you, cause I think you'd enjoy reading it.
The other view that I've heard recently and I heard this at the inerrancy congress when we were discussing these passages.
Dr. Walter Kaiser who is...I don't know what he is at Trinity, what is he? Dean or...Dean of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in the Chicago area. He believes that this is an analogy.
In fact, he believes that the word plereo(??) when it even says being fulfilled can legitimately be related to something that is no more than an analogy. And his illustration of that is Matthew 2 where Matthew's gospel says that Jesus, around the time of His birth, went to Egypt and then left Egypt. And it says out of Egypt have I called My Son. And you go to Hosea 11:1 and when you get to Hosea 11:1 there's no way it can mean Jesus, no way, it has to mean the nation Israel. And so Kaiser says we have to see in the word plereo or the word "fulfilled," we have to see the latitude to understand analogies. And that everything that is fulfilled is not fulfilled in the sense that we think it is a direct prophecy with a direct fulfillment. It may mean nothing more than an analogy.
So Kaiser takes 7:14, if I remember correctly, and says it is simply an analogy. That is to say like a virgin had a child, so a virgin had a child. I really can't give that one away. I feel there is a direct prophetic indication here. But to do a complete answer, let me send you that material so you can see the full historic picture and then you can see its application.
Q: Okay, shall I see you...
J: Afterwards, give me your name and address and I'll send that to you.
Q: Okay, thanks.
J: Sure. Thank you.
QUESTIONER: Gee, Dr. MacArthur, it's Philip Ortiz and I just wanted to ask you if I quote a verse of Scripture and cross reference it wrongly but the concept is okay, expressed in words, would that be okay? Is that acceptable as far as I'm concerned and the hearers?
JOHN: Let's see, Phil, if I understand what you're saying. If you quote a Scripture and then try to elucidate or make it clear by quoting another Scripture but the other Scripture is out of context, is that okay?
Q: I give two different verse numbers and they are slightly different but the concept is biblical that I was trying to give to somebody. And I was wondering if that would be acceptable inside of me and in my love towards those that I'm speaking to.
Q: Thank you.
J: You're welcome. Okay, over here.
QUESTIONER: Hello, Pastor. I have a question, well it's...for the sake of many in this congregation, I have some people coming to me, well, first of all, I've been reading a book called, The Death(?) Christ Die and the book they have here, Jesus, the Lord and I've been reading the part...
JOHN: Now wait a minute, you've been reading The Day Christ Died, Jim Bishop's book?
Q: The Death Christ Die, you know...
J: The Death Christ Die...yeah, I don't know that one.
Q: Okay, anyway, I've been reading the part on the impeccability...Christ not being able to sin...
J: Yeah, the impeccability, okay. Sometimes when I'm watching you speak and your mouth is right behind this microphone, I can't make out your words cause I can't hear the speakers too well.
I'm sorry, don't...you're speaking clearly, I just...my fault.
Q: All right. I had somebody telling me about that, you know, I stand and I believe that Christ could not sin when He came into this world, but somebody has come to me and they say, "Well, if you say something like that, you are robbing Christ from something. You're robbing Christ..." Well, you know, they try to make Him...they put Him in their box and they said that if He didn't sin well, you know, what is the purpose of...well, something like, if He didn't sin, I cannot acquainted with a God that who could not sin because He doesn't really know my sins, you know, kind of a deal...I don't know.
J: Yeah, well, that doesn't make much sense because the fact is He didn't sin. So if you're going to make His ability to understand you the fact that He had to understand your sin, then whether He could or couldn't have sinned wouldn't be an issue because He didn't sin.
J: So what's the point?
Q: Yeah, okay...
J: The point is a moot point. But the thing that you're driving at and I know people bring this up is they say, "Okay, do you believe Christ could sin?" Of course he couldn't sin. He was impeccable. He could not sin. He was in all points tempted like as we are, Hebrews says, but He could...but He did not sin. He did not sin because He could not sin. But that's a ridiculous question anyway, the fact is He didn't sin. So what is the argument about whether He could have or couldn't, He didn't. So who could ever say He could have anyway.
Q: Well in His humanness He could have sinned.
J: You can't sort Him out. What would humanness have done that He didn't do?
J: Well, what does your humanness do that you don't do?
Nothing. If your humanness did it, you did it. And I did it.
J: No, here's the point. The question that people always struggle with is if He couldn't sin then how could temptation be legitimate? That's really the issue. And the answer to that is very simple. Have you ever been tempted and not sinned? Have you ever been tempted and not given into it? Say yes.
J: I'm not trying to put you on the spot. You can ask...have I ever been tempted and not sinned? Of course. Yes, and I have been tempted and sinned. But there have been many times when I was tempted and not sinned...did not sin. Now was that temptation illegitimate because I didn't sin? Of course not.
Sometimes that temptation was very strong. In fact, if I can push the point a bit, it just so happens for Christ who never sinned, He must have known temptation to its limits because at some point in the temptation when we give in, the temptation is over because its accomplished its purpose. But in one who never gave in, temptation would literally run itself to its extreme limit every time. I mean, when have you ever sweat great drops of blood? When have you ever been so tempted as to tears and strong crying and sweating great drops of blood in the agony of stressful temptation?
Well, the answer is...I mean, Hebrews doesn't it say that?
We have not yet suffered unto blood. I'm not sure...the parallel's there, but the point is the same. We give in long before that. So to say that because Christ couldn't sin He couldn't experience temptation is just opposite the truth. The fact that He didn't sin meant that He endured temptation at extreme levels, especially when you realize the fact that if there was one creature in all the universe that Satan would want to have sinned, it would have been Him. I mean, he may fuss with us a little while and if we don't give in, if that temptation is an external thing, leave. And in Christ's case, there could be no internal temptation so it was always external. But Satan would stay, believe me, and besiege that fort unendingly. And so, I think the fact that Christ did not sin is not only a statement that He could not sin but it is a statement that He endured temptation to its absolute limit. Okay?
Q: Thanks. I'd like to ask another question concerning witnessing to cults also...a friend already asked before...I had a friend when the Jehovah Witnesses come, both...well, two friends, they're both females. One of them when they see somebody coming, the Jehovah Witness or Mormons, whatever, she says, "Close the door, don't let them in...hide." Okay?
J: I can understand that. Sure.
Q: And I've got another friend who when the Mormons come or the Jehovah Witnesses, she experienced this about three weeks ago, some Mormons came in and she opened the door and they say, "Hi, we're the saints..." you know, they introduce themselves and they said, "You are fools, you're liars, you're going to hell, repent from your sins, get away, I don't want to listen to you, I don't want to talk to you." And they persisted.
Finally she said, "Okay, now you're going to listen to me."
And my question is, shall you go like this, boldness to this people? I mean, say for instance you...here comes an old lady, well maybe I'll listen to her and share with her...but two young guys in the Mormons?
J: You know, I think it depends who you're talking to. I've done all of those and more. I've...I've invited them in and tried to love them and sit them down and I guess maybe you sort of experiment with them. And then I've labeled them that way.
I've said, "You false prophet, you viper, you wolf, you whatever, bound for hell," and I've given them the whole prophetic shot.
Q; I like that.
Q: I like that.
J: You like that?
J: I mean, I have done that. I remember there was a guy in our church that got ripped off by the Mormons and I went over to the house because somebody told me the Mormon bishops were at his house. So I went to the house. And I just decided I would, you know, make a whip and throw everybody out, in effect. I just really told them what they were. And I hope that I did it at that time, I don't know whether I...I thought the Spirit was leading me to do that, but at the time I thought, you know, I wanted to impress upon their minds so unforgettably how serious their error was, their damning heresy that I wanted to speak to them in terminology that the rest of their lives they would never forget, to plant in their mind this lingering reality that this might be true. I guess the one thing I don't want to do is give them even a small sense of acceptance.
I can also understand the "lock the door, turn out the lights, and hide" approach. Because there are times when you just don't want to get into a situation. So again, I don't know that there's any right answer on that. As I said earlier, you know, obviously the best thing to do might be to, first of all, try to negotiate an opportunity. And if there's no opportunity there and they are completely closed, this would be my approach, and you can't negotiate the opportunity to communicate the truth to them at that particular point with graciousness, you might want to tell them the truth about what they are.
J: I think they need to know that. I think...you take a young vulnerable, you know, they usually come in pairs, one is a strong one and one is a weak one...you take that young person and literally put fear in them with the right kind of biblical picture of a false teacher and it can have a profound effect and a very unsettling effect. And it's certainly a method that our Lord used. So...
Q: Okay, thank you.
J: Okay, I think we have just time for the three, four folks that are left, okay?
QUESTIONER: Yes, sir, Pastor Jim...Pastor John, I'm sorry, my question is in reference to new-born Christians. And one of the problems that I'm confronting right now and hopefully you can give me some insight on to all of us an insight in how to deal with this problem. Obviously when we're not reborn Christians, we walk around in this world with our own mixed personalities.
And right now because my eyes are open to witnessing the good and the bad, I've been subject to seeing the goodness and also being conscious of the badness as well. And it's closed out my personality in a tremendous sight to where I'm walking around and basically trying to hold that world up into my hands, you know, and take care of everybody. But yet in front of my job, every one is looking at me like, "Oh, what's wrong with him, he's not talking anymore," and this is something that's causing a lot of problems and yet also I'm very concerned because as Christians we're supposed to have a smile on our face, we're supposed to be happy and we're also supposed to show the world how beautiful it is to be accepted by the Lord, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in a way that we should be happy. But yet I've always been...recently especially I'm walking around like I'm sad and I'm always thinking about what I can do to possibly help these people.
JOHN: Yeah, well I really identify with that. I really identify with that. I mean, to be real honest with you, when you become a Christian there is a tremendous sense of personal joy, but you do take on an instant sadness. You really do. Because for the first time you understand. I mean, before you went on in a drunken bliss of the typical person in the world that didn't know what was going on anyway. And it was just party time, basically, live for the next fun thing and try to milk every moment you can for everything that's in it. And all of a sudden, when you come to the Lord Jesus Christ and your life is transformed and your eyes are opened as you so well put it, now you begin to see the reality of people and their eternal destiny and their lostness and their sinfulness and the mess the world is in. And I confess to you that it is the legacy of a Christian to have a sense of overwhelming sadness, that's part of it. Paul confessed to having continual sorrow and tears, didn't he? And to being constantly burdened and constantly distressed.
But he also said rejoice always, and again I say rejoice.
So, you know, we live in that very strange tension of having a consuming joy. I think the best illustration of that that I can think of, just coming to mind standing here, is found in the tenth chapter of Revelation where in verse 8 John hears the voice and the voice from heaven says, "Go and take the scroll." The little scroll...and the little scroll is representative of the title deed of the earth which Christ is going to take the title deed and conquer the earth. And that means He's going to reward the righteous and punish the wicked. You know, in the Second Coming when He sets up His Kingdom. So He says take the little scroll, open in the hand of the angels standing on the sea and the earth. "So I went to the angel and said to him, Give me the little scroll. And he said, Take and eat it." This is a symbolic picture. So he eats it and, "It will make thy belly bitter but shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little scroll out of the angel's hand and ate it up and it was in my mouth sweet as honey and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter."
Now what is he saying here? What he is saying is thinking about Christ coming to conquer the world is both...what?...sweet and bitter, isn't it? It's sweet because we say You deserve the glory, You deserve the honor, You deserve the praise, You deserve the rejoicing. You shouldn't continue to be dishonored the way You're dishonored. Like Henry Martine who rushed out of that pagan temple in India when he went there and said, "I cannot endure existence if Jesus is to be so dishonored." You know, you cry out that Christ should be exalted. And that's...that's a sweet thing the day that Jesus comes and we sang about it tonight, didn't we? We sing songs of the Second Coming and songs of being with Christ but at the same time we know our own joy we know the terrifying bitterness of the unredeemed in the judgment.
So, all I can say to you is that that is a tension that you will always have as a Christian. And I believe it is the unique work of the Spirit of God to bring balance to that. You will find in your Christian life things that will sadden you more profoundly than any things you ever experienced before. You will also find things that will bring you greater joy than any joy you've ever known before because they're ultimate things. And ultimate things have the potentiality to bring ultimate sadness and ultimate joy. Okay?
Q: Yes sir, well, I just wanted to say this, that definitely put an understanding on where I should think now and feel my new heart, but it's very difficult. The only time I really feel happy and that I'm very much satisfied within my heart and within peace within myself is when I'm here at the church.
J: When you're with Christians.
Q: When I'm with Christians.
Q: And when I'm outside there, it's really hard cause everyone's like looking at you...well, how should you be.
J: Cause they point up...right...I think...how long have you been a Christian?
Q: Three weeks.
J: Three weeks, I figured it hadn't been very long. Give it another couple of weeks and I think it will...the joy of the Lord will begin to charge you up. I really believe that.
Q: Okay, thank you very much.
J: Thank you, isn't that great? That's really neat. Wow...oh good.
QUESTIONER: Hi, John. My name is Nan Taylor. And first of all I want to thank you for allowing us to have the privilege of hosting your radio Bible conference people and your pastors, it's...
JOHN: Did you enjoy them?
Q: Yes, they're a real joy to always have.
J: Thank you for doing it.
Q: Yeah, the question comes really from my daughter. She was studying the Word the other night and it's in 1 Samuel 18:10.
Okay? "Now it came about on the next day that an...
J: I can't hear you, can you step a little closer to that mike?
Q: I thought it was too close. Okay. "Now it came about on the next day that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul."
And her question is the evil spirit...cause as far as she's concerned there is no evil coming from God, it only comes from Satan.
Q: I tried to explain all of this...
J: Sure and all you have to do to explain that is to let her know that no evil spirit and no devil and no demon any time can ever do anything except within the larger picture of God's allowing. That evil spirit was from God only in the sense that the devil was from God when the Lord allowed him to go and test Job. You remember when the devil came before God and said You don't have anybody on this earth who will be faithful to You if given the circumstances that I can create? And God said yes I have one faithful servant, Job, chapter 1, Job. And God said to the devil, in effect, you go and do whatever you want to Job and of course it was all within the limitations of God's will. And he did and, of course, as a result of that Job's faith was strengthened. And Job proved to pass the test.
That illustrates the same idea. An evil spirit comes from the Lord only in the sense that no evil spirit, no demon, no devil himself can act in this world independently of and outside of the allowing will of God.
Q: I'll try to explain that to her.
Q: Okay. Thank you.
J: Thank you.
QUESTIONER: Hi, my name is Jennifer and this is the second time I've been to church in two years. I was a part of a very large, very active church in Dallas, Texas. My family was very involved with the church. My father taught evangelism for six years. One morning our pastor came up before us after he had been preaching on marital enrichment for more than two months and told us that he had been having an affair with one of the church women, one of the women that worked in the office at church. The church completely split and divided. The bishops sent him out of the church. My question is, where can I find forgiveness for this?
It's been very difficult for me to listen to someone time and time again, the man became such an incredible person in the church, he was almost looked upon as being God.
JOHN: You're looking for where you can find in your heart forgiveness for him.
Q: I find it very difficult to be comfortable in organized religion because I'm worried that that kind of thing goes on and it's not found. And it was a wonderful, wonderful, very fast growing church with so many wonderful programs.
J: Yeah, I'm glad you asked that question, Jennifer. That's a heart breaker because you see that's such a powerful powerful deterrent as illustrated by your own life to people to keep them out of the church. Because when somebody at that level falls, it's a total disaster. People are crushed, you know, all over the place, because if there's any one person in the world you put your trust in, it's the man of God. And when the man of God turns out not to be the man of God, you've been totally deceived.
I don't think that the devil, Satan, sin, the flesh, whatever can do anything in the church that is as devastating as that.
Nothing in the church is as devastating as the moral fall of a leader that people have put their trust in because it literally devastates not only their trust of that man but their trust of that position.
And I understand exactly what you're saying. The only thing I can say on the other side is that there have been men of God who have been proven through many, many years to be faithful.
And for every unfaithful man, God has His faithful men. And you have to, first of all, find it in your heart to forgive, I think, for the simple reason that Christ has forgiven you and forgiven me. In other words, who am I not to forgive someone else who myself, though not committing perhaps the same sin, am so in need of forgiveness?
Let me give you an illustration. Matthew 18...there was a king and this king had a large territory and he had apparently some provinces and some provincial governors. And it was time for him to collect from them the money they had collected in their own provinces for taxes. So all these governors came in and it was a time for them to account for what they had done with their responsibility.
One of those men came before the king and it says that he owed the king an unpayable debt. He owed him, it uses murion which is the highest Greek term for a number, so it's an unnumbered amount, unpayable amount. Even if it translates ten thousand talents, it's astronomical because the whole national debt of Galilee for one year was six hundred talents, so it's...he owed ten thousand talents or he owed an unpayable sum.
So he falls on his knees before the king and he says, "Have patience with me and I'll pay everything back," and he means well. And the king looks at him and says, "I forgive you." Now that king is God. And that man is any sinner. And any one of us who come to the Lord and fall on our knees before Him and recognize that we have defrauded God and we have sinned against Him and we can never pay for our own sin and God then forgives us, we're in the same situation.
Then that man who had been forgiven an unpayable debt who deserved hell, in fact the king said I'm going to sell him and his whole family and get all I can get out of them, which is what hell is, not getting what God deserves but getting all He can get, the guy who was forgiven then went out, found a guy who owed him three hundred denarii, a few hundred dollars, grabbed him by the neck, strangled him. And the guy says, you know, "Be patient, I'll pay, I'll pay." Instead of forgiving him, he threw him in prison.
So here's a guy who has been forgiven an unpayable debt by God. He goes out and he won't forgive some guy that owes him a few bucks and he throws him in jail. And then the parable says that some others who knew about it, other servants, went and told the king what he did. And he went back and punished that guy.
And the whole point of the parable is this, and that's just it in a nutshell, the whole point of the parable is this...who do you think you are not to forgive someone who has offended you when you have so offended a holy God as to be in debt to Him to a level that you could never ever pay? So on the basis of God's free and comprehensive forgiveness of you, you ought to be able to forgive another brother who is a sinner like you.
So you need to understand both those points. One, you have to find it in your heart to forgive because God has forgiven you.
Secondly, I agree that that kind of sin is a devastation that leaves scars and may I add particularly on young people who are very, very vulnerable. And I also want to add that there are men of God, there are faithful men of God that you can trust and you can believe in. And you need to put yourself in the care of those men and I think God can restore the confidence that you lost.
Q: Do you think he should have been allowed to go on in the ministry?
J: No. Not at all.
Q: Thank you.
J: Uh-huh. Yes...
QUESTIONER: My name is Craig Tanama(?) and I want to ask you a question about the term "the day of the Lord?" I always was looking forward to that in a sense as a good thing to come, and then as I started looking at it I...don't think it's very good.
JOHN: I don't think you want to look...
Q: I'm glad I won't be here for that. But, in Amos 5:18 when it says, "Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord," and so I have a little confusion with...
J: Yeah, let me tell you just basically and I'll give it to you as simply as I can. We're going to have to break at this point.
We're losing our people cause they've got to go pick up their kids and all. Let me put it this way, Craig, simply. The day of the Lord is any day when the Lord moves in wrath and judgment.
It is not purely an eschatological term related to the Second Coming. It is a broad enough term when referring to the Second Coming to encompass some good things...like the Rapture of the church and the glory of the saints. But the day of the Lord is primarily a judgment term. It's as if it's contrasted to the day of man. You've got your day, buddy, but God's going to have His day. And in His day, the essence of it, is judgment.
Now I believe there have been in the past many days of the Lord. Every time God moved in in a holocaust of judgment to one degree or another, that was the day of the Lord. And I think there is coming in the future a great day of the Lord which will have some good features to it. But which by virtue of the title "day of the Lord" really puts an emphasis on judgment.
Q: Thank you.
J: Okay? Good. Why don't we stand for a word of closing prayer. I hope it's been helpful tonight. We've had a great time. Good questions.
Father, we thank You for the just the joy of being together.
We thank You for the testimony of our new brother in Christ and his desire to have joy along with the sadness he feels for the first time in his life over those who don't know the Savior.
Fill his heart with joy, Lord. We know that the Kingdom is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. And we want that joy and that peace. And we pray for this young girl who has been burdened and scarred by an unfaithful pastor. And we wonder how many other people in that same situation have grieved and have departed from the assembly of the redeemed and lost the ability to be healed because they left that environment of healing. We pray for any who might be enduring that kind of anxiety.
And we pray, Lord, for the questions that weren't answered tonight but are on the hearts of many. We know Your Spirit is able and Your Word is true and so we commend ourselves to the word of Your grace which is able to build us up. And we thank You for it, how...how unthinkable it would be if we didn't have Your Word. How grateful we are. And we thank You for our fellowship in Christ's name. Amen.