Another question that came in is, “How should a Christian act toward birth control and zero population growth?” A typical question to answer; and I think you have to trust the Lord in each case. There are some people, you know, who are desirous of having large families, some want just a few. I think there’s a psychological factor.
You say, “What about the Bible?” The only thing it says in the Bible is Genesis 1:28 says, “Replenish the earth.” Now if you want to take that as a literal command, live it up. I don’t really think that was the idea. I think it was a statement given to Adam, and at that point, it was very important obviously.
There are some who today would say that that’s the norm and all Christians should immediately obey and we should all have children. I feel this way: I feel that this is something you have to decide before the Lord. I feel that any Christian couple who could have children is certainly missing something by not having children – tremendous insights, and, of course, the opportunity to rear another life for the glory of Christ. And I think to spend all your life preventing that, I hope it isn’t a selfish reason; I hope it isn’t.
But in the case where we would say there is no birth control and we are to just go out and replenish the earth like gang busters is somewhat irresponsible. I think it should be something you consider psychologically as to what you can handle; and usually you know when you’ve had as many as you can handle. It’s something you should consider financially, and it’s something you should consider from the standpoint of your ability spiritually. I think all those things enter in.
I do not think – one question came in: “What about abortion in the case of a parent who uses it as a form of birth control?” No, cannot be right, because God has generated that life. If God doesn’t want that life then God can take care of that, right? It’s up to Him. And you can use that. If that fits in your type of birth control too, that’s fine. If you want to just leave it all to the sovereignty of God, that’s good; maybe God will work in your life through that particular attitude. That’s up to you. The Bible doesn’t say a lot about that.
All right, let’s grab some other questions here. Here’s some on friendship and dating. “Would you please explain the repercussions of unequally yoked as it pertains to friendships between people of the same sex: why a Christian woman shouldn’t be best friends with an unbeliever or have an unbelieving roommate, and the results in the life of the Christian if they do maintain close friendships with non-Christians?”
Well, I think you have two things here. The repercussions of being unequally yoked and having unsaved friends are two different things. I think a Christian who doesn’t have some unsaved friends is in a really bad situation, because where is your mission field? You know, where is your opportunity? But to have an unsaved friend or even an unsaved roommate, I don’t have any problem with that.
I mean there are many kids who are on university and college campuses where they’re in a dorm and they’re given a handful of unsaved roommates. That’s just a mission field. If your Christianity doesn’t work there, it isn’t your roommate’s fault, it’s your fault. You have the resources. You’re not going to be able to go to the Lord and say, “I know I’ve blown it, Lord, but it’s my roommate’s fault.”
What have we been learning about confession of sin here? God is honored when you acknowledge that it’s yours, right? It’s your problem. Nobody made you do what you did, you did it. You enacted your own will and did what you did. So there’s no fear there. But I do feel this way, that it’s a dangerous thing when a Christian begins to spend all of their time in the friendship of the world. I think that’s dangerous.
Now they’re talking about 2 Corinthians 6:14 which says, “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” The term there “unequally yoked” has to do with a common enterprise. This wasn’t two people talking over the fence, this was two oxen yoked together in the same efforts. What it’s saying is that a Christian is not to link up with an unbeliever in common endeavor. In other words, “Come on, let’s do it together.” I think this is something you should carefully note in terms of partnerships, business partnerships. I’ve known some situations where a couple of families went together and bought a boat or something – one a Christian family and one not a Christian family – and problems. Common enterprise is difficult, and that’s mainly what 2 Corinthians 6 has to do with: binding things like marriage, and binding contractual agreements, not with friendships.
A better text in this regard than the unequally yoked would be James 4:4 which would give us an application directed to this pattern. It says, “You adulterers and adulteresses, don’t you know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” Now notice this. It says that you’re the enemy of God if you’re the friend of whom? Of a person in the world? No. Of the system. If you court the system, if you do what the world does, you’re a friend of the world.
Listen, what was Jesus accused of? Running around with what kind of people? Prostitutes, tax collectors, drunkards. And He says, “Well, you that are well, you don’t need a physician. I’ve come to take care of the sick.” A Christian needs to have those kind of friends.
And, you know, I think sometimes we forget that we should cultivate those kind of friendships. You can cultivate a friendship with a person and not even bring up Christ for a while; and then when the moment comes, God will give you the opportunity. But there’s a difference, you know, between having a friend in the world and loving the world, isn’t there; a very important difference.
In 1 John 2:15 it says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” That’s clear. At the end of the book of Galatians – it’s 6th chapter, 10th verse. Listen to this: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men,” – and then he says – “especially those that are the Christians.” But unto whom? “All men.” My, we ought to be good to all men. Friendship is goodness toward all men.
There’s nothing wrong with having good close friends who are unsaved. But I’ll tell you, if that’s all you’ve got, you’re in trouble, and you’ve disobeyed the statement of Hebrews 10 which says, “Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is; and much the more as you see the day approaching.” You need other believers too, don’t you? If you don’t have other believers to gain your resources, you’re going to be finding yourself a victim of your friends. And so we have those friends, but we cultivate the life of the body.
First Corinthians 7 says a little bit about that – I might throw this in; you can jot it down – 7:12 to 14. This is about as friendly as you’re ever going to get – talking about married people. He says, “If you have a wife that believes not and she wants to stay with you, let her stay.” Right? God doesn’t say, “When you get saved get rid of the unsaved immediately. Get that husband out of there. If he doesn’t want to get saved and you’ve gone through the gospel three times, throw him out.” No.
“And the woman who hath a husband that believes not, if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.” You know, it’s very good. You know why? Verse 14: “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife; the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband.” In other words, you may be the reason that somebody else gets saved, even your own husband.
How many of you could give testimony that you were saved first, and through you your husband was saved? Put your hand up. Higher so we can all see. Yeah, see; there’s an unbelieving husband sanctified by a believing wife. Now if God says let that kind of relationship be a beautiful thing so that they can get saved, if a marriage can work to an unbeliever, certainly a friendship could, right? Even a roommate.
You say, “Well, what about dating? What about dating an unsaved person?” The Bible doesn’t say anything about dating period. What about dating an unsaved person? I would say it’s more important to why you wanted to than whether you did or not. Wouldn’t you?
Why do you want to date an unsaved person? “Well, this is a person that I care about. This is a person that I know. This is a person that I’d like to come to Jesus Christ. So what’s a date, except a time to be together as a friend.” Good. If you say, “Well, I like his looks, woo-woo-woo,” all you’re going to do is ask for trouble, right? I mean, if you can keep it platonic, I think you’ve got something to go on.
You say, “Well, I want to get him saved and I like his looks too.” Then date him; bring him to church. I don’t think the Bible says that we’re to totally cut off. I think we would be very, very legalistic to say that a Christian should never ever under any conditions date a non-Christian.
You know, one of the most revealing things that ever happened to me was the time I dated a non-Christian. I did that twice. I’ll never forget either one of those girls. One of them went out and she started to smoke. And, you know, that’s not a big thing; but if you don’t smoke it’s not a good thing It’s just “puff” you know. And I was embarrassed, you know, kind of. And then I thought, “Boy, you know, that’s” – you know. One guy says, “Nothing worse than a woman who smokes. Who likes to lean down and kiss a girl and smell a camel?” Anyway.
But the other one was a girl that was obvious after about five minutes what her intentions were. And, you know, little Johnny, the pastor’s son was – you know. But those were my two experiences. And out of that, I made this personal determination: I’m going to date Christian girls from here on. I think maybe God may have even a better purpose than you dating an unsaved person.
And there are times, for example, I can name three or four people that are saved directly as a result of a Christian girl who really cared about them from a spiritual standpoint. And as a friend they met at school, they went out together, and the girl took the initiative to present Christ and the young man was saved. We cannot discount that possibility. Again, I say it’s a question of motive. If the reason you go out is just purely the physical attraction, I think there’s a possible danger; if you can allow for the spiritual dimension, a legitimate friendship.
Maybe you could give yourself a guideline here, you that are still in this position. I don’t think that I would be anxious for my own daughter to date a non-Christian that she didn’t know. Right? I’m not too sure I’d let her date anybody she didn’t know; but a non-Christian that she really did not know. I’d rather that it be somebody that she knew and had met and cared for as a person, so that there was enough of a relationship so that they could have an evening together without it deteriorating. I think that may be some kind of a guideline.
Well, here’s another statement that’s interesting. It says, “What are expected roles on a date?” I really hope you don’t have to play a role, I hope that you can just be who you are; because if you have to play a role, you’re in trouble. Just be who you are.
Now it may not work. You might be who you are, and he’ll take you home at 7:45. But let me tell you, you’re better off to go home at 7:45, because if he doesn’t like who you are, forget it. Right? And usually by 7:45 you know pretty well anyway whether you want to finish off the evening.
Here’s an interesting thing. One question: “Would you state scriptural views on dating between races?” Well, I always said I was so tired after a race that I – trying to. Maybe after the 100, but never after the 440, right?
“Does race make a difference at all or is Christianity the only basis for dating?” Let me hasten to say this. The Bible says absolutely nothing about dating; it says absolutely nothing about it. The reason is it was non-existent in the culture of the Bible. Dating is an American invention, or at least a European invention. I still prefer the kind where father selects who daughter marries; forget that stuff. I pity the poor guy that comes around for my two girls.
But dating was non-existent. It is undoubtedly the worst approach. It’s the trial and error method, and ends up mostly in error. It is the non-committal method where you’re so used to trial and error that you treat marriage the same way. And another problem with it is the fact that in the whole process there is always this thing in your mind: “Looking for a husband. Looking for a husband.” That’s no way to treat a relationship, because then if it doesn’t turn out to be a husband, it’s shot. If you can’t treat a person as a person, and then if God wants to make a husband out of a person, let Him do that.
You know what I think some of the greatest marriages are? The kind of marriages where people were friends for a long time, and then they woke up one day and realized they loved each other. That usually makes for a really good relationship, because they liked each other as people, and then they fell in love with each other, and it grew out of a friendship. But, you know, there are so many people who just decide, “I want to get married,” and the first guy that comes along and says, “I’ll marry you,” they grab it up, see.
Your purpose in dating should be this, the purpose should be this: it should be love, Christian love. “I’m going out just to share Christian love, not marriage,” because if you’re looking for marriage, then you’re going to get frustrated, discouraged, pushy, rushing into things that you’re not ready for and God isn’t in.
But when you go out and say, “Oh, I’m just going to do this for the sake of the love of the Lord and the sake of fellowship,” why that’s good. You can go out with a lovely Christian young man and young lady and just go out for the sake of fellowship, not with marriage always on your mind.
Now you say, “What about the racial distinctions in the fellowship? Are there any racial distinctions in marriage?” Certainly not biblically, none at all, not in dating or marriage. In fact, there’s a wonderful young man who is the product of a mixed marriage and his name was Timothy. And Paul was very, very commending. Why, remember Timothy, he said, “Remember the wonderful things you learn from your godly mother and your godly grandmother”? You see, his was a mixed marriage.
There are no racial distinctions in Scripture. In Galatians 3:28 it says, “There’s neither Jew nor Greek,” – and incidentally, Jew is a race. So a Jew married to a Gentile is an inter-racial marriage by Webster’s definition and what Dr. Ryrie said the other night – “there is neither bond nor free, male or female; you’re all one in Christ.” Now we don’t want to push that totally out of whack and have neither men or women. But the point is here in the body there is no distinction made, no racial distinction. In Colossians 3:11 it says, “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision or uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond or free; but Christ is all, and in all.” In the body – I’m talking about the church – there is no distinction, none.
Now here’s the point. Then we do not select people on the basis of race. We do not select people on the basis of, “There’s one I’d like to marry.” We simply cultivate loving relationships, and God will do the picking, see. That’s up to Him.
If you say, “I will do this, and this is the way, and this is the way I’m going, and this is the thing,” or if you say, “That’s one I’ll never do. That’s one I’ll never do,” you’ve just told God who is going to run your marriage. If you say, “I just want to cultivate loving relationships” – and incidentally in the body of Christ there’s neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, Scythian or anybody else, everybody is one – “then I’m just going to cultivate loving relationships with any other Christian; and if God chooses one of those for me to marry,” that’s His choice. See. That’s the only way to view it. And then you don’t have to worry.
In 1 Corinthians 7:7 it says, “For I would that all men were even as I myself.” He was single. “But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, another after that.”
You say, “Well, oh, but I don’t know. I keep waiting for the Lord and nothing happens.” Well, you don’t want to make something happen that shouldn’t happen. Maybe you have the gift of singleness. That’s an interesting gift.
I’ll show you some very interesting passage, Matthew 19. Everybody has his gift of God; God’s going to take care of that. “The Pharisees came to Him,” – 19:3 of Matthew – “testing Him saying, ‘Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?’” You see, that was the big argument between the two rabbinical schools. One school said you can’t put her away for anything, the other school said you could put her away if she burns the toast. This was the big argument. And, of course, which one would the people follow? You guessed it, the one who said you could put her away for burning the toast.
“He answered and said unto them, ‘Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, cleave to his wife, they two shall be one flesh”? Wherefore they are no more two but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder.’” You shouldn’t divorce, He says.
“Well they said, ‘Why did Moses command to give a writing of divorcement to put her away?’ He said, ‘Moses did it because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to put away your wives; from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife, except to be for fornication, shall marry another committeth adultery. And whosoever marrieth her that is put away doth commit adultery.’” Okay, that’s the marriage end of it.
Now, God has designed marriage and it’s a beautiful thing, and there’s no question about it; and it’s to be for life; and God hates divorce. But on the other hand, 1 Corinthians 7:32, “I would have you without care. He that is unmarried cares for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord.” You see, you can be married and please the Lord fully in His plan, or you can be single.
“He that is married cares for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is a difference also between a woman and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy in body and spirit. She that is married cares for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is seemly, and that ye may attend unto the Lord without distraction.”
In other words, if you’re single and this is what God has given you, focus on the things of the Lord, and be fulfilled in that. God has beautifully designed marriage; and as we saw in Matthew 19, it is to be permanent. It is God’s design that a man and a woman cleave to each other, this is beautiful. But so has God designed this. And there’s a deeper spiritual commitment potentially here than there is in a marriage relationship – at least single purpose that cannot be in a marriage.
Okay, let me give you another question real quickly here. “Knowing how poor college students are, how can a single girl encourage single guys to think of things to do that don’t cost money as an alternative to not dating at all?” Listen, I feel that if a guy really wants to date a girl, that isn’t going to be a problem. But it might be.
“This is hard if you’re interested in a guy and he won’t ask you out because of money or lack of it. How can a girl encourage in such instances without being pushy?” Now at the risk of being super simple, this is what I would suggest. If you have a guy that you would really like to go out with and share fellowship with, why don’t you just go up to him sometime when you have the occasion and just invite him to share in something with you? I don’t think there needs to be any precedent set.
You say, “Oh, that’s difficult.” Well, you know how you used to do it when you were in high school; you got some friend of yours to tell him that – you know. Be creative, and wait on the Lord. You say, “I’ve been doing that for years.”
But listen, if the guy gets the idea you’re looking for a boyfriend or you’re looking for marriage, that’s negative. But if he gets the idea that you’re just fellowshipping and sharing, the best thing to do is when the opportunity comes, share in conversation. Just be available and share in conversation the things of the Lord and fellowship in kindness. And believe me, if there’s anything there that’s reciprocal, that will probably be enough to induce that possibility. And if not, then don’t worry about it. If your life is right before God and you’ve got the vertical taken care, all those horizontal relationships are in His power, right?
So don’t frustrate yourself over who you’re not getting, or whose not dating you, and so forth and so on. I don’t think it’s the issue so much of the thing that he doesn’t have any money; I think there’s so many things that you can do nowadays and just be together that you ought to even advance a little bit and say, you know, whenever conversation is possible, or the person is near, don’t feel inhibited because you’re suspecting that he knows that you have a crush on him. He probably doesn’t. And just be yourself. And if at the juncture that you meet and have conversation and his heart is a little warmed, then you can go from there.
There’s a couple of questions in regard to that; maybe we’ll get to and just look at these for a second here. Somebody asked, “What is fornication?” That’s a common word in Scripture and it has to do with sex sin, any kind of sex sin – anything from bestiality, which is sexual relationships with animals, to homosexuality, heterosexuality, anything. The word simply means the illicit sexual intercourse of any kind. In its plural use in the New Testament it includes adultery. It is excessive. It carries the idea of excessive sexual activity.
Now, what are the biblical principles on fornication? Well, that question can be answered this way. Acts 15:20 says, “Abstain from fornication.” All of it; all sexual sin – abstain from it. And I don’t want to stand here and give you twelve verses that I’ve got jotted down here, but they’re all over the place. Look in your own concordance; look up fornication, you can find them all.
But there is no place for sexual activity outside marriage, none. And I think that’s important. A key passage is 1 Thessalonians 4, which I deal with in that little book on The Will of God, and that is really a very important passage. It says, “This is the will of God, your sanctification, that you abstain from sex sin. Stay away from sex sin,” it says. And that means what it says.
Now, you say, “Well, does that mean you can’t hold hands, or you can’t do that or that?” No, it doesn’t say that. But it does say in verse 4 you should possess your vessel; in other words, keep your body in control. Whatever you do with your body unto sanctification and honor is a positive thing; whatever your body is doing to victimize you is a negative thing. The inner relationship, you know, where you can touch and hold hands – and there’s a difference I always tell kids, you know, there’s a difference between a kiss that is a pure kiss and a wrestling match; and I think that maybe that pure kiss ought to be reserved for that one special one that God really has set aside for you.
But, you know, there’s extremes to that too, you know, where I was in at a place where you didn’t kiss until after the wedding, there was no kiss allowed in the ceremony, because the first kiss should be in private, you know. But that’s going a little bit off the deep end where you could never even demonstrate your affection at all. I just think you know where the proprieties are.
And the point here is that, “You should possess your body, controlling it so that it is honoring God, not in the lust of evil desire,” – not lusting – “that no man go beyond” – that’s a clear phrase, isn’t it? – “and take advantage of the other person, defraud your brother.” Just don’t take advantage of people.
You know, I always tell the girls, you know, whenever a guy says “I love you. Ah, I love you. You’re the greatest. I really dig you. Give me what I want,” don’t believe him, don’t believe him. That isn’t love, that’s lust. It isn’t love.
Now, so fornication is absolutely, you know, a no from God’s standpoint. And yet there are certainly, within a loving relationship, preparation for marriage, there is room for the purity of a physical demonstration of that affection, in the touch and whatever. That’s within the limits of purity. All right.
Another question that came along is this: “Are there limits in the sexual act with your husband?” We could get in to a whole thing on the biblical view of sex, but let me say this: the Bible assumes that there is going to be more to sex than just the act of sex itself, that there is certainly the joy of the preliminary that is part of it. Now, I don’t want to get in to a whole long thing on this, because I don’t like to talk about that. But, you know, I’m just a simple little guy and I don’t want to get into that stuff. But you can talk about that when you get together with your own ladies meetings.
But I will read you, with a slight blush, Proverbs 5:18 and 19: “Let thy fountain be blessed; rejoice with the wife of thy youth.” You know what that means? Have fun. That’s what it means. That’s talking about love play. “Let her be as the loving hind or deer and the pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished with always with her love.”
Now, see, that’s a very beautiful thing. I don’t hesitate to read Scripture; it’s commenting that gets me. But you see, that’s what God said. See that’s what God said. Within the relationship of marriage there is room for that enjoying of each other’s bodies physically, physically.
In fact, there’s that most interesting account in the Old Testament – I was trying to think of where it was, Genesis 26 I think it is – where – I’ll see if I can find it for you, 26. Oh, yeah; this is good. Isaac: “The men of the place asked him of his wife, ‘Hey, your wife?’ ‘Oh, she’s my sister; yeah, my sister.’” Same bit Abraham gave when he was down there. “And he feared to say, ‘She’s my wife,’ lest the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah, because she was a real honey.” That’s a free translation.
Verse 8: “It came to pass when he had been there a long time, Abimelech the king of the Philistines looked out through a window, and saw; and, behold, Isaac was sporting with his wife.” Oh, Isaac; right there in the window sporting. Now, the idea of the word “sporting” is caressing; again, it’s love play. You see, God has designed this. This is not wrong.
In Hebrews 13, it says, “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed is undefiled.” Nothing you do with your husband privately is wrong, unless it’s harmful, injurious, or perverted. And the definition of perversion would be anything outside your two bodies. In other words, if you were to bring another person in, or some – and I don’t want to even get in to all of those possibilities. But between the two of you within the bounds of non-injury, you’re free. And that’s biblical; and God said enjoy it. So there it is.
Song of Solomon; read it. I mean that’s a man just really enjoying a woman physically, physically. There’s no sense in being prudish all your life about your physical body in a marriage relationship, not at all.
Well, now there’s another passage that just comes to mind, I jotted down here. Let me see if I can pull something out of there that I haven’t mentioned. Yeah, I think it’s important. It said, “It came to pass after these things, the wife’s master cast her eyes on Joseph and said, ‘Lie with me.’” That’s what’s known as the straight-forward approach. Two words in Hebrew, no less.
“But he refused and said unto his master’s wife, ‘Behold, my master knows not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; there is none greater in this house than I. Neither hath he kept back anything from me but thee, because thou art his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against’ – that master? No. ‘How can I do this great wickedness and sin against’ – whom? – ‘God.’” Any sex outside of marriage is violently against God; but anything in marriage, beautifully provided by Him.
I don’t know which ones to answer. Let me go into these, these are kind of interesting. “Explain Genesis 5:2.” I threw out a lot of biblical questions that were just general, because I wanted to get to the questions that related specifically to your particular interests. So there were some, you know, “Interpret this verse,” or, “What does this passage mean?” And so I just put those aside, because we had to cut some, and thought we could cover those in another time.
“This is the book of the generations of Adam.” Genesis 5. “In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; male and female, created He them; blessed them, and called their name Adam.” You ever read that before? Did you know what Eve’s name was? Adam. Eve’s name wasn’t Eve.
You say, “What do you mean? Eve was her name.” No, Eve wasn’t her name. Eve was a title, not a name, because she was taken from the side of Adam. Her name was Adam. You say, “What does that signify?” “They two shall be” – what?
My wife’s name was Smith. You know what it is now? MacArthur; that’s biblical. She is looked upon in her husband. You are Mrs. Somebody, not any other than the wife of your husband. This is biblical.
And Adam can be translated as the word “man,” and here we see that both sexes are necessary to make what God calls man. A woman and a man come together. The woman loses her identity – you know that? – in her husband. And we still hold to that in our culture, although now this is what women’s lib is against, you see. It’s Ms. Whoever, and you don’t ever lose your identity in your husband, and that’s non-biblical. Don’t go by Ms. God’s plan is that you lose your identity in your husband; rather, that you complete his identity. You like that better? Okay.
Here’s another question: “How do you know which things to pray for all the time, which ones to pray for then leave with the Lord?” As a rule of thumb, in my own prayer life, I pray for the things that are on my heart. I’ve prayed for some people on and off, and off and on for ten years; and sometimes I’ve prayed for some things once.
Now, maybe I’m confusing a pattern with my own failure to be sensitive. But the only way I can do that with so many requests that I get – because, you know, my world is so big, and there’s so many people who touch my life – and the only thing I can do is follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in my own prayers; and praying in the Spirit, be sensitive to what the Spirit is saying in my heart to pray for this, that, this, that, and whatever comes. And if I continue to be burdened about something, I continue to pray about it. And if not, I leave it with the Lord. I don’t know that it’s a conscious division of some things to be prayed for and some things to be said once and forgotten.
Okay. “Are we allowed to say ‘praise the Lord’ or ‘amen’ in church?” Live it up. Live it up. As long as you’re praising the Lord and not just saying, “Praise the Lord.”
Another question: “What about the Living Bible?” Well I think that’s a dead issue. No, I don’t. The Living Bible is – the Living Bible – everybody gives me a bad time about the Living Bible, because I always say the Living Bible is not the best Bible. No, the Living Bible is not even a Bible, it’s a commentary. It’s called a paraphrase.
And keep in mind, the Living Bible can be very helpful. It’s like a very simple paraphrase, it’s like a commentary. What you read in the Living Bible are not the words of the translation of Scripture, not at all. The words in the verses of the Living Bible are an explanation of the Scripture. See? I mean, the clichés and all sure didn’t come out of the Hebrew and the Greek. So just remember this: it is not a Bible; it is not the words in the original manuscripts. It is one man, Ken Taylor’s, very well done interpretation of those words, and I think a good tool to give to an unsaved person, because I think it gives them the Word at a level they can comprehend, and certainly and clearly presents the gospel.
So I would say that to be given to unsaved people it’s tremendously good. We passed them out all over Mexico in Spanish; and they’re very easy to read, and good, and helpful. But you should not use that as your Bible, you should use that as something to accommodate your Bible. And there are other good commentaries as well.
“Should a sixteen-and-a-half-year-old pay ten dollars a week room and board? He has a steady part-time job.” Well, I think this; I think if in your family that’s the pattern that you as parents have set down, then he should. You know, I think if you feel that he needs to learn responsibility, that’s a great thing. You know, sometime before you let that life go you need to teach it responsibility, right? Maybe that’s a good way; I have no problem with that. But don’t run and say John MacArthur says that every sixteen-and-a-half-year-old ought to pay ten dollars, because I don’t say that. Maybe yours don’t need to do that. Maybe your kids understand responsibility under different terms.
For example, there are some kids who are working their way through college, they’re living at home free, but they’re sweating it out just to support themselves in college. I don’t think there’s any point in adding ten dollars for them to live in the house. But if there’s a kid who is doing nothing but working and he’s not doing anything with his money except blowing it on his car or spending it on himself, then maybe that’s a good place for you to teach him how to be disciplined and supporting.
A question came up: “What about fantasizing during sex relations? Is it wrong? Well I’d say if it’s lusting toward another individual, of course. It’s wrong to lust toward somebody any time, right? If you’re just enjoying the love of the one you’re with, your husband or your wife, then it can be fulfilling.
Somebody said, “Why don’t they have more dating at Grace Church?” You know, the young people don’t have socials and all this thing. And I got about three questions like that, that instead of having socials, they’re having Bible studies. And someone said, “Do they feel that the spiritual dimension is the only one?”
Let me tell you something; I know we don’t emphasize the social. We have several philosophies. One is this: that in a youth group, you always aim everything at the top-level kid, right? You aim your best efforts at the most committed young person. You know why? Because he’s the one who is ultimately going to effect the lives of the rest.
If on the other hand, you aim all your efforts at the marginal people, you’ll lose the real leadership. So you always work toward the marginal people through the peers. And, boy, we’ve seen it work. I mean, when you realize that next September we’ll have 41 people in seminary, now you know that somebody is getting through to somebody. Now we could have spent the last five years working on marginal people; we may have gotten them so they come to church twice a month. But instead we’ve got people like that who are now working with those marginal people hopefully bringing about fruit.
Now everything is not ideal; but let me say something else. If you’re worried about dating in Grace Church, and you’re worried about a daughter or a son who doesn’t seem to be interested in boys and girls, be happy; because if he’s got his spiritual priorities right, God will take care of that. Just to assure you, in the last two years, 130 people here have been married; and we’ve had 91 babies. So somehow they’re finding – I’m not finished yet, wait a minute. This is my great line.
Somehow they’re finding each other, and somehow they know what to do once they’ve found each other. So somebody is getting the message. I mean when you have 130 people married in two years, that’s a lot of people. So we’re not worried about that. The largest group of people we have here are young marrieds; it’s a growing group.
Here’s a question that just came up here – I’ll quit at this point: “Does God have only one special man for every woman? Is it possible to lose that man? Is prayer the tool that ushers marriage in as a reality? Is marriage a gift or a reward?”
That’s several questions there.
“Does God have only one special man for every woman?” Boy, there’s no way to answer that question. You ultimately will marry one man. Now, for me to know the mind of God to know whether that was first choice or second choice, I just can’t do that, because God has not revealed that. But I’ll tell you one thing; I believe that you could miss the best for your life by living less than God’s way.
I think a Christian girl who lives in a shoddy way is going to disqualify herself from finding the best man, because the best kind of Christian man isn’t going to want that kind of Christian girl. So just from a human standpoint, I tell girls, “Man, if you want the best, then you be the best, because that’s the kind the best want.”
“Is it possible to lose that man?” I think when sin entered your life, we have to believe that just from a human standpoint – we don’t know the mind of God – but from a human standpoint, it’s possible that you could lose out on the very best. But let me hasten to say this, God makes the best out of the worst. He’s in that business, isn’t He?
And I think marriage is a gift. That’s what 1 Corinthians 7 says. It’s a gift. It’s a gift. I don’t think it’s a reward for being godly or anything, I think it’s a gift that goes with the way God has made you.
The last thing is Titus 2:3 to 5, and somebody asked the question about, “Do I believe women should teach?” And it’s not really whether I believe it or not, it’s where the Bible says it, so I’ll just tell you what it says. Titus 2:3, “The aged women,” – that doesn’t mean – you know, we think of superannuated old people. But, no, the aged women means adult – “be in behavior as become holiness, not false accusers,” – oh, that’s good; that’s scandal mongers – “not given to much wine,” – don’t linger along beside their wine. See, in those days they had to drink wine, that’s all they had; but when they were done, they got up. Don’t hang around the wine. And it says, “They should be teachers of good things.”
Should women teach? Of course they should teach; be teachers of good things. And who do they teach? Verse 4: “They should teach the young women to be sober-minded,” – that means order of priorities – “Love their husbands, love their kids, be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their husbands, that the Word of God be not blasphemed.” Older women are to teach; they’re to teach younger women. That’s the biblical pattern.
You say, “Are they to teach men?” No, not in the areas of doctrine. Now, I do believe that in the areas of procedure and methods and insights from a very practical standpoint, women have tremendous offerings for men. In the area of doctrine, God has established the authority that when the church comes together to be taught the Word of God, it is to be the men who teach. Why? If we had women standing up teaching men, we would be contradicting the biblical pattern of authority and subjection – wouldn’t we? – which is the man and then the women.
So God would never teach that through the church men are in authority, women are in subjection, and then reverse that publicly. That would be to undo everything He was doing. And that’s why it says in 1 Timothy 2:11, “Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. I permit not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve.”
God gave man the prior place. Not that he’s better than women. No, no, no; it’s not a qualitative thing at all. It’s simply somebody has got to be a chief and somebody’s got to be an Indian, that’s all. Everybody being a chief, you’ve got nothing done, everybody giving orders. “Adam was not deceived, but the woman.” So the woman’s place is from two things: she was second created; and not only that, but she was the one that caused the first sin, and so she pays by being submitted to the man.
But, verse 15, in case you’re worried about that: “Notwithstanding, she shall be saved in childbearing.” If you want to know the truth that really runs the world, it’s you women cause, because you get the kids; and whatever we men are, we are because of what women made us. So God has compensated you mightily for not being able to say a lot. When the kids grow up, you can say everything for the first 15, 17 years, see.
So, God’s authority is for the men to teach; really, that’s important. God’s authority is for the men to teach, because this is where men are to give the authority from a biblical perspective.
Well, that’s the questions; and some of the answers, I hope they’re helpful to you. We’ve covered a lot of ground.
Lord, we thank You for godly women, thank You that here in this room are gathered some of Your choicest of godly women. And, O Father, we thank You for the tremendous place that godly women have in framing the leadership of the world, and giving direction to the lives of men and women during those formative years when all of the matters are really settled when the mind is soft clay, and that the impressions are being written by these women. Father, we thank You for their power to express godliness in these years of the life of their children.
And then, Father, we thank You that as godly women they can serve their husbands and serve their church by instructing other women, by teaching the younger women, and, Father, by ministering to one another, and to men as well. We thank You for these who care and who desire to be the woman that God is pleased with, to be that godly enterprising, loving and faithful woman, who is all she is to be to Thee, to her husband, to her children, to all who know her. We thank You for our time tonight, and we pray that out of this group we shall have even a deeper commitment to be what You want us to be, in Christ’s name. Amen.