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This is your time. We want you to ask questions that are on your heart. Don't be bashful; don't be afraid to ask your question. At the same time we don't want you to take a long time building up to it so that we can answer as many questions as is possible, okay? But it's your time and don't feel intimidated. Just hop up and we'll be glad to help answer your question. Good. Let's start right over here on the left. Give us your name first, okay?
DENNIS: Hi John, Dennis. You remember me? I'm the one that always asks all the questions.
JOHN: That's fine, Dennis. Don't worry about it.
DENNIS: I have three but I'll get in line behind the others after I ask the first one.
JOHN: Okay. Tilt the microphone up a little. Just tilt it up a little. There you go, right there.
DENNIS: From Sunday's message I guess it was in the morning, from Matthew 10:25, words kind of stuck with me and maybe you can kind of expand on it. Beelzebub, I think it says,
DENNIS: Yeah from Matthew 10:25, "That they have called the head of the house Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!"
DENNIS: Can you kind of expand upon that?
JOHN: All we have in that statement is the words so it becomes a matter trying to interpret what the Lord meant. There are possible variations of things that He meant so the best you can do is try to fit into the context, okay? Beelzebub, or Beelzebul, as it appears some other places, is a term that was used by the Jews of that day to refer to Satan. Basically Beelzebub was the name of the lord of the fly's who was a particular deity of the Philistines, but down through the years that particular name had come to be identified as a title for Satan. Now it says, "If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub," now if you look at the assembly of believing people as a household and it says if the critics and the unbelievers have called the master Beelzebub, and who is the master? It's the Lord. Did they call him that? Yes they did as we find in Matthew 12, they actually said he did what he did by the power of Satan, and that's what that means. So if they're going to condemn the master of the house, they're certainly not going to be hesitant to condemn the people who are in the household. In other words, if they would strike out a blow at the highest level, they're certainly not going to hold back at the other lower levels. So the Christian needs to be aware of the fact that if they call the Lord Himself satanic, if the religionist say the Lord Himself is the ultimate heretic then they're going to condemn us for that as well.
DENNIS: Thank you.
JOHN: Okay. Greg.
GREG: Yeah, my name is Greg and in James 1:15 it says, "When lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin, and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." I've heard three different versions of that particular one. Is that a lifestyle type of death or is that more of a, or is that a physical death? I know it's not a spiritual, but is it a physical?
JOHN: Taking, Greg, in the broadest possible since, no matter what kind of sin exists it brings forth death. All sin ultimately brings death. All sin committed by everybody everything it's ever committed ultimately brings death. In this sense, you can take it anyway you want to take it, lust brings forth sin and sin when it finally reaches its ultimate end brings for death. You can look at that every way. First of all, all sin ultimately brings physical death, right? Every single person in the world is going to die. It's appointed to man once to die. Why? The wages of sin is what? Is death. Now the only elimination of that reality is in the rapture, but apart from the people who are raptured, the norm is that all sin brings death, physical death. Physical death is a reality in the world because sin is a reality. Okay? All sin also brings forth spiritual death because all sin cuts us off from God. Thirdly all sin brings forth eternal death. In other words, if I sin I am condemned to hell, right? Now, physical death I will go through. The spiritual and eternal death can be reversed by faith in Jesus Christ, but even in that sense Christ had to die my death for me and Christ died not only a physical death, but listen to this: he died a spiritual death too, because he said on the cross, "My God, my God, why hast thou, what? forsaken me."
So all sin brings death. The benefit of the Christian is that the death that it brings for us was borne by Christ so that all we endure is the physical death. So the point of the verse is just a very general very broad thing. Now, all sin brings spiritual death, all sin brings physical death. Take the example of a Christian. We'll still die physically, but if we go on in sin as in the case of I Corinthian 11 when the believers profaned the Lord's table and some of them slept, sometimes God will use death as a chastening. But the principle is still the same. If you're talking about an unbeliever it brings death. If you're talking about a believer it still brings physical death. If you're talking about a believer it still brings spiritual death, though Christ dies that death. If you're talking about a believer sinning it could again bring death as a chastening from God. The point that James is making is just that sin brings death.
GREG: The reason why I asked was because the whole thing is talking about being tempted in that particular portion and I wonder if you would _______reference to?
JOHN: It's saying don't mess with sin because no matter how you cut it sin brings death and why would you who possess life want to do that? Now if you follow the text down to the verse 21 now you're talking specifically to Christians, of course, "Put away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness." How do we know it's Christians? Verse 19, "Wherefore my what?
JOHN: Beloved brother. Verse 21, "Put away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your," the Greek word is lives. And here, I believe, he's saying that you'd better stay away from sin because it'll save your life. And there he's talking about the punitive or the chastening element of death that God brings in the life of the believer.
GREG: Okay. Just one more like a yes or no type of question and that's in Psalms 8 where it says, talks about in 4 and 5 it talks about the Son of God,—-
JOHN: Son of Man?
GREG: Yes, Son of Man. "What is man that thou art mindful of him and the son of man? And the son of man that thou art visits him for thou has made him a little lower than the angels and hast crowned him with glory and honor." Is the son of man there Christ? Or is that talking of mankind as a whole?
JOHN: That's a two-fold statement.
GREG: I know it appears—-
JOHN: We know it's Christ because it is in Hebrews, but we know it's talking about man because it's true of man. In other words, what is man that thou art mindful him, the son of man that thou visitest him? Why bother with men they're lower than the angels. But that also became true of Christ and is later applied to Christ. You have that throughout the Psalms. That is a very common double fulfillment kind of thing. You have David saying, for example, in another place 69:9 "Zeal for thine house has eaten me up. The reproaches that have fallen on thee are fallen on me," and David speaks out of his own heart. And yet when you come to John 2, Jesus quotes that as a fulfillment in his own heart. So that is a very common thing. You have David and his enemies in Psalm 22, but the ultimate fulfillment is Jesus Christ and the death on the cross. So that is part of the pattern of biblical prophecy. I think there is man there and yet when Christ becomes man he identifies with men's lowliness and it then becomes true of him and that's why it's used that way in Hebrews.
GREG: Okay. Thank you.
BOB: Yes, John, by name is Bob. You taught back in Matthew when you taught about Jesus going into Capernaum and the centurion approached him and asked him to heal his paralyzed slave and I was just curious about the account in 8:5 it talks that it said that the centurion came to him and I ran into an account back in Luke in Luke 7 it talks about, Luke talks about the same incident. He talks about the fact that the centurion sent one of the Jewish elders and then you go down further down inside, further into the passage and it talks about the fact that in Matthew the same account is that the fact that later on Jesus came, went to the centurion's house. In Luke it says the centurion sent one of his servants out to stop him. How come the account seems a little—
JOHN: When I taught that passage if you'll listen to the tape you'll see that I harmonized those two accounts and they can be easily harmonized. The purpose that the writer has is mind is very important. You see you're touching on a problem known as a synoptic problem. The synoptics, or the Matthew, Mark, Luke gospels are the synoptics of the life of Christ. John stands alone because it doesn't focus on the life of Christ chronologically, there's no birth account or anything; it focuses on his deity. But the ones that focus on his life, the synoptics have variations in many of the accounts depending upon the focus and intent of the writer. Matthew tends to condense things. For example, when you received a man's emissary you received the man. Now this was a Jewish concept. It you received a man's ambassador you received the king. In this case Matthew was simply saying when you received the man sent by the centurion you received the centurion.
In other words, Matthew's point is to condense the thing to get at what he wants to get at and if you just compare the passages I tried to do when I preached on it, you'll find that they harmonize wonderfully and that if you just follow the flow there's really no problem at all. In fact, the apparent discrepancies in the synoptic problem are all resolved if we just carefully study the text. We've been fighting those things off for years from the liberal critics and there's really no problem. So I would say, I would suggest to you a book that you should buy that would help you a lot. It's called The Life of Christ in Stereo. It's written by a man named Chaney and what it is, you've heard of a harmony of the gospels, you can buy a harmony of the gospels where in four columns you get the whole New Testament and they're all laid out beside each other. But what Chaney did was integrate the four gospels and called it The Life of Christ in Stereo, so that he puts all of the things together so you read the flow of all the narratives in their natural normal chronological sequence, and I think if you read that on this passage or any of those other passages it'll be very helpful in helping you to resolve those kinds of things.
BOB: Great. Thank you.
JOHN: Okay. Yes!
PAM: Hi John. My name is Pam and I had a question about the Holy Spirit, the theology of it. I would like to know what exactly was the difference between the Holy Spirit in the New Testament and the Old Testament? Why were only certain people given the Holy Spirit and why did God take the Holy Spirit back from them? I noticed in Psalm 51 David says, "Take not thy Holy Spirit from me." How did that affect their ministry? How did that affect a believer if the Holy Spirit was taken from them since we can't lose our salvation? Apparently their salvation wasn't dependent upon the Holy Spirit at that time.
JOHN: Well, that's a large question. There's no difference, first of all, between the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament and the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. He's the same Holy Spirit. "I am the Lord, I change not." Right? Okay. He's the same and he is always the expressed agent of the power of God. "The Spirit brooded over the waters and there was creation," in Genesis 1. He is the expressed agent of the creation of God. He's the express agent of the power of God. In the life of Christ, Jesus said he did what he did by the power of the Holy Spirit. And when they said he did it by the power of Satan, he said, "You blaspheme the Holy Spirit not me." So the Spirit has always been the agency of the power of God expressed.
Now the distinction, I think, is probably best made by our Lord in John 14:17 and he is talking to the disciples and he says, "When I go away I'll pray the Father and He'll give you another comforter," heteras paraclete,just like myself. And He will abide with you forever, which is better than having Christ around now and then. But the very statement He will abide with you forever is a very interesting new dimension in terms of the words themselves because such a promise is not made in the Old Testament. Then in verse 17, "The Spirit of truth in the world cannot receive because it sees Him not neither knows Him, but you know Him," and this is the key statement: for He dwells what? with you but shall be what? in you.
Now, at best that I can say, Pam, is that there is then some distinction between the way in which the Spirit of God identifies with the believer in the New Testament. There is a uniqueness to the Spirit's indwelling ministry. In fact, it is a mystery in Colossians, Christ where? In you! That is a mystery, which means what? what is a mystery? something that was hidden in time past and is now made manifest. There is a newness then in the New Testament in which the Messiah is in you in His Spirit. "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ," Romans 8:9, "He is none of His." So now the Spirit of Christ is in us, the Holy Spirit is in us. He has dwelt with us. He is now in us.
Now all I can say is that is the distinction and that grants to us both a fullness, and I want to be careful how I say this, because I don't want to limit the Old Testament men and women, but it grants to us a fullness of power and accommodating fullness of responsibility that is something unique to the new covenant.
Now in the Old Testament we know it will say that the Holy Spirit came upon so and so and he did this and the Holy Spirit departed. And the Holy Spirit came upon so and so and did this and the Holy Spirit departed. All I can say to you is that the function of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament seems to be defined in different terms, but that does not mean that people, who were drawn to God, were not drawn by the Holy Spirit, and it does not mean that they were not kept by the Holy Spirit. It simply some distinction that really if you want to know the honest truth is very difficult for me to understand. The Holy Spirit has been with you. He shall be in you. There is an indwelling. There is newness. We were talking about this today.
I've been working on some stuff for a divorce and remarriage seminar that I have to give a paper back in Milwaukee and talking about the fact that as you go through the Old Testament there is a certain tolerance that you don't see in the New Testament, right? I mean, for example, you remember last Wednesday night that Alistair spoke on Caleb and he said that Caleb was a man who wholly followed the Lord. Remember that? And it says over and over and over and over that Caleb who wholly followed the Lord.
Well you go through all of that passage and then you come to I Chronicles 2 and it lists all of Caleb's concubines. See. Well you say, I mean, how could the guy wholly follow the Lord and have a bunch of concubines? And the only answer I can give you is that there was in that time, because of the fact that the Spirit of God did not have the unique ministry that He has today, there was a certain tolerance, but it is not to say that there was a loss of salvation. It is not to say that the Spirit of God did not empower His people. It is not to say that they were not accountable for God punished them if they didn't obey Him, but there is a uniqueness and I think that's the best we can say about the power and presence of the indwelling Spirit. There's a sense in which those people, it says in Hebrews 11, it says, "Receive not the promise." There's a sense in which we have in the indwelling Spirit a greater resource or a greater availability of resource than they had, which gives us even a greater accountability. Okay?
QUESTIONER: Maybe I missed something but how were they able to have as much, I mean did they have as much love as we do, joy, peace, did they have the fruit? How could they function in their daily lives just as a believer?
JOHN: You have to believe that God dispensed to them the same blessedness that He dispenses to us and He did it through the Holy Spirit. All we're saying is there is some uniqueness in the new covenant. That is not to say that the Spirit of God, look at it this way: if this helps, in that time the fullness of the Spirit, well take the concept of Ephesians be being Chapter what, filled with the Spirit. Now that is something that you don't see in the Old Testament.
In Ezekiel it says, "Someday God says in the new covenant," Ezekiel 36, "Someday I'll take out your stony heart, I'll give you a heart of flesh and I will plant my" what? "Spirit within you." All I can say is that they possessed the Spirit but not the fullness, as we know it. Now maybe there is a sense, in which there is a greater joy or a greater peace and talk about Galatians 5 and the fruit of the Spirit and so forth, but on the other hand the Spirit was the same and the power was the same, maybe the continuity was different. I don't really know, but there's a uniqueness in the new and I don't really want to say any more than that.
You see people who want to eliminate the Holy Spirit from the Old Testament are really left with a terrible problem. In the first place you've just done in the Trinity and the Spirit of God is at work. You have the same problem going the other direction, there are people who say in the tribulation the Holy Spirit will be removed. Don't you believe that for a minute. The Holy Spirit will not be removed in the tribulation. The Holy Spirit couldn't be removed or no one would be saved or nothing could happen. In fact, the Spirit gives life to the two witnesses that are murdered in the tribulation. The Spirit is the one who energizes the 144 thousand. The Spirit is the one who redeems the innumerable host in Revelation 7, "for every tongue, tribe and nation," and so forth so the Spirit has always been at work, but there is a uniqueness to his identification with those in whom the living Christ dwells in the church age.
QUESTIONER: Thank you.
PHIL: I'm Phil and I just got back from a summer with an organization where we took Bibles and books into Eastern Europe and Romania—
JOHN: Oh great!
PHIL: —-and one such problem I had to deal with personally was what would happen if I got to the border with a load of books and Bibles and was asked point blank, which maybe I was and I didn't know it, was asked point blank do you have any Bibles? What would be your ethical answer to that?
JOHN: Yes sir. Yes sir. Yes sir. I figure if I'm honest I'm operating within God's framework and if He wants those Bibles in there they'll get in there, but if I'm dishonest I've stepped outside the bounds of God's framework of integrity and then I can't be sure that God did it. I may have done it myself.
PHIL: Okay, another thing, which we did, was we would make up hypothetical based as close to the truth as possible before we went into the border, don't laugh, but before we went into the border —-
JOHN: I hear you. You're coming on; I got it.
PHIL: —-we would make up stories as close to the truth as possible but in case we were caught to protect the believers and the people working fulltime for the organization, in case we were interrogated.
JOHN: I understand. The thing you don't want to do, somebody said it this way: If somebody asks you the time don't tell them how to put a watch together. In other words you don't have to say everything and I think if you choose selectively what you say, say something that is true. I mean if you go to the border and you say, "Oh yeah, this bag is just full of underwear and old socks," I mean that's probably true. You don't have to tell them everything. No, as long as you are not attempting to be deceptive.
Now, this brings up the whole issue of the ethics of this thing and this is a big issue. I guess where I come back to is the sovereignty of God, okay? If God wants to accomplish these things He'll accomplish them within the framework of His principles and His principles basically are truth, but that does not mean that you have to say everything to everybody about everything. I mean you could be somewhat selective. For example if you were to go into Russia today and they checked you at the border and asked you what you were going to, you could say, "I'm a tourist." And you could be a tourist, right? You're going to go in and look around. What is a tourist? A tourist is somebody who stands in the middle and has a camera on his neck and looks around. And you also may preach! You don't have to tell him the whole thing. I really, it's a very difficult question.
I think, too, this whole issue of protecting people, I know this went on a lot in the, if any of you saw the Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom and so forth, there's a lot of that kind of thing in the Nazi times with the Jews and a lot of times with Christians and so forth. Basically biblically the only thing that would deal with this would be the story of Rahab, the harlot, and she hid the spies and she was righteous.
In fact they even said that about her, she was righteous. She was even included in the Messianic line of Matthew 1. There's a place for concealment for the people of God and the things of God, but you have to be very careful that you don't violate the principles of God in the process. But you don't have to disclose everything. That's what I'm saying. You don't have to say, "Oh yeah, I'm hiding the spies over here. They're right under there." See I mean that is, you don't have to say everything. I think if you're guarded about it and yet maintain your integrity. I realize that there may be stressful situations where that becomes a real difficult point. How did you do this summer?
PHIL: We were given vans and cars and went in in teams of three and we would have just the books in the back seat, not too open, but it was an open load. It wasn't in the van walls or anything so technically it wasn't smuggling and we would just drive the vans into the country. Go in the borders and apply for a tourist visa and then we'd bring the books to specific pastors and believers in the East.
JOHN: Well you know there are underground printing presses. You remember when Georgie Vinsuit was here and said they built them out of bicycle parts throughout Russia and they are printing Bibles and Christian material over there now and they wouldn't tell where those are. I don't think, and at that point what you don't want to do is lie, but you can't be forced to betray a situation. So, but that's all in the Lord's hands and you just have to be in that stressful situation and totally sensitive to the Lord. It's kind of refreshing just to be honest and then watch and see what God does to circumvent to accomplish His will.
PHIL: Yeah we did have one guy caught and one group caught and the problem is that they were interrogated with three different all apart and I think the main reason why some of these people are caught is to give the border guards some books and Bibles.
JOHN: I was going to say if they catch you maybe the border guard will read it and become a Christian. Who knows? Okay good. Thank you for that. Bless your heart for being over there and doing that.
PATTY: Hi John, my name is Patty and in discipleship evangelism we very frequently use the Isaiah 9:6 verse. How do you deal with the Jewish person when they say, "When did the government rest on His shoulders? When was he called Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace because the answer that I give, well he too the government on His shoulders when He died on the cross, and Prince of Peace when He made peace between God and man, but they won't settle for that answer. They say it still has to happen. It's only partially fulfilled.
JOHN: They're right.
PATTY: They're right?
JOHN: You see those are Messianic titles. The government isn't on his shoulders. Frankly at this particular juncture the prince of this world is Satan, but He is the one who is due the government and someday will become the Prince of Peace and someday will exercise the power and authority of Mighty God, so forth. So that is a Messianic, that is a millennial, that is a kingdom and an eternal promise. Christ, at this juncture is still known in the world and particularly to the Jew in His humiliation not in His exaltation, but that is a passage of exaltation. You see you have the Son being born, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulders." That is talking about His future kingdom and His name shall be called. And I think it is at that point in time when the world will affirm who he is and call him by those titles. And that's why the Jew has such a difficult time with Christ and that's why you're in I Corinthians 1 with that whole deal about to the Jew the cross is a stumbling block. How can one who dies on a cross be the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, or the Father of eternity? The Wonderful Counselor, the Prince of Peace, the ruler of the world, therefore, the cross is a stumbling block to the Jew.
PATTY:Can I ask one more question real fast? Okay in Isaiah 11:11-12, it says, "And then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recover the second time with His hand the remnant of His people who will remain from Assyria, etc. and from the islands of the sea and he will life up a standard for the nations and will assemble the banished ones of Israel and will gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth." Now my question is will God's remnant of Jews become believers in Christ before the rapture?
JOHN: No. During the time of the tribulation and this is for the establishing of His kingdom.
PATTY: And what will occur that will bring the Jews from the four corners of the earth?
JOHN: Well I think basically during the seven-year tribulation, the rapture happens then the seven-year tribulation Israel is still in unbelief. First three and a half years they make a pact with the antichrist, Daniel 9, they got the wrong Messiah. In the middle of the seven-year period he violates the pact, desecrates their temple, abominates the sacred place, and then all hell breaks loose and he begins to slaughter the Jews and massacre the Jews and so forth and so on. At that particular point I believe the 144 thousand are sealed and protected from a massacre and they become the agents of the message of salvation, Revelation 7:14. They preach that message of salvation and then Romans 11 becomes a reality so all Israel shall be saved. The nation turns to Christ.
Now there will be some who will not turn to Christ and it says I think it's Ezekiel talks about the rebels being purged out. The nation that remains returns to Christ. Two out of three of them will be murdered by the antichrist, one-third will remain alive and they'll enter into the kingdom period in physical bodies and I believe they will be the ones re-gathered for the establishing of His kingdom. And they'll come to Jerusalem because the king is there.
PATTY: Okay, thank you very much.
MARK: Hi John. I'm Mark. I'm actually turning up this microphone.
JOHN: That's all right.
MARK: There's a group known as the local church led by a man named Witness Lee and they hold to a doctrine that calls for a mingling of the spirit of man and the spirit of God and they call this mingling an intrinsic union between the spirit of man and the spirit of God. Could you tell me what the Bible has to say about such a union?
JOHN: I don't even know what they mean by that. But the Bible, I don't know whether that's just sort of an esoteric approach to the true unity of the believer with God. I don't really know. But I mean, it's very hard for me to answer that question because I'm not sure they know either. It sounds sort of mystical. I don't know whether they're trying to say that men ultimately become God, but that sounds to me that that's what they're saying. Co-mingling, I mean you can go to I Corinthians 6 and it says, "He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit." Is that what they're saying?
MARK: I don't know. The thing, the person I talked to is into this group, said that it's something like mixing water with tea and that when the two are mixed up they become one and that this is not just a one joining to the other, but that the two become an absolute intrinsic union.
JOHN: Okay, what is, the thing that would reveal what they mean by that is what is the result? So what! So what does that mean? Does that mean that you're now God? If it does that's wrong.
MARK: They call themselves, they say that a person, a Christian who becomes or a person who becomes a Christian is now mingled with God and is therefore a god/man.
JOHN: Yeah well that's heresy.
MARK: What specific verses in the Bible could we use to refute this?
JOHN: Well what specific verses in the Bible could be used to indicate that? Put the burden on them. Show me. Where does it say that? I think we spend a lot of our time trying to find stuff to answer that they couldn't even find to begin with. So put the burden of proof on them. Who said? Where does it say that? And what does it mean? Does it mean that you're god? Does it mean that you are now perfect? Does it mean that everything you do is okay? Is that what it means? What does it mean that that is supposed truth? Because if they're trying to say that they've ascended to being gods then that is heresy. So and I would put the burden of proof on them. I mean that's my approach anytime somebody gives me some kind of a deal like that I'm not going to be in a hurry to defend it until they can show me where it is and then when they show me a passage I can interpret that passage properly for them and show them that's not what it means at all. Put the burden on them. Most people in those kind of systems can't defend themselves anyway. They just want to intimidate and if you get them out of their little bailiwick of little systems they're hopeless. Okay?
MARILYN: Hi John, my name is Marilyn. I was talking to my neighbors about homosexuality and that God made male and female and she said, "What about morphidites?" She has a friend earlier in the girl's life she was female and then she decided that they had made the wrong decision and she switched over to being a male.
JOHN: Can't do that! That's can't do that. That's okay ask her this: just say, "Would you agree that human beings have two legs, two arms, two eyes, a nose and a mouth, two ears?" Yes! What about a one-legged man? What about a guy who is blind? I mean that's just an exception. There will be some physiological freaks, but what's happening is people are starting to throw this term around fermathodite, morphidite and all that stuff as a justification for a sex change operation. I had a guy, I don't know what, I had some thing said to me, I don't know what. I was sitting in my office said, "I was a woman trapped in a man's body." And I said, "That's absurd." That's like I mean you could say you're a horse trapped in a man's body for that matter. There's some people, I mean that's what Nebuchadnezzar said. But that doesn't make it true just because he said that.
So the medical phenomena of a person who is born sometimes with a deformed genital capacities or somewhere in the middle, which is a freakish kind of thing, certainly doesn't mean that is a normal third kind of person because no two of them are ever alike, you see. It's a freak thing.
MARILYN: Would they then run tests to see what was more predominate?
JOHN: You can't run tests to see what's more predominate. Not physiological tests.
MARILYN: So how would you raise that person then?
JOHN: That's just a very rare situation. I don't know if a person were in that situation and it has occurred medically, you'd have to make a decision at the moment at the time they were born because some surgery would have to be done I would imagine, I don't know if there are any doctors here, but you'd have to treat that immediately and then that thing would be settled. But even in that case there would be a dominate factor.
MARILYN: Okay thank you.
GARY: Hi John, my name is Gary. I wanted your opinion on a specific doctrine that you hear both teachings, you hear quote as humans we kind of like to put things in categories, so the free will doctrine versus the election doctrine, as far as salvation is concerned. And I wanted your thoughts on that.
JOHN: Everybody in this room believes in predestination if they believe the Bible, right? How many of you believe the Bible? You believe the Bible? That's good. God help the rest of you. You're either slow or heretics, I don't know which. Now everybody believes the Bible, right? Then you believe in predestination. You say, "No, I was raised a Methodist." I don't care what you were raised, you believe in predestination if you believe the Bible because in Ephesians it says, "He predestinated us before the foundation of the world."
It says in Revelation, "He has written our names in the Lambs Book of Life from before the foundation of the world." It uses the word predestination. Everyone believes in that who believes the Bible. God predetermined who would be saved before they were ever born. That's in the Bible. You believe it so just accept that you believe it. Now wasn't that easy? Absolutely painless! You believe that. The Bible also says, "Whosoever will may come, and becometh unto me I will in no wise cast out." Do you believe that? Okay. So you believe that too. So you believe in man's volition. Free will is not a biblical term because man's will isn't really free, it's bound by sin, but you believe that when you became a Christian did you say to yourself, "Oh, I'm elect. I think I'll get saved." No! No you made a decision, you made a choice. So the Bible teaches God's predestinated plan, God's electing plan. I mean it says that over and over, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God, elect in Him. I have many people in that city," he said, in the book of Acts who weren't even saved yet, but they were already considered His people 'cause they were elect.
So you believe all that then you believe in man's choice as well. So you believe both of those things. The problem is not whether you believe those. The problem is how you harmonize them, right? You know how you harmonize them? No you don't. You don't know how to harmonize them because there is no way to harmonize them. And the way I like to illustrate it is this: is Jesus God or man? Speak.
JOHN: Both. Is he all man? 100% man. 100% God. How could He be 200%? It's a paradox. Who wrote Romans? Paul wrote Romans? God wrote Romans. They alternated verses? Who wrote Romans? It was Paul's words from his vocabulary and his heart. Was every word inspired by the Spirit of God? How could every single word come out of the mind of God and yet Paul feel that every single word came out of his own heart? You know what's going to happen if you try to synthesize those things? You know what happened in the early church councils? They got so confused they said, "Okay he's half God and half man." And you know what you have when you have half God and half man? Nothing. What's half a man? There's not such thing as half. What's half of God? A nothing! So they came up with a heresy. So on the one hand they said He's all deity and the idea that He was a physical being is just a phantom and they came up with a phantom view. And the others said He was all man and He's not deity at all see, and because they tried to resolve it they came up with heresy every time. They just said He's all God and not man or all man and not God or half and half and that's a nothing. You have to leave the paradox.
Now when you come to the writing of the Bible some say, "Well it can't be all Paul and all the Holy Spirit," so Paul just wrote what the Holy Spirit told him and it's all really the Holy Spirit. Is that true? You've just eliminated the Pauline authorship. On the other hand if you say it's all Paul, like the liberals do, and none of the Holy Spirit you've eliminated God.
Let me ask you another question. Who lives your Christian life? Who lives your Christian life? Who? Do you? Do you? I hope you do. Is it just you out there living it up, gritting your, not I but what, Christ liveth in me, nevertheless what? I live, yet not I, but Christ. Well if it's all Christ then I become a quietest, let go and let God. And I just, and you've got that movement. And on the other hand if you say it's me I become a pietist and I wind up as a legalist. You just have to handle both and leave them in a paradox. Now when it comes down to the whole area of sovereignty and will you've got to leave them where they are and as soon as you try to resolve them you get all of the Calvinists who run over to this end of the seesaw and start screaming sovereignty and down goes the scale, right? And they got God doing everything. One guy came to me one day and said God even makes you sin. See that's the ultimate.
And on the other hand you've got the Arminians who say no, no, no it's all us, it's all us, it's all us. And if it's all us, folks, we are really in trouble. Why don't you leave it alone? Then you have the Baptists. Oh the Baptists. And the Baptists come together in the middle and they say well it's a little bit of predestination and a little bit of free will. You see God looks down the road and He says, "Oh that's what they're going to do, I see, so I'll chose it." No! Just leave it alone. So the best way to solve that problem is to believe both and let God resolve it. Now if you could resolve all those problems you'd be God. And then there would be other problems we'd have to deal with.
Now let me tell you something. One of the greatest marks of the inspiration of the Scripture is the fact is that it has those incomprehensible paradoxes. Because if a man or men had written that book they never would have number one conceived them, number two they never would have left them there. They would have resolved them. The fact that they are there and they stand all over the place in the Bible is one of the truest proofs that God, of an infinite mind, far beyond our own, wrote those things. The very fact that there are those irreconsible apparent paradoxes in Scripture speaks of divine authorship. God understands how they harmonize, we don't. And that means that God has a greater mind than we do and aren't you glad about that? Okay?
GARY: Thank you.
CAROLINA: Hi there. My name is Carolina and I'd like to ask you what you think about friendship evangelism and what I mean by that is forming close friendships with non-Christians. I know there's a verse that says, "We should love all men, but especially those of the household of faith."
JOHN: You know what they accused Jesus of? They accused Him of being a friend of sinners. I think that we ought to have friendships with sinners. How else are we going to win them to Christ? The greatest soil for evangelism is friendship. That's the greatest. When you give yourself to someone, when you pour your heart out to someone, why do you think Jesus came healing? He was meeting people at their deepest point of need with mercy and love and He was establishing in them an affection and a gratitude for Him as an individual for what He had done for them and out of that affection and out of that gratitude could grow faith. I mean standing on the corner screaming at a bunch of strangers isn't nearly as effective as a friendship. I think that it's critical that we establish. You know He went home with Zacchaeus who was the crumb of the town and they accused Him of hanging around prostitutes. Remember what He said, "The wealthy don't need a physician, the sick do." I think that's the greatest way of evangelism. Okay? Okay.
ROGER: My name is Roger and I had a question. It's a two-part question and I've asked this question before and I think you've even answered it on one of your tapes, but I'd like to get to the second part of it. Can and does Satan read one's mind?
JOHN: No, I don't think Satan can read your mind because I don't think Satan is omniscient. He's too dumb. He's fallen and sin curses the intellect, even an angelic intellect. I don't think he was ever omniscient anyway. Omniscience belongs only to God. I don't think Satan can read your mind, but I do think that Satan can pretty well peg what you're thinking by how you're acting and how you're talking and he can pretty well analyze the pattern of your living and he pretty well knows what affects you in what way and how you respond and react to things. So, he can pretty well pin point your weaknesses but I do not think he can read your mind. Okay? There's nothing in Scripture to indicate that Satan can read your mind.
ROGER: The second part of the question then is if not then how or why can one be in prayer, like right here, and have a thought zing across your mind that's like staggering or a sin flash upon the screen of your mind like it's, I'm a young Christian so maybe there's some other problems there, I don't know, but this is one that I've had right here in the sanctuary. Sometimes it frightens me. It doesn't happen frequently but it has.
JOHN: I think all of us have had that happen. You know you'll be committed to studying the Scripture, you'll be committed to praying, or you'll be committed to speaking or teaching or witnessing or whatever, singing a hymn, and all of a sudden a totally ridiculous obtuse thought comes across your mind. It has nothing to do with anything. Like sometimes even when I'm preaching all of a sudden, you don't even realize it, but you'll start thinking about some dumb stupid mundane, — I remember when a guy gave me a bunch of stock. He said I want you to have this. I can't handle it. It messes up my Christian life so he gave it to me. It's like removing the ark of the covenant from the Gaffites to the Econrites and taking the bubonic plague with it.
So he gives me this stuff and I mean at the most ridiculous times I'd be thinking, "I wonder how that stock is doing." I finally sold it and I got $250. when I sold it. It was at the bottom. But anyway it was nothing, but that's right, I think it happens to all of us and I don't think it has anything to do with Satan reading our minds, and I don't think it necessarily think it has to do with satanic intervention. It is just the nature of the flesh that it has within it the propensity toward evil and it'll come up at the most inopportune times. Something triggers all those mechanism in your brain. For example, you'll be having a normal conversation about the weather and you'll have all kinds of other thoughts. Now some people can control a conversation.
Some people when you talk to them they interject all those thoughts and their conversations are very sporadic and very interesting sometimes. Have you ever talked to anybody like that where they go bang, bang, bang, bang, and there's a lot of stuff feeding into the computer? But I think what you're saying really reflects the nature of man. First of all your brain is a jumble of all kinds of things and thoughts. I think that the flesh very often, whatever that propensity is to sin, throws those at you and I think Satan can energize those things by something you see, something that appeals to your eye. I don't think he can control what you think of or what you remember internally, but I think there are maybe colors or shapes or forms or people or all kinds of things that pass through and flick off other thoughts. I think he pretty well deals, and I'm saying this in a general statement, and I hope it's true; he pretty well deals with external stimulus. Because I don't thing that he can just invade your mind in the sense of total control.
Now it may be that he has some resource to plant thoughts, but that's very difficult to know whether how he does that if he doesn't do that by some external stimulus of some kind.
ROGER: To digress a moment, if I gave you an example of when I first became a Christian it was a particular Saturday morning and I had just gotten up and I had a thought about someone that I hadn't seen in like ten years, 12 years, since college and it was a real, it wasn't exactly eerie but it was prominent in my mind. And I thought boy that's strange. I don't know why I should be thinking of that person. There's really no reason to be thinking of that person. That person called me that night and I had some problem with that and that's why I wondering if you're bombarded with—- And then I also felt then, I started to think if this is happening then I felt Satan's presence and then I remembered the verse, "Get thee behind me Satan," and that was comforting. But I'm just curious.
JOHN: Well we've all kind of experienced that dejavu kind of thing or some of those kinds of coincidences or whatever. Sometimes God may plant a thought in someone to pray about something. It is possible. I'm not going to deny that Satan can plant thoughts. But I think primarily Satan works on external stimulus, but I'm not going to say he cannot plant a thought. If we really wrestle against principalities and powers and so forth as it says in Ephesians 6, it may be within his capacity to plant thought. I think Ananias and Sapphira why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit? If we're living in sin, if we expose ourselves, there's a sense in which Satan can come right inside and begin to dominate the influence.
But what I'm really saying is I don't think if you're going along in the flow of your Christian life and so forth, I don't think Satan can just flood in with all kinds of things. I think there's a certain protection that's built in when you're walking in the Spirit and some of those things that comes up may just be your brain and the flesh that's a part of your natural makeup throwing those things at you. But that's a very difficult thing. That's why we say so very often you do not want to get involved in playing around with demons in their sphere because you really don't understand that sphere and it's beyond us so we avoid that. Okay?
Let me just see if I can clarify it now. We believe that Satan is not omniscient. He does not know everything. I believe he is subject to the revelation of God and he is subject to objective observation within whatever objective means within his sphere. He can perceive what is going on but I don't think there's anything in the Bible to indicate he is omniscient. He is infinitely intelligent, tremendously intelligent, but intelligence comes, intelligence is a capacity that is fed by revealed information. Do you know what I mean by that? God is omniscient in the sense that He intrinsically knows everything and there doesn't have to be any information. But Satan knows what he knows because God has revealed that to him within the framework of his intelligence.
So don't think there's anything to indicate that Satan can read your mind, but Satan can influence your mind. But I think primarily it is by external things that may trigger thought patterns. But it is also true that demons can come in and Satan can come in and if they can come into a believer there's a sense in which they must be able directly to affect the thinking process somehow. But that for one, I think, who has been given over to Satan to some extent. Okay.
DAN: Hi John, my name is Dan. I have a question concerning Jewish witness from Romans 11 and I was talking with a pastor of another church about Jewish witness and this chapter seems to be suggesting that the Jews hold a very special place in God's heart and that in verse 12, "Now if their transgression be riches for the world," in verse 15, "For if their rejection be the reconciliation of the world," and then going farther down into verse 24 comparing the cultivated olive tree off of which they came to us being the wild olive tree having to be grafted on and then going farther down and saying, verse 25, "But I don't want you brethren to be uninformed of this mystery lest you be wise in your own estimation that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles and thus all Israel will be saved." And then finally on verse 23, "How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways."
Now this pastor suggested to me, and it sounded logical to me, that the judgment of the Jews is something that God may have a special dispensation for the Jews and that it's not necessarily absolutely necessary for them to know Jesus Christ as their savior, to be saved, as long as they are well founded Jews and they seek the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and they live a good Jewish life. And he suggested that it's possible because of the mystery that you mentioned here and because of the unsearchableness of God's judgments that perhaps it's not absolutely necessary that they know Jesus Christ because their hearts have been hardened. Now what do you think about this?
JOHN: I think that's totally wrong. That's horrifying thought because if the implication of that thought is you don't evangelize a Jew that's a horrifying thought. First of all he does not understand the interpretation of Romans 11. That's clear. Secondly he doesn't understand the doctrine of salvation. That's clear. Thirdly he doesn't understand the extent of either of those and I'm not disparaging him, I'm just saying if that's what he believes, I don't even know who he is, but if that's what he believes that's a horrifying thing. The point in the text here is that God does have a special place for Israel. Israel will be restored if the diminishing of Israel, that is if they're setting aside with the riches of the Gentiles, look if Israel was set aside and the church was born and we've all been enriched by it, what greater thing will occur when they are grafted back in?
In other words if they're diminishing this for us, what in the world would their salvation mean for us? It's very much like the Romans 5 argument where he says if the death of Christ could reconcile us to God what can the life of Christ do to keep that reconciliation a reality? So I think what the text is saying here is that God has set aside Israel. There's no question about that, but they are not set aside permanently and they are not set aside totally because earlier in the chapter he says that there is a remnant according to the election of grace in Chapter 5. So it is a partial setting aside and it is a temporary setting aside because later in Chapter 11 he says all Israel is going to be saved. But he also says in Acts 4 does the Holy Spirit that neither is their salvation any other for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby they must be saved. He said that to Jews in the city of Jerusalem who were the Jewish leaders.
That is a very definitive statement, a very clear statement. So what he is saying is Israel was set aside, yes, temporarily and partially. There will be a day, and in their setting aside the riches was turned to the Gentiles after the Gentiles fullness has come in, after the church is complete, that's what that means, God will go back and redeem Israel.
Zechariah tells us exactly how. He says, "They will look on Him whom they have pierced and they will mourn for Him as an only son." Zechariah! That is an indication that their salvation comes about directly as a relationship of their focus on Jesus Christ. At that point they will be saved and then He will fulfill His covenant, verse 27, He will take away their sins as concerning the gospel now they have become enemies for your sake." In other words their setting aside affected the salvation of the Gentiles, but as touching the election, in other words, in God's eternal purpose they are the beloved for the Father's sakes for God cannot change His covenant. His callings are without repentance so He will bring them back. There's no question that He'll bring them back, but the bringing back has to be around the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you go back to Chapter 10—-
DAN: Are you saying that doesn't speak to necessarily to Jews today? To people that we are families and friends who are Jewish?
JOHN: No, that speaks to the nation; it speaks to the nation as a nation not to individual Jews today. An individual Jew today is saved like anybody else is by faith in Christ.
JOHN: And apart from that there is no salvation. Okay we're really out of time so we'll just go real quick. These two folks have been waiting here so we'll get two questions here and maybe one more over there. All right, quickly.
Larry: My name is Larry.
JOHN: Hi Larry.
Larry: I got, I guess it's a controversial question on gifts of teaching. It's in Corinthians 14:26-34, I guess. And basically I've heard different interpretations of verses 34 where it says, "Let women keep silent in the churches for they are not permitted to speak." My interpretation of what it's talking about, and correct me if I'm wrong, that's why I'm here, is that they do not possess any of the gifts listed in verse 26, which are teaching and edifying gifts. And I don't know if that is right or wrong. Maybe you can help me there.
JOHN: Well I don't think it has anything to do with gifts. In fact I think it may assume that they do have the gift of teaching, otherwise it wouldn't have to control how it's used. You understand what I'm saying? If he says, "Let the women keep silent in the churches," that may mean that there will be a temptation on the part of the women to want to teach in the church, which indicates that perhaps they do have the gift and so it has to be regulated.
In the public service of the church the men were to lead. The women were to learn in subjection, but the older women were to teach the younger women and there's nothing in the Bible at all that says that women cannot have the gift of teaching or other gifts. The point here that in the assembly of the church, when the church comes together, the prophets were to take over. He said the spirits of the prophets will be subject to the prophets and the women are to be silent. This is a affirmed in I Timothy where it says I permit a woman not to teach nor to take authority over men, but to learn in all subjection and so forth. This is the God ordained pattern. Doesn't mean that women are dumb. It just means that God has designed women to be different and their role is different within the church. But it doesn't mean they don't have the gifts.
LARRY: So what about the teaching that are taking the pulpit today and are teaching or leading Bible studies with other men present and stuff?
JOHN: Right. We would believe the New Testament clearly teaches that women are to teach other women and children, but they are to be taught to teach their children, instruct their children, but women are not to take the place of teaching men or mixed groups. That's our view. That's our perspective as we look at the Scripture. People say that's chauvinistic but that isn't the point.
The point is it's biblical and it isn't chauvinistic to put a women in the place God intended her to be, which is a place of dignity and so forth. The balance, you see, in I Timothy, it says, "Woman is not to teach." Her influence is not to stand in the pulpit and teach. Where is her influence? The same passage that she should be saved and what? Childbearing and God has marvelously balanced the thing. You ask my children who has influenced them the most. They've sat in church and heard me preach but you ask them who has influenced them the most and I doubt whether they can answer the question because in my wife's bearing them as children and the intimacy that a mother gives to a child there is a level of influence that can't even be equaled in the pulpit. So the balance is there. See. Okay?
QUESTIONER: Hi John. I wanted to ask you two quick questions. The first one, I guess, is a question about situation ethics. Someone believes that there are no absolutes there are only shades of gray and he gave me the example that if you have one person pursuing another and the person that's doing the pursuing is doing it with the intent to harm the individual, and say that individual hides in your home and then the pursuer comes and knocks on your door and says, "You know is Joe Blow here?" And you lie and you say, "No." Now we know lying is a sin, but then how do you answer something like that? There are absolutes, there are yes this is right, this is wrong, no it doesn't depend on the situation.
JOHN: If you're going to argue about absolutes start here. Say, "Do you believe there are absolutes?" And if you get a no answer say, "All right, would you mind if I hit you in the side of the head with a plank?" Just for starters. There are absolutes. If you jump off a building you go down. It doesn't matter what your ethics are, it doesn't matter what you believe, it doesn't matter if you don't believe anything, you'll go down because there's an absolute law of gravity. There are absolutes and if there are absolutes in the physical realm, and that's where you want to start with people like that. There are absolutes in the physical realm. You stick your hand in the fire you'll get burned. You'll feel cold water; you'll feel hot water.
There are absolutes. You drive an immovable object into an irresistible force then you're going to have a problem. There are absolutes. We know that two and two is four. It's always four. You can write three until you're blue in the face on your paper and you're going to get it wrong every time. There are absolutes.
So what you want to start with is the fact that there are absolutes and then all you need to show people is that if there are absolutes in the physical realm why will you not permit the same kind of absolutes in the relational realm or the ethical realm or the moral realm? Because the same God who drew the rules for this category must be the God who drew the rules for the next category.
Now if you're going to come to the place of knocking on the door and so forth you're right back to that same kind of a thing. I had a guy do that and try to kidnap my children. Okay? and he banged on the door and said, "I want to come in there and get your children. I've got a knife," and so forth. And I'll be very honest with you. I said to him, "If you come through that door you'll not only not get my children, but you will find your head in Encino." That's exactly what I said to him. Now I don't have a gun in my hand and I'm going to blow him away, but I'm going to take care of that situation without necessarily telling him a lie about it. I'm not going to say nobody's home here. Just us chickens. But you could treat a situation like that by saying, "I'm going to call the police or you have no, there's no one here who has any interest in you, you have no interest in this house. You'd better leave."
QUESTIONER: I guess my second question was in talking with the same person, are there degrees of sin? Okay we know that all sin is against God and self and in my mind I think one is like there are degrees in my mind that one sin is worse than the other.
JOHN: Well the only indication biblically that there are degrees of sin is the statement, that I can think of off the top of my head, Hebrews 10, down there in 26 and following. It says, "Of how much sorer punishment shall he be thought worthy has trodden under foot the Son of God and counted the blood of the covenant an unholy thing." Of how much greater punishment shall he be thought worthy indicates that there are degrees of punishment? If there are degrees of punishment there must be degrees of sin. At least there's a difference between sins of deed and sins of faith toward God or toward Christ. Those are the severer sins so that the sins of the apostate or the heretic are the severer ones.
Now when you're coming down to whether it's worse to steal, lie or whatever it's very difficult biblically to see any distinction in those.
QUESTIONER: Thank you.
JOHN: I'm going to have to stop. It's oh 8:30 and —-
QUESTIONER: One quick question.
JOHN: You got a real short one?
QUESTIONER:I've heard Jesus called Rose of Sharon. Could you elaborate and from all the Bible classes I've even been to I've never been able to know where that comes from.
JOHN: The Rose of Sharon. Song of Solomon 2 isn't it? Song of Solomon 2, I think.
JOHN: That's just a nice thing. The next time you see your wife just call her a Rose of Sharon and see what kind of reaction. I think we'll answer one because this fellow has been waiting.
QUESTIONER:In Hebrews 1:5 it says, "For which of the angels did he ever say,'thou art my son?'" But I want to ask you in Job 38:7,
QUESTIONER: Who are the sons of God?
JOHN: Well what he's saying in Hebrews 1:5 it says, "Which of the angels have He ever said, 'This day have I begotten Thee.'" And that is a specific designation to Christ. So what it's saying in Hebrews 1:5 is what angel was ever called the very special son of God, the begotten son of God. Yeah. What in the context of Hebrews what angel was ever given the role of the messiah, the Son, the Lord, the Prince, whatever. In a genuine sense, in the Morning Star sang together and the sons of God for joy and all that in the Old Testament is a term for angels. Keep this in mind. The same question needs to be raised in reference to men. Are all men the sons of God? Yes by virtue of what? Creation. No, by virtue of redemption. So you see the same kind of parity in that issue too.
QUESTIONER: Thank you.
JOHN: Okay. Well that's great. We had a good time and some good questions tonight didn't you think? Let's stand for prayer.
Thank you our Blessed Father for the good fellowship we've had tonight. How refreshing it is to be in your word and with your people and we thank you so much that your word speaks to us and it's so exciting Lord to know that it can be applied in our daily living. We thank you for what is evidenced tonight of the hunger and the study of the word of God in the hearts of these people. Continue to refresh us day by day as we spend time in your word and we'll praise you in Christ's name. Amen.