JOHN: Well, this is your time again. I look forward to these question and answer sessions and think it’s so vital and important that we have a time of feedback and dialogue. We have some microphones right out here in the aisles, and if you want to just come up to one of those microphones and ask a question, why, feel free to do that, and we’ll line you up. And we’ll start over here on my right and we’ll go right along. All right. Give us your name first.
AUDIENCE: My name’s Jim and I have two question. The first one deals with Christian music. I have a lot of music that’s hard rock and sometimes it’s hard to understand the words. You can if you listen a lot and stuff.
JOHN: I can’t.
AUDIENCE: I was wondering what the Bible has to say about it, and if it is wrong, are these bands that are doing this living sin because of –?
JOHN: Are you asking me about hard rock that is Christian hard rock?
JOHN: Okay that’s what I thought. So you’re not asking me about worldly hard rock, you’re asking me about Christian hard rock?
JOHN: Which is difficult for me to understand. Let me see if I can answer you in a brief way. Music, like anything else in the world, can be used for good or for evil. God has given all kinds of things to mankind that he can use for good or evil. Music in itself is a neutral commodity. I mean, you can sing a song to glorify God or you can sing a song to glorify Satan. You can sing a song about virtue or you can sing a song about vice. So music is a neutral vehicle. I mean, it’s like a printing press. You can print pornography or you can print bibles. So basically you’re talking about a neutral commodity, but there’s so many things that feed into that culturally.
I believe that basically speaking, rock music in and of itself is problematic – period. And I believe that for many reasons. One is rock music is a product of a disoriented, despairing, drug-related sex-mad generation. There’s no question about that. The people who pioneered – the first big rock singer was Elvis Presley, who killed himself with drugs and who went through women continuously. And he gave rise to the whole rock generation. He was the first, and his whole act was sexual, sensual, you know, it was terrible. Nowadays we think he was comical, because we’ve come so far. But the vernacular of rock music at this particular point represents a generation that I have real trouble identifying with. And what happens is, if you put a Christian message in that vernacular, I think Christianity suffers immensely, because I don’t think you can take that kind of medium and use it to propagate a Christian message.
For example, in the 16th chapter of Acts, you had the apostle Paul on his missionary journey, and he came to Philippi, and a demon possessed girl came out and started following them around. And the demon possessed girl said of Paul and his traveling companion, Barnabas, “These men have come to show us the way of salvation.” Now was that the truth? That was the truth. They did come to show the way of salvation. Paul turned around and rebuked that girl and cast the demon out of her, because God does not use demonic mediums even to propagate true doctrine. Do you understand? And basically the whole rock thing is tied in with drugs and sex and the occult, the whole shooting match, and people who come out of that scene find it very difficult to listen say to Christian “rock” without being pulled back into all that stuff that they had in their former life.
Now some people say, well, we use it as a vehicle to evangelize. Nowhere in the Bible is music ever indicated to be a source of evangelism. Music is given in the Bible as a source of praise to God, and I think God likes to hear what we’re saying, for one thing, when we praise Him. And I think it’s good if we say it in a vernacular, in a medium that honors Him.
Now it may be – people say, well, now wait a minute, because you know Wendel Loveless used to write all those mushy songs back in the ‘30s and ‘40s, “I’m in love, deeply in love with the love of my soul.” That’s schmaltzy stuff, I don’t like that stuff. That’s crummy hymnology, but people used to sing that stuff. And there’s a lot of that mushy barroom kind of schmaltz going on in Christianity today too. But let me just say this, we’re so far removed from that schmaltzy stuff, that that’s not as offensive today, because it’s not associated with the way out fringe kind of drug culture. So it may be, you know, in the next 50 years that there will be some things that are a little more useful to us. But right now in this environment, I think that just drags in a whole pile of stuff.
Sad to say, there’s a lot of problems in the Christian music field too, with people whose testimonies aren’t really what they ought to be. There’s some good people. You know, Amos 5 says stop singing your songs, your hearts aren’t right. So, I guess I have a problem with that vernacular. And it’s very important that the words be right. I also feel that a lot of the current Christian music, not only in a rock medium but in a lot of other mediums too, is really lousy theology. Of course there’s a lot of old hymns that are bad theology too, so you have to be very careful. I don’t want to say – now you get into the fine line of what is rock music and what isn’t. I think that’s a decision each individual has to make in a sense. The older you are the easier that decision is. I understand that. But you want to be sure the you don’t identify Christ in medium that is demonic or drug related, sex related, and so forth. You want to make sure that Christian music is distinct.
I’ll never forget two guys who walked in – I was speaking at a rally in San Diego for Youth for Christ and a couple thousand kids. I was sitting in the back row waiting to do my thing, and there was this group up there, and I mean they were just ripping the place up. I don't know what they were saying. Nobody knows what they were saying. God would only know what they were saying. It was just a din. And two guys walked in – I’ve never forgotten this – sat down beside me and they were pretty cool guys, just rolling in, they had the long hair and the whole bit. There was a bunch of kids there and they thought they’d come in and see what was going on. They sat down, they heard this stuff, and after about 10 minutes of this, the group finally stopped. And this one guy said, “Hey man,” he said, “I thought these Christians had something different. We could hear this anywhere. Let’s split.” And I never forgot that. They just took off.
In the Old Testament, particularly, and you can compare the New as well, the word ‘new’ is used more times with song than it is with any other noun, more than new birth, more than new life, more than new creation, more than new anything is new song. If there’s anything that identifies a Christian, it’s a new song – something different. So I think we have to be very careful about that. All right?
AUDIENCE: Well, in defense of it, though, I know people who have come to Christ through it.
JOHN: No, nobody comes to Christ through the medium. They come to Christ through the message.
AUDIENCE: Through the testimony that these people give.
JOHN: Yeah, nobody comes to Christ through the medium. Right? They come to Christ through the message and they come to Christ because God has prepared the soil. We baptized a guy on Sunday night who said that he received Christ watching a TV commercial. Well, nobody got saved through a TV commercial. Something in that situation prodded his mind where the gospel seed had been planted and he responded. And the Lord may use things like that. Let’s face it, the Lord uses all of us in our weakness. The Lord uses us in our frailty. The Lord used Balaam’s ass, but that doesn’t mean we train jackasses to preach the gospel. Basically, the Lord will use anything. The Lord will overrule. And there are times, I think, when they do sing things that are clear and the words come through and the Lord will use it. You see, the message is so powerful that it will overpower the medium. You know what I'm saying? The message is so true that it’ll penetrate the heart. You look at your own life, I look at my life and I say, how does God use me? It is not because of me. It is because the message is so powerful it overpowers the human frailty.
So we don’t ever want to say, well, because somebody got saved through that medium, therefore that sanctifies the medium in all cases. Do you understand what I’m saying?
AUDIENCE: Well, I have another question.
JOHN: That’s good though. That was a good question. Peter?
AUDIENCE: My name’s Peter. I have a friend in another part of the country that I knew real well before I came out here, and he wrote me a letter asking a question that I already know your answer on, but he was sort of curious to want to know what you felt on it. So I thought I’d ask it tonight if that’s okay, and then it would help him and it would help others, and kill two stones with one bird. He said that they just got a new interim pastor at the church that he’s at, and he says he preaches a hardline message, many things that needed to be heard in this day of lack of commitment and playing at church. However, he preaches strongly that Christ must be Lord Master, in order to be Savior. And I know where he’s coming from and I just wonder if you’d comment on that.
JOHN: Yeah, there is a reigning debate going on now, some of you are aware of it. I mean there is – it’s really – it’s really come to the point where there is a line being drawn in the middle of Christianity right now over whether or not Jesus has to be acknowledged as Lord in order for a person to be saved. There are some people who teach that you just have to acknowledge Jesus as Savior, you don’t have to make any commitment to that. In other words, if you believe Jesus died on the cross and rose again, you just have to believe that and you’re saved. You do not have to confess your sin. You do not have to repent of your sin. You do not have to confess the Lordship of Christ. You do not have to submit to that. All you have to do is believe.
Now historically this has been known as cheap grace or easy believism, but that’s the critics term for it. The term used by the people who advocate that is pure grace. They call it pure grace, and it comes in all kinds of packages. But basically they’re saying grace is so much grace, that if you put anything into salvation at all, you have fouled up grace. So if you say a person must confess Christ as Lord or a person must affirm his sin and repent and turn from his sin and acquiesce in submission to Christ control of his life, you’re now adding works and muddling grace.
Okay, on the other side, we say this: The Bible very clearly says that there must be repentance. The Bible very clearly says that you must confess with your mouth – what? – Jesus as Lord. Well, they say that the Lord there has nothing to do with sovereignty. It has only to do with deity. So they try to prove that all that means is that you have acknowledge that He’s God. It doesn’t mean you have to submit to His sovereignty. The problem with that is that is not what the term mean, and that can be shown again and again and again.
You might be interested to know too that I think in the book ofAacts – no I’m thinking in the New Testament – it sticks in my mind, 300 and some odd times Jesus is referred to as Lord, eight times He is referred to as Savior, and whenever He is referred to as Lord and Savior, it’s always Lord first and Savior after. You can’t redefine Christ under those terms. But basically that doctrine comes because people have identified grace as a kind of super grace and they say if you add repentance or confession – in fact in the back of the Ryrie Study Bible it says, “False theories added to the doctrine of salvation: Repentance, confession, and the Lordship of Christ.” And Ryrie says that because he feels that if you have those things you’ve added works to grace.
Now my answer to that is, not at all. It is just that true grace, saving grace, produced repentance, confession and an acknowledgement of the Lordship of Christ and you don’t give anything away. You certainly aren’t having to work. So I do believe that the Bible is relatively clear without going into a lot of detail, that Jesus Christ is Lord. That is the confession of the church. That has always been the confession of the church.
And you see what they then say is, okay, these people who believe, just believe in Jesus, believe He lived, rose – died on the cross and rose, but they don’t want to follow Him, they don’t have to be obedient; they don’t have to confess their sin; they just believe that, how are they different than the devils in James? How are they different? If everybody in the world that just believes that is saved, then it isn’t the few who are finding their way in, because there’s a mass of people in Christianity who give mental assent to that.
So what they say then is that you have one class of Christians and then another class of Christians, and that first class will be in the kingdom but not inherit anything. The first class are known as believers. The second ones are disciples. And they call a disciple a second level Christian, when you get to that second level. In the book of Hebrews, you know where it says enter into rest, that’s a second level Christian. First John even, they say 1 John is not contrasting and unbeliever with a believer, it’s contrasting a first-level Christian with a second-level Christian. So they’ve got a whole system that they work that I think is just confusing.
And have you heard the term carnal Christian? Okay, that’s their term for the first level. Spiritual Christian is their term for the second level. And if you’ve ever seen the little bird book that comes out of Campus Crusade, they identify those three circles. The first one has self on the throne. The second one still has self on the throne, but Christ in the life. The third one has Christ on the throne. The second one is the carnal Christian. Christ is in your life, but He’s not Lord. So that’s a comfortable category called the carnal Christian. And these people are saved. They’re going to go to heaven. They just don’t have any evidence. They don’t have any fruit. They don’t have any anything. To me, that’s – I reviewed a book that was written on that subject. And I said the whole book was basically taken out of the white spaces in the New Testament, between the words, because I don’t see that as being taught in the scripture. Okay?
AUDIENCE: My name is Don, and I’ve been going through the second coming of Christ with you on the radio. And I’ve really been studying all those scriptures, and I’m still a little confused here and there, because there’s so much. But recently there’s an article in the Israeli paper saying that they are ready now to push the PLO and Syria into war and back into Jordan. And of course this, I thought, would be a possibility of the hook that would bring Russia down on them and some others have thought the same thing. Now in Ezekiel 38 and 39, this is also confusing to me as to when this is supposed to start or begin. If this would be before the tribulation would begin or in the middle of the tribulation. It doesn’t say, and I missed it when you were going through the radio.
JOHN: Well, I tend to think, Don, that Russia’s coming down occurs in the middle of the tribulation.
AUDIENCE: That’s what I thought too.
JOHN: Because it’s when they cry, “Peace and safety,” then sudden destruction comes. The first seal that is opened in the 6th chapter of Revelation seems to be identifying a peaceful conquering. Also Daniel 9 says they will sign a pact with anti-Christ, and I think that Israel for three-and-a-half years has peace and safety and then comes Russia sweeping down and the whole thing breaks loose. I think that’s in the middle of the tribulation time. But there is also an indication of a Gog and Magog kind of battle that I believe also will occur at the end of the millennial kingdom. And some people get confused because those terms are used in both situations. Okay?
AUDIENCE: Okay, and B was also that, now, Russia will be attacked also it says from the east and from the north. And I couldn’t remember what verse it was, if that was in Zechariah or where. I just didn’t have time to look it up again. And so I was thinking, you mentioned that the east would probably be China, and you didn’t know who it would be from the north. And I was wondering if –
JOHN: Well, I think basically Russia is the power in the north.
AUDIENCE: Would that be America coming over through the north pole, coming across the north pole?
JOHN: That would be the long way over.
AUDIENCE: I thought that would be the short way.
JOHN: Well, if they flew, I guess they’d fly the north pole route. No, I don’t think the United States is there. That’s pure speculation. There’s no way to see the United States. People have said they’re the cubs of the lions in Jeremiah and all that stuff. Some people think it’s described in Babylon of Revelation 18. I don't not see the United States there. I think we may be a part of the whole western European thing, the power in the west. I think the northern power is Russia and whatever allies – Russia, of course, allied with the various Arab states around the south, and it indicates that too. But I think the east could well be Red China. It’s 200 million horseman, and the Red Chinese army as of 1959 numbered 200 million. We don’t know what it is now.
In Armageddon you have Russia coming down from the north; you have the army coming from the east; and of course everybody’s going to converge because of the oil crisis on the middle east. Russia is already moving in there, Afghanistan, and Russia is fomenting all the discord that’s there now. And then of course Red China’s got an eye on Russia, and that thing is easy to understand. And the other obviously enemy in the deal is Europe. Europe has got to get in and save its rights. So I think it’s going to be Europe, Russia, Red China, and then of course Israel in the middle of it all, and the Lord comes and wins the battle.
AUDIENCE: You probably then heard about that PLO incident that they’re putting in the paper recently?
JOHN: I can’t keep up with all of those things, but I think the general thing you want to see is that Israel continues to be the theater of the world, just constantly. You just keep looking there and keep looking there and keep looking. It’s all happening there. And all the fomentation and all the agitation and all the irritation is in that part of the world. And that just keeps the focus right there. It’ll all break loose. I believe that the prophecies of Ezekiel and Daniel, Daniel 11 particularly, the prophecies of Revelation, really start to happen after the rapture of the church, and what we’re seeing now just sort of like before the play begins and the actors are taking their places. But the curtain hasn’t gone up yet. Okay?
AUDIENCE: Hi, my name is Elaine, and a friend of mine in discipleship evangelism was witnessing to a man who claimed to be a Christian, but he used Mark 10:18 to prove his point that Jesus was not God while on earth. And I was just wondering what my friend could say to this man?
JOHN: Well, he could say he’s wrong. What was it? Mark 10:18?
JOHN: “And Jesus said unto him, ‘Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is God.’” You know what Jesus was saying there? You’re not calling me God are you? He really put this guy on the spot, right? “Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” And Jesus says, “You’re not calling me God are you?” Jesus isn’t denying that. He’s putting the guy on the spot. He’s saying, “What are you saying to me?”
You see, you cannot – you cannot just find one verse – you know, this is what people do. People proof text their ignorance incessantly. They find a – it’s an old ploy. It’s like the guy who preached the sermon on the fact that women shouldn’t have their hair on a bun in the back of their head. And his text was in Matthew 24, “Top knot come down.” And it says, “Let those on the housetop not come down.” So you could just pick out the right words – you just pick out the right words, you can prove anything you want to prove. But the best thing to say to people like that is, that verse isn’t sufficient. You know what I tell people who have a question about the deity of Jesus Christ, if you really want to know the truth, you sit down and read the gospel of John from chapter 1 to chapter 21. Read the whole thing, and then come back and tell me Jesus isn’t God. Don’t pull out a verse like that.
A wayfaring man, as it says in the Old Testament, though he be a fool, need not error. There is one thing that is absolutely clear in scripture, and that is that Jesus is God. There is no other way to explain anything about it. So that kind of proof text – and what you don’t want to do when you’re dealing with somebody like that is get tangled up in the one verse. But the burden on them. Say, okay, you’ve given me your little verse, now you read the gospel of John and come back and tell me whether that’s the right conclusion or not. Or read Colossians chapter 1. Try that one on. Okay?
AUDIENCE: And if he doesn’t believe that Jesus was God, then he can’t be a Christian, is that true?
JOHN: Oh, no. He sure can’t. If any man comes along and has any other Christ than the Christ of God, let him be anathema and accursed. That is the most violent, flagrant denial of truth that is possible. To deny the deity of Jesus Christ is to undercut all of God’s revelation. Not only is he not a Christian, but he would be judged severely – more severely than others who did not know the record and have it in their hand and deny the deity of Jesus Christ.
You know what I said – and I was listening to myself on the radio the other day – I have to listen to myself now and then to see what I believe, because I forget. But I don’t every listen. But sometimes when I come in in the morning I have a chance to listen. I think it was today or whatever, and I was talking on the series on the wrath of God. Is that what we’ve started? The importance of hitting people with that. When somebody says to me, “Oh, I don’t believe in the deity of Jesus Christ,” maybe the best answer is to say to them, ”Well, just let me let you know that people who don’t believe in the deity of Jesus Christ spend forever in hell. So you better be right. Because that’s what the Bible says. You are cursed. So you better be sure that you’re really right, because it’s a severe price if you’re wrong.”
AUDIENCE: Okay, thank you.
AUDIENCE: John, if we make a decision with our lives and we desire to do His will, and our heart really wants to do His will, is it still possible to make the wrong decision?
JOHN: Sure. Sure. But it’s also possible for the Lord to overrule it. You know, there’s a sense in which if everything is right and everything is pure, and you’re really seeking to do God’s will, I mean, we could say you’re going to make the right decision. But I don't know – well, I don't know how to put this. You know, you could be going along really well, and then there could enter in some other motivation at the very end and trigger you one way or another. But basically and generally – maybe I’ll back up and say, basically and generally, if your heart is right, you’re going to make right decisions. It is possible that even in the wrong decision, the Lord will overrule it.
I can illustrate it. A few year ago, we didn’t own the property down the street. We have a parking lot on the left side down there where the busses are and across the street we have a big vacant lot with a bunch of crummy houses on the back and stuff. We’re going to put a field over there, a baseball field and stuff eventually, I think. It’s going to be when I’m too old to use it probably. But our kids will use it. So one night, and I think I shared this with you some years ago, one of the elders came in and said, “Man, we just discovered” – this was five or six years ago – “We have an extra $300,000.00 in the bank we didn’t know about.” And they said, “What? This is impossible.” “No, we’ve gone through all of our accounting and we have an extra $300,000.00 and we’ve wanted to get this property down the street. It’s the last property on Roscoe between this freeway and the San Diego freeway and the end of the Valley. And boy, the Lord just preserved it, so let’s buy it.”
So the next morning we called up the Beatrice Foods or somebody like that, a food company owned it. And we said, “How much do you want?” They said, “$300,000.00.” We said, “We’ll take it.” And so they said, “Fine, come down.” We signed the papers and bought it. The next day a subdivider came in with a $500,000.00 offer, had the whole thing subdivided to put up condominiums and he missed it by one day. And we didn’t know anything about it. I mean, it had been sitting there for years and we just one day did that. And then after we’d done that, the next day, our bookkeeper came back and said, “You know, we made a mistake. We don’t have that money.” So we had to borrow it. The Lord overruled our – I mean, we made a wrong decision based on wrong information, and yet if we hadn’t done that, where would we be now? We desperately need that parking. So there’s a sense in which if your heart is right, you’ll make right decisions. But even if you fail based upon lack of information or human frailty, God will overrule that. I mean, the Lord used our ignorance to accomplish His will. But I don’t think you have to fear that if you’re really walking in the Lord and you’re really obedient you’re going to make stupid mistakes and pay the rest of your life. I think God’s promise is, you obey me and I’ll bless you and give you guidance. Jane?
AUDIENCE: Okay. I’m Jane. And John, I’m going to sit down when I’m through with my question, because I can’t hear you, believe it or not. It’s relating to death. I finding I’m going to more funerals than weddings these days, and because I’m a nurse, I see a lot of death. And I would like to know what the Bible says about the state of awareness of a believer from absent from the body until the rapture as far as things on the earth, things on heaven. I’m thinking of Luke 16:22 about the beggar being carried by the angels. And about a passage I can’t find called – says the dead know not anything. Would you expound on that please?
JOHN: Basically, in other words, you’re asking when someone – when a believer dies now, or an unbeliever dies now, what happens between now and the final resurrection? Right?
AUDIENCE: And the rapture. Between now and the rapture.
JOHN: Yeah, okay. Now, and the rapture, which is the first phase of the final resurrection. The best way to understand that is that for the church, the rapture is the resurrection of what? Of what? Bodies. Bodies. Souls are always alive, and that’s why Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5, absent from the body, present with the Lord. That’s why he says in Philippians 1:21, far better to depart and be with Christ. So when a believer dies, Jesus said in John 11, “He that believeth in me shall never” – what? – “die.” Shall never die. So the real person, the spirit, never dies.
In your salvation, the transformation occurred – I believe as a Christian, you are created for eternity. When you became redeemed, God created you for eternity. Your death will be less of a change for you than your conversion was. You’ll just drop off the flesh and the flesh is your hang up. It’s not I that sin, Romans 7, it’s sin that’s in me. I mean it’s not the new creature that sins. It’s not the new creation. It’s not the new I fitted for eternity. The other night when I was preaching and I said that when God justifies you, He doesn’t just declare you righteous, He makes you righteous. Somebody wrote me a letter and said, “How can you say He makes you righteous? That would mean you’re perfect.” And that’s exactly what I meant, you are perfect in terms of the new creature, the new creation. It is the flesh that surrounds that that sins. I don’t want to think about that too long, because it’s very difficult to understand even for me. So your new creation is fitted for eternity. So when you die, all you do is lose the body and you go immediately to the presence of the Lord, Philippians 1:21, 2 Corinthians 5:7 and 8. Now your body then is in the ground until the rapture, at which time a glorified body comes to be joined with that spirit. Now I believe that when a believer dies at this point in time, he is instantly, immediately, and eternally in the presence of Jesus Christ. There’s no waiting place.
Now, I believe that when an unbeliever dies, he goes to a place of punishment. He goes to a place without God, because when the rich man died, he being in torment said send somebody to dip his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I’m tormented in this flame. Now ultimately the person will be brought out of the grave at the end of the millennium, the ungodly, and to the great white throne described in Revelation and at that point sent to the lake of fire which burns forever and ever. But that lake of fire burning forever and ever is a little different than where they’d been up to that point. It’s very much like a person who commits a crime, a murder. The police go out and they take the person and put them in jail. Right? Keep them in jail until the trial, try them, and put them back in jail. It’s the same kind of a situation.
AUDIENCE: What about that passage that says the dead know not – I don't know where it is.
JOHN: Yeah, there is a passage to that affect in the Old Testament, and all it’s simply saying is that the dead are cut off from anything that occurs in life. It’s not talking about soul sleep. It’s not talking about annihilation, going out of existence. It’s simply that obviously when someone dies – you know when I was a little kid in Philadelphia they had a really funny custom, and some of you maybe knew this. When somebody died, they kept them in the living room for a couple weeks, which really is a – talk about raining on your parade. You know, you’re sitting there trying to play Parcheesi and old dead Albert is right in the – I’m not kidding you. We had dead Uncle Joe in the living room for two weeks, laying in a casket with his best suit on and all that pancake makeup staring at the ceiling. And he didn’t know what was going on. From a human viewpoint, he didn’t know anything.
You don’t want to take the statement, the dead know not anything, to be a great theological comprehensive statement about not knowing anything. It simply means when you’re dead, you can’t play games, you can’t watch TV, you don’t know what’s going on, you don’t read well and all that. So I think you have to take that in the sense that it means they are cut off from the activity, the knowledge of life. Okay?
AUDIENCE: John, there’s been much in the media about the Shroud of Turin. I’d like for you to comment on that and tell us what you think.
JOHN: Well, the Shroud of Turin is a very intriguing situation. The basic problem that I have with the Shroud of Turin is that it’s a one-piece shroud. If you know how that thing works, it’s a big long thing twice as long as a man that was folded in the middle so that half of it came down in the front and half of it came down the back. But in the gospel record it says that there was a separate piece that covered the head that was lying by itself. So the shroud seems to me to be – and they may have I’m sure have come up with some way to answer that thing, but I haven’t read – I was reading a book just this week called the Shroud of Turin, and I was not satisfied with their attempt to answer that.
Now, the thing about the shroud that is interesting is that it apparently has an image on it. If you lay in your bed at night, you get up in the morning, you don’t see your image there. If you bury a person in a shroud, and then you take them out and take this thing off of them, they don’t leave their image. And that is the key to the thing. They can’t figure out how that piece of material picked up a photographic image of the body that was in it. In all their tests, they say that it’s obviously not painted on there. It’s somehow transferred on there like a negative. That’s like a positive actually. So that’s the real mystery is how do you get a photographic positive on a piece of linen, and I don't know the answer to that. There are some people who are really convinced that the only way to do that would be through some cataclysmic transfiguration, some effervescent light, and that would tie in of course with Jesus Christ and the shekinah and the brilliant light in His resurrection and the power of the resurrection and all, so forth.
My own feeling in the thing is, if it is the real thing, so what. You know? If they don’t believe the Bible, they’re not going to believe that thing. And if it isn’t the real thing, so what? It’s like Noah’s ark. Everybody wants to climb up and find Noah’s ark. Who cares? We know in here it was there. If you don’t find it, it doesn’t matter to me. You know they’ve found – you can get carried away with that stuff. Somebody said they’ve got bottles, vials of Mary’s breast milk, you know, in Roman Catholic churces. They’ve got enough of that to feed a family of six. They got teeth from Peter. If all of those teeth are Peters, he must have been a baleen whale. They got enough pieces of the cross to build a three-story building. That kind of stuff is a very big preoccupation with the Roman system and the relics. And I’ll tell you another thing. It’s a big money maker for them too, because there’s a lot of pilgrims come to see that thing. Twice a year they pull it out and they come by the millions and they pay to see that. But I don't think anybody’s going to be – well, I don't know. I guess I have to just say at this point I think the case is not clear as to what it is, but it’s sure given some people a lot of stuff to do.
AUDIENCE: Right. Okay, thank you.
AUDIENCE: – with the recognition that Satan possesses the highest intellect in all creation, which leads us to believe that surely he recognized that Christ is God, what was the intent and function of Satan tempting Christ the three times he did? And I don’t mean just in terms of an illustration to us that Christ could withstand the temptation – originally.
JOHN: Right. It’s a good question. You see, one of the things you see about Satan – well, several things you see about Satan: one, Satan knows the story. He knows who God is. He knows who Jesus Christ is. Remember what the demon said in Mark 5 when the maniac was over there and Jesus showed up and the demons said, “What have you to do with us, Son of God?” I mean, they know who he is. There’s no question about that. And they know how it all ends. They can read Revelation. They know what’s going on. I mean, Lucifer knows. He knows the whole deal. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to give up. He hates God. He despises Jesus Christ, and he’s not willing to accept the plan as it’s laid out. He is fighting, fighting, fighting, fighting against God, fighting against Christ. And so even though he recognizes the deity of Christ and even though he knows how the thing is going to end and even though he knows the power of God, he is – listen to this now – he is as perverse in his reasoning as he is in his nature. You understand what I’m saying?
JOHN: So he does not reason with pure clear reason. That’s why you have such incredible inconsistencies in Satan’s domain. I mean you may have demons – a bunch of demons doing the very opposite of a bunch of other demons. There’s a lot of inconsistency. You can ask the question, if Satan knew that Jesus Christ was the Lamb of God, why did he want Him to go to the cross? Why did he try to nail Him to the cross? Why did he even put it in the hearts of the people to do that?
AUDIENCE: But did he not attempt to keep Christ from going to the –
JOHN: Sure, and that’s what I’m saying. On the one hand he tried to prevent the cross. On the other hand, once the cross was done, he tried every way he could to make sure it was really done.
AUDIENCE: So in other words, he’s just relentless and going to attempt everything he can?
JOHN: He’s relentless. He’s perverted in his thinking. He’s inconsistent. For example, he even had people going around casting out demons as a part of his system. So you will find no logical consistency, basically, in the kingdom of Satan if you look long enough. You’ll find that he runs into himself. Okay?
AUDIENCE: That does it. Thank you.
AUDIENCE: John, what is more important, reading the Word or praying? And after you answer that, could you give us an example of your prayer life?
JOHN: The answer to that question is neither is more important. That’s like saying if you’re going to have a conversation with somebody, which is more important, that he talk or you talk? Prayer is you talking to the Lord. The Word is Him talking to you. If you’re going to have any kind of an interchange at all you’ve got to have both. There is no – you can’t make one over the other. Basically prayer is a way of life. I perceive prayer as a way of life. I used to use the illustration of prayer is like breathing. You don’t get up in the morning and say, “Now for an hour I’m going to breathe and breathe myself right into the day and tonight when I go to bed I’m going to breathe again.” Prayer is a way of life. It is taking in the divine presence. It is being in the divine atmosphere.
That’s what it says in 1 Thessalonians 5, “Pray without ceasing.” It’s a way of life. Praying in all things, Ephesians says. So basically prayer is an attitude which is conscious of the presence of God at all times in all places, so that there is a running communion with Him. And sometimes I confess to you, the most fruitful times of communion with the Lord are when I’m not reading the Bible and I really don’t have the words to say either. There’s just the rising of the concern of my heart that I find hard sometimes to articulate.
So prayer, I think you have to get beyond the fact – and I’m not denying that you need time in prayer – but you have to get beyond the fact that prayer is some kind of a set routine. It is a way of life. I like to perceive it as the fact that in any given vicissitude or any situation in life, the first reaction a believer has is to carry that thing to God. There’s an immediate sense of communing, an immediate – in my own life, I cannot tell you – I cannot draw a line between praying and hearing the Word, because the Word is so much in my mind that whenever I see a thing happening, immediately it goes through this biblical grid and somewhere in there, my thoughts rise to God. It’s just sort of – so that I think is really critical. I think in my own life, one of the things that I’ve seen happen in spiritual growth is that you come to the place where prayer is the most instant response to anything, the Word of God, crying out to God, you know, giving your heart to God in whatever happens and seeking His will.
But also there needs to be a time where you’re involved in meaningful prayer where you set things aside and you pray for specific things. And I find that my own personal – in my own personal life, the best time for me is at night. I have difficulty in the morning because I have four kids and the mornings I spend with them. We read together in the Word, and we’re reading through the Bible now. We’re in Exodus, and we’re wading through all the furniture in the tabernacle. Melinda says, “Why are we reading this Daddy? What is all this about?” So we’re having a great time, so I explain some of the things to them and leave some of the others alone. But anyway – and then we read a Proverb. You know, there are 31 chapters in Proverbs, 31 days in a month, so each day whatever day is corresponding, we read that chapter in Proverbs and just go through the fact that the kids aren’t to be foolish, they’re to be wise, listen to their parents. It’s really great. So we do that.
And then at night I always spend time in prayer. That’s really the best time for me to concentrate. Now normally in the process of a day I’ll take some time while I’m studying to break from the rigors of study and I have at my right hand some prayer requests that I jot down and just go through those. I mean, I guess that’s the best way I can answer the question.
AUDIENCE: So when people give you prayer requests, you actually go through all the prayer requests and spend time –?
JOHN: I do my best to do that, but it’s very difficult. I mean, for example, we may get 20,000 letters a month with people asking me to pray for something. I can’t. I have no more power in prayer than you do. I got a phone call today from a lady in Wheaton, Illinois. She called up today and said, “Pray for my husband. He’s got cancer.” She called, wanted to make sure she got me. She didn’t want to talk to anybody but me. She wanted me to pray for her husband who has cancer. Well, I can appreciate her desire, but I don’t have – I can’t get God to do anything you can’t get Him to do. At least that’s been my experience. Lots of people I’ve prayed for died. I do believe too that there’s such a thing as a gift of faith, which I think expresses itself in a very unique prayer life and many people have that too. Yes?
AUDIENCE: You make it hard to ask questions. I’m Terry and I’ve had the opportunity of several times being asked this month the same question and not fulfillingly answering the question the right way, I guess. But I have been involved in – as far as people who are close to me – who have entrusted their life with the Lord and they believe that they’ve been saved, but they’re having trouble dealing with the things that come after that as far as – they think when they’ve accept the Lord that everything is supposed to be wonderful and no problems. And there’s problems, and it’s become very emotional to them. And they feel like they’ve been deserted. Now as far as my answer to them, all I say is to say that the Lord knows best. Trust Him with your life. It’s not always going to turn out like you want it to, but in the long run it’s what’s right, what’s good for you. But that doesn’t seem to fulfill them.
JOHN: Realize this, it’s like the parables of the soils. Some of those people that respond to Christ initially and then the troubles of the world and the cares of this age choke out what started to grow. And it gives evidence they never were really regenerated. The real test of their salvation will be if they still love Jesus Christ and affirm His Lordship through this. If they bail out in the middle, they give evidence that there was not real root to begin with. So from the parable of the soils in Matthew 13, we learn that the Lord is going to test the seed that is planted as to its genuineness. So you can encourage them along that line.
But secondly, I do believe that those who really are genuine can struggle, and that is why it is essential for them to be involved intimately with other believers, so they can find strength and resource. They need to be in a church. They need to be being taught, because that kind of stuff is offset by the power of the Word of God in their life and by the care and the love of other believers, so that’s important for them. And there’s really no easy answer Terry, because the fact is you don’t know whether they’re really saved either. The test will tell that.
AUDIENCE: How do they overcome the emotional part of it though? Like as far as in one incident –?
JOHN: Sure. First Corinthians 10:13 says that there’s no temptation taken you but such as is common to man. God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted above that you’re able. But will with the temptation also make a way of escape. And I can just pick up what I believe about that verse at this point. I believe the way out is through. They’ve got to go through that and emotion is part of it. Emotion is just God given release. It’s very healthy, and that kind of trauma is part of the test. And if they go through the testing of their faith, they will come out as fine gold. Count it all joy when you fall into various trials James says, knowing that the trial of your faith worketh patience and patience has a perfecting work.
So they should look at this – it’s like John 12:20, is it, where it says it’s like childbirth. The Lord says a woman has great pain in bearing a child, but the very thing that causes her the pain is what gives her the joy. And if you can endure the pain, the results are great. And that’s where Job was. He said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him.” And when He’s done with me I’ll come out like gold. So the thing that a real believer wants to do is say I’m looking at this and I’m not bailing out, I’m wanting to see what God’s going to do in the perfecting of my life through this trial. A true believer I think has that perspective rather than the perspective of abandoning the faith.
AUDIENCE: Is it right to put faith in a – being able to change a person as far as – that’s what the problem is, trying to change a person who is still of the world. And because you’re in love it’s hard, emotions get in the way of it.
JOHN: In other words, you got somebody who said they committed themselves to Christ but they’re still loving somebody who’s not a Christian?
AUDIENCE: Yeah, who’s very bad in their life. I mean very – still very much –
JOHN: I would nail it down as a real test of their – I think I would say to a person like that, if you really want to show your commitment to Jesus Christ, you have to cut the cord.
AUDIENCE: Actually let go of that person then? Not try and help them to save them. That’s not their –
JOHN: Well, you can try to help them, but you can’t help them by being in their arms.
AUDIENCE: Yeah, okay. All right, thank you.
AUDIENCE: Hi, John. My name’s Annie. I’ve been having a struggle with – when I accepted the Lord, I was told that I was judged first and God still chose to save me. Now I’m being told that I have to be judged after my salvation. Can you explain that to me?
JOHN: Who’s been telling you all that?
AUDIENCE: A whole bunch of people.
JOHN: Jesus Christ died for all your sins, all of them, so that’s taken care of. Right?
JOHN: So eternally, your sins have been judged. Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no judgement to them who are in Christ Jesus.” None. So that is settled. But there is chastening along the way, where the Lord tries to alter our behavior. Psychologists call it behavior modification. We’re at it all the time with our kids, aren’t we? We’re trying to modify their behavior. So the Lord says, “I’ve forgiven all your sins. They’re all taken care of. But you still have the flesh.” That’s the state you’re in. The perfecting act of God has transformed you, covered all your sins. But in the practical aspect of living life, you still have the flesh to deal with, so you sin. So the Lord brings in trouble and chastening, as Hebrews 12 tells us, so that He can perfect you, so that He can modify your behavior. It’s like you do with your children. You discipline them for doing something and then they don’t do it, because they don’t want to pay the price. That’s the only kind of “judgement” you’ll experience. And it is fair to use the word judgement, because it’s used in 1 Corinthians 11. If we judge ourselves at the communion table, we won’t be judged by God. But it’s not final judgement. It’s not katakrinō, which is kaboom, it’s the chastening kind of thing. Now I believe that when you go to be with the Lord Jesus Christ, there will be no judgement at all. Because what will there be to modify then?
AUDIENCE: So come the judgement day, I’m not the one to be judged?
JOHN: There is no judgement day for you. You’ve already had yours.
AUDIENCE: That’s what I thought.
JOHN: When you go to be with the Lord Jesus Christ, it says in 1 Corinthians 4, every man shall have praise from God. All you’re going to get there is praise. Even though you’ve got a whole bunch of wood, hay, and stubble, it’s just going to get burned up. It’s just kind of removed, and what’s left is the gold, silver, precious stone; and everybody is going to have praise. Why? Because there cannot be such a thing as a Christian who hasn’t produced gold, silver, and precious stones. And we’re right back to that Lordship thing that Peter asked about. There can’t be an utterly non-productive Christian. That is to say that the life of God in the soul of a man does nothing. You can’t say that. There has to be a product. But you’ll never be judged. You’ve already been judged.
AUDIENCE: That’s what I thought.
JOHN: Great to know, huh?
AUDIENCE: Yeah, really. Thank you.
JOHN: Don’t let people tell you that any more.
AUDIENCE: My name is Wendy and my question comes from John chapter 12. It’s an easy yes or no answer. It’s is Mary Magdalen and Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus one in the same?
AUDIENCE: That makes sense that they’re not one in the same. But when I’m reading this chapter – it’s after Lazarus has been raised and they go back to the home to have a dinner and everything. Then the next thing that happens is when Mary is anointing the Lord’s feet with oil, and that’s Mary Magdalen, right?
JOHN: No. You said yes or no, so I’m just saying no.
AUDIENCE: Well, the time with Mary, and I’m not sure which Mary it was that anointed the Lord’s feet with oil, and then Judas comes in and he’s criticizing the situation and says the oil could be sold and the money spent on the poor, to help the poor. I thought that was Mary Magdalen that did that?
JOHN: No, I think that’s Mary.
AUDIENCE: So Mary Magdalen never had anything to do with – she then wiped the Lord’s feet with her tears? Nothing to do with any oil?
JOHN: One of the things that you have trouble with and you go through the New Testament is the Marys. You have Mary the mother of Jesus. You have Mary the wife of Clopas. You have Mary Magdalen. You have some other Mary. Everybody named their girls Mary. So there are some places where you really have a difficult time sorting out all the Marys. It’s kind of like the Jameses. There’s a lot of them too. Okay, we’re going to just take these four questions, all right, and then we’ll go.
AUDIENCE: Hi, John. I have a million questions, but I’ll stick to one, in three parts. What happens to a – or what if a believer makes unbelievers sin?
JOHN: Say that again.
AUDIENCE: What happen or what if a believer makes unbelievers sin?
AUDIENCE: Well, sin make – they sin together or whatever, and what is the power or how severe is the chastisement of the Lord on the unbeliever? And does the unbeliever lose his salvation because of that? I mean the believer.
JOHN: The believer never loses His salvation. It’s eternal life, right? How long is eternal?
AUDIENCE: Forever and ever and ever.
JOHN: Okay, so that one’s covered. Right? So what you’re saying is if a Christian makes a non-Christian sin, does God punish the non-Christian and what does He do with the Christian who made the non-Christian sin? Is that it?
AUDIENCE: How severe is that chastisement?
JOHN: Number one, it’s just as severe as God wants it to be, and I’m not sure it’s ever going to be the same. There are some times when God chastens us severely for sin and sometimes when He doesn’t in His grace, and that’s up to Him, depending on what lessons He wants to teach.
AUDIENCE: But isn’t like it taking abuse – it’s like being abusive because it’s like, oh, yeah, go ahead, confess your sins for any little thing, and then it’s like you go and sin again.
JOHN: Yeah, but see if you have that attitude then you give evidence of the fact that you’re not really born again, you’re just trading on God’s supposed grace. It’s possible for a believer to make an unbeliever sin, sure. I mean a guy could take out a girl who is not a Christian and draw her into a sin. Or a guy could be a business partner, and he could get his partner who is not a Christian do to something that was crocked. It’s very possible.
I do not believe that God chastens non-Christians, period. I mean, what for? When you get a shaped up non-Christian, what have you got? You got a shaped up non-Christian. I believe that – you see, it’s like what Annie asked. A non-Christian is going to get it all in the fury of the judgement anyway, and that’s why it says in Romans 2 that God is storing up wrath against the day of wrath for the non-believer. The Lord chastens us. If a Christian makes a non-Christian fall into sin, I think the Lord would probably chasten him, but that would be up to the Lord, and there’s no way to know how He would do that.
AUDIENCE: I mean, even to the point of death, though right?
JOHN: Of what?
AUDIENCE: Even to the point of death to a believer?
JOHN: Well, if the Lord chose to do that, He could do that, yes.
AUDIENCE: Thank you.
AUDIENCE: Hi, John, my name’s Skip. I got a lot of questions too, but I’ll stick to this. Two real quick ones I guess. One is, after we become born again, and we’re still in the flesh, is the sin that’s still in us, is it like a regenerate kind of thing, like it’s in the wake following behind us? And I can’t remember where I read it. I was looking at the scripture here. One thing about, I think it was Paul saying, everything is of the evil one if it’s not – because I know Satan can’t be everywhere and he can’t be saying, “Sin, sin, sin, sin.”
JOHN: Oh, the Bible says anything that is not of God comes from the evil one. What you’re asking is, if I’m regenerated and if I’m a new creation and God has fitted me for eternity and He has planted the life of God in my soul, that life has to be perfect. Right? Because God cannot give me imperfect life. He cannot give me imperfect regeneration. He cannot give me imperfect righteousness. So that if I am righteous at all, I am righteous period, and that is true.
That’s why Romans 7 is the key. Paul says, “It is not I that sin, it is sin that is in me.” It is not that new creation. It is the sin that is in me. Now what is that sin in me? It is my humanness, so that when that new I sheds the humanness, it’s perfection is then manifest. Now that’s the only way you can explain it, and it’s hard, because you can’t cut you into those clear pieces. You’ve all heard people say you’re body, soul, and spirit. And then you ask a person who believes that, what’s the difference between soul and spirit and they can’t tell you. Or else they’ll say some things are our emotions and some things are our minds, but if you’ve ever been able to make a clear cut between what is your clear thinking and what is your emotion feeling, you can’t.
You are a being, you have wholeness as a being. And so you do righteous things, and that’s the nature of God working in you. You do unrighteous things, that’s the sin that is in you. Paul simply makes a distinction for the sake of theology. And he says that you are a perfect new creation, but sin that is in you in your humanness still manifests itself. Now you don’t want to get to the point where you get a dichotomy going. Where you say, that’s not me, that’s just my sin. That’s what’s known as philosophical dualism, and the people who teach that therefore say that when you sin don’t worry about. It’s only your sin, what are you doing to do? It’s your sin, it’s going to sin. Right? That’s really true. People say don’t worry about sin because that’s your old nature. So if your old nature is your old nature it’s going to be your old nature, let it do what it wants. I don't think that. I think you’re one new nature. You have one new person. You don’t have two natures, you have one nature. You live in Christ, Christ lives in you, but there’s sin in your humanness, and until you shed your humanness, you can’t ever see the full manifestation of that righteousness.
AUDIENCE: Just one thing real quick, too. One thing I heard you talk about one other time is that if – I understand the parable about the sowers and the different grounds and things like that. Something else I heard you say once is that even if we believe not or a believer believes not, he still – but he is faithful. He can’t deny himself. He’s already put himself in motion. How does that happen? Because if you’re –
JOHN: You’re talking about that text in Timothy, and I’m kind of vacillating on how I interpret that. I’m going to wait until I teach Timothy before I really get dogmatic about it. But I believe that Christians can go through periods of doubt. Certainly the disciples did. He said, “Oh, ye of little faith.” And yet they were believers. And we go through the same periods. Otherwise the Bible wouldn’t exhort us to trust God all the time. So I do believe that there are periods when you can go through doubts and struggles and still be a Christian. That’s all I’m saying there. But if you flat out deny God, you can’t be a Christian. But you could have struggles and doubts, but I think you come through those doubts with the affirmation of Christ. Okay?
AUDIENCE: thank you.
JOHN: Two more.
AUDIENCE: I’m Kim and I want to know if there’s a place in the Bible that says God helps those who help themselves?
JOHN: No. That’s not a Bible verse.
AUDIENCE: Well, I mean, if there’s like a place that indicates it or anything?
JOHN: Well, let’s see. I can give you an illustration of it. Back in Judges, there’s a great statement. You remember the great soldier Gideon? Well, Gideon was a great soldier. He took 300 men and won a great victory. And you know what his battle cry was? And I’ve always thought that was a fabulous battle cry. His battle cry was, “The sword of the Lord and Gideon.” Isn’t that good? The sword of the Lord and Gideon. Not just the sword of the Lord and not just the sword of Gideon, but the sword of the Lord and Gideon. I like that. I think that that’s true; God helps them that help themselves in some ways – in this sense. I don’t think God’s going to do much through you if you’re not going to do much, you’re not going to just sit there and say, “All right, God. Go. Do it.” I mean, I could say, well, you know, the Lord has anointed me to preach, so I’m just going to get up in the pulpit and wait till He gives me something to say. I think that’s a truism, but not biblical. Okay?
AUDIENCE: My name is Dede, and you’ve sort of answered my question tonight, but I’m still real confused. I happen to work with a group of Christians and they are charismatic. And to me it seems as though they dwell as much on demons and bad spirits as they do in the Lord. And they also claim that – there’s a couple of these people have certain vices such as drinking and smoking, and I try to tell them – they defend themselves saying that it’s the spirit in me, it’s the devil in me. And I try to tell them that it’s their humanness, that it’s just –
JOHN: Yeah, the demon of post nasal drip. I’ve read about that.
AUDIENCE: And could you just – just so that I have some kind of defense when I try to talk to them.
JOHN: Basically Dede, that is what is known as a classic copout.
AUDIENCE: Not assuming the responsibility, right?
JOHN: Right. The New Testament clearly indicates you are responsible. Why else the exhortations? I mean, you read through Paul’s epistles, start in Romans 12 and read through his epistles, and everything is directed at you. Nothing is directed at the demons. And nothing tells you to get the demon of drink or get the demon of cigarettes or the demon of post nasal drip. That’s a true – I’ve read the testimony of the guy, Dr. Lawson Smith, who was delivered from the demon of post nasal drip. I’m not making that up. He is.
AUDIENCE: Oh, and – oh, I’m sorry.
JOHN: Yeah, but I was just going to say that, to me, see – let me just give you a basic principle. Erroneous doctrine, weak theology, misunderstanding of the Bible, has no power to transform life. Therefore, these kinds of people still struggle with those kinds of things. Because they do not properly understand that which can transform their life. Do you know what I’m saying by that? You get a person whose only relationship to Christianity is sort of emotional and whatever. It’s rather typical of charismatic people, and they do not have that which gives them the ability to understand the Word of God and to restrain these things in themselves. So they’re victims of those things because of the low level of biblical understanding and commitment that they have. They’re committed to an experience. And that’s deadly, because you can falsify that. You can’t falsify this, because it’s explicit and subjective and it’s clear. I think you have to deal with them lovingly.
AUDIENCE: You can’t argue.
JOHN: No, and you can sure take them back to Romans 7 and tell them that what it says there is that if you do those things it’s sin that’s in you. And the Bible never says anything in the Bible about getting rid of the demon. You tell them, find me one place in the whole New Testament that says a Christian with a problem is to go get delivered from a demon.
AUDIENCE: Such as illness?
JOHN: Yeah, find me one single place in the New Testament where a Christian is ever told to get delivered from a demon. There isn’t one single solitary place.
AUDIENCE: Okay, thank you.
JOHN: So put the burden of proof on them. You know, that’s really – you can learn to do that. That’s the key to dealing with people who have false assumptions about scripture. Don’t try to answer their questions. Ask them questions that they can’t answer. Put the burden on them. How do you defend that scripture? What verse is that based on? That’s like the people who write me all the time and want to know if I – they want to say to me, you know, your basic problem is you’ve never been slain in the spirit. And so I write them back and I say, “What verse is that in? What verse does that come from?” Well, they just – they – bleh – bleh – there’s no verse. What can you say? It’s part of what is known as charismatic tradition, and it’s not biblical.
Well, these are great times. I enjoy this. Let’s stand for a word of prayer.
Our Father, we are grateful tonight that we’ve been able to share around Your Word and try to deal directly with some of burdens on the hearts of the folks. We know that most of these questions come out of a real struggle in their hearts or lives, somebody they’re concerned about or even their own needs. And so we pray Lord that You’ll apply the Word in the power of the Spirit to every life. Give us a great week as the kingdom advances and bring us together on Your special day to worship You with joyful hearts and we’ll thank You in Christ’s name. Amen.