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JOHN:  Well, we have given expression to our spirits. That’s what music does, and it is not that our minds are not involved, but it gives great expression to our spirits, to that emotional side of us. And now, we want to spend a little time giving expression to that cognitive part of us, our minds, and thinking on the things of the Word of God. We leave it up to you as to what we talk about. There are three microphones in the aisles, and I just want to encourage you to line up behind one that’s near you and ask a question.

It’s really helpful if you just ask a question. Sometimes people want to sort of preach a sermon or something, but within reason if you have something to share that’s fine. But kind of gear it in on a specific question and we’ll do our best to use the Word of God and to give you some answers to the things that are in your heart. All right? So let’s begin right now. If you’ll just line up behind those microphones and we’ll call on you and move right along. I think we’ll start at the right, and we just have sort of a basic policy; you have to give your name first. Okay?

AUDIENCE:  My name is Betty, and I’d like to ask a question from 1 Corinthians the 3rd chapter, the 16th and 17th verse. Do you want me to read it?

JOHN:  Well, that’s fine. You can read it, sure.

AUDIENCE:  Okay. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy, for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” I want to know – how can I word – let’s see. In what way could we defile the temple of God to the point of God’s destroying that temple or that body?

JOHN:  That’s a good question. Now, as we look at this – you might take your Bible and look at it. I want you to notice something of importance in terms of the text itself. It says in verse 16, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” Now the pronoun there is very important – ye. He’s talking about believers. Many commentators feel that there is a change or a shift in verse 17, from ye to what? If –?

AUDIENCE:  Any man.

JOHN:  Any man. And many commentators feel that – and I tend to agree with this – it is possible that this could mean that a Christian could so defile his body that the Lord could just remove him. Right? First Corinthians 11 talks about that, a Christian desecrating the Lord’s Table by coming there with sin in his life is weak and sick and some of them were dead. First John 5 talks about that, where it says there is a sin that you don’t need to pray about because it’s a sin unto death. In other words, there is a sin in a Christian’s life which is the straw that breaks the camel’s back and God just takes them home out of the way.

But destroy seems a rather strong word for that, and if you notice the shift from ye to, “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy, for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” It seems to be that ye are the temple of God, but the defiler is somebody outside the temple. You see? So that the real thrust of the text is saying that the temple of God – which temple ye are – right? Are we not a habitation of the Spirit, Ephesians 2? If someone comes in to desecrate or defile that temple, he is putting himself in a position to be destroyed by God.

So I tend to feel that the text is not particularly talking about the destruction of a Christian, because of the distinction he makes between “if any man,” rather than saying if one of you. Now at the same time I say that in that text, I would affirm that there are times in the life of a believer where he could into some defilement and forfeit his life. Now as to what sin that is, the Bible does not specify a single sin. But if you follow 1 Corinthians 11, which seems to be the definitive text on that, where some came to the Lord’s Table and ate unworthily, that’s general enough to assume that it would be any sin which was continued in and unrepented of, so it doesn’t necessarily nail down any one sin.

AUDIENCE:  You mean God would take that particular person home early? Just take the person’s life early –

JOHN:  Right. Sure.

AUDIENCE:  – if they didn’t repent of a sin?

JOHN:  Right. You could die before your time in terms of the fact that if you entered into sin as a Christian and continued in that sin, the Lord might remove you.

AUDIENCE:  For what purpose?

JOHN:  Just because you’re more trouble than you’re worth, because you’re polluting the assembly. In other words, in the Corinthian church, it was better to get rid of some of those people. Now in some cases, in 1 Corinthians 5, they were put out of the church. Right? Remember it says, “Take that person” – because a little 11, and 11 is _____ chapter 5, “and put them out.” Turn them over to Satan that they’ll learn not to blaspheme, because the church cannot really survive the pollution of that kind of thing. That’s why we do church disciple. But there are times when – and by God’s discretion this would occur – when God Himself will remove a person in a disciplinary act.

AUDIENCE:  Well, then where does that leave that person? Are his works just burned?

JOHN:  Sure. It takes them to heaven. For him it’s a promotion. For him, it’s a tremendous act of grace. And even though – 1 Corinthians 5 says even though his flesh would be destroyed, his spirit will be saved.

AUDIENCE:  I see. Okay, thank you very much.

JOHN:  You get into another little debate. See, some people in 1 Corinthians 5 don’t think that’s a believer either. They think that could be an unbeliever polluting the assembly, but I think here in this text, 1 Corinthians 3, it is talking about an individual who is defiling or polluting the sacred temple, somebody who is outside. It may well be the same kind of person in 1 Corinthians 5 who was having sex with his father’s wife. It may not even be a Christian at all, we really don’t know. But anybody who pollutes the assembly, be he a believer or an unbeliever, is very open to the discipline of God. And the ultimate discipline of God could be to take one home. Good question. Yes, sir?

AUDIENCE: Hello, John. My name is Keith Mayfield. First I've got to ask. Does it have to deal directly with the Bible or can it be our church too?

JOHN:  Sure, you can ask anything you want.

AUDIENCE:  Well, it’s been on my mind a lot and I’ve asked a lot of people, and I never came up with the answer that I really want. A couple weeks ago a friend of mine asked me to hear him play, he was playing in Long Beach, and that night he did his music, he sang, and almost 500 people were save. And from what I understand, our church does not allow that kind of music in our church, and that is kind of a rock, but his message came  through –

JOHN:  Who is this person?

AUDIENCE:  Keith Green.

JOHN:  Yeah, Keith Green.

AUDIENCE:  Plus, you know, right now I heard Cliff Richards the other night at the Greek Theater, and I’ve never heard a bigger praise. It was unbelievable. And Donna Summers, Earth, Wind and Fire. A group called Kansas, one of the heaviest rock and roll bands, is now – Vinyl Confession, their album, is – just all those people. And I just feel that we have the most beautiful musical ministry that you could possibly have for these people. But I do feel sincerely inside that there’s so many people that we’re not reaching that I think we can reach if we put more out of music that might reach them, because some things might not, but the music can.

JOHN:  Let me suggest something to you, because you’re asking a broad question. I did a tape on Ephesians 5 on music and the Word of God. I think if you can pick that tape up, it’ll be help to you.

AUDIENCE:  Ephesians 5?

JOHN:  Yeah, Ephesians 5, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” What kind of music honors God? Basically, Keith, number one, nobody ever got saved through music. People only get saved through the power of the Holy Spirit.

AUDIENCE:  I agree. Right.

JOHN:  Only through the Holy Spirit, only through the drawing of the Father.

AUDIENCE:  It was direction, that’s all, right.

JOHN:  So we’re not going to save people through some medium or some media that the Lord couldn’t save otherwise. Therefore, we want to make sure that whatever means we use fits within the parameters of the definition of holiness and godliness and rightness that the Bible lays out for evangelism and for lifestyle and everything else. That’s a very important issue that you need to think about, and I’ll cover that somewhat in that tape.

The other thing is, when you’re dealing with a person who is communicating the gospel and you have this massive response – only God knows how many people were saved. But if there’s one thing we do know, it is that if 500 people came forward, 500 people were not saved, basically. Because even Jesus said there are going to be shallow soil, there’s going to be weedy soil, choked out, and so forth. And plus I wonder sometimes whether or not the gospel, as I’ve said before, is presented clearly enough for the non-elect to reject it. You know what I'm saying?

AUDIENCE:  I understand. I have a hard time.

JOHN:  So the point is this, I feel that if we’re going to evangelize, we have to evangelize people within the parameters of biblical definitions of evangelism with a clear presentation of the gospel. We have to do it in a way, with a method that exalts Jesus Christ, honors Jesus Christ, does not confuse people at all, and I think if you’ll listen to what I say in that tape, you’ll understand why Grace Church does not do things in that vernacular, and I think there are biblical reasons for that. I think we have to be very careful with whom we identify the Christian message.

It’s very easy – for example, I remember speaking in an elementary school one time and I was talking to 500 kids from grades 1 to 3 and I asked at the end of my deal how many of them wanted to ask Jesus in their heart. All 500 hands went up. Well, I thought I had a revival. All I had was basically the fact that I had presented the gospel in such a nice way that all these kids thought it was the greatest thing that ever happen to them. It wasn’t that they were all really wanted to get saved at that point, it was that my presentation was inadequate so that they thought that it was easy enough to do that there was no price to pay. And I think very often when you present Jesus Christ the way He’s presented in much of that vernacular, the real gospel isn’t even there. In some cases it might be, and I don’t want to was everybody out, but in many cases it isn’t even there. The gospel isn’t even there. Many of those songs, you could stick any name you wanted in it and it wouldn’t change the lyrics at all. It could be Buddha, it could be Confucius, it could be anybody. So there’s a lot involved and I think if you’ll listen to that tape it might help. Okay?

AUDIENCE:  Okay, thank you.

JOHN:  But I really appreciate the fact that you’d ask the question.

AUDIENCE:  Do you think that they’re wrong? That’s one that really . . .

JOHN:  Yeah.

AUDIENCE:  Okay.

JOHN:  I think they might have good heart motive. I just think they need to have some corrective to their method. There’s a lot of shallow presentations. Plus some of those people lives just don’t match up with what they’re saying. Now God will use Balaam’s ass if he has the right message in his mouth, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we honor the instrument. The gospel will get through, even if it’s in a wrong medium many times.

AUDIENCE:  Hi, John, I’m Mary Garden, and I’d like to have Keith write it down, because I asked you recently in a letter about that tape, and you wrote me the tape number, it’s 1940. And I listened to it recently and it’s very good.

JOHN:  Thank you, Mary.

AUDIENCE:  Well, my question –

JOHN:  You can have as many free tapes as you’d like, Mary.

AUDIENCE:  Thanks. I just might take you up on that.

JOHN:  That’s all right.

AUDIENCE:  Well, the question I wanted to ask you, and this has been on my mind a long time, but I was talking it over with my husband at dinner time this evening, and I really would like to know the answer to it. Because two weeks ago you gave a message on assurance of salvation, and we got it right away, as soon as we could, and we’ve been listening to it over and over. So a question enters my mind, you mentioned once that you knew this man who was a real good Christian and he was a leader and he was one of the men that was on the panel that ordained you. Do you remember saying that?

JOHN:  Right.

AUDIENCE:  And you said that he asked you the toughest questions to make sure that you were – towed the line and were fundamentalist and were okay. And then you said that that man turned from the faith doctrinally and theologically. Did that man lose his salvation?

JOHN:  No, I don't think he did, and it’s hard for me to evaluate that, and that ties in with the question that was asked over here. It’s possible for a Christian to fall into sin and fall into that sin and never really deal with that sin till the Lord disciplines. All of us have been disciplined by the Lord, right? It’s just that if you protract that unrepentant spirit, the ultimate discipline could come. So it’s possible for a Christian, say, to fall into sin and die before they ever get their act together. And somebody might sit back and say, “Well, maybe that person was never saved.” And you have every reason to say that. We don’t know. I mean, a person who says they’re a Christian, enters into sin, never repents before they’re dead, there’s no way to know. Right? Because they’re acting like an unbeliever. So there’s no way to know.

However, when a person says they’re a Christian and then turns to an utter and absolute denial of the faith, that is evidence that they never were redeemed. And they are apostatizing. They are saying that – well 1 John 2:19 is a classification of those people. They went out from us because they were not of us. If they had been of us, they would have remained with us, but they went out from us that it might be made manifest that they never were of us. That’s what the Bible says, 1 John 2:19.

But the point is this: someone may fall into sin, I mean a moral sin or whatever, but when someone turns and disavows the faith and ceases to confess Christ and denies God and the Word of God and salvation, that is the mark of an apostate. And I see that person as never having been saved but like so many people wearing the mask hypocritically. I don't think that man was a Christian. And as it turned out, Mary, before he became a philosophy professor and denied the faith overtly, they kicked him out of his church for having sex relationships with a myriad of women in his office. So wherever there is doctrinal deviation, there is always moral deviation, and sooner or later it’ll come to the fore. Okay?

AUDIENCE:  My name is Eileen _____, and my question is about your sermon on how to be a godly mother on 1 Samuel. You said in that sermon that a woman’s duty – the highest duty would be not to leave her child or disrupt her routine in anyway like till the child is three. I was just wondering if today’s woman, you would feel, would have to be that way not to leave a child or not to leave it with a babysitter?

JOHN:  So glad you asked.

AUDIENCE:  Also I wondered how your family with your four children and your wife handled this.

JOHN:  Well, I believe – what’s your first name?

AUDIENCE:  Eileen.

JOHN:  Eileen. Eileen, I believe that God gives us principals that are not subject to change. He didn’t give us suggestions, he gave us commandments, and he gave us timeless principles for the good of man. And it’s like anything, you know, the manufacturer knows best how the product operates. Right? And since God made women and God made men and God made kids and God made families, then we want to listen to what he says about how they ought to operate. And it is very clear in the New Testament, in Titus chapter 2, that women are to love their husbands, love their children, and be keepers at home.

Now, you have to understand that was said in a society that was basically contemporary with our society today. Because they were having a women’s lib movement at the very same time. In fact there’s always been a women’s lib movement. Ever since the fall, women have been trying to be liberated, so the battle has been on for a long time. But in those days, women were seeking liberation from the marriage responsibility and so forth. You can go all the way back into the day of Malachi where God says that He hates divorce and so forth, and you’ll find even in that day that people were seeking to be liberated from the God-ordained pattern for the home. So I don't think there’s any justification for changing that.

Now Hannah becomes to us a model of the biblical standard, that is that the man is the breadwinner and the woman is the one who commits herself to the husband, to the home, to care for the widows, to show hospitality to strangers, to wash the saints feet, on and on as 1 Timothy says. Hannah becomes a perfect illustration of that because she would not go with her husband until, you remember, the child had reached the age where he was weaned. She saw this as her responsibility.

I really feel that it is the obvious intention of God that mothers nurse babies. I mean, I don't think you have to be Phi Beta Kapa to figure that out. I mean, when a mother has a baby, she gets milk to feed that baby. I mean, that’s just basic. I mean, when you have a baby, you don’t all of a sudden deliver 48 bottles of Similac or whatever. You get milk in the place God intended that milk to be delivered, and that I believe it is God’s plan. Now there are some medical or physical reasons where that can’t happen, but it is the proximity of that child to that mother in those early years that is very profound in effect on the life of that children – of that child, and I think that’s a very obvious thing and I think Hannah provides a great model for us.

I think the mother today who has a baby, sticks the baby as soon as she can get over the trauma of birth into some other deal, and splits to go to work forfeits the God-given responsibility. She is saved in child-bearing. That is she is delivered from a second-class consideration in the fact that she has the greatest impact and influence on that life in its most formative time. So I really believe that God’s standard is for any time, even today.

AUDIENCE:  What I wondered was – I mean even – I stay home with my child, I’m just wondering to leave it with a babysitter for a few hours –

JOHN:  Yeah, within reason.

AUDIENCE: – once a week or I’m just wondering if God says, “Absolutely never. You’re responsible for the child. Always stay with it.”

JOHN:  No, I think within reason, sure, there’s no problem with that. In the Old Testament you will note many occasions too where people had servants and they had folks within the house – there is in the New Testament the word paidagōgos, which is a moral guardian in the Roman society, and the Bible even honors this. Because Paul says you may have 10,000 paidagōgos but you have only one spiritual patēr, one father. So there is an honoring of the person who was a moral guardian, a person attached to the young child to help develop that child’s moral comprehension, to guide them in the things of life. So I’m assuming that there was also that aid to the mother. There were nurses, there were midwives, there were all kinds of people who would come in a very close-knit family society that would give that mother the freedom to do some things. Sure, I don't see a problem with that.

With our kids, all four of them, my wife’s priority was and still is to be with the children. I mean that is her absolute commitment, and in fact I may say to her, “Honey, go with me over here to do this. I have to go there and do this.” And she’ll says, “Well, I don't think I should go because I was away from the children once already this week, and I don’t feel I want to be away from them again.” And they’re 18, 16, 14, and 9. And sometimes I say to her, “But they’re old now.” And she says, “But that’s what God’s called me to do is to be there with them.” And so I think you need to have that perspective, and you’ll have a sense of freedom. You’ll know when it’s time maybe to step away and get a little rest and refreshment somewhere else and allow someone else the privilege to care for that child.

AUDIENCE:  Okay, thank you.

JOHN:  That’s good. Let’s see. Which way are we going? Over here.

AUDIENCE:  Hi, John, my name is Lynn _____. And myself and two other women were talking about Sunday night’s message, and it was really great. We were talking about if the Jews thought that circumcision saved and made themself perfect before God, what did the women – how did they base their salvation? By keeping the whole law?

JOHN:  Yeah, you see, it’s a very interesting thing. Jewish tradition grew up in the Mishna and the Gemara and all the rest of that stuff almost ignoring women. I mean, the Pharisee’s daily prayer was I thank God that I’m not a gentile or a woman. They just never really gave much thought to that. A woman was sort of in the covenant by virtue of birth to a man, to a Jewish man and woman. You know what I'm saying? I mean, the fact that she was the prodigy of a Jewish male, she was born and conceived by a Jewish male and female and so forth, so she came into the covenant that way and of course didn’t have the privilege of having that mark.

That’s another thing I didn’t really get into, but that’s what makes circumcision for salvation so silly. That’s the right questions to ask, because women can’t get saved then that way, but they accommodate that by saying they get saved by keeping the law. But they really never specify much about women. In fact the Talmud, all the Talmud does most of the time is depreciate women. The Old Testament doesn’t do that, but the Talmud does.

AUDIENCE:  Thank you.

JOHN:  It was interesting to me that Dr. Ginot, who was here in the morning, saw that I was going to speak at night on the faith of Abraham, and he’s the Jewish – a very eminent man. I mean, the guy is the advisor to Golda Meir and Begin and all these people. And he said to me at lunch, he said, “Now what are you going to say? What are you going to say? Are you going to talk about circumcision?” He said, “I want you to tell me what circumcision does mean.” He says, “The Talmud is so confusing about it.” So he said, “What does circumcision mean?” So I pre-preached my sermon, giving him the basic idea, and you know, when I was all done with that, he said, “You know that’s probably – that makes sense.” He says, “That makes sense. I can see that.” So even in Judaism there was confusion about the significance of those things.

AUDIENCE:  Thank you.

AUDIENCE:  Yeah, John, yeah. This is Art. The reason why – what I wanted to ask you was, as far as purgatory is concerned, when you preached on about the Catholics. I know they have a real problem with that. My parents are Catholics and they’re always talking about the fact that – they sort of balance salvation on a justice scale, and if you have more good works than bad works then you’ll go to heaven, and if they’re sort of like even, then you go to purgatory for a while. I was wondering – I don't have the verses in scripture, but I was wondering if you had scripture that – I know they use certain scripture for that.

JOHN:  Well, see, the burden of proof is on them. You see there’s no scripture about purgatory. There’s none at all. They teach that if you have more good works than bad works you could get to heaven. But very few people go directly to heaven. I mean that’s very unusual I think in the Catholic system. Most people go to purgatory and there are levels of purgatory. You get out of purgatory by having people who are here on earth lighting candles, praying prayers, or by the treasury of merit, which is somebody who is really super good, has got more than he needs, so some of his extras can be put to your account.

Now the point with this – dealing with purgatory is, when anybody comes to me in the Catholic faith and says, “Well, we believe in purgatory,” the only question you want to ask them is, “Here’s my Bible. Would you show me where that is?” And then you will open up the big can of worms, because the big can of worms is it is not in the Bible. But the big issue with them is it doesn’t matter if it’s in the Bible, because tradition is equivalent to scripture. You see they believe the Council of Trent or anything the Pope says ex cathedra or anything determined by any other council is as binding as holy writ. If the Pope is the vicar of Christ and if Christ mediates His truth through the councils, then tradition is the equivalent of scripture. So in effect, they are the same – and that’s why I use them as parallel to the Jews. They are in the very same bag with the Jews.

In the book I wrote on the charismatics, I find too that the basic issue in the charismatic movement is very similar to that. They also have developed a mass of tradition in addition to the Bible. I’ve had them say to me, for example, if you’re not slain in the Spirit at least once every few days, you’ll never know the power of God in your life. My answer to that is, “Where does it say you’re to be slain in the Spirit? Where?” It isn’t in the Bible. But it’s grown up as a tradition, and if you keep having revelations and so forth and so on, you’re going to have that. So the only way you can deal with that is to try to show a Catholic person that the Bible is the beginning and the end of God’s revelation.

AUDIENCE:  Yeah, it’s sort of sad because my father and mother are both Catholics, and he goes to church every day. And as far as the Bible is concerned, the Bible has no part at all in their beliefs.

JOHN:  You see, it’s what I’m going to talk about this Sunday morning. It’s ceremonial religion. It’s just what I was saying last Sunday morning. Do you remember? And Sunday night too, circumcision gets you in. That’s a ceremony. That’s a religious routine. Or in the morning we were talking about washing your hands a certain way, rinsing your hands a certain way, that the same kind of deal. You go to church, you light a candle, you kneel down, you stand up, you say your beads, you do your deal, that’s tragic.

AUDIENCE:  One thing, too, when did the Catholic church officially begin? What date? Historically.

JOHN:  Yeah, you’d probably have to go back to about 325 with Constantine. Constantine really postulated the Holy Roman Empire when he came to rule the Roman Empire and made Christianity the religion of the state and set out to persecute  anybody who was not a Christian. And so he sort of made Christianity into a political issue. And from 325 on, the Holy Roman kind of empire – I mean, in other words, a sort of quasi Christianity got linked in with the Roman Empire or with at least Constantine’s empire at that point, and it just kept developing and developing and developing through the Dark Ages, and finally it was shattered.

And all the while, while it existed, there were dissident groups. Right? There were groups who had the truth. There was a true remnant outside the system. But it finally blew sky high under Martin Luther. But basically you go back to 325, I think, to find the real roots of the system. You could even find some of it earlier in what are known as the Nicene and the post Nicene fathers. Well, no, that would be about the same time. So that’s about the right time, I think. Let’s go back over here.

AUDIENCE:  Hi, my name is Mike _____ and as a Jewish believer, I would like to know, according to the reformed view of scripture, the nation of Israel is no longer important in this New Testament age. Now my question is, exactly what is reformed theology, how do they base their position biblically, and where in the Bible does it support that God is not through with the nation of Israel?

JOHN:  You mean that God is through with the nation of Israel. Where does it support that? Well, nowhere. God is not through with Israel. You’re right. God is not through with Israel. You see, reformed theology, that’s a name, that’s a title, capital R. As opposed to say dispensational theology. Reformed theology says there is no millennium. Now reformed theology has a lot of good points. They’re really strong – reformed theology is basically that which came out of the reformation. Right? Strong on the doctrine of salvation, the just shall live by faith; strong on the doctrines of sanctification; strong on the doctrine of the deity of Christ; strong on the holiness of God; strong on the deity of the Holy Spirit and the work of the Spirit; very strong on the life or progressive sanctification, the walk of the believer; very strong on the eternal state of hell, the eternal state of heaven, right on target biblically. But the doctrines that they seemed not to develop were two: ecclesiology, that is the doctrines related to the life of the church. Luther never understood that.

And the reformed tradition has sort of had difficulty tearing itself loose from sort of – I hate to say this because some reformed people might get a little upset at it, but sort of a quasi-Catholic ecclesiology. That is the doctrine of the church. In other words, they hold on to infant Baptism and they hold on to sacramentalism to some degree or another. So when it comes to the doctrine of the church, basically reformed churches don’t engage very much at all in, say, body life, interaction, discipleship, accountability, one-another ministries, spiritual gift ministries. You know what I'm saying? They’re pretty much preaching centers where those things that they are strong on are sort of held forth.

And the other area where they are weak is in eschatology, from the Greek word eschatos or last – the end things. And I think too this may have come because that never really got defined out of their heritage. And what they basically have said is this, that the church is the new Israel and they get it out of Galatians 6, a misinterpretation that we are the Israel of God. And they say that the church is the new Israel. Therefore, God is finished with the nation, He set them aside permanently because not only off all of the sin throughout the old economy but of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, when they did that, zap, they were cut off.

Now there are some problems with that. They say that in effect to say then that we are the new Israel. We are the Israel of God. There is no nation Israel any more. I mean, it may exist politically, it may exist sociologically, it may exist in terms of anthropology, but it does not exist in terms of spiritual promise. The only way that Israel gets in on anything is to become a Christian and get into the covenant that way.

Therefore what they’re saying is this – and here I think is the Achilles heel in the whole system. They are saying all of the literal promises of the Old Testament for the blessedness of the nation Israel were not literal. I mean if God literally promised that he would bring the nation back into the land; that He would bring them aside to reign over them in the land; that he would sit on the throne of David in the city of Jerusalem; that they would rule in their own land; that the desert would blossom like a rose, that it would flourish, and so forth and so on; and God would regather Israel from all over the world; that He would bring them together, like in the dry bones vision of Ezekiel, and He would breathe life into them; and they would rise up a great nation and they would rule and reign in his kingdom as the duly constituted nation of Israel, if that is not the truth literally and we are that new Israel then those were figurative promises. Right?

Now the basic problem with that is all of the curses which are given in many of the same texts came to pass literally. So what we’re saying is what Dr. Finberg said one time in Jerusalem, just after a speech by one of the reformed theologians who had denounced to Israel that none of the promises were for them anymore, he said, “You mean we are to say that all of the curses of the Old Testament are literal and all of the promises can be spiritualized?” You see what you’re done then is you’ve – it’s what we call a dual hermeneutic – hermēneuō, the Greek word means to interpret or to translate. You’re interpreting this part of the verse this way and this part the other way, and that’s arbitrary. If the curses on Israel were literal – you tell me, were they? Were they scattered? Were they devastated all over the world? Were they thrown out of their land? Were they taken into captivity? Were they judged and are they still being judged and is life still miserable for them? And are they still, as it were, tugging and fighting against the Arabs, the Ishmaelites, the Esauites? Sure. And if all of that is literal, then what gives us the right to take all the rest of it and spiritualize it.

But the biggest argument of all is if you ask – and this is the one that you inevitably will ask a reformed person is, “Well, what’s Israel doing these days? I mean, what are they around for?” In fact, John Stott was asked that question in Lausanne. They said, “What is the significance of the rebirth of the nation of Israel biblically?” He said it has no significance at all. Well, how can you say that? The question I was asked is, have you ever met a Perezite, a Hivite, a Jebusite, an Amorite, a Hittite, or any other -ite? No. Have you ever met an Israelite? Yes. Why? What are they doing around?

My grandfather wrote a tract many years go called, “Why you can’t rub out the Jew,” and the reason you can’t rub out the Jew is because God is not finished with them. And if you have any more question about that, read Romans 9, 10, and 11. You’ll find that many reformed commentators who write commentaries on Romans skip those three chapters. That’s true. Because it’s very difficult for them to deal with them. Because it says that ultimately that original branch is going to be grafted back in, and it says, “Has God cast off his people Israel, whom he foreknew?” And then it says, “No, no, no” – mē genoito, the most strong negative in the Greek language. No, no, no, no.

So I believe God is not finished with Israel. I believe there is coming a day when he is going to regather Israel, He’s going to put Israel together as a nation, He’s going to send the Messiah back in His return. There’ll be a literal kingdom on the earth in which Jesus Christ will reign, and I just – I have to be consistent in my hermeneutics. I can’t say everything is literal up until there’s something that I don’t want to accept and then just chuck the literal hermeneutic and make it figurative.

For example, I heard Dr. Clowney from Westminster speak on the subject of Isaiah 9:6. He preached on the government shall be upon His shoulders. And his message was, is the government of your life on the shoulders of Christ. That’s not talking about the government of your life. That’s talking about the government of the world. And it will be on His shoulders. He will come and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And they go into the book of Revelation and it says He’ll come and reign for 1,000 years and they say, “Well, that doesn’t mean 1,000 years.” Because they quote Peter, “A day is with the Lord as a thousand years.” So they spiritualize that. If you start doing that, I mean, it’s sort of hard to know where to quit. I feel that that’s – does that help you to see where the difference comes from?

AUDIENCE:  Oh, yes. Thank you very much.
JOHN:  You’re welcome.

AUDIENCE:  Hi, my name’s Theresa. And I have a friend who is 20 and he’s worried about the draft and all that kind of stuff.

JOHN:  Tell him to close the window. Right?

AUDIENCE:  Yeah. Anyway, what he was wondering was – and I’m interested too – if we’re Christians and we’re not supposed to murder, blah, blah, blah, what does the Bible have to say about that?

JOHN:  What does the Bible say about war?

AUDIENCE:  Yeah.

JOHN:  Yeah, it says a lot really. I tell you basically, while you want to give room for an individual’s conscience – Paul says, don’t defy your conscience, Romans 14. Right? Because if you start to defy your conscience, you start to react against your conscience and deny what your conscience tells you to do, ultimately what’s going to happen is you’re going to sear your conscience and then you’re not going to be able to hear it when it talks. Don’t train yourself not to listen to your conscience. If a person really has a problem with that, the military always provides that a person going into the military can find a non-combat assignment.

AUDIENCE:  Okay, that’s what we were wondering about.

JOHN:  All right? And be still responsible to be subject to the powers that be, for they are ordained of God. Now, God therefore has ordained governments and He’s ordained police and so forth. You can take it from Romans 13 that God has ordained the police and it says there, “They bear not the sword in vain.” What is a sword supposed to do?

AUDIENCE:  Kill.

JOHN:  Kill people. And if in a government situation, police are permitted to bear the sword, why? For the protection of the good and the punishment of the evil doers. If you can see that on a national basis, you can see it on an international basis. And I’ll put it this way, if the United States of America went into a war to protect its people from the invasion of a godless aggressor, I would not have any problem bearing the sword to protect the innocent and punish the evildoer. It’s a little different to me than police action.

If, for example, the United States went into Vietnam to protect the Vietnamese people from the encroachment of communism, I would have no problem in fighting that war to win that war. I have a problem in fighting it the way we fought it. But I have no problem in defending innocent people against a godless, murderous aggressor. If on the other hand – and that’s what’s so sad about American’s shift, and we listened to the wrong people during those years – if on the other hand I was in Russia and they conscripted me to go into the Russian army to attack those innocent people, I couldn’t do that. Does that help you to understand the distinction?

AUDIENCE:  Yeah, a lot. Thank you.

JOHN:  Okay. Let’s see. Over hear?

AUDIENCE:  No.

JOHN:  Over there. Okay.

AUDIENCE:  Good evening, John. My name is John. I recently received your series of 12 tapes on the second coming. Haven’t been able to make it past the first tape yet. The question that I have is, you state in the tapes that there are 333 various prophecies on the coming of the Messiah, 109 verses predict the first coming, and 224 prophecies refer to the second coming.

JOHN:  You want me to name them, right?

AUDIENCE:  No, I have them right here. My question is, is that when you refer to each of these particular verses in the Bible, you indicate that – lost my train of thought there – that the reason that all the predictions weren’t fulfilled by Christ coming was that He’s coming a second time. And the problem I have with that is, I can understand why it would have been difficult for the Jew not to accept Christ because He didn’t fulfill all the prophecies. Could you clarify that for me?

JOHN:  Well, what you’re saying is, you’re saying maybe it’s excusable for the Jews to reject Christ because He only fulfilled part of the prophecy. Is that what you’re asking?

AUDIENCE:  Yes.

JOHN:  Can we excuse them for not believing since He only fulfilled part of the prophecy. I think not. Because there is no reason to assume that He was to fulfill all of those prophecies even if He only came once at the same time. In other words, if He only came initially and fulfilled 109 prophecies, it isn’t to say that the 224 wouldn’t have been fulfilled later during His first coming. Do you understand what I’m saying? I mean that’s no excuse at all. In fact, the fact is, they weren’t even acute enough in the knowledge of the Bible to figure out that He fulfilled the first 109, let alone the other ones. They never used that as an excuse.

Jesus said, if you just looked at the scriptures, you’d know who I was. “Search the scriptures,” He said in John 7, “for they are they which speak of Me.” There was so much there – it wasn’t so much the fact that His appearing was unconvincing – I’ll put it that way – it was that their hearts were hardened. That was the issue. There was plenty of proof, myriads of proof. And another thing, the 224 prophecies that remain to be predicted of Him, are not necessarily 224 different events. They might be only four different things repeated 224 times. Okay?

AUDIENCE:  Thank you.

JOHN:  All right. Good.

AUDIENCE:  Hi, my name’s Laurie, and I’m hoping you can answer one question by telling me a tape number. I have one  from –

JOHN:  I don't know any tape numbers.

AUDIENCE:  Okay, the name of a tape. I didn't know which one to go to, so I’m hoping you can. And I have one for my mom. She would have been to ask you, but she felt to go back to Texas about a week ago. So, the one that I had for her was in Genesis 9, I think it is, where it talks about Shem, Ham, and Japheth, when they go in and Ham looks at his dad, looks at Noah and he’s naked and everything and goes out and tells his brothers, why was it a sin and why was he cursed? Why were Canaan’s children cursed just because of that?

JOHN:  Let me answer that one, and then you can ask the other one.

AUDIENCE:  Okay.

JOHN:  There’s nothing specific there to tell us why. The implication is that he did something in there that was perverse, that was not right, sinful. That’s all we really need to know. The details, of which God didn’t chose to tell us – he looked upon his father’s nakedness. It may have been lustful. It may have been a leering. It may have been a mocking of his father. It may have been several other things that we don’t really need to go into, but we don’t know specifically. But the indication of the text, by virtue of God’s response in cursing him, is that whatever he did was in fact very sinful. It sets in motion, as all of Genesis does, the fact that God will bless righteousness and God will punish wickedness.

Out of that, of course, God cursed Cain and we know what those who descended from him became the servile peoples and then Japheth was enlarged. Most biblical anthropologists, I know Oliver Buswell, III, says that he feels that that became the colonizing people that ultimately colonized Europe. They enlarge, they are the colonizers. And Shem became the Semitic people through Abraham’s loins, the Arabs and the Jews. So it became at that point the division of God’s plan for the populating of the world. But it is clear, no matter what the sin was, that it definitely was a sin and God cursed him for it.

AUDIENCE:  Okay, thanks. The other one was about in Acts 19 where it talks about – where Paul talks about John’s baptism being of repentance. It’s in like the 3rd through the 7th verse. He asks the people, I guess of Ephesus there, some disciples, it says, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit?” And they said, no we never even heard there was one. Well, this girl I was talking with the other day at work was telling me that she received the baptism of the Holy Spirit I guess about three or four days after she was saved. And I’d heard a lot about that. I was taught back and forth when I first became a Christian, and I’m not real sure. She showed me this section of scripture and I didn’t know how to answer her to say that it wasn’t all at one time, because that’s –

JOHN:  This passage proves the very opposite.

AUDIENCE:  Okay.

JOHN:  And I’ll show you why. Verse 1, “It came to pass that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper border, came to Ephesus and finding certain disciples” – now the word disciple – mathētēs – means a learner. We don’t know who they were learning from. We don’t know who they were disciples of in verse 1. We just know they were learners. They were seekers of truth. They were followers of somebody. “He said unto them, ‘Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed.’ They said, ‘We haven’t even so much as heard there is a Holy Spirit.’ And he said unto them, ‘Unto what then were you baptized?’” I mean, he’s shocked. He is in effect saying, “Well whatever your baptism was, it certainly wasn’t the normal baptism. It wasn’t Christ that you believed in or you would have heard and known of the Holy Spirit.” So the question is – it’s a shock to him that there is somebody who says they’re a disciple and a follower who doesn’t know that the baptism of the Spirit has come.

“So they said, ‘Unto John’s baptism.’” Well, who’s John? John the Baptist. These are Old Testament saints. See, they haven’t even entered into the new covenant, so they’re not even saved yet. They are only in the sense of the Old Testament. So what does he do? “Then said Paul, ‘John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance.’” Now, what is the baptism of repentance? John’s baptism was a preparatory baptism. In other words, he was making a people ready for the Messiah. It was a ceremonial washing. It was very much the Old Testament thing where you come and you are symbolizing the cleansing of your heart by the washing of the outer body into baptism, so that you are demonstrating that you are readying your heart to receive the Messiah. It was a preparatory. Turning from your sin, turning away from the past and washing yourself on the inside and demonstrating on the outside. It was a preparation.

“Saying unto the people that they should believe on him who should come after, that is Christ Jesus.” See, so John was getting people to repent of their sin, have their hearts cleansed by confession and repentance toward God, symbolized in their baptism, to get ready for the coming of the Messiah. Well, who does he preach to them? Does he say to them, “Now, look, let me tell you how to get the baptism of the Spirit. Let me tell you how to do this”? No, he doesn’t say that. He talks to them not about the Holy Spirit, not about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, he talks to them about whom Christ Jesus, because that’s what they have to hear. And so he tells them about Christ Jesus and when they heard this they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Now, they’ve become new covenant believers, and “When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came to them” – immediately, on the spot, and at that point – “they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”

So this passage does not teach what is called the charismatic doctrine of subsequence. Now it is unique in the sense that they received the Holy Spirit differently than we do, but there’s a reason for that. On the day of Pentecost, the people received the Holy Spirit in a marvelous way the first time He came. True? I mean, He had to start somewhere. Right? So the Spirit comes on them, subsequent, obviously, to their believing, because they had to wait and pray and wait until the Spirit came. Now when you come into chapter 8, the gospel is taken to the Samaritans. Now if there was any animosity in the world, it was between the Jews and the Samaritans, right? So whatever God had done when He began the church among the Jews, He better repeat when he begins it among the Samaritans, or the Jews are going to think they’re second class. So when they believed, the apostles also were present, and also the Spirit of God came and baptized them and I believe they spoke in tongues, in the languages, because that’s what happened at Pentecost. It wasn’t that the languages were so necessary to that event. They were a necessary connection to that first event.

Then in chapter 10, when Peter preached to Cornelius, who is not a Samaritan – you go from the pure Jew to the half-breed Samaritan to the pure Gentile. When he preached to the Gentiles and they believed, the same thing happened. The apostles laid their hands on them, the Spirit came, and they spoke in tongues. Not that it was important then, but it was important that they have the same thing the Jews had, so that the people see the church as one. So in those initial comings of the Spirit, the Jewish, the Samaritan, and the Gentile situation, there was a reenactment of the same things. And Peter goes right back to the Council of Jerusalem – or the people, rather, in Jerusalem, and he says, “You’re never going to believe this. The same thing happened to the Gentiles that happened to us. You know what that means? We got to accept them on our level.”

Now you’ve only got one lose end, and this is these drifters who are Old Testament saints, disciples of John, and I believe they are included in that same one-body concept, by repeating the very same phenomenon that you can trace all the way back to the book of Acts. Okay?

AUDIENCE:  Repeating what? Repeating the tongues?

JOHN:  The laying of the hands of the apostles, the baptism, the tongues.

AUDIENCE:  Okay.

JOHN:  Not that it was so necessary at that point, but that it reenacts that initial coming, so that there’s no sense of anything but one body of those who believe. And after that point it ceases.

AUDIENCE:  Okay, the Samaritans was in chapter 10, you said?

JOHN:  Chapter 8. The Gentiles are in chapter 10. And the Old Testament hangovers are in chapter 19.

AUDIENCE:  Okay, great. Thanks a bunch.

JOHN:  You’re welcome.

AUDIENCE:  Hi, John, my names is Eddie and I have a question and from –   

JOHN:  By the way, I think we have enough people to finish up with. Go ahead, Eddie.

AUDIENCE:  I have a question on Romans 14. Actually this is for my wife, and she couldn’t be here tonight. She wanted me to ask you. It says here, is it possible for a Christian to experience a guilty conscience apart from conviction of the Holy Spirit? Not in matters of sin, but over gray areas, and if so, should it be ignored and if so, how?

JOHN:  It is possible for a Christian to be struck in conscience apart from the Holy Spirit, sure. For example, you may have been raised to think that beans were evil. And if you’ve been taught that all your life, beans are going to bother your conscience. Right? Sure they are. Look at the Jews. The problem he’s dealing with in Romans 14 is the church was starting, it was Jews and Gentiles and the Gentiles would invite the Jews over to dinner and have ham sandwiches. That was no problem for them. And it’s no problem biblically, right? Don’t call unclean what God has cleansed. There’s no more dietary laws, but a Jew would gag on the thing. He couldn’t handle it. It wasn’t biblical and it wasn’t the Holy Spirit, it was just a hangover from his conscience.

So Romans 14 says, look, when you find somebody who’s got that kind of a think in his conscience, don’t push things off on him. Don’t use your liberty to make him stumble, for the kingdom of God is not meat and drink. Set that stuff aside. It’s righteousness, joy – righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. So that there is no question about that. But the other side of the questions is, if your conscience does that to you, don’t ignore your conscience. Because what you’re doing when you ignore your conscience is training yourself to ignore your conscience. And then when God’s Holy Spirit does want to use it, it isn’t going to be a good instrument.

And I’ll tell you another thing, if you ignore your conscience and violate it, it’ll heap all kinds of guilt on you. So you’re better – that’s what the church has to do. See, you may say, ”Well, So-and-so doesn’t believe in this and they don’t believe in that. What a narrow minded person. They don’t even watch TV. They don’t even listen to the radio.” And there are people like that. Right? Sure, I’ve met a whole bunch of the people in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in the Amish community who think it’s a sin to listen to a radio. Some of them have radios hidden in the barn and they listen to our radio program, but they can’t let the community know, and they say, “What should we do?” I say, well, don’t offend people by that. Don’t violate conscience by that, because you’re training your conscience to do a bad thing. But at the same time, little by little, if you can teach them, you can begin to free up the conscience. But if you just start right away to violate that conscience, you’re going to train yourself not to listen to what’s said, and it’s better that you should be sensitive.

AUDIENCE:  Like in a writing ministry, how would you sort of deal with that, with someone on a personal level, not really having a long relationship with that person?

JOHN:  I think to just sit down and take them through Romans 14 and help them to see what it is that they’re doing. In other words, we all have gray areas of our lives. For example, in my case, I can’t play cards. You give me a deck of regular cards, and I can’t handle that. Now you might say, well, they’re certainly not sinful. I’ve seen guys preach the gospel using cards. Yeah, well, I don't think cards are sinful anyway. To the pure all things are pure. To those who are impure, everything is impure. But I can’t – it’s hard for me to handle cards because all my life I was told that cards were a sin. Any of you in that same deal? Yeah, many of you. Some of you still believe it’s biblical. You just haven’t found the verse.

But the best thing you can do with someone like that is just to try to work with them, let them understand their liberties and so forth. But even though I understand my liberty, I still chose not to do that, because it bothers me. So you don’t want to mess with your conscience. Why would you want to bring guilt upon yourself? Don’t fight it. The thing you don’t want to do, is if you’re married to somebody or you’re close to somebody who has those kind of things, don’t push your liberty off on them, because all you’re going to do is make them miserable in the violation of that thing which they don’t want to do. And that’s what Christian love is all about. Okay?

AUDIENCE:  Okay.

AUDIENCE:  Hello, my name is Bruno, and I know that after I ask this I’m going to have to ask forgiveness from one of the pastors, because I sat through two hours of them teaching me this, but I still didn’t get it. And I know it wasn’t his fault. 

JOHN:  As long as it isn’t me.

AUDIENCE:  It’s a tough thing to understand. John, what’s the passage where it says that – I forgot this particular passage – where it says that God wishes that no one should perish.

JOHN:  Second Peter 3. “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

AUDIENCE:  I’m assuming that it’s regarding to salvation. Right?

JOHN:  Right.

AUDIENCE:  Okay. The problem is that I’m – for me, because I can’t answer the people who ask me – is that Ephesians 1:4 talks about the fact that we are chosen before the foundation of the world. Matthew 7:12-14 also talks about the fact that many will enter that place and a few ones will be with Jesus. The question that was brought to me was what kind of a God is a God that choses people before the foundation of the world, at the same time wishes that no one should perish, and only brings a few with him?

JOHN:  Right. That’s a good question.

AUDIENCE:  It’s very – God – it’s confusing.

JOHN:  To see God, no matter how you want to define Him, is confusing. You understand that?

AUDIENCE:  Yeah, I understand.

JOHN:  Because we have this little tiny brain and God is so much more vast. Now the best way that I can explain this, and it isn’t very good, but it’s the best that I can explain. You’ve got to understand – you see, what you do is you’ve got to understand the character of God. You’re in the same boat that Habakkuk was in. He said, “Oh, God” – in Habakkuk’s prophecy he cries out to God, he says, “Oh God, oh God, bring a revival. God bring a renewal. God bring a revival. Revive your people. Save your people,” and all this stuff, and God says, “I’m going to come to my people, only I’m not going to save them, I’m going to wipe them out.” And his reaction is, “What kind of a God does that?” This is the people of your covenant.” And then He says, “Not only that, I’m going to use the Chaldeans, who were worse than the people.” So now he’s not only wondering why doesn’t God bring a revival, two, why is God going to punish the people of His love, and three, why is He going to use a worse people to be the executioner? And there’s no answer.

So finally he just steps back off the quicksand of his dilemma, onto the rock of the confidence of God’s character, and he says, “God thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look upon iniquity.” In other words, God, you’re too holy to make a mistakes. You have to react against sin. Then He calls him the covenant keeping God. He calls Him the Mighty God. In other words, You’re bigger than history, You’re bigger than any event, You never break your promises and he goes through this huge recitation of the nature of God and the sum of it is the just shall live by – what?

AUDIENCE:  Faith.

JOHN:  Faith. There’s no answer to that except to trust God. It’s just trust God, that God is a God of love and God is a God of justice and God is a God of grace and God is a God of kindness and mercy and God is not willing that any should perish. The Old Testament says, “God said, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.’” God didn’t even create hell for men. Hell was created for the Devil and his angels. Now the question comes down then to the same old question of predestination and human choice. Don’t call it free will, because man doesn’t have free will. His will is bound by sin. And you only can understand that if you understand this, and I’ll put it as simply as I can. It is a paradox and it is irreconcilable. It is not reconcilable. For example, and I’ve used this illustration, who wrote Romans? Who wrote Romans?

AUDIENCE:  Paul.

JOHN:  Paul. It’s a human book written by Paul. His opinions on things. Right? Who wrote Romans? God.  

AUDIENCE:  Yeah, the Holy Spirit.

JOHN:  Did they alternate verses? Who wrote Romans? Is it all of God’s Word? Is it all Paul? How could it be? You have the same problem, don’t you? Let me ask you another question, who lives your Christian life? Who lives it? The Lord? Do you just sit back and say, “Go Lord”? Who lives it? Do you beat your body to bring it into subjection? Do you obey? Are you responsible for your obedience? And yet, “Nevertheless I live” – what’s the rest of the verse? “Yet not I, Christ lives in me.” Same paradox. Who was Jesus Christ? God or man? Yes. He’s 100 percent God, 100 percent man. You can’t be 200 percent of something, but He is. It’s a paradox. Every major doctrine in Holy Scripture has that same apparent paradox, because you cannot reduce the inconceivable realities of the mind of God and push them into the human brain. It’s impossible.

So when the Bible says we are chosen of Him before the foundation of the world, elect to be saved, I believe it with all my heart. And when the Bible says, “You will not come unto me that you might have life, whosever will may come,” and if you don’t come it’s your fault, I believe that with all my heart as well, and the fact that I can’t resolve them proves that I’m not God. And that’s comforting. And that’s all it proves. It doesn’t prove anything about God. It only proves something about me. You understand that? It doesn’t impugn the character of God at all, it only shows that I am limited in my understanding of His character.

So rather than try to figure out what I do not have the capacity to figure out, I step back on what I do know, and what I do know is the Bible does say God is not willing that any should perish. The same question could be asked if you ask it this way, if the people who are going to go to heaven are elect, why go and evangelize? You ever wondered that? What’s the answer? Because He told you to. Your job is not to figure out the mind of God. Your job is to do what He says. So you only resolve these things in the character of God. Okay. One more.

AUDIENCE:  Hi, John, I’m Betsy. Are you familiar with an article in this Saturday’s Times in the calendar section – the title is terrible – “Spices of Life at the Erotic Film Awards”?

JOHN:  No.

AUDIENCE:  Did you happen to see it?

JOHN:  No.

AUDIENCE:  The beginning paragraphs – the writer is Lee Grant – I don't know anything about him, but he was writing about Christians standing outside this awards ceremony. Some of them yelling, “Repent perverts.” Another one calling himself Jeremiah –     

JOHN:  They were saying the right thing.

AUDIENCE:  Okay. He was calling himself Jeremiah Christian. He was yelling, “Repent adulterer, fornicator,” et cetera. They quote a lady that is part of this festival as saying, “Those people outside shouldn’t judge me. I don’t judge them. I’m sensitive. They seem so tormented and condemning. A lot of bitterness when you throw stones at others,” et cetera. Okay, my question is, do you – this is just an opinion section. Are you supportive of that type of evangelism? Do you think it’s effective or detrimental?

JOHN:  I think if the guy is speaking the truth, boy that’s about the best place I can think of to be saying it. I mean, I know people are going to write you off as a fanatic, but that’s exactly what they did with the prophets and Jesus. They stoned them and killed them, and then they crucified the Son of God. I think we’re not in the marketplace enough. I mean, I think if you want to go down to where they are and do that, I mean, you’ve got to be willing to risk whatever is going to happen, but I think that’s the right message given to the right people at the right time in the right place.

Now, obviously somebody could be so bizarre of fanatical that they’d be thought of as some kind of maniac, raving maniac. Within reason and within biblical accuracy, the prophets did more wild things than that. They did object lessons, rolling around on the ground, laying on one side for says and then flipping on the other side for days and all kind – read Jeremiah and see all the crazy – the people thought he was out of his mind. And they finally threw him in a pit and said, “We’ve had it with you.” Shipped him to Egypt. So there’s not enough of that in our sophisticated society, that kind of confrontation.

AUDIENCE:  Okay, thank you.

JOHN:  I mean, I’m not saying you’re going to have a great revival and everybody is going to repent, but it is the right message to those people. So go to it. Wouldn’t that be exciting? Yeah, I used to preach on the street corners, and I mean, it’s tough. I used to go to the bus depots and preach on repent and all that. And people just say – they’d go by and say, poor kid, he’s young and he’s so demented. You know? But I don't think we’re confrontive enough. Bless their hearts. I’m excited that people have the courage to do things like that. I sometimes think that some of them are – misrepresent the truth because their message is kind of clouded up with some kind of aberration, but if it’s really on target it’s good.

Well, we’ve gone longer than we’re supposed to and I’ve said more than I know. But it’s good isn’t it, to share in the Word and to give expression to our questions. God bless all of you. Why don’t we have a word of prayer and then you can go back to fellowshipping with one another. Okay? Let’s bow together.

Father, with grateful hearts, we express our deep thanks for Your Word. What a great, great resource it is. All these questions only represent thousands and thousands of questions that fill the hearts of people and how marvelous that all of them find their resolution ultimately in Your Word. We thank You for this treasure. May we cherish it. Not as a fetish, but as a source of truth and blessedness, that all we do may be to Your glory, in Christ’s name. And everyone said – Amen. See you Sunday.

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Unleashing God’s Truth, One Verse at a Time
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