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JOHN: Well, the evening really belongs to you for the next, well, 50 minutes. Somebody's very eager. And this is sort of like an informal family gathering tonight. We want you to feel like you can come up to the mic. There will be somebody there to sort of clarify your question so they can sum it up simply for us. There should be Carrie Hardy over here and Clay Miller here and Dan Doomis on the other side. And we'll just encourage you to come to the microphone, and whatever the question is, keep it as brief as possible. And if it's going to be long, let me make the long answer, okay, if necessary.
Yes, ma'am, you're first.
YASHAM: I was excited to come.
JOHN: That's good.
YASHAM: My name is Yasham, and I'm a new believer. So I kind of have a complex question. The Trinity...I understand the Holy Ghost. I understand God, our Father. And then, I get to Christ. And there are references in the Bible that He's the Lord. There's references that He is the Son of God, that He is Son of Man, and, that He also takes care of the earth. But, we also are praying to God, Father. So, I'm confused.
JOHN: Well, you're not really confused. You're just right on target. And, you've recognized the mystery of the Trinity. And the mystery of the Trinity is that the Spirit is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God. The Spirit is the Spirit of Christ as well. You have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in you. You have the Spirit of God dwelling in you, and, you have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you. God is the Creator, and yet, all things are made by Christ. And yet, it was the Holy Spirit who moved over the face of the waters and brought creation into existence. You pray to God, and yet, you can pray to the Son of God, and you can also pray to the Spirit of God, and you have indications of that all throughout Scripture.
You see particular responsibilities that members of the Trinity have, but, as far as the person is concerned, you cannot draw hard lines between them. We do know that God is the Creator; the Old Testament talks about that. He is the Creator. And, thus, He bears the name Father as the Source, as it were. But, we also know that nothing was made without Christ. That's the way the gospel of John begins. "All things were made by Him, and nothing was made that was not made by Him." And so we do understand that, while the Father was doing the creation, as identified in the Old Testament, He was not apart from the Son, nor was He apart from the Spirit.
You have, in the Trinity, an indivisible oneness, and yet, specifically, there are duties that members of the Trinity are stated to have been given. The Father, as we understand, is primarily viewed in Scripture as the Creator and the Source of Life. The Son is primarily viewed as the Savior and the Redeemer, but God is also the Redeemer: "God our Redeemer," the Old Testament says. And, so, I understand the confusion, but it's not really confusion. It is simply an awakening, recognition of the mystery of the Trinity. God and Jesus are the same. God and the Holy Spirit are the same, and yet, they are distinctly three persons. Now, that is paradoxical, apparently, to us, that is contradictory, apparently to us, and that is inscrutable. If you have one God, one God, and that one God has always had three persons within the one God.
It is not...there are old heresies that say, "God is the Father," then He changes his mask, and He becomes the Son, then He changes His mask and becomes the Holy Spirit. That's heresy. God is one, and yet, three distinct persons. And yet, we cannot distinguish them completely.
For example, God is portrayed in the Bible as Judge many, many times. God sits on throne as the judge of the earth. And yet, it tells us in the gospel of John that He has committed all judgment to the Son. At the end of human history, when the Son comes to glory with all of redeemed humanity, He gives us all, as it were, as a love gift to the Father who gave us all as a love gift to the Son.
You're just awakening to the fact that this is an impossible reality to explain. But it's no more impossible than infinity or eternity. Can you think of endless, something that's endless? No. I mean, you can understand the concept, but you can't fathom it in your mind. You can't comprehend eternity. It's a concept that's beyond our capability as space/time creatures. Nor can we understand the nature of God as eternal and as one, and yet, three distinct persons. So, what we say about that is, you can't figure it out. You simply take it as it comes in Scripture. And, clearly, there are three members of the Trinity. There is the Father; there's the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Why is the son called the Son? For one primary reason, and that is because He bears the same nature as the Father. It is to make sure that we understand. It's a concession to us as human beings because the Father didn't create the Son. There never was a time when there was only a Father until He had a son, and there was never a mother. Those are simply terms to identify, and they did so for the Jewish mind, "shared nature." A son bears the nature of His Father. And, that is simply a way for God to establish that the nature of Jesus Christ is the same as the nature of God. When you're in the Old Testament and there is a text or passages about God...when you see Him as Father in the Old Testament, you see Him as Father of the nation Israel because He brought the nation into existence. Or you see Him as Father of mankind because He created mankind. But when you come to the New Testament, God is identified as the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, not to indicate that God created Him or brought Him into existence, like He did Israel and the human race, but to indicate that He is of the same nature. And, Jesus defined that very clearly when he said, "If you've seen me, you've seen the Father. I and the Father are one. I work and the Father works; and there's no difference."
So you can read books on the Trinity. There's some wonderful things that have been written on the Trinity. There are some big books and some little books that do their best with the Trinity. And at the end of the day, you know what happens? All you can do is take the passages about the Father, line 'em up and explain 'em. Take the passages about the Son, line 'em up and explain 'em. Take the passages about the Spirit, line 'em up and explain 'em. And, you find a lot of overlap because when one works, the other works, and it still will never explain the impossible mystery of how He can be one and three at the same time.
YASHAM: So, the last part of this is then...why is it necessary to come through Jesus into Heaven, if they're one and the same?
JOHN: Because God says so. Now, I'll explain a little more. Not a lot, but a little more. God determines everything with regard to creation and redemption. And God has determined that He will save sinners through the sacrifice of the second member of the Trinity who becomes flesh. There is no way to answer the question, "Why did God choose to do it that way?" except to say, that's what He chose to do, and those are the terms. And, apart from Christ, there is no salvation, "No man comes to the Father, but by me."
In the broad sense, taking it one step further, why did God do what He did? You can look at it this way, why did God allow evil in the first place, so that He had to set out to redeem man? Answer: Because God's nature is gracious. God's nature is merciful. God's nature is forgiving. God's nature is kindness and tenderness. God's nature is compassion. And if He's going to put His nature on display for the holy angels to see and glorify Him, then, there has to be an environment in which grace and mercy and forgiveness and compassion function. And if you don't have a fall, then you don't have any kind of environment where God can manifest the glory that is revealed in those attributes. And so God, ultimately, for the sake of His own eternal glory, created and allowed a fall, both of angels and of humans. And, thereby, can display His grace and mercy and love and forgiveness.
On the other hand, God is a God of justice and judgment and vengeance and wrath and holy righteous anger. He is a God of punishment. And, those things would never be on display if there were not sinners, and there was not judgment and there was not eternal punishment.
The big answer to all the questions is: God chooses to do what He does. God allows for what is the way it is in order that in the end He might demonstrate the fullness of who He is. Okay?
And, when you asked the question about why is Salvation through His Son...what greater demonstration could God ever make of His love than to give up a member of the Trinity whom He loved with a perfect love? What greater love could ever be demonstrated than that a sinless one would become sin for a sinner? So, you talk about a display of love. That is the ultimate display of love for which we will forever and ever and ever praise and glorify God, without which we wouldn't be able to do that. We wouldn't understand that.
Oh, we gotta go some other direction. Over here.
QUESTIONER: Hi, can you hear me?
JOHN: Hi, yes.
QUESTIONER: On Mother's Day, you had given the sermon about the Proverbs 31 woman. And, I wanted to ask a question that, about...well, here's the question: If I had a daughter and she expressed a desire to pursue a professional career, like a medical career, something that was an extensive amount of education, would I, biblically, should I, discourage her from that kind of pursuit, even if she displays a talent or interest or propensity? I'm wondering, if you think that that would be a futile, waste of time, or if, since this daughter of mine has a gift, why not encourage it? I'm just wondering exactly what...
JOHN: Sure. No, absolutely not. I think if she has an interest in some career like that, and particularly, the medical field, that's a wonderful place for a woman to serve. If she has an interest in it, and she has a capability for it, then, I think, she should pursue it. I, I mean, if she has the opportunity, that's a wonderful, wonderful place to give your life. And you go that path, until it becomes an issue of whether or not she sacrifices...let's assume she gets married and has a child. Now, she's going to have to make the decision as to what the priority of her life is going to be. But all the rest of her life, if she has children and she follows what the Bible says about being a keeper at home, and maybe, she does a little of her medical stuff on the side, and there're still ways to balance all of that. But if, if she chooses to do what is right, and to take care of her home and her husband and raise her children as God has ordained, then that family's going to be all the richer for all that background and all that training.
Parents ask me that question all the time. They ask me that should I send my daughter to school to be a teacher, be a school teacher, go through college, learn to be a school teacher, get a credential to go teach school, and, then, she's going to marry somebody. She's going to have three or four kids. What's going to happen? Well, they got a teacher in the house. I mean, this is a tremendous blessing and benediction to the family to have that kind of preparation and that training, and I think, particularly for young people, you don't know where the Lord's going to take them. But all those skills can find a place in the Lord's kingdom. I don't think that kind of effort and that kind of direction and that kind of study and preparation is ever wasted. I think God has a purpose. Sometimes long-term, sometimes short-term. Sometimes full-time. Sometimes part-time.
QUESTIONER: So you would encourage your daughter or granddaughter to pursue any type on interest or...educationally as far as they could go. And when a family comes along, you would think that...would it be...would you call it sin if they continue to have a career and family life.
JOHN: No, I would call it sin if they are unfaithful in fulfilling their responsibility to the family. But there are people who balance that and balance it well. And there's always a time when the children are gone. And then that kind of interest can be picked up again. I mean, I think it comes down to the priorities. And if a woman cares for her husband, cares for her family and does some things on the side...sometimes people can have a skill that can be used in the home itself. I mean, we've got so much of that going on today. The issue is the priority of giving your life to your husband and your family, being faithful keeper at home, lover of your husband, lover of your children, raising a godly generation. Whatever else you can fit in is good.
And I'll tell you something...there are many women who don't work and don't have any career and waste an awful lot of time doing virtually nothing valuable. There are other women who are disciplined and able to work in effective ministries and effective opportunities to help the family.
The Proverbs 31 woman was a woman who had enough sense to save money, find out where a bargain field was, negotiate the price of the field, buy the field. You know what I'm saying? There, there was an enterprise there. Sure. It's a question of making sure that you maintain the priority of the home and the family, and that the children are getting all that they need from you. If you don't waste the time remaining, but use it productively, there are ways that you can follow those kinds of things.
I think, women have to be careful, though. I think that you can go into a situation in a career field where you are in a very vulnerable and exposed environment with regard to men who are not your husband, and you can be very unprotected and taken advantage of, and put in compromising situations. That's why they're developing laws all the time...harassment laws, and sexual harassment in the business place. And I think, if a woman does work, it's really important for a Christian gal, even if she's single, or if she's working, even as married person before they have children, or working part-time, that she not put herself in a situation where she's exposed to those kinds of temptations and those kinds of things that would be dishonoring to the Lord, or would draw her into some compromise.
So, I think, a husband has a responsibility, once you take a wife, to protect her from those kinds of environments because she is to be submissive to her own husband...not all the men in the office or wherever. So, it's a delicate thing. And I think every family has to work that out. But I think the more educated a young lady is, the more she follows those kinds of opportunities with the realization that God has given skills in that area, and God has allowed this to take place, that down the road, God probably has a good purpose for it all.
QUESTIONER: Thank you.
JOHN W.: Hi, my name is John Widenmetter, and it's the passage in Genesis 17:8, to the question. And it's an eschatological question. And it's basically just out of concern of defending a premillennial point of view. And, basically, God is talking to Abraham, and He says, in Genesis 17:8, "Also, I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession, and I will be their God." And I was just wondering if you take that in a literal sense, the land of Canaan, how it's possible to be an everlasting possession when it says in 2 Peter 3 that the heavens and earth are going to be totally destroyed or annihilated without allegorizing this verse.
JOHN: You know, the substantial answer to that is, that the Hebrew phrase, everlasting possession, is always qualified by the context. Always. I mean you see that numerous, numerous times throughout the Old Testament. Does everlasting always mean eternal? No, it does not. The context, again, dictates that. When He said here, "I give you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession," that also forces the question up, well why were there so many centuries that they didn't have the land?
So, again you have to interpret that in the light of what unfolds in history. And, you have to interpret that term, everlasting, also in relationship to what the Bible teaches eschatologically. And we do clearly know that, as you pointed out, that the current heaven and the current earth is going to dissolve. The elements are going to melt with fervent heat. It's going to all be replaced after it's uncreated by a new heaven and a new earth. Now, there are some who would say that in the new heaven and in the new earth there will be some kind of Canaan. I don't know. There are some who say, metaphorically or symbolically, the whole new heaven and the whole new earth will be a kind of Promised Land, a kind of Canaan. But, I think it's better just to understand that you're going to run into the term everlasting possession, or everlasting I should say, in cases where it's not always eternal. There are, there're a number of them in the Old Testament. Okay? Good question.
QUESTIONER: Pastor, I wanna know...I saw Mary Tyler Moore the other day talk about stem-cell research, and, I want to know what you think of it?
JOHN: I didn't get the first part of that.
QUESTIONER: Mary Tyler Moore went to the Senate and asked about stem-cell research.
JOHN: Oh, Mary Tyler Moore went to talk about stem-cell research, and what do I think of it? Yeah, what do I think of cloning and stem-cell research? Well, I'll tell you in very simple terms. I'm against that because what you have to do in that whole process, is create life, and then, destroy it. It's essentially...it's an external fertilization of an egg to create a life and then destroy it for the genetic material. So, if we believe that a fertilized egg constitutes life, we've got life. We're destroying life. This is, essentially, the same argument that we've made against abortion. We do not have the right to kill. We do not have the right to take life. And, that is exactly what that's all about. That's why the President came out against all of that because he understands that. You can't go into a lab and create life for the purpose of destroying it, for the purpose of saving someone's life. This is convoluted. There is available human material from people already. You can draw DNA a lot of ways out of living human beings, and if we want to do that kind of research, we have ample supply of what's necessary to do that without creating life to kill it.
So, we take the position, many, of course, all those who are biblical, take the position that that's wrong. That's against God. Okay, good.
TOM: Yes, hi. I have a question...you spoke a little about this morning regarding false teachers and money. You said on several occasions, more or less, that false teachers are basically always in it for the money, and that's been a bit confusing to me, even though I know the Biblical picture seems to always include that, because it seems there are examples of those that teach falsehood, but don't appear to be driven by the financial gain involved.
An example might be, Mahatma Gandhi, or ascetic Gnostics, or a number of others who, maybe are works related and working very hard to do what they do. They don't seem to be in it for monetary gain, but they're still teaching what is not true.
JOHN: Yeah, I mean, obviously, in a sense, the exception proves the rule. With regard to ascetics, they're not really a threat because typically they don't teach. You know, they just go somewhere and contemplate with their navel all by themselves. So those monastic types that deprive themselves of everything...you're not going to find a lot of false teachers joining that group. Those people are the disillusioned people. As I said in the message I did on the Scandal of the Catholic priesthood, those kind of monks and nuns were preyed upon by the priests when they were in life crisis that had crushed them emotionally. And, in the moments of their sensitivity, they were driven in that direction.
But when we talk in general about false teachers...I think you could even make a case for Mahatma Gandhi. We would like to think that he was the purest of the pure in his motivation, but he was virtually without need because he rose to the heights of power in India and was one of the most powerful men in the world. So, you know, whatever it is that he felt he needed, he was immediately granted.
But, I think you will find people who haven't figured out how to get the money or haven't figured out they're false teachers yet. There are some people who are false teachers, and I don't know that they really know they're false teachers. They're teaching falsehoods sincerely is a good way to understand it. But again, the Lord knows more about their motives than I do, and so from what the Scripture says, they're in it for personal gain. All I can say is that is a divine estimate of their heart attitude. They may not...I don't know what's going on inside. I always wonder that.
You know when I meet with the leaders of the Mormon Church and all that and my question always is, "What is going on inside these guys? Do they know that they're liars and deceivers speaking demon doctrine driven by seducing spirits? And do they know they're leading people to Hell? And are they so driven to be prominent and powerful and influential and thereby to have gain? Or, are these people duped? And I don't know that I always know the answer to that. But I think, again, you go back to the diagnosis of Scripture, that the motives are always corrupt, unless the motives are pure, and the only pure motive is the glory of God, and apart from that, there's some measure of personal gain involved in that.
Okay, over here.
JANE: Hi, John.
JANE: It's Jane.
JOHN: Hi, Jane.
JANE: I'm...I'm a bit nervous here, so...my question's pertaining to the passage in Deuteronomy 24:16. It says, "Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor sons be put to death for the fathers: every one shall be put to death for his own sins." My question is, why there are times when God allows men to judge or God Himself judges people, children for the sins of their fathers, such as Dathan and Abiram had little children who were swallowed up by the earth because they sinned against...they rebelled against Moses and Aaron. And, the wives and children of the accusers of Daniel were thrown into the lions' den with them, and seven of Saul's descendants were executed by the Gibeonites because of Saul's sin against them.
JOHN: Right. The question is a big question, and the question is, Ezekiel...Deuteronomy...I'm thinking Ezekiel 18...Deuteronomy 24. And Ezekiel 18 is the parallel passage to that. Ezekiel 18 is a very important passage. And, what it says there is, "The sins of the fathers are not visited upon the children." What it also says there is that "the sins of the children are not visited upon the parents," so that every person stands before God accountable for his own sin. Okay? In other words, there, God is not going to punish me for what my father did. God is not going to punish you for what your parents did. God is not going to punish your parents for what you did. That's Ezekiel 18, a very, very important portion of Scripture.
Then, the question she's asking...I think I understand it...is why then in the Bible do you have illustrations of the fact that God seemed to act in judgment against a whole family? For example, probably the most notable one is Achan. You remember that Achan stole and he hid, and when God came, they punished his whole family. And the best answer to that, and I think, the answer that is the correct one, is that there was complicity there. Because God is going to be true to His own Word. God is going to be faithful to His own Word. We can assume, then, that that family was involved to some degree in what was going on. There was some level of complicity at that point. In other words, they were engaged somehow as partners in the crime.
The sons of Saul, another illustration of those who had engaged themselves in the same kind of sin and iniquity and patterns of unrighteousness that their father, Saul, had engaged in.
And the other question, of course, that has to be asked is, does anyone deserve to live another day and take another breath? And the answer is no because the soul that sins, it shall die. The wages of sin is death. And if God chooses to take the life of anyone, He cannot be questioned because all have sinned. All. And so the fact that God takes a life could never be an act that is unjust, could never be a violation of God's holy justice. Every soul sins. Every soul, therefore, deserves to die. And there are times in the accounts that we've mentioned that Achan and Saul and times like that when God knows the complicity of that family and that evil, or knows that the sins of some people have penetrated the lives of their children so that there is culpability and guilt and God roots it all out, almost like making sure you get all the tumor when you do a cancer surgery.
So I think that's the way we have to understand it, but in cases like that, those children are not being punished for any sin committed by the father. They're being punished because they share in culpability in those things. They bear their own guilt.
JANE: So, we're assuming these children were old enough and mature enough to comprehend what their fathers were doing and, therefore, they pay the price. They're not toddlers.
JOHN: In the case, in the case of those children, and that's the next part of the question I want to answer, those children taken by God are, again, a demonstration of God's power and judgment on life. But, as I point out, in the new book, "Safe In The Arms Of God," I believe those children are taken into the presence of God. So, in a sense, for those little ones, it's a rescue operation. And, I think, that's one of the reasons you have such high mortality rates, high infant mortality rates in the unchristian, non-Christian cultures. The more pagan, the more distant a culture is from anything Christian...it seems, the more primitive it is, the higher the mortality rates typically tend to be, and, I think, God is always in a rescue operation. He may be taking the parents because of their sin, and taking the children to rescue them from the same kind of life the parents would have.
But, all of that, you know, in the end of the discussion, it's in the mind of God, and only He knows what His specific purpose is in each situation. But, one thing is absolutely clear. That is, no child will ever be directly punished for the sin of a parent. And, no parent ever punished for the sin of a child. There's no stigma there. It doesn't cross over before God, and it should not cross over with us, either. In other words, if you know a child that's sinful and wicked, that doesn't conclude...and some great disaster comes on his life, it doesn't conclude anything about his father. Or, the reverse, if a father is terribly wicked and there's something that happens in a disaster in the family, and might even include one of his children, it's not necessary to conclude that they're being punished for the father. Where there is culpability, mutual culpability or consent to a crime, then, I think, like with Achan, I think everybody was involved and that was very clear. And, again, back to the children. When the Lord takes the children, I think, it's a rescue operation.
But, at the end of the day in God's mind He knows why He does everything, and the question is answered best like this, shall not the judge of all the earth do right? And, God will always be consistent with His word. Okay?
JANE: Thank you.
JOHN: Thank you, Jane.
QUESTIONER: In Matthew 8:17, in the context of Jesus' healing ministry, it says, "In order that what was spoken through Isaiah, the prophet, might be fulfilled, saying, He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases." Now, I understand that's supposed to be a quotation of Isaiah 53, like around 4, 5, and 6, if I'm correct.
QUESTIONER: But, when I read that, it says, "But He was pierced through...He was pierced through for our transgressions, and He was crushed for our iniquities." Now, when I read it in the context of His healing ministry, I think, it's talking about physical sickness and disease. When I read the Isaiah 53 passage, it seems to be spiritual sin. That seems to be the context. And, usually, when I find the Old Testament quoted in the New Testament, it's usually dead-on. It doesn't seem to be the case in this situation.
JOHN: Well, let me just put a little corrective in there. When you do find New Testament writers quoting the Old Testament, there often is a significant variation. Very often, there is a significant variation. For example, "Out of Egypt have I called my son." It says that when Jesus came out of Egypt after having been taken there to avoid death from Herod. The prophecy was, "This is that which was written by the prophet, "Out of Egypt, how I called my son." Well, there's no way, in reading the prophecy in the Old Testament you would ever conclude that the comment there, referring to the exodus of Israel out of Egypt, had anything to do with a Messiah coming hundreds of years later who would be taken out of Egypt and brought back to the land of Israel.
So, the New Testament writers do exercise inspired authority over the interpretation and application. I think the truth was inherent in the Old Testament text. I think the intention of God was there, but I don't think there would be any way to understand the fullness of that intention without what the New Testament says. You would never know, "Out of Egypt have I called my Son," was a reference to the Messiah, until that's what happened, and then, you say, "Wow, there it was!" But, the Old Testament writer might be looking at that in the terms of 1 Peter searching to see what it was really meaning because he had no way to understand that.
So, when you come to Isaiah 53, and you read, "He took our infirmities, and He bore our sicknesses," we understand that the context of Isaiah 53 is talking about our sins, our iniquities because the rest of the verses all refer to that. But, when you get to the New Testament, and Jesus begins to do His healing ministry, you have previews of coming attractions in that, because now the text...and all the while was intended to mean that...but now the text is expanded in its interpretation to cover not only our sins, but our physical healing.
I hasten to add, you believe that in the atonement you receive physical healing. We all do. It's not now that we receive that. It's at our glorification. And, what Jesus was demonstrating in His miracle power was that He not only had power over the souls of men, He had power over the bodies of men. And, that He is the one who can not only give eternal life to the soul, but He can give eternal life to the body, as demonstrated by His power over all that deforms and debilitates and destroys the physical.
QUESTIONER: So, you would disagree with the claims of some in the faith healing movement that when Jesus died on the cross, it was for our sickness in this life?
JOHN: That's obviously not true. That's obviously not true because all those people who believe that die. All of them. Unless they live to the rapture, they all die. So, if there was physical healing in the atonement, then it was an incomplete atonement. And, they've got a problem. Then when we turn from the physical...if you tell me there was physical healing in the atonement, and that the atonement was designed to heal my diseases, I'm having a hard time with that one because I'm not, I'm not getting the healing. And, I'm getting older. And, I'm gonna die. Now, if that's how it is with the promise of my physical healing, where is my hope for the promise of my spiritual healing? Is that the same thing?
Once you start defining the work of the atonement in temporal terms, you have a problem, because, even now, I am saved...I am righteous by virtue of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, but I'm certainly not what I'm going to be. This isn't it. I am not now what He died to make me. Is that right? Either spiritually or physically. And, we all stumble through life and, as we heard in the testimonies, battling with the flesh, and battling with illness, and disease, and all those kinds of things. And the atonement was designed for our ultimate glory and our souls' ultimate glorification as well as a glorified body like the resurrection body of Jesus Christ. In that sense, our ultimate, final healing is in the atonement. And Jesus was giving it, you know, widespread demonstration of the fact that He had the power over that realm just as He had power over the spiritual realm and the souls of men.
QUESTIONER: Right. So one of their favorites is, "By His stripes, you are healed." That's ultimately sin. That has nothing to do with...
JOHN: Yeah, the primary reference is to heal you...you'll never be healed physically by being given the glorified body of Christ, like Christ unless you've been healed of your sin. Right? I mean, you're not going to enter into the glories of heavenly perfection unless your sins have been dealt with. So, you are, first of all, healed from the disease of sin, and then, someday...but, you also understand, right, we've been healed of sin, but we're all dying from it. Is that not true? I have been forgiven all my sin and I know that. I have been delivered from the power of sin, from its ability...I've been delivered from the penalty of sin, its ability to control my life, and, yet, I'm dying from the effect of sin.
I could say it the same in the physical. I have been given a healing. Physically, I will, one day, be perfect in a glorified body, and yet my body is still dying, until I get to that other world and realize the full significance of His atoning work.
QUESTIONER: Thank you.
JOHN: Okay? Yes.
QUESTIONER: Yes, I've been a drunk, an adulterer and a heroin addict. And about 18...what was it, a year and a half, September 16th...I was walking across the street to go get some beer, and I was struck by a car going about 40 miles per hour, subdural hematoma to the bottom of my feet. I feel like I gelled from the head to the bottom of my feet. And I just wanna know...could I consider this a form of disciplinary action?
JOHN: I would say so.
QUESTIONER: Okay, yeah. _______ So blessed are those God disciplines, loves those He disciplines.
JOHN: Well, look...if that's not a wake-up call, you're...
QUESTIONER: That's a wake-up...that's what I want to know. Yeah. I wanna yell. This was a miracle of miracles.
JOHN: Well, you know, I mean...
QUESTIONER: I mean, I mean, they didn't think I was gonna walk. They didn't think I was gonna live. Look. Praise the Lord.
JOHN: Yeah. And have you committed your...have you committed your life to Christ.
QUESTIONER: Oh, yes. I thank Him day and night, I mean...
JOHN: Have you...
QUESTION: I mean, _______ 60. All day I just thank, and I...
JOHN: And you've given up the alcohol and the drugs?
QUESTIONER: I gave up the alcohol, everything.
JOHN: And you're walking with the Lord?
QUESTIONER: Walking with the Lord now.
JOHN: Well, you know, you could have been dead.
QUESTIONER: Yeah, thank God I wasn't. I know where I'd be if I was.
JOHN: Yeah. And that's...you'd know where you'd be if you were. But...
QUESTIONER: Yeah, no. I got a chance, though, right? I gotta...
JOHN: See, the Lord knew it could only be...
QUESTIONER: _______ this now. That's what I'm scared about still. I got...I have more fear of Him now then what I did. The pastor tells me, "You should've feared Him while you were doing all those things."
JOHN: Right. You know, the Lord knew that it had to be going 40 and not 60. I mean, He is the sovereign in control of all of that.
QUESTIONER: He's sovereign. He knew it...He knew it was gonna hit me that day, huh?
JOHN: Right. But he knew it was not gonna be a fatal blow, but it was gonna bring you to your senses and bring you to Christ. Amen?
QUESTIONER: Amen. Amen.
JOHN: All right, all right. Bless his heart. That's great. I think we can have the benediction now. Okay, who's next here? We gotta go quick.
TOYA: Okay. This will be real quick. First, I wanna say thank you. My name is Toya Tyler, and some while ago I told you about the tumor that I had.
JOHN: Oh, yeah.
TOYA: And you and everyone in the congregation were praying for me. And, just real quick, I just wanted to say that I've had two MRIs, and they can't find it.
JOHN: Amen, amen!
TOYA: So God is gracious. I just want to say thank you to everybody. Thank you.
JOHN: Yeah, you were so concerned that night...that was...the last time we had a Q&A on a Sunday night, I think you brought that up. Wow.
TOYA: Yeah, my question is...yeah, well...
JOHN: Go ahead.
TOYA: I don't want to take up the time. My question tonight is something I've been really, really wrestling with, is really been a real problem for me: balancing my time. Balancing my time. I'm a stay-at-home mom, I was a home-schooling my son, and with all the responsibility as a wife, mom, home, everything, teaching my son, be a good steward, yet, my house is kind of out of order, and just all the responsibilities. Balancing the time, not just with respect to that, but with my time with God. My problem is, I've been...for six years at least, I've been asking the Lord, "Lord, please, give me a schedule, something where I know I can have a set time that I can spend with You." Just 30 minutes or something, and every time I get up at four in the morning try and do it, I get up way late at night, and it doesn't...something always interrupts. The baby will wake up, my son will wake up, something every single time. And, I just want to know, is it God wanting me to keep enduring, persevering, or is it some sin that I've committed that I can't seem to get that time I want with the Lord?
JOHN: Well, let me answer this. I don't know the purposes of God that are hidden in secret, but I do know He has a plan for you, and it's for good and not for evil, because that's His heart toward you. And, I do know the immediate plan is to love Him with all your heart and take care of your family, and that's the priority. And, you are first and foremost, responsible to care for and nurture and raise your little ones in the things of Christ and to give your life to them. This may not be a time when you're going to have a lot of opportunity. There are a lot of moms who have three, four, five kids, and trying to carve out that time and stay awake during that time is a real challenge. But, this is a time in your life. This is a season in your life.
TOYA: So are you saying it's ok...'cause sometimes...
JOHN: Just keep the fight up. Keep the battle up. And, get what you can, but don't condemn yourself when you're giving yourself to your children. Now, did you say you're a single mom? Or you're married.
QUESTIONER: No, no. This is my husband.
JOHN: That's your husband. Okay, that's what I thought. Yeah, so your role, as a godly woman, is to care for your husband and your children. And, believe me, if you do that to the honor of Christ, the Lord will fill in the spiritual gaps. And, it really falls upon your husband to take up the challenge to be your discipler and to take all the opportunity that he can to give you the spiritual input that you need in this process.
This is a season in your life when you give yourself to these precious little ones, and you give yourself to your husband. Find...I would suggest that you find...one other thing I'd say...find a friend and determine that you're going to do something together, to study together and talk everyday about your progress, kind of like a buddy system. So, that you have some point of accountability with somebody else. And, if you need some personal help on tools and how to go about that, Kerry Hardy, right behind you, is the expert on all of that stuff, so, you can see him. Okay. God bless you guys.
Yes, sir. Oh...keep it in the family here.
QUESTIONER: My question, actually, is our role and responsibility to the poor and homeless. It seems to be a great challenge, many times, especially, once you help a family, then you help 'em again, and then, you start taking on the financial burdens or...and then you're beginning to wrestle, especially, if you see them in the same position. And then, the topper is the claim of Christ, which means they're now part of the family or they're in the family. And yet, they don't go here, but they go to another fellowship, and when you see them, you struggle. I guess, I need a little help in trying to define my responsibilities.
JOHN: Yeah...let me tell you, first of all, the way you framed the question, indicates that you've approached it the right way. You know, dumping a periodic check into the United Way is not what the Bible talks about. Helping people in need means like the good Samaritan. You help the person that comes across your path that has the need. You know, it's not some institutional thing. It's not, you know, take it out of my paycheck approach. It's getting involved of the lives of the people who have the need, whatever the need is, a physical need, economical need, emotional, whatever it is, and you invest your life in them.
One of the challenges with the homeless is no matter how hard people try to put 'em in a home, they leave...I mean, this is just pretty much general conduct...because they want an irresponsible lifestyle. They want a lifestyle with absolutely no accountability and all of that.
But, I think, where you go with this thing is when you do all you can, the Bible says, "If a man doesn't work, he shouldn't eat." So you have to get beyond the old story of you either give the man a fish or teach him how to fish. I mean, you can help them for a while. And we as a church do this all the time. But our limit comes; we will help someone with a need, but when we see that that's a chronic life pattern, we can't feed that. You can't make a beggar successful. I mean, you don't want to do that. I don't want to make any beggar successful. I'll be glad if I come across somebody who has a genuine need to meet that genuine need. But, I'm not going to make a beggar successful. I'm not going to make a man who won't work successful. I'm not going to let him settle in that kind of lifestyle. So, after a while, even if he claims to be a Christian, you've got to say, "Any more, and I'm contributing to your indolence or your laziness or your lack of effort."
If the guy's doing everything he can trying to find work, and trying to find some way to make it, that's a different story. But, if you see indications that this is just sort of an endless gravy train kind of thing and then, I think, you do them no favor to sustain that. But, again, you need to be wise, and trust your wisdom and your instincts as you deal with people.
QUESTIONER: I guess your last statement there kind of...it's the first time I approached this. I found the family, and the man works, but expenses today are just a struggle. He works. He works all day, but he doesn't bring in enough to cover even to get in. I said, "Oh, wow. Now...
JOHN: Well, those kind of people, you can help; you can find ways to help them. If you know somebody in that situation, you need to call the church. We have some access to some resources to help those kinds of people, to get 'em over that kind of hump. Some of it is sitting down and doing some financial counseling with them about how they budget, where they live, and how they could live, maybe, more inexpensively. But, if it's a desperate situation, there are ways to help that kind of people. If you get strung out on a situation like that and you, you want to help, but you don't think you have the resources, let us know here, so that we might be able to come along side and provide some of the resources we know about. Okay? Good man. Thank you.
We're gonna do these real quick now, just the ones that are up there and no more. Who's next? We'll go in the middle here, the last middle man here.
DANE: John, my name is Dane Purnell. I have a really interesting question: I live in a...particularly, what we were just talking about...in a men's home, a Christian men's home, and for the last year I've been battling the fact that they claim to be Christians, but yet there's the yeast that keeps infiltrating through channel 40, and I've literally watched dozens of lives destroyed by it. Literally. I mean, they've gotten hyper-charismatic. They're killing each other. They do respect you. And I'm gonna buy this tape and take it home, if you can address that situation. Basically, if I can just somehow defeat the faith in faith versus faith in Christ is the objective concept.
JOHN: You just want me to make a special tape to these guys, right here.
DANE: Yes, please.
JOHN: Well, I appreciate that. And I'm sure you have a unique ministry to those guys that are there. I've said this through the years, and I don't hesitate to say it, Channel 40 is very dangerous. The reason it's so dangerous is because there's enough truth on there to confuse people. The best thing that could ever happen to the whole TBN Network would be if all the people who are faithful to the Word of God would leave. And then, it would be what it really is. But it is confusing, because you hear good things; you hear true things from some of the people, and then, it goes all the way to the absolutely outrageous, unbiblical.
And, they prey upon the desperate. They prey upon the same people the lottery preys on: the people who are trying to cash in on the gravy train, the people who are trying to win the lottery. The people who are trying to win the divine lottery by sending money to these people, thinking that somehow, if they send them money, you know, their ship is going to come in. They're going to cash in on it.
But, again, the solution to all of this is not just to say, "Get away from it." You can say that because it's dangerous. Any time you mix truth with error, you create a very difficult environment for the undiscerning to sort out. It's like walking in a meadow full of mines. You know, sooner or later, you're going to get blown up in that environment, even though on the surface it looks pretty inviting.
But, the bottom line, again, coming back to this is, no one is going to be able to make those kinds of judgments unless they have some biblical foundation. And so, the great need is not so much to drive people away from the false, as to educate them about the true. It's critical that they be taught the Word of God. I mean, that's the bottom line, and when they know what the Word of God teaches, then they recognize the counterfeit.
This is the biggest problem we have in the evangelical world. It's been that way for 25 years. People ask me, "What's the biggest problem?" Lack of discernment, lack of discernment, lack of discernment. The Evangelical church literally has spiritual AIDS. AIDS, you know, the HIV virus, it's a deficiency in the immune system. And an AIDS person who has that, can die from a myriad of diseases. They don't all die from the same disease. Different diseases attack them and their immune system can't fight them off. When you have a deficient immune system, you can get killed by all kinds of things. And, you look at the church today and because it can't discern, it can't defend itself, it has a deficient immune system, it dies of a thousand errors.
So, the cry today is to try to take these people, and many of them are babes tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, and teach them the Word of God. So, I would think, the best thing you could do in that environment, you can warn them about that situation; you can use those things, if you're looking at it with them and explain off of those things that they see and hear, the truth of the Word of God. But, get them in a systematic study of the Word of God and build a doctrinal foundation, so they can discern for themselves.
QUESTIONER: Hi, I have a friend who goes to a Seventh-Day Adventist Church, and I know we have a lot of differing beliefs, but I didn't realize how drastically so until she asked me to read this book called, The National Sunday Law. And the author concludes at the end that Sunday worship is the mark of the beast. And, my question to you is...if they believe so strongly that they should be worshipping on Saturday and not Sunday, are we breaking a commandment of not honoring the Sabbath, if it is supposed to be Saturday? And, my second question would be, what can I do to lead her from that church?
JOHN: Let me answer the question by having you get a tape that I did. I did a tape when I was doing Genesis. Write...let me find out what verse it is. I don't ever remember the names of the tapes or any of that, but I do remember the verses that I taught. And, in going through Genesis, we came to verse 2 of chapter 2, "On the seventh day, God ended His work which He had done and rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done." Connection with that verse and the next verse, I did a message. Go to the tape room over there afterwards...I think it's open, isn't it, tonight? Do you guys know? It should be. If it isn't, Dan...he can get into anything. Get the tapes I did on the Sabbath. And on the Sunday study because they're really very important.
The issue with the Seventh-Day Adventists is not the Sabbath. The issue is that the Sabbath is reflective of a works system. The idea is that if you want to get into the kingdom, you have to keep the Ten Commandments, and that's one of them. Dealing with Seventh-Day Adventists is not easy because they're sort of all over the map. There's a wide spectrum of what they believe.
But, predominantly, they started out as a cult. They started out as a cult with a woman prophetess who got direct revelation from God, wrote The Desire of the Nations, and other things, in which was espoused salvation by law, salvation by works, a works system, the way all cults do. It has modified and changed through the years, and there have been many people who have moved away from that, I would think, toward true faith in Christ. But, still, that's in the system. That's part of the core. And, what you're seeing in that Sabbath law book is symbolic of a righteousness gained by keeping the law.
Now, there's two ways to deal with somebody like that. First of all, you can dismantle that idea of Sabbath, which I tend to do in those two tapes, and it can be a tough pill for them to swallow. The other thing you need to do is to get them to understand the doctrine of justification by grace through faith alone. Those are the two issues. Okay? But, get that tape. It's free. Dan'll pay for it.
RYAN: My name is Ryan Kline, and I got a question about the lordship controversy.
JOHN: About what?
RYAN: The lordship controversy, in particular, volition. I've attended a lot of your services, and I've heard you mention volition a few times and, also, in your Study Bible. My question is...how can volition be a part of the salvation equation if God is completely sovereign?
JOHN: How can human volition be a part of salvation if God is sovereign? And the answer is, the sovereignty of God produces an effect through a means. Okay? And, the activating of the human will is the means. God evangelizes the world through the means of sending us to every creature. We become the means by which the Lord reaches the elect. And there is a means by which God saves, and it is through faith. And that faith is an act of the human will...not apart from the power of God, but by means of the power of God.
Okay? All right.
RYAN: Okay, thank you.
JOHN: Well, time is gone. And I hope that was helpful and productive and enjoyable for everybody. Good. Boy, you're in a good mood. Let's take another offering. That's good. I don't even get applause when I preach a good sermon. Wow. Well, I'm glad you enjoyed it tonight, and let's stand, and we'll have a closing word of prayer.
Father, we thank You for this wonderful day that we have shared. When we think about the Fourth of July, and we think about the freedom of our country, we know that that certainly is something that we are thankful for. And yet, it pales compared to the freedom that we have from sin and death and hell, freedom in Jesus Christ. And if the Son makes you free, you are free forever. We thank You for the freedom we enjoy in Jesus Christ, freedom to obey You, freedom to love You and honor You, freedom to give our lives to You in self-denying, sacrificial service and freedom to enjoy all the blessings and benedictions that You've prepared for those that love You, both in time and eternity.
Lord, thank You that your Word holds the answers to the questions of our minds and hearts. And make us faithful students of Your Word, enjoying the process of discovery for ourselves as we search the Scriptures to see what really is so.
Bless these precious folks. Give us all a great week until we meet again next Lord's day in your Son's name, Amen.
ANNOUNCER: You've been listening to pastor, Bible teacher and author, John MacArthur. And we trust that you've been encouraged. John is featured speaker on Grace to You, a daily half hour teaching program available on Christian radio, streamed audio and pod cast. For more information about the ministry of Grace to You or a catalog of all of John's print and audio resources, visit www.gty.org. That's gty.org or call 1-800-55-GRACE.