Now, I’m sure you know that tonight is something that I always enjoy, and I hope you do, too - a time of Bible question-and-answer. We want to be a little bit broad in terms of offering you some latitude in your questions, so if you have questions about the church or about the ministry or personal questions that you’d like to share because you really need an answer, be sure that you feel free to ask those. So this is your time and the microphones are there in the middle of the three aisles. And if you just pop up behind a microphone and ask your question, we’ll go from there. Maybe just three people need to get in line so everybody doesn’t wind up standing there a long time. Okay?
QUESTION: Hi, John.
JOHN: Hi, Denny.
QUESTION: My question comes from Ezekiel chapter 44. I’ve been with some other guys, we’ve been reading through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, you know, word by word, chapter by chapter. And there was one verse here that seems kind of contradictory to what God’s intending. God is speaking to Ezekiel and I really have a - I’m curious to why He would say it because - well, anyway, it says, “When we go out into the outer court” -
JOHN: What verse is it?
QUESTION: It says, “And when they go out into the outer court - into the outer court to the people, they shall put off their garments in which they have been ministering and lay them in the holy chambers. Then they shall put on the other garments, that they may not transmit holiness to the people with their garments.” Now, it seems to me that God would want the people to be holy. I mean that’s part of His desire, and yet here, He says He doesn’t want holiness transmitted, so.
JOHN: Okay, let me just give you a general feeling for that section of Scripture. Ezekiel 40 to 48 is a description of the millennial temple. Okay? It’s a description of the temple that is to come, to be built during the time of the millennium. And in that millennial temple, there will be a reinstitution of symbolic activity that was a part of the old covenant. That shouldn’t surprise us because as Christians in the new covenant, we have a symbol which we engage in all the time, being the Lord’s Table. We actually go through symbolically the blood and the body of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And we know that that only happened once, and we don’t do what the Catholics do, we don’t transform that into the real body and the real blood of Christ. We understand it to be symbolic as a way of remembering the great thing that God has done.
In the Old Testament, what was the greatest act of deliverance God did in the Old Testament? Yes, the deliverance out of Egypt so that the remembrance of that was built around the Passover. And the Passover was a symbolic feast which caused the people to remember the delivering power of God. Communion is a similar thing.
Now, I believe that when we get to the kingdom, when we enter into our relationship with Jesus Christ in the fullness of our glorified form, there will be a glorious temple created in that future time. And in that time, I believe, two things will occur. One, we will be having communion because the Lord said, “Do this until I come and do it with you in my kingdom.” So there will be, I believe, in the coming kingdom of Jesus Christ, the activity of the communion as a remembrance of the cross.
And I also believe that, according to Ezekiel 40 to 48, in that millennial temple, there will also be a reenactment symbolically of the significance of the worship of the old covenant. So what you have there, in a symbolic form, is the activity of the temple. And there will be, apparently, on the basis of that verse, the idea of holy here does not mean that the people are unholy, they are all holy because they’re all, I believe, at this particular point - that’s a little bit debatable as to where this millennial temple is, but let’s assume it’s occupied by the holy redeemed of God, they’re all holy people.
But in a sense, apparently, there will be within that function of that temple in the glorified state certain people set apart for certain priestly function which is unique to them, and the garments of which belong uniquely to them and not to the other people. So I don’t think that it’s talking about transmitting holiness to those other people in the sense of righteousness but that the idea is that a priest who functions in the millennial temple in the wonderful symbolism that goes on there will be uniquely a priest, and the other people cannot co-mingle with that priestly function.
And so that’s why when he goes out among the people, he sets aside his priestly garb because it is indigenous, if you will, to that function alone. Okay? Good question. All right.
QUESTION: John, in your radio notes, “The Dynamic Church,” you have some messages there and you give seven principles for doing the Lord’s work in the Lord’s way.
JOHN: First Corinthians 16.
QUESTION: Right. And one of those principles is an acceptance of opposition as a challenge. And you said accept opposition as a challenge - Paul said I will tarry at Ephesus for a great door’s opened to me and there are many adversaries. And then you quoted G. Campbell Morgan as saying that if you have no opposition in the place you are serving, then you’re serving in the wrong place. Then you are quoting again, you say find a church where the Word of God is not taught or a church that doesn’t have a biblical leadership structure and instruct them in the truth. Now, I can see your viewpoint from a pastor.
JOHN: That’s the intention of what I say. When I gave that message, I was speaking to pastors, to people who were looking at ministry.
QUESTION: Well, that’s the way I thought mostly. I didn’t know if you applied that to lay people.
JOHN: No, that’s a good question. To lay people, I’d say if you’re not being taught the Word of God faithfully, get out of there and get someplace where you can.
But, you see, what happens with young men is I’ve had so many young guys come to me and say, “Well, I don’t want to go to that church, they got problems,” you know. Well - and I always say to them, if you find a church that doesn’t have problems, don’t go or they’ll have problems. I mean if they’ve already reached perfection, stay away, you can only mess it up. So, you know, the typical - the typical young pastor wants a perfect situation. And what Paul is saying in 1 Corinthians 16 is I have to stay in Ephesus because there’s so much trouble here. I got to get it straightened out.
JOHN: And the challenge of the ministry is not to go where everything is as it ought to be but to go where everything isn’t as it ought to be and make it what it ought to be. Now, there are limitations to that. You can go in and fight a losing battle and wind up throwing your pearls before swine all the time.
QUESTION: Well, I’d just like to state that I just resigned as an elder from a church, and for about three years I tried to get my point of view across and I always quoted Scripture. And they could not counteract that but there was no change, so I finally left.
JOHN: Yeah. If you’re in a church where people refuse to respond to the Word of God, you know, that’s a problem from even a preacher’s standpoint. And there are churches like that where you’re just bouncing the stuff off rocks. There’s no question about that. I mean the apostle Paul said, you know, he shook the dust off his feet, you remember, and left and said I’m going to the Gentiles because you will not hear. So there is that possibility.
But I agree with you. If you’re in a situation where you bring the Word of God to the situation and they don’t - they’re not interested in that, you need to be in a place where you can be fed and you can be taught. I’m glad you asked that.
QUESTION: Thank you.
JOHN: That’s great. Good question.
QUESTION: Hi, John. About a year ago a friend of mine -
JOHN: What’s your name?
QUESTION: I’m Steve.
JOHN: Hi, Steve.
QUESTION: About a year ago, a friend of mine came to me and let me read one of his books called The Fourth Dimension, it was written by Dr. Paul Cho.
JOHN: Paul who?
QUESTION: Paul Cho, the pastor of the world’s largest church. I was very distressed as I read the book. My question to you is: Have you read the book? And what do you know about the man?
JOHN: Paul Yonggi Cho, C-H-O, is a Korean pastor, a pastor of the world’s largest church, I guess, at least they have a lot of people going there. They have probably 200,000 members or something. Part of it is a Korean phenomenon, it’s a cultural phenomenon. I feel that, basically - yes, I have read much of what Cho has written. I have interacted with a lot that’s been written about him.
In fact, I just finished last night, sitting in my easy chair, reading a book called The Seduction of Christianity by Dave Hunt, a book which I had prior read when it was in manuscript form, and it was about twice as long and had a lot more to say until the editors got a hold of it, you know. But in that, he deals very, very carefully with men who are on the Christian scene who are in one way or another deceiving people - men like Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Fredrick Price, Robert Schuller, and Paul Yonggi Cho.
Cho comes across on the surface as an evangelical. And he identifies very overtly with evangelicals. But if you begin to look deeply into his theology and his viewpoint, you see that it basically is syncretistic, it’s an eclectic - it’s a collection of all kinds of things. It’s strongly Pentecostal-Charismatic. It is strongly into what Hunt likes to think of as forms of sorcery, white magic, and the occult. It is also infused with some of their old traditional ancestor worship and some of their old religion.
For example, they have this place called prayer mountain, where people go for hours and hours and pray. And we would say, “Isn’t it wonderful that they pray?” But if you were to go there, you would see them doing this kind of thing, which is a genuflecting and repeating the same thing over and over hour after hour. So he is a hybrid of many things. It’s difficult to put the finger on it because there are times when he will articulate the gospel as we know the gospel. But it is laced with all of that health-wealth-prosperity-healing kind of thing that’s sort of a white magic approach.
In other words, if you put all the right gimmicks together and say all the right words - in fact much of that stuff is almost like a mantra in TM where you just keep telling yourself something is true over and over and over again, you keep reciting it and claiming it and claiming it and claiming it and claiming it until it happens.
So I think - I do not believe that Cho is a full, thorough-going, biblical evangelical. I think he’s a syncretistic eclectic whose collected a whole lot of different things and he has a high appeal in his nation because a lot of things that those people look for and experience in their own culture are made available through that religion, and there’s a promise of health and wealth and happiness which is always a ticket to some amount of success.
But I don’t want to deny that in the middle of it all, he articulates the gospel. And no doubt that has an effect on people - a positive effect. But that’s what makes it difficult.
QUESTION: Sure. I was very distressed when I read the book.
JOHN: The name of the book is The Fourth Dimension?
QUESTION: Yeah. It’s beyond description, believe me.
JOHN: I’d like to read it, if you see your way clear to send me a copy.
QUESTION: I’d be happy to.
JOHN: Okay, thank you. Yes?
QUESTION: I have kind of a two-parter.
JOHN: Tell us your name first.
QUESTION: Bruce Lorange.
JOHN: Oh, hi, Bruce.
QUESTION: These two parts don’t have anything to do with the other so I guess it’s two questions. I leapt into the fray recently with a relative defending creationism and was kind of stopped by this question, and I wrote it down because I was trying to remember exactly how he asked me. He said, “As you know, scientists measure the distance of stars and planets in light years. If the universe was created six to seven thousand years ago, how can there be stars whose light we’re now seeing has taken five billion years to get here if they didn’t even exist six thousand years ago?”
JOHN: Yeah, well, I can give you a simple answer to that question.
JOHN: God not only created the planets but he also created their light. And He not only created their light but He created the full span of their light to reach the earth instantaneously. In other words, if God is able to create the universe, He certainly can stretch the light as far as He wants in that creative act. Do you understand what I’m saying?
In other words, God doesn’t say, “Well, I have the power to create the light, now I’m going to have to hang around for ten billion years until the light gets where I want it to go.” The point is if God can create the light, He can create the light not only where it originates but where it reaches. So we would - and there is evidence to that effect. There is evidence to that effect. I’m not a scientist.
You can come to the college and ask George Howe, the head of the science department, who is former president of the Creation Research Institute and he’s - he’ll probably set you down and give you a four-hour lecture.
But the bottom line on it is - and that’s a big question, Bruce. It’s a bigger question than it appears because what you’re saying is true in every part. For example, when God created Adam, did He create an embryo? Did He create a fetus? Did He create a child? Did He create a young man or did He create a full-grown adult? Well, He created a full-grown adult. And when He created Eve, He didn’t create a little baby and say, “Adam, she’s nice but you’ll have to wait 21 years.” Right? I mean He created a grown woman.
And when God created animals, He created grown animals. When He created creation, for example, on the day that He created all the plants, did He create all the seeds in the ground and then everybody waited until the plants grew? No, instantaneously He created a full, mature creation.
So when you look to the stellar heavens and you look at the space and the planets and the stars and the light and all the things that are part of that, He instantaneously created that in its full maturity. So there’s no necessity to have time for all those light years to bring the light to our vision. Okay?
QUESTION: Meaning that the system of measurement is wrong?
JOHN: Well, the system of measurement assumes uniformity. But we believe in catastrophe, and catastrophe is the fact that God creates instantaneously a whole universe of fully mature creation so that the universe is six days after He starts as fully mature as it is right now. It’s instantaneously created in its maturity. It’s not created in a series of embryonic forms which must evolve and evolve and evolve and evolve to get where they need to be. So it’s a fully mature world and universe that He has created.
QUESTION: Okay, I think I don’t understand that. No, I’ll - I’ll -
JOHN: Well, of course you don’t. But the point - nobody understands that, but we believe that. And, of course, the - see, the evidence is from every angle indicative of the fact that we live in a very new world and a new earth and a new universe. And that’s what science is over and over again demonstrating. And the only way that can happen is to have a fully created universe.
Now, let me take you a step further. There are only two possible views of creation. Okay? One is that creation is - as we know it today is the result of a sequence of time and uniform change, right? Which is the evolutionist view. You have uniformity. In other words, you look at a bunch of strata, you look at a cliff with all the strata, right? And you say, “Well, it took so many billion years for this and then so many billion years for this and so many” - either that or there was a tremendous catastrophe, a catastrophic event that literally shaped the face of the earth in an instant.
And biblical creationists believe that there were two great cataclysmic events that shaped the earth. Event number one was a six-day creation of a fully matured earth and universe. That is catastrophic. Now, science looks at that, and based upon the theory of uniformity, they’re looking at the world and they’re seeing it change right now, and so they project the changes now back into time, and they want to take them all the way back until there was nothing. And that strings them out billions of years because they don’t allow for a catastrophic event. But uniformity is not necessarily true. You can’t prove that that’s true.
The second great catastrophe was what? The flood, the universal flood, which in one fell swoop when God drowned the entire world, shaped and reshaped the whole earth. And out of that flood came the great Ice Age and the icebergs, the whole shot. The earth was dramatically shaped instantaneously in the catastrophe of the flood.
So as a result of that, you cannot apply to all of the past history of the earth and the universe a uniform system of change. You have to allow for catastrophe, an instantaneous catastrophe in creation and an instantaneous catastrophe in the flood - instantaneous - a little bit longer than that, but that’s how you look at it.
QUESTION: But even if it was catastrophically created, that star, the light would still take as long as the scientist says it . . . if you accept that.
JOHN: No, not if God . . .
QUESTION: . . . that, you know.
JOHN: No, not if God created the light in its full span. He didn’t just create it here, He created it in its full span. He created it all the way along the path.
QUESTION: I see, okay.
JOHN: Ask your second -
QUESTION: One last quick one. God - since God does not contradict Himself and God does not lie, God cannot lie.
JOHN: That’s right.
QUESTION: God says, “Thou shalt not lie,” how do you defend someone that says to you God also says “Thou shalt not kill,” and yet God sometimes kills?
JOHN: Okay. Now, the word in the Hebrew, in Exodus 20, which is used for “thou shalt not kill” is “thou shalt not murder.” And the assumption and the term is that it is an illicit murder, that it is an unjust killing, okay? The question is a difficult question if you push it to its limit because the truth of the matter is everybody who lives lives because God gave them life, and everybody who dies dies because God is in control of who lives and who dies and when they die. So ultimately, everybody who dies dies because God has allowed a death principle.
But the point of Exodus 20 is murder, as a crime. God never kills in an iniquitous way. God never kills as a crime. The only time God takes a life would be as a righteous act, always as a righteous act, a righteous act for His own glory, one way or another. It could be that that righteous act was a righteous act on behalf of one of His redeemed saints that He wanted to bring into His own presence, right? It could be that that righteous act was an act of judgment upon evil. But always, when God takes a life, it is a righteous act.
And so we start with the character of God. And that, you know, basically, the Old Testament in total is designed to communicate to us the character of God. God is holy, holy, holy. Therefore, if God takes a life, it is a holy act. God does not murder. God does not indiscriminately and unjustly and iniquitously take life. The truth of the matter is, looking at it this way, if God killed instantaneously every person on the earth, it would be an act of righteousness, right? Because every person on the earth is what? A sinner and the wages of sin is? Death. So it is mercy that any of us are spared and grace.
QUESTION: Thank you.
JOHN: You’re welcome. Yes?
QUESTION: Good evening, my name is Skip.
JOHN: Hi, Skip.
QUESTION: Hi, John. My question - I probably even know the answer, it’s been something I’ve been experiencing, which is I’ve been in a lot of prayer lately about certain things. And when you go through the Scripture and you read things, for example, like John 14:13, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” And, for example, John 15:7, “If ye abide in me and my words abide in you, you shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.”
And I know, you know, God is not really a cosmic genie. He’s not there to grant our every wish, which would be kind of absurd. But sometimes I have a hard time because when you really want something, you really pray for it. And I know you have to pray in His will as the Lord did, you know, not my will but your will be done. How do you blend that sometimes when maybe you think it’s a burden He’s putting on you to pray and yet you don’t see it come, and you’re still asking in His will, but then you look at some of the other verses and it says - oh, what’s another one?
Matthew 21:22, “And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” You know, I guess it just gets kind of tenuous sometimes because you’re waiting for an answer, even if it’s no, but you still have the burden on your heart to pray and you’re praying in His will and you want it and da-da.
JOHN: How many of you have experienced that dilemma? Does that help you?
QUESTION: Yeah, it does.
JOHN: How many of you know the answer? How many of you know why that happens? To teach us to trust the Lord? That’s fair enough. Yeah, to teach us to trust the Lord. And to teach us that if - how many of you asked your parents for something and didn’t get it? I mean sometime in your life. Yeah, right? How many of you got a lecture about the fact that it wouldn’t be good for you to get that? Yes, right. And how many of you know your parents were right? Thank you, both of you, for the -
No, sure, I mean I don’t know the answer to that, Skip, because I don’t know the mind of God. And sometimes I get very frustrated because I know what the kingdom needs, see, I mean I know. “You got to do this, Lord, this is what you have to do.” See, we have to have this. And then we can get on with the work and - it’s not happening. And so you say, “Well, why is God putting this heavy burden on my heart? Why does He give me such a confidence that this is really His will and then it doesn’t happen?”
Well, what you have to realize is that we can’t trust our feelings because sometimes we think something is of the Lord when the truth of the matter is it’s really just a strong desire that we have. The ultimate answer to your question is that we really don’t know how it is that God can burden us with things that are deeply felt burdens and yet seemingly not fulfill those things. There’s really no answer to that other than the sovereignty of God, and we have to trust that what happens is His perfect will.
Then, also - and this is a thing I always wind up doing in my own life, is a little spiritual inventory to make sure that I’m not in a position to not have my prayer answered because there’s something in my own life that isn’t as it ought to be. In other words, James says you ask and you receive not because you ask amiss that you may consume it on your own lusts. In other words, you can be disqualified in your prayer because of the fact that you have a selfish motive.
Also, you remember what Peter writes in 1 Peter 3, he says, you know, husband and wife better get along well, that your prayers be not hindered. It is possible that if you’re - if things aren’t as they ought to be between you and your wife, you have put a block in your - in God’s flow of blessing. Sin of any kind gets in the way. So whenever I pour out my heart to the Lord about something that seems to be heavily laid on my heart, my first response, if it doesn’t come to pass, is a little spiritual inventory, and I ask God if there’s anything in my life that prevented Him from doing all that He would have done.
Secondly, if I pass the test of spiritual inventory or get my life right with Him, then I just have to say, “Lord, I trust you completely in this and thank you for the answer you gave and I accept that as your answer.” And sometimes the burden is still there and I just keep praying and asking God to do it, you know, even though it appears it won’t happen until the Lord gives me a sense of release from that.
QUESTION: Yeah, I just remember one time you were talking about the parable, I can’t remember exactly where it is, it’s about the person that comes to the house and knocks?
JOHN: Yeah, Luke - it’s in Luke.
QUESTION: And that’s how I feel sometimes.
JOHN: Yeah, but because of your continual knocking, you will get an answer. Yeah, the idea of that parable, you know, the guy’s in the middle of the night, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, banging on the door. And the guy finally lets him in and gives him bread just to get rid of him. And what our Lord is saying is if a guy is angry and gives bread to somebody who beats on his door or somebody he’s mad at, what do you think a loving God who loves you is going to do when you have a need?
Bread is a need. And I don’t believe that you will ever come before the Lord in behalf of a need that He will not meet. But it’s some of those discretionary things that He has a right to say no to.
QUESTION: That’s true, I guess sometimes just realizing when He says no.
JOHN: Yeah. And, you know, it’s fair enough - you know, I remember - oh, I suppose it’s been a few years ago now, somebody said to me one time, “Do you ever ask the Lord for something that’s so specific that He can say no and you’ll know He said no?” Because most of the time we say, “Well, Lord, this is what we’d like, but do your will and” - you know, we go through that whole deal. So whatever He does is so nondescript, we don’t know whether He said no, yes, or what. So I think it’s healthy for you to go in there with importunity and persistence, plead for God to do something. And if He says no, you go and you know He said no.
QUESTION: So you can really be specific, like -
QUESTION: - this, you know, I want this laid out to me.
JOHN: Lord, Lord, yes - but you, you know, you say if this is your will, Lord, but I want to be specific, and if you say no, then I know you have something better than that.
QUESTION: I know you can’t put God in a box or put Him in timeframes, but when you have a burden on your heart, can you say specific things like give me some sort of a yes or no within a little flexibility.
JOHN: You can say anything you want, but He may say no to that, too.
QUESTION: Yeah, I know.
JOHN: He may say no, I’m not giving you what you want and I’m not giving it to you in that timeframe, either. That isn’t going to help.
QUESTION: I know.
JOHN: You know, I mean a guy says show me by Tuesday, you know, let something fall through my roof, or let me fall . . .
QUESTION: Yeah, I sort of give Him a lot of leeway. But sometimes that’s - it’s just hard to be specific because He might say no to that, too. It’s just been - you know, for two months I’ve been praying -
JOHN: You know what I believe the Lord wants to hear from you? I believe He doesn’t want to hear some kind of theology. I think what the Lord wants to hear is the real deep cry of your heart. He knows what it is you really want to say, whether you say it or not, so you might as well say it. I mean if you really want it badly and you say, “Lord, I just want your will,” He knows what you want.
QUESTION: Oh, I said it badly enough. I walked on top of a mountain for four hours and I - just to make sure He heard.
JOHN: He knows what you want, now you’ve got to - you wanted to get as close as possible, right?
JOHN: It’s not up there, it’s in here - right? - where the Lord abides.
QUESTION: I unloaded on Him, too. I told Him exactly what -
JOHN: Well, you just keep asking Him and then you learn to trust His answer. I mean we all do that. We all do that. I mean that’s routine. The wonderful thing about it is that we know He’s on our side and we’re on His side and we’re all in this together in the kingdom, and so it’s going to come out the way He wants it to come out.
QUESTION: That’s true.
JOHN: It’s exciting. Okay, good. Yes?
QUESTION: My name is Kelly Swindell and this is Rebecca Jane Swindell.
QUESTION: Hi, I’m just here to praise the Lord, if that’s all right.
JOHN: I hope - it’s all right, of course.
QUESTION: We came to the movie Sunday night and - on the abortion, and Becky didn’t want to see it. But she went through it with us, and my husband and I, and I just had to come and tell you tonight that she is blessing from God that twelve years ago I carried. I was almost thirty-five, and I was told that I should have an abortion because I had very bad health and the doctor said that I would never carry her. And he was my family doctor at the time.
So I changed doctors, and I went to a man in Glendale. And I did have a very difficult pregnancy. I bled and I had to take shots and I sat in a rocking chair for nine months. But she is here. I was told that she would be mentally retarded, by the way. She isn’t, she’s a grade A student and very well-adjusted and happy and healthy. And we love her very much. And I just want to encourage anybody that was told that to get another doctor and -
JOHN: Amen - get another doctor is right. Does she want to say something?
QUESTION: Oh, I’d like to add this. Two weeks ago, before we knew this was going to happen, she said to me, “Mom, I’d like to work on a hotline against abortionists to tell them not to get rid of their babies.” And I said, “Okay, you work on the hotline and I’ll take care of the mamas, and we’re going to be a team.” And so that was before the movie, and now she’s reaffirmed that she still wants to work on that hotline and we’re going to have the mamas in our house and we’ll take care of them.
JOHN: Hey, God bless you. God bless you, Becky - wonderful. That’s great.
You know, we had an interesting thing happen, too. Sunday afternoon I got a letter from a guy. Interesting letter. He said up until a little while ago, he was a male prostitute in Hollywood for a long, long time. And he came to Christ - wonderful conversion. The Lord delivered him out of that lifestyle. But he went on to say even though he had given his life to Christ, he had absolutely no sense of self-worth. He didn’t see himself as having any value at all, all that garbage in the past, you know. And he was just sort of the flotsam and the jetsam of human society that the Lord had rescued.
And apparently, like so many people, he saw himself simply as little else than the result of the natural human process of reproduction, and God in His grace sort of plucked him out of that and saved him. But he didn’t have any particular value until he understood by the grace of the Holy Spirit what I was saying about the fact that every single human being is the intimate, personal, unique creation of God within the womb - and it just blew his mind. For the first time in his life, he understood that he was someone who God had created from the very beginning.
And he went on in this letter to explain what a tremendous freedom and release from the bondage of thinking he was nothing but some unworthy person that the Lord by His grace just picked out of the gutter. So the ramifications of last Sunday morning have been very good in that regard, too.
You don’t have any questions, Stan, do you?
QUESTION: No, I’m going to be reading for Bill.
JOHN: Okay. Hi, Bill.
QUESTION: It’s - “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth, and the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
QUESTION: Hi, John.
JOHN: Hi, Bill.
QUESTION: I’ve got a question for you. What does this mean, “God said, ‘Let there be light’”?
JOHN: Okay, let me see if I can answer that. Now, when God created, He created everything in six days. And one of the things He created was light. Now, I don’t know how to tell you all the scientific thing, but you know what light is, right? Because you know when it’s on and you know when it’s off.
JOHN: Right. So God created light all by itself. And it wasn’t until later that He created the sun and the planets and all the other things that hold the light. So first God created light all by itself and then later, He created all the planets and stuck the light on them. So when you look up in the sky, you see the light attached to the planets and the sun and the moon and the stars and all of that. Is that what you mean?
QUESTION: Thank you.
JOHN: Thank you. Hey, Bill, I’m sorry - I’m sorry I meant to take you home Sunday morning, what happened?
QUESTION: I got friends.
JOHN: Come on, that’s not - I mean I looked for you, I was going to take you home. You got friends - what kind of a deal - you’re my friend, aren’t you?
QUESTION: Hi, John, my name is Tom. You may not recognize me without my -
JOHN: I recognize you. I don’t recognize you without your camera, right? He went to Israel with me.
QUESTION: I do a fair amount of thinking about eternity and heaven, and these questions kind of come out of that. I find out when I really get my mind in an eternity mode, it takes away a great deal of the problems down here, they just seem so insignificant.
JOHN: Set your affections on things above and not on things on the earth, right? Colossians 3?
QUESTION: Right. And one of the questions, just kind of a light-hearted question, but it’s interesting, too, is - has to do with Enoch. I wonder what - when you think about - and I know you do - what are some of the key things God looked at when He just said Enoch walked with God and he was not for God took him, and yet there - is there anyone else that ever has lived with the same spiritual characteristics in their life?
And also, a second part of that is - and you mentioned something about God taking some of His loved ones a while ago, and one was Moses for disobedience. Now, both of them, one went with a body and one without a body went to heaven, or went to be with God, they’re both in great shape. What’s the difference?
JOHN: Yeah, it’s a good question. It’s just like the discipline in the church. Some of you are weak and some of you are sickly and then the, you know, the final coup de grâce, some of you sleep. Those people are in better shape than the weak and sickly. You know, if the ultimate chastisement of a sinful believer is death, I’d rather be with the Lord than have a terminal illness, you know.
So I don’t know the answer to that question. Really, I know that - all I can say about Enoch is that Enoch walked with God and He was not for God took him. That is an amazing statement. What it seems to say to me is that one day God took a walk with Enoch and He had such a wonderful time with the guy that He walked with him all the way to heaven.
I mean I don’t know what else to say. Somewhere along the way, Enoch got transformed. A parallel to that would be Elijah, who was taken up in a whirlwind of fire. I mean he went for a chariot ride and ended up in glory. So you have those two people who were uniquely taken to the Lord.
I think you’re going to have a whole lot more in the rapture. I think what you see with Enoch and what you see with Elijah in a single illustration is exactly what’s going to happen with the rapture of the church. We’re just going to take off. So I don’t think it’s that uncommon. I think it’s an illustration. And I don’t think it’s to say that Enoch was a perfect man who didn’t need to be transformed. I think he was transformed in the process because he was the son of Adam and Adam was fallen, and so was Eve and so he bore the sins of his nature.
Now, as to what’s the difference, in a very real sense there is no difference. There is no difference unless there is a difference to be in heaven in your glorified body as over against just your spirit, waiting for your glorified body. See, Enoch went in in a glorified form - in a glorified - he got transformed on the way up. They didn’t - there was no body anyplace. Same with Elijah.
Every other saint who died, his spirit goes to heaven and his body is here. Moses, too, was buried - you remember? - in the mountain. So he would be without the full expression of his eternal glory until Daniel 12 comes to pass, the resurrection to life everlasting that will come to the Old Testament saints. So the difference would be in the ability to express the fullness of glorification in that glorified form.
QUESTION: Okay. Also, your answer to Bill, it just dawned on me, was the perfect answer for that other gentleman. I never did stop to think that the light was there before the sun and the stars, and it was already spread across. So he probably lit up when you said that answer.
JOHN: That’s right. The light already existed. Right. I should have mentioned that. The light already existed before any of the luminaries were created to contain the light. That’s right.
QUESTION: Thank you, John.
JOHN: Thank you. Good.
QUESTION: My name is Dave, John. I had just a brief comment on the light in transit from the stars also. In Genesis, if I were talking to an evolutionist who said, “So what do you do now? You got, you know, five billion years for the light to travel,” I would say, and God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night.
He made the stars also, and God set them in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth. The reason He put them there was for light on the earth. At the end of that fourth day, He said it’s been a good day, and I don’t think He would be happy with that day if the job weren’t completely done.
JOHN: If the earth were still dark.
QUESTION: Yes. So that’s -
JOHN: Do you want to come up here and I’ll go over there? That’s good. That’s great. Thank you very much. Yes.
QUESTION: Good evening, John. My name’s Matthew. And the Lord has me traveling quite a bit, so a lot of times I’m getting picked up at the airport and stuff by friends. My girlfriend came by the other week and we went down to Marina del Rey and went into a shop. And as usual, we’re talking about the Lord and stuff and the guy came up that owned the shop and he said, you know, “What are you talking about?” And we said, “Well, we’re talking about Jesus Christ. Do you know Him?” And this gentleman was in - I guess a cult called Est, E-S-T.
QUESTION: And I mean it was like talking to a wall.
JOHN: Werner Erhard is the name of the guy who started Est.
QUESTION: Well, we were - we would talk to him and he would - this was a stained glass shop, and he’d say - “Well, that’s what you say, but touch this,” you know, so we’d touch the stained glass. “This is real.” Okay. Let’s go on from there.
JOHN: Very moving experience.
QUESTION: So we were trying to tell him about the Word of God and that it was real. “Well, that’s what you say,” you know, “the only that’s real is what I can touch.” And then the phone rang and I said, “That’s not really happening, you can’t touch that sound,” but he would go and answer it anyways. And I guess my question is, when you’re talking to people, trying to witness to people like that, you know, what can you do? What -
JOHN: Well, yeah, I think the issue is always Jesus Christ. You know, let’s not talk about stained glass, let’s talk about Jesus Christ. Do you know who Jesus Christ is? Have you studied the life of Christ? You see, Jesus Christ said that every man who believes in Him is bound for heaven, and every man who rejects Him is bound eternally for hell. Now, when He says something like that, that is pretty serious. He says He is the determiner of every man’s eternal destiny. If He’s right, if He’s right - let’s just assume He may be right. You better check into that. If He’s wrong, you ought to study it, too, because then you can eliminate that option.
In other words, the issue is always Jesus Christ. I don’t care who you’re talking to. You can be talking to all these cults and isms and schisms and spasms and all these yogis and - doesn’t matter what it is, and you always want to come back to Christ, who is Christ? Who is Christ?
QUESTION: But he would say, “Well, that’s what you would say.” You know, that’s what he kept coming back with. So I told him, I said, “Well, who told you this to start with?”
JOHN: But still you plant the seed. The issue is Jesus Christ and the claims of Jesus Christ. See, his thing, Est, Werner Erhard. Werner Erhard isn’t even the guy’s name. The guy’s name is, you know, Bill Smith or something. He’s - but he took this exotic German name, and he has all these people go to these big seminars and spill their anxieties and scream at each other, stamp their feet and yell and claw and get out all their inhibitions and do whatever they want. It’s just total liberation, total freedom, spill your guts, scream, do what you like. And then you go away and you’re supposed to have solved your problems. So it’s totally humanistic, totally self-centered. It isn’t even a religion in the sense that it has any particular dogma.
QUESTION: Well, that’s what he said. He said this isn’t a religion, you know.
JOHN: It is a religion in the sense that it worships man.
JOHN: But it doesn’t have any God as such. Man is God. So, you know, what you want to do with someone like that is confront them with Jesus Christ and - you know, my approach to that is, have you read the Bible? You know - before you criticize -
QUESTION: Make any claims - right.
JOHN: It’s the claims of Christ, you probably ought to know what they are. Yeah, put the burden of proof on him.
JOHN: Make him feel guilty for not doing it.
QUESTION: Hi, my name is Traudi and we’re witnessing, my husband and I, to a neighbor who is Jewish and he comes from Israel. And we’ve been getting together with him. And last time he brought up his Hebrew Old Testament. And my husband was reading with him through prophecies and he’d it in English and the guy would read it in Hebrew. And they came to the one hundred and tenth Psalm, first verse, “The Lord said unto my Lord,” and so on. And he says that word “my” is not there in the Hebrew at all. And the word “Lord” is not Adonai or Yahweh or anything like that, but it’s “Adoni,” which is just like saying sir or it’s an address that you can say to anybody.
JOHN: Well, Adoni is just a form of Adonai.
QUESTION: It is?
QUESTION: So a Jew would take that as deity? Because he did not.
JOHN: Well, the issue here - yeah, I don’t know how to answer that question because I know whether his Hebrew text is accurate. I don’t know whether it’s been altered. I don’t know - I can’t verify that. I’m not familiar with that text in Hebrew by memory to verify that. It sounds to me that you should keep doing what you’re doing because that’s nitpicking.
Now, it is true that the word “Lord” means sir, that’s true. And in a secular context, a cultural context, the word adonai could be used “sir.” In the New Testament even kurios in the Greek, kurie, it’s often in the form of kurie, can mean “sir.”
But its usage in Scripture is clearly prescribed in reference to deity, to God Himself. And I would agree with this, that in Psalm 110:1, if that verse stood alone, it would not necessarily be convincing. But when you compare - for example, if you’ll look at Psalm 110:1, the best approach there is to determine what that “Lord” means, and you determine that, for example, “The Lord said unto my Lord, ‘Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.’” Okay, the first Lord is unquestionably a reference to God. The Lord God says to some other Lord, “Sit down at my right hand until I make all the enemies thy footstool.”
Now, the word “my,” as far as I know, is in the Hebrew text. I don’t know what his text says. So who would David’s Lord be? Well, David was the sovereign of Israel. And do you remember what the Jews said in John 8? “We have never been in servitude to any man,” even when - they had forgotten their captivities, but under David, they were in the glories of their great kingdom. I mean the kingdom wasn’t even divided yet. So this was the great time of David’s kingdom.
David was the sovereign. So who would be David’s Lord? Who would be David’s sovereign? It would have to be someone higher than David. And that’s why we believe it is in inter-trinitarian issue. But further it says, “Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Now, look at Psalm 2. And then it talks about why do the nations rage and the people imagine a vain thing, kings of the earth set themselves, the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against his Messiah, his King, his Anointed. This is a Messianic Psalm. And then in verse 6, “I have set my King on my holy hill of Zion.”
And who is this King? “The Lord said unto me, ‘Thou art my’” - what? - “‘my Son, this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me and I will give thee the nations for thine inheritance and the uttermost part of the earth for thy possession. And thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel,’” and so forth. So here you have, similar to Psalm 110, the idea of the nations being made subject - Psalm 110 says I’ll make the enemies your footstool. Well, here is the exact thing happening, and who is it? It is God bringing the nations in subjection “to my Son” - to His Son.
So when you parallel it with this, and verse 12 says, “Kiss the Son lest He be angry and you perish from the way.” So whoever it is that the Lord in Psalm 110 says He will make the people subject to is the same person in Psalm 2. And in Psalm 2, it is clearly God saying, “It’s my Son,” and God’s Son is none other than the Anointed, the King, the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.
QUESTION: Thank you. Can I also ask another question?
QUESTION: What is your opinion on mixed marriages, like different races getting married, biblically?
JOHN: The Bible doesn’t prescribe any forbidding of that at all. I think two people ought to get married who love the Lord Jesus Christ, and I don’t think race is an issue at all. I think there are some sociological implications. And those can vary. I mean in some societies, there can be a great amount of pressure applied to people.
For example, if you were living in Alabama and a black and a white person marry, there are - there may be some severe implications on their life and their family in that environment. There may no such implications, for example, if that happened in the Caribbean. I mean it depends on perceptions. You have to take into consideration what the ramifications of something like that would be, I suppose, sociologically. But biblically, there is no such prohibition at all.
And, you know, where would you draw the line? Would you say that black people can’t marry white people but white people can marry brown people? And brown people can marry black people? What about Scottish people and German people? What about - where do you go with all of that? So I think those kind of barriers are artificial, and I don’t see anything in Scripture that at all forbids that. If two people are in Christ, that’s the issue, yeah.
QUESTION: Hi, John. My name’s Wendy.
JOHN: Hi, Wendy.
QUESTION: I ran into a situation recently. I happened to be getting my hair cut, and my hairdresser was relating different experiences of his, and he began by saying he was on some trip with some friends and he started having word of knowledge from the Lord and he got these visions and stuff. And then he went on to say the Lord was giving him a word of knowledge that this friend of his who supposedly is a Christian was dealing with demons that were inside of him of lust and homosexuality and different things.
And he began talking about how he really feels that if you have a spirit of anxiety or anything, it’s not of God so therefore, it’s of the devil. And he was saying that he feels he needs to deliver all these people of demons. And I told him I didn’t really agree with him because I feel that, you know, it’s a case of sin and, you know, the flesh and everything, and I didn’t agree that, you know, demons could be inside of a Christian, living inside of a Christian, if the Holy Spirit was there. But I waited until he finished cutting my hair before I said anything.
JOHN: Before you got him too worked up, right?
QUESTION: And I think by the time I left, he thought that he had to deliver me of a spirit of - or demon of rebellion or something, I don’t know. But is this something that you’ve come across?
JOHN: Yes, yeah, this is - there was a guy back in Florida by the name of Don Basham, B-A-S-H-A-M, who propagated this quite extensively in several books, and it was picked up by some other people. I think Derek Prince and few other people in a very sort of fringe charismatic group got into this. You know, there was - and I wrote about this in one of my books, this guy that was looking for the demon of post-nasal drip, you know, and really crazy stuff.
Now, I don’t want to underplay the demonic world. And it may well be that demons are involved in all of that kind of stuff. But the ridiculous part of it is to assume that this guy can run around telling the demons what to do. You know, I mean I have tried to cast demons out of people when I was younger and foolish, now I’m old and foolish, but yeah, I tried to do that and they wouldn’t go anywhere.
I mean I remember Jerry Mitchell and I, we had a girl here and she had all kinds of demons and they kept talking and yelling and we - we tried sending those demons everywhere. We sent them to the pit, to Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque - we sent them to the desert, we sent them everywhere. And they didn’t go - they didn’t go anywhere. I mean we had absolutely no authority over demons. We’re not apostles; we can’t heal the sick, and we can’t tell the demons what to do.
And the fact of the matter is we really don’t need to do that because the only reason a person would be under that kind of demonic influence would be if they had, by virtue of sin in their life, given access to that. It’s as simple as James, “Resist the devil and he’ll” - what? - “he’ll flee.” Obedience, that’s the whole issue. So to me, it’s superfluous to go around casting devils out of people. In fact, in the entire New Testament from - in the life of Christ He did that and, of course, in Matthew 10, He says, “I give you power over disease and power to cast out demons.”
But apart from the apostles, that was never done. There’s never an occasion in the epistles of Paul where he says to people in the church, go around casting demons out. If somebody’s sick, cast demons out of them. If somebody’s anxious, cast demons out of him. Somebody’s nose runs, cast demons out of him. So I believe that all of our spiritual warfare is bound up in Ephesians 6, where you have the armor of God. You put on the armor of God and you resist the devil and we’re wrestling with principalities and powers and so forth.
But the answer to that comes in spiritual readiness, in holiness, in virtue, and obedience and all that kind of thing. But that is a preoccupation of certain sort of far-out Charismatics - in fact, more than we probably like to admit. And the fallacy of it is, one, that everything is the result of a demon. Now, you read Galatians 5 and you don’t see that, “But the works of the flesh are these” and it lists all the things that are the works of the flesh. Can he cast out the flesh? Not hardly. So that’s ridiculous, to reduce everything to that kind of a simple thing.
He no doubt is a victim of bad teaching, like so many people are, and may mean well. But he may get himself into a situation that will be spiritually very dangerous if he thinks he can confront demons on their level and tell them what to do. He may wind up having more problems with him - with them than the people he’s trying to help. But it’s not an uncommon thing.
QUESTION: Everything seems to be an attack. Anything that happens, like a trial or something, seems to be an attack.
JOHN: The second point I want to make is there is a certain sense of irresponsibility built into that view, which says, “I’m not really responsible for the problems in my life, demons are.” And that is not - that’s not where God lays the responsibility. I have no fear of being possessed of a demon. I have no fear of being overrun by demons. I really believe in my heart, and you, if you think about it, would believe it, too, because of the nature of the ministry God’s given us, that if the demons could take over my life, they would. Do you believe that?
JOHN: I believe it. I believe if the demons could take my life, they would. I remember when this girl kicked me until my shins bled and this voice kept screaming out of her, “Get him out of here - not him - not him - anybody but him.” Screaming at me. So I know the demons know whose side I’m on. And if they could take over, they would. I know they would. They’d do the same with anybody who is in a position of spiritual leadership. They want to stop the kingdom. But I don’t have any fear of that.
What I fear in my life is not demon invasion, what I fear is that I would be disobedient and sinful. So my objective is not to run around looking for demons that I can send to the pit, my responsibility is to look at my own life and be sure I’m obedient to God. And to always believe that everything that goes wrong is an attack of the devil, in a sense, is irresponsible and it’s unwise because you’re really not looking where the real issue is, so there’s a vulnerability there.
But, you know, this is an illustration, typical illustration of the absolutely disastrous plethora of terrible teaching that exists in the name of Christianity. If there’s any one thing that literally drives me right up the proverbial wall, it is the junk that I hear being taught. And I just - it’s frightening to me and I don’t know how the Lord can allow it but it - so much of it.
And, you know, the Christian radio, we can all say we’re thankful for Christian radio, but Christian radio has given a platform to the biggest pile of baloney that’s imaginable. I mean I listened to a fellow - and he may love the Lord, I don’t know - but I was listening to a guy this morning who comes on before I do on KBRITE. I could not believe what he was passing off as biblical scholarship. It was absolutely irresponsible. He made one statement, for example, he said, “I want to refer to the book of John, which, of course, does not really major on the miraculous.” That is an absolutely inane statement.
The Gospel of John, the whole thing is a record of series of miracles. But this - the guy doesn’t even know and he’s passed off as an expert. He teaches a course in how to heal at Fuller Seminary. So I’m appalled at this and it’s a terrible burden on my heart that - I don’t know, sometimes I wish they’d wipe out all Christian radio. I mean that would send us away, too. Of course, my real wish is that they’d just wipe out some of it, you know, not all of it.
But it’s really tragic. And, you know, we see it in our radio ministry, tape ministry, because of the tremendous amount of mail we get from people asking questions - so many confused people. And you know. How many of you people have come out of a background of confusion where you didn’t understand the Word of God? Right - well, I mean a lot of - just out of curiosity, how many of you came out of that kind of a background where you were taught wrong the things of God? The devil knows what he’s doing.
He’s not attacking Christianity, he’s joining it. I mean that’s the subtly of it. He disguises himself as an angel of light.
So anyway, I didn’t mean to preach at you, you’re a nice girl.
QUESTION: Thanks. Can I have two points clarified, then? Christians can’t be - can’t be possessed by demons.
JOHN: Well, I don’t know - the word “possessed” is - let’s put it this way.
QUESTION: Are controlled?
JOHN: Demons could get inside Christians and do a lot of damage because in Acts 5, Peter said to Ananias, “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?” Satan himself filled the heart of Ananias, who was a Christian. I don’t like to use the word “possessed” because that speaks of ownership, and we were bought with a price and we belong to Christ. But demons don’t have to stop outside our ear. They can - somehow they can be very active, we wrestle, that’s hand-to-hand combat with principalities and powers, Ephesians 6:12 says. So I don’t know what you mean by “possessed.”
I think demons can get in Christians and mess them up if they give them place, if they give them opportunity for that. But I think the solution to that is not exorcism; the solution to that is obedience, confession of sin. I’ve said to people, “Which is worse, to be - to have a demon fouling up your life or to be disobedient?” People will always say, “Oh, to have a demon.” I say, “No, it’s the same thing because the solution is the same. Just confess your sin, turn from it and walk as you ought to walk.”
So it’s a hard question to answer because I don’t want to assume - people say, “Well, you can’t have the Holy Spirit and a demon in the same place.” Well, you could have the Holy Spirit and sin in the same place, right? So let’s not use the word “possess” because that speaks of ownership and we belong to Christ. And that, we don’t want to forget. But let’s say that demons can be very, very hard on Christians if they give place to them by sin.
QUESTION: And we can’t - in today’s age, we don’t exorcise demons out of people. Is that what you’re saying?
JOHN: I don’t think there are any formulas to do that. And that’s what exorcism was, using formulas, saying certain words. Secondly, I don’t think we can in an apostolic, miraculous way command demons out of other people. I don’t think we can do that. Jesus could because He literally could cleanse a person of their devils, and He passed that on to His apostles, but I don’t think it went past that. Signs of an apostle were those. Signs of an apostle were miracles, healings, and mighty deeds, 2 Corinthians 11:11. Okay?
QUESTION: Thank you very much.
JOHN: Good. Yes?
QUESTION: Hi, John. My name is Gary. And I was wondering if you could help me with two verses I’ve been having a problem with exegesis on. It’d be Acts 9:7 and Acts chapter 22, verse 9.
JOHN: Well, I’ll try. Acts 9 -
QUESTION: Seven and 22:9. It’s Saul when he’s on the road to Damascus.
JOHN: Right, and the man who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no man?
QUESTION: Right. And then 22:9.
QUESTION: Where it says - 22:9, “And they that were with me saw indeed the light and were afraid, but they heard not the voice of Him that spake to me.”
JOHN: Sure. In Acts 9:7, it says they heard the voice; in Acts 22, it says they didn’t hear the voice. And what you have to understand putting those two together - I remember when I went through the book of Acts - is they heard the voice but they didn’t hear what the voice said. In other words, they heard, if you will, an uncertain sound. They heard a voice but couldn’t articulate what the voice said.
QUESTION: In the original language, is it a different word for -
QUESTION: It’s not? It’s the same?
JOHN: No, but the intent of it is to say that they heard the voice without hearing what the voice said. So in one place, you could say they heard the voice; in another, you could say they heard not the voice of God in the sense of having heard what He said. Okay?
QUESTION: Yeah, could I ask one more?
QUESTION: More like a statement. Is it safe to say when you’re witnessing to people - they’ll assert that all religions are the same. Is it safe to say that Christianity is not a religion, that religion is man trying to make himself presentable to God through his own means and his own actions. Christianity is a relationship with God, having no confidence in the flesh and putting all of your faith, hope, and trust in Jesus Christ, who was God in human flesh?
JOHN: Sounds good to me.
QUESTION: So that would - I mean -
JOHN: Sure. I don’t like to use the word “religion” for Christianity because I think that washes it off with everything else.
QUESTION: And one more thing. I’d just like to say, when I went to New York, I took your tapes back, “Salvation: Why You Can’t Lose It,” and it’s probably the biggest blessing my family has had in about 20 years, so thank you very much.
JOHN: You’re welcome. Thank you. Yes?
QUESTION: Hi, John, my name is Christine, and I was wondering what your opinion was on the sovereignty of God concerning picking up hitchhikers or keeping a gun in your house. Do you believe that you need to take a step out in faith, taking risks like that?
JOHN: Yeah, I think - that’s interesting. I thought you were going to ask me some deep theological question about the sovereignty of God.
QUESTION: This is my husband’s question.
JOHN: Picking up hitchhikers. I think - I think the sovereignty of God - I believe in the sovereignty of God, right? But I don’t lay in the freeway and say, “Oh, God, I know you’re sovereign.” I think God has given us, in His sovereignty, the sense to do things that are wise and intelligent and He gives us, I think, direction by the Spirit. I have picked up hitchhikers, but I’m in a different position than you are.
QUESTION: This isn’t - I don’t pick up hitchhikers.
JOHN: Oh no, no, I’m just saying in general, I’m trying to make - the point is that they’re might be a time and a place in a person to pick up a hitchhiker under certain circumstances. There might be a time and a place for a person not to do that under other circumstances. One great consideration is whether you’re a somewhat large man or a somewhat vulnerable woman. So I know what you’re saying because I have many times felt guilty driving past a hitchhiker and wondered if God hadn’t wanted me to take that person somewhere so that I could witness to them.
I mean I feel that way every time I go by a guy on the freeway changing a flat, but I’m by him before I knew what was going on. And then my wife always says to me, “You know, if you were spiritual, you’d have stopped and told that guy the gospel.” I’m saying, “But - but I” - so - not really, but anyway, I know what you’re saying. I think - I really don’t think we need to feel guilty about that. I think we need to use great discretion and wisdom in regard to who we pick up.
And I think we need to realize that God will lead us to the people that He wants us to communicate the gospel to. And it doesn’t have to be something that we instantaneously grab in a sort of a furious moment and wonder if we failed God because that moment never came to fruition.
So I do believe that that you need to use your own sense and your own discretion and be cautious about that. If God wants to use you, I believe He’ll make it possible and you don’t need to feel guilty for that.
In regard to a gun, I can only tell you that personally, I think that’s a decision you have to make yourself. Nothing in the Bible indicates that you should or you should not defend yourself with a certain weapon. I mean, obviously, you have every right to self-defense. If some man comes to attack you, and I know everybody sort of - is sort of nervous about that because of the stalker, the guy that’s going around killing all these people - and rightly so. You know, have the sense to lock your doors and do all that.
But I can only tell you that there was a guy at our house one time and he was trying to kidnap Melinda, and he was an escaped mental patient. And he knew about the church and all this stuff and all these various things. And so I was - I warned the family about him. They put him in the mental institution and he escaped. And the mental institution people had the foresight to call me at the church because they knew he had this aberration toward me and my family. And he may well have been - back to Wendy’s question - he well may have been demonic, he may have been an agent of the enemy.
But anyway, so they called and they said, “We fear he’ll go to your house,” because he knew where we lived, before we moved. And so I quickly called home, and at the very time I called home, the doorbell had rung and Melinda was on her way to the door to open the door and it was him and he had a big butcher knife. So I told Patricia as fast as I could, she ran and kept the door locked, and they got the police, and they finally got him and put him back in the institution and so forth.
At another occasion, he came to my house in the middle of the night, and it was about 4 o’clock in the morning, and he threatened - he was screaming and the kids, of course, were frightened, they were younger. And so I went downstairs and he said, “I’m going to come through this window and I’m going to kill you.” And the only thing I had was a baseball bat.
Now, I played a lot of baseball and I can hit the ball pretty hard. So I just simply said to him, “You come through the door and you’re going to find your head in Encino.” I mean that’s exactly what I said, which wasn’t a bad line when you’re under pressure, right? And I would have - I would have done that. I mean - self-defense and the defense of my own family, I think, is a reasonable, rational thing. So I don’t think I’m - I mean I’m willing to die for the gospel, but I’m not going to lay down for a maniac.
So I do think that, you know, you have to make the decision yourself as to how you defend yourself.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: My name’s Robert, and my question is on Romans chapter 6, verses 3 through 4. Could you explain how that fits into the whole picture of the gospel? I’m quite familiar with the deity of Christ and the trinity and the bodily resurrection and 1 Corinthians chapter 15, but how does that - what is it when you accept Christ into your heart and how is that transferred, and could you kind of go over the gospel and explain this?
JOHN: Sure. First of all, we want to see what the verse says. “Don’t you know that as many of us as were baptized” or literally, a better way to say it, “immersed into Christ.” Now, we talk about immersed in ways that don’t refer to water. We say a guy was immersed in his studies, right? Or he was immersed in his music. And that’s the idea here. So don’t we know that as many of us as were immersed into Jesus Christ - now, there’s a new term in the book of Romans for what it means to be a Christian. It means to be literally immersed into Christ.
First Corinthians 6:17 says, “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” Right? Galatians 2:20 says, “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless, I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me. And the life which I live I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” So I don’t live any longer. Christ lives in me and I live in Him. In Philippians, Paul over and over again says that we are in Christ. So there is a sense in which, when you become a Christian, you are immersed into Jesus Christ. You are placed into Jesus Christ.
Now, what does that mean? Verse 4 explains it. “We are buried with Him through that immersion into death, and as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” So when you received Christ, at that moment, a divine miracle occurred by which you were immersed into Christ.
In that immersing into Christ - again, a divine miracle - you were literally placed on the cross so that somehow in God’s plan and God’s purpose and God’s mind, you were placed on the cross with Christ, you died with Christ, you literally were buried with Christ, and when He rose from the grave, you rose from the grave also. That meant - the wages of sin is what? Is death. That meant you died. So you paid in Christ the wages of sin already. That’s why you’ll never die again.
That’s why the law has no hold over you. And that’s what he goes on in the rest of the chapter to explain. That’s why no judgment will ever come. You’ve been judged, you’ve died, you’ve paid the penalty. “It is appointed unto men” - what? - “once to die.” You did it. You died in Christ.
So the wonderful truth of the gospel, as it’s indicated in Romans 6:3 and 4, is that by faith in Christ, you are immersed into Christ, you literally die in Christ, you walk - you rise in Christ, and then you walk in Christ. So that the life which you now live is not your own, but you live by the faith of the Son of God who loved you and gave Himself for you. Therefore, you can say at the beginning of that verse, “I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless” - what? - “I live, yet it’s not I, it’s Christ that lives in me.” Okay? Good. Good question. Yes, honey?
QUESTION: Hello, John. My name is Diane. And I have a question for you because my friend and I, we were talking about how God got into the universe to create all of us. And we’re confused.
JOHN: You want to know how God got into the universe to create all of us. Let me tell you something. He didn’t get into the universe. There was no universe. Now, listen carefully. God always was. He never started, He always was. Do you understand that?
JOHN: That’s it. He always was. And then one day, He created the universe, so He was in existence before He created the universe. He was never born. He never had a beginning. He never had a start because He always was. And He always was and He always will be. That’s what we mean when we say God is eternal. He never started and He never ends.
Now, we understand that but we don’t understand that because for us, we only understand things that have a beginning and an ending, so it’s hard to understand somebody who always was and never had a beginning, but that’s the way it is with God. So the God who always was one day created a universe, and then once He created it, it was easy for Him to come in and make you and me and everything else. How’s that?
JOHN: Good, Diane, thank you. The easy questions kids always come up with, you know. Where did God come from and things like that. It’s great.
QUESTION: My name’s Julia. Before I started coming to this church, about a year and a half ago, I was in a play. One of the guys in the play was practicing black magic, and he told me at the time that he was trying to get me to be involved in some kind of ceremony and ritual that he was going to do because - remember when the planets all aligned, he said that a force was going to be released into the universe that hadn’t been released in a millennium. And I’m like, okay.
But he said something to me that I have not been able to settle in my mind and that was that in the sixteenth century, they held a council of the churches of that time, the Christian churches, and there was a woman pope, okay? Now, to my knowledge, I have never heard that there has been a woman pope. But he said that under the - this pope, this woman pope, they - there were different doctrines in Christianity being taught - or within the Catholic Church, rather. And they decided what was going to be taught and what was not going to be taught.
And everything that they decided that was not going to be taught, they burned the documents that they had at that time and they destroyed them. So that way, there could never be any confusion and there would never be any questions about, you know, what was being taught. Now, I understood that to mean that the satanic church must have had a woman pope in the sixteenth century who was in control of what was being taught in the churches. I don’t know if that is true or not, I have never - ran across anything in studying churches or whatever, but have you ever heard of anything like that?
JOHN: No, I’ve never heard of a woman pope, that would be the absolute -
QUESTION: I know.
JOHN: - contradiction of everything Catholicism has ever stood for. I mean I know there was a time when there were three popes at the same time. But that was political. And I know there were some popes who were followed on the throne of the papacy by their own sons, which is a rather severe problem for a pope.
QUESTION: Yeah, I guess so.
JOHN: So there have been some situations like that. But there’s never been a woman pope, to my knowledge. It sounds to me like this guy is just shooting from the hip and really doesn’t have a lot of right information.
QUESTION: Well, that’s - yeah, I kind of -
JOHN: And maybe you’re right, maybe it wasn’t bad thinking to realize that this guy may be talking about a whole different church, the church that’s run by -
QUESTION: Yeah, that’s what I felt, and so I was just wondering if you had any knowledge at all about that.
JOHN: No, I don’t. Thank you, Julie.
We only have a few minutes, so I’ll tell you what. If you can ask the questions real fast, we’ll go right through these questions as quickly as we can and no more people get up, okay? I got to go speak at the college in 20 minutes.
QUESTION: My name is Max, and I’m a Hebrew Christian, right? And my Dad doesn’t want me to come to church or anything, okay? And - had to write it down because I didn’t know what to say, hold on a second.
JOHN: That’s all right.
QUESTION: I promised him that I wouldn’t go while living at, you know, I’m living at our house because I’m going to try to move out. But first I have to find a roommate. Okay, and I promised him that I wouldn’t go and this guy over there practically dragged me in so -
JOHN: He’ll do that if you let him.
QUESTION: The problem is that I think that I’ve broken a promise, right? And isn’t that something wrong? I mean when I go home tonight, he’s going to ask me, “Did you attend the services?” Because I said for right now -
JOHN: Let me give you a perspective on that, okay?
JOHN: I think sometimes we make foolish promises. I think -
QUESTION: I know, I know.
JOHN: Yeah. I think sometimes we make promises to men that we shouldn’t make because we have a higher vow to God. And I would just remind you of Matthew chapter 10, where it says in verse 35, “I am come to set a man at variance against his father.”
QUESTION: Yeah, I know that one.
JOHN: “And the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s foe shall be they of his own household. He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross” - that means a willingness to die - “and follow after me is not worthy of me. But he that finds his life shall lose it and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it.”
I think if I were in your situation, what you need to do is go to your father, tell him that you want to be a son of honesty and integrity, you want to keep your word but you have a higher calling from God, you must be faithful to what Christ has done in your life. You don’t want to be unfaithful to your word but you feel that God has laid it on your heart that you must be faithful and obedient to Him.
Share with him even, if you want, that Scripture, but I think you must obey the Lord. But you must be gracious, loving and anxious to show your father that you want to maintain your integrity and that the promise you made, you didn’t understand at the time, was a violation of the things you believe and you’ve got to stand for what you believe.
QUESTION: Well, I kind of did that. But the problem is is that, see, I said that, “All right, you don’t want me to go to church at all while I’m living here, so I’ll just - just give me about a month or so so I can find some place to move out.” Right? And I don’t want to make some sort of big scene. Wouldn’t that be - and, you know, but lack of integrity?
JOHN: I wouldn’t worry about it. I think you’re compelled by something inside of you and that’s the working of the Spirit of God to be with the people of God and the Word of God. I think it’s a very normal thing for you to want to be here. I wouldn’t worry about it, I’d just say, “Hey, forgive me for that, but I have a compelling that the Lord has put in my heart.” Try to maintain the relationship as good as you can, and if you need to move out, move out.
QUESTION: Yeah, but what should I do when I go home tonight? Because I don’t know what he’ll do.
JOHN: Just sit down and share with him honestly.
QUESTION: Well, he’s probably going to kick me out of the house or something like that. I don’t know what he’d do.
JOHN: Well, if he kicks you out of the house -
QUESTION: Should I sleep on the street, should I do that?
JOHN: No, you shouldn’t.
QUESTION: I mean I’m not kidding, he might do that. I don’t know what he’d do - because he’s really big on, you know, doing what he says.
JOHN: Tell you what. If - let’s see, we can always help you with that, you know.
JOHN: We’ll get you a place to stay.
MALE VOICE: [Inaudible comment]
JOHN: Do you? Can you help him out if he needs a place to stay? All right. That’s good. Okay, there you go. Meet those folks out there. Get their names and phone number. If something happens, there you go.
QUESTION: All right, thank you.
JOHN: You probably even can get a breakfast out of the deal, right? Okay.
QUESTION: At work, I work with a lot of people who aren’t Christians but get very upset about the actions of some Christian leaders. I know that the issue is really whether they know the Lord, and anybody can keep them from knowing the Lord, but can you make some comment about Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority? I’m really not familiar with it at all.
JOHN: All I can say is that when you are a well-known evangelical Christian, and you get yourself mixed up with a high profile involvement in politics, you run a high risk of alienating people from your message. There’s no question about that. I was asked yesterday by a marvelous young pastor who is the only black man ever to graduate from Dallas Seminary with a Ph.D. - he’s a brilliant young man, great pastor, but as a black pastor who’s got an exploding church in Dallas, Texas, he’s under tremendous pressure to get involved on behalf of black people in political issues.
But he knows the price is so high that once he identifies himself, he’s going to alienate people because there are so many factions in political viewpoints. The reason I don’t belong to the Moral Majority is because I’m not willing to alienate all the Democrats. Well, what do I gain by that? Because politics isn’t the issue. And what happens - to be really frank with you, what happens when Jerry Falwell goes to South Africa - no matter what he intended to do and no matter whether we agree with his viewpoint - is the press takes that and he comes out as anti-black.
And so he has just alienated all those people and all those people who agree with the blacks’ struggle in South Africa. And the price is so high for that high-profile political involvement that the Christian message is lost to some people.
Now, the pattern that I want to follow is the pattern of Christ, who never got involved in a political issue - never - because the price was too high, because if you take sides with that stuff which is very volatile and within which there are many opinions, you will run the risk of making people think that Christianity is a certain political viewpoint or lobby position. And that’s the reason I don’t belong to the Moral Majority.
I can’t answer for Jerry. I know he loves the Lord and he’s got a lot of marvelous things that he’s doing. But for me, once you mix the thing with politics, you really do - you’ve got the whole thing in one bag, and people see evangelical fundamental Christianity as a right wing, anti-black viewpoint. Some people see that. And I think that price is too high to pay. Okay?
QUESTION: Thank you.
JOHN: Okay. Honey?
QUESTION: Well, I have my - there’s my friend and she comes over every Wednesday and we tell about Jesus. But she doesn’t kindly listen, and I don’t know what to do.
JOHN: So your friend comes over and you talk about Jesus but she doesn’t seem that interested? Has she ever come to church?
JOHN: Does she come to Sunday School and listen to the lessons?
QUESTION: Well, she came a few times but she goes to another church now.
JOHN: Does she? Do they talk about Jesus at the other church?
JOHN: Do they teach the Bible?
JOHN: Do you think she’s asked Jesus to come into her heart?
QUESTION: I don’t know.
JOHN: Have you ever asked her that? Why don’t you ask her that?
JOHN: Okay, you ask her that. That’s the real important issue. You ask her if she’s asked the Lord Jesus to come into her life. And if she says no, then you know what to do, to tell her to do that. And if she says yes, then you need to tell her to read her Bible and listen to the teaching and all that. But I would just love her, I would just make sure you keep her as your friend. Okay?
JOHN: And then she can see the Lord in your life, all right?
QUESTION: All right.
JOHN: That’s good. Okay, thank you, honey.
QUESTION: My name is Melissa, and I’m not sure - well, how do you know if you’re a Christian or not?
JOHN: Let me ask you a question. Do you believe Jesus Christ came into the world as God in a human body?
JOHN: Do you believe that He died on the cross for your sins?
JOHN: Do you believe that He rose from the dead on the third day?
JOHN: Do you believe that in order to go to heaven you have to love Him and have Him as your Savior?
JOHN: Have you asked Him to be your Savior?
JOHN: That’s what it means to be a Christian. Now, how do you know that? I’ll tell you how. Because that’s what it says in the Bible, right? Who wrote the Bible?
JOHN: Yeah, God did through the Holy Spirit. Can you trust what God said?
JOHN: Listen to what He said. He said, “If you believe that Jesus died and rose again, if you believe that God raised Him from the dead and you confess Him as Lord, you shall be saved.” Do you believe that?
JOHN: Then you’re a Christian. What’s the desire of your heart, honey - Melissa? What is your deepest desire in your heart?
QUESTION: To go to heaven.
JOHN: To go to heaven, okay, that’s the future. What’s the deepest desire in your heart for now, while He leaves you on the earth? What do you really want most of all in your life?
QUESTION: To have my grandma and grandpa be a Christian.
JOHN: To have grandma and grandpa be a Christian. Who do you think put that desire there? The devil?
JOHN: Who put it there?
JOHN: Who is in there putting those kind of desires there?
JOHN: Yeah, so who is in your life?
JOHN: So what are you?
QUESTION: A Christian.
JOHN: You got it. That’s what I thought. So you see, you know - you know you’re a Christian by what you believe and you know you’re a Christian by what you desire most of all in your heart. Do you understand?
JOHN: Do you like to come to church?
JOHN: Do you like to hear people teach the Bible?
JOHN: Do you like to sing Christian songs?
JOHN: Do you like to serve God?
JOHN: Sounds good. Thanks. God bless you. Okay, last but not least.
QUESTION: My name is DeLaphon and I’ll be quick. In a discussion today about not losing the security of your salvation, it mentioned that Jesus - I mean that God was immutable and my friend says, “Then how do you explain Jonah 3:10, where God relented?”
JOHN: How do you explain what passage?
QUESTION: Jonah 3:10.
JOHN: Okay. Of course, the situation here is God comes to Nineveh, and He says I’m going to destroy you, right? I’m going to wipe you out. And the whole city repents. So because the whole city repented, God said, “I’m not going to wipe you out.” God pronounces judgment all the time like that. He says, “If you keep going the way you’re going, I’m going to destroy you.” But that’s a call to change. That’s an invitation to change. That’s always the condition. The Lord says, “I’m going to destroy you, the wages of sin is death,” is that true?
JOHN: But if we respond to Jesus Christ, it isn’t true. God eliminates the judgment and gives us grace. So that’s all that’s saying. God brings judgment on Nineveh if they keep the course they’re going. But they all repented, so the Lord turned from what He was going to do and was gracious to them.
QUESTION: Thank you.
JOHN: Okay? Good. Well, we’ve had a good time tonight, haven’t we? Answering Bible questions, great.
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