AUDIENCE: Hi. I’m Edith. Sometimes when I listen to audio Bibles, the reader will sometimes say a different word than what’s actually on the page as I’m reading along. Other times, they’ll read a passage and, say, “Ezekiel or Isaiah, that’s really difficult”—and you get the impression the reader doesn’t have any idea what it means; they’re just getting the words down on tape. I was thinking, a guy like you, you know what the words mean. So I was wondering if you would ever consider recording an audio Bible of, oh I don’t know, say, the Legacy Standard Bible.
JOHN: OK, Edith, who put you up to that?
AUDIENCE: I thought about it all myself.
JOHN: I have actually considered doing that for my own edification, so that would take a while. But maybe it’s better to start sooner than later. But thank you. Thank you for the suggestion.
AUDIENCE: That would edify us, too. We need somebody who knows what it means.
JOHN: And now that we have the best translation out, maybe that’s what we ought to do—is record the Legacy Standard Bible. That would be wonderful.
AUDIENCE: Amen to that.
JOHN: I’ll squeeze that in somewhere in my spare time. Wonderful. Thank you, Edith; that was a great question.
OK, Tom. Yes?
AUDIENCE: Hi, my name is Ben. I have a question regarding—
JOHN: You name is what?
AUDIENCE: My name is Ben, or Benjamin.
JOHN: Hi, Ben.
AUDIENCE: Yes. I have a question regarding 1 Corinthians 7. So I’d noticed that many of my brothers and I, all of us meet the 1 Corinthians 7 prerequisite. We’re wrestling with God in searching out a woman to potentially be a helpmate. I’ve noticed in myself, and I’ve heard brothers express this paradox of sorts: that we recognize the fact that we have romanticized romance, and have at times set up this unknown woman as an idol, discontent with what God has given us. But we also know that a single man with conscious sexual feelings is not good alone, and that God has specifically created us to have a wife.
So my question is, How do you reconcile these two thoughts in terms of timing? And if we spend time devoting ourselves to ministry and to God, making sure our motives are pure in asking a girl out, it would seem that we are disobeying the apostle’s command in 1 Corinthians 7. So I’d love to hear your thoughts.
JOHN: Well, you might be eager to obey the command but can’t find anybody who’s willing to marry you; so there’s always that reality.
Yeah, this is a really important question, Ben, because marriage is the grace of life. Marriage is the most fulfilling relationship in life on every possible front. And this particular culture we live in today has postponed that more and more. It seems like every year the average marriage age gets older and older and older and older; and this puts tremendous pressure on young people to maintain purity when they have reached the age where they would desire to be married and desire to start a family. So all I can do is to exhort Christian people not to get caught up in what you said, not to get caught up in the perfections that this society drags in front of you, which are not related to reality.
I think you have to look at yourself—and this may help—you have to look at yourself in the way that Paul described marriage in Ephesians 5. He basically says that a husband is like a savior to his wife. That’s essentially what it says. And I think the burden really lies with men to see themselves as those who rescue women from loneliness, who rescue women from being in an unfulfilled—being in a place where they aren’t protected, they aren’t provided for, they aren’t cared for, they aren’t loved, they aren’t given the opportunity to have children. So from what I would experience in our society, it’s the men that have to step up. And I honestly do not know what in the world they are waiting for. I have threatened many times to line up all the single women on one side, all the single men on the other side, and assign you a wife.
But instead of looking for someone who is some kind of trophy, you need to look to someone who loves Christ, that you can be a savior to that person and a protector and a provider and a lover, and be what Christ is to His church—because that’s the picture. And I’d strongly exhort young men to find a wife, because in that finding is God’s greatest gift in this world. And it allows you to raise up children who know and love the Lord; that’s the purpose of marriage: to procreate. And to do so in Christ is the highest calling in life.
I want to do all I can to encourage the men to step up. And I know there have been enough bad marriages in our society that there’s a certain amount of fear and trepidation. But you have to look at marriage as the way the Lord looks at His church. He knows the bride has problems, but He is her redeemer, He is her rescuer. And I think if you can find a godly woman, that reward is the greatest reward that life can offer. Just don’t let the world define what that woman should be. OK? Really good question.
AUDIENCE: Hi, Pastor John. My name’s Gergin.
JOHN: Hi, Gergin.
AUDIENCE: I have a question regarding the call to preaching. I was wondering how you would help someone recognize and understand whether they’re called to preach.
JOHN: Well I think the bottom line with being called to preach is, first of all, from the desire of your heart. We read in Paul’s letter to Timothy, “If a man desires the office of an overseer,” or a pastor, “he desires a noble thing.” That indicates to us that it comes from the heart. I’ve often said to people, if you can do anything else and be content you probably should do that. But if you’re literally driven by the desire to serve the Lord in pastoral ministry and preaching and teaching His Word, that desire, given the fact that you’re honoring the Lord with your life, is probably the expression of God’s will.
You know the Old Testament says, “If you delight in the Lord, He’ll give you the desire of your heart”—which is not that He’ll meet your desire, but He’ll plant His there. How else can I know what to do? The Lord is not going to speak to me out of heaven. I’m not going to have some miraculous supernatural intervention. How do I know what God wants me to do? It’s driven by a God-given desire in the life of one who is honoring Him. So it starts with that desire, and it is confirmed then by the church, by the people who know you and minister alongside of you.
If you say, “I have the gift of preaching; I’m called to preach,” and everybody who’s heard you says, “No, you’re not,” there might be some reason to check again. But where you have this strong desire, and it’s really overwhelming any other ambition, and there’s affirmation around you that you exhibit the gifts to do that, go down that path. And the Lord will continue to confirm that, or He’ll redirect you. OK?
But I think you have to just follow that desire of your heart. And that desire can be so strong that even if you’re doing something else, there will be a dissatisfaction in that. It ought to be a desire that doesn’t easily go away. OK? Good question.
AUDIENCE: Hi, my name is Alta.
AUDIENCE: My question is, if God doesn’t like sin, why did He create the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?
JOHN: That is very important to ask that. Now you have to listen carefully because this is an important answer. So what you’re saying is, if God hates sin, why did He allow something that could cause sin to happen? The answer is because the most important thing in the entire universe is the glory of God.
And listen, if there were no sin, there would be no forgiveness; and God wants to display His forgiveness. He wants to display His mercy. He wants to display His kindness. He wants to display His grace. He wants to show that He is a saving God. He wants to display His holiness, and He wants to display His holiness to the degree that He wants to display His right to judge evil. How can God do all of that if evil doesn’t exist?
So there’s a sense in which God has to allow evil in the world in order to put His glory on display in its fullest sense. Do you understand that? Good.
Everything in the end is for the glory of God. And you asked the question, Why does God allow evil? For His glory, so that He can put His glory on display—not only to us, but to the holy angels as well. Great question.
AUDIENCE: Good evening, John. My name is Mark Cunningham.
JOHN: Hi, Mark.
AUDIENCE: My question has to do with Hebrews 6. In your fifty years—or fifty-two, almost fifty-two years, correct—of being a pastor, have you ever seen anyone, after exhibiting the Hebrew 6 lifestyle, come to repentance?
JOHN: Well I think the point of Hebrews 6 is to say that won’t happen. What you’re talking about is the fact—and I’m looking at Hebrews 6. Just listen to this: “In the case of those who have once been enlightened”—that’s verse 4. In other words, you have the full knowledge of the gospel. You “have tasted of the heavenly gift,” you’ve gotten a taste of salvation, you “have been made partaker of the Holy Spirit”—that is, you’ve even been exposed to the power of the Holy Spirit. Now this would have been true for all the people alive when Jesus was on the earth. He taught them so that they were enlightened. He was the ultimate heavenly gift, and they tasted of His teaching and His life, and they were made partakers of the Holy Spirit in the sense that everything He did, He did by the power of the Holy Spirit. And so even when He did a miracle or even when He fed the multitudes, they were partaking of the Holy Spirit.
And then in verse 5 it says, “And have tasted the good word of God”—in other words, you have even been exposed to divine revelation in the gospel, and even tasted “the powers of the age to come.” That is, you have been exposed to supernatural power that will be part of the age to come. The picture here is of someone who has a full revelation. There’s nothing left out. You have been enlightened in your mind. You have literally had an experience of the heavenly gift of salvation; maybe it’s been somebody else’s life transformed before you. You have been a partaker of the Holy Spirit in that the goodness of God has spilled over on you. You have sat under the true teaching of the Word of God, and you have seen God’s power demonstrated before your very eyes. If you have had that complete exposure, the writer of Hebrews says, “and then have fallen away”—in other words, you turned your back—“it is impossible to renew them again to repentance.” So if it’s impossible, it’s not going to happen. This puts people who have had full exposure to the gospel in a very dangerous position if they don’t believe.
The Bible is saying if you reject with full revelation—and he used all kinds of phrases to describe that—if you reject the gospel with full revelation, what else can you have? Where do you go from there? If with that full revelation you fall back from faith in Christ, it’s impossible to renew you again to repentance. In fact you are guilty of crucifying the Son of God and putting Him to an open shame.
Verse 9 he says, “But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation.” So saved people don’t do that; they do the better thing: the things that accompany salvation. So that is really a very, very classical definition of an apostate.
A lot of unbelievers in the world reject Christ without full revelation, without the full knowledge. We know that. And we also know that in eternity, though all unbelievers will be punished, the greatest punishment is reserved for those who rejected the greatest revelation, or the most full exposure to the truth. So this is an apostate. This is someone who doesn’t ever come to Christ. No one is in more grave danger than when they have the full revelation of the truth concerning Christ and they turn away from it. OK?
AUDIENCE: Thank you, Pastor, for your clarity.
JOHN: You’re welcome; you’re welcome.
AUDIENCE: Good evening, Pastor John. My name is Bill.
JOHN: Hi, Bill.
AUDIENCE: Thank you for the sermon this morning; that was very helpful.
JOHN: Oh, you’re welcome.
AUDIENCE: On contentment, yeah.
I was confronted with something four days ago concerning Grace Community Church. A fellow that I’ve known for twenty years, not a professing Christian, but he tells me he has a strong—he’s always told me he has a strong prayer life.
JOHN: Wonder who he’s talking to.
AUDIENCE: So first words out of his mouth, he said that, “We are concerned about you.” So there’s more than one, that I know.
JOHN: About you or me?
AUDIENCE: About me.
JOHN: Oh, about you.
AUDIENCE: Yeah, he’s concerned about me. And I said, “Really?” and he said, “Yeah.” He said, “We know you go to Grace Community Church, and you do not wear a mask.” And they basically told me that they’re—all of a sudden, all of a sudden after just a couple years of COVID, all of a sudden they’re telling me that. And whoever else there was involved—because he said, “We.” You know, “We are concerned.”
So they’re in fear about being around me. One of the guys, he said he wanted to know—to tell me that he won’t even come over to my house now all of a sudden because of that. But it was shocking to me, and I didn’t know how to respond to that or how to answer that in a proper way . . .
JOHN: Well let me help you with that, Bill.
AUDIENCE: That’s what I’m hoping.
JOHN: Hebrews—we’re talking about Hebrews, but Hebrews chapter 2 says the devil holds men captive to the fear of death all their life long. If you tell people they can die from something, you terrify them if they have no hope. If they don’t know what death means or where they’re going, that is the worst possible thing that they can think of. That is why death is called the king of terrors. And you can take something, like a virus that will be fatal to point one percent of a population—ninety-nine point nine percent will survive it—and you can terrify that entire population by just saying, “It could kill you,” because the fear of death is a gripping fear in the life of every person; and the devil holds them in bondage to that fear. And it is the fear of death—you have to understand, this is how people control other people. The threat of death is the highest way to exercise control over someone. And with the current core of world leaders and government leaders wanting to take control of everyone, they have chosen the most powerful thing they can choose; and that’s fear, and that’s fear.
So I think if I were talking to a friend like that, I would say, “Would you like to be delivered from that fear? Would you want to have absolutely no fear of death? Would you like to welcome death as a friend? Would you like to be able to say, ‘For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain’? Would you live to live without any fear of death, rather anticipating it for what lies beyond in the glories of heaven?”
I would just go from there to the gospel. He’s already set up for that. You’re explain something that’s happening to all of us. I was walking into See’s Candies store to buy some candy for Patricia; and I came out of the store, and I didn’t have a mask on, and there was a lady probably nearly my age or close, and she’s ten feet away from me. And she yelled at me, “Sir, what are you”—I’m bringing See’s candy to my wife; this is a mission of mercy—and she yells at me and says, “Where’s your mask?” And I realized this poor lady is terrified. She’s afraid of death.
This may be the best time in all our lives to confront people with the fact that Christ removes that fear, right? I mean, that’s the message. I can’t think of a better setup. Look we’re all trying to figure out this COVID, but I had an article I was going to just mention, so you’d allow me to bring it up.
This just came out of a combination of reports; and I’ve followed these now for all this last year and a half. This is from the CDC, the White House COVID team, and some important epidemiologists at Harvard; and here is the conclusion—and this is this week. “There is no discernable relationship between the percentage of population vaccinated and new COVID cases.” Did you hear that? “There is no relationship between the percentage of people vaccinated and new COVID cases.”
Goes on to say, “The lack of meaningful association between percentage population fully vaccinated and new COVID cases is demonstrated by many, many studies.” This is a quote: “There is no significant signaling of COVID-19 cases decreasing with higher percentage of population fully vaccinated.” What is that? They’re making everybody be vaccinated, and it’s nothing to do with the cases of COVID.
A deeper dive—the article says, shows, that the most vaccinated countries have the highest transmission, according to the CDC. The lowest rate-of-vaccinated countries have the lowest rate of transmission. It is completely the opposite of what you’re being told. So I’m not arguing for or against vaccination; that’s something you can decide for yourself. But this is about trying to make people afraid.
I’ll say this, and I’m speaking as one who has read everything I can get my hands on for the last year and a half. Nothing stops COVID, nothing—not masks, not double masks, not triple masks, not social distancing. Nothing stops COVID. It’s like trying to keep flies out of your yard with a chain-link fence. This is a microscopic virus. Nothing stops COVID; it goes where it wants to go. And it’s very dangerous to people who have other illnesses, as we know.
But the attempt now to vaccinate five-year-olds—when there is an inverse correlation between vaccination and incidence of COVID, the very opposite of what they’re saying—is beyond imagination. So what all of this demonstrates is that people can be manipulated so easily if you tell them they might die. And we’re here to say, first of all, you’re not likely to die from COVID. But the death rate—I want to remind you what the death rate is: one per person. Yeah. Might not be COVID, but you’ll have one death. The important thing is that you not have two—the second death, right?
We need to be joyful. We need to be content. We need to be loving, kind, gracious. And we also need to tell people that the Lord gives salvation that takes out the fear of death, right? OK? Thanks, Bill.
AUDIENCE: Hi, Pastor John. My name is Val, and here’s a little context to my question: So the church that my parents go to dissolved their Spanish ministry recently, and the reasoning is that the church is not headed in that direction—whatever that is supposed to mean. But there is a clear need for this church to have a Spanish ministry; they’re located in Southern California. And on top of that, their finances—they’ve been financially blessed for very—and have the space for it. So my question is, How much of a priority for a church to have a Spanish ministry? And are there any sacrifices that a church should make for this to be a priority?
JOHN: How much of a priority is it for a church to have a Spanish ministry? You know, I can’t believe I’m not in the chapel and somebody’s up here speaking Spanish to this congregation. Not to have a Spanish ministry would be to fail to fulfill the Great Commission. I don’t think that’s something you decide to do. It’s amazing to me how churches would be willing to send money somewhere in the world, some obscure mission field, but not realize that they have a massive mission field right in their own area.
This church, I mean look around. Come to the Sunday evening when we read the new members, if you don’t think this isn’t the United Nations. And that’s the church, right? That’s how it’s supposed to be. So it isn’t just that you have a Spanish ministry, it is that you reach the people around you, as far as you can reach.
I don’t know how you could justify indifference. That’s not about having enough money to do anything, that’s about fulfilling the Great Commission, starting in your Jerusalem, and then Judea, and then the ends of the earth. OK?
AUDIENCE: Thank you.
JOHN: Thank you.
AUDIENCE: My name’s Neil.
AUDIENCE: We were thrilled to see you here this morning. You left the church—God’s church—in great hands whilst you were away. My question is provoked by men who approached me in Men of the Word and asked me to support them in requesting medical exemption, religious exemption. And I thought it would be nice to hear from you directly about religious exemption for COVID being forced upon them.
AUDIENCE: Thank you.
JOHN: Thank you, Neil; a very, very good question. We’ve had a lot of that question being offered. And so, just so you all know, the elders have put together a statement, and Grace Community Church is willing to back you up and stand behind you if that’s your conviction. And you can get a copy of that statement by just coming by the church office; and basically you can use it any way you would like to use it. Some companies are accepting that, some are not.
I think there’s a biblical basis for that. One of the things that distresses people no end is the experimental part of vaccines using fetal tissue, aborted babies. That in itself is enough to want to exempt yourself from it. But also, you are the protector of your own body, which is the Lord’s, right? And you don’t want to give up your body to anything that might do harm to it.
We counsel people against drugs, alcohol, anything that can harm your body. And there is clear confusion, certainly on vaccines, that there can be harm to the body. There’s ample evidence of that. There’s a record of that in the VAERS counting system in our country, that may be only one-tenth of reality. So again, you have the responsibility before God not to let anything take over your body, which is a vessel for His glory and His honor.
At the same time, we are all finding certain medications useful, and even necessary; and there are side effects to many of those things, although there have never been side effects to any other vaccine, or to all other vaccines combined, to equal the negative side effects to the vaccine for COVID. It far exceeds the combined damage done with all other vaccines. So you have to make that choice. It may be best for you if you’re vulnerable; if that’s your choice, fine. But if you don’t want to do that, certainly it’s viable for you to say that. I want to be sure that I don’t allow anything in my body that might in any way hamper me or harm me, and thus limit my service to the Lord. And you may all feel pretty strongly, even those of you who might have been vaccinated, about the use of fetal tissue in the experimentation.
So again, it’s a conscience issue. But we do have a very good statement, and the church provides some background for it. If you need that, you can get one from the church office. OK? Good.
AUDIENCE: Hello, Pastor MacArthur. My name is Chi, and I had a question regarding the standard of, like, church—not necessarily like church service, how it’s structured—because I’ve seen a lot of things in between church and Bible studies start to exist over COVID, like maybe group chats online. And it’ll maybe be like a hundred people or fifty people. But I know there’s things in Scripture about the roles of men and women, and, you know, these types of things. But I don’t know. I don’t know after—because I’ve heard words like parachurch, and I’m just not sure if people understand—I guess because I have friends involved, and I want to talk to them about the standard of church—even though to them it’s not church because it’s not at a church building, even though they’re all talking about the Word and having Bible studies. But yeah, I don’t know. I feel like people think there’s just—anything flies if it’s not in a building, you know.
JOHN: No, really, really good question. And it’s part of the culture of young people.
Look, Zoom church is not church. It’s not church; it’s watching TV. There’s nothing, there’s nothing about that that fulfills the biblical definition of coming together: stimulating one another to love and good works, coming together, singing, speaking to yourselves in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord, sitting under the Word of God, praying together, being led by those who preach the Word and open the Scripture.
The definition of a church is crystal clear in the New Testament; we see the picture of it. They came together on the first day of the week. They worshiped the Lord. They prayed; we know it was the apostles’ doctrine, prayer. It was fellowship, and it was the breaking of bread in the Lord’s Supper.
So the church is defined clearly, and it’s the communion of the saints, it’s fellowship, it’s partnership. And the term koinōnia means “a coming together,” “a unifying together.” It doesn’t even function unless people are mutually—as we were saying this morning—mutually using their spiritual gifts for one another, and meeting the wonderful fulfillment of all the one anothers.
How many times in the New Testament—edify one another, pray for one another, rebuke one another, build up one another. On and on, one anothers, one anothers. We’re only the church when we are together; and the church is the church when it corporately worships, when it corporately prays, when it corporately hears the preaching of the Word of God. Those are the things that define the church.
I was listening to the latest in the podcast that Austin Duncan’s been doing at the MacArthur Center, and it just reminded me from the discussions that he was having with regard to this particular church, how the church is this communion of people, this fellowship of people whose lives are all blended together in a profound expression of love and unity. And that does not happen in any kind of video environment. I don’t think it even happens in a “church” where you’re watching a video of a pastor, because it’s very important that that man’s life be exposed and visible and known to everyone.
So when you talk about parachurch, you’re talking about some arm of the church or some function of the church that aids the church. For example, Grace to You, which is a media ministry of teaching the Bible—and we do that all over the world in multiple languages, providing all kinds of books and all kinds of sermons for download—that’s parachurch in the sense that it comes alongside the church. We aren’t the church. We don’t want Grace to You to be the church. The Master’s University comes alongside the church; the Master’s Seminary comes alongside the church. Even Grace Missions International, TMAI, comes alongside churches all over the world to provide strength for them. But they’re all arms of this church.
So I think you’re in violation of the whole intent of the Lord and how He wants His people to work together if you’re not fully involved in a church under the leadership and headship of pastors to whom you have given your life to be cared for, instructed, loved, nurtured, and to whom you owe some accountability. OK?
AUDIENCE: Thank you.
JOHN: You’re welcome.
AUDIENCE: Hi, Pastor John. My name is Tom.
JOHN: Hi, Tom.
AUDIENCE: And I’ve been thinking about this question for a pretty long time. In light of Old Testament saints who walked blamelessly like Job, how were they sanctified, since they didn’t have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that New Testament believers enjoy?
JOHN: Oh, but they did. They did have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, or they wouldn’t have been able to be redeemed; they wouldn’t have been saved, they wouldn’t have been justified. “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” So he was justified by faith in God. That’s how Old Testament saints were justified, and that is always the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives life.
So you don’t have the absence of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament and the presence of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. In the New Testament you have the fullness of the Holy Spirit. In other words, there’s a greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, not as if He was not there in the Old. Nothing would happen in terms of redemption, sanctification, enabling, power, blessing, apart from the Spirit of God. And there are indications of that, you know. The psalmist says, “Don’t take Your Spirit from me,” because he knows that that would be a disaster; his whole spiritual life depends on the work of the Holy Spirit.
So the Old Testament saints knew the true God. The only thing they didn’t know was Christ, who He was; and they were pre-cross. But they were basically chosen by God for salvation, saved by the work of the Spirit, and the ratification of their salvation came when Jesus died on the cross later. So it’s only a question of degree.
And Jesus said in the upper room—He said, “The Holy Spirit has been with you; He will be in you.” So it’s the fullness. So what we hear in the New Testament is to “be filled with the Spirit.” It’s the degree to which the Spirit fills us that takes us to another level this side of the cross. OK? Good.
AUDIENCE: Hi, my name’s Andrew. Thank you for your leadership.
Three years has passed since the Dallas Statement came out, and I wanted to know—it shows, like, secular polls where CRT teaching has been rejected. Having been through the battle, I wanted to know your thoughts on the Dallas Statement in the church and the evangelicals today.
JOHN: Yeah, really good, Andrew. The Dallas Statement was a statement we put together three years ago on critical race theory. You can Google the Dallas Statement on race, and you can find the full statement. It rejects critical race theory. It rejects the philosophy of social justice. It rejects the white guilt, white privilege. It rejects all those forms of racism, and it does so necessarily from the Word of God. And it was signed by countless people.
I would say this, and I think this is borne out in testimony: Churches in particular, and schools that refuse to sign that biblical statement to stop the racism, have suffered profoundly for not doing that. And it’s not that they just didn’t sign, but they got on the wrong side of the issue. Wherever there was an effort upon the part of evangelicals to support this racial animosity and hatred—wherever there was support of that, the institutions have taken massive, massive hits.
Churches have literally driven out their congregation. Churches with multiple thousands of people are down to a few hundred. Institutions that once were thought of as faithful seminaries or Bible colleges, when they got into this, it began to suck the life out of them because they could never be woke enough. There’s no forgiveness in that system. You can’t repent enough; you’re never off the hook because they can’t let you off the hook, or they can’t keep making money at your expense.
So it’s devastated Christian churches, many churches that I know, pastored by men that I know, that I would have thought would know better, have literally taken their churches apart and left them in shambles over this issue. You cannot cultivate and propagate hate and revenge and vengeance in a church and have it have a positive effect. We’re not talking about the fact that people haven’t been mistreated; of course—a fallen world. But unleashing hate in the church and hostility in the church is not the answer.
So I would say the Dallas Statement still stands, and it’s a very important and balanced biblical statement. But those who refuse to sign that, thinking that they could maybe gain favor with those who are pumping race, have found that they haven’t gained favor anywhere. They are like the guy in the Civil War who wore the gray pants and the blue jacket and got shot by both sides. You can’t be in the middle; you want to be biblical.
Nobody is denying that there has been racism; nobody is denying that. I’ve had that in my own experience, just by identifying with people in the South. Even I was thrown in jail because of some animosity toward black people in Mississippi that I was ministering with. I understand all that.
We’re not talking about whether this is a perfect world or a fallen world; it’s a fallen world. We’re talking about whether the church is a place of love or a place where you unleash hate. And you can’t do that and survive. Nothing is gained by it. And it’s just wherever there’s an effort on the part of a church to get into this, the results are absolutely disastrous. OK? Good.
AUDIENCE: Hi, John.
AUDIENCE: Welcome back; it’s good to see you again.
JOHN: Thank you.
AUDIENCE: So you’ve had a unique place in the Christian world because you’ve pastored one church for fifty-two years. And thank you for your ministry, by the way. In your life as a pastor, what have you observed to be the biggest danger facing this church, besides the egos of California politicians, I guess?
JOHN: Politicians are no threat to this church. Any politician who thinks he can threaten the Lord Jesus Christ, who’s the head of the church, has really got delusions of grandeur. There are some who think they can. The only threats to this church are internal; they’re not external. The worse it gets outside, the stronger the church gets.
In the last year and a half, with all that’s going on on the outside, this church has just gotten stronger and stronger and stronger and stronger. We’re clearer now on what the church is; we’re clearer now on what we believe. And against the backdrop of all the chaos, the church flourishes. This is how the Lord purges the church. What I was saying to Andrew about the critical race thing, that’s a way the Lord is purging out weak churches. You get on the wrong side of that, and you’re out of the picture. So I think all the stuff on the outside that comes at the church, the Lord uses that because we need to “count it all joy when we fall into various trials, because the testing of our faith has a perfecting work,” right? When we’re weak, we’re strong; we become stronger.
So the only real threat to the church is inside. Even Satan is no threat to us. Satan is no threat to us on the outside, because he is no match for the Lord of the church. Where the church has to be careful is when it shifts its allegiance from the Lord of the church to any other lord, to any other philosophy, any other gospel, any other anything. We are so consumed with the primacy and the priority of the Lord Jesus Christ here. And as long as we are focused on Christ, the Spirit of God is changing us into His image; we have nothing to fear.
The least thing you have to fear is some group of politicians. They are the ones that should be terrified. They should be terrified. Churches need to stand up and tell them that. That’s part of the responsibility of the church. Peter said, “Judgment begins at the house of God.” That doesn’t just mean that God judges His church; that’s not the point—but rather that judgment comes from the church.
But the evangelical church is so bent on wanting the world to like the church that they do not exercise the judgment role that the church is to have in society. While politicians are threatening us, the church needs to rise up and talk to them about the real threat, the real threat. And the real threat is God. They need to fear God.
We read Psalms on Sunday morning. And how many times do we read about what God is going to do to the wicked nations, the evil nations? They’re not going to get away with anything. They are no threat to the church, unless the church abandons its submission to the Lord Jesus Christ and tries to please the world. And something like this recent issue comes along, and those churches don’t meet; and that’s a blessing.
So I think the Lord uses these things on the outside to purify the church. The only thing that threatens the church is the failure to be totally committed to Christ as head of the church—which is the reason we kept meeting, right?
I don’t fear the politicians; I have absolutely zero fear of any politician. I have zero fear of any bug, any virus, any whatever. But I fear my Lord. But it’s a reverent fear; it’s a fear of love. And the whole world can tell us not to be the church, and I’ll say, “We’re going to be the church. We’re going to be the church.” Even if the statistics were different, and more people were ill, and more people died, all the more reason to be the church, to be the church.
So all the threats in the life of the church are on the inside, which is why the first instruction in the New Testament to the church is that if somebody’s in sin, go to that person, confront that person; if they don’t listen, take two or three witnesses, confront them again; if they don’t listen, tell the church to confront them. Why? Because it’s the sin in the church, not outside the church, that corrupts the church. OK? I got on a soapbox, but thank you.
AUDIENCE: Good evening, John. My name is Charles Peoples. I started coming to Grace Community Church two years ago in October because your sermons were giving me sleepless nights. And two years later, I still have sleepless nights, and I love it.
My question—I have two questions, two quick questions. The first is relating to 1 Corinthians 7:15. It says, “Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.” My question regarding this is where it says—how does one know that that person is an unbeliever? Because if you’re chosen prior to the foundation of the world, and God is going to regenerate that sheep, there will be an inward—I would say, effectual call. But that can happen anytime. It could happen at 50, 60 years of age, too.
And my second question is related to Matthew 5:32, where it says, “But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” Question is related to the latter part, because if that is how Scripture is defining, then whether knowing or unknowing, if a person marries someone who was divorced for a different reason, now as per Scripture in God’s eyes that person is in perpetual side of sin of adultery. Can that marriage be blessed?
JOHN: Yeah, very important question. So let me just summarize it in a simple way. God hates divorce, OK. He says that. God hates divorce: “I hate divorce.” God designed marriage: one man, one woman, for life. That’s marriage. But God understands that we are in a fallen world, and so there are some concessions to the fallenness of the world.
One concession, which you’re mentioning from Matthew, and is in other passages in the gospels, is where you have an unfaithful spouse, where you have an unfaithful spouse. Ideally, that unfaithful spouse would repent and come back; and in a Christlike way you would forgive that spouse and keep that union together. But in the assumption that you have an unfaithful spouse that perpetuates that unfaithfulness, there is grounds for divorce. God even divorced Israel. He said, “I gave Israel a bill of divorce for her many adulteries.”
So God understands that marriage is a union that can be so totally violated as to be virtually impossible to sustain without harm. So where there is impenitent adultery, there’s freedom to divorce. And at the same time, if there’s freedom to divorce, the assumption is that you can be married again.
Now the unfaithful spouse with perpetual unfaithfulness may be demonstrating that they’re not a believer at all, because that’s really not how believers act, right? I mean, if you go to 1 Corinthians chapter 6, there are no adulterers in the kingdom, there are no homosexuals in the kingdom. So if that’s the fixed, settled choice, even after you’ve gone through the process of calling that person back and offering forgiveness, God is not going to make you live with that kind of relationship; that is a grace, and that is a mercy that even God exercised when He divorced Israel.
Now with regard to 1 Corinthians 7 and verse 15, you have an unbeliever leaving. This is an unbeliever—that’s the only way you know whether someone is converted. You’re not talking about somebody who’s elect, because you don’t know that. This is an unbelieving person. Will they be saved in the future? Who knows. But if an unbeliever departs, let that unbeliever depart, you’re no longer in bondage. And the language is the same language as divorce.
So there are two biblical bases for divorces: one, impenitent adultery; and the other, an unbeliever departs. Let that unbeliever leave; you’re not under bondage. In such cases, God has called us to peace.
There are cases that I know of where at a later time a spouse that left, came to faith, and the marriage was brought back together again. But that may happen, that may not happen. So I think, though God designed marriage for life, and God hates divorce, He understands that there are some intolerable situations. And when you have exhausted all possible efforts to bring someone out of an adulterous kind of relationship—even offering forgiveness—and when you have an unbeliever who wants out of that marriage, you’re not under bondage to them. And I think in both cases, you are free to marry again in the Lord. OK? Does that cover?
AUDIENCE: The second question was a little—what I was asking is, if you already married, if a person is married, whether knowing or unknowing what the other person’s divorce was because of, but now you are in adultery as per Scripture—but you’re married.
JOHN: What you’re saying is, that person who was divorced without biblical grounds or with biblical grounds, are you free to marry that person?
AUDIENCE: No. What I’m saying is, if you—if a person marries someone who divorced not regarding, related to unchastity, now you’re in a union where according—because it’s saying the person who marries that person is also an adulterer.
JOHN: Now I understand. Yeah. So you’ve got someone who was divorced as an unchaste person. Does that perpetually make that person unmarriable for the rest of that person’s life? The answer to that question would be, basically to say, if at some point in the future that person came to faith in Jesus Christ and became a new creation, you sort of reset everything. So I don’t think if you met somebody who had been divorced in the past because of a sinful situation, and that person has come to Christ, grown in Christ, flourished in Christ, that you would have to put a scarlet number on the head of that person; I think redemption resets everything. OK? Good. Thank you.
AUDIENCE: Hi, Pastor John. My name is Scott.
JOHN: Hi, Scott.
AUDIENCE: Thank you, first of all, for your faithful service to the church all these many years. My question is in beholding the progression of Satan’s temptation of Jesus in the desert, it becomes apparent that his greatest weapon against Christ—or against anyone, I guess—would be to finally use the Word of God itself—to twist it out of context. I was wondering if you see it to be analogous to perhaps Satan twisting Romans 13 to use it to tempt the church in this proverbial desert that we’re in.
JOHN: Yeah. Now I think it’s a very good observation that the devil quotes Scripture, and he quotes it accurately enough but misinterprets it. And look, does he do that often? Every single abhorrent cult related to Christianity is full of the devil having twisted Scripture, right? All of it: Mormonism, Christian Science, all cults, Jehovah’s Witnesses—any of them and all of them. All the strange, bizarre charismatic movements, and all the false teachers and frauds, they all use Scripture. So the devil—his ploy is to be disguised as an angel of light; and his ministers are angels of light—disguised as angels of light; and the light is the Scripture.
So yes, every religion that wants to propagate, in the name of Christianity, some aberrant truth has to twist Scripture. And yeah, what you’re pointing out is we took Romans 13 and we said, “That does not give the government the power to stop the church from meeting.” And we said, “We’re going to meet.”
There were critics who said, “Well you’re disobeying the government.” This was never rebellion against the government; this was obedience to Christ. He said, “Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together.” And I borrow the language of Acts 5, “You judge whether we obey God or man.” When those two conflict—look, a husband and a wife have authority over a child. But how much authority do they have? Do they have authority over that child to lead that child into sin and transgression and corruption? And we say, “Well we have to back off. After all, they have parental authority.” Or does a husband have the right to lead his wife into immorality because he has authority as a husband? No; that authority is all framed up in the exercise of what is a legitimate use of that authority.
So the government has overstepped its bounds, way overstepped its bounds. God never ever ordained government to do what government is doing today; it’s way beyond God’s intention. Government had a simple purpose: Punish evildoers and protect those who do good. And to show you how perverted the government is, it is basically committed to protecting the people who do evil and punishing the people who do good. It’s been reversed. Millions of people pouring in over the border, millions of people committing crimes, and you want to defund the police, and you want eliminate any kind of laws.
So the government, you can tell, is flipped on its head. And it is going to punish the people who want to uphold the law, and it’s going to reward the people who want to violate the law. You have it to the degree that in the name of an emergency, the President, or whoever influences him—he’s the ventriloquist dummy—whoever is influencing him, he’s just making willy-nilly laws all over the place, like, “You’re not vaccinated, you lose your job,” and things like that. It’s just endless. That isn’t protecting anybody.
When the government reaches into your life and begins to destroy it—destroying businesses, destroying jobs, destroying lives—when the government proudly says, “We now have a new passport with an X on it for those of you who aren’t male or female; we are proud to announce the first transgender general in the health services,” that’s the great achievement of a government that is completely corrupt, completely corrupt. How would we ever submit to that government? And least of all, if they told us not to meet, we would defy that because we would declare—as we did declare—Christ is the head of the church, not Caesar. OK?
AUDIENCE: Hi, Pastor John. I’m Brenda.
JOHN: Hi, Brenda.
AUDIENCE: And this is not a passionate question, this is one of those things that just bugs me in the Bible, and I just needed to get clarity on it. In Numbers 21:4-9, Moses makes a bronze serpent on a stick; and the Hebrews don’t worship it, but you know the thing—they look at it. And I’m like, Why? Then later on they worship it. So it’s like, Why? What was that about? I mean, that’s one of those things.
JOHN: So do you have a MacArthur Study Bible?
AUDIENCE: No. No, sounds like I’m going to have to get one.
JOHN: Yeah, you go to the bookstore after church tonight, and I have one there waiting for you with your name on it, free of charge; my gift to you. OK?
AUDIENCE: Oh, wow. OK.
JOHN: But the bottom line is that the serpent lifted up in the wilderness was a token of trusting God; it was a token of trusting God. It wasn’t an idol in the place of God; they fell into that. But it was a token of trusting God. Bitten by serpents, you wouldn’t assume that a cure would be to look at a serpent on a statue. But God was saying, “This is a symbol of you trusting Me. This is a visible symbol of you trusting Me.”
And the parallel to that—I don’t know if you ever wear around your neck a cross? OK, but a lot of people do. Do we worship the cross? No. But as the serpent in the wilderness was lifted up, so was the Son of Man lifted up. And for them, the statue was the symbol of God’s power and protection and deliverance, as the cross is our symbol of His protection, power, and deliverance. OK?
AUDIENCE: Thank you. Thank you so much.
AUDIENCE: Hello, Pastor John. My name is Darius. It’s a privilege just to ask you this question, and kind of a dream come true. My question is just based of some background.
So I listen to preachers like Paul Washer and your dear friend R. C. Sproul. And he says—R. C., your dearest R. C. says—it’s based off Matthew 27 when Christ asked, “Father, Father, why have You forsaken Me?” And R. C. responds and says—excuse my language—but it says, “If the Lord Your God, Yahweh, responds, the Lord Your God damns you to hell.” And so my brother here helped me write this question; it says, “When Jesus was on the cross in Matthew 27, verse 46, He said, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ Some theologians say that God did not forsake Jesus. Did God forsake Jesus? How do we understand this?”
JOHN: Well first of all, you understand that our finite minds have a hard time grasping the infinite relationship in the Trinity. But let me help, if I can, to explain it to you.
So there is no—there is no other possibility than that Christ was forsaken by His Father. It doesn’t mean He ceased to be God; it doesn’t mean He ceased to be the Son of God. But the forsaking is crystal clear, and it’s best defined in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “He”—God—“made Him who knew no sin”—Christ—“sin on our behalf.”
So when the Father placed on the Son all the sins of all the people who would ever believe through all of human history, in the three hours of darkness, in that sense, He bore our sins—in the language of Peter—in His body on the cross. In those hours, when for the only time in all of His eternal existence, He was made sin. There was a breach, necessarily, between Him and the Father.
And when He said, “Father, why have You forsaken Me?” the “why” is the cry of an innocent person. “Why have You forsaken Me?” There was no sin in Him. He was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. He was bearing the punishment of sinners; and punishment is alienation from God. But He did not become a sinner; and that’s why the “why” is there. If He said, “I know I’ve done some things to deserve this,” then all the gospel collapses. So that is the only possible thing that you could hear Him say: “It’s coming, and I don’t deserve it; but I accept it.”
Even in the garden, He said, “Let this cup pass from Me.” People say, “Well, was He trying to escape the cross?” No, He was simply reflecting on the reality that, for the first time and only time in all of eternity, He would become a victim of the fury of God on behalf of sinners. And everything in Him repulsed that.
So those are what we would expect Him to say. And I do believe that R. C. was correct in saying He endured what hell is: divine punishment. He endured all the hell for all who would ever believe throughout all of human history, in the fury of God in the hours of darkness. The separation was so real that it was for Him being forsaken. OK?
AUDIENCE: Thank you, that’s beautiful.
AUDIENCE: Hi, good evening.
JOHN: Good evening.
AUDIENCE: I’m wondering, first of all, how you go about refining a conscience issue for yourself.
JOHN: A what?
AUDIENCE: A conscience, conscience issue. And then, kind of secondarily, how do you reconcile when you have seemingly opposing conscience issues, such as conscience against taking a mandated COVID vaccine versus one’s conscience to keep a job to continue to support and feed their family?
JOHN: Yeah. I think for everybody, that’s different. But I think for us to battle that in our conscience is what throws us kind of into prayer before the Lord. I’ve said this to people who have been in that same dilemma: You could go ahead and take the vaccine because you need to keep your job, and it’s not likely you’re going to die from that. It’s not going to prevent you from getting COVID, and it’s not going to prevent you from passing COVID. And there may be some side effects. But you would say, “I need my job; I need to support my family. So I’m going to trust the Lord to protect me,” right? That’s sensible. I mean, that’s sensible.
I think that’s not an uncommon thing. All the people who worked in health care through COVID had to say, “OK, Lord, I’m in there every day. I’m going there; I’m doing this. You’re going to have to protect me.” Or on the other hand, you could say, “I don’t want this for”—maybe religious reasons, other reasons. “I don’t want this.” I know I’ve heard that from pregnant women. And then you could say, “If I don’t get this, it could cost me.” If you’re a man, it could cost a job; or even some women. And so, “Lord, You’re going to have to protect me.” Either way, you’re putting yourself in the Lord’s hands. And you can’t lose, right? You can’t lose, as we were saying this morning.
So I think—and again, it’s kind of like the question about how do you know you’re called to pastor? I think if your life is right, before the Lord, you can follow what the strongest desire is. I think the Lord guides you in those desires. And then you trust Him, right?
JOHN: OK. OK, we’ll just go through the folks we have, and that will be enough. So I think we’re done over here, right, Joe? OK.
AUDIENCE: Good evening, Pastor John. My name is Jeff.
JOHN: Hi, Jeff.
AUDIENCE: I’m a first-year TMS student. And with the future of ministry in mind, in particular thinking specifically about youth, if you were to hit the reset button, so to speak, and take Josh Petras’s place, what would be the three most either essential passages of Scripture or doctrines in teaching and training you would use in context of youth ministry?
JOHN: Yeah, if I were starting youth ministry, this would be true no matter what I was doing: I would just major on the person of Christ. Not so much jumping into the how to’s of the Christian life and those things. I would just go all out for the person of Christ. I would take young people through the gospel of John or through the gospel of Mark, which is a condensed life of Christ. I would even—this may sound strange—but I’d even go to places like Colossians and Hebrews to show them the depths of Christ. I think the Christian life is Christ. It’s all about Him—gazing into His glory and being changed into His image.
So I think we miss the boat when we just talk to kids about their life, you know, and what they need to do in their life. And they need to have devotions, and they need to do this and do that. I think we just need to hold up Christ. And when He is lifted up, He draws them to Him. So I’d focus relentlessly on Christ.
AUDIENCE: Thank you.
AUDIENCE: My name’s Emily.
JOHN: Hi, Emily.
AUDIENCE: My husband and I are recently out of the hyper-charismatic movement through the American Gospel, convicting both of us.
JOHN: Oh, that video.
JOHN: The American Gospel video you mean?
AUDIENCE: Yeah, the documentary.
JOHN: Yeah, the documentary.
AUDIENCE: And that brought us here.
AUDIENCE: So thank you. Our kids are out of—it’s all God, God’s sovereign plan. Our kids are out of public school, my marriage has been saved, and I realized I’m a wretched sinner saved just by the grace of our Holy God. So thank you for being in that documentary.
My husband’s a fireman, so he texted me to be brave—which I’m trying—to ask you a question. “Ask him, ‘How do we navigate this verse, Mark 9:30-40, in a world of false prophets, heretical preachers, fake miracles, et cetera?’” I can read it if you need me to.
JOHN: No, that’s OK.
AUDIENCE: I’m shaking, so I’d rather not.
JOHN: No, you’re so sweet and gracious, you just don’t look like a raving charismatic.
No, look. People can easily be seduced because their intentions are right. I mean, you want the right thing: You want to know the Lord, you want to follow the Lord, you want His power in your life, you want His protection in your family. And so this is what we were saying earlier: There’s seduction in those kinds of false forms of Christianity. They lure you with false promises. False promises being promises of special power, special experiences, authority over demons, speaking in tongues—which becomes some kind of intimate prayer language with God that gives you access to the throne that people who don’t do that don’t have.
All of that is deceptive. And until—there’s only one antidote for lies, OK, only one: And that is the truth. And the wonderful thing about it, Emily, is this. I don’t know how long you’ve been coming here.
AUDIENCE: Since January.
JOHN: Since January. But I will tell you—and I’m sure this is your experience; I’ll go out on a limb. When you began to hear the truth, you knew it was the truth.
JOHN: Right. And you know why? Because you’re the Lord’s child. And you were off in deception, but when you heard the truth, you knew it was the truth.
A lot of people in deception aren’t children of the Lord; they aren’t genuinely saved. But it’s been my experience, through many years of dealing with the charismatic movement going way back—I don’t know, I’ve written half a dozen books on that movement—that the true believers, when they hear the truth, know they’re hearing the truth. I don’t think a week of my life goes by that I don’t meet somebody who has read Strange Fire or heard the Strange Fire messages, read Charismatic Chaos or The Charismatics or something like that; and when they hear the truth, they know they’re hearing the truth. That’s because the Spirit of God reacts to that truth and presses that truth home to your heart.
So there’s no particular strategy to escape that; the only way out is to hear the truth. And that’s why we’ve been addressing people in that movement with the truth: so that the truth can do its work, as it has in your life and your husband’s.
AUDIENCE: Yes. Thank you.
JOHN: You’re welcome.
AUDIENCE: My name is Olivia.
JOHN: Hi, Olivia.
AUDIENCE: And I want to thank you for your ministry and your faithfulness to God’s Word, first of all.
JOHN: Thank you.
AUDIENCE: My question is regarding missions. So should missionaries—as they go out, they usually have a plan for ministry. Should they plan to make that place their home, or should they expect to come back home once their ministry is “fulfilled”?
JOHN: Well, I think whatever the Lord wants them to do. Maybe it’s for a while, maybe it’s temporary, maybe it’s there a while and somewhere else a while. I don’t think you can know the whole plan. Part of the adventure of serving the Lord is you don’t know what’s coming next. There are missionaries who’ve gone somewhere and locked down and been there the rest of their entire life, and were buried in those places. There are others who go for a little while and find that maybe that’s not exactly where God wants them, and He moves them somewhere else. There are some who go and stay for a number of years until they can literally hand over the ministry to the indigenous people. We hope that happens in our training centers around the world: that we can train enough nationals, they can take over, and our leaders can go somewhere else.
So every situation is unique. You don’t want to assume that because a missionary came back, they were somehow unfaithful. They have to follow the Lord’s plan. And you can’t know necessarily before it unfolds what that plan’s going to be. OK?
AUDIENCE: Thank you.
JOHN: So if some—if you’re feeling the urge to go somewhere, and you’re worried that maybe you’ll have to be there the rest of your life, and that may seem like a huge commitment for you at this age, just take it one step at a time, and see what God does. OK?
AUDIENCE: Thank you.
AUDIENCE: Hello, Pastor John. My name is Jared.
JOHN: Hi, Jared.
AUDIENCE: Hi. I just had a quick question I wanted to ask; I know we’re almost done. Pastor John, what advice would you give to help reconcile a broken couple when sin such as pride, anger, and unfaithfulness strike their relationship or marriage?
JOHN: Well there’s only one remedy for sin, and that’s repentance and confession. And I think you have to be honest, and you have to be honest enough to talk out everything that’s wrong in that relationship. If it’s a marriage, you need to do everything you can to keep it together. If it’s not a marriage, if this is somebody you’re thinking about marrying and things go wrong, I usually advise people to take a break and separate, and see if you can live life apart, because that’s no way to start a marriage.
Marriage doesn’t change anyone; marriage crystalizes into permanency whatever you are. So whatever the weaknesses are in your relationship when you’re dating, at least you can go home and be away from the other person. But if you’re married, you can’t go anywhere. And the marriage isn’t going to change anything; it is going to crystalize into permanency what you are.
So you have to look at your own heart and your own life and the life of the person you’re with, and understand that even years and years and years are not likely—while God will do a sanctifying work—not likely to alter people’s personalities dramatically, dramatically. So what you want most of all in a marriage is not some looks, but some kind of character that can last a lifetime; and if you’re not seeing that, you might want to back off from that. OK?
AUDIENCE: Thank you.
AUDIENCE: Hello. Hello, Pastor John.
AUDIENCE: My name is Ulysses, and I’ve been attending Grace Church for about a month now.
AUDIENCE: Prior to that, I attended a Pentecostal church, and I’ve also attended a Baptist church, so I’ve seen some of the differences between the doctrines, and I also noticed some things that weren’t necessarily biblically aligned. So my question is, What makes this church more biblically aligned than others, or more correct in regard to Scripture? And the reason why I ask is in sincerity, so I can be prepared to answer when someone asks me that question.
JOHN: Sure. A lot of people are sincere. It’s not about sincerity, it’s about the Word of God. So we take this Book and follow its instructions, and we do not believe that there is any revelation from God beyond this Book. And that’s the difference in, say, the charismatic movement. If Jesus is telling people what to do outside of Scripture, if the preacher is saying, “God talked to me and told me to do this and told me to do that,” this is a very dangerous situation because you’re adding to Scripture.
So again, everything built on the authority of Scripture. Then it’s just a question of rightly dividing the Word of Truth; so it’s about interpreting Scripture accurately. And that’s what we do. If you’ve been coming for a month, you know everybody that steps into this pulpit opens the Word of God and explains the Word of God in a way that you can follow and say, “That, that—that looks true. That’s a clear explanation of that text.”
The difference is Baptists have traditions, and some of those traditions are biblical and maybe some are not. Charismatics have, not so much traditions, but they’re getting messages from heaven all the time, which compete with Scripture. We simply follow the Book, and that is what makes us distinct. OK?
AUDIENCE: Thank you, Pastor John.
JOHN: And, my, last but not least. Hi.
AUDIENCE: Hello. My name is Bella, and I have a question. It is, Why know truth, why not just bear with a lie and be comfortable with it? Why does truth matter? Why is it of value?
JOHN: First of all, God says, “There are six things that I hate; yea, seven. First, a lying tongue.” Lies corrupt every relationship, right? The only way you can have any relationship with anybody is on truth. You can’t function with lies. I mean, we’re living it out in our society today.
Satan is a liar; he’s the father of lies, he propagates nothing but lies. God hates lies. Most important thing in the universe is truth—the truth of God. God is true, always true, always speaks the truth, and always honors the truth. You can’t have any meaningful relationship with anyone based on lies. And certainly you can’t have any relationship with God unless it’s based on the truth. OK?
AUDIENCE: Yes. Thank you.
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