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PHIL: Hi, I’m Phil Johnson, executive director of Grace To You. And I’m here today with our pastor and teacher, John MacArthur who has written a ground-breaking new book, The Jesus You Can’t Ignore. And we want to talk to him about that book, but first, John, you’ve just returned to the pulpit after total knee replacement surgery and I know you’re still in the process of recovering from that. How’s it going? Can you give us an update?

JOHN: Well, yeah, I think I’m on schedule. I had no idea that the – the recovery and rehab would be this demanding and go on for as long as it has, but yeah, I’m on schedule to do well. It’s a surgery that I put off for years and years and years and, eventually, my bad knee started affecting my hip and my back and all that stuff that was out of alignment. So I’m really grateful to have a new shot at physical well-being and – and as the next couple of months go by, I should get back to full function.

PHIL: You plan to preach full schedule this Sunday, right?

JOHN: Right and I came back to the pulpit last Sunday which is about four weeks out from the surgery, maybe a little premature but had a wonderful time Sunday night. I’ve survived standing there for an hour so next Sunday we’ll give it the full shot. I’ll do two services in the morning and then again on Sunday night. So we’ll see how it goes.

PHIL: It’s great to have you back. And in the meantime, lots of us have been reading your latest book, your new book, The Jesus You Can’t Ignore. Can you tell us the thrust of the book?

JOHN: Well, I think there’s a pop Jesus that exists in the minds of most evangelicals that doesn’t really reflect the true Jesus of Scripture. There’s a Jesus that people are comfortable with and – and find acceptable. They – they can sell him on a popular level. But – but it’s a far cry from the Jesus of the New Testament which is to say that it’s a misrepresentation of the true Christ. Jesus is not to be invented by anybody. We don’t have the right to make Jesus into whatever we think we would like Him to be or whatever we think people would like Him to be so that He’s acceptable to them.

Taking the full revelation of the New Testament, you get the picture of Jesus and it’s not the picture that fits the comfortable evangelical pattern for today. This became an issue to me because I wrote a book called The Truth War, and The Truth War basically said that divine truth is the most important thing that exists. Divine truth saves, divine truth sanctifies, divine truth gives wisdom, comfort, hope of eternal glory, all of that. And so I said we have to fight for the truth. Satan is a liar, he’s a deceiver from the Garden on, he’s the father of lies. Deception runs rampant outside the church, inside the church, coming from every direction, and we have to be willing to go to war for the truth.

I also pointed out in that book, The Truth War, that there’s a lack of interest in the evangelical world for war. People want to be comfortable. They want to make peace. They want to come up with a message and a gospel that is tolerable by everybody. And so some of the response kind of went along this line, “Well, John MacArthur is certainly not like Jesus. John MacArthur wants to make war, Jesus came to make peace.” Well, you know, Phil, we’ve got all kinds of e-mail saying Jesus came to bring peace, why do you want to start a war?

So I began to think to myself, what Jesus are these people talking about? After all, Jesus said “I came not to bring peace but a sword.” That’s pretty graphic and unmistakable language. He said, “If you’re going to follow Me, it may come down to this, hate your father, hate your mother, hate your own life, take up your cross and follow Me.” This is a – this is a discipleship call that could result in your martyrdom because the hostility against Me is so profound. So, if you’re going to say Jesus came to bring peace, you – you don’t have the whole picture.

He came to bring peace but only to those who believe in Him. To all others, of course, He brings eternal judgment. And so, I – I felt compelled to write a book that gives the full picture of Jesus, and most particularly how Jesus reacted to false teaching. Did He just roll over and say, “Well, let’s have a conversation,” like the emerging people want to do? Did He say, “Well, look, let’s just find what we can agree on. Let – let’s just find common ground. Let’s celebrate, you know, our points of agreement and not make a fuss over the things we disagree with?” Hardly. He starts His ministry by going into the temple, making a whip and basically pulling an all-out assault on the heart and soul of Judaism.

He hit them at their – at their heart. That’s how He began His ministry. And from that day on, they despised Him, the leaders of Israel, because of what He had done, He had unmasked their hypocrisy, He put a dent in their economic prosperity. And then at the end of His ministry, the last week of His life, remember the triumphal entry, He comes into Jerusalem. No sooner does He get into the city that He does the same thing again, the second act of judgment on the temple.

And I think I need to say at this point, you hear about that and it’s often called the cleansing of the temple. It really wasn’t the cleansing of the temple, it –it was really a statement about the demolishing of the temple.

PHIL: Hmm.

JOHN: He didn’t really clean it up, they couldn’t clean it up. That’s why He also said after the second time, “Not one stone will be left upon another in this place.” The whole system is coming down. So it was not just some kind of Reformation movement, not just some kind of cleanup thing. He was essentially saying this is a false religious system, full of hypocrisy, lies and deception.

He warned the people, “Beware of the scribes and Pharisees. Beware of these false religious leaders because, you know, their deception will damn your soul. Stay away from them, God’s going to judge the whole system.” And we all know in 70 A.D. the Romans came. They really were an instrument of divine judgment and the temple came down and it’s never been rebuilt. There’s never been a priesthood. It was a smashing triumphant divine act bringing to end Judaism as it had been practiced at that day. So that was Jesus’ attitude toward false religion.

In the meantime, between those two times when He attacked them at the temple, He was in an ongoing relentless, never-ceasing conflict with the religious leaders of Israel. Compassion toward the people, tender heartedness toward the people, sympathy toward the people, tears over their lostness, but when it came to the purveyors and the architects of false religion, He – He was downright vicious in pronouncing judgment on them and called them snakes, vipers, whited sepulchers. He said, “You produce sons of hell.” So if you’re going to get the full picture of Jesus, you have to understand on one hand He preaches the doctrine of grace and peace, on the other hand, He pronounces judgment on anybody who deviates from the truth of the gospel.

PHIL: So The Jesus You Can’t Ignore is not the gentle Jesus, meek and mild, of the popular –

JOHN: No. But that’s the Jesus you hear so often being presented. If you turn on the television and – and you listen to the Jesus that is being described there, He’s this sort of benign unconditional loving personality who – who wants to fulfill your dreams and everything that you want, He wants you to have. And He wants to make you prosperous and help your self-esteem. And He just wants to come alongside and find out what you really want to be so that He can help you become that.

PHIL: That has become kind of the dominant popular view, hasn’t it?

JOHN: No question.

PHIL: People today tend to think of Jesus as devoid of any negative affections. He could never say a harsh word to anyone. But that’s not the Jesus of Scripture at all, is it?

JOHN: His – His language in the New Testament was blistering language when He was addressing the people who were propagating error. And it comes back to the same thing. You cannot ignore the fact that Jesus said, “I am the truth,” yet to Jesus the truth was everything, absolutely everything. The only hope of salvation, the – the only hope of redemption, the only hope of the fulfillment of God’s divine plan to bring eternal life to lost and doomed sinners was that they would believe the truth, were begotten again by the Word of truth. And Jesus was relentless in His assault on anything that deviated from the truth.

By the way, so were the apostles. Take a look at the apostle Paul warning again and again and again, as soon as I leave, perverse men are going to rise up among you, false teachers are going to come in from the outside. There are going to be wolves. There are going to be destructive. They’re going to try to tear you to pieces. Peter has the same message. Jude has the same message. John has the same message in – in the epistles, “Beware of those who propagate lies and deception. And it all really drew from Jesus’ attitude.

PHIL: Now was Jesus any less severe or more mild with people who were basically religious or morally upright or sincere in whatever convictions they held?

JOHN: Sincerity had nothing to do with it. In fact, one could argue that the most sincere people in Israel were the Pharisees. They were the most fastidious legalists. They lived according to their interpretation of biblical law with the embellishments of endless rabbinic laws that were imposed upon the biblical law. And they did everything they could to, well, to tithe every tiny seed. They did everything they could to keep every ordinance, every law, every ceremony, every tradition down to the gnat’s eyebrow. One would assume that there was a great deal of sincerity in that.

I think perhaps the model illustration, you don’t have stories of Pharisees being converted in the Bible, with the exception of the apostle Paul. And so if you use him as the single testimony, you would have to conclude that Paul, as a Pharisee, was extremely sincere. In – in his own mind, he wasn’t playing a game. I don’t think in his own mind he was a – he was a hypocrite, knew he was a hypocrite and was pulling off a ruse. I think he really did think that being circumcised the eighth day, being of the tribe of Benjamin, being an Israelite, being – as touching the law – blameless, zealous for the traditions, violent against Christianity which seemed to him to be loyal, a loyal attitude toward Judaism,

I think the man was a sincere man. And I think when he was breathing out threatening and slaughter against true Christians, he was doing it from the heart because he thought it honored God. So you – you would have to say the apostle Paul, the model Pharisee who was converted, if he’s a model of what a Pharisee was, was an extremely sincere man who also was sincere in his belief in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, sincere in his belief in the Old Testament. But he said, “Add it all up,” Philippians 3, “It’s manure, it’s all manure, rubbish, trash.” And so, he saw that stuff for what it was, and he saw it as the lies and the deception that it was eventually, when, of course, he came to understand the gospel.

So sincerity has nothing to do with it. The only thing has anything to do with it is truth, believing the truth. I think the world is full of sincere religious people. I think there are sincere Buddhists who set themselves on fire. I think there are sincere Muslims who fly into buildings and blow themselves up. I saw on the news last night, a bunch of Muslims trying to put together an IED over in Iraq to – to blow up American troops along the highway and they all -- they blew all themselves up. You have to believe these people are sincere. That’s meaningless.

PHIL: Hmm.

JOHN: That’s meaningless. It’s the truth and – and Jesus makes that clear by never accepting sincerity as that which meets the standard for salvation.

PHIL: I think the most surprising thing for me, studying through your book and the material that’s in it, is the realization that these incidents where Jesus drove the money changers from the temple and – and the conflicts He had with the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin, the religious authorities, those are not the exception. That’s the thread that runs through all of Jesus’ ministry from beginning to the end.

JOHN: Yeah, you’re – you’re not surprised. If you just read this – the New Testament, you’re not surprised like, “Oh wow, I didn’t know He felt that way about the Pharisees.” Hardly. This is ongoing all the time. Right now I happen to be preaching through the gospel of Mark and you’re barely into the gospel of Mark and already they want to kill Him. Well they didn’t want to kill Him because He did miracles. They didn’t deny His miracles. That’s one of the most interesting things to me about the whole New Testament account in the gospel record. Never did the religious leaders of Israel who despised Jesus and wanted Him dead deny one miracle. They were undeniable. They never did deny them.

So they didn’t kill Him because He did miracles. Look, they were happy to have their own relatives and friends healed of all these diseases. They didn’t kill Him because He cast out demons and liberated people from the horrendous oppression that demons brought upon them. They didn’t kill Him because He fed people who were hungry. They didn’t kill Him for any other reason than the fact that He attacked their religion. That’s why they hated Him. He exposed their religion as a false religion.

Look, He went to His own synagogue in Nazareth. To me this is really a remarkable story, Luke 4. Okay, this is His hometown where He grew up, the synagogue He had been in since birth as a kid, gone there, gone to school there. You know, probably Mosaic Law School, whatever you called it. Grew up there, all His friends and extended family, and relatives are there. He goes there, He’s now a prophet, He’s now a great preacher. He’s come back from nearly a year in Judea. He arrives in Galilee after a ministry in Capernaum. They hear, “Wow, His preaching is amazing.” And they’ve been hearing it for a year. Now it’s come close. They hear about His miracles, so He goes to the synagogue in His hometown with His own people, preaches one sermon, one sermon and they try to throw Him off a cliff and stone Him to death.

PHIL: Hmm.

JOHN: What in the world could excite a crowd to the point where they would kill one of their own after one sermon? The answer to the question is, He took issue with everything they believed, and He basically said to them, “You are outside the kingdom of God. You are just like your ancestors, just like those in the past during the time of Elijah, during the time of Naaman the leper, where God had to leave and go find somebody on the outside to speak the truth through His prophets because you were so apostate.” He says, “You’re no better than those generations. You’re outside the kingdom,” and they just were.

They exploded in a fury. So, and I’m sure there were leaders in that synagogue who sort of led that explosion. But the ministry of Jesus is marked at its inaugural point in Galilee when He goes to His own synagogue, from then on. And it just escalates and escalates and escalates and every time He confronts the Pharisees, it’s negative, every single time. There’s never a positive event and there are dozens of times when the New Testament records they came together. There is never a time when He says, “Well, let’s have a conversation and find what we can agree on.”

PHIL:  Hmm.

JOHN: Never, not once.

PHIL: That was going to be my next question. Is there – is there no instance anywhere where Jesus ever tried to win their approval by seeming more friendly or by toning down something, or maybe looking for good things He could say about the Pharisees to sort of soften the rebukes?

JOHN: Not one, not one.

PHIL: Did they pick these fights with Him always? Or did He sometimes?

JOHN: No, He sometimes initiated them. They – they would put themselves in a position to take these blows by confronting Him, asking questions that He would then turn on them and use against them. But there were – there were occasions when He just stepped up to them and took the initiative to attack them.

PHIL: He never backed away from a conflict? He never said, “Look, I don’t want an argument with you guys?”

JOHN: Never. And He – in fact, He would generally penetrate deeper into the conflict in order to pin them back and leave them without an answer.

PHIL: That would not win Him any popularity, even today.

JOHN: Yeah, yeah. One of the interesting elements of that, I think, is the occasion when they came to Him toward the end of His ministry and they said, “By what authority do You do these things? By what authority do You do these things?” And His final answer to them was, “None of your business, I’m not telling you by what authority I do these things.”

PHIL:  Hmm.

JOHN: Which was like wham, the curtain came down. “I’m done with you, I’m finished with you. That’s all. They’ll be no more discussion. They’ll be no more clarification.” You know, that is the final judgment when the Lord has nothing more to say. He had said it all and He wasn’t going to say anything else. At that particular point there is an act of judgment that takes place upon them.

PHIL: It sort of challenges the contemporary notion that it’s always wrong to be harsh. It’s always wrong to say anything that somebody might interpret as an insult.

JOHN: Yes.

PHIL: Actually, the idea to write this book came up when you were preaching through Luke chapter 20. And I believe it was at verses 45 through 47 that say this, “And in the hearing of all the people, He said to His disciples, “Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” There’s just no mincing of words there.

JOHN: None at all. And I – you know, it’s just so odd in this world. If you turn on a Christian television station, one of those typical long, drawn-out talk shows, you know, on a – on a typically Charismatic Christian television station, there will be this long parade of people advocating everything. You know, one guy telling you that you can be healed if you drink this miracle water. The next guy telling you you’ll be rich if you put this rag on your head that he’s anointed. And the next guy lining up people and supposedly curing them of cancer as they fall over. All of them with an aberrant kind of theology. And whoever runs the station mixes that in with another guy who preaches the gospel, and another guy who – who maybe teaches the Bible to one degree or another.

The utter disregard of false teaching, charlatanism, downright deception is in my mind a kind of a window on contemporary evangelicalism. It just wants to embrace everything. It just wants to celebrate the fact that we’re all talking about Jesus and we’re all trying to advance His fame and help people to come and know Him. And there’s just an absolute unwillingness to be discerning and discriminating and distinct. In fact, there’s certainly an unwillingness to say that’s error, that’s wrong. The Bible condemns that, and you need to avoid that. And people like that need to be exposed for what they are.

PHIL: So there is a time when it’s right to fight.

JOHN: There always is a time when there’s a right to fight. And it’s not a personality thing. It’s not jealousy over somebody’s success in ministry. It – it’s is not a style thing. You know, fight over the way a certain person does what he does. It’s – the legitimate battle is for the truth, contending earnestly for the faith.

PHIL: Now, not only is it sometimes right to fight, chapter 1 in your book is “When it’s Wrong to be Nice.” Are there times when it’s wrong to be nice?

JOHN: Absolutely. You know, it’s – it’s wrong to be nice. You can – you can look at that on a lot of fronts. There are times when, you know, if somebody is trapped in a car that’s about to explode, you – you – you know, niceness goes out the window. You grab the person by the arm if you can and you rip them out of the car any way you can to save their life. And, you know, Jude talks about snatching brands from the burning. There – there are people who are on the edge of the fires of hell because they’re engulfed in false religious systems and we snatch them out of the fire like a brand being singed. There are times when being nice, if you mean by being nice, being accommodating to whatever it is people choose to believe, is really the greatest harm you could ever do.

PHIL: Now you’ve made a distinction there between – earlier you said would you fight for the truth and things that are important and – and not matters of personal taste and opinion and so on. That does bring up a difficulty. And you caution in the book not to be argumentative, that it’s not a good thing to be pugnacious, or to get caught up in petty or foolish disputes. What is the best way to know what’s really worth fighting for and what’s petty?

JOHN: Well, first of all, you have to start with the Word of God. You have to fight for that which is revealed in the Scripture. And the core, the heart and soul of that is the gospel, right? The gospel, because that’s the message that saves. You cannot be saved without the gospel. You know, I think there are lots of evangelicals who don’t believe that. They don’t believe that. They think you can be saved if you get approximately the gospel, or if you – if you’re worshiping, you know, one God, if you’re sort of a monotheist. One evangelical leader wrote a book on – on salvation and talked about being transdispensationalized so that God would save you as if you were a pagan living sometime in the Old Testament and knew nothing about Him or Jesus.

So I think there’s this sense among evangelicals that you don’t really have to be precise. You have sort of a general belief in God and, you know, and be a good person. You know, it’s sort of like legalism-lite. It’s not a heavy legalism, it’s not like Judaism. But you go to these churches where the pastor just speaks about everything that you want, everything you desire, Jesus wants to give you. You need to dream your dreams, don’t be discouraged, don’t be downhearted, don’t give up your dream. Hold on to your dream, move ahead. That’s legalism. You’ve got no power in you to fulfill God’s requirement for your future blessing.

You know, the right attitude would be let go of your dreams, let go of your ambitions, let go of your desires, fall on your face before God as a penitent sinner, confess that you can do nothing to lift yourself up, you can do nothing to bring salvation to you and plead that God in His mercy will save you through Jesus Christ. That’s the true message. So, the answer to the question is, if you’re going to fight for something, fight for that. Fight for the gospel. That means that God is a trinity because you have to believe in the God that is God. You have to believe that Jesus is God incarnate, lived a perfect, sinless life, died a substitutionary death, rose from the dead and that faith alone, grace alone in Christ alone is the means of salvation, the way of salvation. So I would fight for that.

I’ll tell you. When I hear a preacher tell people they can seize their future blessing by their own will. When I – and I hear it all the time in most – the biggest church in America that’s the message, that you can have what you want in the future if you’ll just, you know, screw up your courage and your will and your determination and just charge ahead and believe God, and have the faith, you can seize your future. You can lay hold of everything God has for you and bring great blessing. That is bunk. That is a damning lie. And again, I’m back to what I just said. You fall on your face in hopeless, helpless penitence realizing there’s nothing in you that can grasp anything of God or anything that saves, and you plead with Him to save you in spite of your own wretchedness.

So that the popular approach to the gospel has kind of accommodated the popular approach to Jesus. You have a sort of generic. friendly Jesus and then you have a sort of nice, generic, friendly gospel. You can make Jesus the way you want Jesus to be and you can sort of usher yourself into the Kingdom of God by your own will power. These are the kinds of things that are deadly lies that fall upon the people who sit in a place thinking, while they sing about Jesus, that they’re believers when they’re anything but.

PHIL: Hmm. What you’re saying here, and especially the idea that truth is worth fighting for, might strike some of our listeners, even Christian listeners as shocking or politically incorrect or possibly even offensive; because we live in a culture that says it’s okay to fight for personal rights but not for personal convictions.

JOHN: You know, how bizarre is that, Phil?

PHIL: Yeah.

JOHN: You do have a right to fight for your own self-esteem, fight for your own opinion, fight for your own space in the world. And if somebody does something to you that you don’t like, sue the socks off of them because they invaded your space. What kind of thing – what kind of world do we live in when everybody has a right to fight for his own personal rights? That’s a world where everybody thinks he’s God, where everybody thinks his own self-importance reigns supreme. How different is that than saying, “I’m not going to fight for my own rights. There’s nothing good in me. I’m not going to fight for my own place in the sun, but I will fight for divine truth. I will fight for something far beyond my personal opinion, far beyond my personal whims, wants and desires. I will fight like the heroes of the faith have always fought, going back in church history, back in New Testament history, back in Old Testament history, I will fight for the honor of God.”

You know, when – when Jesus went into the temple, the motive that made Him make a whip was passion for the house of God which is to say passion for God’s glory. And when God’s name was reproached, when God’s name was dishonored, He felt the pain. He felt the pain. That’s why He fought back. And I think the sign of a mature believer is you feel the pain when God is dishonored. You feel the pain when His Scripture is misinterpreted. You feel the pain when His name is used in vain. You feel the pain when a Jesus is invented that isn’t the true Jesus. I think that’s – that’s the mark of mature Christians. They love the truth, written and incarnate. And they feel the pain when God and Christ is dishonored.

I live that, that’s my life. If you were to ask what is the most defining thing about me, it would be my love for the truth, written and incarnate is so great, so strong, so compelling that I feel the pain when the Lord is dishonored. And He’s always dishonored when His name is used in vain, when Scripture is misrepresented, misinterpreted, or when deceivers come and manipulate the Scripture to sell people their lies. Any form of false religion, especially that which calls itself Christianity is – is the horror of all horrors to me because souls are at stake, eternally, and the name of God and His glory.

PHIL: Jesus was passionate about the truth and we should be as well.

JOHN: Bottom line, absolutely right. How – how can you be passionate about the Lord Jesus who is the truth and not be passionate about the truth? You know what John said? This is summing it up. “If you say you abide in Him, then you ought to walk the way He walked. If you say you abide in Him, then you ought to live the way He lived.”

PHIL: Even though that’s counter-cultural, that’s contrary to every value contemporary secular culture holds.

JOHN: Right.

PHIL: This is not one of those areas where we become all things to all men.

JOHN: Not at all. You know, Jesus is – Jesus certainly would have known the way to win people over on the Dale Carnegie level, How to win Friends and influence People. I mean, He would have known how to do that, right? He would have been the ultimate salesman because He knew everything and could read people’s minds. Just look at the picture. He comes into the world, lives His life and from the beginning hostility generated until finally they kill Him. And it isn’t just the leaders. They’ve managed to sweep the whole nation up in their hatred and so everybody’s screaming, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him, Crucify Him, Crucify Him.” So you would have to think that the most intelligent being that ever walked on the planet, namely Jesus, who could read people’s minds, who knew exactly how to win people’s favor would have done that if that’s what He had chosen to do.

But it wasn’t because that would have been to prostitute the purpose of His coming. The purpose of His coming was to bring salvation and salvation required believing certain truth. And He stuck to that truth knowing that it wouldn’t be politically correct and knowing exactly where it would take Him. And that’s exactly where it took Him, right to the cross. Jesus said, “Look, it’s not going to be any different with you, right? If they hated Me, and you’re faithful to Me, they’ll hate you.” He said, “The student is not above His teacher. The slave is not above his master. If they did it to Me, they’ll do it to you.”

And the apostles certainly saw that, didn’t they? They went on with the same commitment to the truth and on all of them, with the exception of John, were martyred and John ends up in exile on Patmos and waves of persecution break out against the church. And every time in church history that the church decides to become the friend of the world, the truth is lost, and the church goes into a form of apostasy. And I think we’re living in that today and we’ve got to get back to the truth and back to the Jesus that you really shouldn’t ignore.

PHIL: Now in this book, The Jesus You Can’t Ignore, you more or less go chronologically through the ministry of Jesus and take a close look at several of the major conflicts He had with the Pharisees. I thought the most interesting thing about it is that while you’re looking at Jesus in these situations where He’s harsh and sometimes even angry and very outspoken and determined and people all around Him getting angry, it doesn’t make Him seem harsh and unapproachable, it makes Jesus more appealing because of His love for the truth.

JOHN: Well yes, and the reason He was so adamant for the truth was His love for the sinner. It is not unloving to give to someone the cure. You know, I mean, the simple analogy, if the doctor comes into the room and you know you’ve got terminal cancer, and the doctor knows the cure, and he says to you, “You’re going to die if you don’t do what I tell you to do.” Well that’s not unkind, that’s the kindest thing you can possibly do. “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish.” He loves the truth and He loves the people and it’s the love of the people and the love of the truth that comes together in the glory of the gospel.

PHIL: Thanks for this preview of the book, John. Is there a final thought or a challenge you’d have for believers who want to be faithful to Christ and stand up for His truth in the midst of a culture that we know is going to label us as intolerant and uncharitable?

JOHN: You know, I – I would say this, Phil. Get to know Christ. Second Corinthians 3:18 says that when we gaze on His glory, we’re changed into His image from one level of glory to the next, even by the Holy Spirit. The great work of sanctification is the Holy Spirit conforming us to Christ. I want to be like Christ. I want to have His compassion on the one hand, His sympathy on the one hand, and I want to have His fire and His fierce and adamant devotion to the truth on the other hand.

And – and I really believe that, instead of reading books on how to be a better wife and how to be a better husband, and how to be successful, and that little gimmicky formula kind of books and sort of insipid little devotional books, begin to live in the glory of Christ. I would just encourage people, start reading Matthew. Read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and when you’re done, go back and read them again and keep reading them, and keep reading them until you see the majesty of Christ in His full glory. I think part of the reason we’re content with a very partial picture of Christ is because people don’t read the story, they don’t read the Scripture.

What I do in the book, The Jesus You Can’t Ignore, is just take you into the Scripture and show you what it says about Christ. And, look, we’ve been going through Luke for ten years, we’re going through Mark, we went through Matthew in our ministry. We went through the gospel of John. People never get enough of Christ. And the more of Him they get the more like them they become, and they find this wonderful balance between grace and truth.

PHIL: Those are great thoughts and a great challenge. Thanks, John.

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Unleashing God’s Truth, One Verse at a Time
Since 1969


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ECFA Accredited
Unleashing God’s Truth, One Verse at a Time
Since 1969
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Unleashing God’s Truth, One Verse at a Time
Since 1969