Pastor Mike answers questions on the Bible, God and Christianity
Questions in this service:
1. How do we now think biblically about the Jewish people scattered around the world?
2. What is the difference between the 4 and 5 points of Calvinism?
3. How do we strike the biblical balance between doctrine and love?
4. People have said that God does not love everyone. Please explain.
5. What is the Biblical approach to spanking?
6. Will we have free will in heaven?
7. Acts 2:38 – do we receive the Holy Spirit before or after baptism?
8. How important and what role does corporate family worship play in the home?
9. Please give an overview of when the Day of the Lord occurs. Also, what is God’s purpose in having the millennial reign?
10. Is salvation one-step or more? Explain what Lordship Salvation is.
11. What is the difference between Hebrew and Jewish? Then, explain the passages in Hebrews 6 where the discussion sounds like someone saved that slipped away.
12. Where are we as a nation as Christians?
13. Does God hear prayers from Non-Christians?
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Q&A 2017-Part 1
Pastor Mike Fabarez
Pastor Mike: Well it’s great to have you here this weekend and if you haven’t discovered, it is a special weekend here at Compass Bible Church where we take a break once a year to do something different than what we normally do, our verse by verse exposition of the Bible. And we have a really open forum here to allow you an opportunity to ask whatever question you might have about the Bible, about the Christian life, about theology. It’s completely unscripted. There are no plants out in the audience. It’s a chance for you just to go about it. I just would pray and ask that it would be a sincere question, it would be your question and it be something to be helpful to you, and, of course, be great if it helps others as well. And what we’ve got is two of our pastors with microphones, we’ve got Pastor Lucas, and over here, Pastor Ben, and you can get their attention with a raised hand, we’ll get the microphone in your hand. They’ll help you to just speak right into it and ask whatever question you might have. I’ll do my best to answer it and if I can’t answer directly for some reason, hopefully I’ll point you in the right direction to get the answer. So, are you ready for our annual question and answer? Let’s do it. Let’s get the attention of these guys and we’ll get started here. While one question is being asked, we can get the other pastor waved down and we can get going here tonight. Your question?
Question: At my school where I attend, I have met a lot of people from a Messianic Jewish background including one professor who teaches there. I’m curious and I’ve heard a lot of different answers from each person. How do we biblically think of the Jewish people now scattered around the world especially in that context.
Pastor Mike: I’m going to need more volume out of this monitor in the front. How do we think about the Jewish people? How do we as Christians think about them? Well, I can tell you how I think about them and lead a church that is a part of a movement that thinks about them differently than others, who would call themselves Christians, because there are two different schools of thought on this. I am a pre-millennial pastor, which means that, as I read Romans Chapter 9, 10 and 11, I see very clearly, among other passages, that God still has a plan for Israel and the people of Israel. And here’s, just in short, how it’s put. As it relates to our theology as Christians they are enemies, in that regard, they’re doctrinal enemies. They reject Jesus Christ as the Messiah and therefore we’re not on the same page as it relates to biblical Christianity. But, they are beloved because of the patriarchs, the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, these promises were made to them that are irrevocable. There are promises to them that include that God will send his Messiah to them, convert their hearts, plant them in the land and he will rule and reign over their lives and over their nation. According to a book of Revelation that’s going to happen for a thousand years. We are pre-millennial, at least I am, looking forward to that time knowing this, that just because they’re enemies of the cross, in that regard, in other words they don’t believe that Jesus Christ is the means of salvation right now, I still recognize they are friends of God and in covenant with God as a people. It doesn’t mean that they are saved, but he will save them in the end. He’s going to restore them with a great revival at the end of time and we are going to see them restored in their land during this period called the Great Millennium. The Millennium is coming, it is going to be preceded by the Great Tribulation in my understanding of eschatology.
Pastor Mike: Therefore, if we are good to them, if we are kind to them, if we are their friends because they’re friends with God, it will be a blessing to us, just as it was promised in Genesis Chapter 12. So we recognize that as Christians they are our friends. Not only are we really dependent on them, as it says in that passage in Romans, as them being the roots of our theology, we are the branches, we’ve been grafted into the promises that God gave to Abraham, but we recognize that God is not done with them yet, he has a future plan. Therefore, we are very much pro-Israel.
Pastor Mike: We’re very much pro the Jewish people around the world. We love them for the sake of God’s promises. It doesn’t mean we excuse them for everything they do. If they do sinful things, we’ll call them out on that. But in that regard, we’re very excited about them and what they’re doing in terms of establishing a Jewish state since 1947 and all that’s been going on in our parent’s generations. So, other Christians won’t think that way. Some Christians would say, they are a-millennial. There is no millennium coming for Israel, therefore they mean nothing. They’re just as any other group that denies the Savior. In other words, you would have them in the same category as the Buddhists or the Hindus or even worse, you know, to those who would pervert the view of Christ, like Jehovah Witnesses or Mormons. And some people view them that way.
Pastor Mike: We don’t. We’re concerned with their individual salvation, so we’re going to give them the Gospel. But we recognize that, as a nation, God has promises he has yet to fulfill. And that’s why, when you go to Israel today, when they see evangelical Christians who are pre-millennial like us, they know they’re friends, right? They know that we’re very positive toward them and we support them. America traditionally has been in that camp, not so much anymore, as you’ve seen, and it comes and goes with administrations, but you recognize that America traditionally has an evangelical heritage, having an evangelical heritage, has been very positive toward Israel while other nations, of course, have not. Good question. Yes. Over here.
Question: Good evening, Pastor Mike. My question has to do with just the difference between four or five points of Calvinism. I know that the unconditional election, that seems to be one of the topics I’ve had conversations with people and looking at that with a-millineism. Just, thoughts on that?
Pastor Mike: On the five points of Calvinism? If the more you study Calvinism, which is a response to what was going on theologically in the day, there in the time of the Reformation, you really find, and not everybody believes this because they think they can parcel out the points of Calvinism, and we won’t get into all the details of this, but I will tell you that the first point of Calvinism is really what everything hangs on in Calvinism. If you understand, as it’s been put in the old acronym, TULIP, the first one, Total Depravity, if you really believe that sin is such a problem that we are totally depraved, in other words that we have such a problem with sin, that there is no possible way that we can get right with God without God taking the initiative and intervening in every individual heart that gets right with him, then all the other points of Calvinism fall into place. If you’ve been around this church, and I know that freaks some people out, particularly of a Calvary Chapel background, but those of you that are new to our church you can talk to those who’ve been here a long time, I don’t banner Calvinism, I don’t talk about it, I don’t put a big sign up that says we’re Calvinists, you won’t hear me talk about Calvinism from the pulpit, except for times during Q&A, during which it seems to always come up.
Pastor Mike: But, if you really understand the problem of sin, I think that is the linchpin to either falling into one camp, an Arminian camp, or the other camp, a Calvinistic camp. You’ve got to deal with Hamartiology theology, which is the study of what is the real problem of sin. And certainly, if you’ve been insightful and thoughtful in listening to my preaching on the side that we have a real problem with sin that is so severe that no one is going to be saved without God intervening. I know that brings up issues, philosophical issues, issues relating to our human responsibility and God’s overarching sovereignty. We can deal with that and I can talk about that on another question. But, I do think the five points, which were a response to what was going on in theology in the day, they hang together as a pretty tight unity. And when people first get exposed to Calvinism, they say, “Well, I like that one, I don’t like that point, I like this one and I don’t like that point.” That doesn’t make a lot of sense the longer you study the five points, which were a response to some teaching about sin not being as bad as I think the Bible would present it. Yes. Where is the next one? Right here.
Question: Pastor Mike, my question is in regard to doctrine. And to walk and follow Jesus’ doctrine is very important. But First Corinthians 13, you know, talks about love and if we are just awesome biblical scholars with faith we can move mountains. To give up our body without love, it’s all worthless. You, as a leader of this church, me as a leader in my home, how do us men as leaders strike the right balance between biblical doctrine and love?
Pastor Mike: Well there isn’t a balance between those two. To be truly doctrinal is to be someone who loves biblically. A false dichotomy has been created, I think, because we see love today as a sentimental idea. It’s something I feel, it’s a decision I make that basically will, you know, bend the rules because I care for this person and I feel this heart toward them, when just like the other example that is given at the beginning of First Corinthians Chapter 13, that if I, you know, give my body in service and, you know, and I die as a martyr, it’s like saying, well I really want to strike a balance between being a martyr who serves and gives my life for people and love. Well, there is no balance to be struck. It’s that you need to love that makes you the servant, you need to love that makes you the theologian. The love is a understanding in the context of Romans, if you read Chapter 12 and Chapter 14, Chapter 13 is stuck right in the middle, to say all you people are running around in the church with a real self-interest, when your interest should be the interest of others. In short, you can read Philippians Chapter 2, which is a concise way to look at what’s going on in Romans 12, 13 and 14. You should be serving out of an interest for other people. In Corinth, they were about themselves. There was a very selfish, focused, wanting to please and promote myself, and because of that he said, you don’t love. Love looks after the good of others. Love serves for the purpose and the sacrifice and the building up of others. It has the right doctrinal answers because we love others. It gives itself in great sacrifice, even as a martyr, because we love. Love, we just need to understand in biblical terms, not in societal terms, is my resolve to be living, not for me, but for Christ. I can’t do anything for him, he’s glorified, he’s in heaven, he loves his children, he says, love my kids. If you love me, you’ll love my children. He says, they’re your brothers, love the brothers. So the only way I can love Christ, right, besides the esoteric experience of praying and worshipping God, is to tangibly get to work at serving his children. Therefore, I’m going to say, I serve his children by giving them good doctrine. I serve his children by thinking rightly about the Bible. Therefore, if I’m a dad, to bring it back to your context, and I want to serve my family, there’s nothing I should be interested more in being than in being a doctrinally astute father or a father who sacrifices and gives his life. But all of that should be coming out of, the root of that should be I love, I care. I’m not doing it so I can shine my theological badge. I’m not serving so you can look at me and say, look at what I’ve done. In Corinth, that’s what was happening. So we need to think about, “Am I doing this for me, am I doing it for my advancement or am I doing it for God?” God cares very much about truth and that’s all doctrine means. Doctrine means teaching, it’s the teaching of the truth. If I love my family, I will teach them the truth. If I love my kids, I will give them and teach them the truth. I will also serve. I will also sacrifice. I can do those from a motive of love for their good or I can do that for a motive that says, like that picture of Jesus saying, here is a widow giving, you know, privately her gifts and she gave a little bit but she gave so much, where the Pharisees are blasting trumpets and telling everybody, “I’m giving, but look at me.” We can be doctrinal, we can be servants, all because we want people to notice us, to serve us, to pump us up. So, I don’t want to say there’s a balance between those two. It always has to be “both-and,” it can’t be “either-or.”
Question: Speaking towards what you were just talking about Calvinism, I’ve been challenged with that and have been studying that, I’ve never really heard of it, I’ve been in the Christian church for years, but in the last five years I’ve been experiencing what you’ve been sharing, and what really gets me is that some have shared with me that God doesn’t love everyone, and I just don’t understand that. Can you share your thoughts on that?
Pastor Mike: The Bible certainly says that God in one sense loves everyone. There’s no way around that. The Bible, when Jesus is teaching the Sermon on the Mount, he explains that we should love our enemies because God is the example of loving enemies. He sends his rain, that’s a gift and action of love, his commitment to their good, to go back to the definition of love. It’s a demonstration of his concern for people. He sends that rain on the evil and the good. He makes his sun to rise on the evil, the just and the unjust. He is a God who is loving his enemies in that respect. Again, love must be defined not as a sentimental, affectionate, I feel so good when I think of that person. But I’m committed to their well-being, at least for now. Right? Because every non-Christian is going to incur the wrath of God because they have not taken shelter under the shadow of the cross.
Pastor Mike: Therefore, that love runs out. See? So at some point, I mean, that’s the reason Christ loves everyone. God loves everyone, then no one would go to hell, right? And that’s where Rob Bell and the rest of these Universalists are. They’re going to say, “You know, he loves everybody, God is love, so no one goes to hell.” That’s not what the Bible teaches. Right? You’re not reading the Scripture. But his love for now, in a temporal sense, toward all people is universal. But, he’s got a special kind of love, a love for his own. Just like you’d say, you love your wife and you love your wife differently than you love your coworkers. If your coworker knocked over, you know, a mug on his desk full of pencils, you’d help them out. You would love them in that way. That would be a commitment to their well-being and their good. But your wife you love with a special kind of love. And in the scripture that’s clearly the case. If you define love as a sentimental feeling, then you open up your Bible, as a lot of the Calvinist will, and they’ll see passages about God’s hatred toward the evil. And they’ll say, well I don’t get it. Hatred is a feeling of belligerence, a feeling of hostility. How can you love and have that? Well it’s not a feeling.
Pastor Mike: See, I can have someone at work who I think is a terrible person and they spill that mug full of pencils and I’ll still get down and help them pick them back up. The Bible says, I ought to do that, I ought to love them in that way. It doesn’t mean that Psalm 15 is not true, where I see someone who is a complete reprobate, as it’s put in the English Standard Version, I think it’s translated that way, and in my eyes, he’s despised. I look down on that. I don’t have an affection toward that. So, I can look at this man and say, “I don’t have an affection toward you.” I don’t watch them, you know, in a crime show and say, “Oh, I really love that murderer, the rapist on the news, I love that person.” And yet, I’m called now to reflect the love of God, which is really, in one sense, an indiscriminate commitment to their well-being. Now, how do I love a sinner? And this is the question. Right? When they knocked the mug over and they have a need to pick up pencils, I guess you can do that. But really the greatest need a sinner has is to stop sinning, come to repentance and put their trust in Christ. Therefore, that’s what I want to have happen. And even in God’s love for the unjust, that’s the picture. His kindness is meant to lead them to repentance. Romans Chapter 2 verse 4. He is a God who is always seeking through his love to bring people to the place where they repent of their sins and they trust in Christ. So, I want to love the non-Christian. If you define love as a sentimental, affectionate feeling in you inside of you, then you don’t understand love. You’re listening to too much pop music on the radio.
Pastor Mike: What you need to do is to define it biblically, and in that sense, I love non-Christians, I love evil people, but I don’t have the love that you think of as a sentimental feeling, but only for a few. And I also have a kind of love for my family and my wife that’s far different than I have for non-Christians and certainly, you know, the unjust of the world, the unrighteous of the world. So, God, does he love everyone? Yes. He doesn’t love everyone the same. He has a different kind of special, elective love, a love that he sets on the people of God. I go back to Deuteronomy when God’s talking about Israel. And he says out of all the nations of the world I set my love on you. What does that mean? He doesn’t love the rest of the world? No. The rest of the Bible says, he does love the rest of the world, but he’s got a special kind of love he sets on his people. You had a special kind of love you set on your wife and you said, I love her in a special way. God loves his people in a special way. That’s a different kind of love, a different kind of commitment to their well-being, a giving of himself to them that is not the same as the non-Christian because at one point the non-Christian is going to have all the patience and love of God run out and then they’re going to have to face their own punishment for their own sins.
Question: Good evening. I’ll preface this by saying I have a very strong willed toddler at home. With that being said, what is the biblical approach to spanking or a biblical approach to correcting a child’s behavior?
Pastor Mike: Well, in the Scripture, there is a word that is used for a small utensil called a “shebet” in Hebrew that is utilized in the instructions for parents to children, in the book of Proverbs in particular, as being an instrument to apply some corporal or physical pain to our young children to teach them the way God has taught all of his creatures in creation to avoid things that are harmful. In other words, when the baby sticks his finger in his eye he learns to not do that because of the stimulus of pain. The children will learn, animals learn, everyone learns to stop destructive behavior because of the inbuilt equation that God gives his creation to stop doing what is painful. God says, listen, when children are young, the loving, measured, careful application of the shebet, the Bible says, will be that reinforcement that the moral behavior that you just did is wrong and children will learn by that. Even in liberal California, where everyone thinks it’s child abuse and it’s illegal and no one should do it, it is legal. I can show you the code in the California law code, the family code, it is completely legal to spank your children. That nasty, horrible word that the liberals never want you to ever think could possibly be good. It’s legal. You can’t leave marks, you can’t injure them, you can’t… I mean, that happens when when parents discipline their children out of anger. Give me, any day of the week, a classroom full of children who are lovingly disciplined with the shebet over a classroom full of children who never were.
Pastor Mike: We’ve got a whole generation of people that have bought a satanic lie that we dare not give any kind of painful stimulus to our children because somehow that’s going to turn them into monsters. Almost every monster I’ve ever met as a child has grown up without discipline, without corporal discipline of some kind. Time outs for most children, when they’re young, don’t cut it. This doesn’t last very long. It’s only for a season. I just wrote a book on this. It’s about to come out next month, at least part of it, one chapter, is on it.
Pastor Mike: It’s a book by Moody Press called “Raising Men Not Boys” and I talk about the value of this kind of discipline in their lives. If we could go back to a time when this was the norm, you can always find the abuse or, you know, the person who disciplines out of an extreme anger and you see a lot of anecdotal stories that will scare people, but I guarantee I would take a generation any day where parents lovingly discipline their children. So that doesn’t answer the specific of what you may be dealing with. A strong willed child, and I’ve had experience with that, there is a multifaceted approach to trying to corral that behavior. And I can say, when you got a strong willed child, you have a great opportunity to shape a life that can be set on a path for good because the strong willed child can turn into a strongly devoted and resolved warrior of righteousness in a world that’s telling him to do otherwise.
Pastor Mike: So it’s great. I love it when I hear, in one sense, it’s a strong willed child, but I wince because I know it’s such a hard thing that parents have been entrusted with to corral that, because kids are bent toward wrong and evil and so we have to train them up and they have to have that shaping of their character and that’s going to involve a lot more work in a strong willed child than a pleaser. The problem with raising a pleaser, when you’re all leaning back going, “Well, it’s great, I have a pleaser, it’s so easy,” is that they leave your house and they go out into the world and try to please the world and become horrific sinners. And sometimes, maybe they’re not markedly notorious sinners but they certainly follow the crowd and do what the crowd says. So, I’d rather have in my house three strong willed children who can be trained so that they can stand up to all that they’re going to face in the world. So I would certainly say, you need to get with some of the folks in the Thrive ministry. Talk to Pastor Ben. There’s a lot that can be done to pool together our wisdom in trying to look at the specifics of where your child is being strong willed and how to go about helping them. My wife, it seems like half the conversations she’s had are about trying to help gals do that and God was sure to give us one or two strong willed children, and I won’t identify them.
Pastor Mike: And hopefully this book will be helpful too, at least that chapter on disciplining our sons, which certainly goes to daughters as well, but that’s a bigger question than we are able to fully answer.
Question: Good evening, Pastor Mike. I hope this doesn’t fall into those “who cares?” kind of questions but we’re told that before creation Lucifer, the Devil, rebelled in heaven and took part of the host of angels with him and, I hope the assumptions are right, but I would assume that that meant that there was free will in heaven before creation. When we get to our heaven, are we going to have free will? And if so, how do we know we’re not going to get caught up in a big spiritual Groundhog Day?
Pastor Mike: That’s a great question. And I don’t want to defer to all these books that I’m writing, but I’m writing a book right now for another publisher, in which one of the chapters is that very question. And I think I entitled that chapter, you know, “won’t we just sin our way out of heaven” or something like that. It’s better than that. Don’t not buy the book because of that title, it’s a better title, but that’s a great question.
Pastor Mike: So, I can give you several pages on that down the road but for now let me say this. There is something about what took place in that scene, which we do assume, and rightly so, though the Bible doesn’t specifically say it, before creation, Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 refer to that event, where there is a decision that is made, and that freedom of will, there was a decision made that then, at that point, gave these angels these appellations or these titles: “elect” and “evil.”
Pastor Mike: Therefore, from that point on what we see in Scripture is a designation of angels as solidified in their position. In other words, I would say, for instance, the question could be asked of the angelic class, if the angels chose before creation to either follow God or go with the rebel, let’s just ask this, what would prevent the angels now from being afraid that they might fall, right? The Bible presents it as though they’re not going to, they are established in their righteousness, their connection with God or with their rebellion and they’re stuck. OK? We are all born alienated from God. We’re all born in the “fallen, evil” category. We have in this short period of time called life, our lives, we have this opportunity, not speaking to the Calvinistic overtones and conundrums of that because we can get to that another time, but you, from a human perspective, have a decision now to make. When you make that decision now, which I’m not trying to reduce that to unbiblical terms, but I am saying you have in this life opportunity to either then have this “elect” or this “evil” appellation attached to your life that in the next life is described the same way the angels are now. In other words, as the angels are now, so we will be then. There is no switching teams. There is no going back and forth. There are a lot of passages that would lead us to that conclusion that we have an established, glorified, unfallen character. Also, as it says in Revelation Chapter 19 and 20, we have a world with the extraction of any temptation.
Pastor Mike: And I know you’d say, well they didn’t have any temptation in that pre-creation experience, I understand that. But they had this decision to be made, from a human perspective, and we have a decision to make, from a human perspective, in these human terms. And both of these will establish in eternity this uncrossable barrier between the two. Therefore, my short answer to the question is there’s no concern about us having an eternal Groundhog Day experience in eternity. We are going to either be “elect” or we’re going to be “evil,” we’re either going to have this established position of adoption with God, which you can have today, or you’re going to, when the time runs out for opportunity in this life, you’re going to enter into the next life in the established position of no crossing over. The chapter I’m actually writing right now is about that. Is there any chance afterlife to get crossed over? Is there any kind of limbo or any kind of purgatory or any place to move from one side to the other? Anyway. And that book is called, by Harvest House, “Ten Things Christians Get Wrong About Heaven, Hell and the Afterlife.” So, I’ll try to do a better job on that with more ammo behind it.
Question: Good evening Pastor Mike. I have a question. In Acts 2:38 where it says, “Peter says to them ‘Repent, every one of you be baptized for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'” Do we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit after baptism or before it? And also, over in 41 where it says, “Those who gladly received his word were baptized, that day, three thousand were added to them.” Were they added after they were baptized or before?
Pastor Mike: If would have to be before for a number of reasons and by baptism in those passages we certainly mean water baptism as the context bears out. So, you can’t go back to the question I ask when we’re up here doing baptisms and that is, “Does baptism save you?” And you say, “Which one?” And you say, “Well, the one where you are placed into Christ.” Well, maybe that’s what these passages are about. Clearly they are not. In context, they’re about water baptism. So we take that off the table, we’re not talking about the kind of baptism we see in Romans Chapter 6.
Pastor Mike: So, we’re talking about a water baptism. I know that that can’t possibly be true because of so many other passages that make clear that what saves us is never an act of the flesh. It’s never a stipulation of some kind of ceremony. It certainly can’t be because of the examples we have of even the thief on the cross and the guarantee of him being in paradise that day with a response in his own heart to Christ. We then look elsewhere, as Peter explains, that the water baptism is not that removal of dirt from the body, that’s the external water baptism, the ablution, if you will, of being placed into water, it’s that baptism that is an appeal to God. This crying out to God with a sincere heart to be saved, that is the kind of baptism that saves us. So, he’s making the distinction of water baptism and spiritual baptism. One saves us, the other doesn’t. For Peter to say, “Repent and be baptized,” he could have said repent and join our group and meet us for prayer tomorrow morning. The response of obedience is certainly a prerequisite. In other words, anything that God would ask us to do when we come to faith in Christ is understood you are clearly saying, to be a Christian, I am signing up to follow Christ. The first act of obedience in our little book that we make people read on baptism when they sign up to get baptism here, of course, that is a standard expectation, just like it would be if you said, “Get married and be faithful to your wife.” Right? Well, of course, that’s the standard expectation. It’s not the faithfulness, or a period of faithfulness, or a year’s worth of faithfulness that makes you married, it’s that appeal and that sincere call and covenant. That’s what saves us. So, those passages which we’ve preached on and there’s several things that, I think, I’ve even written articles that are available on FocalPointMinistries.org, I think, that deal with those specific passages. But there’s really no debating in the Scripture that our appeal to God, that pledge to God, that faith in Christ, saves us apart from any works, apart from any kind of ceremony. The Catholic Church has, unfortunately, taken some of these thoughts and positions and they have taken these works and said these are the means by which God saves us. If someone is baptized, the Catholic Church clearly states in the catechism of the Catholic Church to be saved, it is a mechanism of baptism that washes away your sin and makes you a child of God. That, in no way squares with anything that we have in Scripture and quoting a couple of passages about people getting saved and the description of them getting immediately baptized, you could have put in anything in that passage that was a first step of obedience because that is the understanding of people coming to faith in Christ, is obedience. I may recommend the book, I’m sure it’s in our bookstore, “Believer’s Baptism” by Thomas Schreiner.
Pastor Mike: That’ll deal with both of those passages in great detail or whatever detail is needed at least to make the distinction between the baptism that saves us, the spiritual, and the water baptism, that save us and is clearly expected. And those passages in context on why that baptism, that stepping out and expressing myself as being unified with the people of God, was so necessary in the first century to be such an immediate response to people’s salvation. So, Schreiner, “Believer’s Baptism,” it’s a little blue hardback in our bookstore might be a helpful read and give you much more detail than I can in five minutes here.
Question: Pastor Mike, as a new dad, my question is how important and what role does family corporate worship have in the home.
Pastor Mike: Yeah, well there’s no command for you to have a service with your family. And though I know it’s been a practice that has been helpful for many, you can’t take a helpful practice and feel some guilt or obligation that I’ve got to have some kind of service in my home where I lead it as a leader of my home and we have corporate worship together and, you know, I’ve got to learn to play the guitar or whatever. There are lots of people that have written books on that kind of thing but there’s no biblical precedent for it. The expectation of dads in a home is to love his wife like Christ loved the church and to bring up his kids in the instruction and discipline of the Lord. I mean this is the fundamental responsibility every dad has. Whatever may be included in that, that will be helpful in you carrying out that responsibility, I mean, certainly by all means use it, but don’t write any books and tell other people this is how you’ve got to do it because I found it helpful for me. There are lots of things I think that good, godly husbands have tried and said, this hasn’t really worked that well. I’ve tried to have a time of teaching with my family and this just didn’t hit the mark or, you know, I try to have a time where we did X, Y or Z and I didn’t find it profitable. I think most dads, Christian, godly-thinking fathers, they try what works and they find what works and they employ it.
Pastor Mike: And whether that’s corporate family worship, which I think certainly has been talked about a lot, but isn’t required, then great. If it’s not, then fine. Just make sure that you’re doing the best you can to bring up your children according to the instruction and discipline of the Lord and that you’re loving your wife and leading in your home the way Christ would his church. So find what works and do it. You should know the goals because you’re spending good time in the word and trying to make sure your family is. Protect them from the influences of the outside and do your best to encourage the, you know, spiritual instruction of your kids and the godliness of your wife.
Pastor Mike: And then just don’t assert as a norm what may have worked for you and that’s my only concern. You could’ve asked a different question, I might’ve had a different answer but that’s what I would say in terms of what the role of that is in a home.
Question: You touched earlier on one of my absolute favorite topics which is the millennial reign. And so I have a little bit of a two part question because there’s so much that leads up to it. And we know we’re in the last days and we know the Lord told us to be ready. So this question is in that light of watching the times. So the order in Revelation of events has been a little mysterious to me to try to decipher. So could you please just… I know it’s a deep topic but could you give an overview of when the Day of the Lord occurs within that, you know, that period of tribulation. Is it before or after? And I think that’s a question a lot of people have asked. So if you could give me an overview of that and then also could you touch on your understanding of God’s purpose in having the millennial reign.
Pastor Mike: Right. Great. The Day of the Lord needs to be understood, and we use language this way too, in terms of a time, an epic, a pivotal period. In other words, the day the Lord is a series of events. Many things fall under that banner. And when we see that Day of the Lord we often think, well, it’s this day or it’s this day and it’s this 24 hour period. The Day of the Lord is presented all the way back to the Old Testament as God showing up, as God doing what he needs to do to make things right. As I often quote in my sermon, Isaiah 40, the crooked way straight, the rough places plain, from the Handel’s Messiah, who got it from Isaiah, who got it from God.
Pastor Mike: But that sense of making things right. The Day of the Lord – God fixing the problem. So the Day of the Lord is presented to us both in Old and New Testament as God showing up to do those things. The order of events in God’s showing up to do those things is first to clear the table to get back to what I believe is the 70th week of Daniel, Daniel Chapter 9, or the time of Jacob’s Trouble as it’s put, which is clearly delineated in both the Old and the New Testament as a seven year period. So, God clears the table by taking his church out of the way, not because they’re afraid of being persecuted or haven’t been for 2,000 years, but because he’s now going to turn his attention to saving Israel and fulfilling his promises to Old Testament Israel. So, he clears the deck, the church is taken out of the way, “harpazo” they’re taken up, they’re caught up, to meet the Lord in the air. That would be signaling the beginning of the Day of the Lord.
Pastor Mike: You then have the time of Jacob’s trouble for seven years, which begins with a covenant that the rising man of lawlessness makes of peace for Israel to give them three and a half years of relative safety and peace, then breaking the covenant, the abomination of desolation in the middle of that seven year period.
Pastor Mike: You have then all turning against Israel and hell breaking loose, as they say, in the last three and a half years of the tribulation. All within that time, you’ve got the seals and the bold judgments and all the things that are talked about in the book of Revelation that look so bad. God then is pouring out his judgment on a world as a representative of his anger toward sin throughout time. It’s a precursor to his coming judgment called the Great White Throne Judgment. So, clear the deck, the church is taken out, the starting of the tribulational period, a turning point in the middle of it, the end of it is concluded with Revelation Chapter 19, the battle of Armageddon, as we call it. Christ comes back at that particular point, and to go back and harmonize all the Old Testament passages, that’s when Christ’s feet touch the Mount of Olives. He comes back to take his saints at the Rapture and meets them in the air, he comes back at the end of the tribulation with his saints to have his feet touch the Mount of Olives. And as it says in the Old Testament, to see that land crack, the mountain split in two. You see the people of Israel, who have been saved during that period of time by the 144,000 Jewish missionaries, they are all there turning to the Messiah and they get delivered when all the nations have surrounded Israel and then you have this period of time called the Millennium Kingdom. It’s inaugurated after the tribulational period.
Pastor Mike: All those Jewish saints and others, Gentiles as well, who have been saved during that seven year period do not get resurrected bodies but inhabit the thousand year period called the Millennial Kingdom. That’s why they’re having children there. Satan is locked up for a thousand years. It’s a good place to be but it’s not yet without some of the effects of the curse including death, people are even dying in the Millennial Kingdom. So after that thousand years, it says at the end of the thousand years there is a rebellion. Satan is released, you’ve got a lot of people born during the period of time, to go back to an earlier question, where now they’ve never had a time when they have not had Christ literally reigning over Israel and resurrected people like us at that particular point with our resurrected bodies ruling and reigning with Christ. They then are tested in a short period, which isn’t given a designation, where then they are, many of them, falling away and rebelling against God. And then after that you have the Great White Throne Judgment, Revelation 20. Everyone is judged, all the dead are brought, given resurrected body, standing before God now, assigned a place of punishment in the place called the Lake of Fire. Then God replaces the earth completely with a new heaven and a new earth according to the last two chapters of the Bible. And you have all of those in the tribulation period given resurrected bodies, glorified bodies, and then we all inhabit the eternal new earth. God lives in his new heaven. Christ lives on earth. Therefore God’s throne is on earth because God, the God man Jesus Christ, is living among us. And then there is an undetermined, forever, infinity period of time that takes place in all eternity.
Pastor Mike: So the Day of the Lord is really going include a lot of things. The Rapture, tribulational period, the day the Lord, is bad news for the sinners. Right?
Pastor Mike: The battle of Armageddon, which is the highlight of the bad of God’s anger, because he personally gets involved in that, specifically in the body of Christ, the person of Christ. And then you have the Millennial Kingdom, in my view, for a thousand years and then you have the eternal state for all eternity. That’s the quickest thumbnail I can give you of those events. And there’s a lot more on that and if you go into our bookstore, we’ve got several books on this topic. If you want a little primer on it. Herman Hoyt, it’s an outline form called “The End Times,” that should be in our bookstore.
Pastor Mike: Benware, I forget his first name, wrote a book that gives you a short little summary of the end times, that’s in there as well, just ask for Benware on, I think it’s called, “Biblical Prophecy.”
Question: Hi, Pastor Mike. I’ve been having conversations with other brothers in regards to salvation, backslidden, and if they are or not. And in my view, they basically come back and say, “Well, you’re one of those lordship salvation guys.” So, I’m looking up what the debate is regarding this. So opponents to that are saying that salvation is a two step. If I believe in my heart and confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord. And I heard the sermon by John MacArthur, which I think he did a good job in explaining Luke 9:23, which Jesus says, if you want to follow me, take up your cross, deny yourself, and follow me. And he says it’s not a chronological step thing, it’s all one. So, what are your thoughts?
Pastor Mike: You know, that’s true and the problem is there was in recent church history this bifurcating of Christianity into two levels. There’s “you can be saved.” Right? And then “you can become a disciple.” And they started to see these as very distinct phases of Christianity. And so a lot of Pentecostalism certainly tapped into this. We saw it, you know, in a lot of what grew out of the Wesleyan tradition, where you get saved only by trusting in Christ and that’s a very simple process and you just, you know, you just say, “I want to be saved and I believe in Christ.” And then, down the road you have a crisis point and in evangelicalism it didn’t always have all the Pentecostal overtones of an encounter with the Spirit or speaking in tongues or some dramatic crisis of spirit, but just you got serious about God and now you said, “I want to be a disciple. So I going to give my life and I’m ready to go to the ends of the earth for him.” And it’s like varsity Christianity and then jayvee Christianity. Everyone’s saved but, you know, you’ve got those that all those hard passages are dealing with varsity Christianity and all those simple passages are dealing with jayvee Christianity. They feel pretty good about those two things. Matter of fact, they say you can be in a junior varsity Christianity and never really bear any fruit at all. You can really be disobedient, because, you know, works don’t save you. So, some even teach that you could even deny Christ and be an atheist, as long as at one point you can look back and say that you trusted in Christ at some summer camp as a seventh grader and, you know what, you’re fine. You just never turned into a varsity Christian. And all those people that are talking about varsity Christianity as normative Christianity, well those are the lordship salvation guys.
Pastor Mike: I’m just going to say, I grew up believing that. Then I had an encounter that I thought was varsity Christianity when I got serious about God. Then I went to the Bible to try and justify all of that because I happen to be a student of Bible school. I thought well now is a good time for me to find all my experiences in the Bible and I couldn’t find it. And the more I studied the Scripture the more I had to change my testimony because my testimony was I became a Christian at six or seven years old and was a junior varsity Christian. Well then, I got serious at 18 years old and my life radically changed. And so I looked to find that phasing of my Christianity in the Bible and I couldn’t find it. And so I had to change my whole testimony and recognize I got saved at, September-October, I just had turned 18 back in my life. So you can’t find that bifurcation of Christianity. You’d have to do a lot of gymnastics to get there and I know some very smart people have tried and they work at that but that’s not what we find in the Bible. Therefore, every call to Christianity, though it’s spoken of differently, is all dealing with what it takes to get right with the living God. And you can’t do that by putting one foot in the water and saying, “Well, I want my fire insurance but I still want to live for myself.” I mean the whole point, Second Corinthians 5:15, he died for us that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for the one who died for them and rose again. Our point is a turning, this is a repentance, which some people say, “Well, repentance is for the varsity Christianity, belief is for the junior varsity Christianity.” There’s just no way to justify that in the Scripture. Repentance is implied in every call of faith, the repentant, penitent trusting in Christ. And every time you have repentance and no discussion of faith you’re not talking to non-Christians in those passages in Acts for instance, or in Luke, you have people that don’t know Christ. And in every call to repentance you have an implied reference to faith. Of course we have to trust in Christ. We’re repenting from our sins and we’re trusting in Christ. To put the message together in the Scripture, there is no conflict, there is only, I think, a satanic lie that you can get an insurance policy but it doesn’t have to affect your life. You just can’t find that out in the Scripture. And if you want to know more about the history of the lordship salvation, I had Phil Johnson, who was at the front of all that, speak to us, I think, two years ago on a Thursday night at Compass Night and I’m sure that’s on our FocalPointMinistries.org website and he’ll talk through how that all started, at least in the modern day and how it came to be such a hot button topic with guys like MacArthur and others, who got drawn into that. That’s the best they can do in five minutes.
Question: Hi, Pastor Mike. This is from Hebrews. But the first question I have is I’m not clear what the difference is between Hebrew and Jewish.
Pastor Mike: There is no difference.
Question: The Hebrew being the language that the Jewish people speak.
Pastor Mike: Right. It’s also a reference to Jewish people.
Question: So, in Hebrews 5:3.
Pastor Mike: Hebrews Chapter 5 verse 3 or Hebrews Chapter 6?
Question: Six. Hebrews Chapter 6 verse 5, 3.
Pastor Mike: The third part?
Question: It’s very confusing isn’t it?
Pastor Mike: Well sure. You’ve added a number there that I’m not computing.
Question: So let me start. OK so.
Pastor Mike: Anyway, I know that passage. Yes.
Question: “Who have shared in the Holy Spirit and I’ve tasted the goodness of the word of God like powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away to restore them again to repentance since they are crucifying once again the son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.” So, if these are the unbelieving Jews and when it was said, that the author says, but shares in the Holy Spirit, fallen away and restored to repentance.” Sounds like one who was a believer yet they were not. So what does that mean to share in the Holy Spirit?
Pastor Mike: Well first I would refer you to the five part series I did on that whole section in Hebrew 6. I would have you carefully listened to those. It’s a series called “Almost a Christian” I think is what I called it. There are plenty of examples in the Bible of people having all kinds of things happen in terms of the enrichment they received from the Holy Spirit, that was not regeneration, that was not their name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. When you take the book of Hebrews and you talk about the title and you think this is referring to all the Jews, we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about a group of Jewish people in a congregation that was claiming to be messianic and many of them were, many of them were saved. But you had these four or five very stern warnings in the book about those that were just Christian in external form only and they were not fully committed to following Christ, because he had to say you’re all tempted to go back to your judiastic ways, and circumcision, and the Aaronic priesthood, and all the things going on in the temple services. So, you guys don’t understand that to become a Christian is a whole life, completely transforming experience. And so he keeps in these warning passages in Hebrews trying to distinguish between what it looks like to have a formalized Christianity on the outside but not the change of the heart on the inside. And that list of things that are described there in Hebrews 6, again I can find lots of passages in the Bible, I find people working on the artistry of building the tabernacle of the Old Testament who are described as being filled with the Spirit, given endowment by the Spirit. The Spirit, frankly, is giving life and breath to everybody on the planet right now. Everyone has encounters with the Spirit because without the Spirit none of us are alive. No great architect can build a great building without God’s involvement.
Pastor Mike: Now who’s the contact? The spirit of God, the third person of the Godhead. But when he’s referring to the Spirit, tasting of those things, those encounters with the Spirit was people in church. There are many of you here, I would assume, who are not saved but you are in our Bible studies, you come to our small groups, you listen to our preaching, you encounter our worship. You have the connections and the giving of good things in your life through the Spirit in a way your non-Christian neighbor who doesn’t darken the door of an evangelical church never will. Those are the kinds of things being spelled out in that passage. And to prove it, I invite you to look at much more information that I gave about this particular passage. It is the most difficult passage in Hebrews and I think I spent five weeks just dealing with everything in that list and everything in that passage relating to people that were enjoying the benefits of Christianity but were not committed to following Christ.
Question: Thank you, first of all, for this question and answer time. I always enjoyed it very much and thank you for being available. Let me start off by saying I totally believe I am saved by grace and there’s nothing that we can do to add to that, but I’d like the comment on the verse that specifically talks about faith without works is dead. I’d like you to comment on it in relationship to where we are as a nation, as supposedly a Christian nation. I’d like to get your thoughts about what we as Christians citizens in the United States should be doing more of to live out the verse. The verse that says faith without works is dead. It may brings some life back into where we are.
Pastor Mike: Well nothing’s worse than, I was just reading J. C. Ryle on this, than having a form and giving lip service to Christian things and having a heart that rebels against it. Go into the Jefferson Memorial and read the wall.
Pastor Mike: Take 30 minutes to read everything on the wall and then walk outside and look at our country. The problem with that I think is worse than cultures that don’t even give lip service to it. Not that today most people would even agree to inscribing anything like you see there or anywhere else in, you know, in D.C. and all of the inscriptions. But we certainly, and not many people are there anymore, but those that still are, think we’re a Christian country, you know, and so we kind of got this “we’re the apple of God’s eye in a special way we’re, you know, God must like us.” I would just go to passages in the Bible like Malachi Chapter 1 and say this is what God thinks of us having a form of godliness and yet not being devoted and committed to God. It’s worse than had we never toyed around with this to start with. Now the benefits, I’ll take them, right, because our country has been blessed because of its deference to biblical principles. And I want that. But right now what we have for anyone, and it’s usually an older segment of the society, that would want to have some kind of clout in their minds with God because we are giving some lip service, even in our Pledge of Allegiance, “One nation under God.” How many people say that every single day and for most it means nothing because if God says this is an aberrant sexual behavior, don’t do it, they go, “You can’t talk to me about that.” Right? In other words, we’re not going to live under God but we’re going to say we’re living under God. Those are the kinds of things that I think throughout the Bible, as J.C. Ryle rightly calls it formalistic Christianity, I think, there’s nothing worse than that because it heightens the ire of God in Scripture above the paganistic, you know, people who have no reference to God at all. It would be better for us, I suppose as he says, and I was just recently reading it that’s why it’s so fresh in my mind, you know, it would be better for me to be someone sitting there listening to John the Baptist preach and walk away and say, I don’t want anything to do with that, than be a Pharisee and saying, “We are in with that God but we don’t want to do what you say. We don’t want to have our lives respond.” In other words, we want the faith and the label of faith but we don’t want to do any of the works that come with that. And so faith without works is dead and all that passage is saying in James is you can’t claim to be a Christian and not do what it says. Your second part of your question though brings me back to this is the worst possible situation we could have, and that is giving lip service to God, and then in our own lives saying, “I don’t want God in my life at all, he’s going to cramp my style, he’s going to quash my fun, he’s going to restrict and limit my happiness.” Listen, then it would be better for us not to even speak of these things. Ecclesiastes speaks of “our words before God should be few.” We’re writing things about God on the walls of our government monuments and yet we don’t give a rip of what God thinks. We ought to be praying that God would continue to be gracious to our country, we ought to be praying for revival within our churches, we better be praying for people that are willing to stand up against the tide of our culture and to do what’s right and to be bold about our witness in society. We’re getting increasing hostility. People are saying things about me and this church in forums like never before. I found, at least, in my lifetime because we simply are going about the business of doing what God asked us to do and we’re not doing anything over the top. I mean I’m not even preaching like John the Baptist and we’re not even doing evangelism like they have in years past but we’re talking to people about Christ, we’re preaching the Bible, we’re sticking to our guns on what the Scripture says and our culture hates it. And yet some of those people might even say, “Well, you know, at least we’re a Christian country and I’m sure God likes us a lot. He certainly likes us better than those other countries.”
Pastor Mike: We got to be really careful and we ought to be praying for revival in the church. It all starts with us. It starts right here. It starts with you. Good. Well, that’s the last one. Or no, this is the last one more. All right. Well, last one.
Question: What is your take on telling and having non-Christians pray even though they are separated from God by their sin?
Pastor Mike: In what setting would you be talking about? Like get a meal or what?
Question: Yeah, or if you’re like having a conversation with a Christian and a non-Christian and you’re having them pray together, is God still hearing the prayers of those non-Christians?
Pastor Mike: Well, let me talk about that. What’s the setting though? Can you be more specific about the setting, because you said asking a non-Christian to pray. You mean to pray with you?
Question: Yes, or to have them pray on their own for godly things or godly wisdom, is God still hearing those prayers even though they are separated by sin.
Pastor Mike: God hears everything, but when the Bible says God doesn’t hear, like in Isaiah 53:2, it’s a euphemism, it’s a way to nicely say he hears you but he ain’t responding to you. He’s taking no pleasure in your in your requests. So, that’s a strong way to put it for a lot of people that fall into the category of our last question. I would not ask non-Christians to pray. I might ask a non-Christian to pray with me given a circumstance that might be unique. Right? And I was in a hospital to kind of uncover the mystery of that former statement. And I can picture in the hospital there, because I saw a lot of hurting people, I’d have no problem in that situation saying, let me sit down and pray with a family that’s in a crisis because their loved one just got brought in on a gurney. I would not ask THEM to pray. As a Christian in a setting like that, I would pray and I would lead in prayer and I would hope that the prayers that I’m praying, their minds might start to connect with in hopes that maybe they would recognize there is nothing wrong with non-Christian calling out to God for help. But I don’t want foxhole religion, which means, I don’t want to just say, “Get me out of this jam, my loved one was in a car accident, please just save them.” Nothing wrong with non-Christians asking God for stuff, but I want to get back to saying, I want this to be more than you asking God for help. So, I would lead in prayer with a non-Christian.
Pastor Mike: I just then might, if I’m sitting at a dinner table or something, I’m not going to say to my non-Christian family member, “Hey, would you lead us in prayer?” I don’t want to do that. I want to lead in prayer, not because I’m a pastor but because I’m a Christian. So, the only fear I would have, and probably trying to think in extrapolating the situations you might be thinking about, I don’t want to give a non-Christian false hope of starting a practice of praying that never deals with their need for repentance and faith but only deals with all the other things in life and then starting to feel comfortable with that practice when in reality they have no relationship with God. So I really think it depends on the situation. And usually, it’s always going to require that if I’m praying with a non-Christian, I’m going to pray. Does God hear the prayers of non-Christians? Sometimes he does. And by that I mean sometimes he answers. He hears everything. Right? He knows everything, every word that’s ever uttered, he knows it before it’s even uttered. But sometimes he graciously responds. Sometimes a farmer will pray for rain and like the Sermon on the Mount says, he’ll send rain on the evil and the good. That’s because he’s a good God. It’s like my dad being nice to a kid who drives down the street on his bike and says, “Hey, Mr. Fabarez, can I have a bottle of water?” He might give him a bottle of water, but I’m his son. So when I come into the house I got a whole different relationship of asking and giving. He’s got a different relationship with me.
Pastor Mike: So God can be nice to the neighbor’s kids, so to speak, children of the devil. Right? But he doesn’t have the same connection with his own children. All right. With that, we’re out of time.
Pastor Mike: Let us pray for us. God, thanks for our time, just our brief time to do Q&A tonight. Thanks that we can get together and do this. We do pray about our nation, we pray about our country and we know it really depends so much on the health of the church. So let us be healthy and that’s going to mean we need to be bold. And that means we do need to be praying, praying for non-Christians and asking for your grace to lead more people to repentance. So God, let us be light and let us be salt and let us be on fire for you this week as we live for you. In Jesus name, Amen.