Pastor Mike answers questions on the Bible, God and Christianity
Questions in this service:
1. Does Satan think he can win this battle against God?
2. Why does Paul seem to make an extreme point about 2 people not being unequally yoked?
3. Why is God referred to as the father of Abraham and not Abram; Jacob and not Israel?
4. What is it look like for Christians to show love for LGBT people?
5. Question regarding the giving of the Spirit as referenced in Luke and discussed by A.W. Tozer.
6. Continuation vs. cessation as related to spiritual gifts.
7. Does going without drink mean they gave up alcohol?
8. Is the battle on homosexuality about inerrancy?
9. Does the 3rd Jewish Temple need to be rebuilt before the Rapture?
10. Are there other sons of God other than Jesus?
11. Does God impose His will on man?
12. How do we discern if we are being disciplined by God or being misled by evil?
13. How do we deal with people that are addicted to drugs?
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17-23b Q&A 2017-Part 2
Pastor Mike Fabarez
Pastor Mike: Well, it is good to have you here on a special morning at Compass Bible Church. It is the one weekend a year we set aside to take a break from our week-by-week and verse-by-verse exposition of the Bible. We’re currently in the Gospel of Luke. If you’re new, you can come back, we’ll get back into that here soon. But today we just answer questions that you might have. It’s unscripted, there are no plants out there with pre-prepared questions. It’s like a car accident. You never know what you’re going to find here. You’ve got to look, you’ve got to be here on this weekend and all we ask is that you ask sincere questions, that they’re your questions, that they are having to do with the Bible, the Christian life, theology, doctrine, something that might be helpful for your spiritual growth or for your understanding of God’s word. I’ve got two pastors here, Pastor P.J. with a mic, Pastor Rod over here with a microphone. So wave them down and we will just jump right in and get started for our time together this morning. Always a fun weekend, Q and A. Now, while one mic is over here, be sure to wave Rod down on this side and we’ll get our next question cued up.
Question: Good morning, Pastor Mike. So does Satan actually think he can win this battle against God? I asked that because, as First Peter says, he’s like a roaring lion. He’s tempting people, he’s working hard. Knowing that God doesn’t need us, he’s self-sufficient by himself, does Satan actually think he can win?
Pastor Mike: That’s a great, great, great question and there are different views on that. I mean, most people would say, we’re reading the Bible, we trust God, God says he’s going to win and most people say, “Well, of course, he knows he’s going to lose but he’s going to make as much trouble as possible. And though he’s losing, I suppose it’s like someone in a situation, say it’s some, you know, drug lords and gang, they know that the Feds are coming, they’re going to be defeated, but they’re going to do all the damage they can before they go out and that’s true. Although there are some interesting books I’ve read that have different theories about the way even that God has said what he’s going to do in Scripture that leaves the door open for perhaps, you know, an effort in thinking there is victory for him. If you look back at the incarnation and the death of Christ, I mean, there were certain theories about what Satan might have thought was happening, that he was winning, that this was a victory because of the way, in some of the prophecies regarding the defeat of Christ, they’re not as crystal clear as we would want them to be. And I read an interesting book about how that, you know, was part of God’s plan to make this something in which the demonic realm and Satan thought there was a chance for a win. And if that’s true in that case, is there in the second phase of this before Christ comes again.
Pastor Mike: I’m of the first camp but I do think it’s a provocative view to kind of think about, you know, is there a real sense of victory that they think there might they might be able to pull off, you know? The scoreboard reads that Christ has won. It’s like, and I give the illustration of hitting a ball over the fence as a walk-off homerun. All you’ve got to do is run the bases, that’s all we’re doing right now, is running the bases. Christ has won. But the jeers from the enemy and the work to trip up, you know, the church as it runs the bases, I mean, is there any real sense of victory in this? I think probably no. But I have read some interesting stuff where people say, “Perhaps?” But NO, that’s my answer.
Question: Good morning. Forgive me for my paraphrasing without notes but, I believe in Second Corinthians 2:14 Paul is directing the church in Corinth to not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.
Pastor Mike: Seven. Yeah. OK. Wrong chapter, right book. OK.
Question: Yep, he was saying this because there were some…
Pastor Mike: Second Corinthians 6, by the way. Someone out there was going, “That’s not Chapter 7.” Anyway, that doesn’t matter, but it does if someone is taking notes. Sorry about that. Go ahead.
Question: OK. He was making this statement because there were some who were teaching false doctrine in the church. And then he uses extreme examples of righteousness and lawlessness, light and dark, Christ and the devil. First of all, what is the word in the original text for unbeliever? And also, it seems to me that it’s an extreme example to say to believers not to be yoked with unbelievers as opposed to satanist. What say you, pastor?
Pastor Mike: Say that last sentence again, I missed it. I was looking at the Greek word for unbelievers…
Question: It seems like we’ve taken that to an extreme when we are talking about believers being yoked with unbelievers. We’re not talking about being yoked with satanists or people who are diametrically opposed.
Pastor Mike: OK. I do think the rest of the passage is helpful in answering the question. Unbeliever is just the, it’s just the Greek word for believer with an alpha in front of it which is a negation, nonbelievers, a very simple word, which means someone who does not trust in Christ. So there’s not a lot of help there. I guess the yoke should be a metaphor that’s explain, if someone is not familiar with that. It’s an analogy, it’s the beam you put over oxen. You have two oxen and a plow and you put the big beam over and the leather strap around the two necks and they would pull together. Well you didn’t yoke, I was even reading in the Apocrypha recently about the foolishness of someone trying to put a donkey with an oxen in their yoke. It’s just a silly thing to do. You need two equally balanced animals to pull your plow. So the concept of equally yoked in an agrarian society made sense. You don’t put an oxen on one side and a donkey on the other and think you’re going to plow straight, it’s not going to work. So, here Paul enlists that analogy to say, Christians ought to be yoked together equally with other Christians. Now, you’d have to ask the question, the real question I usually get on this passage is, what exactly constitutes being yoked? And that’s a great question because, you know, you go and sign a contract to work at a company, your boss is non-Christian or maybe you’re involved in some kind of business deal and you’ve got non-Christians that you’re doing those with, you know, they’d say, well, maybe that contract is a yoking together. And I think you have to be careful and balance this with the rest of Scripture where Paul says, when I talk to you in First Corinthians about not associating with unbelievers, he meant these people that are so-called unbelievers in the church that live a non-Christian life. You should discipline them. He talked about the one in the church who is committing incest and there you are, not doing anything about it. You should separate from that person in church discipline.
Pastor Mike: But he said, I didn’t mean all the people of the world. You’d have to leave the world. So you have to interact in the world. We have to, as the passage goes on to say, come out from them and be separate from the world. In what sense? In whatever sense that it would make my spiritual life in peril, it would imperil me spiritually. Therefore, I do think there is a concern that you have in a yoking together in maybe even in a business partnership. When I say I want to run this business but I’m going to get in a relationship where everything about how the business is done has to be equally discussed and there has to be parity between me and my business partner, and it’s just not going to work if we don’t have a commitment to the same biblical principles, which comes from being a Christian. Therefore, I think the warning is applicable in that regard. Certainly if you go all the way to the most basic and fundamental yoking, the most sacred human yoking and that is in marriage, in the covenant marriage. And it’s usually a passage that is enlisted when people talk about, “Hey, son or daughter, you’re growing up, you’ve got to marry a Christian person.” That makes perfect sense because we can’t be yoked together in the most intimate and sacred bond in marriage and not have a common commitment to Jesus Christ. But the passage is trying to get us to be different. And as Second Corinthians Chapter 7 verse 1 says, I’ll just read it since I had it open, at the end of all that discussion about yoked together and after saying, come out and be separate, it says, “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourself from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” The concern with the yoking in the passage is about what’s going to harm my sanctification, what’s going to keep me from growing in holiness. And so, I’ve got to think about all my associations and which ones are so tight in my life that it’s really affecting my sanctification, my growth in Christ. And that’s something I need to say, I can’t be yoked in that situation. And yoked, again, it’s such an ancient, agrarian concept but in your mind you know when that relationship is so tight that you are being affected in a negative way. And as Paul said in First Corinthians 15:33, you know, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” That’s just hanging out. Now when I connect with someone else in some kind of tight relationship, association, contract, covenant, I’m going to be affected. And I feel like I’ve missed, maybe, what’s pushing that question. So, is there something beneath all that, that that I can address?
Question: Well, it’s just the extremes that he’s using.
Pastor Mike: Give me give me an example though of how this passage is misused. Maybe that would help me. Is that your concern, that people are enlisting this passage in ways that Paul did not intend?
Question: Well, perhaps, even as you just explained it, I mean we’re using it as an example but he didn’t imply, I don’t think, specifically in marriage.
Pastor Mike: No, but in principle there’s no way around that. In other words, there’s no way for you as a Christian to marry a non-Christian. That certainly would apply in being yoked together in some profound way and not have my sanctification affected. There’s just no way around that. And I think the principle, as it goes on to explain, about being different, about stepping apart, about living a life that’s according to the Lordship of Christ and not to the precepts and principles of the world, ends with, hey, God will be intimate with us, we had these great promises that God says, I’ll be a father to you if you just step out from the crowd and if you would just bring to completion this holiness as you fear God. And so, I do think there’s no way around applying the principle of this text to marriage. I just don’t think there’s any way around that.
Question: Good morning. In the Bible it seems like we see multiple times God being the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Why do we not see it as the God of Abram, Isaac and Jacob or Abraham, Isaac and Israel?
Pastor Mike: Wow. Very good question. It makes perfect sense to me that it’s going to be Abraham and not Abram. First of all, that makes sense. Right? It makes sense because God has taken him and moved him into this promise that starts in Genesis 12, reiterated in Genesis 15, again in Genesis 17 where he is going to make him a great nation. So every promise, like when this is described again in the New Testament in Romans Chapter 9, 10 and 11, it keeps talking about the covenant God makes with Abraham as a foundational covenant that is really finding its fulfillment in Christ. And so to call him Abram before any of that shifted to saying you are going to be the father of a great nation, I just don’t think it’d make any sense to refer to the patriarch as Abram. OK? And then you’d say, well, why Jacob and not Israel. Right? If you’re going to be consistent, God gave him a new name, right? I can only guess at that. But my guess would be this, that because that became the appellation, the title, for all of the nation, right, and I’m guessing, we’ll have to ask God when we meet him, but, and that’s probably down on your list, I’m thinking, by the time you get to the front of the line, you say, “Hey, Christ, I have a question for you.” I don’t know. He’ll have the right answer, but I’m going to tell you, I can only think for the sake of confusion. You’ve got something given to Jacob in the midst of a situation where I know it’s characteristic of who he is, he’s a fighter, he’s a struggler, that’s what Israel means. He’s a fighter. Right? I don’t even know that God wanted… I can’t say that because he’s naming the whole nation. So I don’t know. I’m going to say this. This is a good question and I’m going to say for the sake of clarity, my guess is we’re going to call him Jacob and not confuse the fact that it became the whole, you know, name for the nation. It’d be like if Thomas Jefferson was called America. Right? And then, all of a sudden, unfortunately, it was too much confusion to call him America, even though that was his name, but we named the nation America. So, that’s my guess. Stump the pastor. You get a gold star. I’m guessing at that one. I have no biblical data to say why that would be is what I’m trying to say. Well, you and I are on the same ground.
Question: No worries. Good morning, Pastor Mike. Lately I have had several conversations with fellow Christians of the LGBTQ community and how we as Christians ought to best imitate Christ’s love in our interactions with people from that community. It seems that many of the Christians I’ve talked to either lack of understanding of, or an empathy towards, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people. So in light of that what does it look like for us as Christians to love our LGBTQ friends, coworkers and neighbors. And what does it look like to love our fellow Christians even who struggle with same sex attraction, bi-sexual attraction or gender dysphoria. And based on your answers, what would be your exhortation to us as a congregation and as Compass Bible Church regarding this complex topic.
Pastor Mike: I don’t think it’s all that complex. I think it’s very simple. I think this is sexual sin and the Bible is crystal clear on that. And for you to ask me how do I love someone who’s engaging in or tempted to commit sexual sin, you should do it the same way you would anyone who’s tempted with sexual sin. And that is, yes, we have great empathy, because you have temptations probably for sexual sin of various kinds and what we want is people to not sin.
Pastor Mike: This is a horrible thing to store up wrath to the coming day of judgment. Or, if you’re a Christian, to put the wrath that is due me on the cross of Christ and have Christ suffer for it. So we are against sin. We do not want sin to take place. I don’t want anyone in his room to cheat on their wife and I don’t want anyone in this room to commit any act of sexual sin. So my love for you is to be truthful with you. My love for you is to tell you the truth as Stephanie said in a great sermon to the women’s ministry, you know, that the great little statement that has become the banner of people saying, we just ought to love everyone and not worry about their problems because, you know, God is a loving God, is their little phrase “Love Wins.” Right? Rob Bell’s book, “Love Wins.” And the truth is, in the Bible, “Love Warns.” That’s the real truth. And we should be concerned that people are toying with, in their temptations or engaging in their lives, things that either put Christ on the cross, if they’re Christians, or things that will store up wrath for themselves in the day of God’s wrath, Romans 2:4. So, we’re going to love them by warning them. If I were in your small group and I say, “I’m really struggling. I want to sleep with my neighbor’s wife, I want to have an adulterous affair.” How would you love me? I think you’d love me by warning me. I think you’d love me by helping me get over those temptations. I think you’d love me by keeping me accountable to make sure that I don’t engage in that. That’s how you’d love me. And if I had a whole movement of people who are now are not ashamed of their adultery, but having parades about adultery, right, I think you’d say, “Now wait a minute, what kind of love do I show now?” Again, I’m going to warn you that to celebrate the sins that put Christ on the cross or will put people in hell, right, I’m not going to say, “Well, I’m going to love you by thinking, well, it’s OK, I understand.” No, I do understand and that’s why I’m going to warn you. So I think the church at large has lost their bearing as to what’s important to God. And that is they’re saying, “Well, love wins, let’s just be OK with it, it’s fine,” because the “ick-factor” has gone away, as I often say when it comes to homosexuality.
Pastor Mike: Satan has been very good at doing that in popular media and in movies. So now, you’re not “icked-out” by homosexuality anymore. You’re “icked-out” by other things and those things are easy to say, “Oh, that’s awful, you shouldn’t do that.” Right? You’re probably more “icked-out” by someone cheating on their wife and confessing that in your small group than someone saying, you know, I’m a homosexual. And all I’m saying is think of what we’ve done with something that God has been very crystal clear on what God’s standard is for sexual ethics. So, we love them by warning them. And all you have to do is replace any kind of other sexual sin in your mind and say, “How would I love a group of people coming down a street in a parade celebrating cheating on their wife?” I think you’d say, “I would be against that. I would say you need to stop that. I’d say, that’s nothing to celebrate, it’s something to be ashamed of.” And if someone’s in your small group that’s struggling with committing adultery, how do we love them? We warn them. We help keep them accountable. We tell them there is hope for you to conquer sin. “No temptation has overtaken you except that which is common to man.” Right? “And God is faithful and he won’t allow you to be tempted beyond what you’re able.” But today people have said don’t tell me it’s sin. That’s the first question people ask when they’re trying to pin me down. Is homosexuality a sin? Right? And I just watched a video of a high prominent New York pastor sit there and tap dance his way through the answer and it sounded ridiculous. You can interview me on that and it’s a very short interview. The answer is “Yes.” I don’t have to tap dance. Why? Because God said it.
Pastor Mike: Everyone says, “You need to be on the right side of history.” I am on the right side of history. Right? Because Christ is going to come back and the kingdoms of the world, along with all of its desires and values, are going to pass away and the Kingdom of God is going to be established. So I am on the right side of history because God has made his will very clear in his word. And so I’m going to say love them, but by warning them, love them by caring to get them into a place of accountability. But that’s not the battle we’re fighting. The battle we’re fighting is: it’s not wrong. And all I’m saying is God couldn’t be clearer about what’s right and wrong concerning our sexual behavior. So we care, we feel bad, but we also recognize this is not something that we can ever acquiesce to our culture. And this is nothing new by the way. When Jesus was getting up and saying from the beginning, God created them male and female, you understand the Roman world was filled with homosexuality. The Greco-Roman world.
Pastor Mike: By the time Peter is writing about being sexually pure in the Scripture, Nero is the Roman emperor and he’s marrying young men, right, in the palace, as the Emperor of Rome. I mean, it’s not just that the president was pro, you know, gay marriage, it’s that Nero was engaging in it. I mean this is the culture in which the Bible was written. And for those people that think, “Well, that was some puritanical… They probably hadn’t even thought about homosexuality, you know.” They were living in a culture that was much more blatant regarding homosexuality than we are. It’s just that now we’re back to where it’s been in other times. So love them by warning them, love them by trying to help keep them accountable. But we can’t even do that until we agree on what’s true and what’s right. And that’s the battle that we face regarding those issues.
Question: Yes. So I recently finished a biography on A.W. Tozer and it talks about how he would pray regularly for more of the Holy Spirit and it gave examples of other well-known contemporaries that did the same thing and so it gave the reference of Luke 11 and so I went there and I read that and I had never even caught it before how Jesus said, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” And so, I just didn’t understand because my understanding before was you either had the Holy Spirit or you didn’t. I never knew there could be variances of that or can there be?
Pastor Mike: There can’t. But here’s the qualifier. When Jesus is speaking of this in Luke Chapter 11 regarding the giving of the Spirit, we had not yet had what was promised in Jeremiah 31 about the giving of the spirit in the way Jesus clarifies in John that he will not just be with you but he’ll be in you. There was a change, a dynamic paradigm shift in the way the Spirit was going to interact with followers of Yahweh or, in this case, those who would be known as Christians. And it was all going to start in Acts Chapter 2, with a preview at the end of the resurrection when Jesus gives the Apostles the Spirit in us and a special precursor to what’s going to happen at Pentecost. But what happens in the changing of the relationship of the Spirit is telling these Jewish followers of Christ, you need to be praying for that promise of what was called the New Covenant and it’s coming, at least the initial phase of it, with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. So that’s the context of that passage of wanting the Spirit. Tozer. I love Tozer. I read Tozer. I recommend Tozer, but he was a bit of a mystic when it comes to his Christian life and it’s not the kind of theology that is super tight, particularly in terms of numetology and his understanding of the Spirit. It echoed a lot of what you saw in Pentecostalism that was just young in its bearing when Tozer was out there, I guess it had been 40 years or so, but those Pentecostals continued to popularize a belief that you can be a Christian, have some of the spirit, but you needed an encounter to get all of the Spirit or more of the Spirit. But the Bible is very clear in Romans Chapter 8, if you don’t have the Spirit of God, you’re not a child of God. He doesn’t come in phases. What comes in phases is your response to his leadership. And that’s where we talk about the concept of being filled with the Spirit, which, again, gives me the wrong impression if I don’t understand the context. The context is don’t be drunk with wine. And the concept of wine is it inebriates you, it gives you a personality you wouldn’t have if you didn’t have your alcohol. It releases you to do things you wouldn’t otherwise do. Spirit is the same way. Mike Fabarez, if he does things the way he wants to do them, it’s not the way the Spirit wants them. I need the Spirit of God to be such an influence in my life. It’s not that I need more of him, it’s that I need to be more responsive to him. He’s in me. Right? What I need to now do is respond to his leadership and that’s where that passage goes. I need to walk in step with the Spirit. He’s already here and I need to see the fruit of the Spirit, as it says earlier, borne out in my life. So, I don’t agree with that. And I knew that was… Was that by my Dorsett, the author Dorsett? That’s the Moody Press book. I know a lot of the Moody Press books, although now it’s my publisher for this last book, often have that view on the Spirit, not because they’re charismatic or Pentecostal, but because Moody and guys like Tozer had that view. And because they had that view, you’ll see it seep into some of their writings and Dorsett in that book, a Moody Press book, I think it’s a Moody Press book, I read that book and I saw that and I remember, yep, that’s what I read when I read a lot of book, biographies in particular, about their heroes and they are my heroes too. I love Moody, I love Tozer. But I think the influence of what was really ramping up, hadn’t yet become full orbed Pentecostalism as we know it in our day, but had a lot of that view of you need more of the Spirit. Hopefully that helps.
Question: Morning Pastor Mike. My question for you with regard to spiritual gifts. I think it’s the idea of cessation versus continuation, specifically like with, you know, healing, with prophecy and with miracles. As I understand it, has the proverbial book closed on that at the end of the Apostolic Age or does man still have any opportunity for those things to be part of their life in today’s age. I think the answer is no, but I don’t know where in the Bible I can find that argument.
Pastor Mike: Well, what you can find, I mean you can start with passages like Hebrews Chapter 4 verses 1 through 4, when you are thinking about God’s use of miracles. I should go back to the start of your question. Whenever anyone says let’s talk about the gifts, you do recognize that the long list of gifts in the few passages that talk about it, when you put them all together, we have several that are named, not as a complete and exhaustive list, but we have several of them that are named and a few of them, a few of them are those that would be miraculous in the sense, as I call it, as a miracle of the first order. And I mean that because it’s the most spectacular, it’s the kind that suspends natural law. So I’m only talking about those, because I know people say, “Pastor Mike doesn’t believe in the gifts.” Of course I do. I believe in the gifts. Not only do I believe in the gifts that are operable right now but I believe in all the gifts that have happened. I believe they did happen. But the question is just because these things did happen, does God, in his plan, do I see that now as an operative in significant, meaningful expression today? And if I start looking for what is the operable, meaningful expression of the miraculous gifts, you see them in three clumps in biblical history. If I start to just scatterplot them on biblical history, I see them during Moses’ and Joshua’s age, when we had the writing of the Pentateuch, I saw them in Elijah’s and Elisha’s day, there are another rash of them there when we had the writing of the prophets, and then I had them in Christ and the Apostles, and that’s when we had the writing of the New Testament. Hebrews Chapter 4 verses 1 through 4 now says, here’s a picture of God’s truth being affirmed and attested to by miraculous signs and miracles, those words, “semeion” signs and miracles, are both words that speak of the breaking of natural law. So, can God do miracles? He does miracles. Absolutely. But it’s the miracles that we see of the second order and what’s that? In his providence, working within natural law, he intervenes in response to our prayers, oftentimes, to show his glory and to do good in this world. He does those things and we can say that is a miraculous thing. When they prayed to have the two jailbreaks in Acts, one of them was a GT-1, a God Thing 1, a miracle of the first order and one was a GT-2, a God Thing of the second order, a miracle of the second order. One was a miracle with an angel coming and opening up gates by themselves and the other one took place with an earthquake and he comes out because of the chaos of this earthquake and he goes to Rhoda’s house and all the rest. When you see these two distinct kinds of deliverances, both of them are described as God. God responding, God doing it. One of them is the breaking and cessation of natural law and one of them works within the laws of nature, like an earthquake. We can safely assume, as any other earthquake, we had seismic activity. What was a miracle was the timing of it, the providence of it all. Therefore, I’m going to say, if I’m going to look in the history of the Bible as to when God does these breaking of natural law, I see it in three periods, they all relate to the giving of Scripture, which is what’s described in Hebrews Chapter 4 verses 1 through 4, and it’s a confirmation of those things and I recognize that must be the place for them. Because everyone, beginning with the very end of the first century, they were writing an extra-biblical way. When the Bible was done and they started writing, like the Didache or any of the early writings of the Church Fathers, there was an understanding that the time of those miracles, the third rash of them, was done, it was over. We don’t see them anymore. We don’t start funerals with a prayer for a resurrection like Jesus and Lazarus, right? At not a single one do I do that. And even our neighbor over here, Benny Hinn, doesn’t start funerals that way.
Pastor Mike: Right? Because he knows he has no power to do those. And God is saying, now we’re working everything out according to natural law. Now does God intervene in the providence of men? Absolutely. Do we pray for that? Sure we do. Do we call it a miracle? Call it a miracle. The Bible calls it miracles, but there are miracles of a different sort. How many are there in the Scripture of the first order? In my count, I’ve counted, there are less than 90. You have less than 90 suspensions of natural law, not counting creation. I counted that as one in my count. And most of them, and creation is outside of these three, but most of them, like 90 percent of them, within the period of Moses and Joshua, Elijah and Elisha, and Christ and the Apostles. Now, people say, “Well, you’re putting God in a box.”
Pastor Mike: I guess, but you don’t pray, do you, when your pantry is empty, do you pray for God to fill your pantry and then open up to see if he’s done it? And then if you say, “No, I go to the store for that.” And I say, “Well, I open up the Bible when Israel needed bread, God just gave it to them miraculously from heaven in the wilderness.” So, are you limiting God? Are you putting God in a box? Maybe some of you go home and start praying for your pantry to be filled miraculously, but most of you say, no I don’t pray for that. I pray that God would allow me to have the money and get a job, be able to go into the grocery store so I can feed my family. Those are things that God does, we credit God with those, because every good and perfect gift comes from him. But we realize just because God gave, miraculously, bread to Israel doesn’t mean I expect him to do it now. And I would say, particularly because we’re not writing Scripture now.
Pastor Mike: Right? The faith has been once for all delivered to the saints. That’s the short answer and I know I hacked some people off with that answer. But come talk to me later. Either that or listen to a series of sermons I did in First Corinthians Chapter 14 on the miraculous gifts, the last one in particular. It’s a sermon called “When God Breaks the Rules That He Made” and that might be helpful than a more than a five minute answer, give you at least five hours worth of information.
Question: Good morning. My question is I often come across where it says they went extended periods of time without food or drink. And I recently read in Esther, three days without food and drink. I understand with food you can go a long time, but drink, I’m thinking that’s alcohol versus water.
Pastor Mike: Usually that’s the case except for when it’s stated as water and that’s on a few occasions that we’d see that. But usually the assumption is, and most of us understand when they said that, that meant all they had was water. They didn’t have the normal drink which, of the day was wine, and they weren’t drinking that. They had no sustenance, no peptins, no proteins, no sugars, nothing was coming but they had H2O. So that’s the assumption and I agree with that. Most scholars would say that. In a very few cases we’ll see a reference to water. And in those cases they’re unique.
Question: Before I ask a quick question, a quick kudos on Pastor Rod and PJ. Great additions to the staff, committed, well-educated, godly men. I’m going to tie into to an earlier question about the battle that we’re having. You mentioned that interview of pastor/author here over the last week. So he said, you know, yeah, I’d marry two homosexuals. Is that a battle about inerrancy or what is the battle? It’s not a surprise that we’re seeing this more and more. But it’s disappointing. What’s going on?
Pastor Mike: Here’s what I’m going to call it. I’d put it down into these words, “the fear of God.” We don’t fear God. Right? We may know our Bibles. We fear man, we don’t fear God. I fear my reputation, I don’t fear God. If you fear God, then you look in your Bible for what concerns God. If God said it is an abomination to me if you put your right thumb in your left ear, it’s an abomination to me, right, which he’d have every right to say whatever he wants. Any body part doing anything, he’s got… He is the Lord of the body and he could say that’s an abomination to me. And if for everyone in the world that’s the cool trend now, put your right thumb in your left ear and for me to go, “Well… I think that’s all right.” If I know the God of the Bible and I understand what he has said, right, then I don’t really care what the culture says. I’m going to stand with God and I’m going to fear him enough to say, “I’m not for it, I’m not going to applaud it, I’m not going to celebrate it, I’m not going to laugh at it, I’m not going to sanction it, I’m certainly not going to solemnize a relationship that’s all about it, I’m not going to do it, I fear God.” One day the God who made all these rules is going to show up and you and I can sit around and say we were pals and popular and famous and when we had interviews, everybody clap when we were over, we certainly put everybody’s mind at ease that we weren’t puritanical or uptight or stringent or strict. But what matters is whether or not, when he comes back, I’m going to shrink back from that God in shame. And I’ll tell you, we’ve made a God of our own imagination sometimes, as Psalm 50 says. So, in my mind, as I just understand what was going on in our current culture with popular pastors, you know, back and forth and waffling, and we’re talking about two different pastors, I’m thinking, because there are two different stories going around right now about popular pastors. But you’ve got the one, I was thinking the other. We can talk about those another time, but we don’t fear God. That’s my take. That’s what I think. Because if you’re God how would you act that way. How would you say those things. You know what the Bible says. It’s time to fear God again. Right? By the way, if you’re so new to the Bible that you think the fear of God is a bad thing, yes, there is a fear of God that love casts out. It’s the fear relating to the judgment that’s coming at the Lake of Fire, at the Great White Throne, Revelation Chapter 20.
Pastor Mike: The other fear of God that is encouraged from the beginning of the Bible to the end of the Bible is my relationship as a son to God, the great authority and father to whom I must give an account. As Peter says, I call on one, I call him Father, who is an impartial judge of everyone’s work. Therefore, I’m going to function in fear in this life. It’s not the fear of being cast into hell. It’s the fear of having to stand before my father and answer to him and everyone should have that fear. It’s an uncomfortable feeling that I better be doing what he’s asked me to do.
Question: Morning Pastor Mike. The third Jewish temple. Does that need to be rebuilt before the Rapture.
Pastor Mike: No. See and the question is, if you’re new to all this, the third temple, we talk about the third temple. The first temple being the one that Solomon built, the second temple being the one that Zerubbabel oversaw and Nehemiah built and was refurbished by Herod. That’s still the second temple, which was destroyed, obviously, in 70 AD by Titus the Roman, soon to be emperor, but at that time just a commander. And it has not been rebuilt. Now we’ve got a big mosque on it. The third most holy site in Islam sitting on the temple site. The Bible speaks of it being rebuilt. And in the prophecies about the end times, it speaks of that time of Jacob’s Trouble, that the great tribulational period, the temple being functional. OK? So, the question is based on that, if you’re uninformed, I just informed you, we need the temple in that last drama that plays out.
Pastor Mike: OK. But there’s no demand in the Scripture that it must be built, in our eschatology understanding of the taking up the church, before the church is taken up. It just means that before this seven-year period plays out with the drama described, there’s going to be a temple there. And I’m telling you right now, they are in Israel ready to build the third temple. They just got a big roadblock and a lot of problems related to it. But they’re ready to go.
Pastor Mike: And if you go to Israel, some of you just got back, I don’t know if you had a chance on your tour, our Compass tour, that was just there, to go to the Temple Institute. They have everything. I mean they want that temple built, at the least the zealous, you know, the Jews want that temple built. And so it’s just going to mean taking that roadblock, taking that out of the way. And with the Rapture of the Church, certainly whatever and however that’s spun in this world, it’s going to open up for the rebuilding of that temple. And so it could be rebuilt before the Rapture, I’m not saying it has to be. I’m not saying that it cannot be. I’m saying that it doesn’t have to be. But it will be soon after.
Question: Hi, Pastor Mike. In dealing and witnessing with other beliefs, I often run across the saying Jesus isn’t the only son of God. Such as dealing with the book of Job, where it talks about the sons of God sat with God. In other Bibles the question comes up with the angels of God. We come back and say the angels, but they come back and say, “Well, there’s more than one because their son is saying right in the Bible. Why doesn’t the English Standard Version say “angels” versus “sons?”
Pastor Mike: Well, the passage I was just reading in the New Testament. In Second Corinthians Chapter 6 leading up to that Chapter 7 verse 1 that I quoted, it says, if we come out from them we will be sons and daughters of the most high. So, all over the Scripture there are descriptions of the sons of God. We are sons of God but we would say we’re totally human. The, in Hebrew, the Ben-Elohim is a descriptive of the angelic class. Just like you’d say, Romans 8, we’re sons of God. I quoted that one earlier too. If we have the Spirit of God we’re sons of God, if we don’t have the Sprit we’re not sons of God. We are sons of God but you’re not claiming to be the Messiah. Right? Angels are called, one of their appellations, one of their titles, sons of God. In the Old Testament, Ben-Elohim. There’s no confusion that they are not the Messiah. But when Christ comes on the scene and calls himself the Son of God, you need to understand his most favored phrase is not Son of God, it’s Son of Man. And you’d say, “Well, I’m a son of man. I was the son of man when I was a non-Christian.” You’re right, but that Son of Man title, which I keep talking about as we study through Luke, is that phrase that is clearly given to us from Daniel Chapter 7 about one coming from the throne, presenting himself before the Almighty, receiving all dominion, all glory, all power. He speaks as God, acts as God, has the dominion as God, everyone is subject to him. So Christ is the Son of God. Christ is the Son of Man. We are sons of God. Angels are sons of God. Those are categorically different.
Pastor Mike: It’s just one of the many titles of Christ that we would say, “Well, we mean that differently when we say that about Christ.” And you’re right, we do. He’s the Son of God in a different sense than we are sons of God and he’s the Son of God in a different sense than the angels are sons of God. But to get tied up in that debate is to get lost in the trees and miss the forest and the forest is everything Christ did spoke to his deity. Right? Everything he did… He received worship, let’s just think about that for just one point. I think we go off all morning on that, but one thing, accepting worship.
Pastor Mike: Especially, speaking of the Second Temple period, after the destruction of the first temple the most important thing the Jews would not do is fall to idolatry. The zealous Jews in no way were going to worship anything but God because that’s what the Bible said. And particularly after the destruction of the first temple, in the Second Temple period, they were super concerned about that. Here’s Christ walking into the middle of the Second Temple period and saying, or near the end of the Second Temple period, saying, “Hey, I accept worship.” They’re falling down and worshiping him. Every time you see anything like that happen to anyone else, either angels or people, they say, “Oh, get up, I’m just a man.” “Oh, just get up, I’m a servant,” the angel says in Revelation. Here’s Jesus accepting it. That is the most blasphemous thing that could ever be done by a Jew who is informed about the Old Testament. And it should be all the cause anyone needs to pick up stones and stone him. He didn’t even have to say, “I am, the I Am,” Ego eimi in Greek. He didn’t even have to call himself the essence of what the word Yahweh is, the I Am. He didn’t even have to say that. All he has do is receive worship, or even forgive sins, they picked up stones, they wanted to kill him. We could go on and on and on. The forest builds the picture that he’s presenting himself as Messiah, as the Lord, as Christ, as the one to whom all authority and dominion is given. So, don’t get in the weeds about the son of man just because, I mean, I’m going to concede that point when some cultist says to me, “Angels are the son of God.” Yeah, they’re the son of God, not Son of Man, Son of God and so is Christ. I don’t want to get in that debate. Then “elohim” is sometimes translated angels, I suppose, in some translation because that’s the common phrase for the angels. Not the common phrase but it’s been used of them.
Question: Good morning. I was hoping you can speak to you whether God imposes his will ever on man. And the reason I ask is because, as Christians we often pray for his will to be done and he’s not a puppet master up there moving us all around, we have our free will. And I think sometimes, when I pray that way I find it disheartening at times because I know that maybe whatever I’m praying for that person specifically, I’m praying for that person, they have their free will. So, maybe if you could just speak to God ever imposing his will on man.
Pastor Mike: He imposed his will on you when you were born. You had nothing to do with that. Right? Nothing. And we look in the Bible and the Bible is very clear that every day of our life was numbered, Psalm 139. He chose when that would happen. Acts 17, the times of people’s habitation in the earth were chosen by God. So you want to talk about God imposing his will, he imposes his will all the time on people. The day of your death is the same way. God is a God who is said to be sovereign in imposing his will. Now, between your life, your birth and your death though, you think, “Wow, I feel like very empowered in my will,” and you are. Right? You have something called free will. It’s bound and constrained by several things, right? You can’t fly to the moon, you can’t, you know, become a turnip. You’re constricted in your free will. You can only do certain things. And even within the debate about Christianity and election and all that, you could say, before you’re a Christian your free will is completely limited and depraved as we would say and sinful, so you can’t even choose to do the righteous things that are pleasing to God. But when we’re praying, we are praying that God would do something that is very difficult for us to fathom in our minds. But I’m starting with the bookends of at least saying let’s recognize he imposes his will all the time over men. But now I’m thinking I’m praying that my wife would decide to do this.
Pastor Mike: I’m praying that my boss would decide to do that and I’m asking that God, through circumstances, through providence, through the influence of his spirit, through whatever it might be, would, in that very strange feathering together of his providence and people’s free choices, lead that person to make the decision that would be most honoring and pleasing to God. When I’m praying for his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, it’s certainly going to involve decisions that people are making. Right? But we’re praying that God would work within this human experience that we have of making decisions and that he would bring about his best through those decisions. Why does God choose to work that way? I don’t know. He asked us to work that way, to pray that things would change and then we stand back and say, God is affecting change when we pray. And you can get into a tailspin and say, “Well, did God effect the change for me to start praying that things would change?” Yeah, you can go there. But the bottom line is you and I have the everyday experience of making choices all the time and the Bible has no problem dumping those responsibilities on your lap and saying choose to do right, choose to serve God, choose to pray for your neighbor. Now I’m praying for my neighbor, he’s choosing to do the wrong thing, I’m asking God to help him choose the right thing. I’m afraid God is going to be a puppet master and, you know, force his will, impose his will on that person. That’s not the way that God’s working, right? We know that God is working in ways that in the end make you look back or your neighbor look back and say, I made this decision.
Pastor Mike: But when we look in the rearview mirror, if any decisions were good, this is what the Bible says, because the world and our hearts are so bad, he says you’ll see that I’m working those things for good. I’ve taken you down a path through the current of my spirit to do the things that I want done. And so we give him credit. Every good and perfect gift comes from God. And I think the humble among us recognizes if God has done good things in and through your life you look back and say, I thank God for the ways in which he’s taken me and moved me through this. Was I not an agent in this? Of course you were. You made decisions every day about those things. But we thank God because without his influence, without his moving, without his providence in our lives, we wouldn’t have done any of those things. And that’s the mystery, I suppose, of having the full blown, autonomous experience of making decisions every day but recognizing that God, in his involvement in our lives and in our hearts, actually moves us in the direction of his will. And the biggest one that is a mind blower is that any of us would choose to follow Christ.
Pastor Mike: And that’s where a lot of the focus in the Bible is. It is on God’s, you know, graciousness in calling us to himself and giving us this ability to put our trust and our faith in him, which opens up a can of worms for everyone, I understand. It’s a good question but I wouldn’t feel bad at all saying God often, as the Bible clearly says the day of our birth, the day of our death, are two things I’m completely… Well, unless I commit suicide, but even then. But let’s start with our birth. That’s why I started there. I know I had nothing to do with that. And God decided when I would be born and where I would be born. I was completely passive in that. Now he’s getting me to make decisions in my life and he wants me to make those decisions in keeping with his will. He wants me to think about his will, he wants me to choose, he wants me to call people in my prayers to see them submit to his will. Great question, a hard one. Here’s a book I would suggest. I don’t know what kind of reader you are, if you’re a heady reader. It’s written in a way you can understand although it’s a difficult topic. Tiessen wrote a book called “Prayer and Providence” which will help us understand “Why are we praying for things if God is in charge?” And it’s a bit of a thick book but you might enjoy that. Tiessen. I don’t remember his first name. Anthony Tiessen perhaps (Terrance L. Tiessen)? “Prayer in Providence” but that will give you enough to work on this week to think that through.
Question: Hi, Pastor Mike. So I’m in the middle of reading “Trusting God” again by Jerry Bridges and in the book he says that everything that happens to us is under the sovereignty of God, illness, car accident, natural disaster. So in light of that and also in the light of the book of Job and everything that’s going on behind the scenes, how do we as Christians discern whether we’re being attacked by the enemy or if it’s the discipline of God, his loving discipline or our sanctification or something for his glory that he wants to do in our life when one of those things happens to us.
Pastor Mike: First begin by making sure that I am saved, right? To be saved is then to put me in the category of Romans Chapter 8 that reminds me that God is going to work out in my life everything for his good. And the good that he has in mind is to be conformed to the image of his Son. So I know God wants my spirit, my heart to reflect the character of Christ.
Pastor Mike: So now in my life I’m going to recognize that in that promise, at least I know, whatever is going to happen to me, whatever accident, whatever problem, whatever loss, my wife dies today, I know that ultimately all of that, along with all the other things he’s working in this world, I know will, in the end, work out to conform me the image of Christ because I know I’m a child of God. So that’s a good place to start. But, Hebrews 12 says that God is a father and a disciplinarian and so I might be put in the hospital because I’m in sin and sinning. And so I’m there suffering as an act of God’s discipline because all discipline is painful, so I’ve got to ask myself the question every time I have a situation, even if it is a good thing or a bad thing, I’m going to say, “God what is this that I should be sensitive to in this situation. Is this a revealing in my life of some kind of compromise, some kind of sin?” I want to be open, very sensitively, as Paul would often say, to my conscience, what is my conscience saying here? Is there a reason that I am encountering this? That’s why we, as we just read Job recently in our Daily Bible Reading, all of you I hope are reading with us, you saw such frustration in his heart because his conscience was clean and he kept saying that, “My conscience is clean. My kids just died. I got sick. I lost all my wealth.” So he’s frustrated.
Pastor Mike: And what he can’t see in all of that is that God had an overarching plan of dealing with his enemy, Satan, in Chapter 1, as you know. But also he’s working out in Job’s life something that will result in glory to God because the changing of his heart. And we read that in chapters 38 and following, he begins to have a whole new perspective on life. And that’s what God wanted him to have. So God is, even an Old Testament setting, working out something good in Job’s life through this horrific thing that’s taken place. If all you have is life, if you’re a naturalist and Christianity to you it’s just a rabbit’s foot hoping, that if you die, there’s something beyond and you’re ready for it, then this isn’t helpful. Because the problem is we see things in this life temporally only, and if you do, then things like your wife dying, “Oh, that’s the worst!” That’s not the worst. If my wife dies today that is not the worst thing, right? Because I know this life is a blip on the screen. Eternity is what matters. Right? My wife doesn’t cease to exist when she dies. Right? If I die, I don’t cease to exist. If I’m a Christian, that’s a day of promotion, “to live is Christ, to die is gain.” But we only see it from a non-Christian perspective because we’re so conditioned in that regard. Everything matters now, “Whether my sexual desires are fulfilled. I got to have all that I want,” to go back to an earlier question or, you know, “I got to have good health. I can’t be chronically sick. I can’t be a widow or whatever.” These are things that are just so immature from God’s perspective, though I respect the pain. I certainly respect the pain. But I recognize that we have to have a bigger view that God is working out things that may have its dividend in eternity and not now. So even if Job died and we never had the end of Job, where he’s restored and everything seems to be better, it’s not as though he didn’t miss his children, right, but we recognize that in that, God has a plan that moves beyond this life. Even if he had died and there was nothing there but a terrible disaster and, you know, it was a tragedy and not a comedy, so to speak in a technical sense. So I think a sensitive conscience to get back to your question, to be very responsive when bad things happen to say, “God what are you trying to teach me in this? Is this pain an act of discipline, is it a response to something, is it a redirecting of my life?” In pain, God has redirected my life, has he done that in your life? And taken me into a place, into a pasture, into a place that I see as good. He’s walked me through the valley of the shadow of death in certain seasons of my life to get me into a green pasture. And I recognize that green pasture for me, and I hope for you, is to glorify God and serve God to make a difference in this world. But he took me through that difficult time to redirect me.
Pastor Mike: If everything’s good, I doubt you’re going to change anything in your life. Right? And it’s in those crises, sometimes, that God is redirecting, sometimes he’s refining, sometimes it’s just, you know, cause and effect, reaping and sowing and reaping. But ask God. Get on your face. God loves, I think, to answer the prayer that, you know, search me, try me, know my heart, see if there’s any wicked way in me. That is a prayer God loves to answer and he’ll do it through the work with his Spirit in our lives with conviction and prompting and clarity. Just like when you discipline your children. If they’re really confused about why you’re disciplining them and they say, “Please tell me why you’re disciplining me.” You’re not going to go, “I don’t know, figure it out.” You want them to know and God wants you to know if, in fact, what you’re going through is discipline. Good question. One more maybe? Do we have time for one more? Last one. That went by so quickly, for me, at least. For you, it was an eternity, right, to sit through that?
Question: Good morning. According to the ADA, the American Disability Act, addictions to drugs is a disease. What do you, God or the Bible say we should do when someone you love and live with has an active addiction to drugs. Do I just leave? Or continue to not giving up on them?
Pastor Mike: Yeah, well in the Bible, it’s not a disease, it’s called sin. And I guess sin could be, you know, at least metaphorically called a disease. But these are choices that we make, whether it’s a sexual addiction or, you know… Obviously, when someone takes drugs and they become dependent on a chemical, there is a physiological dependency, I understand that. And I love using those words, I have no problem with that. But what I don’t want to do is I don’t want someone to be Narconon or, you know, Al-Anon or to be someone who has to identify themselves for the rest of their lives as a drug addict or as, you know, as an alcoholic. “Hi, my name is Mike, I’m an alcoholic.” To me that’s not a biblical view of this, that I have some kind of disease that even if I stopped this activity and I’m no longer chemically dependent, I’m stuck in this thing. God gives us hope. As Paul said to the Corinthians, “Such were some of you. You were drunkards, you were all these things but now you’re not. You’ve been justified, sanctified, washed, he’s put you on the right path.” There are many people in this room that had all kinds of dependencies on all kinds of activities that were sinful that sit here today without that. If you’re in the middle of a situation where you’re living with some someone who has this, it depends on who that person is.
Pastor Mike: If it’s your covenant partner, then I think you get a lot of counsel from biblical Christians who can help you do all that you can to help pull that person through accountability and tough love out of those kinds of dependencies. Very important that you do that. Sometimes, if it’s your children, there is some tough love that doesn’t involve the kind of thing that I’m talking about and thinking through as I say that about a marriage, in saying, hey, there has to be, sometimes, a sowing and reaping that’s going to teach you the hard knocks of life to get you out of this. But all of us, if they claim to be Christians, I would say, you need to look at a fellow Christian who is claiming Christ but having these problems, we need to get them to recognize this for what it is. It is a willful, at least at the beginning, a willful engagement in something that God saw as wrong, and we can help them get out of it. I’ve detoxed hardcore drug addicts in my second bedroom, had them vomit all over my mattress and got them out of that stuff and I share this sometimes because this comes up in our Q&A. He’s a pastor now, a changed life, but it started with tough love, locking him in a room, giving him his meals and saying, we’re going to love you through this. And I know, you know, people who say, “I wouldn’t recommend that, you’re not a doctor,” I understand that. We got him through this because we were willing to keep him accountable 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Lots of other people have done it with other people in the church who have struggled with some kind of chemical dependency and got them on the right road.
Pastor Mike: But in our day, when we call it a disease, one of the problems with that is, giving people excuses. Like I’ve got arthritis, that’s a disease. Right? That makes me look at my crippled hands and say, “Nothing I can really do about it. I’ll take some medicine and I’ll do some therapy, I’ll do whatever I can. But it is what I have.” But if I’m pounding my other hand over here with a hammer and calling it a disease. Right? You see again, I can have that sense of passivity about it, as opposed to me being an active participant in destroying my body. Some things are a disease. In other words, some things in your body, obviously, are completely organic in themselves, they done it on their own. But when I start smoking cigarettes, let’s just say, and I get addicted to nicotine, I can say I am chemically dependent on that, and you can call it whatever you want, I’m going to call it a dependency, a chemical dependency, a physiological dependency. But I know I started that, that was a choice that I made. I don’t want to put that in the category of, you know, your dad had heart disease, now you have a heart disease. It’s a different categorical thing.
Pastor Mike: But to get back to your question which is really what prompted it, I’d say you need to get in some serious accountability, get some serious, godly people involved in doing all that you can to try and get someone you love, someone you live with, to get out of this because I’ve seen it happen so many times. You don’t need them in, necessarily… I’m just saying, let’s just start by looking at the specific situation in your case and see if we can help you. Because I think, perhaps, we can and I wouldn’t say, “Hey, as soon as my loved one has a chemical dependency, I’m going to cut bait and be done.” I certainly wouldn’t advise that from the platform. But knowing every situation is different, I’d want to have some pastors sit down and find out what’s going on in particular. All right.
Pastor Mike: We’re out of time. Let me pray for you. God, thanks so much for getting us together. We love your word and we love how it can speak to so many situations in life, but I know in these little sound bites we don’t have a lot of time, but I pray that there would be some things that would spark our hearts to study your word, to go after truth in a way that would be helpful in the fear of God as we talked about early on and we would respect your truth and we try to understand what it says, because we know one day it’s going to be the measure of our accountability. So help us God to know it well, help us to be good students of your word, to study it as a workman who doesn’t have to be ashamed, is approved unto God, and we want to be able to rightly handle it, so help us to do that as we get into it more and more and think it through and apply it to every situation we come across.
Pastor Mike: Thanks so much for this church. Thanks for their inquisitive minds. Thanks for their commitment to you and I pray you and bless them this week.
Pastor Mike: In Jesus name, Amen.