Classic Christianity – Call-In Bob George p394 (11-16-18)
Welcome to Classic Christianity radio from Bob George. From the original People to People radio, on the air for over 30 years, Bob answers questions from callers. He offers real answers to real problems with truth from God’s word. The first caller, Niles, is a father with six children, struggling in his marriage. Bob asked several questions to help him discern whether his wife is a born again believer. He gave practical advice in either case. If she is not born again, then he is unequally yoked and she does not have the ability to discern the things of God nor would she be inclined to do so. But, if both are believers, then as the leader of the home, he can approach his wife and appeal to her to study the scriptures together to get God’s wisdom, to ask God what he thinks about the subject of contention. So, it would no longer be about what I think or she thinks but what God thinks! The second caller, Beth, asked Bob if she does not go to a local church, then is she sinning. She made reference to the scripture that states one should not forsake the assembling together with other believers. Bob explained to her what a church means, what assembling means, the proper role of elders, pastors or shepherds, and where the modern concept of church came from, which is really about controlling people rather than helping people walk by faith in Christ Jesus. Bob shared with her that if you go to a local church that is all about controlling you, and not learning from the Lord, then just stay home. Bob emphasized that one born again in Christ Jesus is the body of Christ. The last caller, Kenneth, is a young believer and is all worried about whether he is saved because he still sins. Unfortunately, he was reading a poor translation of scripture from Hebrews 12 that has him thinking that he is being punished by God. Bob helps him discern the meaning of scriptures so he can relax in God’s total forgiveness and walk in the Lord’s loving discipline. Bob shares the gospel message, asking him if that is what he believes and if he has put his trust in the Lord for his salvation. He reminded him that when someone trusts in what Jesus did for him, that Jesus took away all the sins of the world on the cross and has completely provided eternal life through His resurrection, then he has become born again and has been granted the right to become a child of God. If so, Bob reminds him that when one does sin, and we all will, then just simply thank God for what he has already done, having already taken away all your sins, and realize the reason you sin is because you stopped trusting God in your day to day thinking. Let the Lord discipline you through his word so you you can learn to walk by faith.
A common misconception many believers have today is understanding what the church is. Traditionally, many are brought up in various denominations, and is customary to walk to some building on the corner of walk and don’t walk. That building is not the church. If you are in Christ Jesus, then you are the church, the temple that God dwells in by His Spirit. It is the Spirit of the living God that is the head of the church, who leads you into all truth, as well as all those who are in Christ Jesus. The modern buildings that people refer to as church are often made up of lost people, lost pastors even, and are not even shepherding the flock of God, but are about programs and controlling the people. This modern concept of church originated with Constantine when the church organization was nationalized and much pagan idolatry was mixed into teaching, generally teaching that is contrary to biblical truth and sound doctrine. There is nothing in the bible that speaks of going to a local church. When Paul writes to the churches, such as the church in Ephesus, he is simply saying that these born again believers were meeting together in the city of Ephesus. In early days, no such things as buildings and church structures. Those were added by Constantine. It is actually a faulty question to ask, “Where are you going to church?” You can honestly answer, “What are you talking about? I do not go to church. I am the church.” The church is not some gathering place to be conformed to some tradition. Instead we are not to be conformed to the pattern of this world but are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds through the reading of God’s word as God’s Spirit reveals truth to us. We simply meet with other like-minded believers because we want to express the love that God expresses to us and receive Bible teaching. If no local building serves that purpose, but is about control and conformity to their way of thinking, and even contrary to truth in God’s word, you are no obligation to even go in the first place or to remain. Indeed, I would leave in a heartbeat and stay at home. If you find one like-minded believer that you are encouraged by and are mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, then you are blessed indeed, and you can simply just be glad to be with each other. The role of an elder or a pastor is to equip the saints with truth that allows them to be led of the Lord and walk in freedom for which Christ has set him free. The pastor does not control people but sets them free to follow the Lord’s leading. The true church is about simply walking by faith in Christ Jesus. The true elder is simply someone, through constant use of the scriptures has discerned right from wrong, and over a sufficient period of time, having had his mind renewed, and therefore, is more able to help someone else who is just beginning this new walk of faith. He deeply loves the Lord and wants others to know Him and walk in Him.
Another concept that is difficult for people to grasp, particularly with young believers in the faith, but also those accustomed to hearing false teaching, is the freedom that Christ has set you free. How many get concerned over whether they are saved or somehow still under God’s judgment because they still sin? They may be a believer alright but their thinking is not quite on solid ground. When Jesus died on the cross, he took your punishment for sin and put that on himself. Indeed, he took away all the sins of the entire world, back to Adam and forward to eternity! Jesus eternally paid the price of death for sin, by voluntarily laying down his life on a cross. The wages, or price for sin, is death. So, Jesus eternally took away the cause of death, which is sin. If it was not an eternal sacrifice, then the next time you or I sin, he would have to die again. That is so important to understand! Jesus took away all sin eternally before he could give life. And the life he gave is the life he has, eternal life, one without beginning or end. Death is really spiritually death, life without God. When one is dead, he cannot approach someone he is dead to, someone he does not know. That is why Jesus referred to the need of man to be born again, not physically as in a second time in a mother’s womb, but born anew with the life of God put in him. That is what Jesus offers all men after he rose from dead, the gift of eternal life, the ability to communicate freely with the living God, trusting in him for your every need, for he cares for you. This is eternal life, to know Him who is eternal life. So man’s most basic need is that he is dead and in need of life, God’s life!
2 Corinthians 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
Now, what believer’s get tangled up in is there present sin, maybe even a pattern of recurring sin. Their fear of not being saved or being out of fellowship or even God’s punishment all comes from not understanding truth. Being young believers, sometimes this error in thinking comes from poor translations of scripture that gets them all confused or even fearful. Some scriptures in Hebrews seems to get people all tangled up. For example, in Hebrews 12:6, in the Good News translation, scripture has been translated as this
Hebrews 12:6 (Good News Translation)
Because the Lord corrects everyone he loves, and punishes everyone he accepts as a child.”
Hebrews 12:6 New International Version (NIV)
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]
Sometimes it is just by focusing too much on just one word and letting your mind roam with your natural feelings you had when you were once lost. Feelings are deceptive, but one learns to trust God, by taking Him at his word, and letting the Spirit renew your mind and trust Him, not your feelings.
In other translations, the word chasten is used instead of punish, and discipline is used instead of corrects. In the NIV there is a footnote to Proverbs 3:11-12
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
Bob shared that the proper understanding is the Father loves you. Just like a coach trains a football player so that he becomes better at football so too the Lord trains us to be better at walking by faith in one who perfectly loves you. Notice also how Proverbs mentions a father and son-like relationship. Certainly a good father would not punish his child for he is about helping him succeed in this life and is about correcting his behavior. The son would never cease to be a son, a permanent relationship.
Knowing the gospel message clearly, your totally forgiveness and acceptance in Christ Jesus, when one sins the only rational response is to simply thank him for taking all your sin away and simply asking God to help you trust again. For you sin because somewhere along the way you stopped trusting Him in some matter.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
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