Classic Christianity – Call-In Bob George p393 (11-15-18)
Join Bob George as he takes calls from listeners on the original People to People radio program for over 30 years. Tedd called to ask about if it was okay to date a girl who is in Catholic Church and he belongs to a different Church. Bob answers by addressing Tedd’s lack of time reading God’s word and not knowing the scriptures. Someone who is a child of God will grow as they read and ponder over God’s word letting the Holy Spirit teach him. But, in case Tedd did not know the Lord, Bob explained the simple gospel message. He then provided a practical suggestion to help both him and his girlfriend to hear truth from scriptures. The second caller, Dale, heard a sermon by a preacher that cited Luke 15 as scripture supporting the concept of a believer being able to be in and out of fellowship with God. Although the caller did not agree with the pastor, he wanted clarification from Bob on the meaning of Luke 15. Bob graciously answered by explaining a common problem in people applying scripture by determining truth from human experience. The faulty logic used is similar to saying if it is true in my human experience then it certainly true of God. That is an erroneous way to discern doctrine. The third, and last caller, Robert, expressed guilt when having difficulty saying no to people. Bob essentially addressed that his real problem was a bondage to acceptance of people. He reiterated how Jesus, although God in the flesh, lived as a man with total dependence on His Father. Jesus did this to show us how to live. Bob also shared that when one knows they are totally accepted by God then there is no need to have to have the acceptance of others.
When Tedd told Bob that he did not see anything wrong with the Catholic Church, Bob responded by saying that he does not know the truth from the word of God. Bob shared that he did not become a child of God until his 30s and went to a Presbyterian church. If someone asked him what a Presbyterian believes, he could not answer nor was it really important to him at that time in his life. His kind of nonsensical answer at that time in his life was whatever they teach I believe. He said this so at to explain to Tedd the first step in understanding anything is by being born again. Everyone has to start there. He asked Tedd several questions to discern Tedd’s understanding of born again and if he ever came to point in his life where he was born again. Tedd’s answer were quite shallow, showing his lack of maturity in his spiritual growth. But, he did answer correctly after quite a few questions. In essence, one has to have more than an intellectually assent to facts that Jesus died, was buried and rose again. Why did Jesus die, why was he buried, and why did he rise again. Everyone is born a sinner, having inherited the condition of death in Adam, after Adam sinned. The consequences, or wages of sin, is death. When one sins, that action or thought identifies them as a sinner. Now death is not merely physical death. Death is the absence of life, God’s life. There is no relationship with the living God. Indeed there is an emptiness or longing in someone heart for something more. Man pursues all kinds of things to fill that void. But when one realizes there condition of death and hear that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price of death for your sin, and indeed all the sins of the world, then you are receiving truth. Then one hears that Jesus buried your sins, never to be remembered anymore. Do you agree that you are a sinner, your condition of being dead to God, and that you need His life. Jesus, now that punishment of sin has been paid, can offer you new life, His life. How? He, being God and without sin of His own, was raised from the dead and always lives to intercede for those who put their trust in Him. Do you believe in God’s provision of life? Now, this is from the depth of your being, not just an intellectual knowledge, but a belief that results in a change in desires and attitudes, a change life unto a new creation. Tedd eventually acknowledge that he recalls being born again after Bob having to unravel faulty thinking and unclear responses from Tedd, responses that sounded more like a manifestation of tongues or some human or emotional experience. At one point Tedd responded that he tries hard to have faith, clearly faulty thinking. Bob reiterated that God is the initiator and the individual is the responder. One does not try to get to God. He reaches toward us. One does not try to be born again or try harder by obeying certain laws or rules or of even trying to be good, but simply agree with God about your condition in sin and God’s provision of life. Then, Bob said that if Tedd simply believed then yes he is born again. Someone who is born again is not Presbyterian, not Catholic, not Baptist, but a child of God. Bob also said that Catholic teaching clearly teaches things contrary to truth revealed in the scriptures. Bob cited two clear false teachings in Catholicism, namely the veneration (synonym for worship) of Mary and what is termed transubstantiation, the real presence of God in a wafer. For someone not to see what is wrong with Catholic teaching, shows a great lack of spiritual knowledge and discernment at best. It is not hard to discern that those teachings are in error to those who are born again. Bob strongly encouraged Tedd to study a booklet he wrote titled “A Scriptural Journey to Discover the Grace of God” to help Tedd grow in the knowledge and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. And, he also encouraged him to ask his girlfriend to join him on this journey so they can study from the scriptures the truth about the grace of God. If she has any leaning toward truth, then she would be willing to go on this journey with him. Bob also told Tedd to look into the differences between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, a foundation to growing in discernment as one reads the scriptures.
Bob also said that he never tells someone to stop being a Catholic but rather tells them about being a born again believer. Bob did not elaborate on why he would say this so I can only conjecture several reasons for that. One, the Catholic holds strongly to a belief system of deception and he is trapped in deception. Telling him to stop doing something he is unable or unwilling to do would not accomplish anything except possibly build stronger defenses to defend Catholicism. He would only see such a remark by you as going against what he has held to be true as the one true church or the only things he has ever known to hold onto. He might also see you as personally attacking him, as if either he is so bad or not a good person in your eyes. He might also think you are going against 2000 years of church history, and see you as the one who is full of pride. I can envision all kinds of responses, none of which serves to help a person come to build trust to hear truth from you or to look further into the scriptures for truth.
Nevertheless, whether one tells a Catholic to stop going to Catholic church is really not quite as straightforward as one would think. Are they currently a Catholic? How entrenched are they in false teaching? Are they just a church goer, being born into the Catholic Church? Were they once a Baptist, having heard teaching from another denomination, yet converted to Catholicism? Have they been exposed to good teaching, but got enamored by the mysticism and appearance of reverence in Catholicism that led them to have more exposure to false teaching? I heard a testimony of a church that flipped to become a Catholic church, and there were once strong believers in the leadership who were ousted from leadership by those who had Catholic leanings, those believing a lie!
Have you heard well-meaning people say “Catholics are Christians too”? Let the Holy Spirit direct you in what he would have you do or say? I heard a testimony of a friend’s Catholic mother who came to know Christ because of someone’s persistence in proclaiming truth that exposed Catholicism for what it really teaches. She kept sharing again and again to her mother and her mother would even get angry at what she was hearing, and would defend Catholicism. But she became born again and now thanks that person for offending her for she wonders if she would have ever come to know the truth without being offended first.
The second caller, Dale, was listening to a pastor share things contrary to what he held as true, that a believer, a child of God, can come in and out of fellowship with God. He made reference to a sermon he heard by a pastor who claimed that Luke 15, the parable of the prodigal son, gives evidence for a believer coming in and out of fellowship. Bob responded first by saying that so much error occurs when people try to bring God to a human level and use that experience to formulate doctrine. Bob cites tithing and 1 John 1:9 as examples of prevalent false teaching in the religious world still today. The faulty logic is to say that if it is true in the human experience then it is certainly true of God. Now, let’s reason together. If someone offends you, then does he need to ask me to forgive him before I can forgive him? No. Think of a father and son relationship. Would I only forgive my son when he asks for forgiveness? Not an issue with me and my son, already forgiven. So too, in the story of the prodigal son. he prodigal decided he wanted to live in sin and asked for his father’s inheritance until he came to his senses, and found himself in need, and recognizing he sinned against heaven and against his father. Here is the son, as if thinking like many today think about 1 John 1:9, about how he would talk to his father. Now, his father was already waiting for him to come home, already forgiven him, because before a word ever came out of his lost son’s mouth he threw a party for him.
Now, this story has two important lessons, that of the prodigal and of the older son. The older son was doing god, but was self righteous about how good he was, like a Jew under the law, and looked down at his younger brother, and was even angry that he should be treated so well and his father never threw a party for him. He was pouting. The younger son was like a Gentile, far away from the truth and not even seeking truth, but God found him. He was lost and now he is found. He was dead and is now alive again. The prodigal son was not a believer until he came home. When he was lost was the only time he was out of fellowship with God. The older son was already out of fellowship with God even though at home with his earthly father, and unless he too repents and simply belies the gospel, he will remain lost and out of fellowship.
So this scripture reveals the spiritual lesson Jesus was teaching.
30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works.
The parable of the prodigal reveals two types of people in the world today, those who are lost and are saved by simple faith, and those who think they are saved but are lost, pursuing a righteousness by works and not by faith.
The last caller, Robert, expresses his guilt in whether to say no to people, those that ask for money or help. Are we not to esteem others better than ourselves? Bob’s first response was to share that Robert was in bondage to the acceptance of people. Bob has asked people to gibe money to people to people and there are those who do not give and he does not worry about. It just means there are others whom God has put on their heart who are willing and ready. He does not concern himself with such. When someone is in bondage to acceptance of others,then others can take advantage. To explain, Bob pointed to the example of Jesus, who being God did not live a God but as a man, and only did what his Father told him to do, and what His Father told him to say and how to say it. That is, Jesus was totally dependent on his Father, the second Adam who lived perfectly by faith. So too should we live a men by Jesus example. Furthermore, we do not need the acceptance of people, although certainly good to have it, but we do not need their acceptance. When one knows the total acceptance of God, then that is all one needs, and as a child of God already has.
Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.
Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.
So when someone asks something of you, then here is a practical or proper way to respond. “I will pray about it and get back with you and if God tells me to I will.” If someone has the courage to ask you for something, then you also likewise can exercise courage to say no. In order to be guilty, someone has to accuse you. Where is your accuser? Certainly not God!
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
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