Classic Christianity – Call-In Bob George p397 (12-06-18)
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 explains spiritual truth, applying such truth so men can walk in freedom in Christ for which Christ has set them free. Sometimes callers simply thank Bob for helping them understand truth and are deeply grateful. Other callers are bogged down in error from things they have heard or been taught in religion. Beth calls to ask Bob if it is a sin to not go to church. Bob tells her it is not a sin and explains what the church really is and explains the role of pastors and elders and the role of Jesus Christ as the head of the true church, which is His body. Lisa asked if under a New Covenant if man can have more than one wife. Bob answered from scripture that the answer is clearly no. And even under the Old Covenant and even from the beginning of creation, in Genesis God’s design has always been one man and one woman in what is rightly called marriage. Bobbie called to thank Bob. She was very grateful to Bob for explaining the meaning of the Sabbath rest from the book of Hebrews about 16 years ago. Robert called to get help about his struggle with guilt he experiences when he says no to people. He said he has a hard time telling people no. Bob spent some time explaining to Robert that he is in bondage to the acceptance of people and the key to walk free of such bondage is to know your acceptance in Jesus Christ. Rachel called to ask Bob how do you live life with rest when you get so busy. Bob explains truth from scripture concerning the peace with God that surpasses understanding and how one can be busy and experience God’s rest. When one is not operating in the energy of the flesh but operating in God’s power and direction, then you can experience peace even though you are busy. When God is doing the work in and through you, then the work being done is not yours but His. You are yoked to Christ and operating in the Spirit. The key is knowing that God is the one who initiates and as a child of God, you are the responder to the Holy Spirit living in you who leads and instructs you.
Beth seemed really struggling with the concept of church, feeling compelled to go to church, even bothered that she might be sinning if she did not, and was confused about the role of pastors and even the concept of church. There were certain scriptures that she was not processing correctly and that were turning her into knots.
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
1 Thessalonians 5:12
And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.
From these scriptures, she felt guilty if she should stop going to church, for after all scripture says to not forsake the assembling together and she was also compelled to do whatever a pastor of the church she has been attending says, for after all scripture says he is over her in the Lord. This is a classic example of knowing what the word of God says but not knowing what it means.
The short answer is that nobody has to go to church and it is not a sin to not to go to church. Nowhere in scripture are believers instructed to go to church. Scriptures instructs the church to go to people but not people to go to church. First of all, one must understand what a church is. You, the person with the Holy Spirit living in you, is the church.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
The church is the body, the place where God dwells, in each person who is born again.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13 and Colossians 1:18 are examples of scripture where one learns by revelation by the Spirit of God what the church is.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
The church is not on the corner of walk and don’t walk. Since you are the church, how can you go to who you are? The concept of a church as a building makes no scriptural sense. Each individual believers wants to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and wants to express the love they have received from God to others. So they meet together. That is what assembling together means, to be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith and build one another up in truth and love that comes from God.
In the early church there was a multiplicity of leaders, pastors and elders and deacons. These men, having spent much time with God and His word, came to rightly divide the word of truth, by the Spirit living in them who guided them to know truth, and there are used by God to help build up others who are still learning and growing but have not learned what they learned and may be struggling in walking in this new life God has given. For believers are instructed to be transformed by the renewing of the mind, and that takes time, and one good way to learn is from those mature in the Lord.
So what does it mean to equip the believers in works of service? Ponder over these scriptures, even read all of John 15 on the illustration of the vine and the branches, and ask the Spirit to reveal the meaning to you.
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
So, based on what the Holy Spirit has taught you, is it the role of the pastor to tell you what to do and how to live, to do this or that? Does it make sense for a pastor to control you? From Colossians 1:18, who is the head of the church? Not the pastor, but Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit lives in you to guide you into all truth. The Holy Spirit is the one who counsels you and instructs you. The Spirit-filled pastor helps explain the meaning of scripture to help you see more clearly the truth that God reveals to men.
Are all pastors born again, having the Holy Spirit living in them? No. Indeed, most pastors in what are called churches today, are control freaks and many indeed may not even be saved. They instruct people that they must tithe or to be water baptized to be a member of the church. They teach things contrary to biblical truth. So, why should you be compelled to be under someone who is not even saved or is teaching in error or wants to control you? Indeed, you are not even under a pastor, but under Christ who is the head. The Spirit of Jesus Christ is the one who instructs you. Ponder what Paul said to the Bereans and the right attitude toward even an Apostle of God.
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
And what did Paul say to the immature believers in Corinth?
1 Corinthians 1:2,11-14
2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:
11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”
13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
Then what is the work of equipping the saints for service? To serve the pastor and what he wants, even if it is contrary to biblical truth or even if it is a god thing to do but not what God wants you to do. Is not the real service to preach Christ, the true meaning of scripture so one walks in true freedom for which Christ set you free? Christ living in you, the hope of glory.
Again, what is an assembly? The church of Corinth are those believers who happened to meet together in the local area of Corinth because they wanted to be together, in prayer, in giving, in sharing, in expressing the love of God to one another and to receive instruction in the Lord so they can grow all the more in doing so as God works mightily in and through them.
The concept of church as a building came from Constantine, who most likely was not even a believer, who compromised and introduced paganism of Rome, merging false doctrine with true, so that a state-run religion was established, forcing conversions, not real conversions to Jesus Christ at all. Today, we have religions made up mostly of lost people, and now to win the lost with evangelism programs that do not even reach the lost, and all sorts of law mixed with grace, confusing the true people of God. So much truth with error that only those who study the scripture themselves come to know truth unless they are blessed to hear truth from true spiritual leaders like Bob George on People to People ministries who explain truth and direct to the word to learn from the Spirit of God. For the Holy Spirit is the teacher, and all men are really servants for the Lord’s sake, as God so works in and through them.
Faith alone in Jesus Christ, the divine revelation of God’s purpose in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is what saves a person, not a church.
So if someone asks you what church you go to, then ask them what they mean by going to church? Tell them you are the church. Ask them, “What are you talking about?” Tell them the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in men who understand and believe the gospel. Tell them that is how you became the church just as every other person born again of the Spirit of God.
Being born again, what is often termed Christianity, is not something of conformity to the ways of the world, the ways of a pastor or certain religious denomination. The world’s way is to organize into structures that only serves to quench the Holy Spirit’s work in and through you. Law replaces grace. Who can teach grace if they cannot trust the Holy Spirit to work in and through you? So then they resort to control you. Rather, you are being sanctified even as you are sanctified, to the image of Christ, who is in you and is the one who leads you into all truth. Pastors are there to help people walk by faith in Jesus Christ and have nothing to control for they are not the head, Christ is.
If you cannot find a place to gather that teaches truth or that would rather control you, then leave. Stay at home and read the scriptures and let the Lord teach you. If you can find one other like-minded believer to be with who is longing for the truth like you, then join in prayer and fellowship with that person. It is intellectual suicide to remain under control freaks.
Lisa called to ask if a man can have more than one wife? Bob immediately said no, and then shared from Genesis God’s design and purpose of marriage between one man and one woman. That has always been the case, under the Old and the New.
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Just because David had multiple wives does not mean God approved. What heartache would be spared if David had but one wife. Indeed, multiple wives was the downfall of his son Solomon, who started out so well. His biggest problem is that he married foreign wives, who worshiped false gods, whom God warned if he did so they would turn his heart from the living God. Yet, God is gracious, and despite the failings of men, God even came through the line of David, through Solomon, born through Bathsheba, a marriage that should not have been. God tells us things for our good and all the things written in the Old Testament are written as warnings for us so that we do not do the things they did. God really does want the best for us.
Bobbie was so grateful to Bob George. She recalled a message by Bob George 16 years ago that so moved her and helped to understand the Sabbath rest of God , and how she was able to enter that rest, having understood the truth. Praise be to God who reveals truth to men. And Bob was thankful to God that God used him. Bob knows where he came from and he knows who is the source for changing the lives of all men, and the Holy Spirit who lives in him and through him. He praised God with her.
This concept of the Sabbath rest in God is explained in the book of Hebrews.
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.
Bob re-shared with her this concept of God’s rest by contrasting what the Jews failed to enter because of their sin of unbelief. Joshua and Caleb were the only two people who made it into the promised land, a physical land in their day, but a foreshadowing of a spiritual land of heaven that one enters by faith in Jesus Christ, in his finished work, his death, burial and resurrection. For you see, it was not their many sins that the Jewish people were told they could not enter the land of Canaan, for there was already a temporary covering for sin that God provided for them in their day. That temporary covering, with the temple with two angels carved overlooking the ark of the covenant, that was all a foreshadow of the reality in Christ. For in the future, two angels were over the tomb where Jesus body was. He was the final sacrifice to take away sin. Scripture records that it was their sin of belief, their unwillingness to take God at his word, not just once but numerous times. Their sins were just a symptom of a deeper problem. All men have a deep problem, being born spiritually dead. But Joshua and Caleb trusted God and their faith was credited to them as righteousness.
So, have you entered God’s rest? Have you ceased trusting in your deeds and works of the law to make you acceptable to God? Have you realized God completed the work for you that you could never do? Have you ceased sacrificing animals, if you are a Jew, or whatever sacrifice you think makes you righteous? There is now no more sacrifice for sin. Rad the book of Hebrews. All this and more is explained more thoroughly.
Bob shared that People to People ministries, of whom many people were blessed and led to walk in new freedom in Christ with new understanding of truth, because people concentrated on the meaning of God’s word and so came out of being influenced by denominations. People let the Holy Spirit teach them what the word means and not what it says. It the Lord Jesus who touches lives and he does use people.
2 Chronicles 16:9
For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
You too the Lord uses. God so loves men that he longs to raise an army of men who can and will proclaim truth, the same truth that set them free. And each person has his assigned task as the Lord has already determined.
Robert was dealing with guilt he experienced when he would say no to people who asked something of him. He too was focused on one scripture that seemed to blind him to other truths so he walked in error.
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
It seems that it too common for men to ponder over one scripture and then think if you say no to someone that you are not esteeming someone as better than yourself, and so you feel guilt, because your conscience is bothered that you said no when you think you should have said yes.
How is it we have tunnel vision on one scripture that blinds us to the meaning of scripture. We read God’s word but fail to understand what it means. We lose sight of the big picture, of passages of scripture that provide amplification of truth. The walk of Jesus in the Holy Spirit as he walked among men was as an example of how men are to walk by the Spirit. He is called the second Adam, for the first Adam failed. Jesus lived in total dependence of His Father.
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.
Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
Bob graciously told Robert that he was in bondage to the acceptance of people. And that is common among all of us. Bob testified that he had this pattern of thinking when he was lost. So when he became a believer, he had to have his mind renewed, for he too struggled with the acceptance of people. Bob came to understand the unconditional love and acceptance of God in Jesus Christ. When he grasped that concept, then he did not need the acceptance of men. That does not mean he does not want it, and would be glad to have the acceptance of men, but he does not need it. The passage Bob George shares that really made an impression on him was Ephesians 1:5-6, that he is accepted in the Beloved.
5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
Bob continued to share some practical application of such truth. Bob said he is accepted in Christ Jesus not because of what he does or does not do but because of what Jesus already did. Robert told Bob that it sounds harsh to say no. Bob shared that with the same logic one could say it is harsh for someone to even ask you for something. That takes courage to do that. Robert then asked about the feelings of guilt he has. Bob says that People to People ministries share their needs on air, asking for monetary support, and there are those who say no. I do not look down or feel bad that they say no. Maybe God does not want them to give but has someone else in mind who he has instructed to give. God leads people to give. And guilt is not of God. Jesus went to the cross to take away sin and guilt. In order to be guilty someone has to accuse you and God no longer accuses you.
Robert was thankful to Bob for sharing these truths because by his response you could sense that his mind too is now being renewed and he was understanding the truth Bob was sharing.
Rachel called to ask Bob how to live a life with rest when you get so busy. Bob shares that the peace of God is not like the peace the world gives. he peace of the world is what one feels at a beach or what a lost person experiences with drinking alcohol. But the peace God gives surpasses understanding.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
For such peace is the peace with God that starts with knowing that you are a child of God, His life in you, His work in and through you, that you can participate in the divine nature in His rest.
2 Peter 1:4
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
He is the one at work in you and through you. When one is working with the energy of the flesh, then being busy weighs you down. But when you are walking in the Spirit, you are listening to God’s voice who instructs you, who initiates what he would have you say or do. That is the energy of the Holy Spirit that energizes you and you can be very busy yet be at rest in Him. Bob repeated what he has often shared before, that God is the initiator and we are the responder. The key is to wait on God to tell you what to do and do it. Do not worry about what others think about what you should do or expect you to do. Nor are we to out do other Christians with good deeds.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
Rachel too thanked Bob for sharing such truth and said this really helped her and reminded her to keep her eyes on Jesus.
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