Call-In Classic Christianity Radio – Bob George P496 (12-12-19)
Bob George answers the tough questions as well as the common questions often asked by people still today. What does it mean to carry your cross daily? What did Jesus mean when he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, even their own life – such a person cannot be my disciple.”? Do you believe that Christ lives in unbelievers? What is the biggest difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant? What is James mean when he says faith without works is dead? How is that reconciled with what Paul says? These are a sampling of the questions asked by various callers. Listen as Bob George answers these questions from the scriptures. From the book of Romans we have been studying, how would you answer these questions?
Larry from Chicago, IL
Larry: I am a new believer. I have been reading the bible and I have a hard time understanding a passage in Luke, where it says to carry your cross daily.
26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, even their own life – such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
Bob: When you read the scriptures, you read it in context. Is Jesus telling us to hate people when his life and message is to love people? No, he is just saying that in comparison, your love for the Lord will look like hate when you follow the Lord at all cost. Is your life here on earth more important than the proclamation of the gospel? In that early church, and in places today, an open proclamation of being a Christian would mean death to you. Even Paul said his life bore the scars from proclaiming the gospel, the truth to men.
16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule – to the Israel of God.
17 From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.
Bob: Here on earth was not important to him. What was important to him was the proclamation of the gospel. Every one of the disciples died as a martyr for Christ. The proclamation of the gospel was more important than their own life.
Larry: I have been looking for a church. I went to thus church and the pastor was talking about this verse. He did not explain it like you did. He said you will probably have to reject your friends and family. He did not say it in a caring and loving way.
Bob: I was 36 years of age when I came to Christ. I did not even know anyone who was a Christian. All my buddies were bar buddies and that kind of thing. I did not reject them. They rejected me. I just quit going to the bar and since I no longer did, they rejected me. Jesus did not reject anyone while on the earth. He loved even his enemies. There is not a place in the bible to reject people. You will reach out to the lost and have compassion for the lost. You will have love for the lost, if the love of Christ is living in you. You do not need to reject anybody. They will reject you. You do not have to worry about setting yourself apart. They will set you apart.
Bob: So what is important? That is the part of picking up the cross. What is more important, a relationship with God or a relationship with friends? By the grace of God, I had the opportunity to lead most of my buddies to Christ. I eventually led most of his friends to Christ. They could not deny there was a change in me. All kinds of things are being said by the lost about you. So you have to pass that off. There was terrific rejection in the beginning from family members and friends. They are rebelling against the God living in you. Die to your Savior daily. Until we are confronted with that, we are not sure what we would do. We form attitudes and policies of the heart, and when they are formed, we do not have to make a decision when the occasion occurs. By the grace of God, I will not reject the grace of God. By the time that situation occurs, you will not have to worry about a decision because the decision was already made.
Bob: As a new Christian, when you are reading the gospels, you a reading a record of the life of Christ while he was here on earth. What was his destiny? He came to die on the cross and give you and me eternal life in Himself. In order to do that, He had to prepare us and show us what our condition was. He had to show us we are sinners. If we do not see ourselves as sinners, what would the cross mean to me? He had to show us we are dead. If I did not know I was dead, why would I need life? The teachings in the gospel buries you and me. The law buries you. If you think the ten commandments are hard, then try the sermon on the mount. The law buries us. It shows us we cannot do it. Now you got it and now you know to come to depend on Jesus, the only God who can. When reading the scriptures, the basic teaching of Christ Jesus is there to show us what perfect righteousness is in Him, and therefore, seeing the unrighteousness in you and me. That prepares us for what he came to do, which was to usher in a New Covenant of grace, which went into effect the day he died. So if you keep that in mind, as you are studying the scriptures, and especially the gospels, that this was all preparatory for the cross and the resurrection, it will clear up your reading time tremendously.
Larry: Thank you so much for your insight on that.
Bob: You are sure welcome, my brother. I appreciate your call very much.
Justin from Kansas City, MO
Justin: I just want to say that you have been a blessing to a lot of people. Do you believe that Christ also lives in unbelievers?
Bob: No! Absolutely not. What would be born again if he lived in unbelievers? You must be born again. You must be born physically. Then you must be born again spiritually. That is what makes the difference between a believer and an unbeliever. For 36 years, I was devoid of the Spirit living in me. When I accepted Christ, my whole life changed. That is because Christ is living in me. That is like a car coming off the assembly line that does not have gas in it. Does it have gas in it? No, it has not been filled up yet.
Justin: Paul said that God was pleased to reveal His Son in me. Was Christ already in him?
Bob: No, that is the salvation experience Paul had, to reveal the Son in him is what happened on the day of salvation. Christ revealed Himself to the apostle Paul. There is no such thing as Christ living in you prior to salvation. Justin, there is a lot of heretical teaching out there. Some people say everyone is saved. That is certainly not true. If Jesus lived in everybody then everybody is saved. That is plain not true. Paul said he would give up his own salvation for the salvation of his own people. Not everyone is saved, and no one is indwelt by Christ until born again of the Spirit.
Justin: What is the biggest difference between the Old and the New Covenant?
Bob: Everything. The Old Covenant is law. The New Covenant is grace. The Old Covenant is what you need to do be accepted in the eyes of God. The New Covenant is what God did to make you acceptable in His sight. Everything is different. In the New Covenant, we now walk by faith, where before we walked by works.
Bob: I hope that helps, Justin. We have to take a break now.
Mike from Littleton, CO
Mike: Hi, Bob.
Bob: Hi, Mike
Mike: I am looking in the book of James. I read in verse 14. What does it profit, my brother, though a man says he has faith and not works, how can such faith save him? Then in verse 17, faith without works is dead. In verse 20, faith without deeds is useless. In verse 24, “You see then how by works that a man is justified and not by faith only.” I do not understand the correlation there. I hear you say, and I agree with you, that it is what Jesus did, and not anything we have done. I remember the verse in Galatians that talks about that. How does the works play in the salvation process?
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.
20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
Bob: What you are dealing with here is this. True faith in a true Jesus is going to produce Jesus“ works. You are not putting your faith in a dead Jesus. You are putting your faith into a living God, who is alive living in and through us. So, therefore, it is like a branch. You can say that a branch, once it abides in the vine, the vine is going to produce fruit in and through that branch.
Mike: Without the branch?
Bob: By abiding. That is all a branch can do. It cannot produce. The evidence that it is abiding is that the vine can produce in and through him. That is the same thing in our lives. The evidence we are truly abiding in Christ Jesus is that Jesus’ works are going to be produced through us. We are going to begin to learn how to think like Christ Jesus, which is really what the important issue is. It is more than our outward deeds. Are we thinking like Christ? Are we exemplifying mercy and love and kindness? Those are the things that you do not necessarily see. You put legs to them. There are all kinds of legs to them. It is the attitude of the heart that God is looking at.
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
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. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
Mike: I see.
Bob: James is terrific. A lot of people did not think James belonged in the New Testament. There was great controversy over that book, originally, because James was the first book written in scripture, and it was written by the Lord’s brother, or half brother, who was the pastor in the church of Jerusalem. I said before, if any job, I do not care what you would give me, cleaning out stables, or anything else, do not give me pastor of the Jerusalem church. This poor guy had one job on his hands, dealing right in the heartbeat of legalism, and all of Judea.
Mike: It sounds like, maybe, that he and Paul, probably had some big conversations then, that were kind of conflicting?
Bob: Paul explained what James meant, although it seemed to contradict what he said. Paul explained what he meant. But James would have had a difficult time of presenting total grace into a total legalistic atmosphere. I think he had to do so with much more complexity and more tact, maybe? What he said is true. A true faith in a true Jesus is going to produce Jesus“ works. That is a lot different.
Bob: We have people today that are professors of Christ but not possessors. They have got a lot of denominational works that you see flowing through them but very little, if any, of Christ’ works, the attitudes of Christ. In the final analysis, it is what comes out of the mind. As a man thinks, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). What comes out of the mind is really the determining factor of whether you are plugged into the mind of Christ Jesus or not. Again, a person can sit there and just know the bible backward and forward, but if he does not have any mercy and if he does not have any kindness, and if he does not have forgiveness in his bones, you have to say, “Who are you plugged into? Who are you listening to? Whose Father do you belong to?” There are only two fathers available, one is Satan and one is God. The issue James was trying to say is, “Look, you say you have faith, but if Jesus’ deeds are not being produced through your faith, then it is not true faith.”
Mike: Okay. I must be spending way too much time looking at the works then, instead of looking at keeping my eyes on Christ then.
Bob: Absolutely, because the works that Christ produces in and through us are the only ones that are going to be rewarded anyway, the things we have allowed Christ to do in and through us. We come to Christ by one way and one way only, and this is by faith in the completed work of Jesus. We have nothing to do with that. We enter into that by faith. It is like a branch that gets attached to the vine by faith. The branch says, “I am going to attach myself.” in response to the vine saying, “I am available to you. I have done it all for you. Become a part of the vine.” The branch attaches itself to the vine and the vine begins producing its life in and through the branch. The branch cannot produce fruit. It just bears the fruit.
Mike: Okay. This is related. John uses the words in his book, if you love me keep my commandments. Is that referring to the Jew or is that referring to anybody?
Bob: It is referring, basically, to any of us. I think that what happens to us, Mike. I know what happened to me in my life. I had to keep reading things. Finally, I said Lord, I evidently do not love You because I am certainly not keeping it. Basically, John, in that context, talking about the commands that Jesus gave us, and that is to love one another. He said, on these two commands hinge the fulfillment of the entirety of the law.
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Bob: But I would sit there and say, “Lord, there are some times I do not. I evidently do not love You. I am not loving people all the time.” The Lord wipes his brow and said, “Finally, Bob, you are getting it. You cannot love Me until you understand My love for you. You are not the initiator to Me. I initiated My love to you, and you are a responder. Until you realize that you cannot earn My love, but instead, you just have to respond to it. What you have to do is get your eyes off yourself and what you are doing and begin to get preoccupied with Me, in what I have accomplished, and you will find that you are going to love Me and you are going to find, that as you learn to love Me, then you are going to learn to depend on Me. As you learn to depend on Me, then you are going to learn to be obedient to Me. It is in that order.”
Mike: Well, that finally dawned on me. I have been circling that for many, many years. I came up in a church that definitely stresses works. They definitely stress faith too, but the works must be there. I got the impression that I was having to look at those works myself, and that is what kept tripping me up. I could not get over the hump there.
Mike: I am glad you answered that for me.
Bob: Anybody who is emphasizing works is emphasizing the wrong things because works should be a by-product of your faith. It is not something that brings about faith. It is a by-product of it.
Mike: Okay. Faith is what we all have, what Lord put in there.
Bob: I never think of works. It never enters my mind of works. What I want to do is to keep my faith on Christ and let Him produce his works in and through me, because I find mine are not too effective.
Mike: Look at our legacy we leave behind.
Mike: Okay. I appreciate your time.
Bob: You are sure welcome. Mike, thanks for your call. Bye. Bye.
Mike from Fairfax, VA
Mike: Thank you very much, Bob, for taking my call. I want to get some clarification on a passage I was reading today in Corinthians. I do not know the exact reference but it started with passage about love, and then it went into speaking in tongues and prophecy and orderly worship. I wanted your clarification on that. I have been doing a lot of studying, and praying with my wife, and she is against speaking in tongues, and I do not doubt it. Is it something as born again Christians, we should ask to do? Or is it something that just comes upon us?
1 Corinthians 14:21-23
21 In the Law it is written:
“With other tongues
and through the lips of foreigners
I will speak to this people,
but even then they will not listen to me,
says the Lord.”[Isaiah 28:11-12]
22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and inquirers or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?
Bob: You are talking, Mike, to someone, who has nothing to do at all with tongues, and never have and probably never will be. If that is a sign of spirituality, you are listening to the wrong person.
Mike: What is that passage speaking about?
Bob: There is not any passage in Corinthians. The passage in Corinthians says that tongues are a sign, not for believers, but for unbelievers. So what are believers doing speaking in tongues in the church? In the first place, no one who I have ever known, Mike. I have been a Christian for over 40 years. I have never known a person to speak in biblical tongues. I have seen a lot of people babbling, getting their lips jiggled, and taught how to jiggle their lips and their tongue. I have never seen someone speak in biblical tongues.
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”
Bob: Biblical tongues is a known language If you want to know what tongues are, go to the book of Acts, where it began. And it was a known language spoken by people who had never learned the language but was able to communicate the language, and the gospel, not the language, but the gospel, in all of these different languages of people that showed up on the day of Pentecost. That is tongues. Nothing less. Nothing more. It is a known language spoken by some tribe or some country some place and that is why you need an interpreter. An interpreter would be no different than if I went into a country, which I have done, and spoke English, and they did not understand English, then you would need an interpreter. Someone who understood English as well as the language that the people were there. That would be an interpreter. So that is tongues. This gibberish thing is not tongues. That is man-made stuff. Tongues is not a sign for believers. It is for unbelievers. It was a sign gift to prove that the gospel was true and Paul said, as far as I am concerned, I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than 10,000 words of the tongue.
1 Corinthians 14:19
19 But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
Mike: I got that from that passage.
Mike: I am having difficulty with my wife. How can I express, the way you are telling me to her, without causing any more. She is the one you got you into it. She was the one speaking out some kind of experience instead of walking by faith in the living Christ, who lives in you. All of those types of things become a sign to me. Well, it say it is not for you. It is for a non-believer. Someone says, “That is proof that I am saved.” Sorry, tongues is not a sign for you. It is a sign for an unbeliever. If you are looking for signs, read what Jesus said. Remember when it talks about Jesus, people coming to Jesus in the end times, and saying, “Did you see me do miracles and cast out demons?” Jesus replied, “I do not know you. I do not know who you are. I have seen you babbling in tongues. I have seen you do stuff. I do not know you. Because you did not come to me for what I came to give you, life, my life living in you, your hope of glory. You came to me for signs and wonders. You came to me for miracles. You came to me for healing. You come to me for what I came to give you and that is salvation. You came not for me for everything, except what I came to do, and that is to save the souls of people.
Bob: It irritates the daylights out of me when people take scripture out of context. Look at 1 Corinthians 13. If I speak in the tongues of men and angels. What is he talking about? Language. Look down in the sub-title. It is languages.
1 Corinthians 13:1-8
1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
Mike: That is the clarification I was looking for.
Bob: If I speak in tongues of men and angels. Well, they say this tongues they do is angel language. Come on! What does God need angel language for? You know, the thing of it is, Mike, God does not hear a word you say or I say. If that was true, that God listened to our words, what would he do with people who could not speak? What would he do with people who did not have a tongue? How important would speaking in tongues be if you did not have a tongue? How important is speaking in English be if you did not have a tongue? Would God hear you? Yes, because God does not hear our words. He looks to our heart. God listens to the heart of man not the words of man. He is too smart to listen to our words, Mike. You and I go to church and somebody says, “How are you doing?” “Oh, great.” Yet, my guts are hanging out inside, but I said with my lips everything is great. God looks on our heart. He is not hearing a word we are saying. So there is no angel language.
Mike: I wanted clarification on that. I appreciate it. I will see what my prayers.
Bob: When it talks in here, it tells women, especially, because women are the abuser of that. Why does he tell them to remain silent in the church, and that is all in regard to this speaking in tongues. They are not allowed to speak. They must be in submission.
1 Corinthians 14:34
34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.
Mike: Thank you very much, Bob.
Bob: You are sure welcome, my brother. I hope that helps.
Mike: Thank you. Alright.