Call-In Classic Christianity Radio – Bob George P611 (02-25-21)
In this day and age, with this so-called pandemic that disrupted our lives, many people are beginning to wonder what church is? Is it really a building you go to? And when you go to that building, listening to a pastor preach, what were you being taught? Do you feel guilt-ridden, that you do not measure up to some standard? Are you told that whenever you sin, you are out of fellowship with God? Listen as callers ask these kinds of questions, and are looking for answers to what it means to be a Christian. How is a Christian supposed to live? Is it supposed to be burdensome or are you supposed to experience love, peace and joy?
First of all, the assumption is you are born again, having the Spirit of God placed in you and made a part of the body of Christ, of whom Jesus Christ is the head. That is the church, you, a new creation, with the Spirit of God living in you, being led internally by the Spirit, who reveals truth to you. And you grow by allowing Him to teach you, to correct and train you, not as someone under a law of sin and death, as if He is punishing you, but as a child, leading, instructing and guiding you. He deals with you like a father to a small child, preparing you for life ahead. That is what discipline is.
Of all the passages in scripture that God gave us to help us understand the new life we have been given in Christ Jesus is the parable Jesus told of the vine and the branches in John 15. Instead of trying to produce love, which we tend to try to do in the energy of our flesh, trying to do this or that, being burdened with whatever demands are expected of you or you think are expected from you, often times by some local church you attend, instead you depend on the Lord to direct you, for He is the head of the church, of whom you are a member, a member of the body of Christ. The Spirit of God lives in you for that reason, to make the things of God made known to you and to guide you into all truth.
Apart from Christ, we can do nothing. A branch does not produce fruit. Only the vine can produce fruit. The branch bears fruit. So too with us as born again believers. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. We abide in Christ, and allow Him to live His life in us and through us. The kind of fruit God produces is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control as we read about in Galatians 5:22-23. We abide in Him and He produces that fruit while we rest in Him. This rest is described in Hebrews as a Sabbath rest. In Hebrews, this is explaining a spiritual truth from the example of God’s offer to enter the promised land to the Jews. But today there is a Sabbath rest so that you can rest from your works just as Christ did from His.
So the Christian life is abiding. We listen to Him just as Jesus modeled for us when He walked on this earth who said He does nothing of His own initiative, but only does what He sees His Father doing, and He speaks only what His Father tells Him to say and how to say it. There is a dynamic relationship with the living God. He is living and active in you. We do not imitate His actions, because those actions are what the Father told Him to do. We certainly will not be told to die on a cross for the sins of the world. We could never do that. He wants us to imitate His faith, for faith is what pleases God. The only thing that counts, that God is looking for, is faith expressing itself through love.
Oftentimes, people are taught things that put people back under law so they are not resting, but being burdened down, and that comes from error, not knowing the word of God, taking it out of its context and applying scripture in conflict with the New Covenant of grace we are living under today. We are to rely on the Spirit of God, who lives in us, to reveal truth to us that will set us free.
One example of this is people teaching that you must be filled with the Spirit, and equating that with speaking in tongues, in order to be saved. That is teaching pride, for you to boast of a gift you receive by speaking gibberish. That is damaging and is not acting in love nor is it even true, that speaking gibberish is a gift. For a definition of God’s love, read 1 Corinthians 13. That is what God is looking for. Can you ever produce that in your flesh? No, that is also a definition of who God is, the vine. We must rest in God for His love to be manifested in and through us.
Now, to really understand what being filled with the Spirit means, read the whole book of Ephesians. Ephesians 3 explains Ephesians 5 more clearly, for example. Being filled does not mean to do something, but to grasp something. We are slow to learn, so we need the renewing of our minds. That is exactly why God gave us the Holy Spirit, to guide us into all truth so that truth will set us free to walk in the new life God has given us.
When you were born again, the Spirit of God was placed in you. He lives in you. So what do we need our minds to be able to grasp, that we need God’s power to reveal to us? We need to apprehend the length, width, height and depth of the love of God that surpasses understanding. We cannot know intellectually but we can be convinced of something. See, we love because God first loved us. We respond to His love. So the key is to grasp by the power of the Spirit within us this love. Then God produces this love in us and through us as we grasp, or respond to, what He revealed to us and that we have become convinced of.
What have we become convinced of? Faith is being convinced of what God has said, the truth of which God reveals to us by the Spirit He has given us. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Why not? From God’s standpoint, He has dealt with your sin and He dealt with it at the cross. Your sins were judged at the cross. The verdict was guilty. The punishment was death. Jesus stepped in between the wrath of God and you and said, “I will take it for you.”
Do I believe that? If so, then there is no reason to feel guilty of sin before God. God took it all so there is none left for me. We all will sin from time to time for even worry is sin. So if I should sin again, because anything that does not come from faith is sin, what do I do? I go to God for the renewal of my mind and start trusting Him again, in His promises, in what He has said concerning me. He said He will complete the work He began in me. He said He lives in me to will and to act according to His good purposes. He says that He has given me everything I need for life and godliness. Do I believe Him?
So am I ever out of fellowship with God? No. Because I am in the light and I am no longer in the darkness. Jesus is the light living in me, sealed in me for the day of redemption, of the redemption of my body. So if you are out of fellowship, then you are lost. If you are in fellowship, you are saved.
What else are you convinced of? Now that you are no longer under the law of sin and death but have been set free by the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, is there anything you can do that will separate you from the love of God? No. You are sealed with the Holy Spirit, who has promised to never leave you nor forsake you. Are you beginning to see the unconditional love of God? What about trials and tribulations? Will those things in life separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus? No. He enters those trials and tribulations right there with you, leading you, instructing you, as a father to a small child. And He tells us to go boldly to the throne of grace for help in time of need.
So what is the Spirit of God doing inside you? He is leading you into all truth and disciplining you, or preparing you for life ahead, not only in this life but the life to come. We are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. Then one day we shall see Him as He really is, and we will be changed in the twinkling of an eye. So we learn to be thankful and we praise Him, and all glory, honor and praise belongs to Him. Oh, how our soul magnifies Him! Oh, we worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Those are the kind of worshippers God seeks.
Matthew from San Diego, CA
Matthew: Today I was with my pastor and he encouraged me in the Lorr what God is doing in my heart about changes only He could bring. He was telling me to continue to allow the Holy Spirit to flow through me, to abide in Christ, and I know that to be true. But then he said, sometimes given your personality, you want to share and talk too much. You want to serve others but you dominate conversations. So you might want to take note and be careful how much talking you are doing. Bob, even though that sounds good, since I have been listening the last few years, I cannot focus on myself and Christ at the same time. Is that not correct? So if I am going to be abiding in Christ that means I am completely consumed with Him , in Christ, in what He is doing instead of my behavior. Is that correct?
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 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.
Bob: If you are a branch, which you are, and He is the vine, which He said He is, the role of a branch is to abide in the life of the vine and the role of the vine is to produce the fruit in and through the branch, thus allowing the branch to bear fruit but they cannot produce the fruit. The role of a Christian is to abide in Christ Jesus and to allow the fruit of the Spirit to flow in and through us. Only Christ can produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. And against those things there is no law. Only Christ can produce that.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Bob: In the final analysis, Matthew, is what is being talked about, being controlled or filled with the Spirit. I want to take a moment to explain that.
18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,
Matthew: Thank you, Bob.
Bob: You can be indwelt with the Spirit. That is what happens at spiritual birth. God comes to live in you by the instrument of the Holy Spirit, that is Christ in you, your hope of glory.
27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Bob: Then the Spirit of God baptizes, or places you, into the body of Christ Jesus. That is all done at one time. Christ lives in you. He now places you into His body. The Spirit places you into His body.
1 Corinthians 12:12-14
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. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
Bob: We are told by Paul that we are a part of the body of Christ. Though our body has many parts it forms one body. But the body is controlled totally by the head.
17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 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. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him
Bob: We forget that in modern day Christianity and spend all of our time in what the body is doing and pay no attention at all to what the head is saying. So we are like a chicken with its head cut off, flopping around, making a mess of things, because we are not in contact with the head. So what we have to realize is our role as a body is to abide and listen to the head. The body cannot do anything in and of itself except flap around. How much can a chicken with its head cut off do? Flop around, fly around for a period of time, spread blood all over the place, but that is about it. That is what we look like when we try to do in the energy of our own flesh, a body function apart from the head.
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.
Bob: So Christ has told us is what I want through you. He is saying, “There is only one thing I am interested in.” We get hung up in the body speaking in tongues.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
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.
Bob: Paul was not impressed in what people were saying, speaking in tongues. If you do not have love, you might as well not be speaking. The issue is we get all involved in what the body can do instead of what only Christ can do through the head, and that is produced in us, love.
18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,
Bob: So we are told in Ephesians what it means to be filled with the Spirit. To be filled, Matthew, means to be controlled by. That is what to be filled means. If you are filled with booze, you are controlled by booze aren’t you?
Mathew: Yes. Under the influence.
Bob: Under the influence, totally controlled by the influence of booze. So to be filled means to be controlled by. So in Ephesians 5, we are told not to be drunk by wine, giving that illustration to not be in excess. To be filled with wine is excess. But be filled by the Spirit. If you do not take it in context, then it means to you whatever you want it to mean. Some people equate that to being saved, saying “You cannot be saved unless you speak in tongues.” That is nonsense. Or they say, “You are not Spirit-filled unless you are speaking in tongues.” That is nonsense. I will explain to you why it is nonsense.
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Bob: To be controlled by the Spirit is what Paul explains in Ephesians 3. If we read the whole book instead of just Ephesians 5, we would know what that means. Again, do we not know what Paul has said time and time again.
6 The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
17 This is my command: Love each other.
Bob: So love one another. You can speak in tongues of men and angels and not have love, or offer your body as a sacrifice but do not have love, it does not mean anything. So it tells us that love is the only thing God is looking for.
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
Bob: We got this power. Some people love that power, saying “I got power to boss God around.” That is about as nonsensical as anything. The power isn’t to be a lion, a tiger or a bully. What is this power? Let us read what it is.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to
Bob: To do what? To do something? No. To grasp something. We need the power of God to grasp this in our minds.
grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Bob: Ask yourself the question. Is it possible to be filled with the measure of all the fullness of God and not be filled with the Spirit? No. Is it possible to be filled with the Spirit and not be filled with the measure of all the fullness of God? No. So what does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? It means to be filled with the love of God.
Bob: So, Matthew, what it is talking about here is that to be filled to the measure with the fullness of God is to be filled with the Spirit. These terms are thrown around all over the place to mean whatever you want it to mean. To some people it means to roll on the floor, to get into laughing fits, and to sit around and everybody up there talking at the same time, babbling something at the same time. Somebody talking like this and then talking some gibberish, then back to talking in English, and so many people think it is so fantastic. But that has no meaning to it at all. God is interested in us walking in love. He is not interested in what we are saying. He is interested in our hearts.
Bob: This is what it is saying here. If you want to be filled to the measure, to the fullness of God, to the measure of all of the fullness of God, you are not going to get any more filled than that. Then it says to be filled with the width, length, height and depth of the love of God, and to know this love. What God wants us to do is to know His love. That takes the power of God working in our minds in order to enable us to grasp that, Matthew, which shows us that we are a little slow to grasp things.
Bob: There is so much talk, and many enemies out there, trying to steal the seed as to the love of God. Everyone is always putting doubt in the love of God that it takes the power of God living in you and me to keep us focused on the width, length, height and depth of the love of God. Same type of thing. What is the result of that? To become like Paul who said “I am convinced of something.”
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[Psalm 44:22]
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Bob: Nothing can separate me from the love of God. Trials can’t. Tribulations can’t. Nothing can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Bob: What does that show us? He caught the message that the only thing God is interested in is us knowing His love for us in a way you cannot even describe it. It is beyond comprehension. And to pass that love, to be a vehicle, a branch through whom Christ can produce that kind of love in and through you. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Matthew: That is true, Bob, because now I understand. When I was taught legalism, the church I went to, they denounced the love of God for they knew when a person came to the knowledge of God, they would be controlled by that instead of his teaching. That makes sense. I also understand that in my sincere desire, but in ignorance of being filled with the Holy Spirit, I thought if I could just be filled by their way. But what I realized was I was not filled with love when I was speaking in tongues. I was filled with pride. Look at me. Look at me. I was not filled with love. I was filled with pride. I realized when I am truly controlled by the Holy Spirit, I am lost in Him and not in myself.
Bob: You know the very opposite of agape love, which is God’s unconditional love, is not hate, but pride. The very thing you hit on. When you take a look at God’s definition of love, which He gave us in 1 Corinthians 13, God’s definition of love, and you read through that, and you see what love is from God’s standpoint.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
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.
Bob: Love is patient. Pride is never patient. Pride is never kind to people. It is not very kind to tell someone they are going to hell because of not speaking in tongues. Love is not envious. It does not boast. Look at how much boasting there is in pride of my gift. Self seeking instead of God seeking. Easily angered. In my forty years in the Lord, I have seen everything there is to see. I have gone up to people, all glassy-eyed and grinning and everything else and then find out I do not agree with them in regard to what they are talking about, those eyes want to take your head off. So do not tell me that is love. That is what you are talking about. That is pride.
Matthew: Thank you very much for making the message on the simplicity of Christ, to uncomplicate the teaching of the Christian life of Jesus Christ. Thank you for the daily reminders from the books and tapes, reminding me of the simplicity of Christ Himself.
Bob: Thank you, brother. I appreciate your call. Thank you, brother.
Betsy from Richmond, VA
Betsy: I have a question concerning when you are being convicted by the Holy Spirit and when you are feeling guilty of it. Are they one and the same?
Bob: First of all, Jesus came to take away your sins and guilt. From God’s standpoint, He has dealt with your sin and He dealt with it at the cross. Your sins were judged at the cross. The verdict was guilty. The punishment was death. Jesus stepped in between the wrath of God and you and said, “I will take it for Betsy.”
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him [in His resurrection] we might become the righteousness of God.
Bob: When I say in His resurrection. He was raised from the dead then so raised from dead, He can live in you now. God in the man is indispensable to the humanity of the man. So until you are born again, then you are under the conviction, or under the law of sin and death, dead spiritually and in need of life. So when that occurs, then of course, because the law is still there, convincing a man of wrong, as we read in John, of sin, righteousness and judgment, but regardless of what sin you are doing, you need to get down to the root of it, which is I was not trusting Christ. In essence, that is what God wants us to do, to walk by faith and without faith it is impossible to please God.
7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me;
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Bob: So the issue is, are you born again?
Bob: Okay. Then as a born again believer your sins have already been dealt with. So who is putting guilt on you if God has already put your sins behind His back never to see them again?
Bob: Yes. Of course.
Bob: Jesus came to take away your sins. Now what God is going to deal with you Betsy is this.
1 Corinthians 10:23
23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” – but not everything is constructive.
Bob: Everything is permissible but not all things are profitable. So you are never under the law, so the only way you can feel guilt is by being under the law. It says we are to die to the law. You have to die to the law. The law is not going away and neither is sin going away. So you have to die to it. It will not die to you.
4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.
19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.
Bob: You have to die to the law. That means I am no longer under it, period.
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
Bob: There is no condemnation awaiting you who belongs to Christ Jesus for the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death. You ought to be praising Jesus that you have been set free from the consequence of sin, which is death. That is something to be rejoicing over every day, isn’t it?
Betsy: Yes it is.
Bob: God has set me free from the consequence of sin, which is death. We fiddle around with the Christian world. We say, “Well, you are out of fellowship.” There is nothing in the bible that says you are out of fellowship. You are either in fellowship, saved, or out of fellowship, lost. That is all man-made theology, bouncing in and out of fellowship, saying you have to get back in fellowship with God. If you are in Christ Jesus, you are in the light as Jesus is in the light.
1 John 1:5-7
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light
Bob: You are in the light as He is in the light. In Him is no darkness at all.
Bob: How can you be out of fellowship if you never get in darkness. As a result of that, you have fellowship with Him and one another. The issue is to be thanking Him for what He did for you at the cross ,and then to get to the root as to why you are doing and have done the things that are causing Satan to come in and take advantage of it and put you under guilt. And that is you were not trusting Him. That is what we all do. We will be in that battle until the day we are absent from the body and present with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 3:18
18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
1 John 3:2
2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
Betsy: So if not feeling guilty does that mean you have matured in grace if you are not feeling guilty?
Bob: Before God I am not guilty. I might be guilty before man. But as far as God is concerned that has been taken away at the cross. If I am going to walk by faith, I have to walk by faith in what God says. And that is what He says. There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. So I am going to rejoice in that truth. So I have to realize is that God dealing with men on the basis not of law that kills but on the Spirit that gives life.
The whole issue is if you are going to rest. If you are going to live in the desert, you can choose to do so or you can do what God said to do, which is to enter the promised land, to rest from your works just as He did from His.
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. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience [lack of faith in what God had said].
Bob: There is nothing you can add to what He has completed for you, taking away sins never to see them again but He who lives in you is there to renew your mind. Jesus comes to lead you into all truth and take the things of the Lord Jesus and make them known to you.
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
Bob: So He is dealing with you as a loving father dealing with a small child. He is teaching you and disciplining you. Discipline is preparing you for life ahead. So there is no punishment. Punishment is retaliation for an act done whereas discipline is preparation for life ahead. So learn to relax and to praise God for what He has done for you, to continue having your mind renewed on truth out of the scripture that will set you free.
32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Betsy: The problem I have is with most churches. They keep you under the law of guilt.
Bob: Stay away from them then.
Betsy: That is most churches.
Bob: If that is what it takes. I would be darn if I sit under some guy telling me how to be locked up.
Betsy: It is like they want to keep you in the desert.
Bob: Of course. They keep you under guilt that way. If I keep you guilty, I can get more of your money. That is what is going on in churches today is guilt-ridden people.
Betsy: Yes. You are right about that.
Bob: That is why we are on the air to try to free people from nonsensical legalistic teaching that is prevalent in Christianity today and to let people go free.
Betsy: Your teaching is so refreshing. Why are not others teaching the way you teach? I do not understand that.
Bob: One of the reasons is because I cannot control people. I teach them grace. You cannot be controlled when living under the grace of God.
Betsy: Alright. Thank you again for your answer.
Bob: Betsy, I would really advise you to get Classic Christianity and read through it.
Betsy: I just have to read through it more and more.
Bob: Yes, and really let it sink into your heart.
<h4David: I want to call and say thanks. A little over 12 years ago, I was strung out on crack cocaine. I went into a house and stole a purse. I spent over 12 years doing that. While incarcerated, your ministry and supporters sent literature to help me. It really helped a lot. It got me off the religious treadmill and the works, and to a relationship. I am out of prison now. I got out two weeks ago. I just had to call and say thanks. I was flipping through dials and you were on in this area.
Bob: That is phenomenal David. I am so glad to hear that, that we could be of benefit to you. You are out now. You had 14 years for stealing of a pocket book.
David: Yes, I served a little over 12 years.
Bob: Well, brother that crack, from what I understand is the most addicting drug that is in existence today. From my understanding, you do not have to do it twice. Once takes care of it.
David: Well, I guess the thing was, I was going to church and I felt like I did not meet up to the standards. I still smoked cigarettes and I was kind of depressed and just gave up on it and ran from God. I ended up into alcohol and got strung out. I am divorced now. I am starting anew. Things are looking up. It is not easy by any means.
Bob: No, it isn’t.
1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
David: I really appreciated your ministry because when I did not have any money sitting in a prison cell, facing a lot of years, your ministry came through and sent me books and literature that helped me and encouraged me not to give up. I really felt like giving up. I found out there is a relationship to those who are less than perfect, who do not have it all together. God’s love is there for all of us, no matter how badly we fail. Today, I do not have to run from God, thinking He is angry that He is going to strike me with a tornado or a lightning bolt or a car wreck or something. I have learned that it is a relationship based on the grace of God through faith in Christ and His resurrected life. It has just made a lot of difference. I really want you to know, and your supporters to know, that there are not a lot of people that will reach out to help you when you are down flat on your back. But I appreciate it. As soon as I get on my feet and get some finances coming in, I would like to send you some support.
17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 9:7-8
7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 8:12-13
12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.
13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality.
Bob: David, thank you brother. That is, I think what you are saying is so true that you have. People do not realize that when they give to a ministry like that they are really not giving to ministry. They are giving through ministry. Money comes on and then goes back out in order to help people such as yourself. Most people, fortunately, have not had the experience of being in a cell by yourself. You can relate a lot more to the apostle Paul in the part of his life than we can. But it is lonely. To be able to reach out to you like that was a privilege for us, David. It is what God has called us to do, is to reach out to all people. When Jesus said he did not come for the well, but the sick. Our whole ministry has not reached out to those who supposedly have it all together. Quite frankly, nobody has it all together. We reached out to people in all walks of life and have been able to touch the lives in every realm of society. We have done a lot in the prison ministries. We are grateful for the opportunity. Brother, we love you. Thank God we are able to be there for you, and we still are. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your call, David.
David: Thanks a lot.
2 Corinthians 9:12-15
12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
Bob: God bless, David.
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