Call-In Classic Christianity Radio – Bob George P549 (07-02-20)
When you teach or serve or give or encourage, with whatever gift God has given you, you are serving the body of Christ. When you know the love of God for you, that while you were yet a sinner, God died for you, and grab a hold of that, that if it were not for the grace of God, there goes I, and realize God lives in you, you see changes done in you and through you. You learn tenderness and mercy and kindness toward others. You learn to serve one another in love with all sincerity, and that comes from God.
So when you see a talented singer on stage, and he has a weak moment and he stumbles on a stage, drunk, what is your heart attitude? Are you thinking of the reputation of your band or group? Are you thinking about how hurt and broken that person must be?
To help someone, it is good to be careful not to attack anything, what a certain program, such as Alcoholic Anonymous, may be doing that is not perfectly scriptural but is at least helping a person break a habit. And if a habit of drunkenness is stopped, we can praise God for that. But let us move on from that. Let us get to the root cause of the problem. First, a person is not an alcoholic, if he is in Christ. He is a child of God. And if he is lost, then alcoholic is as good of an identity as anything else. So let us focus on a misplaced identity, for that is the real issue.
Let us call it what God calls it, which is sin. If you identify the problem, then you can move on to explaining what the solution is. The sin is a symptom of a deeper problem, a heart problem. For Jesus even said that what comes out of the heart, all manner of sin, are the issues of life. Now we can talk about the root problem, we are talking about a heart problem. A person is either spiritually dead, without the life of God in him, a heart that is empty and broken, or a person with a heart that is weakened by the flesh, with a misplaced identity. A person either does not have or does not recognize the life of God living in him, and does not know who he is.
The problem is a misplaced identity. You do not know who you are? You do not understand why you do the things you do. You want to stop but you find that you do not. That is the same thing the apostle Paul expressed. I do not understand myself. The things I want to do I do not do and the things I hate to do I do. So you discover that you are a wretched man. But then the solution is right there all along. Paul said, but thank be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
See, when Jesus Christ comes to live in you, you have become a new creation, with a new heart and a new mind. You have the source of power within you to think and act in a different way, as you allow Him to and as you get to know Him. When you realize the unconditional love and grace of God, He renews your mind with truth and that truth is what sets you free. You are no longer trying to stop a habit in the energy of your flesh, which is so weak, but you learn how to rely on Him, who is your life. You learn to put confidence in Him, who says He has given you everything you need for life and godliness. You receive much more than breaking a habit. You receive every spiritual blessing in Christ. You receive eternal life, a source of power in you to overcome all manner of flesh and to focus on real living.
All of us have this sin-indwelling flesh, and can be caught up in any kind of sin. Oh, the grace of God we so need, and we have in Him. He is our life. All of us start as a mere infant in Christ and there is growth that has to occur, and that takes time. We have to learn about what salvation is, in its fullness. We have to learn the basics of law and grace, and the new covenant, and even to understand, or even re-learn, what baptism and repentance means.
If you grew up in a religious background, you have been taught certain things about baptism and repentance, but as you read God’s word and hear truth, you realize that you have not been taught correctly and you start asking questions. Someone might even ask you if you want to be baptized, but if you do not understand the biblical meaning, you might say you already were baptized as an infant. All manner of teaching you hear, but then you come to realize that baptism is a symbol of what took place in your heart when you were born again. Then you learn that water baptism is an expression of what took place when you were born again. That makes no sense to do that as a physical infant. So you learn and you grow.
So too with the word repentance. It has a different connotation of meaning to different people, depending on religious upbringing or even lack thereof. We thank God for teachers, who correctly divide the word of truth, to explain what the biblical meaning really is, to help us grow. Repentance is a strong word in the bible, and is always related to salvation. It does not mean that once you smoked, but now you do not. You could start again. It is a total change in identity. It is like being changed from a caterpillar into a butterfly. You will never be a caterpillar again. You might act like a worm, but you are not a worm.
How strange would it be for a butterfly to act like a worm crawling on the ground? It is just not natural and fitting any more. So too when someone repents of what he trusted in to be made right with God, from his religion, his culture, or his background, that was contrary to what Christ Jesus said about the new covenant and about faith in Him alone. You change your mind about who you are and what you can accomplish to what Jesus alone accomplished for you by his death, burial and resurrection, to make you into a new creation, a child of God. You do not birth yourself. Someone else, God, gives you new spiritual birth.
So as we mature in Christ, God has given us a spiritual gift, and we operate primarily in that gift, by allowing Christ to live His life in us and through us. And whatever the gift is, it is expressing itself in love and in all sincerity, in serving one another, the body of Christ. The body of Christ is all those who have been born again of the Spirit of God.
Don from Pasadena, MD
Don: Concerning the twelve step groups, are they spiritually sound for those who believe in Jesus, and want to be the right kind of Christian. There is a group that takes twelve steps and replaces Jesus with God of your own understanding. Is it okay to take the sentence out of scripture to apply it to your own addiction that fits in with one of these twelve steps?
Bob: I do not think the issue is twelve step, or Alcoholic Anonymous (AA), is good or bad, but is it truthful or matches up to the word of God. When you are talking about the old man, Bob George without the Spirit of God in him, there are two things that are a solution to that guy’s problem. One, the filling of the emptiness with the filling of the Spirit of God living in him. If I am lost, I do not have the Spirit of God living in me. What is my major problem? I need the Spirit of God, Christ Jesus living in me. Nothing else is going to fill that void. If I do not want to do that, then the only other option is to clean up my flesh, to make my flesh behave to the best of my ability. You can do that through steps, by discipline, by sticking someone in jail. I can get someone sober by putting someone in jail. But I cannot do anything with his heart. To me, the whole premise is off, when you look at alcoholism as a disease rather than what the bible calls it, which is sin.
Bob: Jesus said in Matthew 15:11, 17-18, what goes into a man’s mouth does not make him unclean. But what comes out of his mouth is what makes him unclean.
11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”
17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts – murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”
Bob: The things that come out of a person’s heart is what makes a man unclean.
9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Bob: We do not have a problem with sickness but you have a problem with the heart, a heart condition. A man does not have a drinking problem but a heart problem. When a person comes to me, I am not going to call him drunk. Drunk is a sin. It is not a disease. It is not something you catch. It is a heart problem. The things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.
Bob: Jesus gets to the root of things, not to the fruit. There is drinking and drugs and there is all of that stuff. That is merely evidence of a heart problem. You can discipline the flesh and get rid of the habit of anything. But unless your heart is changed, what have you accomplished? So you go to hell as a sober, dead man. What have you accomplished?
Don: What is sad, Bob, I have been going to a twelve step group, for drinking and drugs, off and on, for the past seventeen years, up until half a year ago. Okay.
Don: Sometimes with success and sometimes without. New people come in and feel relieved and find a way to stop abruptly for a while. The next thing that makes them feel good is that it does not have to be the God of the bible. It does not have to be that anymore. That is sad in a way, because it is hurting people. A lot of times they get a stronghold on that and never turn back. They will die that way.
Bob: Well, it is a diversion. Satan’s tactic is to divert from the reality of what the real problem is.
Don: Even if you can get close to it as close as you can. Therefore, it is “I do not know you.”
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Bob: Satan does not care who you have your eyes on as long as it is off Jesus. I thank God for anything that can help a person who is in a misplaced dependency and has it misplaced onto booze or drugs or whatever it might be. I thank God for something that can help them to stop what happened. But until the heart is changed you have not done anything permanent, and you will struggle rest of your life in something.
Bob: I was talking the other day. I see children ice skating. They are trying to keep from falling. In other words, the reason they are ice skating is to keep from falling. Some other children out there zooming all over the place. Those children zooming over the place have lost their fear of falling and, therefore, became a good ice skater. So the fear of falling, whether falling on ice, of falling back into booze, of falling into drugs, and while under the fear of that, you will never learn how to live. You will spend all of your life straddle-legged and hobbling around on the ice skating rink.
Bob: What God wants you to be able to do is to realize you do not have a problem you think you have. Jesus alone is the solution to a heart problem. Therefore, once that is solved, why then the root of everything is solved. You have a brand new identity. I do not agree with calling people alcoholics. If you are not in Christ, then alcoholic is as good as an identity as any.
Bob: But if you are in Christ, please do not call someone an alcoholic. God does not call you one. He calls you a child of God. Now, you can be a Child of God who has a tendency to drink too much. But please do not call yourself an alcoholic. That is not what you are anymore. That is what you were before you came to Christ.
Don: I spent the majority of my life as an alcoholic.
Bob: If you are in Christ, you are not an alcoholic. You are a child of God.
Don: I think that is why people so many times, with ten or twenty times without drinking, but then have a bad day. I am hanging in there, but I am not drinking today.
Bob: I kicked the cat, and beat my wife, and killed the neighbor, but I did not have a drink.
Don: But there are even those who are doing great, living a good life, not hurting anyone, but if they do not know the Lord, they are still lost. Am I right?
Bob: You are a hundred percent right, Don. That is the whole issue. We substitute the enemy of the best as good. Good is the enemy of the best.
Don: I am also told by different people that these two steps are taken out of the bible, as if they are hand in hand with scripture. I do not think so. It is all about self.
Bob: You can make scripture say anything you want to. In any case, we do not gain too much attacking anything. I have worked with many, many people enmeshed in drunkenness. I will say to them and to anyone, if someone helps you to get sober, I praise God for that. But what I want to do is get you saved. You changed a habit but you still have a heart that is deceitful and wicked above all else and who can know it. I want to deal with you now in your heart. If something helps you to get sober temporarily so you can think, great. But now, I want you to go beyond that to something better, and that is new life in Christ Jesus. I feel that way. If someone helps someone get rid of a habit that is nice. But that is not the ultimate goal in life to get rid of a habit. The ultimate in life is to come to Christ. If something helps, great. Now let us go on.
Bob: The problem of it is if you have misplaced dependency on that thing that helped you to get rid of the habit, then that becomes your God. Many times that is what keeps you from going onto salvation. There is no utopia in anything we create in this world. So, to me, we do not live by steps. You live by a life. A Christian does not live by steps, by principles or law. He lives by a life. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. So the life you live you live by faith, not steps, in the Son of God who gave me life.
2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Don: The Lord never ever sends anyone to a twelve step program, or go there to find out about me, or to go to this group or that one to find me. You get down on your knees like I did and you ask and you pray with all your heart, and ask the Holy Spirit to help and discern you. It worked for me.
Bob: You are on the right track, brother. You keep at it.
Don: Okay. Nice talking to you.
Bob: It was nice talking to you too. Bye. Bye.
John from Oklahoma City, OK
John: I have a question about service. Last week, I was listening to local broadcasts. I believe it was a local pastor, a fifteen minute broadcast. He was talking about service to the Lord. That was fine, but at the end of the broadcast, I was thinking to myself. I do not know what that service is. He did not define it. It had overtones of being a pastor or teaching a bible study. I got to thinking. I am going to have to find this out. I went to the word of God. I am trying to find something about exactly if service is defined. I came across Romans 12 where it talks about being a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Other than that, I do not know. Is my question defined enough for you to answer.
Romans 12:1 (KJV)
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Bob: Yes. It is a good question. One of the problems you run into, when you have been called to freedom, is do not use freedom to indulge the flesh. Use freedom to serve one another in love. So serving the Lord is serving one another in love. He came to serve.
45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Bob: Who did he come to serve? Well, he came to serve us. Now he has gone away, and you and I are his body. So what does he continually want to do in us. Well, the same thing he did on earth in his own body, and that is to serve people.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Bob: That sober judgment, John, is being able to realize that there for the grace of God go I. I do not have any rights. I have been given all kinds of privileges. God lives inside me. He has forgiven me. He has loved me. Allow that love, that forgiveness, that life that is already in us, to be expressed to other people. It talks about that.
Bob: One body, but many members, and not the same function, but in Christ, we who are many, you and me, form one body. Christ is the head, and every born again believer is a part of the body of Christ. Each member, therefore, belongs to one another. So, we are relatives. Tim, who just accepted the Lord, is a relative. We are now brothers and sisters in Christ.
Bob: If my nose itches, my hand serves my nose, by scratching it. We wash ourselves. We feed ourselves. We use different parts of the body to serve the whole of the body. No part is more important than the other. Each and every one of those parts has a function. Unfortunately, many times, in Christendom, we try to get everybody doing the same thing. And, we cannot do the same thing. God did not call us all to do the same thing. So it talks about gifts. Each and every one of us have different gifts. If you have the gift of prophecy, use it. If serving, then serve. Not everyone has that gift. If it is teaching, let him teach. Not everybody has that gift of teaching. If contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously. If showing mercy, do so cheerfully. All of that must be done in love and must be sincere.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Bob: What is serving the Lord is serving one another in love. That is merely allowing the Lord Jesus Christ to reign and live through us, and when He is, He will do in your body the same thing He did in His body 2000 years ago, and that is serving us, serving the body. If I am teaching, I am serving the body. Somebody else over there is being an encouragement to someone, what is he doing? He is serving the body.
Bob: That makes it exciting doesn’t it?
Bob: Life is very simple isn’t it? We think of serving as what to do in church, such as serving on a committee. You can do that as a heathen. But reaching out to others in love and compassion, that is a different story.
Bob: Does that help?
John: Yes, it does. Do you have anyone in the Oklahoma City area, people up there, to fellowship with?
Bob: Yes, John. I will put you on hold and let an operator pick you up. We had a number of people here from the last seminar and would love to meet you. I will put you in contact with them and so you can have fellowship up there.
Bob: Bye. Bye.
Bill from Leavenworth, KS
Bill: I had a chance to listen to law and grace. I particularly enjoyed the illustration on blood on a sash. When the Lord went over there, he did not wonder if there was a good person there. The blood was there. I thought that was excellent. Can you explain the role of repentance? Along that line, thanks for teaching not about wrapping up water baptism, obedience or works with salvation. I still have a little problem with repentance. How does that fit in with our saving faith?
Bob: Bill, repentance in the bible is a very strong word. People have watered it down, like the word Christian, so it does not have any meaning to it. Repentance is the same way. It is used in scripture only as it relates to salvation because you are talking about a total change of identity. You are not talking about smoking and stop smoking. For you could start again. Repentance in scripture means a permanent change.
Bob: A permanent change is like talking to a caterpillar saying “I can make you into a butterfly”. But realize what I am saying to you is that when I tell you that you will never be a worm again. So it is not talking about you acting like a butterfly. I will make you into a butterfly. You will be a brand new creation.
Bob: Repentance is a total change of mind. All of us are born into this world spiritually dead.
23 For the wages of sin is death
John 16:9 (TLB)
9 The world’s sin is unbelief in me;
Bob: All of us are born dead spiritually and an unbeliever. When we come to Christ, we change our mind. That change of mind could be all over the place as far as background. To the Jew, their hope was in Moses, in the obedience to the law and being a Jew for salvation. Changing your mind there was letting go of a ton of preconceived notions, and a ton of scriptures given to them by God, and now he is saying a new covenant has taken place. So you are talking about a real change of mind, letting go of a lot of stuff, a lot of baggage to become a believer in Christ and Christ alone.
Bob: Today, we can have the same thing. We can think of denominations where you have a ton of baggage. So in Catholic or Protestant churches, people are told you can lose your salvation. The thinking is, “If you defect from us, you are no longer My Son”. It is a total change of mind. When you say this is not truth, and this is, that is a total change of mind and a total change in identity.
Bob: There are others, like myself, who did not believe much about anything. My change of mind was that I did not know Jesus was my sufficiency. I knew what I believed, and not much to believe, but I did not know what I did believe and also did not know what to believe. I did not have much to believe in. It was not letting go of a lot of stuff. I was not holding onto anything. But a change of mind still had to take place.
Bob: In the early church and early chapters of Acts, where that was truly emphasized, that was talking to Jews steeped in Judaism. That change of mind had a lot of meaning to them, and even more so today, where living in America where everyone has heard about Jesus. In those days, Jesus had just come on the scene. Changing your mind, in those early days, that was not an easy thing. You had to have a lot of evidence in front of you. And that is what Jesus did when he came in his physical body. He provided all the evidence you would need so you would know this was truly God here on this earth.
Bob: Does that help?
Bill: Yes, it does.
Bill: We hear a lot about full commitment to Christ and the Lordship to Jesus Christ. That is what we want. Is that different from saving faith, or is that all the same thing?
Bob: Again, Bill, I think we add a lot of stuff. When you and I come to Christ by faith, and we come in so many different ways. Sometimes, it is just like a cry for help. We realize His sufficiency and our depravity and we invite Him into our heart. From that point, you are a child, and a child has to grow. In those early days, you acted like a baby just like a physical child, but you are still a child, and there is growth connected to it. As you grow, you continually get to see who Christ is.
Bob: When someone says, “I am going to make Christ the Lord of my life”, they are meaning that “I will never do anything that I want, but just what God wants. Not my will but God’s, but just what God wants”. Before you leave the room, and you have that commitment, and before you leave the room, you made that commitment and have some thought going in your head.
Bob: But you realize who Christ is and who you are. That is we realize our identity is Christ, that exchanged life. To realize that Christ is alive living in me ultimately brings us to that attitude of not my will, but yours be done. Faith says, “Lord, you would not be telling me what you are saying unless it is for my good. You are God and you know all things, and you know me and you know what is best for me”. So with that understanding, I want that attitude of not my will but yours be done, realizing that my flesh for the rest of my life is crying out, “no. no.” But I already settled that issue, “I want your will, not mine”. We may vary back and forth on performance on that, but our heart never changes once that commitment and that understanding is there. I do not think it ever changes.
Bill: That is wonderful, Bob. Thank you very much. A lot of teaching going from head to heart. It is wonderful when that happens.
Bob: It sure is Bill. I appreciate you all. Thank you for your call and I hope you call again.