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Bible Questions and Answers, Part 66

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
February 3, 2023 3:00 am

Bible Questions and Answers, Part 66

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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February 3, 2023 3:00 am

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We would agree that Arminius taught a heretical view, that Finney taught a wrong view that could be, I guess, identified as a heretical view, because it is not orthodox. That is not to say, and this is where I have to draw the line, that anybody who's ever believed that is therefore not a Christian. Welcome to Grace to You with John MacArthur.

I'm your host, Phil Johnson. Even the most seasoned Christians, and certainly new believers, will come across Bible questions they don't know the answer to. Maybe it's a theological question like, why does God allow sin? Or it could be a question about current events or something in the world, and whether a passage in the Bible can help us make sense of it all and give direction and encouragement. Well today on Grace to You, John MacArthur will consider challenging questions that came from his local congregation, maybe some of the same questions you have had. So let's get started. You're going to hear a member of Grace Community Church ask a question, and then John will respond. Hello, Pastor John.

My name is Amor. Thank you for answering your questions. My question is, I'm a public school educator and recently had to be quote-unquote trained on the education code on transgender students that wants us to be affirming of their asserted gender identity. I had a student last year who was female, but wanted me to call her by a male name, and I didn't want to do that.

My question is, as a Christian, how do I submit to the government and maintain my integrity in that kind of a work environment? Yeah, I understand your position, and I just would give you maybe this is as definitive as I can be. You know the truth. You know whether that's a boy or a girl, you know that.

And you know that God ordained male and female, that's how He made them. So you want to find whatever path you can find to help the person trapped in that lie out. I don't know how that's going to play out in your school, I don't know. But I don't think you have any obligation to the federal government to propagate a destructive lie. It doesn't mean that you go to school and take an anti-transgender poster and put it up in your classroom. You may want to judiciously and carefully avoid any major confrontation on that issue, because it might serve you well to go on teaching, and you're a teacher, not a crusader.

I think you might want to find the safest path. I don't think if you were a teacher you'd probably go into class and say, look, I want to talk to you kids who come from broken homes. Do any of you have adulterous parents? Because if you do, we need to confront them. You wouldn't do that, no. Or you wouldn't say, do any of your parents cheat on their income tax?

You probably wouldn't do that. You're there to teach, you're there to be a light for Christ in your personal life. But you cannot, you cannot affirm a lie, a destructive lie that goes against God. So either you say nothing, or when you do speak, you speak with great wisdom and care.

And maybe it comes down to a student and you say, I just want you to know how much I care about you, how much I hope the best for you, and how much I fear for the things that are taking place in your life. I don't think you can completely avoid the consequences of being honest, but you can minimize them. You don't want to be a crusader in the midst of all of that. And I know you're not alone, this is a problem everywhere. This is a problem in the military. This is a problem all over the place. This is a problem in prisons. This is a problem in hospitals.

This is a problem in schools. But I think you can trust the Lord to do right, leave it with Him, okay? Good. Hey, Pastor John, my name is Ferris.

I'm actually starting as a freshman at the Master's University starting tomorrow. I have two questions, but I guess we'll just take this one at a time. My first question is, if Arminian theology deals directly with salvation and how it comes about, and if it is false, why is it not seen as heresy? Arminius was a theologian, an ancient theologian who believed that salvation was in the hands of the sinner and not God.

In other words, he believed the opposite of what we affirm is biblical theology that was basically refined down to what we call Calvinism. We believe salvation is all of God, the sovereignty of God. Arminius taught that salvation is by the will of man, that man has within him the ability to believe on his own. There is enough, he would say, there is enough grace. There is a kind of prevenient grace, a kind of available grace. Even in the fallen sinner, there's enough there for him to muster up faith on his own.

It's not a work of God, it's a work of man. You probably have heard the word Arminian, but maybe didn't know about Arminius. But you do know perhaps about Charles Finney, perhaps the most notable early American evangelist. Finney was a full-blown Arminian, or as we would say, a Pelagian, because Pelagius taught the same thing. Finney believed that people had the power within them to come to God, to come to Christ, to believe and be saved, to turn from sin on their own, that it was purely an act of the human will, and God was not responsible for what they did or didn't do.

And so he developed a manipulative kind of evangelism that basically attempted to prod the sinner emotionally, to manipulate the mind and feelings of the sinner, to get the sinner to do what he believed the sinner could do and should do. This was Finneyism. And, of course, out of Finney's error came all kinds of cults, all kinds of cults.

In fact, most of the American cults came out of the burned-out area in New York where Finney functioned for so long. Now is it possible to believe that you can believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, that you have the power to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and go ahead and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and confess your sin and acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior, and do it genuinely from the heart and not know that that was actually a work of God? It is.

It is possible. You wouldn't think it was utterly unaided, because even a person who's not sure where the power comes from or how much power and responsibility they might have on their own, even that kind of person knows you have to hear the gospel and would assume that God has brought the gospel into your life and to your attention and helped you to understand it. So that's what restrains me a little bit from saying anyone who held to an Arminian view might be holding to a heresy that, when you define a heresy at that level, would not be able to save people. I think there are people, even in churches today, who don't understand fully the sovereignty of God in salvation. They don't understand fully that it is a work of God in their hearts, because they've never been taught that. But that doesn't mean God has not done the work and brought them to faith in Jesus Christ.

So while we would agree that Arminius taught a wrong view, a heretical view, that Finney taught a wrong view that could be, I guess, identified as a heretical view, because it is not orthodox. That is not to say, and this is where I have to draw the line, that anybody who's ever believed that is therefore not a Christian, because even though they didn't understand the work of God, it was still the work of God, and they believed and were saved. Of course, Arminius and Finney and the others, Pelagians and even semi-Pelagians, would say you can lose your salvation.

The good news is that even the people who believe you can lose your salvation can't lose their salvation. It is still the work of God. So yes, that is a wrong view. That is a view that undermines the glory of God.

And the big problem with that view is this, it is a wrong view of man. If you believe man has any capacity to come to God on his own, then you don't understand depravity, you don't understand fallenness, you don't understand what it is to be dead and blind. That's how the Bible defines a sinner, without capacity, both unable and unwilling to come. So when you have the right view of man, which is that he is helpless and hopeless, unwilling and unable, then you know salvation has to be of God. So what really allows for people to believe that salvation is really man responding is an inadequate view of man.

People can have those inadequate views, and God can overrule those, or they may be just novice enough in their understanding of the gospel that all they know is the gospel, and they don't know anything else behind the gospel, they can still be converted. So we want to be careful that we don't take all those people and sort of assign them a place in perdition, okay? Good question, Pharris.

Thank you. Hi, Pastor John. My name is Paul.

Hi, Paul. I was back and forth with this question, but I received some slight peer pressure through text message, so... So you succumbed to the pressure.

Yes, I did, I did. So with that being said, what is a biblical and Christ-proclaiming view of Charlottesville, Virginia, and all that's happened recently? Sure. I'll give you a biblical view of it. The human heart is desperately wicked, and the human heart is hostile toward God and self-centered and proud and selfish and angry. What Charlottesville simply demonstrates is that fallen humanity is corrupt. All I see in that is the justification of anger. Look, that's not about slavery. That's not about something that happened 200 years ago.

That's an opportunity for angry, hostile, self-willed, selfish people to explode and feel good about it, because they can get away with it when there's enough of them, too many of them, to stop. No one tolerates white supremacists. When I was down in Mississippi years ago, I was arrested by those kinds of people for preaching the gospel in black high schools, and I was put in jail and they took all my money away.

I know that. I was with the black leaders in Jackson, Mississippi, when Charles Evers, Medgar Evers' brother – Charles was the first black mayor in the south, Charles – his brother Medgar was the first martyr of the civil rights movement. He was killed. I was in the room and Martin Luther King was assassinated with those black leaders, and we went to Memphis and I stood on the blood spots on that motel with those men. And I stood in the little bathroom on top of the toilet where James Earl Ray shot him out the window. Those men were my friends. That was my community. I couldn't buy groceries in that town when I got back in Mendenhall, Mississippi.

I couldn't eat in a restaurant. I've seen all that. That's not what's going on there in Charlottesville or any of these other demonstrations. This is the wretched, fallen human heart feeling like it can rise to any level that is not completely controlled.

Let me tell you what gets you there. Number one, the human heart is evil, war is in the heart, men will kill. That's how they function. But God has built three restraints into society. Restraint number one is in the individual, and it's the conscience. But the conscience reacts to a moral law. So if you have a whole generation of young people that have been taught a twisted, perverted, inverted, upside down and backwards moral law, then their conscience can't function. The conscience is simply a recognition mechanism that says, that's wrong, that's right, that excuses and accuses. But it only can function where there's a sound moral law written in the heart. So you have a whole generation of these people, this generation, who have had a totally perverted sense of what morality is.

And the dominant part of this new morality is, I'm the most important person in the world, it's all about me, it's the selfie culture. So conscience is now crippled. Secondly, God put fathers and mothers in a family to bring a rod to discipline people in order to subdue their evil. If the family is destroyed and the family breaks down, then you have no control over those people. So conscience can't function because the moral law has been literally destroyed.

Families don't function, so there's no discipline learned, there's no sense of what is right, what is acceptable behavior. And the only institution left that God ordained was the police, and the police were given a sword to subdue those who do evil. When you assault the police long enough that you diminish their authority and the sense of fear and the sense of reverence that a society has to have for those who police them, then all hell will break loose. Conference isn't functioning, family's not functioning, and the police have been stripped of their powers in the social consciousness.

You literally have unleashed the human heart at its worst level. This is not about race, and this is not about what happened in America in the past. No one can tolerate white supremacists. No one can tolerate the Ku Klux Klan. One of my dear friends, John Perkins, his brother was killed in front of him by the Ku Klux Klan in the street.

No one can tolerate that. That is just one manifestation of the evil of the human heart, and we have only begun to see it once it's unleashed, and it's going to start coming in all kinds of forms because of the breakdown of moral law, the breakdown of the conscience, the breakdown of the family, and because of the incessant assaults on governing authorities. So get ready. I don't think it's going to go away, okay? Thank you, Pastor. You're welcome. Thank you, Paul. Hi, my name's Mike. Hi, Mike.

Hi there. My question has to do with forgiveness, just simply the understanding of it. Are we to be just always willing to forgive, or are we to be just, I forgive you no matter what? Right. Good.

Good, Mike. Look, this has been brought up to me recently, and so it was suggested that maybe over the next few Sunday nights I'll do a series on forgiveness starting next Sunday. The best format for that is the book of Philemon. You remember the book of Philemon? It's a little one chapter.

So I think over the next, I think we'll start next Sunday night. That's kind of a good, maybe that's kind of an emphasis from the Lord tonight, because so many people have said to me, we want to hear what the Bible says about forgiveness. The answer is simply this. Our Lord says, forgive your enemies. Forgive your enemies.

There aren't any conditions. Forgive your enemies. And our Lord says, you're never more like your Father in heaven than when you forgive your enemies, because that's what He does.

When we were enemies, Christ died for us. So the bottom line is we forgive. We forgive our enemies, and that means we also forgive our friends, and we forgive our relatives and our family members, and we forgive them seventy times seven. Our whole lives are just one long, drawn-out work of forgiveness. Now that doesn't mean the relationship is going to be restored necessarily, but I am convinced that we forgive, because that's God-like. In fact, Jesus said in the disciples' prayer, if you don't forgive, your Father won't forgive you. There is no virtue in being an unforgiving person. This is mine, says the Lord, not yours. You don't need to do the damage to people. You don't need a pound of flesh.

You don't need to get yours. You don't need to retaliate. When Jesus was reviled, He reviled not again. So yes, the simple answer is we forgive, and we forgive over and over and over. If it's seventy times seven, we keep forgiving. And that frees our hearts, doesn't it, from the bitterness that unforgiveness develops.

Hi, Rachel. The Holy Spirit is the person of the Trinity I don't understand very well. I would like to ask you, where in Scripture does it say or support that the Holy Spirit indwells Christians today? Listen to Romans, chapter 8 and verse 9, "'However, you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. Therefore, if you belong to Him, you have the Holy Spirit.'"

That's where you start. It's not that you're seeking the Holy Spirit, it's that you have the Holy Spirit. And in 1 Corinthians, chapter 12, there are, verse 4, a variety of gifts, but the same Spirit. And then in verse 7, "'To each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.'" To each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit. We all have the Holy Spirit, that's clear. And if you don't have the Holy Spirit, you're not a believer. Then another passage, perhaps most important, 1 Corinthians 6, 19, "'Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

For you've been bought with the price, therefore glorify God in your body.'" That's 1 Corinthians 6, 19, "'Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.'" There are many other scriptures, you can start with those. You can, if you have a concordance, look up the Holy Spirit in the back of it and just chase down all the passages that relate to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God, fully God, as is the Father and the Son. And the Bible has much to say about the Spirit. One other thing I would suggest to you, in the new book, Biblical Doctrine, have you all gotten that great big book, Biblical Doctrine?

There is an entire section on the Holy Spirit, okay? Julie. Hi, Julie. My name is Julie, and I have had a life-changing accident about two years ago with permanent injuries. And it really got me thinking, obviously, if you have a permanent injury, or cancer, or a stroke, or something along those lines, you pray for physical healing. You want to pray with all your heart that you will be healed.

But I also know that God is a sovereign God, and that might not be His will. So how do you go about praying for physical healing without being disappointed at the end if it doesn't, if that's not God's will? Look, you are told by God to pray, and to lay before God whatever is on your heart.

And God hears and answers according to His will. And the way to pray is this, Lord, this is what I would desire. And I think you can pray that with all your heart. You can pray for healing from cancer.

You can pray for recovery from an injury. You can pray for somebody in your family, some spiritual issue that you're seeing in your family that you're having to confront. And you can pray boldly, and you can pray continually, unceasingly for those things.

And at the end of it, you have this confidence that God will answer, and that His answer whether it's yes or no will be the best answer, okay. And that doesn't mean that you stop praying. You don't take the approach, well, we don't need to pray because God's got it all wired anyway. No, He uses our prayers to achieve His ends, and your prayers are a part of what God will do. But I tell people all the time, pray boldly. Ask the Lord for what it is that's on your heart that you want, and if it's not what you should be praying for, ask Him to show you how to pray as you ought to pray. And know that the answer will be the best expression of His will for your good, okay?

All right, thank you. That's John MacArthur, chancellor of the Master's University and Seminary, as he fields questions from members of his local congregation in Sun Valley, California. It's part of a special Q&A edition of Grace to You. You know, if there's a downside to a Q&A session like today's, it's that time is short. You can't answer all of the questions people have. And I know, John, you're concerned that people get the answers they need to their Bible questions. And the key there, of course, is a steady intake of Scripture. Yeah, the reason that we don't get very many questions answered is because I give long answers, right? Yeah, but thorough and instructive, which is great. Well, yeah, if you're going to give a biblical answer, you have to create the context of the question. You have to create the context of the text.

But I love doing this with people. But it's helpful, and sometimes I say this, have you, what Jesus said, have you not read? Have you not read? You're asking me questions that are answered in the Bible. You don't need to go through life looking for the answer man to answer your questions.

They're answered in the Bible. And that's the kind of the irony of it. When people ask me questions, they're expecting me to give them an answer from the Bible. Nobody wants my opinion. Nobody cares about my opinion.

I don't even care about my opinion. So you have all the truth that you need at your disposal in the Word of God. It's being able to access it, though, isn't it? So let me mention this today, and it's really important. I hope you have a copy of the MacArthur Study Bible.

Why do I say that? Because it has about 25,000 footnotes on virtually every passage in the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation explaining the text. In fact, sometimes when I do a Q&A, I could actually open my own study Bible, go to a text and read the notes, because I've given the answer in the text.

I do that when I'm in a Q&A. I use your study Bible. Well, the notes explain background, culture, geography, theology, and they explain the meaning of the text, making hard-to-understand passages easy in explaining context, which yields a better understanding of what the Bible says. So if you don't have a copy of the MacArthur Study Bible, you need to get one. It comes in the New American Standard, which is the one that I preach from. It comes in the New King James Version. It comes in the English Standard Version, and the MacArthur Study Bible is also available in Spanish, German, French, Russian, Italian, Chinese, Arabic, Portuguese. You need to get a copy of the MacArthur Study Bible, so you have your own answer book right in your hand. All you need in one volume. Great prices from Grace to you, free shipping in the U.S., and you can order yours today.

That's right. Everything in this resource—the cross references, the maps, the charts, and especially the 25,000 study notes—all of it is there to help you better understand Scripture and grow in your obedience to the Lord's commands. It's a great gift for any student of Scripture. To order the MacArthur Study Bible, contact us today. You can call us from 730 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific Time, Monday through Friday at 800-55-GRACE, or you can visit our website anytime, GTY.org. As John said, the MacArthur Study Bible is available in the English Standard Version, the New King James Version, and the New American Standard Bible, as well as several non-English translations.

With free shipping and reasonable prices, we're sure to have an option that meets your needs. Again, to order the MacArthur Study Bible, call 800-55-GRACE or shop online at GTY.org. And if you'd like to put the MacArthur Study Bible on your phone, let me recommend our app, called simply the Study Bible. It includes multiple translations of Scripture, and it gives you immediate access to the resources on our website, blog articles, devotionals, and sermons, and much more. And for a reasonable price, you can add the study notes from the MacArthur Study Bible, the Study Bible app. It's just one of thousands of resources available free of charge at our website, GTY.org. And now, on behalf of John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson, reminding you to watch Grace to You television this Sunday, and then be with us next week for more verse-by-verse Bible teaching. It all starts Monday with a half hour of unleashing God's truth, one verse at a time, on Grace to You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-03 06:55:16 / 2023-02-03 07:05:51 / 11

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