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Gary Thomas (9 Essential Conversations before You Say I Do)

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May 27, 2021 4:46 pm

Gary Thomas (9 Essential Conversations before You Say I Do)

Janet Mefferd Today / Janet Mefferd

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May 27, 2021 4:46 pm

Everyone loves to see a man and a woman come together in holy matrimony. But what should Christians know about their future spouses before they get married? I'll talk about it with Gary Thomas, author of: "9 Essential Conversations before You Say I Do." Plus: As church membership declines across America, a new analysis shows that even before the pandemic, more Protestant churches were closing than opening. We'll talk about that and more on Friday's JANET MEFFERD TODAY.

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This archived broadcast of Janet Mefford today is brought to you by Liberty health share liberty. Healthcare is a nonprofit healthcare sharing ministry that allows you to control and manage your own healthcare and choose any doctor or hospital in the nation.

If your freedom loving American looking for contract free healthcare call now 855-585-4237 or go to liberty, health, for more information liberty health Jared River today. Our confidence is in Christ alone, with the word of God says that soy is no, thank you so much for together in holy matrimony, but before you get married. There are some wise steps you should take to ensure that you really know your future spouse and are on the same page when it comes to the most significant issues you will likely face as a married couple. Sorry to get some advice on this important topic today from Gary Thomas Gary is the best-selling author 20 books and serves on the teaching team and as writer in residence at second Baptist Church Houston today will be getting some essential marital advice from him. As we discussed his book 9 essential conversations before you say I do covert with Dr. Stephen Rebecca Wilkie Gary so great to talk to you again. How are you doing I'm doing great. Janet, thanks for calling. Well, it's great to have you here. This book was written as a guide for couples. Obviously, who are wanting to marry what she sees the value in actively preparing for marriage rather than going into it saying well. We love each other. It's all going to be just fine. What I wrote with Dr. Wilkie and he told me his stated reason was this. These are the nine conversations to make sure nobody has to see me been doing marriage counseling for so long to view the issues that bring people into our office and so we can talk about it at a time to make sure it's a good match either confirm yet. You're acting wisely or really getting couple to consider. Maybe there's some questions we haven't asked yet that we really need to ask what right now to say the number of couples are who actually seek counseling before they get married any running in Christian circles, most the people I know who got married and my husband and I we all went for premarital counseling to try to go through some of these issues prior to getting married but is that the norm are not the norm in your experience, it's not in in Christian circles far more common, but even then, a lot of times it's just meeting with the pastor to plan, but you know what one meeting and then planning the sermon and an Janet. I've seen the stories that are just heartbreaking. I think of a couple where the guy came to me and he said I've really believe God has called me to go overseas and to serve in there and my wife doesn't want to leave the Midwest or family is what are we supposed to do and I said that. How long have you been married nine months else when you talk about what we thought we had who up and went once they were married for what I'm going to be on the she wins.

You can't bring somebody overseas that doesn't really want to go there but those the kind of conversations where ahead of time.

When couples go through them and understand them and that's really what this is. It's a guide to begin discussions.

It's not a book that just pours out more information. It's really designed to elicit information from each partner so they can see yeah this makes a lot of sense. Yeah, now the six signs here she isn't marriage material is one of the sections you have in your one your devotionals actually throughout your book is good because some of the things on this list the six signs that you mention about the readiness of your you know your potential spouse to get married are necessarily what I would've predicted her on the list things like here she is a taker or he or she is lazy.

It seems like you're really kind of focusing on some character flaws is that right absolutely and shock people, but it didn't even I can kind of tell people that being married is dramatically different from being married, and I think boomers dramatically him from being from dating and ethical on some younger couples don't realize how much work life is pretty good when you have kids and you got a job and you're keeping up a house and you're having time for the kids and having for each other. If you marry a perpetually lazy partner, even if they were the life of the party when you were dating and they made you laugh so much when you were going out as a spouse. That person is likely to frustrate you to no end and same thing with takers and givers.

Sometimes that sound selfish but if you want to live a life of giving and you marry a taker. Your ability to give is going to be cut in half going to be divided they will resent that you're not spending all the time on them. They're knocking to be inspired by you looking to resent what you do and so if you want a life of seeking first the kingdom of God where you're born yourself on God service you want to align yourself with someone who has that same aim but right now when you're talking about identifying whether or not you're dating a taker. How do you figure that out chiming some of these things are a little bit easier to pinpoint early on than others. What if somebody is a taker what what should you look for. For example you the example I've given couples before takers always make it about them. You really divide the world and go through groups takers and givers and the main difference is that takers get joy from receiving and givers get joy and satisfaction from giving the want to say that takers make about them.

Let's say your meeting for dinner and you get into a minor fender bender if you're dating a taker. You can call look up sorry I been in a small accident and their response is going to be. Why would you do this to me.

I feel like an idiot sitting here in this restaurant. I'm can't you just leave and well even the scene of an accident could be considered a felony. I've got to stay with her future, but rather than having empathy for you. Can I help you out. Can I make a call. Do you need me come pick you up there making it about how it's impacting them. Sometimes another test.

I like to give that sometimes takers will give if they think they can get something in return. So if you're married to a taker and say hey hon it's it's been a couple months and to see my parents really like to go out for him this weekend and the taker realizes yeah it's probably fair at the been a long time but he's gotta turn around. Well, fine. We can go to your parents as long as you fill in the blank and any may not even realize he's doing it. But the thing is, he just can't help try to get satisfaction while I'm to be forced to do this that I want to be able to get that into return and so we talked about setting up times where you can sort of pass on your date. Your you're thinking about your being thoughtful does this person get joy in giving to others or is like really about what they can get from others and take from others and if you want your kids to know that it's a joy to be parented or make him feel like there a bother to be parented up. You want to make sure you marry a giver instead of a takers that's great and it's kind of funny. I think the stereotype that I think there's a lot of truth to this is that girls tend to think my husband has her my husband to be has these big flaws, not just change him which we know we those of us who've been married a long time know that doesn't happen, but you know how do you talk in particular to a bride-to-be and say don't go into a marriage thinking.

If you have a number of these characteristics in your future made that he's just gonna change through the power of your love well. Negative traits can often get worse. We really worn amendment in the chapter on conflict resolution that if your future husband or wife what to say how to use that but that is a little too angry while you're dating you will be much too angry after you get married dating gives you a time to cool off dating creates space.

It's not quite as intense.

So rather than marriage, making your relationship work. It might make it more difficult, which explains, of course, the divorce statistics we see everywhere, sir. So when you're talking about what you call the doubts free wedding day. Is there such a thing is when you have a couple coming in and they have no doubts whatsoever. I think there's some Christian couples who do wrestle with as well and you know nobody's perfect. I'm not can be marrying somebody who's that you know with fault free obviously and neither am I but how do you go in your wedding day doubt free will. What is the really what is that mean why don't you go out for doctors. The realtor doesn't like that phrase as much what he would prefer and maybe it's there, but I'm by that I mean you can be confident that this is a wise choice, but none of us know what will face in life. There could be medical issues that we have no clue. I've had friends where one is diagnosed with MS one go through a series of cancers one falls into depression when the there's never any indication that before there could be catastrophic challenges with childbearing or the inability to bear children, or unexpected unemployment or financial challenges. Or whatnot, we don't know what were going to face in the future.

But here's the thing. We can choose the person that we face that future with great and if we make a wise choice based on character and faith. And we know they have the relational skills to make a marriage work and we talked through the questions that most often tear couples apart and we find it. There's agreement and will working with the marriage mentor says yes I can give my blessing. I I think you both are being honest. III agree with your assessment, we can at least have confidence on the day we get married if if there are those little flutters of those uncertainties because let's face it is such a big commitment. We can still have, you know what we pray. Through this we have talked with our mentor feel good about it is so wide yeah Gary Thomas were to pause and come back talking about his nine essential conversations before you say I do listen to Janet Mefford today. This is Janet Mefford on a 100 day in Ethiopia Africa. Hundreds gathered for Sunday worship outdoors and some want an hour to be there afterward 30-year-old caveman frantically copied Scriptures from an old Bible to a piece of paper. Then his face turned sad as he close the Bible and handed it back to its owner, one of only a few in that church of hundreds to have a Bible you see came and loves the Lord leads his family and his faithful at Sunday worship, but he's never read a single verse in his own Bible because Bibles are very difficult to obtain, where he lives with all way through the ministry of Bible league international you can send God's word to a new believer in Africa five dollars since one Bible $50 since 10 call 800 yes word 800 YESWO RD 800 yes word or there's a banner to Thank you. Hi this is Janet and I for here in need of a new healthcare program that you miss the open enrollment deadline in December.

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Let's try to have you with us and great to have with us Gary Thomas is a best-selling author in his book 9 essential conversations before you say I do is some really great stuff to consider before you get married and maybe you're getting married sometime this year if so, you're gonna want to stay tuned.

Gary we're talking about some of these conversations, you know what you really should look for in a mate and and have these conversations before you actually get to the altar, but one of the things that I think is extremely important that you addresses that marriage is a covenant and boy we don't talk about that enough the issue of divorce. How do you advise couples to mail address that tough issue before they ever get married, in view of marriage mean that it's one-sided. I am committed to you into one of us dies. Now there can be occasions Janet I believe rampant on unrepentant infidelity, abuse, and certain things where the spouse may just decide on declaring this marriage at an end, but that's not anything that you're doing.

You're just admitting what they've taken away, but it's the covenant commitment to God has toward us. I'm mentoring to this.

I am committed to this as opposed to the contractual view that you do your part, I'll do my part. At the end of for both happy with each other will keep it together and then we'll see how it goes.

And the reason for that is simply that most marriages will be tested. Most people, not all, but the majority I say though, they when they say that I make the best decision. What was I thinking any usually a short-lived but when you don't waste time Outlook.

I've made my decision. I am committed to this.

I have made a covenant not just the two of us, but with my God that we are going to see this through. Then it allows them to work on improving the relationship addressing the issues of the relationship rather than running from the relationship if you live with a contract mindset when things get difficult your symbol. Maybe there's a better option out there with a covenant mindset is okay if not everything I want right now. But how can we make it the best it can be at this point that's excellent yeah I mean that's the way to do it because if you're talking about marriage merely as a contract. Contracts can always be renegotiated. That's not such a good tail and were looking at the Bible's definition of marriage that doesn't work at all. Not at all. Yes and now we're talking about forming a marriage in a coming together in marriage use and I love that you said this in most instances, you're not just becoming a couple you're starting a family, what discussion should engage couples have about family and children before they get married.

What kinds of things, should they target and get through prior to going to the altar.

Well we get into the nitty-gritty.

First, do you want children. How many when you get a space from a part of one question that comes out here that we never thought about that if you can't have children.

What are you willing to do to have children some infertility treatments can be very expensive. So we say are you one. I would say I don't care for going to death, I will do everything possible you want to say well we would rather adopt or if you want you can have kids, do you still want to adopt where you want to raise your kid is somebody going to stay home full time to watch the kids. What is your view of discipline. Just try to see that these don't become fights of their going in with one mind. This is about how many kids we have in this is how important it is to just getting up to look at their motivations. Would there be any deal breakers.

For example, you mentioned talking about your different disciplinary methods and some young couples might not even know until they have children.

What's gonna come out but is there any kind of dealbreaker that you would see a couple having it while they're having that discussion. In other words, if you had one of the partners having been in a very abusive Holman and one of this meeting of the father, for example, or the father to be would say well if I had a kid who did that I'd beat them with a bad or may not be safe dealbreaker. But what what what what you look for as far as red flags when you're having that discussion what what you said that it's agreement again, more than I'm trying to instruct couples. I'm trying to elicit from them the philosophy they've already said in an obviously if it's not biblical. Working address that and deal with it, but do they trust each other. They realize we may not discipline the same way, but I respect him. I respect her.

I think we can work together.

I think these are complementary styles rather than styles where it if you do what I think you say you're going to do a medical child protective services and to take the child away. You want to know right going and that you're on the same page right. I'm using the course and absurdity to miss my point. Yeah, I mean that that's that's deftly a red flag something else. That obviously is going to be a big big issue is how you handle conflict.

What do engage couples best do as far as having a conversation about conflict because what you talk about when you're engaged in your love and everything is rosy and wonderful but you know you'll fight down the road. How do you even get that conversation going in constructive ways. Well we talked to my on the fight or flight scale. Where do they go now and it's interesting as I've talked with couple who, if they give himself a number 1 to 10. They can start to see OKC Juergen have to draw that person out and Juergen have to give that person space. One person he wants to go right away. She might say well I need you to bring me along. And then we get very clearly into if you're having a disagreement and you can't come to an agreement who can the other person talk to and I get specific II want names because what I've seen, Janet, is it often couples will fight not just about what started the fight, but about who so-and-so talked to about it and you did a second five but you know what look, let's keep it to the one issue I don't mind if you will pass a reminder that friend don't you dare go to my parents don't you dare to go to her sister something like that where they know ahead of time. Okay if were not coming to an agreement and we need to process it.

This is a safe person that my spouse thinks I can process it with.

I can get counsel and is knocking to become a separate fight is learning to become familiar that conflict can be a valuable tool to understand each other to draw up growing your love and an understanding of each other or it's going to tear you apart if you learn how to handle conflict in a healthy way. That's good. Something else that comes to mind is a lot of us as Christians always go back to the verse don't let the sun go down on your anger, but in practice that doesn't always work so no deal with that.

Yet it it's one of those problems where it is mostly true but we can't take it as literally true. I Janet I have said to couples about this if it is 2:30 AM and it's getting worse and you just at loggerheads.

I've said for all that is good and holy go to sleep get at least seven hours, wake up, have a cup of coffee and then started up again and you may find that it's already gone away. What it means is not to let bitterness settle not to be a stone wall or who refuses to deal with it or just gonna let it go as if it's going to go away, but to take that literally. I've actually seen that do great damage.

Some people need to process if you're married to an introvert. If you're married to somebody that tends toward the flight scale, they just might need some time to figure out what they're thinking, how they really feel before they can engage without feeling like they've lost you have to lose so really a lot of what you're talking about is just understanding the person you're marrying their personality, their temperaments, that that seems to have gone a long way when you're talking about these instances that your mentioning with considering it all in advance to becoming one is really getting to know what motivates them in the chapter on finances I just say are you get joy out of giving out of spending or out of saving and it really elicit some fascinating conversations about what they've done and what they do so might have goals, want to have this saved by the time were 50 so we can retire. Someone said I want to give away $1 million by the time I'm 50.

Another one thing, you know what I want to buy dresses at birth, or that new golf driver so it's it's really getting into that what you feel comfortable with your spouse spending before they talk to you again, were not giving him a number were trying them out them find their own number so that it when they're married. They understand it and there is to be conflict over the what would you say money is one of the biggest issues that end up destroying marriages. I mean how high up is that on the scale. I've heard different numbers along the way from from various experts on money is the biggest thing the brakes couples up at what is your opinion on that. Well I would say it is, but not the lack of it like people think I counted. We had the famous information about the Bill Gates divorce this for the top five richest people in the country have had a divorce or an affair, so a lot of money doesn't guarantee that it very well, but it's how you handle money.

In fact, one of those people who had gotten divorced from a very wealthy billionaire. This was a Gates, it was a deaf one just said I think that the type of personality that can create money like that can be really difficult to be married to for some interpersonal relationships that I don't know if if that's true, but I think it is going back to those root issues. Are you a saver you will give her are you a spender. Are you comfortable with that and and really helping spouses find out how money motivates them and I think if they can understand that with each other.

It can actually be something again. It draws them together and they can complement each other.

If they make assumptions that can lead to a lot of bitterness and resentment. What would you say Gary is the number one thing that tends to be a dealbreaker. You know, when you're talking to couples who are looking to get married. Is there any one thing that above everything else ought to make you not get married and and just cool the whole idea off because it's just not gonna work the one I've seen has caused the most pain is over the number of children whether they want to have children or not that of very difficult one for couples to compromise on and I've seen someone they really want to get married. They really don't have kids, but the kind of suggest that they do. And then after they're married. They decide maybe we don't. And of course Janet, you, we realize that some modern discussion mean 100 years ago to get married, have kids.

Yeah it it's different. You can imagine, getting married and not having kids today. But that's one where I would say it really is helpful going in because sometimes people say well if I have you I guess I don't want kids five years down the road 10 years down the road is a getting a little bit older.

I guess I really do that so I had seen as a pastor. That's what I would say don't compromise on when you go into premarital counseling. This is my earnest plea be honest. Be transparent. I believe committing fraud in premarital counseling is one of the worst forms of fraud, you can commit because you can't hide for the rest of your life yeah exactly right. Gary Thomas will great book 9 essential conversations before you say I do Gary thank you so much. Great to talk to you again. Thank you for having my pleasure. God bless you.

You're listening to Janet my for today. This archived broadcast of Janet my for today is brought to you by Liberty health, share liberty, health share is a nonprofit healthcare sharing ministry that allows you to control and manage your own healthcare and choose any doctor or hospital in the nation. If your freedom loving American looking for contract free healthcare call now 855-585-4237 or go to liberty, health, for more information liberty health today and here's your host Joe welcome back. This is quite interesting. A new analysis from life way research on Protestant churches. Did you know that in 2019, well before churches were forced to close because of the pandemic, lockdowns, and thereafter about 3000 Protestant churches were launched or planted but 4500 closed.

This was before the pandemic and this is from data concerning 34 denominations and groups which represent 60% of Protestant churches in the US. That's what life way. Reports say had all of these churches closing even though some were launched more closed than launched in 2019 will be interesting to see how those numbers show up when we do the full analysis on 2020 or 20, 21, the executive director of life way. Scott McConnell suggested in his statement that one reason for the decline in church plants is because denominations were more focused on keeping existing churches of floats and are now. I don't know if that's fully the reason Christian Post writes about this and they also add with fewer Americans seen formal church memberships is important.

The demand has also likely fallen. I think that's more of an issue than we want to talk about in many cases because we've had these stories of late. Let's go back to the story that came out at the end of March.

This is also via the Christian Post.

Fewer than 50% of Americans have formal church membership, and that's happening for the first time in 80 years.

This was from Gallup research we told you about this at the time, but just to reiterate, because it goes along with this new data that you see more Protestant churches closing then opening you may say maybe it was just a one off. Maybe it was a one year problem and after that there's gonna be a huge explosion in church planting and fewer churches will close and open maybe. But when you look at the totality of these statistics. It's very difficult to look at them and say yeah everything is going swimmingly and Christianity listen there a lot of reasons.

I understand there many many factors that play into some of the statistics there's a lot of yeah but see Abbott's yeah butts and bring up this particular issue in that particular issue. For example, when you're talking about Americans having formal church membership that also could indicate that there are a lot of people who are Christians who just can't find a good church.

They want to formally join in and there are a lot of people like that I hear from you guys and I I understand I understand the problem with a lot of Christians who are very sound and love the Lord they can't find a good church where they are and I sometimes get a little frustrated because there are voices out in the Christian subculture who will scold those kinds of people and say you're just too picky you can't find a good church just find a good gospel preaching Bible believing church and join one, as if by saying that one will suddenly materialize in your backyard, and I have to say to those wonderful people who are blessed with being able to have gospel preaching Bible believing church that in many areas of the country. It's hard and it's not just rural areas. It's in suburban areas. It's in urban areas and I there's so much and anecdotal evidence to this effect that it's really quite undeniable.

So we need to go a little easy on each other once in a while when were discussing the issue of church membership or finding a good church there a lot of people who are looking hard and thus far have had a difficult time finding something that was even on a low level completely okay.

I mean you yeah I think all of us who have been Christians for any length of time would have kind of a laundry list of what I wish my perfect church would be in field saying you as soon as you find the perfect church you're gonna ruin it because you suddenly joined it. I am you. We all know the joke about that but I think all of us or to have that list in our in our minds about what a perfect church would be. They preach the gospel they would have lively worship, my perfect church would have only hymns we would have an organ and/or piano. No drums note none of the other worship and stop. I still like that stuff. I'm not judging any of you who go to church is like that. It's just not my cup of tea give me old-school. I like the old school stuff you would have prayer you would have lots of Bible reading, you would have great preaching. You would have wonderful Sunday school classes that weren't dumbed down, they actually taught the word of God, you would have rich discipleship programs he would have evangelism outreaches that were lively and godly you would have a church full of people who knew their Bibles and wanted to know the Lord more deeply and studied their Bibles. The Bible study was out of this world. You had a prayer meeting every single week you had most of the congregation, if not all, of the congregation coming to church every time the doors were open when you can go on and on it when you be great when you be great wouldn't be great to find a perfect church you not you just not in I can find a perfect church.

Anymore than you can find a perfect spouse perfect example. So we all know this you can make your list of what you think would be ideal and you will find that nobody and nothing will live up to your expectations. If you have very high standards. It doesn't mean that you shouldn't have high standards.

What it means is people who are in search of a decent church no longer I think are going by these long lists of perfection there there saying okay I just want the bottom level I just want you a sound pastor who's gonna preach the gospel. I don't care about the music, whether it's a band or a piano or an organ. I don't care about this program or that program. I just want to church that teaches the Bible and out that that's pretty basic. Let's go back to the story the end of March.

From the Christian Post. While America remains a highly religious nation was seven and 10 claiming affiliation with some kind of organized religion. For the first time in nearly 80 years.

Fewer than half of them now say they have formal membership in a specific house of worship.

This is again from Gallup and in 1937 when Gallup first measured formal membership in houses of worship. Some 70% of Americans had formal church membership, and that measure remained steady for the next 60 years, only starting to client to decline. In 1998 now II will make a little remark I don't have time to expound upon it's in great detail, but I find it supremely ironic that all of this decline came amid a gigantic launch of the church growth movement. What was wrong with the church growth movement. Like I said I would need hours to get into this.

What was wrong with the church growth movement primarily was that it had a terrible ecclesiology.

It was gleaned from Robert Schuller that should be enough to tell you everything you need to know Robert Schuller the original hour of power the self-esteem gospel. That's the guy who is the real father of the church growth movement, Bill Hibel's was one of his disciples. We all know what happened with him and Willow Creek's had an incredible impact on the entire evangelical movement. Thousands of churches thousands of people in ministry have been affected by Willow Creek in which crashed and burned and not too long ago, but think about this for a moment. The whole idea behind it was let's go around.

Let's go door to door and asked people why they don't go to church and when they tell you what offends them, let's just remove those obstacles and then will come to church. First of all, the church is not a gathering of potentially converted people.

I'm not saying unsaved people shouldn't come to church. I'm thrilled when unsaved people come to church, but the gathering of the church is the gathering of Christ's body, theoretically at least, it's supposed to be Christians.

People who are already saved and growing and maturing in the Lord. It's not supposed to be a gathering of pre-Christians and primarily pre-Christians and the church is not to cater to pre-Christians. Why, because if you start going down that road and we saw it in black-and-white, and in Technicolor. Later on that when you do that you end up dumbing down Christianity. You take out all the hard things about biblical truth because you don't want to withstand anybody and you don't want anybody to get up and leave and then you become this huge church with a gigantic budget. Now you really don't want to say anything to offend anybody and make them leave so then you keep capitulating to the spirit of the age because the people who come there who just want to cool casual entertaining worship experience are never going to crave the words of the Savior who said, take up your cross deny yourself and follow me.

Being a Christian is hard and that's something the church growth movement never told anybody because they wanted to make it so easy will take the cross out just the cross offend you here. Why don't we show you a skit instead because there's so many examples in Scripture of the early church using skits to evangelize people know there there is no example of that. So I think in a lot of ways were seen, the fruit of the church growth movement and its bad fruit and good trees bear good fruit and bad trees bear bad fruit, and I lay a lot of blame for all of this at the feet of the church growth movement and those who bought into it.

What a train wreck and now we see another new statistic that only 6% of Americans have a biblical worldview. This is from George Barna who is just released this in conjunction with the family research Council's new conservative advocacy organization that they're rolling out this new group structured on the issue of biblical worldview. But when we come back.

I want to talk a little bit about what's gone wrong in our churches because I have some thoughts on this matter. Stay with us will be back by Jennifer today, many developing nations have no access to desperately needed medical care.

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You're listening to Janet Mefford today though. While I was sharing some data with you from life way research that's with fewer than 50% of Americans hold informal memberships and churches. The highest number in 80 years since the Christian Post reports more Protestant churches are closing than opening nationwide and further decline.

They say appears inevitable. This is according to the data so we have all these indications that we are not a healthy group of Christians in this country were just not the the church is that you go to and maybe I go to our sounding good and that's wonderful in their preaching the gospel and teaching the word of God.

The whole counsel of God. That's fantastic, but into many places in this country. It's not happening it's more social justice and entertainment every single day that is proliferating in our churches rather than God's holy Word and the worship of this triune spotless, blemish free righteous God whom we are to fall before on our knees and worship and say is Isaiah did that my righteousness is filthy rags. We don't have that few of God. We don't have that view of God across Americans churches by and large I digest that part. Tell me I'm wrong I would love to be proven wrong on this, but I don't see an overwhelming fear of God. Why do I say that because you look at the statistics on how people who profess to be Christians are living their lives and again we go back to the good tree. Good fruit bad tree bad fruit scenario that the Lord talked about examine the fruit to find out what kind of tree you're dealing with. When you have the abortion rates what they are among professing Christians when you have the sexual immorality rates what they are among professing Christians when you have the leftist ideology that is completely in line with the left of the world proliferating and you see people, especially in the millennial and generation Z. Generations now turning against Israel and larger measure and becoming more and more and more radicalized in their views. You have to say something is wrong. Something is really wrong and then add to that all of the scandals that we've seen in the last decade and it goes beyond that.

But just in the last decade scandals we've seen look at the sexual abuse crisis in the church. Look what we seen in terms of pastors falling into scandals and and really I understand were all sinners but that is just an embarrassment to the name of Jesus Christ and were all supposed to feel like we we can't judge we don't want to be upset while go back and read first Corinthians, especially chapter 5 when the apostle Paul talks about sexual immorality and about judging the church. They said you are to judge the church not to judge the world, the Lord himself will judge the world, but we are to judge the church because it is the job of Christian pastors and elders to make sure that the church of Jesus Christ is not tainted by all the stuff we done a pretty lousy job in that regard, and I'm not trying to be overly harsh. What I'm really trying to say is it is my fondest hope in my fondest prayer that we we would rediscover as Christians who God is and that he's holy and that we are not and that is why we need a Savior. And that is why we need to be humble and we need to be repentant. I went through an entire page of verses today on God being nothing like us. Times have you heard a sermon or a Bible study on the topic of God being nothing like us yes were created in his image. He is not created in hours.

Jeremiah 10 six there is none like you oh Lord, you are great and great is your name and might first Samuel 22. There is no one holy like the Lord. Indeed, there is no one besides you, nor is there any rock like our God first Chronicles 1720 oh Lord, there is none like you, nor is there any God beside you, according to all that we have heard with our ears and on and on and on. Exodus 914 for this time I will send all my plagues on you and your servants and your people so that you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth, and I really appreciate some of these other verses that are just they just cut through all of the bluster that is fed to us every single day. Numbers 2319 God is not a man that he should lie, nor Son of Man, that he should repent.

Has he said and will he not do or has he spoken, and will he not make it good. In Psalm 5021 these things you have done and I kept silent. The Lord says you thought that I was just like you I will rebuke you and present the case before your eyes.

And again I referenced Isaiah and really go back to RC Sproul's great book the holiness of God because that's the best book I've ever read on Isaiah and the holiness of God.

It really is. It's a classic for a reason, but you look at what Isaiah you know experienced in the year that King Uzziah died, he saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up in the train of his robe filled the temple and one cried out to another.

The Seraphim that is holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory and the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out in the house was filled with smoke.

So I said, this is Isaiah, woe is me, for I am undone because I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar and he touched my mouth with it and said, behold this is touched your lips, your iniquity is taken away and your sin purged. Also, I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, whom shall I send, and who will go for us.

Then I said, here am I send me and he said go and tell this people keep on hearing but do not understand.

Keep on seeing, but do not perceive make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart in return and be healed. You can read the rest of it for yourself but this is a precursor to Revelation chapter 4. From the throne came flashes of lightning and rumblings and peals of thunder before the throne burns seven torches of fire.

These are the seven spirits of God and before the throne was something like a sea of glass as clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures covering their eyes in front and back. In the first living creature was like a lion, the second like a calf, the third had a face like a man, and the fourth was like an eagle in flight. In each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around and within and day and night they never, never stop saying, holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come. I understand that what is going on in Revelation is what we will see what we will experience when we have finally attained to the eternal life that Jesus Christ is promised to us.

I'm not trying to bring heaven to earth because those things are still to come.

The worship that we have around the throne of God.

It's gonna be glorious. It blows my mind to even think I'll be there. I can't wait. But in the inner him when you go into a church that is potentially a church but is feeding you social justice and entertainment you have to sometimes scratch your head and say what does that have to do with the Bible were back to the problem of Bible free Christianity and it's still a problem. It's always been a problem in certain circles, but when we regard these statistics on churches closing more than opening and people not joining churches in droves and people not having a biblical worldview even though they believe that they do. We have a famine of the hearing of the word of the Lord. A lot of people talk about the Bible. A lot of people have Bibles. A lot of people hold Bibles. A lot of people will look at a verse of the Bible any given day.

Maybe they'll go on a little devotional app in the morning and read a happy verse and just go on with their days. That's not what's going to transform you as a Christian you will not be transformed in your mind will not be transformed in a biblical way. If you're just reading a verse a day, or if you're just holding your Bible or looking at your Bible and not reading it and not studying it and not digging into it and not feasting on it I can say it all day long, but if people don't actually love the Bible and love God's inerrant word then why would our churches be anything special. And when you look at the mainline liberal Protestant denominations that have completely collapsed because they rejected the Bible is given to them by God and decided instead to be all about social justice and the rainbow flag enjoy that. Enjoy that. But one day you're going to have to stand before God and give an account and soul evangelicalism and I love my evangelical brothers and sisters in Christ more than anything were family were to be together, but look at all the people who are potentially calling themselves evangelicals and don't even know the Lord. They don't even know his word.

It's easy to take something and apply it to yourself and give yourself a title and you don't even know what it means and I think there a lot of people wearing the title of Christian who don't even know Jesus Christ and Jesus said about these people, you know, Lord, you know, didn't we do all these things in your name and Jos depart for me. I never knew you. There are no scarier words in the history of the world than those words depart for me. I never knew you. I don't want to be one of those Christians, and it doesn't matter. Ultimately, how many thousands of churches are planted.

If they're not the kinds of churches that are glorifying God is holy and preaching and teaching his word faithfully to Christians who will feast on it and live by, and then grow to maturity in Jesus Christ, then who cares.

We need faithful churches more than we need a lot of churches. So pray for that.

Thank you for joining us in Janet my for today am always a privilege to be with you.

God bless you

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